Improving the Vissani kegerator

Discussion in 'Home Bar' started by Brewblues, Jan 20, 2013.

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  1. Brewblues

    Brewblues Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2008 Massachusetts

    Hi there - just received this kegerator as a gift:

    It comes with a CO2 tank, regulator, lines, and tower; but from what I've read about pre-assembled mid-range kegerators, it might be a good idea to replace some of these parts for optimal performance.

    I plan on purchasing a temperature control unit (as I'll be using this as a fermentation chamber between kegs), and was thinking of replacing the CO2 regulator and tower.

    Has anyone had any experience with this, or similar models? Any suggestions as to how best to improve on this?

  2. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (315) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    congrats. looks like you are most of the way there. you would be correct that alot of these big box style kegerators are only mediocre. to be sure, mediocre is ok if the price is right. however the cool thing about a kegerator, having draft beer in your home, is not very fun if the junk doesn't work like it is supposed to.

    so, in order of priority, these are a few of the things you should consider. i have not worked on this kegerator and haven't even seen it at home depot. but it is a safe bet it is like all the others. others will probably have some opinions too. im just one guy.
    1. add a tower cooler. a fan that moves warm air out of the tower and circulates cool air to the faucet. the short length of tube in the tower gets warm, the CO2 comes out of solution and your first pour is mostly foam. if you do not have cold beer all the way to the glass you are sunk. trust me. you want a tower cooler. it is probably the number one fault we deal with around here.

    2. consider a quality s/s faucet. a perlick forward seal is the Cadillac but any perlick or micromatic will be a big improvement over the plated chrome junk you most likely are suffering with. you want a heavy, solid faucet. name brands can also be rebuilt.

    3. your regulator may fail, or probably will eventually. an economy regulaotr from micromatic is bulletproof and cheap. use what you got for now, but don't be surprised if it goes off one day, for no good reason.

    there is alot of things to mess with, and alot ways to burn money. if your keg coupler or couplers are working, leave em alone. they are micromatic anyway. know your temps, meaure the temp of the beer glass. after a few wekks you'll know pretty well what needs to get upgraded. get it dialed in and live with for a while.

    also, youll want to know how to maintain this thing, how to balance it, how to clean it. beer is food. you absolutely need to know how to clean the system. ain't hard and you can not be lazy about the quality of food. buy bottles if you dont want to clean and maintain a kegerator.
  3. PortLargo

    PortLargo Devotee (472) Oct 19, 2012 Florida

    as I'll be using this as a fermentation chamber between kegs

    After reading the reviews, I think it might shine only as a fermentation chamber.

    There are a couple of temp controllers that can keep this at a higher temp . . . lots of discussion over brands like Johnson, Love, and Ranco and users seem to advocate their particular brand. I am in the Ranco camp, have two and they serve me well.
  4. IceAce

    IceAce Champion (867) Jan 8, 2004 California

  5. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (304) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    IceAce likes this.
  6. cubbyswans

    cubbyswans Aspirant (238) Jun 10, 2008 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    Pretty much all of the cheaper consumer brand kegerators have a pretty bad rap. Visit the forums on Micromatic and you will see thread upon thread for various brands, Vissani, included, and the problems that potentially come with these systems.

    The reality is that they almost universally have more than capable cooling components, and the temperature control/electronics in these things of most usually the culprit of any problems. Often they just do not cool to the desired temperature. They CAN cool adequately, they just don't because of shoddy temperature controls built in. The desired temp for most people is "ice cold" since most people are drinking Bud Light. Now, couple that with the fact that probably 95% getting into a kegerator for the first time have no clue that they need to balance the system to get a good pour. People buy a kegerator, slap in a keg of Bud Light, the kegerator only cools to 40ish, someone tells them to set the PSI to 6, there is no tower cooler built in.... and boom... foam city. So what do they do? Give the thing a bad review and sell it on Craig's list. They expect plug n play and it doesn't work that way.

    The more expensive units? Well, they don't sell them at Home Depot so finding reviews is not as easy. People willing to spend that kind of coin on a unit are more likely to have some previous kegerator experience so they may know what they are doing, and d) the things generally cool better plus have tower coolers built in.

    So with a bit of understanding, and loving care, it is quite easy to make a cheap consumer unit perform just as well as an expensive commercial unit. I spent $430 on a Danby, $20 on a home made tower cooler, $1 on a resistor to mod the temperature cooling, researched on how to balance a keg, and have not had a problem with it in 5 years.
    Jwale73 and PortLargo like this.
  7. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (315) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    or log into BA, ask questions expecting an easy answer and get frustrated because the guy in Millwork really didn't give such great advice after all.
    Caveat Emptor.
    IceAce likes this.
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