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DIY Sous Vide Heating Immersion Circulator for About $75

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I’ve recently been fascinated by the idea of sous vide cooking – a method of slowly cooking vacu-sealed foods in a precisely controlled water bath to achieve the optimal doneness.  Last year, Sur La Table started carrying the world’s first “home” sous vide cooker, the SousVide Supreme.  This was fantastic, since commercial sous vide cooking machines cost north of $2000.  However, the home model (priced at $450) is still a steep investment for something that essentially just keeps water warm.  I was determined that I could build a better device on-the-cheap.

Behold, the $75 DIY sous vide heating immersion circulator!  By scrapping together parts that are readily available on eBay and Amazon, I was able to build a self-contained device that heats and circulates water while maintaining a temperature accurate to .1 degree Celsius (yes, point one degrees!).  And unlike the SousVide Supreme, my device can be mounted onto any container (up to a reasonable size, perhaps 15 gallons) allowing you more room to cook, if needed.

To build your own device, you’ll need some basic soldering skills, the list of stuff below, about 6 hours of free time (plus time for glue to dry) and the can-do attitude of a geek who doesn’t want to pay $450 for a water heater.  Click the “more” link for complete step-by-step instructions.

If these instructions have helped you build you own machine, I hope you’ll consider donating.  My goal is to mass-produce the world’s first sous vide heating immersion circulator for under $100, and every donation helps!

Update: Along with my business partners, I’ve finally commercialized a home sous vide machine!  It’s called the Sansaire, and it’s available for pre-order now!
Sansaire $199 Sous Vide Machine

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Makes: 1 sous vide immersion heater
Total tinker time: about 6 hours

Shopping list:

Note: Make sure the controller you purchase has an SSR or Voltage output.  Controllers with a relay-only output will require an external relay and different wiring than what is listed in this project.

I’ve updated the parts list to specify an SSR – it adds a little to the cost of the project, but it is far more reliable, easier to connect, and works with any SSR/Voltage-output PID controller.

  • 1 piece of 1/4” acrylic, about 5cm x 20cm
  • 1/4” x 2” eye bolt and nut
  • About 2’ of 16-18 gauge wire
  • 3 wire nuts
  • Electrical tape
  • A means of cutting acrylic (see article)
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • Multimeter (tool that measures voltage, current, resistance)
  • Hobby knife (X-Acto or similar)
  • Tub and Tile Silicone Caulk
  • Hot glue gun
  • Krazy Glue

Step 1 – Making cutouts in your enclosure

This is the most difficult part of the whole project.  In order for the final assembly to be sturdy, water-resistant and decent looking, you’ll need to cut your mounting holes as precisely as possible.  I am very lucky to have access to a laser cutter at a lab at work, which makes this kind of precision cutting very easy and accurate.  However, in the absence of a $30K computerized laser cutting machine, with a steady hand, you can achieve the same results using a high-speed rotary tool like a Dremel.

I’ve included a cutting template that is matched to the heaters, PID controller and switch in the shopping list.  However, if you use different parts (different models, different manufacturers) you’ll need to adjust the template to ensure a tight fit of all parts.

image Click here for the 1:1 scale diagram (PDF)

  1. Pick a side of the storage container that you want to be the bottom.  Using the template as a guide, cut out the three holes for the immersion heaters.  Make sure that these holes are closest to the open end of the container (the end that has the lid) to ensure you’ll be able to reach inside later for wiring, etc.
  2. Next, cut the small oval-shaped hole for the water pump power cord.
  3. Turn the container over so the side with the holes is facing down.  Now, cut out the openings for the PID controller, the on-off switch, and the power cord.  Be sure that the hole for the PID controller is towards the top.  Otherwise, you’ll be cramped for space when trying to reach the back of the controller.
  4. Next, dry-fit all of the parts to ensure a good, snug fit.  The tighter the fit, the more sturdy the finished product will be. IMG_0441

Step 2 – Making the mounting bracket and pump holder

The mounting bracket is a J-shaped piece of acrylic that will let you attach the finished sous vide cooker to the side of a pot or basin.

