Sous Vide Cooking

Tag: PID controller

Addélice, a new Immersion Circulator Manufacturer entering the sous vide cooking market?

by on Jun.24, 2009, under Equipments & Accessories

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Such information is so rare on the sous vide cooking “planet” that it mustn’t go unnoticed.

Immersion circulator manufacturer are historically laboratories equipment suppliers. Some of these suppliers have slightly adapted their thermal circulators to comply with sous vide cooking needs (refer to Molecularcuisine.org list and price comparison of immersion circulators). It is true that no cook need a machine that can heat above 100°C (212°F) as only water should be used for sous vide cookery. Some immersion circulators can even heat liquids at 200 or 300°C (392-572°F)!
Nevertheless the design of these machines dates back to the eighties and lab equipment manufacturers still have the “monopoly” of the sous vide cooking market.

It seems things are changing and, if the information is true, a new supplier enters the small club of sous vide cooking manufacturers. Contrary to some companies that only relabelled others products, Addélice seems to have designed its own immersion circulator. Addélice internet site is not very talkative
sous-vide-cooking-org-cookery-equipment-immersion-circulator-thermal-circulator-addelicebut indicates that their immersion circulator is a pure product from Addélice and will be price competitive. Addélice immersion circulator should be released mid August.

Wait and see…

Jean-François

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Julabo EC Immersion Circulator to be borrowed in summer holidays

by on Jun.20, 2009, under Equipments & Accessories

I put a little announcement on the French part of Molecularcuisine.org forum to know if someone could sell for a good price an old immersion circulator.
I received a very friendly answer from a University professor, a cooking freak, who is ok to borrow me a Julabo EC during summer holidays. He confirmed this immersion circulator was used to cultivate algae stuff. He said the appliance is safe.

I feel very lucky and thankful to this person that I unfortunately can’t name as he told me to be very discreet (he is not really allowed to borrow me this immersion circulator). 

See you in some weeks with my new toy!

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First impressions about SousVideMagic 1500B of Fresh Meal Solutions

by on Jun.14, 2009, under Equipments & Accessories, Recipes

I received yesterday my temperature PID controller so called SousVideMagic 1500B from Fresh Meal Solutions. I experimented some hours later cooking sous vide with a 400 gr beef fillet at 58°C (136.4°F) for 1:45 hours.

SousVideMagic 1500B is definitely not an aesthetic cooking equipment but the finishings are ok and everybody who buys such machine knows that your kitchen will look a bit messy with all these cables…

My first problem was to read the 25 pages manual (available on Fresh Meal Solutions’ internet site)! If your are not comfortable with English and usually not enjoying reading manual then…back luck for you! Sousvidemagic’s manual is only available in English and gives you headache since you start looking at PID tuning!
It took me some minutes to understand how to shift the SousVideMagic from °F to °C. Trust me this was not a ”push one button” function key.
The major issues I had to face with were contained in the Fresh Meals Solutions’ manual warnings:

  • “Use listed cookers with heaters rated accurately for their power wattage and with their own thermal cut off protection (thermostatic or thermal fuse) in case of any SVM failures. Do not use it with electric cook tops or hot plates. SVM is designed to control the cookers recommended by Fresh Meals Solutions only. Using it to control cookers not on the recommended list can be dangerous and cause fire hazards. Fresh Meals Solutions is not liable for damages caused by misuses of SVM”.
  • “Always place the SVM sensor in the cooker’s water bath before turning it on. Leaving the SVM temperature sensor outside of the water bath while cooking will form an open loop operation. This way the sensor is measuring ambient temperature and not the actual bath temperature, as a result SVM will allow the cooker to heat at full power indefinitely. It will not only overheat the controller, but also damage your cooker, and may even cause a fire”.

After reading the manual it was not clear for me if my rice cooker was “listed” by Fresh Meal Solutions as a recommended cooker. Nevertheless I went further and wired the one I purchased in China Town for EUR 45.

The second warning (“don’t take the temperature probe off the rice cooker”) is easy to manage nevertheless I consider this to be a major failure in terms of excess temperature protection. No excess temperature protection switch is provided in this case. This machine will burn, that’s all! In otherwords no kids should go around the SousVideMagic pulling on wires and no scatterbrained people dealing with this machine. 

Fresh Meal Solutions also recommend using hot water to fill cooker’s water bath or pre-heat the water close to set temperature first, before hooking Sousvidemagic to the cooker.

I took for you some nice pictures to show the rear view of the SousVideMagic 1500B (I like taking pictures). As you’ll see this is a very simple appliance. You’ll also see the kind of socket adaptor you’ll need to purchase for European users. 

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I also verified if Fresh Meal Solutions’ temperature probe was as precise as mentioned on their site. I took a glass of water and immersed the SousVideMagic probe and the Mastrad one together. I made the test in °F and the result was excellent: 1°F of difference! The response time of the 2 probes is also very good.

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Now lets talk about my first experiment cooking sous vide with SousVideMagic: a beef fillet at 59°C for almost 2 hours.

I verified during the 2 hours cooking period if the temperature mentioned by the SousVideMagic 1500B was actual (you’ll see on the picture that I switched to °C). In fact I think I would have never trust the SousVideMagic would be so steady and accurate if I would not have made this test. I confirm this sous vide cooking equipment is precise and steady! 

