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Chamber Vacuum Sealers, 2011–2014

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#511 paulpegg

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 07:02 AM

I agree. You need to ensure that the bag is flat across the entire length of the bar before you push down the clip in the center. Also be sure that the bag is under the clip properly.


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#512 SleeperService

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 10:45 AM

I just purchased a VP112 and I am wondering if those who have one could help diagnose whether there is a problem with mine or not.

I've done a couple dozen for testing, and they all are similar to the image below where you can see gaps in the seal. Often, these gaps are near where the pouch clips/spikes are, but not always. Are these gaps normal?

Also, for whatever reason, my pouch of sealed water has quite a bit of air bubbles in it, even though I pulled a 30 second vacuum.

Or is everything operating correctly and I am just paranoid?

 

  • first, I think there's a problem with your technique, not with your unit.
  • gaps in the seal lines are not normal, I only get them when I've crinkled the bag, or when I don't get the bag flat across the seal bar.
  • bubbles in your water are what you'll get if you don't get the air out before sealing, watch carefully when you seal it, and you'll see any bubbles in there expand hugely, if those bubbles can't escape the bag, then they'll just shrink back to their former size.  I've seen some widgets people have used that were like ramps in the chamber, so the back end of the bag was lower than the open end, allowing the gas to escape, instead of just puffing up the bag.

Try putting an empty bag in there and seal it, you should get a nice flat even seal all the way across, that's how they're supposed to look.

 

you don't have to pull the bag as far into the clips as you're doing, (I can see the holes in your pic) I often just barely have the edge of the bag in mine, if I use them at all, sometimes it works better not to use them.   if you pull too much of the bag over the seal bar, the bag will tend to puff up while the vacuum is being pulled and you won't get as tight a vacuum on the bag, watch for that happening and adjust your bag placement.

 

I went down to the local restaurant supply place and bought myself a couple of half inch thick cutting boards, and then chopped them up, making filler plates to put in the chamber, this raises the bag so you've got more of a straight shot from bag to bar.  Vacmaster used to include the plates, but now they're a 30$ extra.  fortunately, they detail the sizes on their web page, so I made similar out of my cutting boards, I recommend it.  raising the bag helps to get a good seal in my experience, and filling up the chamber leaves less air to suck out.

 

the http://www.webstaurantstore.com/ and shop.vacuumsealersunlimited.com/3-MIL-Chamber-Bags_c67.htm are the best places I've seen to buy bags, so far... though you're going to be sad when you go to the webstaurant store and see how much less you could have paid for the vp112 than buying it at amazon.

 

fwiw,  I bought a case of  6" x 12" bags, and 8" x 10" bags, when I got mine, but then found that I use the 10" x 13" bags, more often, so had to go get a pack of those off ebay, I'll end up buying a case of those too, fairly soon, based on how that stack of bags is dwindling. (pack=250,case=4 packs)


Edited by SleeperService, 15 February 2014 - 10:46 AM.


#513 kindofgreat

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 07:17 PM

Hi,

 

Thanks for all your responses. SleeperService, the price at amazon and webstaurant is the same ($549), though I had to pay taxes for the amazon. I knew it'd be slightly cheaper with Webstaurant, but went with Amazon anyway because of a) free 2-day shipping with amazon prime, and b) I've always had very easy returns/exchanges with Amazon when I've had problems...

 

Anyway, I've been trying a bunch more today. But I still have weird problems. Let me show you. I am using the vacmaster 8 x 10 bags here as I bought a case of them. 

 

This first photo is when I tried to do an empty bag using the clip. As per your recommendation, I tried to put the clip as close to the edge of the bag as possible. I set the vacuum at 5 seconds since the bag was empty, and seal at 7 seconds. I also put a cutting board in there to take up some space. As you can see, it's not really a perfect seal on the upper right there...

 

1891662_10101473652385605_678830299_o.jp

 

 

 

I cut that seal off, and tried to do it without the clips at all. The empty bag was basically abutting the clip, and all of the bag is over the seal bar. Again 5 second vacuum, 7 second seal. However, as with the other times I tried to do it without the clip, the bag moves around when sealing and I can't get it to stay on the bar:

 

1939183_10101473654411545_1701819794_o.j

 

Finally, I wanted to make some chicken tonight. So i put some thighs in a bag, and set the vacuum to 35 seconds, and the seal at 7 seconds:

 

1924634_10101473680768725_1964733967_o.j

 

Finally a good seal! 

