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SideKic Sous Vide – heater seems to have croaked


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The circulator on mine went out after a dozen or so uses. They replaced it very promptly. Then I was doing an overnight cook with it and forgot to cover the pot. Most of the water evaporated and the heater and circulator went out. Totally my fault this time. The controller part still seemed good so I bought a small aquarium pump and a small immersion heater from Amazon. The heater was the exact same one that was in the SideKic and my husband easily replaced it. The pump wouldn't quite fit so I just use it in the pot by itself, pointing the nozzle at the SideKic. It works just fine.

heater $7.00 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I8VE68/ref=wms_ohs_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1

pump $12 when I bought it, now $16 http://www.amazon.com/Rio-Plus-50-Aqua-Pump/dp/B0027J67GS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372709957&sr=8-1&keywords=Rio+Plus+50+Aqua+Pump

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Thanks, Mary -- I'll give that a shot.

Dcarch - given the price of the whole setup, I wouldn't expect a ton of durability, so I'm ok with a little minor tinkering to keep it alive.

Cheers!

If you are good in power wiring and electrical work, you may like to consider this option:

You can buy hot water heating elements cheap (Home Depot, eBay). They are generally high wattage and 240 VAC rated. However, if you run one at 120V, the wattage will be about 1/4 of the rated wattage. You can further hook up a diode and cut the wattage half again.

Also, you can use a voltage regulator to adjust the wattage.

The heating element will last forever. Mine is 5 years old.

dcarch

Edited by dcarch (log)
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That kind of heater will not last.

dcarch

I was kind of surprised at the heater they used considering the price of the SideKic. If it goes out again at least I know it's cheap and easy to replace.

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That kind of heater will not last.

dcarch

I was kind of surprised at the heater they used considering the price of the SideKic. If it goes out again at least I know it's cheap and easy to replace.

I have said from the very beginning that the heater used for this application will be a problem.

It is not cheap if you have to keep replacing it. Especially if you are doing a 48 hour cook and it dies in the middle without you knowing it and you have to throw away expensive meat.

dcarch

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http://www.amazon.com/MARSHALLTOWN-Premier-742G-Bucket-Heater/dp/B000BDB4UG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1372724906&sr=8-2&keywords=immersion+heater

waterproof, plug in , no issue-used this when the heater on my fisher scientific died-in a small bath, maybe even without a circulator in a small bath

Edited by glepore (log)
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I've actually had very good success with those cheap-o heaters. You have to make sure the curly parts of the heater are fully submerged in water, or else they short out as some sort of safety mechanism. I have three of those hooked up to my self-built system and they've been going strong since 2009.

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I've actually had very good success with those cheap-o heaters. You have to make sure the curly parts of the heater are fully submerged in water, or else they short out as some sort of safety mechanism. I have three of those hooked up to my self-built system and they've been going strong since 2009.

You are very lucky.

Read the user reviews on Amazon you will realize you are lucky.

dcarch

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Sent a note to Duncan Weaver of ICAKitchen, the manufacturer (who is on eG in early threads about his doo-hickey). He promptly asked where he should mail a replacement - no fuss, no bs. The machine may not be terrifically sturdy, but you can't beat the customer service.

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I use these heaters routinely in my DIY small rigs with 2 - 3 of these in the water at a time.

they do short out if

1) you turn them on while they are not fully immersed in the water.

2) you dont turn the power off first before you take them out of the water, a variant of #1

if you are aware of these problems, they seem to last a good long time. I get them at BB&B with coupon 20 % off for around 6 $/a piece.

they are for low volume work.

i have the Bucket heater in a DIY rig for high volume work.

the manufacturer of the SideKick should make this clear to people then all will have less to worry about.

on further refection they probably short out when they are first turned on out of the water, become hot very fast, then cool quickly when immersed in water = short-out. im sure if you turn them on out of water and leave them on they will eventually short out as a safety issue.

Edited by rotuts (log)
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Even the lab grade ones die in a second if turned on out of the water.

I use a stove heating element.

It is a 240V 2,000 watt element running at 120V, which makes it about 500 watts. It is impossible for it to burn out, with or without water.

dcarch

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I'd done my homework (reading all 13,000,000 eG pages on home sous vide) before I bought the thing and was super careful to not turn heat on outside of the bath, etc -- I think mine was just a dud. But I'll be even more hyper-vigilant going forward. Replacement arrived yesterday....

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I've had this happen twice in the last year. First one I used maybe12-15 time including a few multi days sessions. Very good customer service. Basically tell us where to send the new one. Second one bit the bullet after 3 uses. Will contact them again and report back.

Worried about a long term solution so may try some of the various rigs I've seen here.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I had the sidekic go south twice. Both times the circulator pump failed. So I decided to invest in the $400 Polyscience number Williams Sonoma sells. And I'm glad I did. Having one piece instead of two is already less clunky. Plus the 1100W heater brings water up to temp faster. The pump motor is at the top of the housing, ie not submerged, and drives a submerged impeller via a shaft. I'm no engineer but it seems that keeping the motor dry and cooler can only be good. And finally the temperature can be set in 0.1 degree increments. The Polyscience user interface isn't nearly as good as the sidekic's but it gets the job done. I'm using a small igloo cooler as the water oven with just a piece of cardboard covered in plastic as top insulation. This works remarkably well--much better than a stockpot because heat loss is reduced very considerably. With this setup sous vide is a lot more fun than it was with the sidekic, although the sidekic is impressive for the money and got me into sous vide.

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I've been using a cheapo 18 qt styrofoam beer cooler -- I cut out a hole in the lid to just fit the SideKic so I've only got about 1/8" of air space around it. I use stock pot on the stove to get bathwater pretty close to temp (cooler's bigger than the recommended size for the SK, so I figure I should not overburden it with trying to bring my hot tap water up 50 degrees), pour into the cooler, drop in the food, lodge the SK in its spot, close cover, put a bit of plastic wrap over the hole. I did an 12 hour spare rib bath at 175 a couple of weeks ago and lost virtually no water to evap. I have to assume heat loss was well minimized too, since my cat (a total heat slut) did NOT elect to nap on top of the contraption.

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