DIY Walk-In Coolers

Discussion in 'DIY Archery & Hunting Projects' started by Shocker99, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. Shocker99

    Shocker99 Grizzled Veteran

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    I just gained access to a walk in cooler last season and man what a game changer that is. So convenient and also the aging process makes for a much tastier product in the end. Problem is I'm moving and the cooler access will be that much further away. I'm wanting to build one in my new garage. Thinking about 5 or 6 x 8. I will run a standard window unit (12000 btu) with a Coolbot controller. Insulation factor of R25 on walls. If anyone has built something similar I'd like to get some feedback. Anything you did and found unnecessary or didn't do and kick yourself for not doing... also will be a concrete floor with either linoleum or I've even thought about doing an epoxy overlay. Feel free to post pics too!!


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  2. Shocker99

    Shocker99 Grizzled Veteran

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  3. Shocker99

    Shocker99 Grizzled Veteran

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    Geez crickets. I didn't want to see your stupid coolers anyway


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  4. chieffan

    chieffan Weekend Warrior

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    I helped move a walk in cooler some time ago. It was in sections, 5 1/2" think walls. 2 pieces to the sides, one piece for each end and one for the top. I believe it was a 5' X 6'. I would make the 8' walls in two pieces for possible moving down the road. Sealing the door off is always a problem. Your idea should work out good as long as the AC don't freeze up on you.
     
  5. Shocker99

    Shocker99 Grizzled Veteran

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    Yea that controller keeps it from freezing. The walls will be studs so it will screw apart if I ever want to move it. I'm making it 7' 6" to the ceiling. I just can't decide if I want to build an insulated floor in it or just do linoleum on the concrete


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  6. Me53

    Me53 Weekend Warrior

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    The Coolbot looks like it should work well. Being in controls, have you considered a Homebrew thermostat?
    Also, you may want to consider looking for an older AC unit using R-22 rather than a R-410a unit.
     
  7. Shocker99

    Shocker99 Grizzled Veteran

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    Refrigeration isn't quite my specialty, I'm more of a digital controls guy. If I had the equipment I have at my work I could do something fancy $$$. From what I understand , and correct me if I'm wrong, the coolbot has a microprocessor that monitors the evaporator temp to know when to shut off the compressor for kind of a forced off-cycle-defrost. (This keeps the unit from freezing which is what I would lack with a basic thermostat) Then a time delay on for the compressor. It will probably cycle the crap out of the compressor but this setup is still much more affordable than a commercial unit. I thought about rigging a thermostat and using a resistive circuit to trick the thermocouple but I will be really pissed if I screw up a whole deer cause I wanted to save a few bucks. I'm sure I could experiment and figure something out but I just don't have the time.


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  8. Me53

    Me53 Weekend Warrior

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    If time to experiment wasn't an issue, A pid controller with a tc could take care sensing room ambient and a differential pressure switch and a timer would provide defrost control. The compressor cycling time delay should be part of the window units controls. Probably a $200 system, but a couple weeks of time to validate operation. Convenience and piece of mind has a significant value this time of year.

    The more significant note is that R-410a is not the preferred refrigerant. R-22 isn't a low temp refrigerant either, but will be much better suited to operating at the lower evap temp. You will lose capacity running that low evap temp on either refrigerant, so don't skimp on evap size. 12MBH should be fine, with fairly tight construction.

    Please post pics.
     
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  9. Jeffy

    Jeffy Newb

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    Definitely insulate the floor. The concrete floor will suck the cold right outta the room and down into the ground. I see it all the time in my line of work. I would probably recommend using the blue sterofoam sheets. Can't think what it's called


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  10. Shocker99

    Shocker99 Grizzled Veteran

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    See this is good feedback. I was thinking of skimping on the floor. I won’t now. Thanks man. What line of work are you in?



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  11. Jeffy

    Jeffy Newb

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    Refrigeration. Mostly ag: milk tanks, egg coolers, produce coolers and anything related. All on the farm


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  12. Jeffy

    Jeffy Newb

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    Old insulated garage door panels would be another option. Sometimes you can find used prefab walkin coolers, even just a panel or two to throw on the floor. And make sure to caulk all seams


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  13. chieffan

    chieffan Weekend Warrior

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    Why not use a refrigeration unit out of a semi trailer? Completely self contained and most run off a small diesel engine. Could put it any where you want, especially if you went with a insulated wood floor with tin on the bottom to keep critters out.
     
  14. Jeffy

    Jeffy Newb

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    I'm guessing from a semi would be to big for a 6x8 room. From a small box truck might work. I like the coolbot idea. We experimented with one in a 10x12 room with I think about 10k btu window ac. The room was for produce in a store and got used hard everyday. The ac unit gave out after a year. The way shocker is going to be using it, I think coolbot is ideal


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  15. Jeffy

    Jeffy Newb

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    Something to keep in mind: do your research, if I remember right the coolbot is not compatible with just any window unit


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  16. Shocker99

    Shocker99 Grizzled Veteran

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    Not a bad idea for down at the farm but yea this would be in corner of my garage. In off season I would just store hang on stands and other gear in it. Coolbot website has a recommendation list of ac units. I would for sure not skimp on anything. I was really thinking of doing this cheaper but if I even ruined one deer I’d be so pissed. Was hoping to get started on this project soon but the way my move into the new house went ..... lol hopefully I can count on it for next year


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  17. chieffan

    chieffan Weekend Warrior

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    You might still want to insulate the floor. I take it you have a concrete floor in your garage now. Moisture will wick its way up through that concrete. A piece of heavy plastic would stop it. Build your floor on that & insulate it. Check out other walk in and notice how the door and opening is built. Most that I have seen the bottom is level with the floor of the cooler. The sides and top are angled to the inside, especially the latch side & top. Much easier to seal off that way. Good luck with your building project.
     
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  18. double bogey

    double bogey Newb

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    Most coolers don't have insulated floors, but insulation would help. The coolbot looks to have several sensors. Most likely has one in the coil to sense ice on the coil. Lots of small reach in equipment has a constant cut in stat. Sensor in cooling coil, Constant cut in at 38°, cuts out somewhere around 22° (adjustable). The cut out is adjustable to maintain box temp. Fan runs constant. Coil gets 22°, cuts compressor off, fan continues to run until coil gets to 38°, meaning ice is gone. compressor cuts back in. Operator raises or lowers thermostat setting until box maintains correct temp, usually 38° to 42°. Probably could do it with a PID control, with steady on function instead of pulse (sorry cant remember correct terms for pid actions).

    Finding a used walk in box would be the best way to go if possible, even with a room ac and coolbot.

    Medium temp walk in equipment is usually sized for 16 hour run time out of 24 hrs. The off time allows frost to melt of coils. Coil temp is usually in the lower 20's, hence ice on the coils. When setpoints get below 38°, usually a timed defrost is needed to prevent icing. Door gaskets are very important. Seal everything well. These things cause the compressor to run longer, increasing icing chances.

    Hope this helps, if anyone is doing one.
     
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  19. Dubbya

    Dubbya Moderator

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    I just picked up 2 walk-in compressors and a freezer, but the room will be a DIY deal. We'll insulate the slab but rather than using sheets of foam, we're going to use a reflective barrier. It's like a heavy duty foil sided bubble wrap, it's used a lot for insulating slabs with in-floor heat. The walls and ceiling will be insulated with spray foam and the interior walls will be FRP so that we can hose it down to clean it. We won't have a floor drain but a sloped floor with a pluggable drain.
     
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