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Sinbo Snorkel-Type Vacuum Sealer


cookman
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Anyone have any experience with the Sinbo brand of vacuum sealers? They are snorkel-type machines that make it possible to use the same inexpensive nylon (or even Mylar) bags that chamber-style vacuum machines use, rather than the more costly quilted type of bag.

Here's a link for a Sinbo machine that they also claim can be used to seal liquids: http://www.vackpak.com/Sinbo.html

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New on me. Notice that only the SE model can handle liquids. See also here and here. Can find no reviews of that particular model. Reviews on Amazon of the basic model, though, are mostly positive. The main caveat seems to be that the sealer is a bit fiddly, so there's a learning curve involved.

My $0.02's worth. If you're thinking about getting this mostly for sous vide, it doesn't seem to me an improvement over zip-top bags using the immersion technique (for which liquids in the bag is actually an advantage and easily handled). OTOH, if you're thinking about getting this mostly for freezer storage, it might be a good and cost-effective solution (subject to the caveat about learning curve).

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Double press method looks like it would drive me mad if for example I broke down a pig and had to vacuum pack all of the cuts for the freezer. BUT if my future did not look like sealing 100's of packages at a time, this machine looks alright. Still saving up my money for a Vacmaster VP215. We use one at work and my partner just picked one up for himself. They can be had for close to $900 new nowadays.

mise en plase

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I'm curious about it's ability to "seal liquids"

from the videos it kind of LOOKS like, yes, it seals a bag with liquid in it, but not with much of a vacuum (i.e. there seems to be a good amount of air in the bag)

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I have one and it works better than I expected. First, while it talks about a double press, it isn't really a double press, you press it gently at first, and that triggers a spring which retracts the nozzle, then you continue to press a bit further and a red light comes on showing that the heating bar has turned on to seal. So I never release the bar, and it isn't awkward in any way - you just depress it part way, then all the way. I have not used it to vacuum liquids, but I do use it for sous vide, and freezer, and it works very well - with one fiddly issue. Once you finish the vacuum, and you press the bar to seal, the heating elements come on, and then a buzzer sounds signaling you should let up on the bar, and then press the two corners of the machine to open it and release the bag. There is a dial that you set - which is probably just a timer, to tell the buzzer when to sound. The one fiddly issue is when you first use it, and I set it to 3, I get a perfect seal. If I do another bag, it is fine as well. If I seal a large number of bags in quick succession, the heating elements retain some of the heat so that by the time I get to the 5th or 6th bag, if I wait until the buzzer sounds, the bag will be melted in spots, so you have to learn to turn down the time setting as you go along. The manual describes this, and it is probably true of sealers that use a similar type of heating element. In fairness to the machine, the problem usually turns up when I take a bag and cut it in half, then I vac and seal one end, then just seal one end, then vac and seal the other end, and if I do a few rounds of that, it is not surprising that the elements would pick up some retained heat. Usually I can compensate by turning the dial to a lower number as I am working so that the seals still come out fine. So that is the one fiddly issue I have run into. There is another issue that sounded that it would be trouble, but it hasn't bothered me at all. When the nozzle is fully extended, the vacuum starts. So the best way to do it is to turn off the machine, a little rocker switch on the top, extend the nozzle, put the bag in place, close the machine and push down on each corner, then flick the switch on - once the bag is vacuumed, push the bar slightly, the nozzle retracts, then press further, and when the buzzer sounds take out the bag. The correct procedure is to switch it off, then extend the nozzle and repeat. If you then extend the nozzle without turning it off, the vacuum will start before you have the next bag in place. I don't find that to be a problem at all, sometimes I reach over and hit the switch to stop it, and sometimes I don't, it doesn't really matter to me either way, and since the switch is there on the top, it is no real problem.