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Here the result: a fantastic colour for that beef fillet, very tender and juicy. I loved it!
For food safety please visit this link.

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Sous vide cooking with a temperature PID controller (SousVideMagic of Fresh Meals Solutions)

by on Jun.12, 2009, under Equipments & Accessories, General Topics

I am now very happy and relieved to jump to the next step of my experimentation consisting in trying all kind of sous vide cookers and accessories. Cooking sous vide with a gas stove, a halogen stove or a basic water bath (bain-marie) was such a pain in the neck! The main advantage of this was the cost of the equipments, close to zero (except for the vacuum machine) but it was really hell to maintain a constant temperature.

Let’s try a PID controller!
But first what is a PID (Proportion, Intregral, Derivative) temperature controller?

The PID temperature controller is the most sophisticated controller available providing exceptional performance at a surprisingly low price. But what is it, really?

Here are 4 articles that should help you understand it!

The first link is the most accessible information I could find about a PID controller. Let’s call it “PID controller explained for dummies”. This fantastic video was made by robot geeks and explains speed PID controller. You just have to replace into your mind speed by temperature! This video is a bit long to download but if you would have to watch one piece of information about the PID controller in your life time I would strongly suggest you to watch this video!

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This second link is giving a little more information about temperature PID controller (still understandable for an average intelligent brain).

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Here are 2 links that I would recommend for people who are really interested in tuning PID controllers. In other words, don’t even dare clicking on these links  if your are not a scientist!

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Sous vide cooking with a rice cooker paired with a temperature PID controller.

A rice cooker or other heating appliance will cycle on and off, causing fairly wide temperature fluctuations. To avoid this some people pair a rice cooker with a PID controller. The PID controller has a thermo-sensor that is inserted into the rice cooker water. You set the PID device to a certain temperature, and the PID will control the amount of electricity that activates the heater, thus keeping the water temperature at a constant.

Although other heating appliances can also work, the simple rice cooker seems best suited to work with the PID device for sous vide applications. You must buy a rice cooker that has a basic mechanical on and off switch. Don’t purchase an expensive sophisticated rice cooker, it will probably not work with the temperature PID controller.

What are the temperature PID controllers available on the market for sous vide cooking purposes?

Traceable Temperature Controller

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Auber Instruments

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SousVideMagic 1500B form Fresh Meal Solutions

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I purchased the SousVideMagic 1500B as it seems to be the most popular one. Feedback of people who purchased it is excellent. The cost for this temperature PID controller is USD 169 plus approx. USD 25 shipping costs to Europe (USD 99 if you don’t have the patience to wait, therefore you’ll get it within 3 days with Fedex).
For non North American users an input power cord and an adaptor to the socket of local standard will have to be purchased separately.

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To sum up, the global cost for my SousVideMagic temperature PID controller is:

  • SousVideMagic 1500B: USD 169 + USD 25 = USD 194 incl. sending
  • Custom duties: EUR 35
  • Basic rice cooker: EUR 45
  • Input power cord and socket adaptor: approx EUR 16.

Grant total (1 EUR = 1.4 USD): approx. EUR 234 (USD 327)

I sould receive my SousVideMagic tomorrow. I’ll give you my first comments as soon as possible!

Jean-François

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Core temperature and time given by ICC Roner for cooking sous vide

by on May.31, 2009, under Equipments & Accessories, Recipes

While checking if the Roner Compact has or not a PID temperature controller I found an interesting information provided by ICC Roner in one of its manual (pages 2 and 3). This document is in Spanish and I hope I did not make any translation mistakes (see the table below). Roner gives some information about the core temperature of some products and the time it should remains at this temperature.

ICC Roner’s information about core temperature and time while sous vide cooking

  Weight Core °C Water bath °C Time (min.) Comments
Tuna 150 g 38 50 11 to be grilled 2 min
Codfish 200 g 38-40 50 12 to be served immediately
Mackerel 100 g 43 43 8 to be served immediately
Sea Bass 200 g 45 50 15 to be grilled 2 min
Hake 200 g 50 60 12 to be served immediately
Monkfish 180 g 48 60 12 to the furnace for some secondes
Ray 150 g 50 55 10 to be served immediately
Salmon 200 g 38 50 13 to be served immediately
Veal steak 200 g 50 65 15 to be grilled 2 min
Foie gras 300 g 60 65 20 to be grilled 2 min
Loin of lamb 200 g 60 65 20 to be grilled 2 min
Breast of "fattened chicken" 180 g 62 65 20 to be grilled 2 min
Roast beef 350 g 55 65 17 to be grilled 2 min
Artichokes 500 g 90 90 45 to be grilled 2 min
Banana 100 g 65 65 20 to be served immediately

I have now the feeling that I have to take an interest in waterproof hypodermic probes…

Anyway, thank to Karl who was right. Roner compact water bath does not contain any PID temperature controller. Therefore the main differences between my basic water bath and a Roner Compact water bath are: a water pump, the heating element of Roner Compact is located in the water, a security water sensor, a temperature probe located directly in the water.

Jean-François

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