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Mellow, The Smart Sous-Vide Robot


weinoo
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if 'submersion' water pressure keeps  'SV' bags from leaking

 

we need more ExPeRiment on this

 

fron leaking  it """ might be that the top is smooth 

 

the Zips are not    ""{"   water pressure """   cant close a 'rough' top

 

Id like to be very much convinced that a 'smooth top'  works well in this system

 

it might

 

I think the 'bubbler' is quite mild.

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really interesting idea! I'll keep my eye on this machine, don't really need a second one, but the cooling option certainly is interesting. Thanks for jumping in here with answers to questions and concerns!

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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One of the reasons for the liquid not to come come from the open bag when submerged is because most of the time (not all the time) the liquid inside the bag is heavier (salt, and colder). By gravity it will not tend to float up. but I don't think that is very reliable.

 

I still want to know how do you empty the water from the container.

 

dcarch

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One of the reasons for the liquid not to come come from the open bag when submerged is because most of the time (not all the time) the liquid inside the bag is heavier (salt, and colder). By gravity it will not tend to float up. but I don't think that is very reliable.

 

I still want to know how do you empty the water from the container.

 

dcarch

The open end is not submerged. He's saying the narrow width of the chamber will keep the open end of the bag, which is kept above the water line, from drooping into the bath. At least that's how I interpret it. I drape the open ends of bags over the edge of my water bath and use the lid to keep them in place. It's the same idea, but sometimes the bag slips in and it is a mess.

 

The water container detaches from the base, as far as I can tell. 

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--------------------- The water container detaches from the base, as far as I can tell. 

 

It can't be, if the temperature sensor and the heater is wired to the base, and the air hole opening will be a problem also.

 

dcarch 

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You got it! That's why we need creative home cooks like yourself to grab a unit and have a play :)

Be happy to test one out for you, Zem'.

Shall I PM my shipping address?

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Mellow has not explored the many other uses, more than just sous vide:

 

Cold soup for the summer.

 

Punch bowl for a party.

 

Wine cooler.

 

 

dcarch :-)

 

The cooling is neat but with a 50W Peltier cooler, I'd temper expectations of what to expect performance wise.

 

Zem: I've found the thing I care about a lot with SV devices is noise. Do you have any specs on dB?

PS: I am a guy.

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Zem: I've found the thing I care about a lot with SV devices is noise. Do you have any specs on dB?

 

I am guessing there is a muffin fan to cool the heat sink for the Peltier device. Typically the fan is extremely quiet.

 

Then there is the bubble maker. It depends, some are very quiet. There are some diaphragm pumps which can be very noisy. I am sure the Mellow is almost noiseless.

 

dcarch 

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Noise is one of the specs most difficult to be precise on before pre-production units are ready, because small details can have such an impact. Like dcarch said, the noisy bits in Mellow are a diaphragm pump and a fan, and in those we're prioritising quietness. However, I'm not comfortable giving you a set dB value we might have to change in a few months. I hope you'll appreciate the intention; we're making Mellow as quiet as we can, and we think it'll be on par with circulators.

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It can't be, if the temperature sensor and the heater is wired to the base, and the air hole opening will be a problem also.

 

dcarch 

Temp sensor and heater can be wired with simple plugs in the base unit. Think of it like the batteries on power tools, only not a battery, but a tank. I can think of quite a few ways to plumb the air bubbler. Some sort of rubber valve similar to how a heart valve works. When plugged into the base, the pressure from the air pump opens the valve to let the air out, and the air keeps the water from leaking down the tube. Remove the tank, and thus the air pressure, and the valve seals. 

 

Those are fairly simple engineering challenges to overcome. The ability of the cooler is more of a concern. In computer systems, peltiers are often water-cooled, because they put off a ton of heat in order to generate their frosty side. 

 

Another thought regarding open bags: I would engineer the lid to serve as a clamp for bags, especially open ones (or at least build clamps into the top of the tank). There is too much room for user error with just dropping open bags into the tank, and one messy tank is going to be enough to turn off some skeptical customers. 

 

Another cool idea would be to integrate the bag clamps into the lid, so the bags can be lowered in and taken out with the lid. This would be nice for anything over 60C, which is about where my hands start hurting trying to fish bags out of the bath. It would also minimize the risk of open or poorly sealed bags leaking into the bath

Edited by lordratner (log)
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Temp sensor and heater can be wired with simple plugs in the base unit. Think of it like the batteries on power tools, only not a battery, but a tank. I can think of quite a few ways to plumb the air bubbler. Some sort of rubber valve similar to how a heart valve works. When plugged into the base, the pressure from the air pump opens the valve to let the air out, and the air keeps the water from leaking down the tube. Remove the tank, and thus the air pressure, and the valve seals. 

 

Those are fairly simple engineering challenges to overcome. The ability of the cooler is more of a concern. In computer systems, peltiers are often water-cooled, because they put off a ton of heat in order to generate their frosty side. 