 

However, the hit rate for good seal is pretty small. (I have tried 35/7 seconds with stuff inside and not gotten a good seal.) Anyone know what else I might be doing wrong? Maybe I should just exchange it anyway... (this is, after all, the reason I got it from Amazon and not elsewhere. But I don't really want to take another day off to be home to receive the package; and plus I want to use it now!) I can't figure out if it's the seal bar, the top thing that the seal bar touches, or maybe it's the motor that pushes the two together... I've flipped the seal bar right-side to left, but it's the same thing. The bar itself feels fine, so I don't know. I also wrote Ary customer service on Wednesday with some photos, but they have yet to respond, which isn't very confidence inspiring. 

 

Thanks for all your helps.



#514 paulpegg

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 09:41 PM

I have never used less than 30 seconds vacuum and sometime go as high as 50 seconds, especially with items that have bones in them like short ribs and lamb racks. I also use a seal time of 5 seconds and have had maybe a half dozen bad seals out of hundreds. Perhaps the long seal time is overheating the plastic and it is deforming when the vacuum is released.

 

Watch the vacuum gauge and be sure you get to -28 during the vacuum pull. If not, abort and increase the time until you do. I abort by turning the unit off in the last 5 seconds. It will stop the pump and not seal the bag giving you the opportunity to make adjustments.


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#515 horseflesh

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 10:37 PM

I have used a couple of different sealers and 7 seconds sounds like a really long time for the seal cycle.

#516 rotuts

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 07:21 AM

"""   I abort by turning the unit off in the last 5 seconds. It will stop the pump and not seal the bag giving you the opportunity to make adjustments. ""

 

I have the VM-215 w the oil pump.  i havent used it yet but was wondering about an 'abort' to get the hang of the machine

 

would your method damage the pump?



#517 paulpegg

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 08:43 AM

I don't think it would hurt at all. The power to the pump is shut off at the end of the cycle anyway. The vacuum releases at the same time so there is no opportunity to suck air back through the pump. I have only done it a few time on my VP112 just because I could see that the seal was not going to be good anyway. Generally it was because I saw the bag pull away from the sealing bar. I have seen this happen when the inside mouth of the bag was wet with whatever liquid was in the bag. This can prevent the air from being completely pulled out of the bag and you will end up with a floater or a pulled out corner of the bag under the seal bar. That is when I abort, take out the bag, clean and dry the opening and reseal. You will be able to pull much stronger vacuums on the VM-215, which is nice if you want to crush watermelon.


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#518 rotuts

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 08:46 AM

good to know.  maybe cantaloupe or better yet:  Galia !



#519 SleeperService

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 11:48 AM

Hi,

 

Thanks for all your responses. SleeperService, the price at amazon and webstaurant is the same ($549),

 

 I tried to put the clip as close to the edge of the bag as possible. I set the vacuum at 5 seconds since the bag was empty, and seal at 7 seconds. I also put a cutting board in there to take up some space. As you can see, it's not really a perfect seal on the upper right there...

 

wow, nice, last time I checked amazon, it was still well over 600$ for the vp112.

 

I'll echo what others have said, 7 seconds is pretty long, I use 6, and the default is 5.

 

if the seal bar is nice and smooth, and you don't see any irregularities in the heat strips, then I'd check the pad that it presses against in the lid.  both should be smooth.

 

the fact that you did get a good seal indicates that you might still need more practice.

 

I'm pretty sure that the seal bar is raised by the vacuum, because if you hit stop too early in the vacuum cycle, the seal bar won't pop up.

 

I suggest checking out some youtube videos and watch how people lay the bags on the seal bar, make sure it's nice and flat, with no wrinkles.



#520 paulpegg

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 12:14 PM

I think the seal bar is pushed up from below by an actuator when power is applied to the bar to seal the bag. If the bar was pulled up by the vacuum it could stop complete evacuation of the bag prematurely. You can hear it engage just before the pump stops.


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#521 SleeperService

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 12:52 PM

I think the seal bar is pushed up from below by an actuator when power is applied to the bar to seal the bag. If the bar was pulled up by the vacuum it could stop complete evacuation of the bag prematurely. You can hear it engage just before the pump stops.

easy enough to test, run a cycle with the lid open, if the seal bar pops up, it's got some kind of powered actuator, if it doesn't, it's vacuum operated.



