Kegerator

KegeratorFor the ultimate homebrew experience, the ne plus ultra of beer, you need a draft system. I wanted to build two taps into the bar in my home, but after much head-scratching, I concluded that it couldn’t be done in the space I had to work with. The next-best thing is a kegerator, a mini refrigerator with a draft tower on the top.

Ideally, I wanted a design with two 5-gallon Cornelius kegs, two faucets on the draft tower, and all the plumbing (including CO2 bottle) inside. Such a design would be nice addition to my bar. I was able to acieve it quite nicely.

Parts

Bar Fridge

Requirements:

  • Must be able to run the plumbing through the top. That will be very awkward for any design that has a freezer compartment at the top, as most do.
  • Must be able to accomodate the height of a 5-gallon Cornelius keg, with room for the plumbing.
  • Must be able to accomodate the footprint of two Corny kegs, side-by-side.
  • Ideally, must be able to accomodate a 5-lb (at least) CO2 bottle and regulator as well.

I needed to test how well the components would fit inside the various fridges I was looking at. Rather than carry around two kegs, I made a cardboard template of the footprint of two side-by-side kegs (looks like an infinity sign), and cut a piece of wire represent the height of a keg. These were easy to use at the shops to test the fit.

I looked at many mini bar fridges from various manufacturers, and settled on a Danby DAR452BL. It has these benefits:

  • There is no freezer compartment at all. The evaporator of the cooling system (ie, the part that gets cold) is a flat panel at the rear of the fridge compartment.
  • Plenty of height to accomodate the kegs and plumbing.
  • Room enough for two kegs, if the fancy door lining (with all the shelves and stuff) is removed.
  • Room enough for a 10lb CO2 bottle, sitting at the back on top of the rectangular intrusion that houses the compressor.
  • Very elegant appearance, the condenser (ie, the part at the back of a fridge that gets warm) was somehow hidden away (details later), so the fridge looked pretty good even from the back.
  • The top of the fridge features a plastic trim piece that looks very elegant, and has a slight concavity which can contain regrettable spills of precious, precious beer.

I also found some suitable Sanyo models, include the SR-4460W at Costco. Their web-site shows some other suitable models, SR-2410K, and SR-4911M.

Draft towerDraft Tower

This part is pretty straightforward: just buy one. Lots of vendors on the Internet sell them. I got a chrome two-faucet tower through Paddock Wood. It was actually shipped from the manufacturer, Canadian Beverage Supply, in Mississauga, just down the road from me. Maybe it’s possible to order from them directly, but they don’t seem to have any web presence. The tower is lined with insulating foam, useful if you want to blow cold air into it to keep the beer lines cool all the way to the faucet.

Drip Tray

A drip tray is fairly essential, if you want to keep the kegerator looking nice in use. There are again lots of Internet vendors, but they’re all bloody expensive for what you’re getting. I discovered that Danby themselves make a kegerator (more on this later), and it comes with a drip tray. I ordered the drip tray alone from a Danby parts distributor, Reliable Parts (“The House Of A Million Parts”) and got it relatively cheaply. Note that the tray comes as two pieces (the bottom tray, plus the top grill that fits into it), which have to be ordered separately. I didn’t know that, and had to make an extra trip to Toronto because of it.

The part numbers are 445.03 (“DRIP TRAY, DBY”) and 445.02 (“DRIP TRAY, GRILL, DBY”).

Beer Plumbing

The draft tower I purchased comes with fairly long beer lines with a 3/16″ID, which provides enough restriction for a fairly well-balanced draft system. But the lines were terminated with professional “beer nut” style fittings, which won’t connect to a Cornelius keg. I ordered (from Paddock Wood as usual) a pair of ball-lock (ie, Pepsi-style) to MFL (male flare) quick-connects. As usual, I gravitate toward flare fittings instead of hose-barbs, for ease of disassembly.

I cut off the “beer nut” fittings from the end of the lines, and installed a copper tubing flare and flare nut. TODO: write a page on flare fittings.