  1. Cut out the rectangle on the 2nd page of the parts diagram and drill the hole as indicated.
  2. Find a rectangular surface that will allow you to make the 2 90-degree bends necessary to shape the acrylic into a “J”.  I used a small, glass olive oil bottle with flat sides and rounded corners.
  3. Turn on your stove.  Holding the long end of the acrylic with an oven mitt, warm it a few inches above your stovetop, turning to heat both sides.  It may take a few minutes for the acrylic to be warm enough to bend- you’ll know you’re getting close when the acrylic starts to curl away from the heat.
  4. Bend the acrylic along (approximately) the lines indicated in the diagram to form a “J”.  Press the bottom part of the J (not the side with the hole, and not the long side) against a flat surface such as your counter top.  Immediately cool the acrylic with cool water to hold its form.

Step 3 – Mounting the immersion heaters

The immersion heaters are the primary working element of the sous vide machine.  We’ll mount them hanging down from the bottom of the enclosure, and arranged so that the opening in the middle of the coil is lined up between all three heaters.

  1. Cut the power cord off of each heater, leaving about a 4” tail of wires from the heating end.  Keep one of the long lengths of power cord (including the plug) to use later as the main power cord.
  2. Using your hobby knife, scrape down the flat sides of the heater handles to remove lettering and to flatten out the circular rim at the top of the handle.  This will allow for a deeper and tighter fit in the heater openings.
    IMG_0444
  3. Arrange all three heaters in their respective openings.  Note that the heaters should be oriented such that the coils are facing towards the center-line of the enclosure.  You should be able to fit your finger down the middle of all three coils.  Make sure the heaters are snug in their openings. IMG_0449
  4. Apply a small bead of tub and tile caulk around the heaters on the outside of the enclosure.  Allow to dry overnight before proceeding.

Step 4 – Wiring

CAUTION: Don’t ever power on the heater coils unless they are submerged in water!  Also, don’t electrocute yourself.

If you have experience with basic circuitry and wiring, this will be pretty easy.  However, if you’ve never worked with a soldering iron or circuit diagrams, these steps will take you a while.  Refer to the wiring diagram below for the “big picture.”

Wiring diagram for JLD612 PID Controller with SSR

sous vide electrical diagram for LJD612 PID

Wiring Diagram for CD101 PID Controller with physical relay

Update: I’ve updated the wiring diagram to make it clear that the view of the relay posts is from below.  In other words, if you set the relay down on your table with the pins facing up, that will match the alignment in the wiring diagram.

circuit diagram

 

  1. Strip off about 1/4” of shielding from your power cord (remember, the cord that you saved from one of the immersion heaters?).  Run the power cord in through the power cord opening on the front of the enclosure.  Separate the 2 wires about 6”.  One of these wires will go through the power switch, and the other will go directly to the PID controller, heaters and pump.
  2. Use your multimeter to find the two posts on the back of the power switch that are normally open, but closed when the switch is on.  On my power switch, these were the far and middle posts (not the two posts closest to the “ON” side of the switch, you know, with the dot).  IMG_0457
  3. Pass the switch mounting nut (the thing that screws on the back) over one lead from the power cable, inside the enclosure.  Run the lead out through the power switch hole.  Solder that lead to one of the posts you identified in step 2.  Cut an 8” length of wire and solder one end to the 2nd lead on the switch.  Tuck the wires inside the enclosure, place the switch in its hole, and tighten the mounding nut to secure it in place.  You’re now done with the power switch.
  4. Next, wire together the heater leads.  Separate the leads from the heating coils.  Gather together one lead from each coil to make two bundles of three.  Cut two 6” lengths of wire and add one to each bundle.  You should now have two bundles, each with four wires – 3 of which go to the heaters, and one left dangling.  Solder the wires in each bundle together, then cap with a wire nut and some electrical tape.
    IMG_0460
  5. Of the leads you have coming out of the heater bundles, one will go straight to the incoming power, and the other will go to the relay that turns on and off the heaters.
  6. At this point, it gets too difficult to describe the rest of the wiring in words, so refer to the wiring diagram.  Just make sure to be aware of how everything will mount in the enclosure when you’re all done.  Pass the wires through the mounting ring on of the PID controller before attaching them to the terminals, etc.
  7. After wiring the connections to the relay (or SSR), coat the bottom with hot glue to surround the connection points.  This will act as an insulator and prevent the relay from shorting out against any metal inside the case.  Or, if your SSR came with a plastic cover, secure it in place to prevent the connections from shorting.
  8. If you are using the PT100 thermocouple (which I recommend), make sure you connect the leads exactly as shown in the wiring diagram or you will have an inaccurate temperature reading.  (There’s no instruction manual with these probes, so it took 30 minutes of trying different combinations before I found the right one).

