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Modding the Mini Fridge Help.

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm hoping you guys can help. I'm looking for the link to modding a bar fridge to help it get colder. I know I've seen it on here but cant find it. I love my fridge but want it to be colder! Thanks!
post #2 of 14
What kind of fridge is it? Certain fridges have mods that can allow you to just add/change a capacitor.

I have a kegerator, and have used the two following mods to lower the temperature significantly:

Mod #1: Permanently mount a DC fan (from a computer or grab one at Radio Shack) inside the fridge to circulate the air. This alone should drop the temp several degrees.

Mod #2: Fool the fridge into staying on all the time (by moving the temp sensor) and use an external temperature controller (such as Brewers Edge) to turn the fridge on and off.

My fridge wouldn't get below 42 degrees when I first purchased it. I now keep it between 34 and 36 without a problem.
post #3 of 14
Never seen it on here but on this site http://www.micromatic.com/draft-keg-...-cid-2297.html there have been several posts on doing what you want. I am JUST happy with my temp so I have not done it.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Whirlpool Beverage Center (WBC127BLS) is the model.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
After searching around this seems to be a common problem with this fridge. It looks cool but does not function as well as hoped. I did get it at a very good price but it needs some mods to make it work as well as it looks. I almost never impulse buy without researching. Lesson learned!

One solution I have found, and tell me if this makes sense to try- is to either A) take out the sensor toward the bottom of the fridge and insulate it with something like a paper towel to fool the fridge and make it run longer. B) add wiring to the sensor and extend the probe to the top inside of the fridge, again to fool it or C) somehow add a capacitor or something like that to make it run longer.

I think a 120mm computer fan also would help even out the cold air but I need help on this. Anyone have a step-by-step with pics to help? Vespaguy you had luck with this?
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmeister View Post

After searching around this seems to be a common problem with this fridge. It looks cool but does not function as well as hoped. I did get it at a very good price but it needs some mods to make it work as well as it looks. I almost never impulse buy without researching. Lesson learned!

One solution I have found, and tell me if this makes sense to try- is to either A) take out the sensor toward the bottom of the fridge and insulate it with something like a paper towel to fool the fridge and make it run longer. B) add wiring to the sensor and extend the probe to the top inside of the fridge, again to fool it or C) somehow add a capacitor or something like that to make it run longer.

I think a 120mm computer fan also would help even out the cold air but I need help on this. Anyone have a step-by-step with pics to help? Vespaguy you had luck with this?

Yeah, the two mods I listed in my first post worked really well. I've discovered that most mini-fridges (and especially kegerators) don't get nearly as cold as you'd like them to. Check the Micromatic forums (see crunchyfrogs post above) for mods specific to your fridge.

I don't have pics of my mods, but I might be able to give you a better description of what I did.

First Mod: Add a fan

If your fridge is like most small fridges, there's just a cold plate along the back and it has absolutely no circulation. Before adding a fan, try testing the temp* at two seperate locations in the fridge (top shelf/bottom shelf). You'll probably notice a huge difference between the temp at the bottom and the temp at the top. If you do notice a difference of more than a few degrees, then a fan will definately help to even - and possibly lower - the temperature.

(*for the most accurate temp, use a submergable thermometer in a cup of water)

Adding a fan is very easy. Simply buy a DC fan at Radio Shack, or pull one off of an old computer. Then use a basic DC cord. Many folks on the Micromatic website suggest using an old phone charger; cut off the end that would plug into the phone and just connect the two wires from the DC adapter to the two wires on the fan (if it doesn't work, just reverse the wires). Almost all PC fans are 12v so a simple phone charger will work fine. If you don't have a DC charger, you can pick one up cheap at Radio Shack.

Once you have a working fan, find an inconspicuous place to run the wire (you should be able to close the door on the wire without an issue), and mount the fan anywhere in the fridge. I have my fan on the top shelf, pointed down along the plate and it seems to circulate the cold air perfectly.

My fan stays on all the time and it works fine. It's very possible that this step alone will lower the temp enough for you.

Second Mod: Tricking the fridge to run longer

My fridge's temp sensor was tucked away behind the cold plate. Moving away from the plate just tricked my fridge into staying on non-stop. No matter where I put the sensor, unless it was directly behind the cold plate, it never registered a cold enough temp to switch the fridge off. It was impossible to find a location that would keep the fridge at a consistant temp.

