42.5cu.ft. Drying Chamber 1 Year Review

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indaswamp

Epic Pitmaster
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Staff member
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Apr 27, 2017
15,350
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South Louisiana-Yes, it is HOT
I'll begin with the upgrade I recently performed on my chamber...

First, I transferred all the stuff hanging to my old chamber. The 2 Culatelli where in that chamber, but now that they have been moved to my fermentation trash can at room temperature for the summer fermentation period, my old chamber became available for holding all the projects I had in my large chamber.

After shutting the system down, First thing I did was lower the top LED lights down about 2" so they were below the dehumidifier intake baffle plate. Much better now.

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Next, I swapped out the (4) 80mm PWM fans with (4)120mm fans on the cooling radiators. This gives me full contact with the entire surface of the radiator instead of only utilizing an 80mm ring in the middle of the radiator.
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Then I installed a second PWM controller so I could set up 2 zones of airflow; right and left sides... one for drying whole muscle Salumi (ultra low air speed ~1-2cm/s) and one for drying Salami (~3-12cm/s air speed). I ran a second control wire into the chamber and plugged the fans into the controller for each zone.
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I installed the second smaller Norcini Nirvana sticker that Rick BGKYSmoker BGKYSmoker sent me on the dehumidifier header. I like it...looks really cool!
(120mm fans installed)
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I pulled the Humidity sensor out of the chamber through one of the doors and stuck it in a zip-lock bag with a 75% calibration pack to re-calibrate my RH% controller. It had been 6 months so time to check it.
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Turned the system on sans power to the dH unit while calibration was being done for 24 hours.

RH% controller was off by +2.5% so adjusted the offset and dialed it back in.

After 24 hours, re-taped the RH% sensor in the chamber.

While the dH system was unplugged, I added a foam board baffle to stream line the airflow to the chamber return fan. This allows the system to be more responsive to lowering the humidity in the chamber. I thought I would have to fill the void space with foam board, but 1 piece did the trick sufficiently. Cool, easy fix.
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Now the review....

I am very pleased with the performance of the chamber. I had a TEM chip go out after 3-4 months of operation that I had to change out. But the design of the system allowed me to do that without shutting the entire chamber down. I just unplugged the power supply for that peltier unit and swapped the TEM chip out. Took me less than 20 minutes to do it. The replacement 180W TEM chip was $5 bucks! Awesome! Easy peasy. Other than that, it has been up and running continuously for the last year or so. No way I will ever fill it up unless/until I butcher my own salumi pig. It has more than enough space for my needs. What I love about it is how even the chamber parameters stay. Since the cooling system only drops the cooling water 4-5*F below chamber temp., the cooled air stays above the dew point of the chamber temperature so no condensation on the radiators during the cooling cycle. This allows the humidity to stay very constant. I do not use a humidifier.....at all; the humidity inside the chamber only comes from the introduction of warm humid air from the room when I open the doors, and from the product hanging in the chamber. I like this. No wild RH swings. No ultra low RH drop at the end of the cooling cycle.

I have complete control of airflow speed so no case hardening. The 2 airflow zones will improve this aspect a lot. I can have the perfect airflow for salami, and the perfect airflow for whole muscles....in the same chamber.....AWESOME! I am ready for the fall run of salami now!
 
Let me know if you need anymore stickers.

Chamber is most AWESOME
 
Glad it's still running great it was a great build
 
Looking good!!! Gotta say swamp, you're one of those fellas that takes things to a whole new level/science!
Thank you good sir! I'm and engineer's son, and cut from the same block. I have the mind for it....and I'm here to help anyone that wants to tackle such a build and save a butt load of money doing it!
 
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Let me know if you need anymore stickers.

Chamber is most AWESOME
Thanks Rick. Been wanting to install that sticker since the day I received it, but had to wait for the right time to knock out a bunch of punch list stuff. Of course, I was having too much fun trying to fill the chamber up too!!! LOL!!
 
So glad to hear that your chamber is meeting your expectations. I was wondering about how robust the TEMs would be over time. Looks like they are pretty solid. Amazing work.

"I love it when a plan comes together." John 'Hannibal' Smith

JC :emoji_cat:
 
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I think the first one went out because it was the one being used during the R&D phase of the mounting brackets I made. Took that peltier unit apart and reassembled many times. Probably over-tightened the mounting bolts is what caused the failure.
 
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No wild RH swings. No ultra low RH drop at the end of the cooling cycle.
^^^ This. I have that very issue along with a rising temp when the DH kicks on triggering a cooling cycle.
I'm here to help anyone that wants to tackle such a build and save a butt load of money doing it!
I might just take you up on that. Lets see how the results of my first few projects go.
 
^^^ This. I have that very issue along with a rising temp when the DH kicks on triggering a cooling cycle.
One of the drawbacks of using small units for drying chambers. You can try lowering the temp. probe in the chamber or raising the humidity sensor....or both.
 
One of the drawbacks of using small units for drying chambers. You can try lowering the temp. probe in the chamber or raising the humidity sensor....or both.
I was thinking about dropping the temp sensor, but if I move the humidity sensor up won't that just increase the DH cycle? My temp is stable within 2 degrees and would probably be even more so if the DH unit wasn't running as often.
 
I was thinking about dropping the temp sensor, but if I move the humidity sensor up won't that just increase the DH cycle? My temp is stable within 2 degrees and would probably be even more so if the DH unit wasn't running as often.
The humidity would be slightly higher moving the RH sensor up, but

The RH sensor would be more responsive to the dH cycle because the warm dry air rises. And yes, when the dh cycle shuts off, the humidity would naturally be higher near the top of the chamber. To counter act this, you can raise the set point 1-2%. Watch your independent monitors for RH% near the center of the chamber to see how much of an offset you need for the dH cycle....
 
JC in GB JC in GB
I have ordered another timer relay for the system. I have the cooling system controlled by the Temp. controller, even the water circulation pumps. This is to reduce the heat introduced by the circulation water from outside the chamber. I want to install the relay timer on the radiator fans to delay turning them on until the cooling water chills below chamber temp. This will do two things-1. reduce airflow time in the chamber 2. Reduce the cooling cycle time by not having to remove heat introduced into the system from the cooling fans at start up.
 
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JC in GB JC in GB
I have ordered another timer relay for the system. I have the cooling system controlled by the Temp. controller, even the water circulation pumps. This is to reduce the heat introduced by the circulation water from outside the chamber. I want to install the relay timer on the radiator fans to delay turning them on until the cooling water chills below chamber temp. This will do two things-1. reduce airflow time in the chamber 2. Reduce the cooling cycle time by not having to remove heat introduced into the system from the cooling fans at start up.

Wow, you are getting this chamber dialed in to the nth degree. I salute your dedication to making the perfect curing chamber. Amazing work for sure. I was so glad that I was able to have a part in the design of such a work of technical brilliance.

JC :emoji_cat:
 
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Thank you good sir! I'm and engineer's son, and cut from the same block. I have the mind for it....and I'm here to help anyone that wants to tackle such a build and save a butt load of money doing it!

I will also help with electrical control system design if anyone needs a consult.

JC :emoji_cat:
 
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