When I first bought my chest freezer to convert to a keezer, the biggest and most overwhelming problem I had was the temperature control.
I was recommended the stc1000 and it was a no brainer because it only cost $20 dollars online. All you have to do is, re-wire the chest freezer. Here is the problem, I’m not an electrician and the thought of wiring electronics and using a diagram just scares me. So I never used it, It’s still in the box.
For about a year I would just manually turn the keezer on and off. Sometimes forgetting and then I would have frozen beer!
One day I said, I’m going to do this, I’m going to wire this into the chest freezer. I got online to do some research and that’s when I found the answer to my problems.
A controller you don’t have to wire anything to!
The Best Beer Keezer Temperature Controller
This is what I use and recommended it.
After a couple of years of not having temperature controlled beer, I finally found exactly what I was looking for. This controller is hands down the best option for people who don’t know how to re-wire electronics. For around $30 dollars I highly recommend it, it’s called Inkbird ITC-308 Temperature Controller (Available at amazon.com)
I purchased this and two day’s later it showed up. I was not stressed at all about using this, I did have a couple of questions about how it works, but other than that, I plugged it in and it worked!
What I really like about this besides not having to do any wiring, it has a really slick looking LED display, it shows what temperature you set it for and what it currently is at.
It’s a pretty impressive unit that defiantly works for converting your chest freezer to a cooler.
Features I like:
- Set the thermostat to cooling or heating (in this case you only need cooling)
- Control temperatures from -58° F through 210° F
- Set a degree parameter for when it kicks on/off within whatever you like (in this case I set it for 4 degrees)
- Plug into a standard electrical outlet, plug the keezer into Ink Bird
- ALARM – if your cooling falls just below what you set the parameter to, an alarm goes off to let you know.
- 1200W Max Power
- Celsius or Fahrenheit
- Built-in memory in case of power outages, no need to reset
- Waterproof temp probe sensor
Does a big job for being small and affordable.
Where do you put the temperature probe?
I’ve been testing out different to get the most accurate temperature and what I found was, if you put the probe in a glass of water at the bottom of the keezer you will get the most accurate temp.
The reason for this is that air temperature is less consistent than in water. For example, the probe is super sensitive and the keezer is not constant because there is no blower in it.
But using a glass or bottle of water that is at the bottom of the keezer with the temp probe in it, it is less likely for it to keep turning on or off.
Put the glass or bottle in the cooler before putting the sensor in it, let it get to the cooler temp for an accurate reading.
You only need about 2-4 inches of water to get a proper reading. The manufacturer says the probe is waterproof and submersible, I haven’t had any issues doing it this way.
Setting the Ink Bird For Beer Temperature
Although it’s digital and lacks the obvious buttons that should say set temp or something like that I was able to program it the first try in less than 20 seconds.
I haven’t had to reset or change anything since I first did this.
- Plug the chest freezer into the cooling plug on the ink bird and then plug in the ink bird.
- Press and hold “set” for three seconds
- Set to the desired temp, I set mine to 34 Degrees
- Set heating or “shut off” to 30 Degrees, a – 4-degree differential
- Set cooling or “turn on” to 38 Degrees, a + 4 -degree differential
- Set what degree Alarm will go off (high and low)
- Set compressor delay to 3 minutes
- Take temperature calibration
- Set to display Farhinethit or Celsius
A few steps, but the good news is it walks you through them fairly easily. Refer to the manual that comes with to understand the abbreviated codes.
Hang Ink Bird outside of the keezer
This is an external controller, it’s best to keep it on the outside. There is a handy hook attached that you can screw to the unit or the wall. I like to keep mine on the keezer so it is visible. It looks pretty professional that way.
This is probably my least favorite feature because it’s a bit large and if I wanted to build it into the collar it wouldn’t look that great.
But that is a very small flaw that I easily got over, it is not a huge deal at all since this really works without much effort or damage to the unit.
What should you set the chest freezer dial to?
The freezer has its own dial, from off to minimum to maximum. So what should I set the freezer too if I’m using the ink bird external temperature as well? I have been setting it to the maximum for the best results.
Using the maximum control on the freezer, the ink bird kicks on a couple of times an hour for about 2-4 minutes a time.
I like to keep the keezer as full as possible, that helps keep everything cool and keeps it from kicking on more.
My overall review
Honestly, I wouldn’t have a working kegerator/keezer without the ink bird. That’s because it’s so easy to use, it literally takes longer to open the box than it does to program and put the probe inside the unit.
I felt so much relief when this arrived and all I needed to do was plug it in and go. Could it be any easier? Looking back on the first controller I bought, this is awesome!
The LED readout is a really nice feature to always know where the temp is at and what you set it to.
Setting the controller is easy! But get to know the unit and the abbreviated codes as you play around with it.
I am 100% satisfied and extremely happy to have a working kegerator/keezer now. I recommend this to everyone that is looking to do the same.