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MurphMan

Help deciding correct temp controller

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I posted a thread earlier about useing a full size fridge to have my LBKs in and Rick informed me of a link to a Temp controller STC 1000. So,thank youmformtheminfo on that! Unfortunately I do not trust myself with building one, actually my wife does not. I have seen them on eBay when looking around last night. Are these the same ones that are already made. I have also seen some Johnson Control analog and digital ones as well. Does anyone use these or other ones that they would recommend for me to use. I have three LBKs and an extra full size fridge, so I would like to utilize it. Thank you.

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The STC's that you see on EBay would need to be built up to function as a temperature controller. The Johnson controllers are ready to go, just plug and play. Making a temp controller with an STC is relatively easy. The difference is cost. STC's are less than $20 and with about $10-$15 more in parts you have a temp controller. The Johnson controllers are $65-$75. The choice is yours. 

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A couple of points.  First, the building of a temp controller is documented in many videos online. It's easy IF you are comfortable with wiring.  Put wire in this slot, tighten screw.  Put wire around this screw, tighten.  It will cost you 1/2 as much.

 

Heating element - online you can find instructions to build a paint can heater. New paint can ($5 at Home Depot), light bulb receptacle.  Total cost for all about $35 depending on what you have on hand.

 

Heating is needed if the room the unit is in drops to 60 or below at times, OR, if you need to be warmer like mid to high 70s fermenting, OR, when you pitch at 60 and want the temp to be at 64 the entire time.

 

Going from C to F is easy with a chart on your frig/freezer door. 

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I've been planning to build one of these for my smoker. I make my own sausage, and the first step in the smoker is to dry the casings thoroughly at 95-100° before adding smoke and taking them to finish temp. This avoids discoloration on the casings. My smoker isn't electric, but I use a hotplate for this step.

 

Knowing it can be used for brewing too gives me another reason to do it. I have everything I need but the unit itself, although that complete Inkbird unit for $38 seems like a good deal too.

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To stress Rick's point about a heater. I live in west central GA and I need the heater during what passes for a winter down here, though I only need a 40w bulb. If your at all "handy" and tend to do your own home repairs you'll probably have most of what you need laying around. (all I had to come up with was a paint can)

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For what it's worth, I've been using that Inkbird controller with my mini-fridge for about six months now, and I've been very happy with it.  Couldn't be easier.

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I bought a 5 cubic Ft. chest freezer for 50 bucks of Craigslist. I use the inkbird and its fantastic. I also use my wifes 11 dollar heating pad from Walmart.

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Thank you everyone, it appears that this is not a very difficult process. Just seem a more technical then it really is.

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