In terms of liquids, it has a small jar at the rear, the pump goes into a tube which goes into the top of the jar, another tube also goes into the top of the jar, and that tube leads to the nozzle. So if you pick up water in the nozzle, it will get trapped in the jar. In theory, it should be able to get most of the fluid out of a bag, though some of the fluid will end up in the jar ( and in the nozzle ) and as long as it is not too much, it won't get into the motor. I have used it for steaks that were pretty moist, and it did suck some of the juice into the jar , but it is easy to open it and clean it out. They don't mention it in the ad for the machine, but I got a mason jar adapter for a food saver, and you can run that with a hose to the jar at the rear of the machine ( though the food saver jar sealer does not come with a hose, and the hoses from the Sinbo are not quite the right size to fit - so I got another hose). Another bonus that I don't think was advertised when I bought it is that it comes with an extra set of heating elements, so when the original one eventually wears out, you can replace it.

Finally, I have only used it with Chamber or flat bags - not the food saver bags. I had read that you could run into a problem where the bag collapsed in front of the nozzle and still left air in the rear of the bag. I have not had that happen - Usually, I just cut the bag before I insert the nozzle so that it is pretty near the food so there is no problem. A few times I just massaged the bag a bit to make sure the air got to the area where the nozzle is. I ended up buying the 8 x 12 boil safe sous vide bags from Web Restaurant - I think it was around 7 cents a bag including shipping - which is pretty good, especially because I can often cut a bag in half and use both halves. The minimum order is 1,000 - but compared to the much higher price per bag for a food saver bag, I thought it was a good bargain.

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Barrytm, thanks for the detailed info. It does sound like there is some real learning curve in using this machine. Its relatively low price and the ability to use non-quilted bags, however, still makes it an attractive option.

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Your description of the heat sealer is common - I would run into the same problem with my food saver - but the foodsaver's sealing time is not adjustable. Instead, I would use a damp towel and wipe the heating element in between seals to get rid of some of the excess heat when doing multiple seals.

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  • 6 months later...

I am sorry if this reply is going to be long. I put it together to give to my daughters and a niece who are looking at a Sinbo and modified it to put on this forum.

 

I bought my Sinbo about this time last year after much research on the different vacuum sealers. Limiting myself to under $300 cut out a lot the commercial units. I chose the Sinbo because of price and convenience. After adding in the different prices of the bags, the price of Food Saver style bags justified my decision. Where I did make a mistake is in not getting the Sinbo DZ-280/2SE unit with the liquid canister for catching powder and liquids.

A few tips that I have learned over the last year sealing food, survival items and misc things.I am using 3 mil thickness bags for most of my storage and freezing.

 

When you are sealing a bag you want the completed seal to look as much like a factory seal as possible if you have a smooth hatch pattern you probably have as good a seal as you can get. When you are at the right temperature and time the bag should “lightly” stick to the hot sealer strip. I found that setting the timer to 5 for the first few bags and reducing the timer to 4, after the heat strip is hot, seems to work for me. The heat strip will retain a lot of heat, what is the correct timing for a good seal after sealing 3 or 4 bags, is not the same as it was when when you first started out with the unit at room temperature. When you remove the bag from the sealer strip “slowly” peel it off starting at one side pulling up gently so as not to ruin the hot seal on the bag. Then lay the bag back down on the sealing strip with the strip under the bag about ½ way between the seal you just made and the edge of the bag. Close the the arm unit and without locking the arm down, press down on the hot seal bar and hold it down for 4 light flashes of the timer, release the bar and gently remove the sealed bag. The reason for only holding the heat bar down for 4 flashes is the heat element is already very hot and a time period of 4 flashes should give you a good second seal. Do not flex the bag while the seals are still hot, sometimes flexing the seal before it is cool seems to ruin it.

 

If you start using a heavier gage/thicknes bag you will obviously have to adjust the timing involved with the thicker bag.

When you extend the snorkel make sure the arm is in the up position and not down, the tube will try and tear out the upper foam seal, don't ask me how I know.

