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Old 12-31-2011, 01:02 PM   #1
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Default Vissani Fermentation Chamber Build

Just wanted to share my Vissani fermentation chamber build with the forum. It’s the 52 bottle model MVW52B. The nice thing about this wine fridge is that you don’t have to modify the interior to fit a bucket or carboy. And at times HD has these on sale for around $150.

Here are the parts I used to make an EBay aquarium controller. The electrical parts cost $20, the controller was $23 shipped and the flex-watt heat tape was $16 shipped (Flexwatt Heat Tape). The extension cord was extra I had from my keezer build, so I just needed to put a plug on the end.



Using a Dremel I cut out the plastic:



Wired it up:





For the fridge I bypassed the thermostat by splicing the brown and red wires together. The wiring is behind the white plastic cover:





I attached the 11” wide 2’ long heat tape to the wall using industrial strength Velcro:

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Old 12-31-2011, 01:03 PM   #2
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And here is the finished project:




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Old 12-31-2011, 01:03 PM   #3
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These fridges seam to work fine for a fermentation chamber. Right now I have Belgium Golden Ale going where over a week I have ramped up the temperature from 68 to 72F. I also tested the cooling by running it down to 35F, with the chamber empty. With out the temperature controller the fridge only went down to between 45 and 50F with it set on the coldest setting. These are in my garage where the temperature is currently between 45 and 50F.

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Old 01-19-2012, 03:39 AM   #4
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Chris,

Your build has motivated me! I had already bought the same controller and heat tape and have been trying to find a used cooler on craigslist. HD has these at $148 right now, so I went over and bought one. I'll need it for summer ale brewing.

Can you tell me where you got the project box?

Can you share an idiots guide to wiring the power in there?

What are you using up against the sensor?

John

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Old 01-19-2012, 06:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by dyneq View Post
Chris,

Your build has motivated me! I had already bought the same controller and heat tape and have been trying to find a used cooler on craigslist. HD has these at $148 right now, so I went over and bought one. I'll need it for summer ale brewing.

Can you tell me where you got the project box?

Can you share an idiots guide to wiring the power in there?

What are you using up against the sensor?

John
John,

I got the project box from Lowes, they are over in electrical PVC conduit fittings section. Junction Box

For the sensor I'm just using a piece of foam pipe insulation. Pipe Insulation

For the wiring there is a lot of good information over in this thread:Ebay Aquarium Controller Thread
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Old 01-20-2012, 06:43 PM   #6
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Do you really need to modify the controller to use this for ales?

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Old 01-21-2012, 01:54 PM   #7
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Do you really need to modify the controller to use this for ales?
I don't know. I guess it would all depend upon the room temperature where the fridge is at and what the highest temperature it can maintain. For example the highest it can maintain may only be in the 50's possibly low 60's, I didn't really check that out before modifying it. I have these in my garage where temperature is anywhere from 40F to 80F, so I have to have both heating and cooling with a controller.
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Old 02-25-2012, 02:22 AM   #8
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Great build! Have you tried any lagers with his set up? I see you ran the temp down to the 40's. Just wondering how well it held over a few weeks and if these wine coolers have the cooling capacity and insulation to hold cold temps in the 40's. It seems like it should work after bypassing the thermostat.

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Old 02-26-2012, 01:06 AM   #9
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I currently have a lager going right now. I fermented at 54F but since my garage is colder than that (around 50F); the chamber really only heated. I also brought it up to 66F for a d-rest. I'm currenty bringing it down to a lager temp of 36F. I'll post up how it goes, but no issues so far.

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Old 05-01-2012, 12:29 AM   #10
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Hey Chris,

Just got my controller built this weekend and wanted to ask:

1. Once you bypass the t-stat, if you were to plug it into the wall without the controller, would it just run all the time and never stop? I'm planning on just using it for fermenting ales, so if I just crank the built-in temp control dial all the way up, I should be OK, right?

2. Did you do anything special to pass the heater power cable and temp sensor into the fridge, or did you just let the seal close on top of them?

Thanks,
John

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