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How to build a kegerator kit or homebrew kegerator from a Sanyo Mini-fridge

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Picture of How to build a kegerator kit or homebrew kegerator from a Sanyo Mini-fridge
Beer dispensers have been made from just about all types of refrigerators and freezers over the years. And most beer kegerator conversions still look like a refrigerator with a faucet stuck through the side once the conversion is done. A mini kegerator made from a mini refrigerator, particularly one with a beer tower style kegerator tap mounted on top, actually looks like a kegerator. A beer kegerator made from a mini fridge should give you many years of trouble free service.

This is a step by step guide to build a kegerator for homebrew beer or soda. A keg cooler or mini kegerator is a great home project that can be completed in less than one day. These instructions will help you build a home beer dispenser or beer cooler for homebrew beer from a Sanyo mini fridge. A Sanyo mini fridge makes a great mini kegerator because of it's compact size. This kegerator refrigerator would look great at the end of a counter, inside a bar or on a counter top. The same conversion can be done with two kegerator taps mounted through the door if you would rather put your beer dispenser on a counter top.

Although these instructions were written for homebrew beer kegerator and Cornelius kegs, the exact same conversion will work for two tall, slender 1/6 draft beer kegs. The only difference between the two conversions is that a kegerator conversion for draft kegs will use keg couplers instead of the soda type disconnects shown in the pictures.

7/20/2013 Update: My kegerator was built with a Sanyo SR-49XX series but unfortunately Sanyo no longer sells a mini-fridge that's the right size.

The best fit these days is a Danby Model DAR125SDD or Danby Model DAR44BL. Either model should fit but it will be a tight fit. I've converted a couple of DAR44BL's and two corny kegs will fit after replacing the inside door panel with a flat sheet of metal, plastic or thin plywood. But it's a tight fit - the kegs will stagger & you'll have to pull the second keg out before you can pull the first keg you put in the fridge out. These instructions will also work on the Danby mini-fridge models but removal of the top cover might be different.

For more instructions or hardware to build this kegerator, please visit our web site www.kegkits.com.
 
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Step 1:

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These instructions will guide you through converting a Sanyo refrigerator into a completely self contained kegerator for homebrew beer.
As you see from the picture, two Cornelius kegs and a 5 pound CO2 tank will fit inside the Sanyo refrigerator.

Step 2:

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You’ll notice from this picture that the door won’t close because some features are in the way.

Step 3:

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Many who convert a Sanyo refrigerator will remove the inside door panel. But the solution is much simpler – you only cut away the parts of the door that are in the way.
This picture shows me using a rotary cutting tool to cut away part of the can holder that is interfering with the CO2 tank. You can also use a saw or a sharp box knife if you have strong hands
Note: A recent customer successfully converted his fridge with a 10# CO2 tank and a 2 pressure regulator. He cut out the entire center of the panel, leaving the panel screws & outside edge in place to hold the door gasket & put a small shelf across the ridge in the back. This let him place the 10# CO2 tank in the back, right corner of the fridge with the regulator set to the left. Cutting out the entire center of the door panel lets the kegs sit more towards the front & gives room to place the CO2 tank on a shelf.

Step 4:

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You will need to cut away part of the can holder and part of the ridge that runs across the bottom of the door. The cutouts do not need to be exact & can be larger than needed with no harm to the kegerator.
This picture shows the cut-outs and the pieces I removed from the door.
The white areas in the door are the door insulation showing through the cut out areas. The insulation is made of Styrofoam and does not need to be covered.

Step 5:

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Remove the three screws from across the back and the four screws from under the front lip.

Step 6:

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Then lift off the top.

Step 7:

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Sanyo refrigerators have a refrigerant line running across the top and you need to find out where this line is at before cutting through the top. Cutting through this line will release all of the freon and will turn your new Sanyo refrigerator into a curbside masterpiece.
You can find this line by plugging the fridge in & letting it run until the sides are warm. Once the sides are warm, rub your hand across the top until you feel a warm strip running from one side to the other. The center of this warm strip is where the line is running across the top of the fridge.
Mark the line with a piece of scotch tape.

Step 8:

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Match the tower diameter with a drinking glass or a can lid.

