small chocolate climate control display for Fair events?

Roy Greenhalgh
@roy-greenhalgh
03/14/12 11:03:17PM
9 posts

Hi everyone-

I hope someone can point me in the right direction here. We have a few opportunities to sell at local Craft markets and fairs. We need a small table top/display case. Portable is the key. 120V AC None of the big dealers know what I'm asking for. I know I have seen them before- does anyone know where we could get something like this?

Thanks-

Roy


updated by @roy-greenhalgh: 04/09/15 07:05:10AM
Andy Ciordia
@andy-ciordia
03/15/12 11:12:25AM
157 posts

It's going to be custom, heavy, and expensive.

We knew a toffee vendor who made his own holding cabinet and would add dry ice to a top compartment and the cool would fall down over his products. I didn't have the carpentry skills to handle a buildout like that or want the weight to transport to and fro. The best we ever came up with was a wine cooler with glass front. Even that though if the heat differential was >30' would struggle keeping up and eventually freeze up. If you find a real solution definitely post it up. At the end of the day all we ever found that worked wonders was keeping the products in a series of coolers (to prevent humidity from eventually contaminating) and to create some fake products, and some sacrificial products for the display tables.

Oh last thought I had one day was watching a fish monger sell at a market and using a sushi case. I don't know what temps they are rated at but might be worth looking into. Low profile and if its made to keep fish cold, I'm sure it can keep chocolate cold. ;)

antonino allegra
@antonino-allegra
03/15/12 11:39:13AM
143 posts

a sushi case i think is the best option. i was thinking about it when in the beginning there was plans of doing markets.

The temp is probably set-able up to +9C but with a good fridge technician you should be able to re-gas so that +14C are achievable.

you wont be able to stock a lot in it, so you need to replenish continuously.

also, you need to keep it away from the sun, as you know the sun light will damage your chocolate anyway..

Still is not cheap but is you do markets every day you could work the expense in short time.

Roy Greenhalgh
@roy-greenhalgh
03/15/12 12:33:15PM
9 posts

Thanks Guys- Yeah I was wondering how I could keep things between 60-70F. I have noticed some Wine chiller chests have a top setting of 66F. I was thinking about testing one of those out (for under $200) but thinking humidity might be an issue. Didn't even think about Sushi Cases though. :) I'll keep digging and let ya know.

antonino allegra
@antonino-allegra
03/16/12 04:18:46AM
143 posts

Hi, Wine cooler has a very "soft" fridge, remember that the higher the outside temp. the stronger your fridge needs to work to keep the product cool.

Andy Johnson
@andy-johnson
03/16/12 12:31:19PM
8 posts

I have sturggled with the same challenge. The weather gets warm and I can't do my chocolates at Farmer's Markets and Fairs---I think a table top cigar Humidor would be a good thing. They are small, portable,and will control temperature AND humitity. There are several online--- also the "kits" for doing it your self are cheaper

Carlos Eichenberger
@carlos-eichenberger
03/17/12 02:03:29PM
158 posts

Hi, as most people here have stated, you will probably not find a commercial product that does what you need. In my case I've been using, with great success, a thermoelectric cooler to keep my custom-made display case cool. The beauty of this is it operates on 12 VDC. I use a power supply to convert from 120VAC. It easily cools 15 degrees below ambient. Vinotemp makes the TE units, as well as many other manufacturers. In my case I used a unit from a Mobicool portable active cooler. You can see it on the case's left hand side. Lighting is LED, also powered by the 12V power supply.

1225-displaydanta.jpg?width=721Here it is filled with bonbons:

1227-dislpaydantafair.jpg?width=721

antonino allegra
@antonino-allegra
03/17/12 04:21:54PM
143 posts

great, how much it cost? where can you buy something like that in EU? i live in South Africa and is gonna be hard to get one!

Clay Gordon
@clay
03/17/12 06:16:24PM
1,680 posts

Antonino -

I think the point is that Cheebs had this built custom. The general approach, which is to use thermolectric coolers, is a very viable approach for adapting something that could be simpler in construction (e.g., does not have a curved glass front).

I think what he did was to buy - and then cannibalize - a unit like this one, taking the cooling elements and electronics and building them into the case. The Mobicool unit linked to specifies cooling to 20 degrees (C!) below ambient on a DC power supply.