So, I ended up using an external temperature controller (http://www.micromatic.com/draft-keg-...s-pid-E54.html) which was recommended by several forum members at Micromatic.
Basically, you move your sensor so that the fridge will run all the time. You then place a sensor from the brewers edge anywhere in the fridge (I have mine in a glass of water to get an accurate temp). Then you plug your power cord of the fridge into the temp controller. Now, the temp controller will turn the fridge on and off based on a limit that you program into it. It probably sounds more complicated than it is.

The controller is a bit expensive, but it works fantastic. It's a shame that these fridges don't work as expected right out of the box, but reading the Micromatic forums leads me to believe that these problems are fairly standard.

Good luck!
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
OK, the first step I did was an easy one. I wrapped the sensor with a paper towel. Easy to do. My thermometer showed a drop down to 40 on the bottom. I just moved the cup to the upper shelf to see what I net there if anything. A fan is going to have to be added I can see now. Looking at my extra cell phone chargers, they are all rated at 5V. Is this enough to run a computer fan? I plan on getting a larger 90-120mm fan so it will move more cfm's at a lower rpm, I'm hoping.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmeister View Post

OK, the first step I did was an easy one. I wrapped the sensor with a paper towel. Easy to do. My thermometer showed a drop down to 40 on the bottom. I just moved the cup to the upper shelf to see what I net there if anything. A fan is going to have to be added I can see now. Looking at my extra cell phone chargers, they are all rated at 5V. Is this enough to run a computer fan? I plan on getting a larger 90-120mm fan so it will move more cfm's at a lower rpm, I'm hoping.

Just curious, what's the temp difference from the top shelf to the bottom?

5v probably won't push too much air on a 12v fan. I bought a 12v charger from Radio Shack, snipped off the end, and it works fine. You even be able to find a generic one cheaper at WalMart.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
The top shelf looks to be running 43-45 now, it was going upward of 50- not very cold for beer. I'll look at wally world and see what they have in the way of chargers. Looking at whats available on NewEgg, all of the fans seem to be 3 wire- red,black,yellow. Would I hook up the black and red and leave the yellow? I'm also thinking of putting the fan on the bottom rack and having it blow upwards, good idea or would it be better to mount it high? If on the bottom I could get an LED fan and light up the bottom that gets dark with the bottles and cans.
post #10 of 14
Not sure what the three wires are for on the pc fans at new egg (I bought my fan at Radio Shack). You should only need two leads to get the fan running. Maybe someone else with more knowledge than me could chime in. I know very little about anything electrical. Experiment a little, and you should be able to get it running. Trust me, if I could get these mods working, anyone can.

As for the fan placement, your best bet is to experiment with it. Any type of circulation is going to make a huge difference, but fan placement may get you a few more degrees lower. I'd invest in another thermometer so you can check the upper and lower temps at the same time.

Good luck!
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'll head over to RS and see what they have. Right now the temp is 38 on the bottom, perfect. I posted a pic of the fridge on my build thread. The display is showing 43 so the prob is being fooled a little by the paper towel wraped around it.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by vespaguy View Post

Not sure what the three wires are for on the pc fans at new egg (I bought my fan at Radio Shack).

The 3rd reports fan RPM back to the motherboard. Not needed.
post #13 of 14
Yeah, on the 3 wire fans, the yellow wire is not to be used for 12V power. Use Red for + and black for -
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
So the wife calls me at work.

"Hey, how are things going at home?" I said.

"Oh you know, just cleaning up the mess you made."

"What mess is that?" I said, knowing full well their are probably five messes I've made.

She said "The cans of soda in your little fridge that blew up and made a mess"

"Thats great news!" I replied

"And a couple of them are expanded and large."

"Thats what she said" was my reply.

"What?"

"Never Mind"

"When you get home you have a mess to clean up" she tells me.

"Happily" I said.

I had put a twelve pack of soda on the bottom shelf the day before. Apparently it was too close to the temp sensor and blocked it from every shutting off causing the temp to plummet below freezing. I now know the fridge can get very cold when it has to, which is a good thing. I'm off to clean up my mess.
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