#522 paulpegg

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 02:28 PM

I just ran a few tests with a bag about 1/3 full of water. (10" x 13" bag..

 

1. Lid open, time set at 5 sec, seal at 5 sec. Pump ran, seal bar did not raise but it got very hot at 3 seconds.

 

2: time at 5 seconds seal at 5 sec. Vac ran to about -15, seal bar raised at 3 seconds. Result, bag half full of air, crummy seal. It was puckered like in the photos above.

 

3: time at 5 sec, seal at 8 sec. Vac ran to -15, seal bar raised at 3 sec. Result bag half full of air seal still sort of crummy and puckered.

 

4: time at 35 sec, seal at 8 sec. Vac ran to -28, seal bar raised at 3 sec. Result, water "boiled" bag had no air and seal was perfect. (Even better than the 5 second seals I have been doing all along.)

 

 

Conclusion: You need to pull a good vacuum for this thing to work correctly. The seal bar is not vacuum operated. There are brass rods at either end of the seal bar that push the bar up at the end of the vacuum cycle. You can pull them up by hand if you get a good grip on them. They have a rubber seal and an E clip that serves as a stop for the rod. Air in the bag when the vacuum is released seems to cause the seal to be imperfect since it is pushing against the soft plastic that is quite hot.


Edited by paulpegg, 16 February 2014 - 02:29 PM.

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#523 rotuts

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 02:36 PM

nice work.  very nice work



#524 SleeperService

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 02:57 PM


1. Lid open, time set at 5 sec, seal at 5 sec. Pump ran, seal bar did not raise but it got very hot at 3 seconds.

 

Conclusion: The seal bar is not vacuum operated.

 

I would say that your experiment has proven that the seal bar *is* operated off the vacuum that is created in the chamber, controlled by a solenoid inside, but without the vacuum, no seal bar raise.  of course it's not directly connected to the vacuum, since it doesn't pop up till the end of the cycle, as you pointed out, but, if it wasn't vacuum operated, it would still pop up even if the lid was open.



#525 rotuts

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 03:12 PM

its not that important, but a call would solve this.  not that it needs to be solved.

 

it needs to work



#526 paulpegg

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 03:17 PM

I'm not so sure about that.

 

1. The bar is quite heavy.

2 It raised with only -15 mm Hg in the chamber with the same speed and clamping action as at -28. and it stays up until the chamber has refilled with air. Also there is  a significant spring holding the rods down. You have to get a good grip and pull hard to lift them. I doubt that -8 psi could do this. More likely is that these are magnetic plungers that are pushed up only if the lid is closed. 

 

BTW, a few weeks ago someone suggested putting some vaseline on the gasket to help get a better seal around the lid. DON"T DO IT! I tried it and even a very thin layer caused the gasket to squirm under the lid as the vacuum level got to about -26 mm Hg and it got sucked into the chamber. What a job to clean that up! The best way to treat the gasket is to keep it and the groove it sits in clean and dry. It needs the friction in the groove to keep it from deforming and sliding around. lesson learned.


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#527 SleeperService

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 03:38 PM

how then do you explain that it doesn't raise *at all* unless there's vacuum in the chamber?



#528 paulpegg

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 03:44 PM

I think there is a lid interlock. Anyway, I just sent them a query to get the definitive answer on this one. I'll send their response when I get it.

 

Thanks,


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#529 Steve Irby

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 05:43 PM

Okay here's my two cents worth regarding the VP-112.  I bought mine in March 2012 and have probably gone through ~1500 cycles.  The amount of vacuum definitely has an effect on the quality of the seal.  At high vacuums the standard seal time of 5-6 seconds is fine.  If you decrease the vacuum below  a 20 second cycle time I have to increase the seal time to 7-9 seconds.  I usually insert the bag with about an inch past the seal bar.  If I'm not sure about the seal I double the seal by decreasing the vacuum and increasing the seal time.  Be careful to not overfill the bag as it will bunch resulting in a bad seal.

 

Regarding warm or hot food.  Be prepared for a big mess in the chamber with liquids because the food in the pouch will boil like crazy regardless of machine.  Been there done that, forgot that I'd been there and cleaned up the slop again.  After two or three iterations I've learned my lesson.