 

One of the problems with this snorkel arrangement is that the bag will sometime gather over the mouth of the snorkel and stop the unit from pulling air from the bag interior. The fix for this problem is a piece of paper towel about 1 inch by 1 ½ inch in size. Fold the paper lengthwise and then fold it at the 1/3 line to make an open ended envelope. Put the lower side of the bag under the snorkel, fold back the upper side of the bag to give access to the snorkel tip, slip the paper envelope over the snorkel tip, finish folding the open side over the snorkel, lay the upper layer of bag on the snorkel and paper envelope and everything will stay in place. Most of the time the envelope will be held in place by the weight of the bag laying on top of it. I know it sounds complicated, but after ten or twelve bags you will have it down pat and the paper towel envelope is a lot less trouble than the bag being sucked shut and you having to stop and reposition everything. The paper towel piece gives the plastic enough room to let air be drawn out of the bag. When you push down on the sealer bar and the snorkel retracts the paper will stay in the bag and will not be in the way of the seal. The paper towel envelope also serves another purpose, it filters out any “stuff” that might be waiting to be sucked into your machine. You still have to move the items in the bag as close to the tip of the snorkel, but at least it wont jam up and stop the suction action.

 

I cannot emphasize enough that you DO NOT want to get any sweet/sticky liquid into the bowels of the machine. If you have the 2/SE model with the canister you should be safe from that problem, if you have a unit without the canister to catch liquids you really want to keep any sticky/sweet liquid away from your pumps. If you are using a paper towel envelope to cover the tip of the snorkel keep an eye of it, when it gets wet push the sealer bar and stop the vacuum pump

 

If you are working with something with a lot of liquid, make sure and keep the snorkel tube wiped clean and dried, don't forget to get top and bottom and the area under the snorkel by the heat seal section. A dirty/greasy/wet snorkel could keep you from making good seals on your bags.

 

You can clean the unit by pumping warm water through it if you do get a liquid in it by accident, but it is better not to have to do that. The machine is set up with a drain tube from the pumps that will let you put warm water through the system. Make sure you do it over a thick bath towel to catch the liquid that comes out and a clean paper towel over the bath towel so you can check of any gunk that might have come out. The easy way to put water thru your unit is to put about a cup to a cup and half of warm water into an unused bag, seal it WITHOUT USING THE VACUUM PUMP, snip off one corner just large enough to let the extended snorkel slip in snugly, start the vacuum pump without putting down the sealer arm, carefully let the system suck water, try not to drown it. When it has sucked all the water from the bag, let the pump run sucking air for about 30 seconds without any obstruction on the snorkel tube, this should let the system flush all the water. Hopefully that will let the system clear itself of any residue that could make the pumps jam the next time you use it. If you have the 2/SE model make sure you do not fill the canister and flood the pumps. If you do get sticky in the pumps good luck and I hope you are good with small hand tools. Make sure and take photos of where all the tubes run so you can put them back.

 

Sucking the air out of a bag seems to take only a few seconds, but if you allow the machine to keep sucking for about 20 to 25 seconds you will get a package that has had as much air sucked out at the machine is capable of. Again if you are sealing something juicy watch your paper envelope. I used a Food Saver unit the other day and it flattened some ripe cherries and sucked a lot of juice out of them. It also made a mess of the bag seal, I am not sure that the Sinbo pumps are that powerful, but better control of the process seems to out weigh that difference in vacuum capability.

If you have trouble handling your bags get a piece of 2x10 about 10 inches long or several pieces of 2x4 to use as a table in front of the Sinbo.

 

I hope this information has been of value to some of you that are looking at or using a Sinbo vacuum unit.

 

Here is the addresses of two of the suppliers that I have used for supplies. They are both very nice people to work with.

 

http://www.dougcare.com/foodstorage/homeequip.htm#sinbo

 

http://shop.vacuumsealersunlimited.com/

 

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I forgot to mention the bargan pack you can buy from Dougcare when you buy a Sinbo unit, it is a super bargain for someone starting out with a new unit. I am going to start buying only the boilable 3 bags from now on as it allows me more flexibility in what I do with a food I might want to cook. I hope this information has been of use to some one on the forum.

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