Author Topic: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?  (Read 7427 times)

Offline Tiarella

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Chester, MA, US
  • Posts: 1,587
  • Cheeses: 67
  • Default personal text
    • Farm Blog
Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #60 on: April 12, 2013, 09:01:06 PM »
The controllers will handle any size upright freezer you choose.  So you will have to pick a size for your room.  My freezer is 59 inches tall, 24 inches wide, and 27 inches deep.  Once everything is set up, the freezer will only run for about 30 seconds every 5 to10 minutes.   The humidifier will run as needed, depending on the load you have in the freezer.  I had a towel placed in the freezer to act as a load of cheese or sausage and after the initial set point was reached, the humidifier stayed off for over an hour, holding 80% humidity and 55 degree temp.  The only thing I would recommend is getting a freezer with removable shelves.  This was an oversight on my part.  Let me know if you want to pursue and I will help you locate the controllers and draw up a wiring diagram for you.

Thank you! I will contact you when I get closer to the project.  I also have to decide whether to go the freezer route or to see if I can afford to wall off and insulate a small room in our basement to be my cheese cave.  If so, I wouldn't want to buy something I can't use in that project.  not sure how I'd cool that room but if it's well-insulated might be able to just run a small dorm fridge in there with the door open.  that's what someone told me they did for a root cellar. 

A cheese to you for your generosity and tech-ability!  Thank you.   :D


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline Keyser Soze

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Treadwell, NY
  • Posts: 28
  • Cheeses: 2
  • Default personal text
Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #61 on: May 22, 2013, 06:04:41 PM »
Mr. CheeWilly.
I'm also interested in your fine looking setup. I wonder if you would have a list of materials you used that you could publish.  I'm going around in circles trying to find humidifier controls and temp controls that are line voltage units so I can make my Cheese and Sausage cave.  I can't start making anything till I have a place to put it and it's makin me nuts.

Thanks,
Eric

Offline CheeWilly

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Littleton, CO
  • Posts: 52
  • Cheeses: 2
  • Default personal text
Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #62 on: May 22, 2013, 08:52:35 PM »
Here is the pid controller
http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=1
This is the humidity controller
http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=37&products_id=263
This is the thermocouple
http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=20_3&products_id=101
I started with a steam vaporizer, but the hot steam would cause the freezer to cycle more frequent.  I recommend a cold mist vaporizer now.  I have had real good luck since changing it out.  Hope this helps.
The clever cat eats cheese and breathes down rat holes with baited breath.  W.C. Fields

Offline jwalker

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Creston BC Canada
  • Posts: 532
  • Cheeses: 48
  • I thought I was indecisive , now I'm not so sure!
Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #63 on: May 23, 2013, 07:34:37 AM »
That's a great setup , I will be building something along those lines myself this fall.

What kind of humidifier did you use , does it take up much room? , most of the ones I have seen are fairly big.

The PID is rated for 1200watts , does the average fridge?freezer draw less than that?

Very innovative !

Cheers Jim.
No..........I'm not a professional CheeseMaker , but I play one on TV.

Offline BobE102330

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Upstate New York
  • Posts: 401
  • Cheeses: 19
  • chilihead/cheesehead
Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #64 on: May 23, 2013, 11:15:14 AM »
You can get PID controllers that will drive a solid state relay (SSR), which can be sized for virtually any load.  I bought 25 amp SSRs with heat sinks for around $15 IIRC.  Good practice is to allow a safety factor of two, so 12.5A (1500W) would be a reasonable load for these.  Bigger heat sinks would allow operation closer to rating.  Driving my 3-4 amp dorm fridge the SSR doesn't even get warm.

I've had an issue with thermocouples being very sensitive.  It sounds like a good thing, but in practice you want a little hysteresis to keep the controller from cycling too quickly. Undamped, the controller cycles the compressor very rapidly. Put the thermocouple in a test tube of water or use an RTD (which is less sensitive) 

To me, a PID is overkill for temperature control.  A Johnson controller is accurate enough for our purposes and much easier to set up.  I like the PID humidity control, though.  There doesn't seem to be a Johnson temperature controller equivalent. 

Tiarella, I am not too far from you - about 45 minutes north of Albany, NY.  I'd help you set up for a little goat milk, or a just day on the farm. 



Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline jwalker

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Creston BC Canada
  • Posts: 532
  • Cheeses: 48
  • I thought I was indecisive , now I'm not so sure!
Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #65 on: May 23, 2013, 01:07:58 PM »
How about a regular line voltage mercury switch thermostat mounted in the fridge ?

It's good for 110/220 and 4500 watts.

I have one in my trailer that goes down to 50 degrees , for air conditioning , I'll bet I could adjust it to go 40 degrees or lower.

Or would the cut in / cut out spread be too much , I believe it's set for about 5 degrees now , my current cheese cave seems to be about the same.

It would be cheap and easy , but would it work?

I'm always looking for the easy way. ::)

Cheers , Jim.
No..........I'm not a professional CheeseMaker , but I play one on TV.