CO2 Plumbing

Again I used ball-lock to MFL (male flare) quick-connects from Paddock Wood to connect to the kegs. The regulated CO2 pressure needs to supply two kegs. I wanted to be able to swap one keg, or run with only one keg if I run out of the other beer. The quick connects have a built-in shut-off feature when they are disconnected, but I don’t trust it not to leak slowly, so I wanted valves to shut off the CO2 supply to either or both kegs.

I assembled a distribution manifold out of pipe fittings from the local hardware store. I used rather expensive “steam cocks” to shut off the CO2 flow. I also used quick tubing connects (used extensively in the automation industry with compressed air) to connect the CO2 tubing to the manifold, for easy dissassembly. I just happened to find these at the hardware store, so I used them.

Preparing the Fridge

Because of the need to drill holes, I thought it might be prudent to contact Danby first, to confirm that no important plumbing would be in my way. The droid I got on the phone was uncooperative. All I got out of her was the standard schpiel about voiding the warranty, we can’t be held responsible, blah blah blah. Whatever. I’m doing it anyway.

The fridge comes with a parts list in the manual, which includes an illustration that shows tubing coils in the side walls of the fridge. This explains the mystery of where the condenser is, since it isn’t on the back of the fridge like they used to be back in the day. There’s a condenser coil inside each side wall. The sides of the fridge do in fact get warm when it’s in operation. So, there it is: do NOT drill holes in the side walls of this fridge! I wonder what catatastophe it is that Danby believes they averted by not telling me about that when I phoned them?

Get to Work

Dissassembly

The door will need to be modified to remove the shelving. As I recall, it’s just a couple screws on the bottom holding the door hinge on. Remove the hinge, and the door will come off easily. This, incidentally, is also how you would switch the door to open from the other side if you wanted.

The plastic molding on the top can be removed by some screws at the back of the fridge, and under the overhang at the front. There’s a metal bracket under it that can also be removed, I don’t remember whether that was necessary or not.

Layout the Hole

Hole templateI took some measurements on the outside of the fridge, and the inside of the fridge, and produced a template that showed a kind of X-ray view from the top of the fridge, and 1:1 scale. The lighting fixture on the top inside of the fridge must also be on there. There is enough space behind the lighting fixture and in front of the evaporator for the large hole required to mount the draft tower. This puts the tower rather towards the back of the fridge, but it looks very nice there, and leaves space in front for the drip tray.

I used the chrome cap of the draft tower to outline the hole. The hole needs to be big enough to allow cold air to circulate inside the tower (keeping the beer lines cold), but small enough to leave a good margin for the tower mounting screws.

I attached the template to the top of the fridge with tape, so that the features depicted lined up.

Cutting the Hole

Nibbling toolThere are three layers we have to cut through: the outer sheet-metal, some foam insulation, and the inner plastic lining. The metal is the hard one. I used a “nibbling” tool to cut the large circular opening in the sheet metal. Nibbling tools are great for cutting irregular or large shapes in sheet metal or other thin materials. They work by using a hook-like hardened metal punch and anvil, taking a small bite out of the material with each squeeze of the handles. I bought it many years ago at Radio Shack. With their slow, steady transformation from a hobbyist shop into a cheap consumer-goods shop, I don’t know if they still carry it.

To start the tool, drill a 1/4″ hole near the boundary of the hole, on the inside. Then poke the jaw of the nibbling tool into the hole, and start nibbling. Wear gloves, or you will get a blister. Nibble, nibble, nibble… it takes a while. It won’t seem as long if you have a homebrew.

Nibbling away...Actually, at this point I discovered that the paper template actually was getting in my way. Preparing it was a useful exercise in getting to know my way around the fridge (the rear wall is thicker than you may think), so it’s still in these instructions. I scribed the circle outline into the paint with a nail instead.