There are also companies that just sell the thermoelectric coolerunits. One thing about units like these is that they are designed to work with active loads, e.g., machinery that is generating heat. That might make them more suitable for use in places where there is a direct or indirect solar load.

The nice thing about using the TE coolers is that they also dehumidify.

And, finally, it is left as an exercise for the reader to see how they might be used to create really quite inexpensive cooling tunnels.




--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Carlos Eichenberger
@carlos-eichenberger
03/17/12 06:30:15PM
158 posts

Haha thanks Clay took the words right out of my... fingers?

As far as costs the cabinet, LED lighting, power supply and trays, custom made here in Guatemala, came out to ~$800. The cooler I got for like $39 on a liquidation sale online.

Roy Greenhalgh
@roy-greenhalgh
03/17/12 08:16:02PM
9 posts

Wow Cheebs! That is Sweet! um...no pun intended here... I'll take a look and see if we can MacGyver something. Being able to customize is an advantage...

Thanks!

Roy Greenhalgh
@roy-greenhalgh
03/18/12 07:07:03AM
9 posts

Love the trays too! What company did you use for them- or was that part of your package?

antonino allegra
@antonino-allegra
03/18/12 12:57:21PM
143 posts

Thanks a lot for the info ,Clay!

i'm already doing a design and i have pulled out my swiss knife to build one!!!

Clay Gordon
@clay
03/18/12 01:56:06PM
1,680 posts

Andy -

An interesting repurposing of equipment. One of the key points to consider is the cooling capacity, which can be expressed as the maximum difference between ambient temperature and the lowest the fridge can go.

If the temperature outside is 88F can the humidor take it down 20F? Especially when the door is going to keep on being opened and closed.

I think it's a great idea, just a technical parameter to ask about before purchasing.




--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Carlos Eichenberger
@carlos-eichenberger
03/19/12 06:50:13PM
158 posts

Roy, the trays are also custom-made. Any decent plexiglas shop should be able to duplicate those no problem. I also foundthese online, but boy are they pricey!

Roy Greenhalgh
@roy-greenhalgh
03/19/12 10:10:06PM
9 posts

Yeah...I just got a quote for the thermoelectric cooler unit from the link... Ouch. AAC-120-4XT thermoelectric air conditioner is $850.00 They flat out say it won't work...they swear up and down a refrigerant based solution is required. I'm starting to hash out just what they suggest to use. I'll post what they say when I get it.

Carlos Eichenberger
@carlos-eichenberger
03/20/12 01:18:55AM
158 posts

Oh don't bother with EIC their products are way too expensive. And, they're wrong, the TE AC does work, I actually have a 1000 btu unit in a larger display case (4 tier, 4 foot wide) but that one was $1700 -- ouch! Still cheaper than the $4k plus display cases available.

Roy Greenhalgh
@roy-greenhalgh
03/20/12 07:19:44AM
9 posts

True. Funny how there are so many HEATING small display cases but none of what we need out there. Did you get the TE AC unit from a company or from ebay searches? Any advice on what to search on or where to go?

Thanks again for all the advice so far :)

Casey Hickey
@casey-hickey
03/20/12 04:03:02PM
7 posts

andy - howdy neighbor! this is a timely discussion. i'll be selling at the davidson farmers market starting in april and wondered if you could elaborate on your 'series of coolers' process. i'm debating a portable electric cooler vs. small glass-front wine cooler (humidity being my fear) vs. your process. however, not sure if you are starting at a very cold (electric?) cooler to a gel pack cooler to ambient atmospheric temp? could you explain further? i'd assume you have a step-up process so temp changes occur gradually.

i'd email you directly, but i think everyone on this discussion would benefit from your reply. look forward to your reply. especially since you 'enjoy' the same hot/humid climate conditions as i!

thanks.

Clay Gordon
@clay
03/20/12 04:37:09PM
1,680 posts

Roy -

Cheebs talks about cannibalizing a used portable thermoelectric cooler he found.

Here's a new oneon Amazon that could be sacrificed.

Brands to look for include Coleman, Engel, Koolatron - you can probably cannibalize any of those for the cooling electronics needed. Not all units are thermoelectric, however, and I can't vouch for any specific model or manufacturer. Just that there are ways to get the TE electronics pretty inexpensively.