Step 5 – Final Assembly

  1. Using Krazy Glue, glue the J clamp to the bottom-front of the enclosure.  Wait until dry before proceeding.
    Note: This glue joint is a popular point of failure.  If you’d like, strengthen the connection between the J clamp and the body by using two screws and nuts.
  2. Glue the nut for the eye bolt to the inside of the hole in the J clamp.  Ensure that the nut lines up with the hole so the eye bolt can pass through.
    eye bolt
  3. Seal the openings for the power cord and pump cord using tub and tile caulk.
  4. Put the back cover on the enclosure and wrap the seam with electrical tape.
  5. Stick the suction cup feet of the immersion pump to the flat end of the J clamp and position the water outlet to pump through the middle of the heating coils.DSC_0039

Step 6 – Testing

Now that everything is wired up and assembled, you probably want to see if it works.  WAIT!  Don’t turn the machine on (ever!) unless the coils are submerged in water or, they will burn out in about 5 seconds (I learned this the hard way).  DSC_0038
To test the machine out, fill a basin with water so that it covers at least the coil part of the heaters.   Mount the machine on the edge, so that the J clamp hangs over the lip.  Tighten the eye bolt to secure the machine.  Plug in the cord and flip the power switch!  If the PID controller turns on and the pump starts pumping, that’s a good sign!  Note that the heaters may not warm up just yet, depending on what the target temperature is by default.

Step 7 – Programming the PID Controller

For users of the JLD612 PID Controller

For programming instructions such as running Auto-tune and changing alarm values, refer to the JLD612 manual.  Here are the steps you should take when programming your controller for the first time.

  1. Press SET and enter code 0089, then press SET.
  2. Set the value of Inty to Pt10.0 to get the temperature to display with one decimal place.  (I had to set it to Pt100, then back to Pt10.0 to get this to work the first time.
  3. Select End to exit the programming menu.

 

For users of the CD101 PID Controller

Out-of-the-box, the PID controller is designed to work with a different type of thermocouple, so the readings that you get using a PT100 will be strange.  Follow the instructions in this manual (that doesn’t ship with the PID controller) to set it for the PT100 probe.  You can also follow the instructions there to set the number of decimal points of precision.

Next, set a target temperature by tapping the SET button, then using the up and down arrows to pick a number and pressing SET again to confirm.  50C is a good target temp.  The OUT1 light will light up, indicating that the PID controller is turning on the heater.  You should hear a soft clicking noise – this is the relay kicking in.  At this point, the heating coils are on and warming up.  As the temperature measured by the probe (green, top line) approaches the target value (orange, 2nd line), the relay will click on and off more frequently to sustain the temperature.. DSC_0040

Ideas, Improvements, Thoughts

After burning out my first set of heating coils, I realized that there must be a better method of heating the water.  The coils are very effective and heat the water very quickly.  However, I’m pretty paranoid about burning them out again, and they’re a pain to replace.  I’ve found some commercial immersion heating elements, but they’re about $100, which inflates the budget for this project by quite a bit.  I may try using the heating element and pump system from an old espresso machine, the kind that makes steam.  Since it already has a self-contained heater and an pump, it might even be cheaper than the heating coils and aquarium pump.

I’ve also thought about turning this machine into a general-purpose temperature control unit.   Instead of wiring the heaters directly to the relay, I would install a power outlet on the back of the enclosure and add a jack to plug in an external temperature probe.  If I wanted to use the immersion heaters, I’d just plug them in to the power outlet.  If one got fried, I’m only out $6 instead of an hour of removing glue and solder.  Also, a general-purpose temperature controller is great for making your own smoker box.  A-la Alton Brown, you can plug in a hotplate filled with wood chips and have a precisely temperature-controlled smoker for just a few bucks.

I’m thrilled to start playing with sous vide cooking, and I’m happy that I was able to build an accurate, reliable machine for $75.  Even the PID Controller + Crockpot method costs $185 (not including the Crockpot!).