 

The VP-112 has (or had) the same pump as the VP-110.  The gauge on my machine reads to 30" Hg and my machine will hit 29.5".  It is important to keep the gasket seal clean and free of dust, crumbs, ets.  I use food grade silicone on the gasket.  I have had no problem with fruit compression.  Here's a few photo's from 2012 with my first try with watermelon.

 

DSC_6314_1077.JPG

 

DSC_6315_1078.JPG

 

DSC_6453_1231.JPG

 

The company has replaced two lids that developed stress fractures.  They replaced them with no questions and included 2nd day shipping.  I assume they were aware of a manufacturing\design defect and took care of the problem. 


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#530 paulpegg

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 05:52 PM

I have yet to get to 29.5. What time did you use? My best has been 28.5 at 50 seconds.


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#531 Steve Irby

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 06:07 PM

I have yet to get to 29.5. What time did you use? My best has been 28.5 at 50 seconds.

With the three factory spacers in place and a large piece of meat 30 seconds.  



#532 Steve Irby

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 06:31 PM

Here is a photo from tonight with time=40 seconds and maximum volume in chamber.

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#533 paulpegg

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 07:39 PM

WOW, I've never seen that level of vacuum. I guess I need to fill the box better.


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#534 lordratner

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 10:32 AM

FYI. The bar is vacuum operated. I spoke with a tech about it a couple years back. Also, the gauges are trash, and get even worse with all the vibration. That was back in 2012, so maybe they use better gauges now.

Edited by lordratner, 19 February 2014 - 10:35 AM.


#535 Steve Irby

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 05:15 PM

FYI. The bar is vacuum operated. I spoke with a tech about it a couple years back. Also, the gauges are trash, and get even worse with all the vibration. That was back in 2012, so maybe they use better gauges now.

All the vibration?  Trash gauges? What unit are you referencing?  My Ary unit does not vibrate to the degree that there is any bounce in the needle.  The vacuum observed is also consistent with the vacuum required to compress fruit and "boil" like crazy warm food or liquids.  



#536 paulpegg

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 05:43 PM

Yeah, there is little vibration in this unit and the gauges look good to me. 


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#537 lordratner

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 02:06 AM

FYI. The bar is vacuum operated. I spoke with a tech about it a couple years back. Also, the gauges are trash, and get even worse with all the vibration. That was back in 2012, so maybe they use better gauges now.

All the vibration?  Trash gauges? What unit are you referencing?  My Ary unit does not vibrate to the degree that there is any bounce in the needle.  The vacuum observed is also consistent with the vacuum required to compress fruit and "boil" like crazy warm food or liquids.
VP112. Like I said, this was a couple years back, so they may have switched to a better gauge. This was from the service tech, who was helping me troubleshoot a broken unit.

#538 btbyrd

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 02:05 PM

I contacted Polyscience to ask about their 300 series chamber vac and they report that the pump can achieve 0mbar or a 100% vacuum. That's about as strong as it gets.

I also contacted ARY Vacmaster about the VP-112 and they responded that their quality control tests to make sure that the machine can pull at least 10 Torr, or about 13.33 mbar. This is strong enough to achieve compression and flash pickling (as fellow eGulleter's have testified). I read on ChefSteps that the crucial factor for compression is that you can get below 20mbar.

 

 

I was sold on the Polyscience unit when it was first announced, but now that I'm almost ready to buy I realize that there's no way I can fit it into my kitchen; it's about 30 inches tall with the lid open, so unless it sits out on a table I won't be able to fit it anywhere. It also costs twice as much as the VP112 and still isn't available in the US (though it's probably going to be available widely in the next few weeks). So I've been eyeing the Vacmaster pretty hard. It's also going to be hard to squeeze into my space, but it should fit. It's got a larger footprint but isn't nearly as tall.



#539 rotuts

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 02:27 PM

another issue with all Vac's is this:

 

is the pump a  'dry' pump or an oiled pump ?

 

this is something that might be important to future repairs.  re:  moisture with a dry pump and an oil change with an oil pump or a

 

new pump w a dry pump that has accumulated moisture.



#540 SleeperService

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 07:47 AM

So I've been eyeing the Vacmaster pretty hard. It's also going to be hard to squeeze into my space, but it should fit. It's got a larger footprint but isn't nearly as tall.

 

I've been quite happy with mine so far. just wish I'd bought a case of the 10x13 bags in the first place, since I seem to be using more of them than the others.







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