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Chamber Vacuum Sealers, 2011–2014


roygon
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I'm a more than happy owner of a VP-112. Here's where I bought mine - http://www.homebutcher.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=23. I purchased the scratch and dent mode lfor $499 shipping included just about a year ago and you would be hard pressed to find a flaw. It's listed as out of stock. I have seen it at other sites for around $650. It may not have all the bells and whistles but it is solid and does the job. A nice advantage of the 12-inch seal bar is you can seal two 6-inch bags at a time. Great for small portions and reduces wear and tear. It has the same motor as the VP-210 but can be used on a counter top with cabinets above. It is heavy, probably around 60# so you better have a dedicated place to park it. I have gone through 800-900 cycles to date and it has performed very well. The bags cost 3-4 cents which is 10x less than seal a meals so it can pay for itself with steady use. Does a great job on liquids with caveat do not start with the bag to full. Butcher Packer also has very good pricing on bags. At 30 second cycle it will pull 29.5 " hg.

How do you know you pulled 29.5 hg?

I'm told that's as high as any machine can go and it truly does this, then the VP-112 may be the machine for me. I'm hesitating because I want to make sure that whichever machine I buy gives me the option to not only seal but compress fruits, do brine infusions, etc

I have never gotten better than 28" Hg on my 6 month old VP112. I ran up to 60 second pulls and the gauge never went over 28". It gets to 28" in 30 seconds and that's it. I guess it will compress citrus but it sure doesn't compress watermelon! It still does everything you need for sous vide which is my primary application. You need an oil filled vacuum pump to pull 29.5" Hg.

Paul Eggermann

Vice President, Secretary and webmaster

Les Marmitons of New Jersey

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My 2 cents:

I went w the VP-215 for the oil pump. I didnt want to have a non-oil pump fail due to moisture. it was a bit of a stretch.

however, I did have an interesting discussion with the Phllip Fickel at " home butcher "

see ref above.

I was considering the VP-112. may people here love it. one review at Amazon said they had to replace the cover 3 times in one year. that gave me pause.

I asked Phillip about this and he said that the VP-112 had a tricky hinge system, if you were not careful, the top would not sit 100%

properly and that might result in damage to the cover. if you were aware of this then there would not be a problem

I just pass this along as it seems to be useful info for those w the VP-112.

Happy Vac !

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'Mise en Place' so to speak:

VP215.jpg

one hairs worth of more weight on this thing would have done me in.

Ill add the oil tomorrow and turn it on. Hopefully it will turn on ... Its not going anywhere for the

foreseeable future.

My mother would have said to me, rolling her eyes : 'Your eyes are bigger than your stomach'

in this case she would probably be right.

BTW in the booklet it says not to VacPack garlic or fungi :

" Never vacuum pack garlic or fungi, like mushrooms. A dangerous chemical takes place when the air is removed "

any ideas on what they are getting at? just garlic by itself ? garlic and fungi together ?

Edited by rotuts (log)
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the concern with garlic is botulism

my understanding, and I'm sure I'll be corrected!, is that it's a problem with sealing and storing at room temp

I would imagine sealing for sous vide isn't

I know I've certainly seen sous vide recipes with garlic in the bag

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Id appreciate some help understanding the dial-indicator on the VP-215

Its units are in MPa, megapascal. I know what a kPa is there fore a MPa is a thousand of those.

the dial rests at 0 the goes counter clock wise with the first number being 0.02 then 0.035 to 0.07.

this area is highlighted in red.

from 0.07 to 0.08 is grey, the from 0.08 it goes to - 0.1. this area is green.

the vacuum is set by time not pressure. they give you two poly boards to take up dead-space in the chamber to shorten Vac time.

it's not clear there is a manual seal should you get to that part of the dial-indicator that 'pleases' you before you reach the set Vac time.

so .... what is 95% vacuum on this type of dial? I live close enough to sea level so for our purposes I live at 1 Atm.

lets forget about high pressure days and low pressure days ( :wink: )

Im assuming that after the chamber 'evacuates' one can keep it at that vac by adding time say for pickles etc.

many thanks.

tomorrow : the Oil and the On button !

erreur, pardon ! they have a RED ( red is best you see ) button you push during the Vac cycle to immediately

seal the pouch. :biggrin:

Edited by rotuts (log)
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I think one of the problems Im having w the VP-215 scale is that it reads in ' Mpa '

as the vacuum gets stonger, the Mpa increases

the scale should be marked ' - Mpa ' just a guess so far

:huh:

Edited by rotuts (log)
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Well I called ARY and now have this understanding:

at the first part 0f the 'green' area on this dial is about 18 " Hg = " 0.08 " Mpa

the lowest part of the 'green' is 29.7 " Hg = ' -0.1 ' Mpa

all set now !

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  • 3 weeks later...

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 have attached a photo below. My worry is that it doesn't create a perfect seal. 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? There are items (some cookies) where the next day, it seems like there's more air inside than the night before but maybe this is just normal "bloom" or gas escaping from the cookies? I've also tried sealing a pouch of water, and though there's the same gap in the seal, I can also flip the pouch upside down and squeeze, and no water will leak. So from that, it seems like a good seal. I'm just afraid that if I leave a pouch of food in a water bath for two days, maybe it won't be okay... 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. It was enough to get the water bubbling/boiling, but not enough to get all the air out? that's odd. Anyway, I can probably still return the unit to amazon or get a replacement as its only been a couple days. Or is everything operating correctly and I am just paranoid?

1902188_10101469442881485_1366121375_o.j

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the seal should be completely clear and homogeneous. the crimped areas may be due to the fact the the plastic did not lie completely flat on the bar that heats the plastic.

this may be all your technique. try a few more times if you get the same thing over and over the call customer support.

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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 (log)
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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.

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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.

Paul Eggermann

Vice President, Secretary and webmaster

Les Marmitons of New Jersey

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""" 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?

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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.

Paul Eggermann

Vice President, Secretary and webmaster

Les Marmitons of New Jersey

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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.

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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.

Paul Eggermann

Vice President, Secretary and webmaster

Les Marmitons of New Jersey

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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.

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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 (log)
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Paul Eggermann

Vice President, Secretary and webmaster

Les Marmitons of New Jersey

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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.

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