Troubleshooting

I gotten a lot of emails and comments asking for troubleshooting help, and rightfully so – there’s a lot going on in this project, especially if you’re pretty new to DIY electronics.  I’ve decided to add my basic troubleshooting routine, which should hopefully get you sorted out.  If you still have problems, please post a comment below, or send me an email at scott@seattlefoodgeek.com.

If your heaters don’t get hot when they should (i.e., your machine isn’t working), do the following:

  1. Ensure that your OUT1 light goes on and off when it should.  It should be on when the unit is heating, and off when you’re at or above the set value.  If not, double check that you’ve set your temperature probe type correctly, and that OUT1 is set to heating mode in the PID settings menu.  If this looks correct, proceed to step 2.
  2. Verify that your PID controller has an SSR/Voltage output.  This should be specified on the sticker on the side of your PID controller.  The controller in the photo below only has a relay output (this is not what you want).
    relay only controller
    PID controllers generally have two types of outputs: relay and voltage.  Contrary to how it sounds, a relay output is not used for controlling a relay.  Rather, a PID controller with a relay output actually has an internal relay.  Unfortunately, the internal relay is typically not rated for the kind of load that the heating coils pull, so you cannot connect them directly to the internal relay.  A PID controller with an SSR/voltage output produces a DC voltage (8-12V DC) that we can use to control an external mechanical relay or a solid state relay (SSR).  That’s what we want.
    Telltale signs that your PID controller has a relay-only output: a) there’s no voltage across pins 5&6 (or the corresponding pins on your controller) when the OUT1 light is on, b) you hear a clicking sound when OUT1 turns on and off, even when your external (blue) relay is disconnected, and c) you measure continuity across the pins that correspond to OUT1 when OUT1 is on.
    If you have a PID controller with a relay output, not all is lost.  You’ve got two options:
    1)  Return it for a PID controller with an SSR/voltage output, or
    2)  Use the internal relay to control an external 120VAC relay that is rated for 8+ Amps @ 120VAC.  The wiring for this configuration is a little messier, and you’ll need to buy a different relay than the one specified in the parts list.  The wiring diagram for this configuration is below.  Note that I haven’t attempted to show the actual pin configuration of the external relay – rather this is the logical way you’ll need to wire it in.
    circuit diagram for relay-out
    If you’re sure that your PID controller has an SSR/voltage output, proceed to step 3.
  3. Verify that you are using the right kind of relay for your PID controller. The CD101 will work with either an SSR (solid state relay) or a physical relay. However, the JLD612 and many other PID controllers will only work with an SSR.
  4. If you’re using a CD101 and a physical relay, ensure that your external (blue) relay is wired correctly.  You should hear a clicking noise coming from that relay when OUT1 lights up or turns off.  If not, you may have connected the leads from pins 5 & 6 backwards, or your external relay may require a higher activation voltage than what your PID controller outputs.  Measure the voltage from pins 5 & 6 and compare to the coil voltage specified by your relay.  In practice, there is some wiggle room (ex., a relay with a 9V coil will often be activated by less than 9V).  If the PID doesn’t produce enough voltage, buy an SSR.  If your relay is clicking, proceed to step 5.
  5. Check for 120VAC going to the heater leads when OUT1 is on.  If you’re not seeing a voltage, check the connections across your relay and between pin 1 and your heaters.  If you’re getting 120VAC to your heater bundles, proceed to step 6.
  6. Your heaters are likely burnt out.  This can happen in a flash if you accidentally supply power to the heaters when they are out of water.  Double check by submerging your heaters and connecting an 120VAC power source directly to the leads (exercising great caution not to electrocute yourself).  If they heat up, you’ve got a loose wire somewhere in your connections.  If they don’t heat up, they’re burnt out and you’ll need to replace them.

If these instructions have helped you build you own machine, I hope you’ll consider donating.  My goal is to mass-produce the world’s first sous vide heating immersion circulator for under $100, and every donation helps!




998 comments on “DIY Sous Vide Heating Immersion Circulator for About $75”

Having a hard time finding the PT100 thermocouple probe, any ideas on where to get one from? I am really looking forward to completing this project.

