Cheese cave from a domestic fridge

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  • #1825 Reply
    Roger B

    I am new to cheesemaking but I wanted to make a cheese cave from a domestic fridge without touching or modifying any of the standard thermostats/wiring.
    I finally found this TIMETOP 200-240V Digital Temperature Controller Thermocouple -40 °C to 120 °C with Sensor” target=”_blank”> on
    This little device allows you to set a temperature and then switches the power on and off within a preset threshold of that temperature.
    I wired a plug, via length of cable, to the device and then wired the output to a socket into which I plugged the fridge.
    I set the temperature to 13 deg C and located the temperature sensor inside the fridge.
    Bingo! The temperature is maintained between 12 degs C and 14 degs C. If I want to use another fridge I just unplug – relocate – plug in and Bingo! once again.
    Of course the inside light does not come on unless the device has switched on.

    #1857 Reply

    Thank-you Roger B for your helpful post; I was wondering how on earth I could convert an old fridge for a cheese cave without too much technical know-how!

    #1858 Reply

    PS is it possible to post a picture of your setup please?

    #1860 Reply
    Roger B

    mkinson – I’m sure it’s possible — it’s just that I’m not sure how — guidance would be appreciated.

    #1907 Reply

    @Roger B
    Take a photo – make sure it is not too big then click on the “Choose File” button at the bottom of the Post area and select your photo as the file to attach.

    #1908 Reply

    There is a simpler device available if you are in NZ or Aus.
    No wiring required – plug and play!

    I have just ordered on so will post a photo of mine in-situ when it arrives in a week or so

    #1910 Reply
    Roger B

    Thanks Christine – let’s see if it works.

    #1924 Reply

    click on “cheese cave controller” to open

    Cheese cave controller

    My mini cave

    I also got another controller to maintain the milk temp spot on during processing no need to move the milk from sink or off the warmer etc………..

    #2045 Reply

    I too have only a domestic fridge and Di not want to mess with the electrical system.
    Instead I read a tip and have put it into place.
    Purchase a 24 hour timer plug/socket and set the timer only to come on for a few periods and times during the day
    I set mine for 4 times an hour To go on for a period of approx 5. Min
    Because one is not opening the door frequently the the temperature should hold fairly steady

    Mine stays between 11 and 12 dg C . Obviously can be adjusted by increasing number of intervals or time on.

    Hope this helps others

    #2046 Reply
    Roger B

    Hi John

    I tried that idea and spent days monitoring and recording the temperature every hour (except overnight).
    I eventually got the timing right to maintain a useful temperature range but it was unable to cope with changes in ambient temperature.
    These range from LOW OF 7 or 8 deg C to A HIGH OF 25 to 28 deg C.
    The temperature controller that I used is, of course, able to cope with this.

    Good luck.

    #2047 Reply

    hi Robert
    A pity about your trial. Maybe your seals are not efficient or the door is opening too often.
    I too have had extremes in ambient temperaturEs especially when living in Western Australia
    I did make an error in my earlier reply. I meant to say that I set my time for about 4 to 8 times a DAY for 5 min each.
    How do you check the temp. I was advised to leave a glass of water in the fridge with the thermometer always sitting in it so that when the door opens the temp won’t shift before you you get a chance to read it.
    Thanks for your history. Cheers!

    #2051 Reply

    Hi Christine

    Love the concept of the very affordable device. When you receive it can you give me some indication as to how frequently it switches on and off. If there is a good historeisis ( gap in temp between off and going back on ) then I will most definitely get one and put my timer on my fridge back in the house where it should be 🙂

    The reason why I ask the question, and I would like anyone who Knows their electronics to help me, is that I don’t know if switching on and off very frequently going to do any harm to the pump and does it boost the power bill. I just don’t know.

    Love to know the answers.

    #2053 Reply

    Hi Johncheese,

    We have not studied the on/off timing cycles of the fridge but, naturally, that will depend a lot on external temperature and how often the fridge is opened. I would expect that the temperature driven controller would be more accurate than an external timer. We have checked the internal temperature with another max/min thermometer and found it to be very stable.

    I don’t know if switching on and off very frequently going to do any harm to the pump and does it boost the power bill. I just don’t know.

    Since the external temperature controller is keeping the fridge at a higher temperature (11C) than the internal thermostat (4C), it would seem to me that the fridge is working less hard to maintain the 11C temperature as there is a smaller difference between the surrounding air temperature and the desired internal temperature. This would imply that it is also turning on and off less frequently and, significantly, also using less power as it is doing less work.

    Murray BE (Elect), DipPHE (Christine’s husband)

    #2055 Reply

    Thanks a lot Cristine and Murray for the answers.
    All sounds very logical. I will now purchase one of your suggested controllers and use it in the second fridge I have set up.
    Will keep in touch.

    #2068 Reply

    Hi again Christine

    At last I have received two temperature thermostats as you suggested before.

    For approximately AUD 12 each delivered this was a bargain for a good cheep solution to control your fridge temperature.

    The 1st unit works well however be very careful as on the first try of the second Unit was tripping the main circuit breaker to our unit. After a refund I decided to look inside.
    The LIVE was connected direct the Earth. This was supposedly a checked item. Danger!

    Hope you are having good results with yours and thanks again

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