Step 9:

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Use the glass and a sharpie marker to mark a circle where you want the tower to sit.
Note the tape line that marks the refrigerant line. I'm marking the circle about 1/4" in front of the line.

Step 10:

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Drill a series of holes inside the circle, making sure that the holes go all the way through to the inside if the fridge.
Note: An alternative to drilling a series of holes & cutting with a rotary tool is to use a 3" hole saw.
Note again the tape line that marks the refrigerant line. Don't cut or drill there!

Step 11:

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When done, you will have a circle of holes drilled through the top.

Step 12:

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Use a rotary cutting tool or a pair of wire cutters to cut away the metal left between the holes.
Note again the tape line that marks the refrigerant line. Don't cut or drill there!

Step 13:

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Use a screwdriver to pull out the steel plug you just cut loose. A plug of insulation should pull out with the steel plug.

Step 14:

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From the inside, use a rotary cutting tool or a pair of wire cutters to cut away the material left between the holes in the plastic liner.
When done, pry the piece out with a screwdriver.

Step 15:

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Now, you will have just pit a hole all the way through the top of your brand new Sanyo refrigerator!
It looks ugly now but things will start looking better in a hurry.

Step 16:

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Temporarily put the top back on the kegerator, fastening it with one rear screw and two front screws.
Drill a series of holes through the top from inside the fridge. Follow the edge of the newly cut hole when drilling the holes.

Step 17:

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When complete, you will have a circle of holes through the top that outlines the opening you created earlier.

Step 18:

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Use a rotary cutting tool or a pair of wire cutters to cut away the material left between the holes in the plastic top.

Step 19:

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Remove the top from the Sanyo refrigerator and turn it over.

Use a rotary cutting tool or a pair of wire cutters to cut away the ribs that are holding the plug in place.
Pry out the piece with a screwdriver.
Put the top back on the Sanyo refrigerator and attach it with all 5 screws.

Step 20:

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Feed the beer tower beer lines through the hole from the outside.
Note the white lining inside the tower. Some believe this is packing material and they remove it. The lining is actually important insulation and should not be removed from the beer tower.

Step 21:

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Center the tower over the hole and rotate it until it the two beer shanks are aligned correctly with the front of the Sanyo Refrigerator.
When aligned, mark the four mounting holes with a sharpie marker.

Step 22:

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Drill the four mounting holes through the top of the Sanyo refrigerator, making sure you drill all the way through to the inside.

Step 23:

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Mount the tower with 2 ½” – 3” ½-20 screws, washers, lock washers and nuts. I like to use wing nuts for my conversions.

Step 24:

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This is the hardware I use to convert a homebrew beer kegerator.
4 – 2 ½” long ¼-20 Phillip head screws
4 – ¼” flat washers
4 – ¼” split lock washers
4 – ¼-20 wing nuts
This hardware is not included in my conversion kits because some customers use my kits to convert their bar and beer towers attach to wooden bar tops with wood screws. You can purchase this hardware at any hardware or home improvement store.
Note: Some beer towers have a cover that hides the mounting hardware and some do not. The towers without covers will have counter sunk mounting holes. The screw in this picture is a stainless steel Phillips head and it looks good with either tower style.

Step 25:

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If your beer tower came with beer fittings on the end of the lines, cut them off. You won’t be able to use beer fittings on Cornelius kegs.
Note: Don’t cut any extra length off the beer lines. The long 3/16” ID beer lines will slow down the beer on the way to the beer tower and will help to prevent foaming.

Step 26:

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Locate or cut off two short pieces (8” – 12”) of braided CO2 line.
Attach the two short pieces to the stainless steel tee with Oetiker or screw type clamps. Then attach the long piece of hose the stainless steel tee with a Oetiker or screw type clamp.

Step 27:

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Attach two light grey gas disconnects to the ends of the short lines with Oetiker clamps or screw type clamps.

Step 28:

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Place the kegs, CO2 tank & regulator back inside the keg & connect the beer & CO2 disconnects onto the Cornelius kegs.

Step 29:

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Route the free end of the long CO2 line around to the regulator output.
Cut the excess off the end of the CO2 line.

Step 30:

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Locate the parts needed to adapt the regulator output to the ¼” CO2 line.

