My Wineador Adventure. Musings & Problems.

#1
Hello!
I figure having my post on more than 1 forum may help other people looking to go this route, and I may also get more help.

Let me preface the below with this:
Am I striving for perfection? Yes.
Can I get it perfect? Very possible.
Can I get it close enough to where I like it? Yes.
Am I worried? No. I'm setting the bar high. I will try a few things. As long as it stays stable in the 60 - 69% range I will be very happy.

My humidity readings can be viewed at this link. Google sheets.

My setup is quite simple:
CyberCool 28 bottle TE wine cooler. Very similar in looks to a Whynter.
I have 2 pounds of Heartfelt 65% beads. 3 pounds in the mail.
3 120MM fans. Previously had all 3 down the bottom. I have since decided to use 2 for now (1 up top, 1 down the bottom). 3rd fan can be used. Not sure where I will place it. Fans are plugged in to a usb hub inside the fridge.

Pictures:
Can be viewed on Imgur. Album link.
Keep in mind, pictures and humidity results will be updated periodically.

If you don't want to read the essay below. Here's the gist of it:
Humidity fluctuations worry me - therefore:
I definitely need more beads.
Probably will get a cigar oasis. Extra beads will help.
Also probably more powerful fans.
Need a repeat cycle timer (on/off, no programs).
Digital Humidity Temperature Controller a probable purchase.

Dates and times in Sydney (Australia) format.

The drain hole is left unplugged for now. I'm not going to do anything unless it definitely needs it. And the last thing I want is a pool of water down the bottom.
I also don't exactly want to place beads over the drain hole like some do. If I plug the hole, I obviously will have to. I'm pretty firm on using distilled water as it is suggested by HFI themselves, and the stuff is like $10 for 15 litres.

I set the time on the timer to have the fans come on for 30 minutes every hour. As there is a maximum of 10 programs on the timer, the remaining (3) hours of the day has the fan come on for 1 hour.
These fans aren't very powerful, though.

Musings:
I'm not set on Heartfelt beads, and may very well fork out yet more money for HCM beads, as they apparently are superior - require no charging and come pre-charged at 65%.
Spoke with Mike at HCM at length. Had a lot of questions answered, too. I just don't want to spend more money on different beads when these seem to finally start working. I bought some more beads as I think I'll be needing them. A total of 3 more pounds.

Update 05/02/2017
Humidity results continue.
Apparently, according to my hygros - the humidity got up into the 90's and went as low as 40. Which annoys me.
I will probably need more beads to help with any crazy fluctuations. I may try active humidification.

Results are OK, I guess. I think bigger fans are needed, also on a timer... I have an idea of lining the gaps with some SC. Maybe a false bottom to stop any water collection messing with the humidity. It drains fairly quickly, and I see no need for plugging the hole just yet. If I do - it won't be a permanent plug until such a time as it is definitely proven that I will need to.

Expanding on the false bottom, the bottom and middle RH's are usually a tad higher than the top. Due to the water collecting at the bottom. The false bottom may very well improve things. A false backing, or at least a somewhat covering (with room) for the cooling fan may very well help. I'd have to find something to use for both bits.

Plastics may be hard to find. Wood is out of the question for the bottom. A hole or cut-out would probably have to be used for the bottom for the water to go somewhere.
A water drainage cover could also prove useful with a false bottom (or bottom+backing both). The only idea I could see working is a shaped cover. Probably perspex (acrylic). Shaping it would be the hard bit. I'm crap when it comes to tools.


Update 06/02/2017
Humidity results continue.
Seems to be settling down and more uniform. Once the cedar shelving/drawers come through, I think it will be OK.
I'm thinking active humidification and beads as a safeguard.
I'm not too worried at this point - as if all else fails there is the option of the humidor in a wine cooler. I just need to be less of a perfectionist, as nothing will be perfect without spending thousands.
Alternatively, I could just use it for wine and buy an actual wineador from a manufacturer such as Liebherr, or Eurocave.

OK, so it seems that the humidity is more uniform when the fans are running.
I'm quite happy with a lot of the results and have gone a bit lax on recording some of them.
With the shelving and drawers, I think the humidity readings will be more uniform, and less dramatically different. As right now - all that's in it is 3 wire shelves, 3 bags of beads, and a few of the small blue sticks of beads.

