need some opinions on curing chamber build

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need some opinions on curing chamber build

Postby DanMcG » Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:39 am

I'm finally getting around to building a curing chamber, We moved last month and as luck would have it, the new place came with an extra frig. It only took me a millisecond to figure out what to do with it.

I've been researching temp control and i'm still not sure what to do, and would like your thoughts on the subject. It will be located in my basement which right now the temps are 64-68f (18-20c). Being a new to me basement I'm assuming as winter comes along the basement temps will drop to the mid 50's (12-14c) so I'll need to be heating the chamber to maintain a curing temp. But come spring it will need to be chilled sometimes and sometimes heated.
I don't see a lot of temp controllers the heat and cool. I'd prefer a plug and play, but have been studying Wheels setup, but it seems a little intimidating with all the wiring. and I'm still trying to get a handle on phil reasoning about heating the unit to cause the chiller to kick on to cool it.
I was thinking I could easily build a curing room where as I could place the chamber in and maintain a warm room temp, so it would only use the chiller for temp control. to me thats the easiest solution, but then again, I'm a carpenter. :wink:
if anyone has any thoughts I'd like to hear them, until then I'll keep studying.
Also thanks to Phil, Jason M, Matt M and Solaryellow, for sharing your builds, they have been most helpful.
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Re: need some opinions on curing chamber build

Postby wheels » Sun Oct 27, 2013 2:25 pm

Dan, if the temp's mid 50's, it should be ideal, but I can understand the desire to have both heating and cooling 'just in case'.

The temperature controller that I used has two separate circuits for heating and cooling, so they can be set with a gap in-between (rather than jumping straight from one to the other).

FWIW, I used an STC-1000 temperature controller (from China I believe). Regrettably, I couldn't afford the UK made equivalent.

HTH

Phil
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Re: need some opinions on curing chamber build

Postby DanMcG » Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:59 pm

Thanks Phil, I tend to over think things before I start a project, I should worry about the what if's in January when the temps really get cold....I'll get the humification going and tested, then go to temps.
I've also been checking out your controller and your schematics... not really as scary as i first thought
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Re: need some opinions on curing chamber build

Postby BriCan » Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:25 pm

For what its worth I would be keeping a daily log of the temperatures ... morning and evening and taken at the same time each day ... if its possible
But what do I know
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Re: need some opinions on curing chamber build

Postby wheels » Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:43 pm

Sorry, I should have said: the requirements of chambers are specific to the conditions where you are.

P :D :D
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Re: need some opinions on curing chamber build

Postby Wunderdave » Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:14 pm

It's been my experience that you'll have better results with your chamber in the mid 50s than in the mid-high 60's, so even if your assumptions are right about the temps during the winter in your basement you don't necessarily need to heat.

However, the cooling action of your fridge provides an additional benefit beyond temp control: it removes humidity from the air. If the ambient environment of your fridge is the same as your goal temperature, there will be no movement of moisture. You can work around this with various solutions such as automated venting or manually fanning out the fridge once or twice a day, but you need to stay on top of this or the RH in your chamber will spike, which can cause bad molds, and can cause drying to grind to a halt.
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Re: need some opinions on curing chamber build

Postby wheels » Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:32 pm

There's a discussion on the forum somewhere about that very subject.

I'm sure that curing with temps in the mid 50's range was more successful.

Phil
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Re: need some opinions on curing chamber build

Postby NCPaul » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:06 am

I dry at 55 - 50; I find it easier to keep the humidity in a good range. I believe BriCan works in this temperature range as well.
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Re: need some opinions on curing chamber build

Postby DanMcG » Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:55 am

Thanks for the input peoples....
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Re: need some opinions on curing chamber build

Postby DanMcG » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:06 am

Well I'm doing some test runs on the new chamber and got a humidity question.
I'm not done setting it up but thought I'd fire up the humidifier and controler and see what it does. It controls the RH at a plus or minus 6%, (or a 12% swing, set at 65% and RH is between 60 and 72) I still have work to do like add a fan and a heat source, but do you think 6% +/- it to wide a swing in humidity?
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Re: need some opinions on curing chamber build

Postby wheels » Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:17 pm

Is that with product in it Dan. In my experience, a chamber will perform completely differently once loaded - particularly, the small chambers we use.

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Re: need some opinions on curing chamber build

Postby DanMcG » Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:59 pm

No Product yet Phil, Just a first run with the humidifier and controler. Once I do a batch of salami I'm guessing i'll be dehumidifying for the most part. True?
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Re: need some opinions on curing chamber build

Postby wheels » Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:06 pm

DanMcG wrote:Once I do a batch of salami I'm guessing i'll be dehumidifying for the most part. True?


That's my experience, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it's everyone's. It's so dependent on the set up, and also the ambient conditions where you live, that I wouldn't want to guess.

Phil
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Re: need some opinions on curing chamber build

Postby slemps » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:18 am

Hi Dan,

This might be a bit late but I have another option for you.

Have you ever heard of Ninja Blocks? I bought one a while back and use it to control the temp in my smokehouse. It's all plug and play and uses RF433 plug sockets and wireless temp sensors. All then monitored and configured via an online interface, drag and drop style.

It would suit what you're doing and I'm actually about to convert an upright freezer to do the same.

It's not cheap (£110) but it can do many things at the same time. So mine will control my smokehouse, curing freezer and drying machine, as well as recording and logging the temperatures of my two fridges.

I know I sound like I work for them but I am actually just a very satisfied customer!

Sam.
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