While you’re nibbling, you’ll notice that the space under the metal is entirely filled with foam insulation. It’s fairly soft, the nibbling tool can just push it out of the way.

Tower holeAfter a couple beers, you’ll have a nice hole. When you finish cutting out the circle, pry off the metal disc (it will be stuck to the foam insulation. Then use a knife to carve out the insulation. It’s about an inch thick. Carve it all away, until you reach the plastic lining.

To continue the hole through the plastic lining, I just did something quick and dirty: I used a saw drill in my hand drill, using the existing hole as a guide. A saw drill is like a regular 1/4″ drill bit, but it can cut sideways. It’s a very blunt instrument. The result is rough, but servicable.

Saw drill Finished hole
Hole from the insideHere’s how it looks from the inside of the fridge. Pretty ugly, but nobody will ever see it. That’s the evaporator on the top of the picture, and the light fixture on the bottom. Notice how we conveniently avoided damaging the thermostat capillary tube (the thermostat is also mounted in the light fixture.)

Vapour barrierIt is generally important to protect the insulation from condensation using a vapour barrier of some sort. Insulation loses it effectiveness if it gets wet. I improvised a vapour barrier here with some plastic sheet and packing tape.

The same hole must also be cut in the plastic trim we removed earlier. I replaced the trim on the fridge. Reaching through from the inside of the fridge, I used the existing hole as a guide to scribe the circle on the trim piece. This is a bit tricky, because the trim does not actually sit flat on the top of the fridge cabinet, there’s about a 1/2″ space that is normally occupied by a piece of styrofoam. I didn’t transfer the line very accurately, so when I cut it out, it didn’t come out quite right. Fortunately, it all gets covered up by the draft tower’s mounting flange anyway. The plastic trim was too thick for the nibbling tool, so I used a spiral bit in my Dremel.

At this point, I test-fit the tower to see how it looks. Pretty sharp! But we’re not done yet.

Wooden spacerAs I mentioned before, there is a piece of styrofoam filling an approximately 3/8″ gap between the sheet metal top and the plastic trim piece. The draft tower will have to be screwed into something solid, clearly styrofoam won’t work. And if the screws bite into the sheet metal, they’ll compress the foam when tightened, bending the trim piece. I decided to replace the 3/8″ foam with something more substantial: 3/8″ plywood. We’re going to have cut that damn hole one more time! I found a suitable scrap piece that would fit nicely into the underside of the trim piece. Marked out the circle on it, and cut it out with a jig-saw.

It is not yet time to install the tower mounting screws, however. There is still the small matter of the door.

Modifying the Door

Door lining removedThe fridge door has shelving built into it which takes up too much space inside the fridge compartment. We can fit even a single keg in there with the shelves. If you pull aside the rubber gasket on the fridge door, you will find screws holding the plastic panel in. Remove them all (there are quite a few). Inside the door is more foam insulation, which will require a new vapour barrier. And, with the the lining removed, the door is very flimsy, it needs to be stiffened up. I did both jobs by replacing the original shelf lining with a sheet of thick plastic.

The best would be Plexiglass (“Perspex” for you Brits), about 3/16″ thick. But that’s expensive. A much cheaper alternative, available at Home Depot, is the light diffuser sheets used for commercial fluorescent light fixtures. They’re dirt cheap. Just find one that reasonably smooth on one side. In hindsight, if you can spare the change, get the Plexiglass. The light diffuser panel is made of an astonishingly brittle plastic, I had a lot of trouble drilling holes in it without shattering.

Carefully remove the rubber gasket from the original door lining. Using the lining as a template, cut the Plexiglass to size. The score-and-snap method is easiest. Then, again using the original lining as a template, mark out all the mounting holes on the new lining. Drill them all out. Test fit on the door.

Finished doorCarefully install the gasket on the new lining. Install on the door, and replace all the screws. The door should now be much more rigid.

Reinstall the door on the fridge now. There should now be lots of room inside for two beer kegs.

