Kelvinator--going for full electric control

Discussion in 'Fridge/Freezer Builds' started by engineer, Mar 6, 2015.

  1. engineer

    engineer Newbie

    Thanks to the guys who have already helped me out getting started.  I've got a few threads so far but I'm going to link them all to this one, and upload all pics here.  

    Today I gutted it and took out the tub so I could get a look at the insulation.  It's orange and made of fiberglass.  Should be perfectly safe, right?

    Lots of room to stash the electronics and elements, and maybe even the pellet auger!  

    Has anyone left the lightbulb in?  Does it do any good after it's covered in smoke?  
  2. I'm currently working on an old Hotpoint refrigerator. All plastic is gone, etc. I'm looking for, but can not find information about the enamel paint all inside the thing. Would it contain lead?

    I'm a bit nervous about this.

    Thanks to whom even can answer.
  3. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    The enamel paint used on the inside is safe.
  4. engineer

    engineer Newbie

    UPDATE: I decided not to replace the insulation.  It's fiberglass so I'm not going to worry about it.  I bought a sheet of plain steel for the inside of the door...the place I bought it didn't have anything thinner than 18ga. so that's what I went with.  I had to cut it with a jigsaw.  I'm also working on getting some castors under it.  

    Because my only smoking experience is with the Bradley, I have some dumb questions about pellets:

    Will they smoke right if I just dump them into a metal dish and put some heat under it?  What's a good temp or wattage for an electric burner to heat the pellets?

    How much ash should I expect, and what do you usually do with them?  Just punch some holes in the firepot and hope they all fall out?

    Should I put a little blower or does it usually get enough air on it's own?  
  5. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    Recommend pulling out the run and looking at the insulation if you haven't. Have seen pics where mice have been in then, moisture causing mildew or stinking, especially when heated up.

    Doest take much to burn pellets. Look at getting a smoke daddy smoke generator or an amzn smoker. Easy to find links on this site to either. Both allow for hot or cold smoking and are cheap but very good and durable.

    Blower not needed. Have at least a 1.5" are intake at the bottom, usual on the side or back at the bottom, for fresh air intake.
  6. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you are using the element for the smoker heat, it will be too hot for the pellets. As mentioned before if your set on pellets, chips, dust you will need a separate heat source for your smoke generation. All of those will ignite and burn.
  7. engineer

    engineer Newbie

    The insulation is in great shape.  In fact the whole fridge is...very little rust or gunk on stuff.  
    I kind of want to create my own cold smoke generator rather than buy a Smoke Daddy, for several reasons.  (Saving money is not one of them.)  I think it's more fun to make stuff than to buy stuff.  I want it to be electric ignition (soldering iron probably).  I want to have a way to (automatically?) refill the tube while it's running.  And maybe have a better ash disposal system.  
  8. engineer

    engineer Newbie

    Here's my plan: I bought one or two of these.  I will get a steel can of some kind, drill a few holes in the base for air, and one to stick the heater rod in.  Put some pellets in on top of it, and I have smoke.  I haven't decided if I'll rig up a venturi pipe and fan, or just drill enough holes to basically have an amns type burner.  Probably the venturi.  That way if I want the fire to go out, I can make the fan turn off, and then it will promptly run out of air and go out.  So now I'm asking myself;

    How to I refill the tube automatically?  I want the tube as short as possible, with only a few pellets in the burner at a time, to cut down on creosote.  I don't want the smoke to pass through a tall stack of cold pellets on its way to the food.  But of course that means I'll have only a short time of smoke before I need a refill.  Maybe I'll use an auger system like Traeger does.  I'm thinking over some ideas, and I will post them with pics when they materialize.  

    Also, what do I do with the ash?  Granted, there won't be much: maybe I'll use a steel mesh/screen as a false bottom of the burner...then ashes will fall through to the real bottom.  That way I won't have too much air coming through the screen.  But these are all just ideas for now.  I should make some progress this weekend.  
  9. engineer

    engineer Newbie

    Continuing with the fridge itself this weekend.  I've again changed my mind about the insulation.  I got Roxul R-15.  So in theory I should be perfectly safe up to 300 degrees or more.  There isn't wood or any other combustible to worry about...just metal and Roxul.  I've also put flashing in around the inside of the door to replace the plastic trim.  

    I am now working on getting something to seal around the door.  The gap is about 5/8".  What do you all recommend?  It will be sealing between two flat sheets of steel.  I would buy 1' fireplace rope but that's more than $4 a foot, and I need 15 feet.  So that's a bit pricey.  Are there alternatives?  Of course I'd prefer it all to be in one piece if I could get it that way and if it wasn't too expensive.  
  10. engineer

    engineer Newbie


    I was given an old broken pellet stove.  I salvaged the auger feed system, consisting of the bearing, motor, and auger.  I'm going to make a Venturi pellet cold smoker, kind of like a Smoke Daddy...but SELF-EMPTYING and REFILLING.  

