b33r

My trip to alcoholism is nearly complete! Behold The Kegerator!

This is a Sanyo 4910 compact refrigerator from Best Buy and a dual faucet draft tower from Beverage Factory and several hours of my life. It will hold 2 5 gallon “Corney” kegs, which are the kinda you used to see soda being delivered in and a 5lb CO2 bottle, which is perfect. Eventually I will hopefully have two kegs of my very own homebrewed beer in there. Since I only have a single batch ready to keg now I have a keg of Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat being delivered on Friday. That should hold me over for a while!

My cider is about ready to go to the keg so I’ll be sampling that this weekend. I made it very strong, probably too strong, by adding a lot of white and brown sugar. This was probably a bad idea as the result is a very “raw” tasting drink. I’ve just finished adding some stabilizers to it which will need about 8 hours to do their magic and tomorrow I am going to cut the cider about 60/40 with fresh apple juice. Right now the cider is super dry, and about 11% ABV so adding that juice will sweeten it up and drop the alcohol content some.

More about the kegerator:
In case you want to do this yourself, here is what I did, or actually, what I would have done had I not made all the mistakes I did.
Obtain a Sanyo 4910 fridge.
Obtain a 3″ PVC draft tower.
Obtain a 3″ hole cutter that will go through thin metal. I bought mine, and the thing that it mounts to to use in a drill at Home Depot for about $25.
Obtain some large outside diameter washers with small inner diameters. The washers that come with the tower are too small.
Obtain a piece of 5-3/4″ square by 1/2″ plywood.
Obtain a tube of hand squeeze silicone sealant.

Take the lid off the top of the fridge. This is a plastic facade that can be removed by taking out 7 obvious screws. Look at the underside of the plastic top and you will see a diamondish shape in the plastic. Dead center of that is where you want the center of your draft tower. Drill a small pilot hole right in the middle all the way through the plastic. Use a dremel or razor or anything to remove the plasic fins that are inside that diamond. What you will end up with is a 1/2″ by 5-3/4″ by 5-3/4″ depression. Your piece of plywood should fit in this perfectly and flush. Make this happen.

Use some double sided tape, or tack or something to stick that wood inside the lid so you can put the lid back on without the wood falling out. Screw the lid back down nice and tight and make sure it’s aligned properly.

Now the fun part! Take your 3″ hole cutter, put the pilot bit in the pilot hole you made earlier and go to town. Slow and steady wins the race. They recommend you use cutting oil during this but I didn’t bother. Use a nice powerful drill and take it slow and keep it straight. Go all the way through the lid, the wood, the metal top of the fridge, the foam insulation of the fridge and the plastic interior of the fridge.

Now, take the template that came with your tower, or use the tower itself to mark the spots and drill the 4 mounting holes. Drill them slightly larger than your bolts cause those bolts are going to have to go through a lot of material and it’s a pain in the ass.

Take that top back off and take the piece of wood out. Use your sealant to make a ring or two around the outside of the holes. Hell, put some wherever you like. We just want a nice airtight seal between the wood and the top of the fridge and the wood and the inside of the plastic. Put it all backtogether, put your rubber gasket on top the plastic, bolt down the tower and take pictures!

You’ll note that I left out the parts where I had to redrill everything three times, cut the wood 4 times, make a big mess of the plastic top, spill my beer, kick the dog, scream at the neighbors and give up in disgust. I took the fall for you. I hope you appreciate it.

It was all worth it. I got a dual faucer kegerator that will hold 2 Corney kegs for about $300 total. A similar “real” kegerator would have run me about $1500. Mine isn’t as nice, and it’s not all stainless steel but it looks fine and it works great. One thing I intend to add is a 120v axial/biscuit/muffin fan wired into the lamp assembly that will force air up into the tower. One of the major complaints about making your own kegerator is that the first pint of the day will foam a lot because the cold beer hits a warm faucet or warm tubes. My brother has a real kegerator and the way they do it is by having a 1″ wide flexible tube running inside the tower to the top so that cold air is being blown up and out of the tower. I think a small fan will do the same trick nicely.

