Immersion Circulator

The immersion circulator is a new gadget that is used to cook food, but in a very different way than what people are used to. The idea is that food is processed in a water bath, some items such as eggs can go right into the water bath, others such as meats need to be vacuum sealed in an air tight bag before being place din the water bath. The water bath is brought to the appropriate temperature and the food is left in this water bath to slow cook. Steaks can be cooked to a perfect temperature then finished in a pan or on the grill to achieve a perfectly cook steak throughout. http://www.Seattlefoodgeek.com has made an immersion circulator that costs around 75$ so I figured I would give it a try.

First step was to gather all of the appropriate materials for this project and they can be found on the Seattlefoodgeek’s website. Once all of the appropriate materials are purchased be sure to print out the wiring diagram and the cutout for the acrylic box and bracket.

I had a hard time finding and efficient tool to cut the acrylic with so I went with my Dremmel and purchased a cutting bit that worked very well. A lot of the bits I had got too hot and began to melt the acrylic so be sure to run the Dremmel at half speed if you have a variable option, if not, cut a little at a time.

Top of the Dremmel bit

Side view of Dremmel bit

Using this bit on the Dremmel and a small drill bit on a drill I was able to get holes started and basically carved out the shapes I needed. Here is the Acrylic box after it has been cut.

All the holes have been made in the box.

Test all of the components to be sure that they fit, keep the Dremmel handy to do any touch up work or expanding of the holes. Make sure that all parts fit snugly and don’t wiggle too much, your only “glue” is the caulk. Before you try to insert the heating coils cut the wires about six inches up from the top of the heating coil, and shave down the rounded plastic at the top of the heating coil. I used my Dremmel to do the shaving but you can use a hobby knife if that suits you. Save the other 2/3’s of the wiring to be your power cord.

The cord has been cut about six inches in length.

Using the same tool on the Dremmel that I cut the acrylic with, I shaved down the round part of the plastic to get it to fit in the box. Do this with all three heating elements.

Side view with both sides shaved down.

Before you begin wiring or assembly, ensure that all parts fit in their respective homes.

Now the fun part, wiring and assembly! This part of the project killed me, and it wasn’t the following of the wiring diagram, but it was realizing that after switching every wire back and forth the thing still didn’t work. It turned out that I had the wrong relay! After I put the correct relay in it worked like a charm. If you have big hands, you might have trouble assembling, there were some areas that were hard to get through a midst all the wires. I ran all of the wiring through their respective holes and connected everything to test the circulator before actually putting everything into place to ensure that there was little dis-assembly when I had to remove an item such as a relay.

Wired, pre-assembly

After I found every part working correctly I moved everything into place and sealed them all with bath and tub caulk, mainly the thermostat, the heating elements, and the wire to the pump. Everything else should snap in or have a nut to hold it in place. For the bracket, I used a table saw to cut it and a heat gun for shrink wrapping to bend and form it, you can also use your stove top element, although if you have gas I would try using your oven and heavy-duty gloves. once bent dip in ice water to speed the cooling process. Once cool use a piece of sandpaper and sand the portion that will be glued to the circulator. Sand the spot on the circulator that you will glue the bracket to ensure a nice tight seal when glued. My adhesive of choice was gorilla glue, use a Q-tip to apply a small amount of water to each scratched surface then apply the gorilla glue and use a vice or other tool to apply pressure. Let set for 24 hours and you should have good adhesion.

Assembled and ready for testing.

Fully functioning immersion circulator

Pick up the manual for the PID that you have to figure out how to program it.  The easiest part of this project was programming, I programmed my device for Fahrenheit and was able to set my threshold so the temperature would only vary by 0.1 degree, when at temp.

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