toofargone

Freezer & Tupperdor project

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PigFish   

First I have to say wonderful job... really!

Most folks would not be able to control this as a humidor. It is good that you recognized the difficulty in that and saved yourself a whole lot of trouble. This type of storage is a perfectly valid solution.

I would move my sensor around and evaluate and data log different areas of the project. The cooler must have circulation to move the cool air from the evaporation coil down to the bottom of the unit. This is a minor nit-pick. Some fluctuation in level will be exist, but it could become a problem depending on the ambient. Remember this unit is designed to freeze, the cooling coil will freeze rapidly, the faster you can acclimatize the whole box the better it will work. While freezers are well insulated, 1C in 4 hours seems like a long time. The dwell and cycle are great, don't get me wrong, but it does appear that sensor placement (I am guessing) might be near the evaporation coil or in free space where it is easy to cool. Again, this is just an fyi.

Did you wire the line voltage? The reason why I ask, is that you mentioned that the unit was frost free. This means it has a heater at or near the evaporation coil. Depending on where you attached your relay you might experience some heating in there (theoretically) as the brains on the freezer locks out the cooler and defrosts it. Be mindful of it... If it happens don't freak, but consider a parallel connection around the coolers existing controller and not a series one through it. Just watch out. A heating cycle might not be pretty!

In any event, I do tend to give line voltage advice, because with a capable controller, you don't want it running through the existing control system of the cooler. This can be problematic (not a definite, but potential problem). I have tried this in my early days and had problems crude OEM systems doing strange things with my controls. I would wire direct to the compressor and bypass any other logic circuits. This means I would kill the defrost, there is no reason for it in this case. At these cycle rates there is no need for anti-short cycle logic, but it should be included nonetheless. If you wired though the existing controller, it is likely protected from power outages and rapid cycles with a short cycle device.

Lastly I would raise the temp to 70F and the higher centigrade equivalent. The fact is, cigars don't need to be refrigerated! The concept (IMHO) is about stability, not making cigars cold. Cold cigars lend themselves to all sorts of problems. Mainly, when your boxes are opened in the high heat and wet ambient, you will douse them will water the minute the exchange takes place. Your inner containers don't dehydrate (immediately) actively. This means that water can exist in liquid form in your Tupperware for a considerable time while the passive Boveda products catch up with the additional water. Ultimately, the colder you store, the bigger the problem...

Depending on air exchanges, be mindful of water accumulating in the cooler itself. You may find that at these temperatures and rH levels (outside of the cigars) you might find it ripe for mildew growth. This is because air exchanges might not be dried and there may be free water in there for hours at a time. Just look for it... A big pile of cat litter on the bottom might help this if the need arises. Some of this can be solved with hastening your cooling cycles and reducing your set point differential. I think that ultimately you will be better served by reducing your set point differential or differential logic spread. I think a cycle rate of at least once per hour would serve you better... MHO.

That is about all I can add.

Bravo mate...! Nice job... This is a project that people should emulate. It is a viable solution when controlling the entire unit for rH and temp is out of reach. Well done!

-the Pig   

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mkz   

Impressive work!  :thumbsup:

Keep us posted how it works in the long run.

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Thanks @PigFish for your comments and suggestions. I have not bypassed any wiring inside the freezer. I have simply plugged the freezer into the output of the solid state relay. I had the idea of adding internal fans hence the relay shield to allow me to control them with the Arduino. As for the heater, once the temperature reaches 19C it kills all of the power to the freezer so it may go 1C or so above 19 but that's about it. I've got an old laptop sitting where I can see it with the temperature graph constantly updating so I can see exactly what it's doing. I'll up the temp to 70F as per your suggestion.

I could hasten up the cycle by reducing the setpoints which I might try when I change the temperature to 70F. Good idea about the kitty litter, I'll grab some next time I'm out and add it to the bottom.

I'll post some more results once I've made the changes.

Cheers all :)

 

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Lant63   

Beautiful work.  I am starting to evaluate options as I move forward for larger storage and this project helps.  

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Thanks!

A single Arduino could easily manage multiple freezers. I've got 8 relays on the relay shield so I could control up to 8 freezers if I really wanted to. Of course if you were an electronics whiz (I'm not) you could be able to control much more with custom made electronics.

If anyone wants the code I'll be happy to PM it to you. I'm not a programmer by trade so it's probably a little messy but it gets the job done!

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On 9/30/2017 at 4:50 PM, toofargone said:

and it will hold more cigars than I probably will ever own.

Bwaaaahahaha! :lol3::lol3::lol3:. You clearly underestimate the forces involved here.

I’m very impressed with your project, though. I envy your patience to understand all you’ve got going on there. :2thumbs:

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Bwaaaahahaha! 3:3:3:. You clearly underestimate the forces involved here.