I was able to get mine working using a JLD612. I ending up setting it to have the internal relay as the PID controlled output. I have the internal relay hook up to a 12V DC power supply which is connected to the control side of the external relay Scott uses in his build. I have the heaters controlled by the external relay. So the internal relay clicks on which sends the 12V signal to the external relay which clicks the heaters on. It’s a little bit of a convoluted set-up but I was worried about burning out the internal relay. Also it gives me a 12V source which I will use to power a motor with propeller when the pump burns out.

so i had my electrician friend make all the connections and we are all set up correctly, BUT… my PID is not putting out enough power to flip the relay on. it is only putting out 6.9 volts when out1 is fully lit. Im using a JLD-612 PID and am wondering if there is a problem with the programming as the manual says it should be putting out at least a constant of 8volts. i will begin looking for a smaller relay in the meantime, but if anyone knows if i can fix the relay power issue with some button pushing… that would totally rock

HELP… I got my unit fully assembled and wired up to the point of hooking up my PID, the PID I got from the above link is the JLD612, does anyone have a pin out diagram that i could use? Having a hard time figuring out where to hook all of the wires into. Thanks for your time. I am so close to completing this project I can taste it!

Ok, so I just ordered my parts for this but I made a couple of modifications and I thought I’d put them up here to see if anyone thinks they’re totally stupid or maybe worthwhile.

1) Instead of the relay above, I went with a solid state relay to eliminate mech. failure. It was cheap, but I bought a heat sink for it too, just to give a lil’ thermal protection.
2) The one part I haven’t bought yet is the heating element. I think I want to use one from a whole house water heater and just feed it 120V. Hopefully this will allow it to be changed out easier.
3) To avoid burning the element out, I want to put 2 stainless steel rods into the bath. These will be close together, but not touching, and be connected in series with the relay control. I think as long as the bath is not grounded this should work fine. Maybe I need some kind of amp. on this circuit to push it thru the water?

I think this is everything, thanks.

All,

I too am having trouble getting the JLD612 to work with an SSR. I am using pins 6 & 7, which are labeled as SSR Output and it is working, but the temperature readout is jumping up and down a couple of degrees every second. It is also showing alarms on AL1 and AL2. Does anyone have any information on how to wire and program a JLD612 correctly with an SSR?

Thanks!

I finished mine tonight and tried it for the first time. It rocks! It needs a few tweaks (e.g. the thermometer is off by a degree or so) but otherwise works great. Thanks Scott!

Hi Scott,
can you provide a wiring digram for using an internal relay to control an external 120v one? would the same arrangement work for a SSR?

I have blown out my second PID, so i am revamping the case and relay system…thanks for your help!

All,

Just thought I would mention that I found out what was causing my reading to jump around on the JLD612. It turns out that you can fix this issue by grounding the outer wire-mesh shield of the thermocouple to pin #10 on the PID. If anyone else has this issue, give it a try!

Hello everybody!! Buah, so close. So I don’t know how to enable the external relay on my PID. I’ve looked at the instructions a bunch but it’s foreign language. I changed the settings to those of Alvin Schultz’s but he uses the internal relay. Any help would be appreciated!!!

John,
is the system up and running but it is not switching on?

If so and you are using a sloid state relay, make sure you are using the autotune setting on your PID and it should activate.

Allright, system is up an running when using the internal relay. now i want to put in the ssr relay but can’t figure out the setting on the CD101 PID to change it from internal to ssr, or should that be taken care of by the autotune setting???

Hello All,
The connections are correct for the ssr relay, I get continuity over the ssr relay. My problem is with the PID settings and my manual which I can’t make much sense of. I don’t know how to set OUT1’s function to Heating, and the AT doesn’t seem to do it either. Thanks again for everyone’s patience.

How long does the Auto Tune take to complete? I have been working on this project for at least a month and still cant get this working right. Do I have to use a SSR while using the PLD612? Why are the AL1 and AL2 lights always on?

Hey all, I have been trying to get my system up and running for a while but cant quite figure it out. I have a 25a ssr and a CD101, everything turns on except for the heaters. I have tried putting autotune on and I am sure it is set for heating so I think i might have wired the relay wrong. Can somebody please post how they wired theirs? Thanks.

