Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Whygee

Sous vide setup: Dorkfood vs Auber vs SousVideMagic vs SideKIC?

Recommended Posts

Hi,

I'm putting together my first sous-vide setup. I'm trying to keep the cost as low as possible but I'm wondering if there's a noticeable quality difference (in terms of durability and precision) between all the different controller options:

- SousVideMagic 1500HD (170$)

- Auber WS-1500ES (150$)

- Dorkfood DSV (99$)

- SideKic (I've read the thorough review on this board so I'm also including it here as an option since it's in the same price range.)

- I also liked this design from a board member, but I'm not sure I would save much by putting it together:

I'm planning on combining one of those controllers with a bucket heater and a pump. You're welcome to chime in if you can make a recommendation on the Electra heater (40$) vs the Norpro (7$).

Should I just go for the cheaper options?

Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I built one too. You can see a bit about it here (the post is tongue in cheek, but the DIY controller is real). Although it is very good, and accurate, it does involve mains wiring + proximity to water. So, I probably wouldn't go down that path unless you know someone who can wire it up for you. It is a cheap way of getting into sous-vide - you can build one with parts from eBay for around $30-$40.

Another option, aside from an element is using an old slow cooker or rice cooker. They're very cheap too.


Edited by tsp. (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I researched all the options extensively before purchasing, the Sous Vide Magic is definitely the best bang for the buck.

I've built PIDs for the BBQ, charcuterie fermentation and curing chambers, an off the shelf PID is not as accurate as the SVM.

~Martin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah? Is it because they're tuned better for the bath? What about the PIDs used in industry with Pt1000 probes, they would be extremely accurate if the parameters are tuned correctly for the bath. I've calibrated mine with a Thermapen, and although I don't have the SVM I'd guess it was just as accurate, if not more so.

I just had a look at the specs for the SousVideMagic 1500D HD Temperature Controller, it does look good, has a timer and stuff. For the extra $100 or so dollars, you're better off buying that than making your own IMHO.


Edited by tsp. (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your replies. I like your design too tsp! Where did you get the enclosure? For me that would probably be the biggest challenge since I don't have the tools to cut plastic.

Another option, aside from an element is using an old slow cooker or rice cooker. They're very cheap too.

I only have a "fuzzy logic" rice cooker and no crockpot so I figured out that since I have to buy something anyway, I might as well go with the better option (immersed heater).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought the enclosure from a seller in HK on eBay, it was around $7 from memory. My cutting isn't as neat as the other DIY SV set up that you linked to, but you can't see it anyway because it is behind a bezel (that's how the PID locks in). I did it by hand with a jewelers saw and files. Actually, my setup is a little bit simpler too, I've hard-wired the mains wire in with a fuse, so there is only one plug on the side for the slow cooker. I've also put a pump from an espresso machine in to circulate the water. And like I said before, I've calibrated it with a Thermapen and it works well, especially with the Pt1000 probe.

If you do go down the DIY path, there are a lot of cheap PIDs out there that will need some modification to drive an SSR. They have a relay output which you can't use to switch the element. This is what happened to me, but I pulled the relay out and rewired the output to drive an SSR.

I got quite into if for a while and actually made my own PID with an LCD display and temperature setting control with a rotary encoder like an iPod, it was really cool, but never got the motivation to put it in a nice enclosure and test it. It was basically a DIY SideKic, but there are a few of these things now. There is even a fully opensource hardware/software PID which you could base a DIY one on.

This is also cool http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nomiku/nomiku-bring-sous-vide-into-your-kitchen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the marshalltown in an "extreme" cooler with a bubbler and two large circular bubblers. will try the Harbor freight pump at < 150 degrees IF I surfive this storm

its a hum dinger!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the marshalltown in an "extreme" cooler with a bubbler and two large circular bubblers. will try the Harbor freight pump at < 150 degrees IF I surfive this storm

its a hum dinger!

Thats my home town, Marshalltown Iowa..interested how that name came about!!

I have the Auber and like it.. But I bought a Poly Sci Immersion.. that I like now

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

try the Harbor freight pump

I shop at Harbor Freight; anything at half price is worth considering, but do you really want an item bought at Harbor Freight within 50 feet of food?

Wheels for moving an outdoor table twice a year, that can off-gas in a back shed? Fine. Ratchet straps for repairing compost frames? Fine. Disposable gloves? Don't kid yourself. I have the impression that anything that plugs in is going to smell like 9/11. The "no implied suitability" software warranties come to mind here, although I have successfully made returns when there was an obvious and immediate failure. Most of what they sell is suitable for a movie prop. ... if you're shooting Super8.