Step 31:

Step 32:

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Assemble the parts to the regulator.
Note: The barb drops into the nut first, then the tapered nylon washer. Then the entire assembly screws onto the regulator output.

Step 33:

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Assemble the CO2 line onto the regulator with a Oetiker clamp or a screw type clamp.

Step 34:

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When complete, the inside should look like this.

Step 35:

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And the outside looks like this.

Congratulations, you now own a 2 keg homebrew kegerator!
And it even looks nice enough to not be banished to the garage!

Step 36:

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And although not absolutely necessary because the top of the refrigerator is easily cleaned, a stainless steel drip tray is a nice addition to your kegerator.
This drip tray is 8 ¼” wide, just wide enough to catch drips from the taps but not so large that it’s terribly expensive.

Thanks, Tom
For more instructions or hardware to build this kegerator, please visit our web site www.kegkits.com.

Next you need to build a beer tower cooler to keep your beer shank cold and prevent beer foam!

brodriguez157 months ago

I bought this specific refrigerator 2yrs ago because of all the keg
hype. Despite it notoriously getting scratched and dented being shipped
to the WalMart, mine was only very slightly dented on the side rear
(common damage area, but luckily not the compressor) and the front edge
of the top trim had a slight crack. Based on most of the damage
complaints, I figured I was way ahead of the curve and kept what I got. I
use the thing every day and it's still running great. I have yet to try
this Instructable (too many other projects ahead of this one) and as
time goes by I realize the chances go up that the fridge may die of
regular age before I get a chance. But I'm glad to see this instruction
still here!

However, the site related to your Instructable is
down. Did you kill the site? Is your business gone? (Sorry, if so). If
anyone wants to follow your links but can't, use the archived site:

https://web.archive.org/web/20140713164956/http://www.kegkits.com/

BestBuy used to sell this unit many years ago, and I always thought it looked cool but didn't need it. By
the time I realized I should buy one, WalMart sold them but they kept
going out of stock, so I jumped when they came back in and that was 2
years ago now. I'd better get a move on.

Tom Hargrave (author) 2 years ago
Mine was built with a Sanyo SR-49XX series but unfortunately Sanyo no longer sells a mini-fridge that's the right size.

The best fit these days is a Danby Model DAR125SDD or Danby Model DAR44BL. Either model should fit but it will be a tight fit. I've converted a couple of DAR44BL's and two corny kegs will fit after replacing the inside door panel with a flat sheet of metal, plastic or thin plywood. But it's a tight fit - the kegs will stagger & you'll have to pull the second keg out before you can pull the first keg you put in the fridge out.
wintermath2 years ago
What model Sanyo fridge is this?
Foxtrot703 years ago
Tom, this is probably one of the most important Instructables ever posted. This is a great project for an "old guard drunk" like myself. Bottoms UP!
Tom Hargrave (author)  Foxtrot703 years ago
Thanks, I have discovered one problem with a home kegerator. It's too easy to pull the handle one more time!
Tom Hargrave (author) 3 years ago
Yes, because you need to provide for air circulation into the tower to keep the beer shank cool. A beer tower cooler works even better.

www.towercooler.com
SwampFox893 years ago
The whole thing looks great! My question right here is, is it necessary to cut an entire three inch hole in the top? From the looks of it, the hole only needs to be big enough to pass these two tubes through, but not any part of the metal tower.

Thanks for the how-to!
Mirage_6623 years ago
For cutting large holes in thin plastic you can just push the drill bit sideways. To better illustrate: Start drilling as in step 17 but while the drill bit is through the plastic, push it sideways while tracing out your shape. Sadly it only works for plastic and not metal.
TheCritic3 years ago
Great Job. Unless you want to build me one.... I will continue to buy my beer and drink it from a bottle or mini keg like the one Heineken puts out.
Tom Hargrave (author)  TheCritic3 years ago
Thanks for the comment - I'm not a huge Heine fan but to each his own. - Tom
My fav beer is Rolling Rock in a bottle. But when I use the Beer Tender I drink Newcastle Brown Ale Draught.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nsw_E-X_Kxw&feature=player_embedded#!
Tom Hargrave (author)  TheCritic3 years ago
My oldest son liked Newcastle, so do I. I might need to invite him over for a contest.