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Mellow, The Smart Sous-Vide Robot

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#31 dcarch

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 01:48 PM

Mellow has not explored the many other uses, more than just sous vide:

 

Cold soup for the summer.

 

Punch bowl for a party.

 

Wine cooler.

 

 

dcarch :-)



#32 rotuts

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 01:54 PM

I think  but do not know

 

you empty the water by taking the water chamber and emptying in in the Sink



#33 lordratner

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 01:54 PM

One of the reasons for the liquid not to come come from the open bag when submerged is because most of the time (not all the time) the liquid inside the bag is heavier (salt, and colder). By gravity it will not tend to float up. but I don't think that is very reliable.

 

I still want to know how do you empty the water from the container.

 

dcarch

The open end is not submerged. He's saying the narrow width of the chamber will keep the open end of the bag, which is kept above the water line, from drooping into the bath. At least that's how I interpret it. I drape the open ends of bags over the edge of my water bath and use the lid to keep them in place. It's the same idea, but sometimes the bag slips in and it is a mess.

 

The water container detaches from the base, as far as I can tell. 



#34 zemvpferreira

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 02:08 PM

Guys, I'm sorry if I'm not very responsive, I'm spread out all over the web right now. Feels great! Caffeine kicking in! Happy to be here!

 

 

lordratner explained it better than I could. Thank you!



#35 zemvpferreira

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 02:09 PM

Mellow has not explored the many other uses, more than just sous vide:

 

Cold soup for the summer.

 

Punch bowl for a party.

 

Wine cooler.

 

 

dcarch :-)

 

 

You got it! That's why we need creative home cooks like yourself to grab a unit and have a play :)



#36 dcarch

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 02:21 PM

--------------------- The water container detaches from the base, as far as I can tell. 

 

It can't be, if the temperature sensor and the heater is wired to the base, and the air hole opening will be a problem also.

 

dcarch 



#37 gfweb

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 02:53 PM

You got it! That's why we need creative home cooks like yourself to grab a unit and have a play :)

Be happy to test one out for you, Zem'.

Shall I PM my shipping address?



#38 zemvpferreira

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 03:14 PM

Be happy to test one out for you, Zem'.

Shall I PM my shipping address?

No worries, preorder a unit and we'll get your shipping address later :)



#39 Shalmanese

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 04:26 PM

Mellow has not explored the many other uses, more than just sous vide:

 

Cold soup for the summer.

 

Punch bowl for a party.

 

Wine cooler.

 

 

dcarch :-)

 

The cooling is neat but with a 50W Peltier cooler, I'd temper expectations of what to expect performance wise.

 

Zem: I've found the thing I care about a lot with SV devices is noise. Do you have any specs on dB?


PS: I am a guy.

#40 dcarch

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 04:35 PM

 

Zem: I've found the thing I care about a lot with SV devices is noise. Do you have any specs on dB?

 

I am guessing there is a muffin fan to cool the heat sink for the Peltier device. Typically the fan is extremely quiet.

 

Then there is the bubble maker. It depends, some are very quiet. There are some diaphragm pumps which can be very noisy. I am sure the Mellow is almost noiseless.

 

dcarch 



#41 zemvpferreira

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 06:54 PM

Noise is one of the specs most difficult to be precise on before pre-production units are ready, because small details can have such an impact. Like dcarch said, the noisy bits in Mellow are a diaphragm pump and a fan, and in those we're prioritising quietness. However, I'm not comfortable giving you a set dB value we might have to change in a few months. I hope you'll appreciate the intention; we're making Mellow as quiet as we can, and we think it'll be on par with circulators.



#42 gfweb

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 07:49 PM

On par with Sous Vide Supreme would be better.

 

Why aim low?



#43 lordratner

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:31 AM

It can't be, if the temperature sensor and the heater is wired to the base, and the air hole opening will be a problem also.

 

dcarch 

Temp sensor and heater can be wired with simple plugs in the base unit. Think of it like the batteries on power tools, only not a battery, but a tank. I can think of quite a few ways to plumb the air bubbler. Some sort of rubber valve similar to how a heart valve works. When plugged into the base, the pressure from the air pump opens the valve to let the air out, and the air keeps the water from leaking down the tube. Remove the tank, and thus the air pressure, and the valve seals. 

 

Those are fairly simple engineering challenges to overcome. The ability of the cooler is more of a concern. In computer systems, peltiers are often water-cooled, because they put off a ton of heat in order to generate their frosty side. 