--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Carlos Eichenberger
@carlos-eichenberger
03/20/12 08:05:50PM
158 posts

I've been toying with the idea of cannibalizing a small wine cooler for the TE guts. Something like a Vinotemp or Cuisinart in the 20-30 bottle range. Why? Because of the thermostatic control. Most come with a very nice digital temperature controller with a probe. I've often seen damaged units on sale cheap at the local warehouse store.

From personal experience I know the Cuisinart can hold 50F even when filled with bottles -- or chocolate LOL, as that was my very first chocolate cooler.

This would make the display's temperature adjustable. In my case the TE cooler just runs full-tilt all the time and sometimes can get a little too cold, especially if the display is left filled overnight with the lights turned off.


updated by @carlos-eichenberger: 09/09/15 07:41:08AM
Clay Gordon
@clay
03/20/12 08:10:27PM
1,680 posts

Carlos -

Did you see these?Twine. it wouldn't take much to use the built-in temperature sensor to build an on-off switch to keep the temp regulated within very narrow limits, especially when the units are DC powered.

:: Clay




--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Roy Greenhalgh
@roy-greenhalgh
03/20/12 09:31:51PM
9 posts

LOL Well at least I know I'm thinking in the right line here- I just spent a few days looking into various Coleman and Koolatron coolers and a few cheap wine coolers. Even took a trip today to the local Restaurant Supply shop to check their "Room of broken Dreams" (Used items from Failed Restaurants and shops)

I was toying with the idea of just buying a Koolatron just to see what I have to work with but for about $20USD more I could get one of the wine coolers Cheebs mentioned. I have a lighting contact that can give a nice discount on some LED lighting and light diffusers. So it's just a waiting game for the paycheck to hit before I start. Oh and I need a local Plexi worker. Ugh. I should write this down.

I wish someone would make a Youtube Vid on this. :)

Roy Greenhalgh
@roy-greenhalgh
03/23/12 04:49:47PM
9 posts

Here is an Update...right from EIC solutions...

Based on the information you provided, without an internal heat load you would require approximately 1500BTUs if the ambient temperature is 100F and you would like the case to be 70F. We have a 1500 BTU unit however it is $2760.00 and it is too large to mount on the size of your case. Our units are not designed for this sort of application. I find a website below that has some blogs about alternative cooling for this sort of application. I hope that you are successful in finding a solution, enjoy your weekend.

...and they linked me here to CL... LOL Well...at least She tried. Good thing I don't have a time limit on this thing.

Andy Ciordia
@andy-ciordia
03/26/12 09:22:31PM
157 posts
Casey! Davidson market, sounds like fun. It's always been way too far for us to travel but it's a nice market!Again there is no perfect solution. Everything has tolerance and associated costs.When outdoors you have ambient temps and humidity.Every time you open a holding container, electric or not, you will lose temperature and introduce humidity.Being busy will increase this exchange by a magnitude.No solution will obviate this, and most if not all will only solve the cold rebound. Ie how long it takes to turn to a cold temp.Another axiom you come across is the faster you get the rebound the more water crystals manifest. At least for those of us in humidity belts. You see you trap the humidity then the cold creates a dew point. You can keep your product cold but then keeping it dry becomes your next hurdle. There is always something.So.. What we came up with after taking coolers, freezers, and fridges out--you create a series of containers. No high tech thing needed, no dry ice either--humidity is worse than lack of ultimate chill.Standard freezer packs. Large squares work great. For each cooler pick up 3 or 4.For us in June, 85-95' heat, 70+% humidity we would take 3 to 4 coolers. The lot of product for the day is organized by splitting the contents among the coolers in somewhat even amounts--this can be also axed by items of popularity. Bag your items in their categories, this is assuming your products are already boxed or packaged too. If you are selling individual chocolates, we stopped this but when we did we handeled it similarly. Large tubs replicated. The main goal of bagging is to keep moisture out by giving everything more time. In this model you may breach the container but if you keep additional humidity from other items you can sustain one cooler longer before needing to transfer.Ok so you start the morning in one cooler, that's one cooler that has been breached, only one getting contaminated by air and humidity. The day wears on and you migrate remaining products to next cooler, and onwards as sales or slowing of coolering or increased humidity/liquid becomes a nuisance.Time of year, craziness of weather, all dictate the speed and need to handle things in such an order but you do it a while you find the knack for keeping pristine chocolates and butter ganaches safe all day long.On the flip side my love of winter has grown. In December I need no ice, and can lay all produce out. Makes me so freakin happy. I abhor a July afternoon at a 5'oclock market. Luckily we don't have to do many of those anymore. ;)So! No cords, little clean up, and just freeze your packs again--gtg. I've always wanted something slicker but slicker has a huge cost or a huge weight and both always end up breaking or sucking at some time or another. "Keep it simple stupid" really seems to boomerang me on this one.
Andy Ciordia
@andy-ciordia
03/26/12 09:30:59PM
157 posts
Oh yea and my knowledge is for those who do not have permanent vending. We've had to vend at day or partial day mainly outdoor with rarely electric. Change the scope to something more friendly and the solutions change.
Casey Hickey
@casey-hickey
03/28/12 03:40:03PM
7 posts
andy - thanks for the thorough explanation. i see that it is quite a process, but you're really thought it through (and probably learned a lot by doing/mistakes/what ifs). DFM does have electricity, so that might help somewhat. though we'd still need to address the relative humidity issue very carefully. thanks so much for weighing in with your detailed explanation! with our unseasonably warm and early spring, i am very cautious about how we handle the market! cheers.
Andy Ciordia
@andy-ciordia
03/28/12 06:49:33PM
157 posts

