DIY Homebrew Projects

Paint Can Fermentation Heater...

As a father of a five year old daughter, I get to immerse myself in playtime with several toys that I would have never touched as a kid myself.  It's nice to finally be able to take some of that playtime and turn it in to a usefully homebrew application.  The Easy Bake Oven for instance...  If a light bulb can bake a cake, why can't it warm up my fermenters in the winter months?

For this build, you will need a digital temp control unit that allows for heating, otherwise, this build is pretty inexpensive, and works quite well

From the big Orange hardware store on 11/27 you will need the following:

Plastic Lamp Assembly # 078477103180  $1.19
6' power cord # 756847000023 = $1.14
Pancake Box # 050169002933 = $2.19
Spade Terminals (optional) # 032076075163 = $1.99
Aluminum Paint Bucket # 082474966013 = $4.68
Light Bulb...  check your closet

Total build Apprx $12.00

 paint can fermentation heater parts

The build itself is quite easy.  Using a couple self tapping screws or bolts, attach the pancake box to the inside of the lid of the paint can.

Once you attached the lamp assembly the cord might pinch, so I used a grinder to notch out a small section of the pancake box.

fermentation heater pancake box
Drill a hole towards the top of the can to allow the power cord to pass through.  I also drilled a hole in the bottom to allow a little light to escape so that I could verify the light was on without having to open the final project. fermntation heater drilled can

Cut off the receptacle end of the power cord.  run your cord through the top hole and separate a couple inches of the cable.  strip the end of the wire and attach your spade terminals (if desired).

Connect the terminals to the lamp assembly.  Not sure that it matters but at HD, the gentleman on duty told me to attach the wire with the ribbed sides to the gold circuit, and the smooth wire to the silver.

Screw in your light bulb. and attach the assembly to the pancake box on the lid.

*Please note: It might be wise to use a grounded plug in lieu of the original build plans.  If for some reason the hot wire comes in contact with the bucket, the ground wire may provide additional protection.

fermentation heater wiring
Attach the assembly to the pancake box on the lid, screw in your light bulb, and put the lid on the paint can. fermentation heater final assembly
You now have what looks like a retarded toaster.  But I assure you, the Cylons will be proud. fermentation heater final assembly

Well that's it.  As you can see the bottom light hole allows just enough light to escape so that I can verify that it is working without flooding my fermentation chamber with the stuff.

The light bulb heats the paint can enough to raise the temp in my chest freezer.

I am currently using a 60 watt bulb in this one, and it only took a couple hours to bring the temp up from 58 to 68.  Once there, the temp holds quite nicely coupled with my digital temp controller.


fermentation heater in action
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