21 thoughts on “b33r”

  1. Hey,,thanks for going thru hell and sharing how to build this kegerator. I just bought this setup and waiting for the tower to get here. Oh, by the way……Guess we are neighbors. Im just about 30 miles to the west of ya. Happy brewing…..Andy

  2. I really need to set this up to email me when someone leaves a comment. I always miss em!

    Hope the instructions help ya out. Once I was done, and looked back it was pretty easy. I made a mess doing it but if I had to do it all over again I bet it would be less than an hours work.

    Are you “Blktre” from the NB boards? If so, saw your post about Freestate. I’ll be stopping by there some time soon. I used to live in Lawrence and I loved me some Freestate beer! 🙂

    Enjoy your kegerator, and take some pictures of it if you can! 🙂

  3. Can this be done with other Mini- Fridges, or does this process only work with Sanyo 4910.

    I have a 4.5 or 5.3 cu ft…( forget exact measurments) Haier could i do the same process you have listed to convert mine

  4. Did you run into any issues with the hot side coils, which may or may not be located in the top walls, of the Sanyo 4910.

    I just purchased a Sanyo SM4911M from BestBuy, which I intend to convert into a kegorator.

    Upon uncrating the refrigerator I noticed that the hot side coils were not external. Normally they are located either on the back or under the refrigerator.

    To try to find the hot side coils, I plugged the refrigerator in and started to feel the external surfaces of the refrigerator for hot zone. I found that the side were hot and so was the top (under the plastic cover, about 8” from the back). I am assuming that they put the hot side coils on the sides.

    Jay

    One question remains before cutting into the top, are there hot side coils in the top? I believe that there is a connector tube which links the right and left side coils, located in the top about 8” from the rear. What do you think?

  5. I made the brilliant mistake of drilling through the side for CO2 in from tank, and guess what I found! the hot side coils. For some reason the copper tubing didn’t like being hit by a 5/8ths hole saw, and i now have a very large (and expensive) paperweight.

    BEWARE! the hot side coils are right up against the outside metal of the fridge side.

    Oh well, off to the store to pick up another one! I’m going to try and drill from the inside out this time, so i can see what is behind the metal, and hopefully not hit another piece of tubing.

    Good luck modders!

  6. Hey, thanks a lot for your instructions. I am confident to proceed with my conversion now!

    Concerning the problem of where to drill through the walls for the gas line: I recently purchased a Sanyo 4911 and I simply ran my 7/16″ od vinyl gas tube through the drain hole that is situated below the condenser plate. I have gone through two kegs with this setup and have not had any drainage problem. And this is even without taps on the outside of the fridge yet, that is, I have to open the door everytime to pour a beer and even with that introduction of outside air into the interior, there has not been enough condensation to cause any problems. Certainly, I can’t imagine it being enough of a problem to rival possibly drilling into a coil iside the wall.

  7. Jack,

    Basically the same rules for a chest freezer. You will need an external thermostat, unless your freezer will accept a setting around 50F. Make sure you try to find a diagram of the freezer before starting to be sure there won’t be any lines where you intend to drill. With a chest freezer it’s unlikely, but it never hurts to check.

  8. I just did this last night and it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it might be. Piece of cake. Has anyone put a fan to blow air into the tower?

  9. Not words of wisdom but did anyone ever figure out if you could put a regular sized keg from a liqour store in this yet?

  10. RE: Commercial Keg

    I measured one at the store yesterday. I had cash in hand in case it was the right size, but it won’t hold a commercial keg, even if you strip the door shelves off. The cold coils are along the inside of the back of the unit, so the usable space is wider than it is deep. : (

  11. How do you keep your beer from coming out foamy? I think the draft tower is too hot. I tried added a fan to blow cold air into the tower but that doesn’t seem to be working.

  12. Not wisdom- a question. Regarding the external thermostat- I’m wondering the temperature range the fridge will go to. Reason is- I am thinking of also using my future kegerator modeled after yours as a fermenter for lagers. You are supposed to do that at about 45 degrees. Most people I have seen, use a chest freezer turned way down with a thermostat to lager. I am hoping to do both with one appliance- anybody know if I need both a kegerator and a chest freezer if I want to lager?

  13. could somebody let me no if a 1/4 keg will fit in the sanyo 4911 the dimensions for a 1/4 keg are 14.8″h x 17″ around i would greatly apreciate anyone advice

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