If you bang your head on any market issues let me know, glad to either row with you or maybe explain some ideas around them. 4 years taught us more than I'd ever like to know. ;)

If there is a will there's a way; you have a great product and personality so I expect you'll find a warm reception.

Roy Greenhalgh
@roy-greenhalgh
04/05/15 06:37:18PM
9 posts

Wow!  Just re-read this whole thing and to be honest I'm frustrated as all hell.  I tried to get a case made up just like Carlos up there but my Wood working friend went bigger.  But it's an eye catcher.  

 https://www.facebook.com/488149624570362/photos/a.812392278812760.1073741827.488149624570362/818352691550052/?type=3&theater

(hope that link works...)  It is a wood and plexiglass tabletop case 35"x26"x25" with sliding glass doors in the back.

It's big and bad ass...but the Thermal Electric never worked.  He Macgyvered it using XBox powersupply to power most of it.  

After the show I cracked it open and replaced and rewired everything.

 I got 2 PSP's  ( http://www.amazon.com/Universal-Regulated-Switching-Computer-Project/dp/B00D7CWSCG/ref=pd_cp_hi_0?tag=vglnkc4130-20 )

A Temp Control Unit  ( http://www.amazon.com/Elitech-All-Purpose-Temperature-Controller-Thermostat/dp/B008KVGWT4/ref=pd_sim_lg_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=0N16Q2Z9B58JMHBBHR0Z&tag=vglnkc4130-20

Two TEC1-12726 Peltiers  

I wired everything the way I THOUGHT it should go, tested full flow with a meter- got lots of juice but I'm not getting any Temp Diference.  

I was hoping to have 2 smaller display units built and working by now but I can't get a temp difference.  

Anyone have any suggestions...good grief- it's been almost 4 years already?  

Sorry for all the links...it's been such a long time since I posted on a bbcode board.  :/ 

Kathryn Holt
@kathryn-holt
10/09/15 06:29:40PM
4 posts

Appreciate that this is an old post, but am quite excited by this cabinet. I was thinking of using a small wine cabinet but the good ones have dark doors and aren't really good for display purposes. So my question is whether the cabinet needs to have glass or whether  you could use some form of acrylic. Would it maintain the temperature as well? I am concerned to keep the weight down. I'm over filling the fridge with ice packs and constantly worrying about moving stuff around out of direct sun. 

Tags

Member Marketplace


Activity

slaviolette
 
@slaviolette • 6 months ago • comments: 0
Created a new discussion "Cost of goods produced":
"Hi Everyone, Been a long time member but I have not been in in a few years, the fact is that I had to close down my small chocolate business.. but now is..."
chocolatelover123
 
@chocolatelover123 • 8 months ago • comments: 0
Created a new forum topic:
New Chocolate Brand - "Palette"
Marita Lores
 
Marita Lores
 
Vercruysse Geert
 
Vercruysse Geert
 
Marita Lores