 

Another thought regarding open bags: I would engineer the lid to serve as a clamp for bags, especially open ones (or at least build clamps into the top of the tank). There is too much room for user error with just dropping open bags into the tank, and one messy tank is going to be enough to turn off some skeptical customers. 

 

Another cool idea would be to integrate the bag clamps into the lid, so the bags can be lowered in and taken out with the lid. This would be nice for anything over 60C, which is about where my hands start hurting trying to fish bags out of the bath. It would also minimize the risk of open or poorly sealed bags leaking into the bath


Edited by lordratner, 24 April 2014 - 10:33 AM.

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#44 zemvpferreira

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 11:05 AM

Temp sensor and heater can be wired with simple plugs in the base unit. Think of it like the batteries on power tools, only not a battery, but a tank. I can think of quite a few ways to plumb the air bubbler. Some sort of rubber valve similar to how a heart valve works. When plugged into the base, the pressure from the air pump opens the valve to let the air out, and the air keeps the water from leaking down the tube. Remove the tank, and thus the air pressure, and the valve seals. 

 

Those are fairly simple engineering challenges to overcome. The ability of the cooler is more of a concern. In computer systems, peltiers are often water-cooled, because they put off a ton of heat in order to generate their frosty side. 

 

Another thought regarding open bags: I would engineer the lid to serve as a clamp for bags, especially open ones (or at least build clamps into the top of the tank). There is too much room for user error with just dropping open bags into the tank, and one messy tank is going to be enough to turn off some skeptical customers. 

 

Another cool idea would be to integrate the bag clamps into the lid, so the bags can be lowered in and taken out with the lid. This would be nice for anything over 60C, which is about where my hands start hurting trying to fish bags out of the bath. It would also minimize the risk of open or poorly sealed bags leaking into the bath

 

You're hired. Come by on Friday for your paycheck.

 

I'm kidding but everything you described, we're either using, tried in the past, or have on the list for iterating into version 2 someday. Way to go!



#45 lordratner

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 12:08 PM

You're hired. Come by on Friday for your paycheck.

 

I'm kidding but everything you described, we're either using, tried in the past, or have on the list for iterating into version 2 someday. Way to go!

Haha, I've been playing around with this stuff for a while. Mostly a combination of fear, laziness, and the military lifestyle has kept me from ever trying to market something. 

 

It's been a great year for someone like me who just wants to see Sous Vide in the homes of the masses. Anova, Sansaire, Polyscience, Nomiku, Sous Vide Supreme, ARY... and now Mellow. 

 

Now if you guys would hurry up and develop some home centrifuges and hand-held homogenizers, that would be greeeeeeaaaattttt....


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#46 dcarch

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 02:50 PM

I have a lot of admiration for people who have the dedication and energy to carry out the extreme complexities of turning a concept into reality.

 

The Mellow looks simple, but it is a very difficult engineering and manufacturing item. I am sure all my concerns have been thoroughly dealt with.

 

Some of my simple minded thinking, if I was to make Mellow work:

 

“----Temp sensor and heater can be wired with simple plugs in the base unit. Think of it like the batteries on power tools, only not a battery, but a tank. I can think of quite a few ways to plumb the air bubbler. Some sort of rubber valve similar to how a heart valve works. When plugged into the base, the pressure from the air pump opens the valve to let the air out, and the air keeps the water from leaking down the tube. Remove the tank, and thus the air pressure, and the valve seals. –“

 

That is asking for trouble. I would not make an appliance that has the container with a sensitive thermister plug, a high power plug and a water valve attached to it. You cannot count on users being careful in plug and unplug the container. Also unless the rubber valve is spring-loaded, and cleaned often, leaks will happen.

 

Assuming the unit uses a SSR to control the heater, I would think there is a need for a safety cutoff in the design. When a mechanical relay fails, it opens the circuit, OTOH a SSR works the opposite. When a SSR fails, it shorts. I hate to think what would happen with a 1000 watt heater going fulltime unattended.

 

dcarch



#47 pbear

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:47 PM

FWIW, Zem, a little feedback from someone who has been following SV/LT for nine years and doing it for five.  IMHO, the most interesting thing about this unit is its ability to hold food chilled before entering cooking mode.  For folks cooking tender meats, seafood, etc. that's a funtionality not available with any existing technology.  Kudos.

