Let’s face it, most kegerator builds go something like this: acquire old refrigerator, drill hole for tap, profit. But [GiveMeMyNickelback] recently had the opportunity to do better and he delivered. Above you can see the stylish chest freezer mod that serves up six beers on tap.
Chest freezers are perfect for these builds as their top door design helps keep the cold air inside to boost the efficiency. The trick is to modify them without messing up the insulating properties of the appliance housing. [GMMN’s] approach is a common one, build a cuff to go in between the lid and the body of the freezer. He started by building a wooden box open at both the top and the bottom. Many would have stopped there but to bring the bling he tiled the sides and front of that cuff, leaving an empty spot for the shank of each tap. With that taken care of he glued insulation to the inside of the cuff, and added weather-stripping to the bottom to seal with the top of the case. He used the holes from the lid hinge brackets to attach his add-on so that the freeze can be converted back to stock without any sign of his alterations.
We’d love to see a Bluetooth or Wifi add-on that monitors the beer volume in each keg.
[Kerber] got his hands on a classic 1950’s General Electric fridge, and converted it into this classy vintage kegerator.
As his build log shows, it took an intensive restoration process to get this fridge back in shape. He completely stripped it down, scraping off the sixty year old insulation, fibreglass, and glue. Then the chassis was sanded down to a smooth finish and painted black. R-19 insulation was added to replace the old stuff.
Next up was electronics. An Arduino, DS18B20 temperature sensor, and a solid state relay were used to regulate the temperature and prevent frozen beer. There’s also a Guruplug server that reads data from the Arduino every minute. It makes this data accessible through a web page, so the temperature of the kegs can be monitored from anywhere. [Kerber] admits that this is overkill, but leaves room for future expansion.
The kegerator draws about 180 Watts, and runs for about 6 minutes per hour to keep the temperature regulated. This is pretty impressive considering the age of the fridge. The final restoration looks great, and serves up data along with the beer.
This piece of furniture actually resides in [Matt Pratt’s] livingroom but we think it would make a perfect kitchen island. The base is a chest freezer modified to keep the beer inside at just the right temperature. But this doesn’t just dispense the beer, the system is designed to tell you how many pints are left in each keg.
The freezer offers enough room for four five-gallon Cornelius kegs. [Matt] salvaged the weight sensors from some cheap bathroom scales and rigged them up with some plywood discs to serve as the base for each keg. After working out the electronics to reliably read from the sensors (which was no small job) he hooked them up to a microcontroller and a touch screen. As you can see in the video after the break, the system calculates the number of pints left in each keg based on its weight. This can be easily calibrated using the touch screen.
He didn’t talk all that much about the control hardware, but having see his post about ARM LCD dev boards we’d bet that’s what he’s using here.
Continue reading “Kitchen island monitors and distributes home brew beer”
A few years back [Evan] built a kegerator from a mini fridge and was quite happy with his new beer chiller. Like many of us do, he started thinking up ways in which he could improve the project as soon as it was completed. While it took a couple of years, he recently got around to adding the temperature and capacity gauges he always wanted.
He added a temperature probe to the refrigerator, and then constructed a pair of tools that he could use to measure how much beer was left in the keg. The volume monitors include a scale built using a pair of pressure sensors from SparkFun, and a flow sensor installed in the beer line.
[Evan] scored an old Chevy gauge cluster and cleaned it up before installing a pair of analog meters which he used to show the keg’s temperature and “fuel” level. Since he feels no project is complete without some LED love, he added a few of them to the display without hesitation. The LEDs calmly pulsate when the keg sits idle, but spring to life and begin flashing when the flow sensor is activated.
As evidenced by this pair of keg monitoring systems, we think that you can never have enough information when it comes to your beer stash, so we really like how this project came together.
Be sure to check out his kegerator’s gauge cluster in the video below.
Continue reading “Keep all eyes on your kegerator with this light up gauge cluster”
I think we can all agree, there are few things that go better with
hacking everything than beer. [Tom] has taken his love for beer and building things, fusing them together in a DIY kegerator. Using an off the shelf mini fridge and some easy to find beer serving components, he walks us through the conversion step by step. When everything is said and done, the kegerator should hold two 5-gallon kegs along with the CO2 tank required to serve the beer.
The process is admittedly pretty easy, but it’s probably the quickest way to go from zero to kegerator. [Tom] has this down to a science, knowing exactly what needs to be altered and removed, so following his tutorial should save you time and headaches, should you attempt this conversion yourself.
It would be great to see this project expanded to include precision temperature controls, a method of determining how much beer remains in the kegs.
[Jean-Michel] tipped us off about his beer keg monitoring setup. It can tell you how much beer is left in each keg, how much carbon dioxide remains in the canister, and it can monitor and regulate temperature.
An Arduino mega is the brain of the system. A shield was built to interface force sensors, measuring the weight of the keg to estimate how much beer remains. Analog temperature sensors allow for temperature monitoring and control of the compressor for regulation. Information can be displayed on a graphic LCD or a computer via XBee wireless communications.
This is along the lines of the SparkFun kegerator but we like the added functionality. Does this need to Twitter? Probably not but if you want that, it’s only a bit of a software hack away.
It started with a simple need: keep tabs on SparkFun Electronics’ in-house kegerator so the beer won’t run out at inopportune times. But of course SparkFun and “simple need” make strange bedfellows…throw beer in the mix, and you know this can’t end well. The result, as you might imagine, reads like a who’s-who of electronics hackery buzzwords.
Arduino? Check. Custom PCB? Check. Web interface? Check. Twitter feed? Check.
They’ve assembled a nice build tutorial on how this all went together, including code, example circuits, an explanation of some of the sensors used, and links to other tutorials for such things as Twittering and persistent storage in EEPROM using Arduino. Not to mention the eye candy: a custom Arduino shield (solder mask and all), custom acrylic tap handle, custom SparkFun pint glasses. They never do anything halfway, do they?