I’m very impressed with your project, though. I envy your patience to understand all you’ve got going on there. :2thumbs:

I know and now that I'm smoking NCs as well its going to be hard. I can add other freezers to the system easily if I require them. I just need another relay box and temp probe and some minor code changes.

 

Sent from my phone using Tapatalk

 

 

 

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On 02/10/2017 at 3:09 AM, PigFish said:

I think that ultimately you will be better served by reducing your set point differential or differential logic spread. I think a cycle rate of at least once per hour would serve you better... MHO.

Hi PigFish,

My cycles are still between 5 and 2 1/2 hours. I've got a 1C differential. Do you think I should shorten that up to day .75 or even .50 differential?

 

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PigFish   
8 hours ago, toofargone said:

Hi PigFish,

My cycles are still between 5 and 2 1/2 hours. I've got a 1C differential. Do you think I should shorten that up to day .75 or even .50 differential?

 

This is, in fact, a very complex and highly speculative subject... As I write, bear this in mind. I am not the final arbiter on the subject, just one, with an educated but biased, singular opinion. There is no need to emulate what I do.

Lets start with an example:

59d65b0569484_WavelengthGEN132017-10-3.thumb.png.2e2044c2bb50d864e6e55a2ffc696afc.png

This is one of my machines. I am not going to bother with a number of caveats about it, but start with a little about why I do, what I do!

There are aspects of cigar temperature that are important form many reasons. When you control temperature as a variable, what is your reason? (A rhetorical question) Like many others I have mine, but overriding is the nature of stability. Stability is the reason I build humidors. I don't build them to 'refrigerate' cigars. I build them to keep my cigars in a smokable, even and stable state at all times, presumably in climates that don't foster that form of stability without electromechanical interference. Here is where 'I' start.

There is then, no magic variation of temp or rH. There is only your opinion about it, and what skills you have to achieve it. (philosophy regarding theory) You should have a basis about why "YOU" think is acceptable and what YOU think is perfect, or perfect enough for your efforts, skills and budget. I cannot impost that upon anyone else. The above chart, while not my idea of perfection is a representation of my level of acceptability. This of course is for a working (forward and reverse functioning) purely automated humidor.

Going forward, as an example, you can see that in this ambient state (derived from the chart) the delta on the T is about .3 to .4 F. If there is 1.8C to F, then my tolerance for temperature is 4.5 times more sensitive than yours.

There are many reasons for this and I won't bore you with them. Yet stability is almost always at the bottom of the reasoning. Precision, and repeatability, consistency... is always at the root of what I am doing with humidors.

What I see in your device is not at all bad, so don't get me wrong. There are several reasons why I recommended that you shorten the cycle. First, I think you are leaving stability on the table. YOU CAN DO BETTER, I THINK, SO WHY NOT ENCOURAGE YOU TO PUSH YOUR MACHINE SOME AND GET IT BETTER??? This is just how I think. Again, there is nothing wrong with your comfort zone, but better is within your grasp (I believe).

Next is some of what was previously discussed. What happens in the real world and not the theoretical one? What happens in an air exchange? 5 hours can be a long time for free water to 'wandering about' in your project. It may be harmless, but then again, purging it might be better. Why??? Well, free water causes growth of biologics that like to grow in dark, damp places...! You don't want to open your project and find that it just stinks. I think that there is some possibility of this due to the fact that you might have hours and hours of time where water is not be purged and consolidated in your freezer. Look, I am speculating here...! But, I have seen it before. These projects are prone to mildew if you don't control the free water inside. It might not affect your cigars at all, they are separate, but it might affect the way that you perceive your cigars when you go to get one.

I am thinking ahead again and outside the box... I am suggesting that a more regular purging of any free water "might" be a good thing.

The project itself will begin to guide you on what you can and cannot do with control. I am not really the source of that. 1.8 and 5 hours is not at all bad.... That was never my point. Mildew can be bad... and your project can (I think) do better, be better (I think) so why not explore it??? (My thought process).

Depending on ambients, your project will do what it wants to do. You will not get a 5 hours cycle in 85F, I am fairly certain about that... But, is there harm in 1 hours cycles. How about 30 minute cycles??? Where do you see it going...?

The point ultimately is what do you feel is good enough? Me, you can see that I control sub 1F. I do it for my own reasons. Do you need to do that? Not up to me to decide... But 1.8F is not as good as you can get, and can potentially lead to free water problems in your climate. I think it should be sharpened and I don't think it will cost you a penny to do it. It therefore becomes a good idea and a good investment!!!

Hope that answers that question.

Cheers! -Ray

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PigFish   
5 hours ago, toofargone said:

Thanks Ray! I'll drop it down to .5 today and see how it goes :) It's going to be warm today so a good day to test it.