More beads are in the mail, HFI - the same, so that may make a difference. More beads = quicker recovery. Perhaps it may also mean better results.

I've made a fan mount with hot glue and screws. It's really janky as hell, but it will do for the time being. Also a bit more permanent than paper clips bent into the holes. As the fans seem to be doing good work - I'm ready to step it up to better fans. Better fans will be from CoolerGuys over in the States. They come with brackets and what-not, so I won't be exactly hitting against anything.

These will be bought at some stage late this month or early next month. I have some fridge aerators coming, and they may very well be sufficient.

Having done some more note taking and readings, it appears that there is a good humidity loss when the cooling happens - no surprise.

I've repositioned the 3 120mm fans, put one up the top of the cooler (on the roof of it) with velcro, and 2 down the bottom - it made little difference.
I now only have 2 - 1 on the roof - 1 down the bottom. I think I need either more powerful fans, or simply more fans (2 on the roof, 2 down bottom). Maybe 1 on each side - not sure.

Anyway, more beads are arriving. I was hoping they'd come this week - but no luck. I'll experiment with more beads - and hoping for quick recovery when it's cooling. I can't explain the high humidity at all. The beads seem to be drying really quickly. I'm going to try active humidification. I also have a shopping list for digital RH and temperature controlling which is plug-and-play - which makes things heaps easy for me.

I also think instead of a timer - I should use a repeat cycle timer. Essentially it would be running for x minutes, and off for x minutes. Timers only have a set number of programs, so it limits me a fair bit.

The humidity system is not known yet - but most likely Cigar Oasis, the Plus model. I will modify it and remove the foam and use SAP, according to a guide on this forum. I've avoided florist foam thus far, and I see no reason to use it now. This coupled with the beads should help somewhat. I will store singles in the drawers and shelves, whilst keeping any boxes in the boxes. The Oasis will NOT be blowing directly on anything.

Tupperware is still not out of the question. Before I go that route, I want to try and make this work. Acceptable levels for me would be 60 - 69 RH, no more, no less. Tupperware in a wineador will be my last step.

Anyway, I thought I'd let everyone know my experiences thus far. Any advice, comments, and suggestions are always appreciated. I hope my post helps some people with their wineador adventure!
 
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CMontoya79

Newb Le professional!
#2
Have you tested your hygrometers for accuracy? (Salt test works) Is your cabinet Empty? Are you seasoning it or using it already? Are you planning on using cedar shelves to replace the wire racks? Your constant readings seem to be overkill. Humidity will fluctuate. 1-5 points happens. 5lbs of beads seems overkill for wineador that size.
 
#3
Have you tested your hygrometers for accuracy? (Salt test works)
I have calibrated the hygrometers with the Boveda calibration kit.
I kept them in there for 48 hours. The Caliber ones were very accurate and only required +1 or -1. The other one - not so accurate, but adjusted as well.

Is your cabinet Empty? Are you seasoning it or using it already?
Cabinet is empty save for the 3 wire racks, beads, hygrometers, and fans.
Shelves/drawers from John's Woordworks have not been shipped yet. When they do arrive I will season them. 2 shelves and 2 drawers, Spanish Cedar.

I did spray it down with distilled water (thoroughly) after I washed it with soap to kick the plastic smell out fully. I left it to dry. I did this about 5 times over the course of a day.

Your constant readings seem to be overkill. Humidity will fluctuate. 1-5 points happens.
I've stopped getting the readings so frequently. But the fluctuations are happening. Sometimes as low as 58 and then 72.

5lbs of beads seems overkill for wineador that size.
The extra beads are to speed up recovery, and lesson fluctuations. Some will stay dry. The idea is for extra beads to help speed up getting back to 65%. With active humidification if it happens to get over humidified, the extra beads - at least from what I understand - should help. They're bought anyway, so it's wasted money if I don't use them.
 

tone-ny

I smoke therefore I am!
#4
I'm assuming it is mid summer, so every time the cooling system comes on it produces excess humidity. Therefore the fluctuations on the high side, the lower side can be the beads absorbing the excess. Another issue with high and low readings are the efficiencies of the batteries that you are using. High moisture content have a way of draining batteries. I notice this most during the peak summer season and peak winter season.