With the original door lining removed, there is nothing to press the light switch when you close the door, so the light will stay on all the time. The easiest way to solve this is to just remove the light bulb from the fixture. You won’t have to look inside the fridge very often anyway.

Installing the Draft Tower

We’re almost there now. Reinstall the plastic trim on the top, including the new plywood spacer. Test-fit the draft tower. Mark through the mounting flange holes. Pilot drill the holes through the plywood. I also piloted (with a slightly smaller bit) into the sheet metal top of the fridge. Install the rubber gasket that came with the draft tower, and install the mounting screws.

Completed kegerator Kegerator tower
Looks pretty good! But there’s something missing…

Tap Handles

The draft tower came without any handles. You can buy them, or you can make them. I made a pair of handles out of red oak on the lathe. Turned by hand, I somehow managed to make two almost identical handles. I tapped the standard tap-handle thread (8-32 NC, I think. TODO) in the bottom. Sanded with fine grit paper, rubbed in a little teak oil, and screwed them on. Sharp!

Tap handles

Conclusion

When I was nearly finished this project, I discovered (at Home Depot, surprise surprise) that Danby actually makes their own kegerator, the DKC445. Their’s is designed to handle a single brewery keg. I took a close look at it, and found that it’s almost identical to my own. They started with the same base model, and made basically the same modifications to it. They have the CO2 tank outside the fridge on a shelf on the back. They added a nice little railing around the edge of the top. I think mine is better, for homebrewers. It holds two Cornelius kegs, and all the plumbing is inside. And, to top it off, I think mine is cheaper. Danby’s model was around CDN$800, I think. My cost was probably closer to $500, including the draft tower.

Kegerator with kegs

Links

Paddock Wood
Danby

132 Responses to “Kegerator”


  • For anyone in Ontario, Canada interested in Cornelius kegs for home brewing, I suggest you snap them up soon. I dropped in to R.D. Strickland in Erin, Ontario this week to purchase two for my kegerator project, and had a lovely chat with Bob, the proprietor. He told me that he is running out of them and can get no more. When I asked how many he had left, he pointed to a stack of about 30 and said “That’s it”.

  • If you are looking for bits and pieces (beer lines Cornelius tank connectors, faucets, etc.) for your kegerator, and live in Canada, call Simgo Beverage Systems. I initially was going to order parts from Micro Matic out of the U.S.A.,(because they have a nice website) but they wanted to ship via UPS. If you’ve ever had an international shipment handled by UPS, you know the sting of their brokerage fees. Acting on a tip from Bob at RD Strickland, I called Simgo (they do have a website, but it’s rudimentary) and spoke to Dave Meek. He asked I send him a list of items I wanted, and lo and behold, they were substantially less expensive than Micro Matic! And I didn’t have to deal with those UPS scoundrels…

  • Hi everyone, i am from Orangeville, Ontario. I have recently built myself a kegerator out of a plain old full sized refrigetator. I have two faucets coming out of the refrigerator door and use the freezer as a place to keep my frosted mugs. I use the fridge for a combination of commercial draught beer and homebrew. The kegs that I use are the beer store style sankey kegs. They are widely available in 20l size in 6 varieties from brewer’s retail. They can also be easily used as homebrew kegs with a few simple hand tools. They can be bought full of beer for around $100, including a $20 deposit. I have come across a supplier that provides me with replacement ss snap rings to eliminate the pesky tamper resistant ones that these kegs come with. As far as c02 tanks go, i have mine external to the refrigerator, with dual secondary regulators inside the fridge. I have a 20lb tank that i exchange at the local welding supply shop for around $50. If anyone has any questions or wants me to email them some pictures of my setup, let me know.\
    Cheers
    Graeme

  • I bought and successfully converted the Danby DAR446BSL from Costco. I timidly drilled the holes and sure enough, just foam! I used a roto-zip tool vice the instructions above and I think that worked much better. Great insructions and thanks so much!!

  • Good article!

