Making My Curing Chamber Questions

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Making My Curing Chamber Questions

Postby ComradeQ » Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:47 pm

Hey all! So happy to be a part of this forum, so much great info!

So my question is this: I managed to score a mini commercial glass door fridge for next to nothing and am picking it up later today. Here is a pic:

Image

Now I want to convert this to a curing chamber. As far as materials go, I'm assuming I would need the following:

http://item.mobileweb.ebay.ca/viewitem? ... 4793818314

I don't think this device can actually control humidity levels, looks more like it just measures them but I'm no expert. The digital temp control is also available without the humidity sensor for about $15, that might be better.

Next is the hygrostat here:

http://item.mobileweb.ebay.ca/viewitem? ... 4001656719

And of course I would need a humidifier, something like this:

http://item.mobileweb.ebay.ca/viewitem? ... 1775121302

I would also install a spare computer fan I have kicking around, just a little 80mm one so I can draw humidity out as needed. So with that said, and not knowing a ton about rewiring things and electrical (proficient at the basics) are these the right tools needed for the job? I'm assuming the hygrostat would be able to power both the humidifier AND the fan and that it would automatically switch between each one as needed to maintain the humidity level? My brother is good with electronics and I will enlist him to help actually wiring it, but he is away for the next few weeks and I wanted to get a start on ordering the necessary materials. Thanks in advance team for all your help!
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Postby herjac » Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:56 pm

Both of the humidity controllers that you link to are the same device. Possibly a different manufacturer. They control either a humidifier or a dehumidifier and this is selected in the setup of the device. If you want to control both a humidifier and a dehumidifier then you will need a controller each. It's the same with the common temperature controllers, Ranco, Johnson Controls, and the type that look similar to those humidity controllers you linked to, where they either turn on a heater at a low temp or a cooler at a high temp and this also is selected in the setup of the device..


When you start operating the cure cabinet you will see what happens with the humidity and then determine what equipment is required to control it. When my cabinet is operating at an ambient temperature below the setpoint of the controller the humidity rises due to the sausages in the unit and I need another temperature controller to turn on a heater in the cabinet so that the cooler will then turn on which will then lower the humidity. All these cure cabinets operate differently depending on what type of cooling equipment is used. Don't expect it to run perfectly when you first use it as there is usually something in the operation that you didn't expect.

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Postby ComradeQ » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:24 pm

I didn't end up getting the fridge, it was a piece of junk, lol. I'm keeping my eye open for a wine cooler now with digital temperature control. I'm hoping that way I won't need to buy a separate temperature controller. I will have to see what the humidity levels will be like but I can always hook up something for that.

What are your thoughts on using wine coolers for curing chambers?

This is the one I've been watching for on kijiji and craigslist. Saw two for between $75-100 today that I emailed about. Hopefully I will hear back soon.

http://www.danby.com/en/US/our_products ... dwc350blpa
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Postby wheels » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:09 am

How does this cool? The wine cooler I bought had some sort of fan arrangement that provided the cold air. It was far to much for making salami and everything ended up with case-hardening. :cry:

Maybe check that this doesn't have that system before you part with your cash?

Phil
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Postby ComradeQ » Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:21 am

wheels wrote:How does this cool? The wine cooler I bought had some sort of fan arrangement that provided the cold air. It was far to much for making salami and everything ended up with case-hardening. :cry:

Maybe check that this doesn't have that system before you part with your cash?

Phil


I don't believe it has a built in fan. It is a condensor unit, storing water in a tray underneath. I just saw this thread http://forum.sausagemaking.org/viewtopi ... sc&start=0 and it seems like he had loads of headaches over his so now Im not sure. Do you think it is possible to get it working correctly? Would it be an issue with the unit or more with the setup/techniques being used?
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Postby wheels » Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:35 pm

ComradeQ wrote:...storing water in a tray underneath.


I don't have direct experience of that type of cooler, but the above would raise concerns with me. I know that it's a lot easier to increase humidity than lower it. I'd be asking myself: "Does the water tray mean that the humidity will always be on the high side?"