Offline BobE102330

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Upstate New York
  • Posts: 401
  • Cheeses: 19
  • chilihead/cheesehead
Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #66 on: May 23, 2013, 02:37:21 PM »
I think 5 degrees is tight enough control, but perhaps one of our esteemed experts will chime in. 

Your mercury switch mounted on an angle probably would do the trick. 

Offline Tiarella

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Chester, MA, US
  • Posts: 1,587
  • Cheeses: 67
  • Default personal text
    • Farm Blog
Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #67 on: June 22, 2013, 09:03:23 PM »
You can get PID controllers that will drive a solid state relay (SSR), which can be sized for virtually any load.  I bought 25 amp SSRs with heat sinks for around $15 IIRC.  Good practice is to allow a safety factor of two, so 12.5A (1500W) would be a reasonable load for these.  Bigger heat sinks would allow operation closer to rating.  Driving my 3-4 amp dorm fridge the SSR doesn't even get warm.

I've had an issue with thermocouples being very sensitive.  It sounds like a good thing, but in practice you want a little hysteresis to keep the controller from cycling too quickly. Undamped, the controller cycles the compressor very rapidly. Put the thermocouple in a test tube of water or use an RTD (which is less sensitive) 

To me, a PID is overkill for temperature control.  A Johnson controller is accurate enough for our purposes and much easier to set up.  I like the PID humidity control, though.  There doesn't seem to be a Johnson temperature controller equivalent. 

Tiarella, I am not too far from you - about 45 minutes north of Albany, NY.  I'd help you set up for a little goat milk, or a just day on the farm.

Bob, so sorry but I'm just seeing this post I think.  I just went back to this thread because I REALLY have to do something to make my small chest freezer work for aging cheese.  Are there different kinds of Johnson Controllers?  And if you want to come on over and see us and our goats you're welcome to.  Send me a PM so we can set a day.  Now if I can just figure out shelving or something.  or better yet an extremely cheap (or free) upright freezer to adapt.   ;)

Offline Boofer

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Parkland, Washington
  • Posts: 4,030
  • Cheeses: 177
  • Contemplating cheese
Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #68 on: June 23, 2013, 12:30:29 AM »
Kathrin, there are a few controllers that do about the same thing.

Here are a couple:
I'm using an older pre-digital display Johnson controller and it works fine. I'm also using a digital display Ranco on my other cave and it's even nicer. It's adjustable by pushing a button to select the function (F/C, temp, delta) and then pushing an "up" or "down" button to set it.

Just stick the thermocouple inside the freezer and set your preferences. That's it.

-Boofer-
Let's ferment something!
Bread, beer, wine, cheese...it's all good.

Offline Tiarella

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Chester, MA, US
  • Posts: 1,587
  • Cheeses: 67
  • Default personal text
    • Farm Blog
Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #69 on: June 23, 2013, 06:00:00 AM »
Thanks, Boofer!  One thing those product descriptions don't mention is whether how the unit is used.  Do you just plug the freezer into the unit then plug the unit into a wall outlet?  Didn't see info about that.  I DO like the idea of a digital display.  I do prefer to spend less money but do want reliability of course.  I'll wait until I have time at my desktop computer and see what I can find.  I see a cheaper Ranco but seems you have to wire it yourself.  I could wire it to an extension cord but one less thing to do is welcome.     ???



Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline BobE102330

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Upstate New York
  • Posts: 401
  • Cheeses: 19
  • chilihead/cheesehead
Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #70 on: June 23, 2013, 08:00:34 AM »
There are a number of different controllers available, I think Johnson was the first, so it's almost become the generic term, like Kleenex and Xerox.  I bought a LUX digital controller for my second fridge from Amazon for $40 or so, it works great.  It's set temperature reads differently than the thermometer next to my sensor, but so does the PID in the other cave.

Offline Boofer

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Parkland, Washington
  • Posts: 4,030
  • Cheeses: 177
  • Contemplating cheese
Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #71 on: June 23, 2013, 09:02:23 AM »
Do you just plug the freezer into the unit then plug the unit into a wall outlet?
Yep. It serves as an intermediary, negotiator, or electronic switch.

-Boofer-
Let's ferment something!
Bread, beer, wine, cheese...it's all good.

Offline Tiarella

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Chester, MA, US
  • Posts: 1,587
  • Cheeses: 67
  • Default personal text
    • Farm Blog
Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #72 on: June 23, 2013, 01:44:34 PM »
Thanks SO much, Bob and Boofer!  Bob, can you suggest a particular model of the Lux?  I like the price but want to make sure I get a model that will work for me. 

Offline Al Lewis

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Port Orchard Washington
  • Posts: 1,092
  • Cheeses: 38
Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #73 on: June 23, 2013, 02:31:21 PM »
On the LUX WIN100, how long is the cable on the temperature probe?  Also, what happens when the batteries die?


Offline John@PC

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Hartsville, SC
  • Posts: 247
  • Cheeses: 15
  • Default personal text
    • Perfect Cheese
Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #74 on: June 23, 2013, 03:50:30 PM »
Here's my cave.  Cheese is sparse right now but working to get it back into shape.  Only one mini-cave that has a Reblochon (with a booster b. linens wash) that is only a couple of weeks old but smells like it's ready for a change of socks.