    I actually just picked up the same fridge and I’m looking to do the same thing. Only problem is the kegs wont fit (9″ diameter). How did you get them to fit?

    The fridge interior is 17 1/4″ wide and Home Brew Corny kegs are 9″ each. I thought you could try putting them on an angle but the rails for the bottom drawer get in the way.

    How did you get them to fit? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks!

  • Is it possible to hook the co2 tank like me ,I have a 15lb der that wont fit inside ,to run the co2 from the outside into the fridge?
    Julian

  • Good writeup. I recently received a Danby DKC645BLS kegerator as a gift, and basically wanted to do the exact same thing. It is good to note that this model does fit 2 5 gallon Cornelious kegs inside, with quite a bit of room to spare. I removed the single tap tower and installed a double tap tower, and then what I did was run the gas line directly into a 3 ball-valve shut-off station. I then ran three lines out, two with regular keg couplers and one with a ball and lock (pepsi ) homebrew coupler. This way at any time I can have any combination of homebrew and store bought. I spliced one of the beer lines onto a double nipple connector so that I just remove the clamp and switch it out when I need to switch from a sanke to a ball and lock. The hardest part is deciding what beer to put in it!

  • I have a mini fridge with a freezer in the top of it, can I still use it, or is it possible to disconnect the freezer. Any help would be great.

  • It’s unlikely that it can be used. In mini-fridges that have a freezer in the top, the walls of the freezer compartment usually contain the tiny tubes of the evaporator. If you remove the evaporator then, in addition to leaking harmful CFCs into the atmosphere, you also remove one half of the heat-pump mechanism that makes the fridge work. No evaporator, no heat-pump.

    The only way you could get away with this is if it’s a frost-free design, which has the evaporator somewhere else, and just blows cold air into the freezer compartment. But I’ve never seen that in a mini-fridge, only in full-size fridges.

    How Stuff Works has a good page on this subject.

  • Just curious what the dimensions of your corny kegs are. I’m looking at converting a Danby and wondering if your kegs pictured are the same dimensions as mine. Thanks!

  • Thanks for this great howto!

    In case anyone else was wondering, the DAR446BSL available at costco has the exact same layout as the DAR452BL. I’ve just finished converting one by folowing this guide without a hitch!

  • tim jaecklein

    Cool your tower and cure the foam issues. !!!

    This works great

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&item=300239364361

  • I am buying one of these Danby fridge used so I can convert it. Can anyone confirm…are there any lines on the top of these fridges!!?? I need to know if I am safe or if I need more research than this web page. by the way these instructinos are great and can’t wait to get ot my project

  • Piper,

    Great write-up. Do you take orders? I’d like to purchase a completed kegerator. I’m in Waterloo as well.

  • I am planing on building one as well soon. Should have it done within a few weeks just will have to wait till parts come in. Also I’m here in Waterloo as well. Small world.

  • I like the kegerator bro, I have recently finished my chest freezer conversion. You should check it out at my site http://kylebaker.net

  • Great write up but am interested in finding someone to do the installation for me. We already have purchased the Danby model you have referred to. Do you or anyone know of a company or contractor that would do this? I live in Aurora, Ontario.

  • Thanks for the instructions, I just converted the same fridge. My problem is that I have the 20# tank and need to drill a hole for
    the Co2 line. Is there any place on the back that I can do this?

  • This is very important. As a 30 year tech with Ppepsi I should warn everyone checking this out that copper or brass fittings should never be used with any carbonated beverage.There is a chemical reaction that takes place and persons can be poisoned. Only plastic or stainless steel fittings should be used in the beverage piping.
    A heath inspector would fail any system with brass or copper in the beverage circuit.

  • I think Bruce is probably referring to the lead included in most brass alloys (to make it more machinable). Many people follow the “pickling” procedure (http://www.howtobrew.com/appendices/appendixB.html), which is claimed to strip off lead from the surface of the brass. I’m not a chemist, and can’t comment on whether it actually works, but I know many people use it.