JD, here’s the datasheet for your relay (assuming the digikey link is correct): http://datasheet.octopart.com/D4825-Crydom-datasheet-20575.pdf
.
It looks like polarity matters on your SSR and Scott’s wiring diagram has the polarity reversed–pin 5 on the PID is +12v and pin 6 is -12v–so you may have them reversed as well. So you should have:
PID pin 5 –> SSR pin 3
PID pin 6 –> SSR pin 4
AC power –> SSR pin 1
line to heater coil(s) –> SSR pin 2

@Deeg I have continuity between pid pin 4&5 with out 1 light on. Should I assume pin 5 to still be + and make pin 4 -? And should i still have the line to the other heating coils going to pin 1 on the pid like in Scotts original wiring? Thanks

Is anyone else having success with the JLD612? do you have to use a SSR? I have been working on this for a while now and would love to get going. Any help would be great!!

JD, I’m not sure I understand you. If you’re using the same PID as Scott then you should be connecting the SSR to pins 5&6 on the PID, not 4&5. For the AC power, yes, you can have the other heating coil wire connected to pin 1 on the PID.

I will try on 5&6 but mine has an internal relay which Scott doesn’t have and others have had success using 4&5. I will give it a shot though.

Ah, I didn’t realize you have the internal relay; my bad. That makes it more difficult. If your external relay is the D4825
then you need a separate DC power supply which you will connect to your PID and the external relay (I suggest something between 5v to 15v). You can use a cheap wall-wart; a thrift store near me has tons of them for 50 cents. (Alternatively you can exchange your D4825 for an A4825, which accepts AC power for the control signal.)
.
I don’t have the PID with the internal relay so I don’t know what PID pins to use (it may be 4&5 as you said) but your wiring should look like this:
.
DC +V –> PID relay “in” pin (pin 4?)
PID relay “out” pin (pin 5?) –> External SSR pin 3
External SSR pin 4 –> DC -V
.
Pins 1&2 on your external SSR will stay the same as before. Does that make sense?

Having the same issues as Aaron above, have the JLD612, wired everything up like Scott directed and am not having any success. the AL1 and AL2 lights are always on, I can get the PID to recognize the PT100 the temp starts going up then stops and the pid clicks, do I need to go to the SSR, if so what do I need. How do I program the JLD612??

Hey Scott,
Old thread, I know, but I’m hoping you might still check this; I found these instructions ended up building something similar to Alvin’s with a separate controller box and heating/flow box. I have everything wired up (PID is a CXTG-3000 that’s similar to your model and a PT100 probe) and everything works fine EXCEPT I can’t get the temperature to read the correct values, I’m testing it against another thermometer (and room temperature) and it’s reading a good ~30-40F lower than it should be. I’ve tried swapping the wires on the controller to all 6 possible positions but I’m having no luck… If I swap the positive and negative wires I get the exact same temperature reading but if the third wire (I assume ground?) is in any other slot the PID reads an error so I assume it’s a setting. I have SL1 set to 1100 and I’ve tried all of the other probe values in the manual but it never gives me the right reading. I’m thinking it might be a faulty probe but I have no way of testing this.

Thoughts?

@Cliff – I’d check the manual that came with your PID controller. It’s entirely likely that the SL1 value for a PT100 probe might be different for your model.

Also, if the temperature is always off by the same amount, you can adjust the Offset parameter to compensate.

Unfortunately I have, several times actually, which is why I ultimately ended up cycling through all the available settings.

Also, it’s not a fixed value delta, it’s definitely a sliding scale so I can’t just set the offset. It did just occur to me that I had set it to Fahrenheit though so I think I’ll collect some new data points to see if it’s a static offset in Celsius…

Nope, looks like the thing is just giving me low readings no matter what I do, and not by a set amount. Time to curb it for the night and try again tomorrow… unless someone in the Seattle area is awake with a PT100 I can borrow, heh.

I had the exact same problem – it read wrong in Fareinheit and Celcius – the Celcius reading was more wrong! Turns out to be a faulty unit – contacted the seller and got a replacement that’s been fine.

@Matt: Faulty PID or probe? I’ve done a few tests on mine, at extreme temperatures (0C or 100C) it gets pretty wildly off, for my normal cooking range (55-85) it’s only a little bit off so I just set the bias (Pb) so that my medium rare comes is “actual” and I’ll probably put a label on the unit with a lookup table. Not elegant but I’ll probably be building my own controller out of an Arduino board for V2 of this which I’ll have total control of…

I’m gonna try this again.