Harbor Freight is a resource to use with caution. I admire my European friends who buy fewer things but never buy junk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the pump has been used by another member with success if you keep the T < 150. it was only 8 bucks so well worth that gamble. it never touches the food --- thats in a bag.

but I agree their stuff is for "occasional use"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for all your feedback. So is the general consensus that the SVM is the best device?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had a great experience with the SideKic and use it frequently. I turned on 3 of my friends to it and they all have worked out great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do all of these controllers have an "autotune" which automatically determines good values for P,I,D? In my experience, setting these values can be time consuming, and although I'm no expert isn't the tuning essentially what makes a stable bath?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tsp.

Did you read the posts over in the main SV topic?

Auber and SVM do have autotune functions, DSV seems to be simpler, no PID-tuning at all.

I'm at a loss as to what to use for a bath.

As Pedro noted, the above coffee urn is rather small, the largest slow cookers are no bigger.

Today, I looked at larger 100 cup coffee urns, the best option was a stainless 1650 watt model.

All circuits in this very old house are 15 amp and of unknown integrity (they may have been installed by who knows who before codes came along) so I don't think it's wise to max out the circuit.

The hot plate and stock pot option also makes me nervous since we have a couple cats and while I think it's unlikely anything bad would happen, you just never know, they do go wild, running and playing, from time to time.

What would you do?

Thanks!

~Martin

re: hot plates

I priced some of the best options with burners large enough to hold a stock pot in a stable fashion, but they're all quite expense.

Another issue, I don't have a large stock pot, so that would be another required purchase.

It's looking more and more like the FMM is the route that I should go for what I mostly want to do at this point, but I'll certainly keep the hot plate/stock pot option in mind in the future. The immersed bean pot is a good idea.

Thanks!

~Martin

If you are concerned about your wild cats, the best choice might have been a SousVideSupreme, no cables and tubes that can be pulled out by your cats. But as you already have the SVM controller, the FMM might in fact be your best choice for several reasons:

An immersion/submersion heater has minimal thermal inertia, making PID tuning very easy, see the last post in the old SV topic; any system that heats the container before the water has more thermal lag with more overshoot, requiring a broader proportional band and leaving you with extensive tuning experiments to find the best Integral and Derivative values (autotuning values are not the best possible values).

The new FMM has the sensor cable buried in the silicon hose, leaving less free cable for the cats to pull out; in fact it would be virtually impossible to pull the sensor out of the water bath, and if your cats pull out the sensor's plug from the SVM, the controller stops heating.

As a container, I would recommend a tall beverage cooler where you can lock the lid so the cats can't remove the lid and jump into the water (you would be very sad, and you would not appreciate medium rare cat's meat without proper post mortem aging). I run my FMM in a 28L Campingaz beverage cooler with P=0.5 I=0 D=0 with only ±0.045 °C oscillation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was doing research before purchasing the Sous Vide Magic, I asked the folks at Dorkwood if the DSV is a PID and this is the response I got:

"Yes, the DSV uses an advanced PID algorithm to maintain stable target temperatures. However, despite the core of its functionality being a PID algorithm, it requires no configuration and is designed to work with all different types of water baths. Our goal was to keep it simple and "plug and play"."

Take that for what it's worth.

From the DSV spec page, Temperature set increment: 1°F and Temperature stability (once settled): ±0.25°F

I decided to go with the Sous Vide Magic because it's more accurate and it's a true PID.

When you add in the shipping cost for the DSV, the Sous Vide Magic (with free shipping) is just ~$60 more.

~Martin


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Thank you for all your feedback. So is the general consensus that the SVM is the best device?"

I would go with the SideKIC, it has the heating element and a pump together for $10 dollars more than the SVM. I didn't like having to lug out my slow cooker or rice cooker with an external temp controller, and having to buy and plug in a separate pump just didn't make for a compact device. The pump is necessary for accurate temperature control (see other threads about this topic). There are a few improvements that could be made (see the sideKIC thread for a thorough review) but overall the sideKIC is thus far the best device for the price, I would wait for them to restock on amazon.

The market for these devices is becoming much more affordable, the sideKIC is cheapest and it has great temperature control and circulation in one device, I know ANOVA is coming out with one for $300 that will probably rival the polyscience just in terms of their experience in the temperature control gadgets.


Edited by Beusho (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I decided against the SideKIC because bath size is limited to 9.5 liters and I couldn't get a definitive answer on it's accuracy.

In the future, I may go with the Nomiku or the Anova for small batches and portability.