    As for copper, there wouldn’t be any lead in the copper alloys used for plumbing houses (obviously). Copper itself is probably not great to drink either, but it is my understanding that the low pH of beer will quickly oxidize (“passivate”) the surface of the copper, and the oxide layer will prevent any further copper ions from leaching out into the beer. This is why copper was used for brew kettles and whiskey stills for centuries, until stainless steel was invented.

    Everything I was talking about was mostly in reference to unfermented wort, though. When beer is carbonated, it contains carbonic acid (which is just CO2 dissolved in water). Maybe carbonic acid has some different effect on brass or copper. I’ve never heard of it before now, but again, I’m not a chemist.

    We’d all love to be using 100% stainless steel tubing fittings, but that shit’s expensive!

  • thanks I have the same model frig I want to convert I was just trying to figure out where to drill for my tower. I’m glad I happened upon your site.

  • Its great to see this kind of creativity! I took an old Kenmore dorm style fridge and converted it using, parts I aquired from eBay including the chrome tower, faucets and purchased used corny kegs to keep the beer flowing. Cheers and nice setup!

  • Hi

    Will a Danby DAR446BSL Modification mentioned fit store bought kegs from the beer store.

    Thanks
    Mike

  • Adam, who asked the question about converting a fridge with a freezer way back in April, it is possible to convert that. The freezer is the actual cooling unit of the fridge, so you can not remove it. There is a crease in the freezer part. What you do is bend the freezer apart, at the crease obviously, and shape the freezer coil down the side walls of the fridge. You would have to run a shank through the door instead of a tower through the top.

  • That’s a pretty scary thing to try. The freezer is probably a soft aluminum. If it cracks or breaks when you’re bending it, all the refrigerant will escape. Aside from rendering the fridge useless, it will also punch a big hole in our ozone layer. I was kind of hoping that there’ll still be an ozone layer when my son grows up.

    It’s actually illegal to release refrigerants into the air, either accidentally or on purpose.

  • Great info. I just did a conversion with the same fridge with a few alterations (That I HIGHLY suggest doing). If someone is going to do this conversion I suggest the following:

    Put a 1-1/2″ PVC running up the tower (with the beer line(s) running through it) and fill the area between the outer wall of the beer tower and the PVC with the expandable foam in a can. This will help keep the tower from frosting when you blow cold air up it.

    In order to blow cold air up the tower simply remove the clear plastic where the light is and unplug the light (Danby using a quick connect heat shrink system so its easy). Glue a small computer fan over the opening and hook it up to the wiring that was used for the light. Since incoming power is 120V AC you need to convert it to DC at lower voltage (computer fans usually call for around 12 volts). I did this by using an old cell phone charger in line with the set up. It converts the 120V AC to about 5V DC (depending on the phone charger, but they are all pretty close) Almost done. All you need to do now is take out the door light switch and hard wire them together (IE you need remove the switch from the circuit). This will allow your fan to run all the time. If you don’t take this out it will not run with the door closed. Voilllla, you have a computer fan mounted right under your tower and it works great.

    PS, Be sure to drill the hole for the tower above the light so the fan will be right under it. The fan light/thermostat housing is set up in a way where you can still run the beer lines between the tower and the fan. It will be a bit farther up than what piper did, but there are no lines in the top so you don’t need to worry.

  • Those are great suggestions. I had planned to figure out some way to push cold air up into my tower. I bought a tiny little blower for the purpose at a surplus shop, just haven’t installed it yet.

    My tower came with a foam liner in it, but it’s not very thick.

  • I know they do make 120V AC fans that are small but I think they push quite a bit of air and are quite loud (and usually run around $25). Becuase of this I went the computer fan route. Not to mention it was fun.

