Laboratory Water Baths / Immersion Circulators
Posted 02 February 2008 - 12:32 PM
The particular model I purchased has a 13L tank (about 3.5 gallons), just above nathanm's 10L recommendation. This ends up being a very nice size for home use, but would probably be too small for turning out restaurant quantities of food. Even being on the lower end of the capacity range, it takes quite some time (30-60 minutes) to reach temperature. A larger bath would likely take even longer, and its additional capacity would rarely be taken advantage of in my kitchen.
This is a mid-range digital model, with a two line display showing the target temperature alongside the current temperature. Unit conversions and various other settings are accessible via the buttons on the front panel. An RS-232 control port enables more sophisticated programming and/or monitoring. More useful in a lab setting than in a kitchen, but nice to have nonetheless.
Here's a photo of the unit heating up with the lid removed:
The unit consists of two major pieces, connected with four screws. To get a good look at the heating element / pump, you need to take it apart. Here are some pictures of the individual pieces:
Where'd the water go?
"Guts", side view:
"Guts", bottom view:
The heating unit hovers in the bath directly, so you end up with less capacity than the photo of the empty container would suggest. There is, however, enough clearance under the element to place food (for example, you could line the entire bottom of the bath container with eggs).
The "guts" don't look much different from an immersion style circulator. In fact, this could probably be used as an immersion circulator by positioning the top portion of the unit in a large hotel pan. I probably won't need that much capacity in my home kitchen, but it's certainly a nice option to have.
Overall, I would recommend a unit of this style for home use. It's reasonably compact (just a bit bigger than a rice cooker or deep fryer designed for home use), and it doesn't make a ton of noise (a low-to-moderate amount of vibration noise depending on its surface, and a rather pleasant babbling brook sound as the water circulates). The sous vide cooking process is so "hands off" that you could keep it in a bedroom closet if you were short on space.
These do tend to be a bit more expensive than immersion style units (the unit shown here retails for $2,600), but with some patience you can find one on eBay without breaking the bank. Mine was new (with some relatively minor cosmetic damage), and I paid less than $400 for it.
Posted 08 February 2008 - 07:01 AM
Posted 20 February 2008 - 10:50 PM
It seems like some of the enclosed baths are going for for less on ebay than the immersion circulators. But living in a small Manhattan apartment, an immersion circulator is a more attractive option.
Fast response would be appreciated.
Edited by zEli173, 20 February 2008 - 11:01 PM.
Posted 21 February 2008 - 03:07 AM
Posted 25 February 2008 - 11:36 AM
Posted 25 February 2008 - 11:42 AM
So if it's removable, should I expect that the power cord goes directly into the circulator/heater rather than somewhere within the bath. In other words, I want to completely discard the bath. Can I?
Posted 27 September 2008 - 11:08 PM
Posted 28 September 2008 - 09:22 AM
Edited by Tri2Cook, 28 September 2008 - 09:23 AM.
Posted 28 September 2008 - 07:18 PM
They were probably not that high, but I thaught I saw one around $6000.00, but I'm probably mistaken. Thanks for the info.
Search it on google and almost every result will have them for less than $9000.00 so it depends what you consider a "decent price". Even the polyscience stuff (which is not the least expensive you can find) is much less expensive than that. Are you sure you didn't mean $900.00?
Posted 30 May 2010 - 01:36 PM
Posted 30 May 2010 - 04:56 PM
Besides the obvious design change and the smaller size the Pid algorithm was optimized.
That was something that with the older Polyscience was a bit annoying, to stabilize the last few tenth of a degree always took a few minutes to avoid overshoot. Now it heats up to target quicker but may overshot by 2 or 3 tenth of a degree for a few minutes.
I haven't seen it but am mostly intrigued by the smaller size. I want to know if i can stick it into a smaller soup pot, preferable 4 qt or so but think it still might be to big for that.
Posted 21 June 2010 - 12:26 PM
Posted 22 June 2010 - 07:03 AM
Posted 22 June 2010 - 02:17 PM
Our pork loin chops turned out so very good.....currently trying some of D. Baldwin's recipes from his new book. The cabbage/onion/apple saute that went with the pork was perfect.
Posted 23 June 2010 - 06:53 AM
The OP said mineralized water can leave scale build-up on the heating element. OP suggests using softened water.
I don't see what good that will do, because softened water is just tap water with salt added. Softened water would be worse on lab equipment than unsoftened. Use RO or bottled water instead. Distilled water would be ideal (and that's what the labs use), but RO and bottled are almost as good, and don't require home distilling equipment. (Although home distilling equipment can be FUN* if you know what you're doing.)
* And very illegal.