Modifying a fridge for wine storage?

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Modifying a fridge for wine storage?

Postby kyle » Fri Apr 27, 2007 9:34 pm

More specifically, I have a True GDM-12 commercial cooler like so ... GDM-12.pdf

The mfg does make a red wine thermostat for $120US but I already have a temperature controller from our gracious hosts and figure that will work fine to control the compressor (and therefore temperature).

I'm no refrigeration engineer, but the the evaporator coil and fan are mounted at the top and are powered via 120VAC at an outlet at the base of the cooler where the compressor lives. Hence they are separate systems--seems like an ideal platform for such a hack.

Question is, anyone have a favorite humidistat that will function like the above temp controller to cycle the evaporator for optimum wine storage. Other options are to install a humidity gauge and either: keep a pan of water inside the cooler, or re-route the drain from the evaporator to a pan of water inside the cooler.

Somewhere I read that a fresh supply of outside air is provided by some of the specifically-designed wine lockers, which makes sense, but this is a short term solution until a real root/wine cellar is built.

Kyle Accardi
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Going ahead

Postby kyle » Fri May 11, 2007 7:24 pm

Since there have been enough views of my initial post to suggest some interest in this project, thought I'd update the story.

Tests as well a phone call to the manufacturer (True) indicate that low humidity is not a problem. When the cooler is run (empty) at 55 degrees F, the humidity was around 80-90%. It's likely that the environmental temp & relative humidity affect this a little, but the only problem I can foresee is labels falling off the bottles--no biggie. Perhaps some desiccant if it really bugs me. Main thing is that the corks won't dry out.

I'm in the process of mounting the aforementioned Electronic Temperature Controller in a more permanent location and routing the thermocouple probe up the wiring channel inside the cooler. This will control the compressor. The evaporator fan in this unit runs full-time. It's a bit noisy, but necessary to keep the coils from freezing up. When I get smarter, I may introduce a method that would cycle that fan periodically when necessary.

Just a bit of wiring to do so there is only one AC cord for the cooler and Bob's my uncle (actually, Howard is my uncle).

If anyone want more details, just ask.

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Postby tristan » Tue May 15, 2007 1:22 pm

Kyle - Cool project. If you want to keep the compressor from switching on and off every time you open the fridge, keep the probe from the temp controller immersed in water rather than dangling in the air. Since the water (and your wine) actually hold thermal energy very well, you'll only see the compressor switch on when its actually necessary to respond to changes in ambient temperature.

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