  • Wow! I saw the Danby (DAR446BSL) at Costco and knew at first glance that it had great Kegerator potential. One quick search and here I am! Many thanks to you for working out the details of this! I will also offer to everyone that I happen to have some recently decommisioned, 19L Cornelius Kegs for sale – they are located in Kingston, Ontario. If you want one or more send an email to namgek@gmail.com

    Happy kegging!

  • I’m keeping my eyes open for a cheap used freezer (10-12 sq. ft.) Does anyone know if the thermostat can be converted to run @ + temperatures? I figure I could run a 4 way tower with 1 big keg and 3 cornies.

  • You can always plug the fridge into an external temperature controller, such as the Johnson Controls or Ranco. They can be set to warmer temperatures, and they’re probably more accurate than the thermostat built into the fridge.

  • Hey! If you’re looking or old corny kegs, check your local Princess Auto store. I was in the Mississauga store today and they had Pepsi (ball-lock) corny kegs for $24.99. I pretty much cleaned out their stock, but did leave a few behind for others. Sorry – too good a deal! To get them from the US w/ shipping is $51 (CDN) each, and R.D. Strickland in Erin is selling them for $50. No guarantee’s, but it’s worth a look.

    Cheers!
    –T-Mac

  • Thanks for the tip on Princess Auto. Picked up a couple in Hamilton store today.

  • Nice project! It’s not something I’ll think about until I finish our unfinished basement, but once that’s in… and the dartboard is attached to the wall, I’ll now have my next project clearly in mind.

  • Hey Im wondering what is the proper psi output from the regulator? I will be setting the fridge at around 2-3 degrees C, what should the regulator be set to? Thanks

  • Eric,

    Your question doesn’t have an easy answer. Actually, it does: https://www.kegman.net/balance.html#resistance

    Basically your keg pressure has to equal the “resistance” value you calculate for your beer line. It’s a function of the length of the beer line, inside diameter of the line, and the total height you’re trying to push the beer up. It’s not a function of temperature.

    You can also calculate the pressure you need to achieve your desired level of carbonation. This one is a function of temperature. The desired carbonation level and serving temperature are a question of style and taste. You can easily find tables online giving you the CO2 pressure, temperature, and carbonation level (in “volumes”).

    So, you get two different pressure values, one for draft system balancing, and one for carbonation. Hopefully the answers will be close. If they’re not, you should probably go with the system balancing one. Otherwise, you’re going to have spitting foamy beer.

    You can adjust the system balancing to match your desired carbonation level. Add more restriction, in the form of a longer or smaller beer line.

  • Thanks alot, the site helped in figuring out the regulator psi depending on how things are going to be set up

  • Hi. Anybody done a conversion of one of these keg fridges to guinness? I guess you just need to add a restrictor; I’d rather not pay 100 bucks for the stout tap if possible.

  • 2 years ago I bought and converted a 7-8 cuft chest freezer into a kegerator for the cottage. Its spends the summer outside on the deck.. It has a dual tap tower on top and all the plumbing is inside. Temperature is controlled via an external thermostat control with a lead going to the interior. I just bought all the required parts from micromatic.com in the US. They were quite helpful.

    After all was said and done it ran about $1000. It has just enough room to fit a pair of 30l kegs, as well as a fair amount of other beverages and glasses kept cold. Never have to go inside for a drink now.

    It was a very satisfying project ๐Ÿ™‚ Being outside has its issues. I had to rig up a computer fan and plastic piping to run cool air up into the tower or the first glass always foamed after not being used for 5 minutes. I also try to shade it as much as possible by keeping a patio umbrella over it (got one from mill street brewery for that. sweet) When we’re not there I have a big plastic bag that I cover it with to protect it from the elements (A yard of soil was delivered to the house in it, and it turns out to be just the right size to cover the freezer ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s nice to be able to leave kegs hooked up for weeks at a time.

    I eventually discovered the proper setting of the CO2 regulator is simply adjusted to “whatever works”. my first couple of kegs were all too foamy. turns out I just needed a lower setting, it was pushing the beer out too fast even though it was the “recommended” setting.