 

That said, it's not difficult to work with existing technology to achieve this end.  Get home from work, fire up the circulator or other LT machine, drop the food, do other things and dinner is ready soon thereafter.  Not ready when coming in the door, but ready soon enough.  For most folks, that's sufficient.  Meanwhile, the SV/LT cooking I do most, and most recommend to friends, is long cook stuff, for which the chill-cook function is irrelevant.  Here, existing technologies have the edge, ISTM, for the simple reason of being easier to set up.  Pick a temp, pick a time and off you go.  No smart phone, no WiFi and no program modes.  Stated a little differently, if someone were to ask me whether to take an existing SV/LT machine or wait for the Mellow, I'd say take the Sous Vide Supreme.  Or an Anova or Sansaire.

 

A final point.  The ability to skip a vacuum sealer is high on my list of considerations when recommending a SV/LT unit.  In fact, it's one of my main reasons for recommending the SVS (there are others).  If you want me and others to give the Mellow high marks in this regard, you need more than "it works for me."  You need some sort of rack or clip which makes using unsealed bags easy and reliable.  Or not.  Up to you.


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#48 Adam George

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 06:31 PM

The app and the chill to cook functionality of that is impressive.   Great idea. 


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#49 pbear

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 09:57 PM

Having done a little research, I must say I'm less optimistic about the cooling feature than I was at first.  A Peltier cooler, it turns out, uses a thermoelectric process (the name with which I'm familiar) instead of the more conventional compressor.  Although described in the linked article as having near-infinite life, this hasn't been my experience.  Rather, I've had two refrigerators and a few small dehumidifiers fail after a couple years of use (and none work much longer).  I continue to buy the latter (though not the former), because I need them and can't find anything better, but regard them as semi-disposable.  Importantly, the dehumidifiers only run about $40, so it's a reasonable expense.  I would't take the same view with respect to a key component of a $400 SV/LT unit.  Especially as the unit generally will be out of warranty when the problem arises and a thermoelectric cooler is not, AFAICT, easily fixed or replaced.



#50 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 10:25 PM

I once bought a Peltier wine cooler (for chocolate actually) and was disappointed it lasted only a few months.  On the other hand I was president of a company that had made Peltier cooled cameras that were well reviewed and lasted a long time.  Peltier coolers should last a long time.



#51 Austin Davis

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 05:53 PM

I've been cooking sous vide for the better part of a year now maybe (first used the cooler method) and last winter I upgraded to the anova circulator. Absolutely love sous vide...I probably use sous vide 60-70% of the time (still has novelty this my wane eventually). One of the only down sides to sous vide (other than me wanting to buy gadgets to along with all this high tech cooking methods) is cooking times, specifically on proteins such as steak or chicken or something simple.  I've been thinking to myself, there's got to be away to automate this like some of the fancier crock pots.
I recently came across the mellow sous vide machine... Between the wireless login controls (i wish the new anova had this  :angry: ) and the chill to cook function..the things ingenius. But alas, its a year away, a little too bulky  for my counter top, and not quite big enough for cooking large pieces of meat, and the price is a little too rich for my blood.  So I was sitting around today thinking , surely there's gotta be away to automate sous vide.... I mean if I can cook steak with a cooler and a tea kettle and thermometer...I can do this.
 
So I put the old noggin too it...and this is what I've figured out. All the sous vide machines out there are useless if you wanna try and hack something...unless you know something about programming and electronics. Alas I am firmly grounded in the social sciences, and despite having done a small stint as IT recruiter , I know nothing of either about these subjects.  So being at a loss, I did what in sane person does...I grabbed a beer.
 
Now I'm a homebrewer, and I've even got a keezer (deep freezer converted into a kegerator). In order to convert the kegerator into a refrigerator (and thus not have frozen beersicles) we use a little device that lets you set a temperature that you want and then (using a temp probe) it cycles the keezer on/off to maintain temperature- so me of us homebrewers even use similar set ups with minifridges to control fermentation temps. So I was looking at the temp controller, and low and behold its essentially the same as dorkfood dsv. Thats when the muse struck me.  Dorkfood   + crockpot +  appliance timer + iceI decided to go and test my fermentation fridge with the same controler and heavy duty appliance timer and hooked that up to see if the basic concept of using a temp. controller and a appliance timer would work....it did.
 