 

Another thought regarding open bags: I would engineer the lid to serve as a clamp for bags, especially open ones (or at least build clamps into the top of the tank). There is too much room for user error with just dropping open bags into the tank, and one messy tank is going to be enough to turn off some skeptical customers. 

 

Another cool idea would be to integrate the bag clamps into the lid, so the bags can be lowered in and taken out with the lid. This would be nice for anything over 60C, which is about where my hands start hurting trying to fish bags out of the bath. It would also minimize the risk of open or poorly sealed bags leaking into the bath

 

You're hired. Come by on Friday for your paycheck.

 

I'm kidding but everything you described, we're either using, tried in the past, or have on the list for iterating into version 2 someday. Way to go!

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You're hired. Come by on Friday for your paycheck.

 

I'm kidding but everything you described, we're either using, tried in the past, or have on the list for iterating into version 2 someday. Way to go!

Haha, I've been playing around with this stuff for a while. Mostly a combination of fear, laziness, and the military lifestyle has kept me from ever trying to market something. 

 

It's been a great year for someone like me who just wants to see Sous Vide in the homes of the masses. Anova, Sansaire, Polyscience, Nomiku, Sous Vide Supreme, ARY... and now Mellow. 

 

Now if you guys would hurry up and develop some home centrifuges and hand-held homogenizers, that would be greeeeeeaaaattttt....

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I have a lot of admiration for people who have the dedication and energy to carry out the extreme complexities of turning a concept into reality.

 

The Mellow looks simple, but it is a very difficult engineering and manufacturing item. I am sure all my concerns have been thoroughly dealt with.

 

Some of my simple minded thinking, if I was to make Mellow work:

 

“----Temp sensor and heater can be wired with simple plugs in the base unit. Think of it like the batteries on power tools, only not a battery, but a tank. I can think of quite a few ways to plumb the air bubbler. Some sort of rubber valve similar to how a heart valve works. When plugged into the base, the pressure from the air pump opens the valve to let the air out, and the air keeps the water from leaking down the tube. Remove the tank, and thus the air pressure, and the valve seals. –“

 

That is asking for trouble. I would not make an appliance that has the container with a sensitive thermister plug, a high power plug and a water valve attached to it. You cannot count on users being careful in plug and unplug the container. Also unless the rubber valve is spring-loaded, and cleaned often, leaks will happen.

 

Assuming the unit uses a SSR to control the heater, I would think there is a need for a safety cutoff in the design. When a mechanical relay fails, it opens the circuit, OTOH a SSR works the opposite. When a SSR fails, it shorts. I hate to think what would happen with a 1000 watt heater going fulltime unattended.

 

dcarch

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FWIW, Zem, a little feedback from someone who has been following SV/LT for nine years and doing it for five.  IMHO, the most interesting thing about this unit is its ability to hold food chilled before entering cooking mode.  For folks cooking tender meats, seafood, etc. that's a funtionality not available with any existing technology.  Kudos.

 

That said, it's not difficult to work with existing technology to achieve this end.  Get home from work, fire up the circulator or other LT machine, drop the food, do other things and dinner is ready soon thereafter.  Not ready when coming in the door, but ready soon enough.  For most folks, that's sufficient.  Meanwhile, the SV/LT cooking I do most, and most recommend to friends, is long cook stuff, for which the chill-cook function is irrelevant.  Here, existing technologies have the edge, ISTM, for the simple reason of being easier to set up.  Pick a temp, pick a time and off you go.  No smart phone, no WiFi and no program modes.  Stated a little differently, if someone were to ask me whether to take an existing SV/LT machine or wait for the Mellow, I'd say take the Sous Vide Supreme.  Or an Anova or Sansaire.

 

A final point.  The ability to skip a vacuum sealer is high on my list of considerations when recommending a SV/LT unit.  In fact, it's one of my main reasons for recommending the SVS (there are others).  If you want me and others to give the Mellow high marks in this regard, you need more than "it works for me."  You need some sort of rack or clip which makes using unsealed bags easy and reliable.  Or not.  Up to you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Having done a little research, I must say I'm less optimistic about the cooling feature than I was at first.  A Peltier cooler, it turns out, uses a thermoelectric process (the name with which I'm familiar) instead of the more conventional compressor.  Although described in the linked article as having near-infinite life, this hasn't been my experience.  Rather, I've had two refrigerators and a few small dehumidifiers fail after a couple years of use (and none work much longer).  I continue to buy the latter (though not the former), because I need them and can't find anything better, but regard them as semi-disposable.  Importantly, the dehumidifiers only run about $40, so it's a reasonable expense.  I would't take the same view with respect to a key component of a $400 SV/LT unit.  Especially as the unit generally will be out of warranty when the problem arises and a thermoelectric cooler is not, AFAICT, easily fixed or replaced.

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I once bought a Peltier wine cooler (for chocolate actually) and was disappointed it lasted only a few months.  On the other hand I was president of a company that had made Peltier cooled cameras that were well reviewed and lasted a long time.  Peltier coolers should last a long time.

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