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Chris inspired me...

Discussion in 'Growing Areas' started by goods, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. goods

    goods Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    After seeing Chris's cold tank, I was inspired to try to come up with a way to do one myself. My idea seems a little less labor intensive and is a combination of Chris's project, and a suggestion from Cordelia Head of J and L Orchids. Ms. Head suggested that she had heard of people using old florist fridges to grow cool temperature Pleuros, etc. I don't have the room or money for a florist fridge, but I thought this might be similar:

    It hit me that maybe I could use a thermoelectric wine chiller to keep my temps down. Depending on the model, these keep temps anywhere between the upper 60s to the mid 40s. I could do this by manually changing the temp depending on the time of day or by setting the unit on a timer to kick on when the lights go out.

    I'd light it by mounting high powered LEDs like Chris has used because they are very powerful and put out very little heat.

    What I don't know is how the chiller unit would hold up to the humidity/ water for misting for these plants and also if air is circulated by the unit. Also, would the unit be affected by the timer turning it on and off each day? (Would it be better just always plugged in?) I'm just in the thinking/ research stage at this point. I'd love to hear everyone's input on this both positive or negative.
     
  2. Jon

    Jon Mmmm... bulbophyllum...

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    I thought this was going to be a thread about composting dead plants.
     
  3. Jon

    Jon Mmmm... bulbophyllum...

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    LEDs are going to have to be mounted outside of the encolsure, so you'll need a glass lid of sorts. Or some other way to isolate the LEDs from the humidity. Plus, the LEDs Chris is using put out a nearly uncontrollable amount of heat; they're mounted to an aluminum heatsink to dissipate heat.

    As for humidity, I doubt wine fridges are built well enough to withstand high humidity reaching some of the electronic components, thus, I'd expect the cooling components to start rusting pretty quickly.

    I've always wanted to try to convert a glass-door fridge. Something from a deli or the like...
     
  4. Chris

    Chris New Member

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    Dooohhhhh hohoho.

    aupload.wikimedia.org_wikipedia_en_8_8b_StatlerAndWaldorf.jpg
     
  5. Chris

    Chris New Member

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    As in one of those glass front wine fridges? Can you post a link to model you had in mind? That would help us visualize.

    This is a persisting myth about LEDs. They actually put out a LOT of heat. What's unique about them versus metal halide, fluorescent, etc, is that since they are solid state diodes you can direct the heat where you want. I use passive aluminum heatsinks and they get too hot to touch. Some people even use liquid cooling on them and move the heat to a radiator. So how will you put the light in but keep the heat out?

    Most systems like these operate by convection of heat, so no circulation. They are heavily insulated to be made efficient, and are rarely opened (e.g., once a day/week to get a bottle out). You also have to consider that you will have a puddle at the bottom of the unit from condensation and misting. Where is that going to go when you open the door?

    The evaporator of a compressor/phase change system would be fine with the humidity. Dunno about solid state/thermoelectric.
     
  6. xmpraedicta

    xmpraedicta Prairie angraecoid nut Supporting Member

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    Chris do you use a fan on your heat sink?
     
  7. goods

    goods Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    This is really helpful. I didn't realize the LEDs created so much heat. I have some over a small salt water reef that aren't hot at all. They must have a heat sink inside the bulb they're mounted to to dissipate the heat. I had originally planned on mounting the lights to the outside of the glass door somehow, so that may be the best option now that I know about the heat.

    I was thinking of something similar to this one:http://www.walmart.com/ip/Danby-12-Bottle-Thermoelectric-Wine-Cooler/10098031

    The puddle for condensation/ misting was something I wasn't sure about solving. Maybe I could silicone a small piece of plexiglass to create a shallow basin to catch the water. This part may need some more thought.

    Nothing huge, at least for now...

    Jon, I'd love to convert one of those fridges. I just don't have the space or money for one at the moment and I need it small enough that I can transport it in a car to take home for Christmas break/ summer.

    Hopefully this clears up my ideas a little bit. This has been a big help already, so keep asking questions and responding!

    Anyone have any thoughts on running the unit on a timer?
     
  8. Chris

    Chris New Member

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    Nope. Passive heatsink.
     
  9. goods

    goods Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I've found a beverage chiller on craigslist that looks like one of those fridges you'd find at a grocery store with soft drinks inside. I contacted the seller to get some more details. Would something like this work better?
     
  10. Jon

    Jon Mmmm... bulbophyllum...

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    Likely. You still have to consider how to disperse the heat from the lighting.
     
  11. goods

    goods Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Could I mount the lighting to the outside of the door since it's clear glass?
     
  12. Chris

    Chris New Member

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    Zach, I'm not sure if it would work. The properties of that front glass are important. Is it tinted? What spectra does it allow through?
     
  13. goods

    goods Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Chris, it's not tinted from what I can see. That's one of the things I asked the seller. I can't find the product online because the product description only says Sunbeam beverage cooler.
     
  14. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Anglican Supporting Member

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    I was looking into doing this with a beverage cooler as you described from Craigslist. I called a couple of the dudes and asked if the units had thermostats. They didn't. So you'd probably have to find a way to work it with the on/off cycle. It could be a major hassle. Or, it could be easily doable. In the end I decided to shelve the idea for lack of time/space/energy/transportation, etc.

    There are many potential store fixtures that could work. Bakery/Deli cases, florist cases, beverage coolers....but I suspect you could make something using a small freezer and a wood/plexi enclosure that would be bigger, better, and easier, and cheaper. I aim to do it some day.
     
  15. goods

    goods Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Mr.B all of the wine chillers I've seen have thermostats. I'm not sure about the beverage cooler I'm looking at. I had originally thought of the on/off cycle because it would give me a bigger temp drop. I'd love to see the freezer idea if you had that planned out. Unfortunately, I have to keep it small for now because it would have to be easily movable.
     
  16. goods

    goods Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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  17. suss16

    suss16 New Member

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    There is an old AOS journal article where someone documented using a floral refrigerator for cool growing species. Some modifications to the cooling system needed to be made and lighting was added. I will try to find it...
     
  18. goods

    goods Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    If you could find it, that'd be awesome!!