DIY Chiller

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Postby Sea Turtle » January 16th, 2009, 3:39 pm

Twisted wrote:I actually considered pokeing a hole in the ends of a chest freezer and then placing a coil of tubeing in it.
I know that stainless steel, or titanium is the "better" for heat transfer, but honestly, why not an external pump pushing the water through a few hundred feet of rubber tubeing coiled inside a chest freezer?

Sorry was a rough idea I was going to look into when I considered setting up an outside growout system for propagation. when it gets 120 degrees here I was concerned.

This was was what I was thinking as soon as I started reading the thread. The beer coolers do it, why not this? I think that it should work. Maybe you could hook a small pump up to a ranko device and run the tube through the freezer. Only problem is that the water in the tube after the pump shuts off will freeze up solid. Then what??
75 gallon reef with 100lbs Live Rock. Started on April 1, 2008.

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http://www.reefs.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.p ... 58#1562158
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Postby dupaboy1992 » January 16th, 2009, 4:29 pm

You need to make sure the fridge/freezer can handle the demand of the tank, otherwise, you are going to burn out the compressor very quickly.
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Postby Twisted » January 16th, 2009, 5:05 pm

Sea Turtle wrote: Only problem is that the water in the tube after the pump shuts off will freeze up solid. Then what??


perhaps a speed control on the external pump to reduce the water flow to a trickle? Moving water will not freeze, so a combination of setting the base temp on the freezer to create a more reasonble temp. and createing a minum flow through the tube should keep it from freezing.

Or perhaps set up a secondary water source seperate from the system you are trying to keep cool.
The secondary water source could be a 55 gallon trash can of water diverted into the system to keep running water going through the freezer.

Ofcourse as I said, I never truely brainstormed it due to my main idea of the propagtion system never comming to fruitation.
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Postby Twisted » January 16th, 2009, 5:07 pm

dupaboy1992 wrote:You need to make sure the fridge/freezer can handle the demand of the tank, otherwise, you are going to burn out the compressor very quickly.


the small chest freezer are built to run almost constant. I kept one on my back porch for extra meat and frozen goods for the last few years. It stayed in that 30 degree range at all times.
So if you are not trying to do anything short of what it was created to do, there shouldn't be any problem.
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Postby Twisted » January 16th, 2009, 5:09 pm

Of course I considered punching a hole in the sides for the inlet and outlet.
someone mentioned to me that there are numerous parts running through the insallation of a chest freezer <no idea if it's true>. But just in case perhaps going through the lid?
I looked at mine and the only thing going into the lid is a couple of wires for the light.
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Postby dupaboy1992 » January 17th, 2009, 1:37 pm

Twisted wrote:
dupaboy1992 wrote:You need to make sure the fridge/freezer can handle the demand of the tank, otherwise, you are going to burn out the compressor very quickly.


the small chest freezer are built to run almost constant. I kept one on my back porch for extra meat and frozen goods for the last few years. It stayed in that 30 degree range at all times.
So if you are not trying to do anything short of what it was created to do, there shouldn't be any problem.


How many watt/HP is the compressor? Your compressor maybe fine to run constant to keep the well-insulated chest freezer in good order, but a fish tank does not have much insulation property, and there are a lot of heat source within the aquarium to will undoing the work of the compressor all the time.
Get well NOW Mr. David Mohr!
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Postby JohnHenry » February 24th, 2009, 2:18 am

'Don't tread on me,'
said the Snake.
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Postby maypo59 » February 25th, 2009, 11:07 am

I tried it years ago.. tried just about every variation of loops, tubes, lengths, pump sizes.. after 2 years of fiddling, I finally gave up and just bought a real chiller. Thats been like 8 years ago, and it's been worth every penny. I do have a dorm fridge in the basement now with inlet and outlet holes.. it's doing what it does best.. keeping the Sam Adams happy..
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Re:

Postby miwoodar » April 20th, 2009, 2:05 pm

JohnHenry wrote:http://www.beananimal.com/articles/dorm-fridge-aquarium-chiller.aspx


You took the words right out of my mouth!

As folks above have said - a DIY chiller is a wild goose chase. Sure, if you put enough time and effort into it you could pull if off but you'll end up spending as much as a commercial off the shelf unit to do so. If you are determined to do it, make it a purely academic pursuit. Otherwise it's a total waste of time. Read the beananimal link. This issue is right in Bean's wheelhouse.

Have you considered increasing your evaporation? If you haven't gone that route yet, you might be very surprised at how effective it can be. My last tank, a 65, ran two 250 halides and two 95 VHOs. I was running about 10x the volume of the hood per minute using two small computer fans. I also ran a 6" desk fan in the sump. The tank wouldn't go above 80* with the house thermostat set at 79*. One thing that helped the in-canopy cooling...I had it set up quite different than many you see on the web. The entire thing was totally sealed but for the two computer fans coming in the back and slots on the top for the air to exhaust. This sort of setup will ensure that the fans don't short circuit the air movement. You'll essentially end up with a single pass kind of arrangement. IME, much more effective. Also, choosing pumps judiciously can help. Stream/prop pumps are way more efficient and put less heat into the water than any other common water movement method.
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Re: DIY Chiller

Postby phillstone » May 23rd, 2009, 9:19 pm

Do NOT drill holes thru the sides of a chest freezer. The refrigerant lines run in the walls of chest freezers. You will most likely drill thru a refrigerant line , releasing all the refrigerant ( and kill the ozone). Also chest freezers use no fan to move air so heat transfer would take too long to be effective w/ pump running and w/pump off lines could freeze.
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Re: DIY Chiller

Postby Trixter » December 4th, 2012, 9:20 pm

It's a old post but a DIY chiller is still a very relevant idea. Without getting into BTUs and heat xfer rates and tonnage ratings it is possilble to provide cooling via geothermal heat transfer. Depending on where you live consider digging a deep but narrow trench under ground, PEX tubing is salt water safe and flexible. Not as good heat xfer as metal but would still work, especially if buried deep enough and given enough time for heat xfer. Would have to bury line below frost line if you live where is snows. Some locations the water table isnt that deep either so you may not have far down to go.
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Re: DIY Chiller

Postby Podman » December 5th, 2012, 3:54 pm

I wouldn't want to be responsible for anyones wasted money.. But I think a fridge chiller might have worked on my 90g.

The only time I needed chilling was during the summer heat waves for a few hours.. The way I dealt with it was to freeze a one gallon jug and throw it in the sump at about 4pm when the temp started to rise... there were times when I would use a second jug in the evening but usually one did the trick. So the imposed compressor load would have been limited to once daily. Essentially I used my fridge compressor to keep my tank cool.

The trick would be finding a dorm room fridge that could freeze at least a gallon of water in a days time.. which brings us back to doh.

I never gave much consideration to trying one as it seemed like a gamble... Chillers aren't really all that expensive when you consider the time and effort put into building something that might not work.

Onto the geothermal bit...
seems you'd have a very limited amount of cooling given the length of your tubing... It's like turning on a hose in the summer.. it will come out hot but only for a short time. If a tank needed cooling at a regular intervals I don't think this would work.

edit.. unless you are prepared to run a lot of tube.
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