  • Candian Beverage Company website.

    http://www.cdnbev.com/

  • Can anyone tell me what the recommended setting is for the 2 gauges on the back of our kegerator? We just purchased it second-hand and there were no instructions. After using 1 “pony” keg and replacing it with a new one, we are getting nothing. Not even a drip. We have adjusted every valve on the back and no combination seems to work.

  • Usually one of the gauges shows the pressure remaining in the CO2 cylinder. You can’t control that one directly. When it’s zero, you’re out of CO2. (Or the CO2 cylinder valve is shut off.)

    I suspect you’re out of CO2. Possibly you have a slow leak somewhere, which would empty the cylinder much faster than you’d think. Spraying the gas connections with soapy water can help locate leaks. If it’s a homebrew “Cornelius” keg, then be sure to also check around the lid. I had a slow leak there once, from a poorly-seated gasket.

    The other gauge shows your regulator output pressure, which you control with the pressure adjustment screw.

    How to choose the correct pressure is a complicated topic. It depends on the length and amount of restriction in the beer lines, and on the temperature, and on the amount of carbonation you desire in the beer.

    Here’s one page that describes how to balance a draft system: http://kegman.net/balance.html

  • I used this Whirlpool model from Canadian Tire,
    Whirlpool Energy Starยฎ Refrigerator Product #43-1813-8
    http://www.danby.com/whirlpool/product/WAR488BSL

    Reg $229, I paid $199. Conversion took about 90 min.

    Easy conversion. All you have to do is remove the plastic moulded drink-shelving from the inside of the door. This came off with approx. 20 screws. This also removes the rubber seal of the door.

    Then I cut out the “guts” of the now removed plastic shelving unit, leaving a ragged plastic frame (approx 1″ wide) that was suitable for reattaching the rubber seal back on the door.

    End result is a perfectly flat door, with nothing protruding into the interior space of the fridge, with the rubber seal intact.

    There is no freezer on this unit, so the cooling apparatus is at the back. Hence one 1 1/4 inch hole thru the top, and shabam, the kegerator was done. I attached my tap to the top of my bar, ran the hose thru the hole, and there’s enough space inside for a 5 lb Co2, hoses, and a Beer Store 20lb Keith’s. Keeps the beer at about 5degC – lovely.

    This may also contain a 30lb squat keg, but I’m unsure if the Co2 tank would also fit inside.

  • Shawn,

    Will your Kegerator hold a half barrel (15.5 gallon) commercial keg as well as a CO2 tank? I’m looking to build a Kegerator that can hold a half barrel keg and CO2 tank or two corny’s and a CO2 tank.

    Thanks,

    Jeremy

  • I just bought the same fridge as Shawn and am just starting the conversion, seems pretty straight foward with this fridge.

  • anybody know where to buy a keg coupler in the waterloo area? or get nitrogen for that matter, having trouble, praxair wants huge orders and i’m stumped

  • Nitrogen? Pretty fancy for a home draft setup!

    I get my CO2 from Acorn Fire and Safety. I don’t know if they have nitrogen. I suspect not.

    I would ask at a bar that serves Guinness, where they get their gases.

    You might also try the TSC Store in St. Jacobs. They stock welding gases in smaller cylinders, on a cylinder exchange program. You have to buy a cylinder the first time, but then you can exchange it for another every time it runs out. And there’s no minimum on how quickly you have to use up cylinders like there is in the large cylinder rental programs like you probably found at Praxair.

    According to their website, they do have nitrogen. It’s intended for the refrigeration trade, but it’s likely the same nitrogen, filled from the same supply. That’s true of welding oxygen and medical oxygen, I’ve heard. Same oxygen, different price.

  • hmmm, yes, but i need beer gas specifically, 75% nitrogen, 25% co2, that looks like pure nitro, be wary of mixing it myself. still need that coupler before i can really get going though, even starting with co2 from acorn, nobody’s got a spare eh?

    also thanks for your help piper

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