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Walk in Cooler

gsuders86

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Joined Dec 19, 2019
Tossing ideas around of how to build a cheap "walk in" cooler. By walk in, I mean to be able to hang 2 deer)) It will only be used if temps are warm during hunting season to allow the deer to be hung longer until I can process them. I've read up on coolbot and they seem like a good option if trying to make a walk in cooler with a window a/c unit, but are pricey. I've also read of how people use inkbirds to make their own. With digital a/c units you can only set to be so cold, but would the older knob style a/c units would it work for my intended use? Could I just turn the A/C to Max cool and Fan to get the temps low in the cooler than turn it back to say mid way to help it maintain the temp? Would it still ice up? Not looking to maintain a certain temp to the degree, just keep the meat chilled.

Another thought I had was if I were to put the AC on a timer where it would run for 1-2 hrs than turn off for 1 hr at a time maybe that would help prevent it from freezing up but also help keep it cool enough?
 

GonnaSmoke

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I would not feel comfortable with a temp above 35℉, 32℉ is better. I don't believe that window A/C units will get the temps down that low.
 

crazzycajun

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Joined Feb 17, 2007
You would have to change the tstat to a refrigeration style, and possibly add defrost to achieve 35f-40f. Those window shakers won’t go that low with a stock stat
 

thirdeye

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One year at a BBQ competition a food vendor had a cargo trailer rigged up as a refer to hold his food. I'm guessing he used a CoolBot or some other device to over-ride the AC unit, but it worked very well. He used the FRP panels like in the trailer video and claimed it was no problem to maintain <30° if there is not a lot of traffic. He had an internal steel frame used for hanging wild game quarters.

You might have seen the first video on how to insulate a cargo trailer, and in the second video a guy builds an insulated room in his workshop.



We have a local fiberglass company that makes all kinds of commercial buildings, tanks and such. I would think if you had a business like this in town, they could build insulated panels you could use as walls.
 

Smoking Allowed

Smoke Blower
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Joined Feb 13, 2021
We had an old Coke vending machine that we stripped the guts out of and it would easily hold 2 deer if they were broken down into quarters and some meat hung high and some hung low, but not touching the bottom. We through mounted open eye bolts in the top to hang meat from with varying lengths of rope. It would get down to around 30-32.

Something similar to this...
1615311129221.png
 

daveomak

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Processing slaughtered meats .. hanging and aging time.
Fig. 1.1. Effect of rigor mortis. Times for onset and resolution of rigor
...........................Time to onset of rigor .............Time for resolution of rigor
Cattle ......................12 - 24 hours ................................2 - 10 days
Pigs ..........................6 - 12 hours ...................................1 - 2 days
Lamb...................... 7 - 8 hours ......................................1 day
Turkey ....................½ - 2 hours.................................... 6 - 24 hours
Chicken................. ½ - 1 hours .......................................4 - 6 hours
Rabbit ..................12 - 20 hours .....................................2 - 7 days
Venison ...............24 - 36 hours ....................................6 - 14 days
Looking at the above data, it becomes conclusive that the aging process is more important for animals which are older at the slaughter time (cattle, venison). Warm meat of a freshly slaughtered animal exhibits the highest quality and juiciness.
Unfortunately there is a very narrow window of opportunity for processing it. The slaughter house and the meat plant must be located within the same building to be effective. Meat that we buy in a supermarket has already been aged by a packing house.
If an animal carcass is cooled too rapidly (below 50° F, 10° C) before the onset of the rigor (within 10 hours), the muscles may contract which results in tough meat when cooked. This is known as “cold shortening.” To prevent this the carcass is kept at room temperature for some hours to accelerate rigor and then aged at between 30-41° F, (-1 - 5° C).

Marianski, Stanley. Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages (Kindle Locations 51-83). Bookmagic LLC. Kindle Edition.
 

daveomak

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archeryrob archeryrob , a member here, built this cooler..

 

tim king

Newbie
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Joined Jun 2, 2016
I built a walk in cooler last summer and butchered two whole beef in it last fall. I am too cheap to pay for a coolbot so I picked up a PID controller off Amazon that came with a SOlid state relay and a $25 ac unit from the classifieds. I used the SSR to control only the compressor of the 10k digital AC unit. It worked very well till it burned up the compressor. I had a hard time understanding the instructions that came with the PID controller and as a result the compressor kicked on and off far too often. I replaced the digital ac with two smaller analogue models and I wired in refrigerator thermostats instead of the ac thermostat. Those worked perfectly for several months without stopping. I did have problems with icing up. Initially it was my door seal didn’t work well enough to keep the outside air out. Once I fixed that I think it was the moisture from the cows and my breath while butchering that was condensing on the coils. But with the two units i was able to shut one off and let it melt into a towel and run the other one. Here’s a picture of the inside.
A3D6C0D7-D1A5-4630-A281-A8F2B32A929C.jpeg
 

mike243

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You risk slugging the compressor and ruining it, the coolbot hasn't had that problem that I have read, some things are ok to go cheap on and then there's time to not, I would coolbot it and not have to worry about finding another ac unit, if set up properly it will last you a long time
 

gsuders86

Newbie
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Joined Dec 19, 2019
After much research it seems it's fairly easy to override the A/C thermostat to get the A/C to cool colder than they are designed to by factory. The hard part is preventing the compressor from freezing and burning up. It can be done, but takes some knowledge. For the little bit of saving I just ended up biting the bullet and just buying a Coolbot for $250. Found it on sale so saved a good bit over typical asking prices, but figured that was better than rigging up something and it burning up the A/C and than I'd have to start from scratch.
 

archeryrob

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Joined Oct 26, 2015
Yes, the one I made that is shown where dave linked it above. You need two temperature sensors, one to start and one to cut out the compressor.

#1 - I did an open contact with a temp sensor in the room to close when it needs to cool the room.
#2 - I use a Johnson controls bulb sensor and stuck it right on the coil. Set it for 30 degrees and used an closed contact. This allows the first sensor to turn the compressor on and off and id this got too cold it opened the circuit and cut off the trigger to run the compressor. With the fan still running the coil will de-ice it self and when warm enough close it contact and the first sensor can run the compressor when it needs too. This is how the cool bot works also.
 

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