Cheers mate!

-Ray

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Hi Ray,

I've got it down to .125 differential ( 20.986C/69.79F to 21.111C/70F) and it's still giving me 1 3/4 hours cycle. I'll leave it at this and wait till the ambient room temp gets well into 30C/86F.

average.png.b800c2867997918caaad6a8224afbd62.png

I've also put a good chunk of kitty litter into the bottom of the freezer to soak up any moisture.

Cheers.

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PigFish   

Very good... The insulation in the box is a real positive. Good job...

What is the ambient outside currently when you are getting these types of cycles? I am very curious.

What is the duration of your cooling process? I am curious about that as well.

Make sure that the sensor is in a location where it balances the entire cooler if you can and while the blending of air is not that important in the freezer, the homogenization of heat (the air) is and air should be conveyed from the evaporation coil to the remainder of the unit. I cannot recall if you are using any fans for circulation, but you should be. This unit is tall and you want it to cycle on 'air' temperature, not the substrate temperature (the inner wall of the cooler). It would be advisable (if you can) to offset and somewhat insulate your sensor from the inner wall and any metal that has hight thermal conductivity...

Your heat curve line has a tell of 'less that homogenous' cooling. I don't think this matters much, but I am a bit of a student of data logging, so I thought I would pass it along. I don't see anything wrong in it, but it is telling you that your sensor is likely close to the evaporation coil (I am guessing) and that it is cooling faster than the box. (This is just a data log input lesson, and for your or anyone following the threads edification, and not designed as a criticism...)

I have noticed that your SSR is mounted in a sealed box. Monitor that! I am not the biggest fan of SSRs. Of the parts I have had fail in the past, SSRs have been the biggest culprits when I used them. SSRs create heat, and their lifespan is dependent on their ability to dissipate that heat so just keep an eye on that closed box and if it gets hot, consider venting it and perhaps adding a heat sink if you don't have one now. It is also easy to blow up SSRs with inductive loads. You should look up your makers white papers and see if yours requires snubbing, or if it is snubbed internally. It may not require it, but I thought I would let you know. This is just an FYI. You might be safe with the AC use, but you may need to snub any DC connections to it. You will just have to look it up. I am not up to date on SSR use anymore.

I used SSRs many years ago and finally gave up on them. They were simply too problematic for my work and not worth the money (MHO). Heat kills SSRs... so does inductive overloads so watch that.

Cheers! -R

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Hi Ray,

The ambient isn't very high at the moment, around 25C/77F. At the moment the cooling process is 1 minute. I actually have five sensors in the freezer, they are close together at the moment but when I get some materials that I've ordered i'll space them evenly throughout the freezer. I take an average of those five sensors to give me the final reading. I'll be putting in fans but i'm waiting on some shelving to be made and i'll wait to see what I can do when I get them. The SSR is rated at 40A continuous however the freezer is drawing less than 2A and it's on a metal plate to act as a heat sink so hopefully it will be alright. I might put a fan on the box.

Cheers :)

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PigFish   
1 minute ago, toofargone said:

Hi Ray,

The ambient isn't very high at the moment, around 25C/77F. At the moment the cooling process is 1 minute. I actually have five sensors in the freezer, they are close together at the moment but when I get some materials that I've ordered i'll space them evenly throughout the freezer. I take an average of those five sensors to give me the final reading. I'll be putting in fans but i'm waiting on some shelving to be made and i'll wait to see what I can do when I get them. The SSR is rated at 40A continuous however the freezer is drawing less than 2A and it's on a metal plate to act as a heat sink so hopefully it will be alright. I might put a fan on the box.

Cheers :)

Not bad at 77F... That is a compressor freezer for you.

Yeah, the SSR looked quite robust... 1 minute cycle... that is fast!

With a cycle time that fast, it makes me wonder how easy this would be to convert totally... That fast a cycle makes the process a lot easier. I will bet if you get tired of this set up, you could probably pull off converting the thing to a fully automatic humidor. 1 hour dwell time for this small a cycle is really promising, I must say.

Looks like you have things well in hand. Once again. Congrats... Great project!!!

I looked into converting a chest freezer just the other day. The problem was that the cooling was 3 sided and the logistics of protecting the cigars from the cold (area) was just not really worth the trouble as I saw it. If I could have found this model with only one side freezing... at $169 for the freezer, I would have been all over it. I think I could have made it into a hellofa humidor.

Thinking on is some more, I could have likely insulated two sides and worked with one as my primary cooler... Water collection would have been the big issue here.

Man, at $169 for a box that would likely fit 300 boxes, I was a bit disappointed that the thing did not work the way I wanted it... I am always looking to make a big box that would cost less then my current projects and work just as well. Some day when I have more time I am really going to investigate chest freezers more!