Hey guys,

First, I’m using the exact setup/parts that Scott has links to. I’m not sure if I have an internal relay or not.

I’ve been having a few problems. First my heaters were always on with the wire from the pump/PID #2 connected to the left top post when looking at it from the top and I saw somebody said that I had the wire going to the wrong post. So, now when I switched the Top Left to the Top Right, I don’t get any heat at all. Please help. I do have a multimeter, but I have no idea how to use it. Everything is using the exact parts/wiring as the original diagram other than my expirement with changing the wiring on the top 2 posts of the relay.

Thanks,

Kris

Latest success,
2 T bone steaks 60.5 C for about 41 minutes – Lightly seasoned Garlic powder and salt. Then Surface browned (re thermalised) using ribbed cast iron pan – gave nice grill mark hatching.

Melt in the mouth tenderness!!!,

I read a book that said that all Sous vide cooked items should start at chilled temps – any comment on this?

I have built this according to the directions and using almost all the same parts. I have a JLD612 PID. The PID shows EEEE (out of range) on PV if I have it set to pt100 or pt10.0. I have tried switching the wiring and with and without the yellow (3rd) wire attached. I also accidentally ordered a pt100 that wasn’t long enough at first, so I tried to wire that one in and I still got EEEE. Do I have a faulty PID?

John,
you dont have to use chilled foods, but you cant use hot food.
The issue is the vacuum sealing. Lower atmospheric pressure lowers the boiling point of water. If you put something that has been heated in a vacuum, the water will start to boil, destroying your hard work.

Matty,
OK I realise as the the pressure drops then the “boiling” point also drops.

But after the package is sealed and placed in the sous vide unit isn’t it also going to encounter the “boiling point” temperatures?

Or is the concern that the water vapour is going to be lost to the vacuum pump during the evacuation process?

I read where the purpose of the vacuum bags was merely to ensure contact of the bag to the surface of the item being cooked (the article suggested immersing item, to be cooked, in an open bag, into a water bath and using water pressure to ensure good surface contact sealing the bag and then placing in the heated water bath to cook).

Has anyone researched the importance of the “sous vide” to the process?
I have also seen sites in search of the perfect boiled egg – this uses no sous vide but just places the whole egg into a re circulator.

Hey guys, this all looks awesome and I can’t wait to get into sous vide cooking. I’ve spent the past two days reading through everything carefully and reading all the comments and I just have one question to the veteran/finished builders. What’s the longevity of this device? The sous vide supreme’s price is not prohibitively expensive but I’d much rather save some money and build something that could ultimately be much better, but not if it’s not gonna last. If I follow Scott’s directions and parts exactly, will this thing last me long enough/be fixable easily and cheaply enough, to be worth the cost and effort?

@Ely – I can tell you that the longevity of the device is increased by not accidentally baking it in your oven 🙂 (terrible day in my kitchen). But, between the original machine and the replica that I rebuilt for MAKE Magazine, I’ve logged well over 250 hours on this little box, with no signs of deterioration. The component that is most at risk is the aquarium pump. It performs fine up to 80C, but at 85C you risk melting it. Luckily, very little sous vide cooking requires temperatures quite that high.
If you’re considering the Sous Vide Supreme, be sure to check out my review – it has it’s strengths and weaknesses.

Thanks for the reply, Scott, that was exactly what I wanted/needed to get my hands (and credit card) working. Just to make sure I beat this horse to death, and then keep beating away, the parts and description listed above is the finalized version that should get me where I need to go? This absurd string of comments regarding relays and heaters failing got me a little paranoid that this thing is gonna be dead on arrival.

I envy your notoriety, Scott, but I do not envy having to answer inane questions like mine. Thanks again for the help, you’re clearly a more patient man than I

@Ely – not a problem. Yes, these parts and instructions are accurate and up to date – I’ve made revisions based on the comments thread (including just now!). If you’re still nervous, I’ve written a more detailed and more photographed version of the same build, which will be printed in January’s issue of MAKE Magazine. It’s all the same parts and steps, so you can feel free to start now. If you get stuck for any reason, the details in the article should help get you going again. Also, my inbox is always open for questions 🙂

I have been working on this project on and off for the past few months, I really want to get it working. I am using the JLD612, do I need to use a SSR with this, does anyone have a wiring diagram for this. THank you for your time

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