Also see my post on seasonal mood disorder, it will help you the most.
 
#5
It is summer, and we've had record breaking temperatures. Today was 46°C. Air-conditioner was on and set at 23°C.
The batteries were fresh when I put the hygrometers in.

Edit: if I am way too worried about readings, I can use tupperware. Sealed, humidity will be good (boveda) and temperature will be good as well because of the cooling of the wineador.

I think things will be alright when the active humidifier comes and more beads. But I will continue reading posts, and gathering advice.
Open to all ideas.
 
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#6
I don't know the wine cooler that you have but it almost sounds like it is a compressor style, that would explain the quick drops and when it kicks off you are over humidifying the space and you get a rebound high. You can also try getting a small bag of spanish cedar shavings to help stabilize the RH.
 

BlindedByScience

Proud Father of a brave U.S. Marine
#8
With a decent cabinet and a decade of smoking and storing quality cigars, I can offer you a tip: If the RH moves around a point or three short term.....it doesn't really matter. In fact, I would defy you to tell the difference between a CC stored at 63% and 67% RH. I'll bet you couldn't do it. That's not to offend, only to illustrate simple facts. For measured accuracy, nothing I've ever owned beat a tightly sealed cooler with beads. For convenience sake, my nice big cabinet with active cooling and humidity control is pretty cool. Now, mine is tall, like a phone booth. I know the RH varies a point or two up and down the cabinet. Know what..?? I don't care. I fill the water every couple of months, check the RH and temp when I get my daily smokes, and life is good.

Hey, if you want to chase the 'Holy Grail of Ultimate RH and Temperature Control'.....by all means, knock yourself out. The rest of us will be not worrying, and enjoying our nicely aged sticks.

As they say, one mans opinion......
 
#9
I don't know the wine cooler that you have but it almost sounds like it is a compressor style, that would explain the quick drops and when it kicks off you are over humidifying the space and you get a rebound high. You can also try getting a small bag of spanish cedar shavings to help stabilize the RH.
It's Thermoelectric. Spanish Cedar is very hard to source, shavings even more so.

What you're trying to achieve was already addressed on the other forum where Pigfish responded.

You want lab control, you get with Pigfish.
You want to enjoy a cigar, you hang out here. :D
I don't want lab control. I want (preferably) nothing higher than say 69% RH, and nothing lower than 60%

Hey, if you want to chase the 'Holy Grail of Ultimate RH and Temperature Control'.....by all means, knock yourself out. The rest of us will be not worrying, and enjoying our nicely aged sticks.

As they say, one mans opinion......
Holy grail for me is as above. 60 - 69% RH.
Edit: with the wine cooler turned on.

I think lower than 60% would be a bit dry. As CC's get mouldy at lower RH's I might be risking it at the 70 - 75% RH range.

It's a fun project. I just don't want to risk getting investments of CC's ruined by getting them either too dry or too wet.
 
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#11
If I were to turn the wine cooler off, I've basically wasted money.
If I wanted to store cigars in a sealed environment I would have bought an esky (coolidor).
I wanted them to be cooled - hence wineador.

I'm the kind of person who gives up relatively easy when the solutions given don't work.
My solution at this point it's theoretical is more beads and active humidification.
The extra purchases like digital controls, etc, are an optional purchase.
If it doesn't work, I'm likely to give up, erase all traces of me attempting to try, and go out and buy a Liebherr humidor cooler. Alternatively, go on Alibaba for something that does the same.
Or if the above isn't an option - I'd totally give up and do something completely different.

HOWEVER, I would very much like to achieve a decent humidity range with what I have at the moment. Cooling is down-pat, sits around 17 - 20°C. Setting it at 18°C it is usually 18 - 20. I cannot justify turning the wine cooler off.
I'm not likely to freeze the sticks, it's not something I want to do. Freezing food removes some flavour - why wouldn't a freezer do the same to CC's? Sometimes food frozen is completely bland, and boring.