Cheers! -Ray

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Ray,

Thanks for the support :) I think i'll keep it as is. I don't think I'll convert it to a humidor, too much work ;) As long as it keeps my tupperdors cool in summer that's what I'm after :)

I will keep an eye on it during summer to see what happens to the cooling cycles. I may be able to adjust them automatically based on the date on the Arduino :)

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PigFish   
14 minutes ago, toofargone said:

Ray,

Thanks for the support :) I think i'll keep it as is. I don't think I'll convert it to a humidor, too much work ;) As long as it keeps my tupperdors cool in summer that's what I'm after :)

I will keep an eye on it during summer to see what happens to the cooling cycles. I may be able to adjust them automatically based on the date on the Arduino :)

... love to help an enthusiast, especially not a 'helpless' one!!! -LOL

While I have begun to guard some of my secrets, you might look into programming a simple sloped line algorithm for your variable cooling ideas. I choose what I consider an 'optimum' cycle duration, then use an algorithm to vary the run times based on the previous cycle length... Of course, you can look at your external sensor and derive an algorithm based on your external temperature. It is just another way to skin a cat and likely the easiest way. Forget the RTC method, that is not really reactive but an attempt at adaptive. A true adaptive approach would be to read your external sensor and respond to it.

I hope you are logging your ambient. That is another hint that will take you far. Correlating the two will take you to new ideas... My money is that you take this further than you think today, but I am just guessing.

That is all for hints I am gonna' post publicly... -LOL (Privately too for that matter!!!)

You are on the right track mate. Bravo!

-R

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2 hours ago, PigFish said:

I hope you are logging your ambient.

Of course I am ;) The humidity sensor has been calibrated using the boveda calibration pack.

roommonitor.thumb.png.d65fa44bb99c925fb80d90b6e8b4758a.png

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2 hours ago, madandana said:

Wow! You guys are a lot smarter than me.

Nah @PigFish is the master! I'm just an apprentice :) My system is still in the baby stage and still has a lot of room for improvement 

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Help @PigFish

The ambient temperature is sitting right in between my setpoints and this is happening;

pigfish.png.40b109cde2b1ccc74cc628179af84415.png

As you can see it's been sitting here for around 12 hours. Is this normal? I need your wisdom master!!!!

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What is that? Your rH is moving? How much is it moving? What does it look like it is steady at? I’m guessing you have active temperature control but not active humidity control by means of both hunidifier and dehumidifier?

I’d say it’s probably water that condensed on coil or what not going back into air. That’s that last kick up a bit.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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PigFish   
2 hours ago, toofargone said:

Help @PigFish

The ambient temperature is sitting right in between my setpoints and this is happening;

pigfish.png.40b109cde2b1ccc74cc628179af84415.png

As you can see it's been sitting here for around 12 hours. Is this normal? I need your wisdom master!!!!

Of course it is...

You have an externally driven system. The system requires a net high temp ambient to require cooling. I cannot see what the scale on the left is in this pic but if it remains your .3C, what is your problem with it? You should not have one (a problem).

Your system is going dormant and that is to be expected.

My systems require about 3F above the set point to function without heating. This is why I use a heater! While my systems are far more complex, humidors are designed to fit an ambient. If your ambient includes temperatures below the set point, you will lose heat, just as you gain it, to match the ambient eventually. As long as you are not finding temps far below your set point to where you lose stability (within your desire to maintain) then you have no problem.

Here again the only issue might be free water trapped in the cooler. As you know, if you defrost a refrigerator or freezer, you don't leave it closed for long periods or it will mildew. You leave the door open to equalize the rH. This should be your only concern here as I see it.

You don't have a problem here, not that I can see, unless you have trapped high rH levels in the box with no means to purge it. I use a dehydrate function for this purpose!

Unless further complexity is required, and you have a real problem, not a theoretical one, don't worry about it. Going forward this all becomes the empirical proving of your design. Fix problems as the come up. Ones that don't materialize, you don't need to worry about. Be mindful and diligent in your observation. It is all you can do for now.

Your biggest worry here (if you have one at all) is the potential for mildew. It may never happen. I just did not want to see you blindsided by it so I warned you about it. Run it, watch it, learn about it, fix it... That is the game.

You are doing just fine!

Cheers! -Ray

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PigFish   
2 hours ago, LordAnubis said:

What is that? Your rH is moving? How much is it moving? What does it look like it is steady at? I’m guessing you have active temperature control but not active humidity control by means of both hunidifier and dehumidifier?

I’d say it’s probably water that condensed on coil or what not going back into air. That’s that last kick up a bit.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I did not expect to see you here... How was the honeymoon? Or, are you moonlighting on your honey??? -LOL

-Ray

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