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Postby crustyo44 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:56 pm

Comrade Q,
A friend of mine converted several wine coolers succesfully in Western Australia.
He just emailed me that the Coppa he made came out very good.
I will email him now and ask what he excactly bought and the controls he used.
I just want to know, never too old to learn.
Cheers,
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Postby ComradeQ » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:04 pm

Right on, thanks guys for the advice and help! I just spoke with a friend of a friend who used this same model for his. He claimed the temp control was very accurate on the unit and that he only required some humidor beads in water to control the humidity. He installed a hygrometer to measure his humidity and a good thermometer to make sure the.temp control in the unit was accurate. He says it stayed pretty well between 70-80 % humidity and the temp fluctuated 3 degrees at most and that it can be adjusted but it runs more often so I think 3 degrees is acceptable. With that said, I know results vary for everyone but I think this is a good affordable way to start and I can assess if it works for me.
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Postby ComradeQ » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:06 pm

wheels wrote:
ComradeQ wrote:...storing water in a tray underneath.


I don't have direct experience of that type of cooler, but the above would raise concerns with me. I know that it's a lot easier to increase humidity than lower it. I'd be asking myself: "Does the water tray mean that the humidity will always be on the high side?"

Phil


From what I understand, the water is what is evacuated by the dehumidifier in the cooler. It is store externally and he claims it doesn't make the levels any higher, in fact he says it works very well to bring the levels down.
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Postby wheels » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:33 pm

Sounds good - in that case I'd try it and see. Make a few sacrificial sausages (maybe chorizo?) and hang them at (say) 54°F (12°C) to see what happens to the humidity.

Phil
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Postby ComradeQ » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:52 pm

wheels wrote:Sounds good - in that case I'd try it and see. Make a few sacrificial sausages (maybe chorizo?) and hang them at (say) 54°F (12°C) to see what happens to the humidity.

Phil


Good idea, I've been wanting to cure some Spanish chorizo so that will work. Picking up the unit tomorrow so I will probably start them in a week or so after I have a chance to measure the levels and get it set up.
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Postby ComradeQ » Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:39 am

So this is what I ended up buying. It is a uline wine cooler with.digital control that retails for $1500 new! I got it for $50 on kijiji! So, I may just resell it and make a profit or maybe at least try it first as a curing chamber.

Image

The only issue I have is the temp control only goes as high as 7 celcius and I need to figure out a way to make it run closer to 12. What are my options? Should I buy one of those single switch temp controllers that the fridge plugs into? My only issue is I would like to try it as a curing chamber, if it doesn't work I will try to sell it, so I don't want to drill holes or anything if I can help it. Suggestions please folks?
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Postby ComradeQ » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:25 am

I should add, I know this is not a technical support forum, but does anyone know if it is possible to over ride or reprogram the thermostat controller to make it warmer? It is a digital control like this:

Image

If possible that would be ideal. Thanks again!
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Postby herjac » Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:16 pm

If you buy a temperature controller and plug the cooler into it and run the sensor in through the seal at the door it will work for you as the set point on your controller is set higher than the cooler setpoint. A lot of people do this so they won't have to drill through the wall of the unit. This would be a good way to run the cooler to see how the humidity is in the unit and if it can be controlled adequately. This is the hard part. These small units can be hard to control. If it doesn't perform for you then you can put it back on Kijiji. 8)

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Postby ComradeQ » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:25 pm

herjac wrote:If you buy a temperature controller and plug the cooler into it and run the sensor in through the seal at the door it will work for you as the set point on your controller is set higher than the cooler setpoint. A lot of people do this so they won't have to drill through the wall of the unit. This would be a good way to run the cooler to see how the humidity is in the unit and if it can be controlled adequately. This is the hard part. These small units can be hard to control. If it doesn't perform for you then you can put it back on Kijiji. 8)

Herb


Yeah I figured as much. Emailed Uline customer support too and they said it isn't possible to change the digital output without introducing an entirely new controller.

So what is the cheapest option available? I was looking at the Johnson and Ranco ones, they are all minimum $50. Anyone know something comparable that costs less? Id rather not blow my budget if I can help it. Thanks again!
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