For the record, I don't want to spend $2k on one of Pigfishe's "100% infallible microclimate adjustable breathing, cigar microclimate enjoyable smoking lounge" kits.
The sense I get from his posts is "If it isn't made by me, it won't work". Hence why I'd really like to prove to myself wine coolers not touched by him is perfectly capable of being a suitable cigar storage solution, with cooling and relatively good RH levels. Grabbing a cigar out of it after some nice aging, lighting it up and having heaven smoking it.
(I have nothing against him at all, by the way).
 

Scap

Well-Known Member
#12
When your TE cycles on you are necessarily drying the air by condensing on the chilled plate.

If you could keep the plate from going below the dew point and just maintain a given temp setpoint the air in the winecooler would stay moist and not saw tooth.
 
#13
When your TE cycles on you are necessarily drying the air by condensing on the chilled plate.

If you could keep the plate from going below the dew point and just maintain a given temp setpoint the air in the winecooler would stay moist and not saw tooth.
How do I do that? In simple terms, if you could - I'm not very good when it comes to those sort of things.

Edit: I'm assuming using a digital temp controller and setting it to be below the dew point temp? How do I discover the dew point?
According to a calculator I just found, at a temp of 20C and 65RH, dew point is 13C. That's really low.
 
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Scap

Well-Known Member
#14
How do I do that? In simple terms, if you could - I'm not very good when it comes to those sort of things.
One way is you would have to mount a sensor to the plate, and then use an external controller to cycle the plate on and off.

Another way would be to somehow intercept the power feeding the plates and adjust it to not get as cold.

However, having never played with a Peltier, I don't know if either is truly possible without burning something out.

The problem is you have a device capable of producing sub zero C temps when all you need is a steady ~20C
 
#15
Well, a digital temperature controller can easily set the temperature to a steady 20°C. (Edit) Also, the added bonus of it controlling temp when there's a power cut and power comes back on. Assuming the controller has some sort of memory.

Particular model (plug and play). Can get it from Fleabay for about $60, and has Australian plug.

(Edit) Now, as I mentioned - I'm not good with those sort of things. So actually anything to do with electronics I'm lost. So the only thing I could possibly be capable of doing is using the Inkbird I mentioned above.
I could speak to an electrician and see if it is at all possible without burning something. But it's really going to be something specialist - as wine cooler humidors in Australia is a very rare thing...
 
#18
Not from what I've read on Google
Then, in that case, it would be too complicated IMO. Only an electrician (or someone way more handy than me) could do it.
Only the digital temp controller can produce a stable 20C. I figured if the digital temp controller turns off the unit, it would also be turning off the plate.

(Edit) just checked humidity. 72 / 71 / 71. Top Middle & bottom respectively. Temp 18 - 19C. Ugh!

The dew point, according to an online calculator - with a temperature of 20°C and 65%RH would be 13°C.
68F and 55.4F respectively. The cooler has a maximum temperature of 18°C which is ~65F. Anyway, let's see if there are any other possible solutions before ripping things open and voiding any warranties.
Don't want to do that just yet, unless that is the only solution - at which point it's more trouble than it's worth and I'd rather buy an AIO solution. Already getting annoyed.
Has anyone else had trouble keeping a relatively stable RH? I'm not speaking 65RH 24/7 but at least not fluctuating heaps?
 

Scap

Well-Known Member
#19
What temp do you keep your house?
I keep mine at 72 in the summer.

So, I don't stress over temp fluctuations, and my RH stays steady throughout the year. I keep bovedas in my cooler and desktop humidor.

Every time I open them, the temp reads 72F and humidity reads 65%.
 
#20
(Edit: our air conditioner is set to 23) 23°C when it is hot outside. I don't mind a temperature of 72°F, but the humidity should be in the 60's.
It's hard to keep the humidity in the 60's, the temperature is good all the time... just the humidity is crazy.

In the end, for clarification:
5 lbs of beads, in bags.
7 small tubes of beads
And a Cigar Oasis Plus active humidifier modified to use SAP.
Hoping this will keep humidity in the 60's.

Currently:
2 lbs of beads, in bags (3 bags)
7 small tubes of beads
Cannot keep humidity in the 60's. Fluctuates often.

Obviously, without spending thousands, I cannot keep it at a constant. But I am hoping for something fairly decent.

(Edit) Wine cooler is in a cool place. Being Australian we don't generally have basements. But it is in a spare room.
 
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