~Martin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's true, the bath size is limited to around 10qt which is more than enough room for home use, it probably wouldn't work for catering for large parties or a busy professional kitchen. I cook for 2-10 people and the 10qt container can hold all my protein just fine. This is where the pump is key, it keeps the temp consistent throughout the vessel, without it would be overcrowding which is what I didn't like about the SVM you pretty much have to buy the pump to get accurate sous vide results. Also starting with water temp that's near the set temp makes things very simple.

The sideKIC thread has replies from the company owner (it's the device with the best customer support from what many others have commented) and others on this board about temp accuracy, it keeps it to almost 0.5C which is better than needed for the home cook.

I too can't wait for the Nomiku and Anova!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I decided against the SideKIC because bath size is limited to 9.5 liters and I couldn't get a definitive answer on it's accuracy.

In the future, I may go with the Nomiku or the Anova for small batches and portability.

~Martin

That is what the manual says but I have a 19 quart cooler (something like that) and it works great (I also put Styrofoam on the top)....some of the big contributors on here who reviewed the product also use larger container. It has a pretty strong pump. I don't know factually the temperature if the temp is maintained in every square inch of that though.


Edited by kryptos1 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've used the SideKIC in a 12 qt and a 18 qt container and it held a steady temp confirmed with a Thermapen. Just took a long time to come up to temp without the addition of heated water. Did pork belly at 75C in the 12 qt which turned out great and brisket at 65C in the 18 qt that was dry but the SideKIC did hold a steady temp once up to temp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the SideKIC and a homebrew setup controlled by the DSV. Can't speak to the others.

The SideKIC does indeed have a very strong pump. I find that its primary limitation is that it can't get to the temps required to sous vide most vegetables (180+ F) without assistance. But I regularly use it for proteins. The other limitation is that its hook-over design means you have to get the water level near the top of the vessel, which seems less ideal than heating from below.

The DSV's primary drawbacks, in my experience, are the fact that its mechanical relay clicks frequently and its single line display. It also lacks the programming mode, but in my experience, it never shows a temp more than a degree above my set point. I'd probably go with the SVM if I were doing it again, but if the cost savings justifies the DSV for you, I wouldn't worry too much.

FYI, I finally posted pics and full description of my homebrew setup in the main 2013 thread.


Edited by jmasur (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By boilsover
      Yes, the vacuum blender, Luddites.  http://www.gadgetreview.com/what-is-a-vacuum-blender
       
      I am waiting for the WiFi version, so I can turn my smoothie into soup from Mars.
    • By boilsover
      Solid intermediate cook, here.  Not especially intimidated by elaborate preps.  But I'm new to SV, and would like a recommendation for a cookbook for guidance and exploration.
       
      I was thinking of Tom Keller's Under Pressure, but I'm wondering if the preps he includes may not be the most generally useful.  What do you all like, and why?
       
      Thanks!
    • By Chris Hennes
      On Nov. 7, 2017, Modernist Bread will finally arrive on my doorstep. Having preordered it literally the first day it was available, to say I'm excited about this book is a bit of an understatement. The team at The Cooking Lab have been gracious enough to give @Dave the Cook and me early electronic access to the book and so I've spent the last week pouring over it. I'm just going to start with a few initial comments here (it's 2600 pages long, so a full review is going to take some time, and require a bunch of baking!). Dave and I would also be happy to answer any questions you've got.
       
      One of the main things I've noticed about this book is a change in tone from the original Modernist Cuisine. It comes across as less "everything you know is wrong" and more "eighty bazillion other bakers have contributed to this knowledge and here's our synthesis of it." I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that Myhrvold and company are now the most experienced bread-bakers in the world. Not necessarily in terms of the number of identical loaves they've produced, but in the shear number of different recipes and techniques they've tried and the care with which they've analyzed the results. These volumes are a distillation of 100,000 years of human breadmaking experience, topped off with a dose of the Modernist ethos of taking what we know to the next level.
       
      The recipes include weight, volume, and baker's percentages, and almost all of them can be made by both a home baker and someone baking in a commercial facility. The home baker might need to compromise on shape (e.g. you can't fit a full-length baguette in most home ovens) but the book provides clear instructions for both the amateur and professional. The recipes are almost entirely concentrated in volumes 4 and 5, with very few in the other volumes (in contrast to Modernist Cuisine, where there were many recipes scattered throughout). I can't wait for the physical volumes to arrive so that I can have multiple volumes open at once, the recipes cross-reference techniques taught earlier quite frequently.
    • By eG Forums Host
      Introduction

      Welcome to the index for the Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques, & Equipment topic, one of the largest and most influential topics on eG Forums. (The topic has been closed to keep the index stable and reliable; you can find another general SV discussion topic here.) This index is intended to help you navigate the thousands of posts and discussions to make this rich resource more useful and accessible.