    I bought a metal pipe the right diameter for the auger, 18" long.  (Auger is only half that.)  The concept is that the auger fills the pipe with pellets, a standard igniter rods lights them up, and a venturi pipe/air pump setup like you see on Youtube will keep it smoking and pump coldish smoke into  my fridge.  

    The pipe will be horizontal.  I haven't seen any horizontal ones.  I've seen them that flow in at the top and smoke out at the bottom: and I've seen some that vent in at the bottom and smoke out at the top.  So I assume horizontal will also work.  This is a bit of an innovation.  I'll let ya all know if it works.  It will fit better in my fridge, and work better with the auger that way.  

    So the fire is in the pipe with the auger, but at the opposite end.  The auger does not run slowly and constantly: it will run all at once.  After half the pellets have burned, (from the left end to about the tip of the auger in the picture), a trapdoor will open, and the auger will spin until all the ashes fall out.  Door closes, igniter re-lights the new pellets.  This will (hopefully) give perpetual cold smoke, with no refilling, or manual re-lighting, or anything at all really.  

    Here's a Solidworks file I put together; this is a cutaway view.  (and it's really just a mockup.)  The opening on the top right is where the pellet hopper comes down into.  The rod on the left, with the wire, is the igniter rod.  I haven't added in the venturi yet.  

    This is all in theory at this point.  I hope to be able to start working on the metal soon...we don't have any metal working equipment at our house, and this is new territory for me.  

    Thoughts?  Has anyone tried anything like this?
  11. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

  12. engineer

    engineer Newbie

    Mike--I really like the idea.  That's what I was thinking about doing originally...basically copy the Bradley idea but with pellets rather than bisquettes.  If this venturi thing doesn't work, that's what I'll do.  

    Also, here's another pic.  

    Air in through clear tube, smoke out through copper elbow.  
  13. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    ya, for the most part. but you could get rid of the copper pipe bit and leave the auger open in a smoke box, then vent the box into the smoker. like a mailbox mod.

    don't have a way to draw it out right now, but just mount it into a box that vents to the smoker. Instead of the tube with the element at the end, you into an put the auger into an open track with the bradlty element in it, leave some room at the end for the pellets to burn before falling off the end into an ash box that pulls out from the side or end of the smoke box for easy cleaning, It also allows for a little air draw to help the smoke flow through the vent.

    The front of the smoke box would be a funnel with a lid feeding into the auger.

    I used a commercial smoker that used a smoke generator set up like that and it worked really well. or you can mount it so that it goes into the smoker like a bradley set up.You can really cold smoke at lower a temps if its in a separate box and vented into the smokerhouse.
  14. smokin phil

    smokin phil Smoking Fanatic

    Just a quick idea: for eliminating ash automatically, think vibration. Vibrate your pellet burner and the ash will fall through the holes in the bottom. A timer system would be easiest, a system designed to shake the can after a certain amount of pellets are dispensed would probably be better but harder. As for easy vibration, electric motor with a cam to rattle the can. Just trying to come up with innovative ideas for your innovative build.
  15. engineer

    engineer Newbie

    I like that idea.  At this point I'm still thinking about doing the venturi thing, because I know it's going to work--I've watched a bunch of youtube videos and have a pretty good idea of what to expect.  I haven't seen any open electric pellet burner systems.  I don't want to do the AMNPS thing--its not that it wouldn't work, but that's not the point of this build.  
  16. engineer

    engineer Newbie

    Hey Mike, I really like that idea...that's exactly what I was planning to do originally.  Can you send a picture of your setup my way?  It sounds like you have exactly what I'm going for: self-reloading, and self ash-dumping.  Also electric burn.  That's just what I'm hoping to achieve.  I'd love to see your system if you can drop a pic or two here.  Thanks!
  17. tjones96761

    tjones96761 Newbie

    Doesn't look like Engineer has been on in a long time. Wonder how this ever turned out...

    To turn on/off smoke without cutting off the air supply to the smoker: With an external smoke box (automated however you wish) and a tube that connects the smoke box to cook box. Picture 2 tubes stacked on top of each other figure 8 style where the top tube is fresh air and the bottom tube is connected to the smoke box. Now with a slot cut across both tubes and a flat plate in the cut, either the fresh air or the smoke tube is blocked. Now frame it guillotine style and hold it up with a small electromagnet where it is blocking the fresh air tube. Wire electromagnet to N/O contact and program PID to hold contact for a given time. When it times out the guillotine block falls across the smoke tube and opens the fresh air tube at the same time.
  18. engineer

    engineer Newbie

    haha yeah it's been a while.  Had to move to a university to finish the degree, left the old fridge at my folk's house.  I still have the parts and a full intention to finish it someday!  

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