So this is the plan. Set the dorkfood dsv at the temperature wanted, and use the appliance timer to time the sous vide set up to cook dinner for around when I'll get home. I would use ice/ice pack to keep it "refrigerated" until it was ready to cook. Example, I plan on getting home at 5:30- set the appliance timer for say 4:45 that way when I get home its almost time to pull the steak out. Thoughts on this idea? Worth pursuing? Sound crazy? Too much work?



#52 EMG

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 09:51 PM

Buy a counter-top 18-bottle analogue wine cooler (Danby coolers go as low as 6C). Make sure your water bath and circulator fit inside the wine cooler with the racks off. Have a timer setup for shutoff 15-30 minutes before the circulator turns on. Voila! lol. There's your complete DIY fully automated sousvide setup.

 

Too much messing around for my taste though. 



#53 paulraphael

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 07:46 AM

For something like this I'd trade compactness for speed and energy efficiency, by having insulated hot and cold water reservoirs. The ideal way to go from chilled to cooking would be to pump out the cold water, hold it in a cold place for next time, and pump in hot water.

 

I can imagine this being plumbed to the hot / cold water supply, so it would be a real appliance. The water should probably be filtered every time it's pumped back into a holding tank.



#54 Shalmanese

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 09:40 AM

The Anova v2 has bluetooth control so it can be turned on remotely. I'd just keep in simple, an ice bath in a cooler can keep food cool for at least 8 hours. It'll take some more energy for the SV to melt all the ice but it's worth it to keep things simple.


PS: I am a guy.

#55 Austin Davis

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 11:28 AM

The Anova v2 has bluetooth control so it can be turned on remotely. I'd just keep in simple, an ice bath in a cooler can keep food cool for at least 8 hours. It'll take some more energy for the SV to melt all the ice but it's worth it to keep things simple.

Will the bluetooth actually work for remote activation. I didn't know bluetooth allowed for long distances like that? Wouldn't it need wifi to allow remote activation?



#56 zemvpferreira

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 07:04 PM

I'm glad you like Mellow so much! I'm happy we inspired you to build.

 

I think your plan is pretty solid, but I'd look out for one or two things:

 

-Can your crockpot heat water fast enough through the danger zone? This could be really risky without circulation, since the controller would only be measuring temperature at one spot. I'd highly recommend hooking up an aquarium pump or something of the sort. Also, do 3 or 4 trial runs, measuring the temperature in multiple points through time.

 

-If you can spend the cash, why not build a remote thermometer for $30 or so? You'll learn a little bit of electronics and programming, while making a pretty useful device for yourself. That'd allow you to monitor everything from a distance. (though not control it).

 

Let me know if I can help with anything. I'm not on egullet a lot these days, but feel free to reach me at ze@fnvlabs.com



#57 paulraphael

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 08:22 PM

It'll take some more energy for the SV to melt all the ice but it's worth it to keep things simple.

For now, definitely. I'm not seeking great complications and expenses. But it's fun to imagine how the next generations of slow/precision cooking tools will work. I won't be surprised if immersion circulators will seem like funny lab gizmos compared to future appliances.


Edited by paulraphael, 16 June 2014 - 08:22 PM.


#58 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 09:01 PM

Heating and cooling circulators are available now for a price.



#59 lachlanmoss

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 01:44 PM

You don't appear to know about PID's, they're used extensively in the process control industry. It's a kind of smart switch that can predict the heating latency of your electric element (for example). This functionality makes them unsuitable for traditional switching (like a fridge compressor) because those devices don't work well with their power being pulsated every few seconds, but an electric element has no such problems and it works beautifully for sous vide cooking. In fact, basically all immersion circulators are PID controlled.

 

Some of them can have a whole heating cycle programmed, as you described. Some can control a heating element and a cooling device. Some are hardware boxes, some are just software.

 

http://www.auberins....e=index&cPath=1



#60 Kerry Beal

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 02:58 PM

You don't appear to know about PID's, they're used extensively in the process control industry. It's a kind of smart switch that can predict the heating latency of your electric element (for example). This functionality makes them unsuitable for traditional switching (like a fridge compressor) because those devices don't work well with their power being pulsated every few seconds, but an electric element has no such problems and it works beautifully for sous vide cooking. In fact, basically all immersion circulators are PID controlled.

 

Some of them can have a whole heating cycle programmed, as you described. Some can control a heating element and a cooling device. Some are hardware boxes, some are just software.

 

http://www.auberins....e=index&cPath=1

And what is it that has been said above that leads you to believe that we don't know about PIDs?







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