      In order to understand sous vide cooking, it's best to clear up some misconceptions and explain some basics. Sous vide cooking involves vacuum-sealing food in a plastic bag and cooking it in a water bath at precise temperatures. Though it translates literally as "under vacuum," "Sous vide" is often taken to mean "under pressure," which is a misnomer; not all SV cooking involves food cooked in conditions that exceed atmospheric pressure. (See below.) In addition, calculations for SV cooking involve not only time and temperature but also thickness. Finally, due to the anaerobic conditions inside the bag and the low temperatures used, food safety issues are paramount.

      You can read the basics of SV cooking and equipment here. In the summer of 2005, Nathan Myhrvold (Society member nathanm) posted this informative, "I'm now going to answer my own initial questions" post, which addresses just about everything up to that point. For what came next, read on -- and be sure to order Nathan Myhrvold's highly anticipated Modernist Cuisine book, due in spring 2011.

      As with all indexes of on-going discussions, this one has limitations. We've done our best to create a user-friendly taxonomy emphasizing the categories that have come up repeatedly. In addition, the science, technology, and recipes changed over time, and opinions varied greatly, so be sure to read updated information whenever possible.

      Therefore, we strongly encourage you to keep these issues in mind when reading the topic, and particularly when considering controversial topics related to food safety, doneness, delta T cooking, and so on. Don't read a first post's definitive claim without reading down the topic, where you'll likely find discussion, if not heated debate or refutation, of that claim. Links go to the first post in a series that may be discontinuous, so be sure to scan a bit more to get the full discussion.

      Recipes were chosen based solely on having a clear set of information, not on merit. Indeed, we've included several stated failures for reference. Where possible, recipes include temperature and time in the link label -- but remember that thickness is also a crucial variable in many SV preparations. (See below for more information on thickness.)

      History, Philosophy & Value of SV/LTLT Cooking

      Over the years, we've talked quite a bit about SV as a concept, starting with this discussion about how SV cooking got started. There have also been several people who asked, Why bother with SV in the first place? (See also this discussion.) What with all the electronics and plastic bags, we asked: Does SV food lack passion? Finally, there have been several discussions about the value of SV cooking in other eG Forums topics, such as the future of SV cooking, No More Sous Vide -- PLEASE!, is SV "real cooking," and what's the appeal of SV?

      Those who embrace SV initially seek ideas about the best applications for their new equipment. Discussions have focused on what a first SV meal should be -- see also this discussion -- and on the items for which SV/LTLT cooking is best suited. There's much more along those lines here, here, and here.

      Vacuums and Pressure in Sous Vide Cooking

      As mentioned above, there has been great confusion about vacuums, pressure, and their role SV cooking. Here is a selection of discussion points on the subject, arranged chronologically; please note that later posts in a given discussion may refute earlier ones:

      Do you need a vacuum for SV cooking, and, if so, why? What exactly is a "vacuum"? Click here, here, and ff. Are items in vacuum-sealed bags "under pressure"? Does a vacuum sealer create a vacuum inside the bag? Do you really need a vacuum, or can you use ZipLoc bags? Also see here, here, and here. If "sous vide" means "under pressure," aren't the items in the bag under pressure? There is more along these lines to be found in this discussion.  

      The Charts

      We've collected the most important of many charts in the SV topic here. Standing above the rest are Nathan Myhrvold's charts for cooking time versus thickness and desired core temperature. We worked with him to create these three reformatted protein tables, for beef, fish, and chicken & pork.

      Nathan provides additional information on his charts here. Information on how to read these charts can be found in this post. For an explanation of "rest time" in Nathan's tables, click here.

      Other Society members helped out as well. Douglas Baldwin references his heating time table for different geometric factors (slab/cylinder/sphere) here; the pdf itself can be found here. pounce created a post with all three tables as neatly formatted images. derekslager created two monospace font charts of Nathan's meat table and his fish table.

      Camano Chef created a cumulative chart with information gathered from other sources including Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc. Douglas Baldwin shared this chart devoted to pasteurizing poultry. PedroG detailed heat loss and steady state energy consumption of sous vide cookers in these charts.

      Finally, there is also an eG Forums topic on cooling rates that may be of interest.

      Acknowledgment & Comments

      This index was built by Chris Amirault, Director, eG Forums. It was reviewed by the eGullet Society volunteer team as well as many Society members. Please send questions or comments to Chris via messenger or email.
       
       
    • By Paul Bacino
      Wonder if someone could get me in the ballpark..the amount of Transglutamase...to make scallop noodles..    %  I mean
       
      ill use a food processor..to purée the scallop..  then inject into a water or broth..to cook?
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×