sous vide circulator pump: constant or intermittent?

arley_gwDecember 30, 2013

I'm finally getting around to hooking up a sous vide setup similar to what dcarch did a while back.

Got my PID controller:;hash=item1e809fe43e

Got an aquarium heater element without a thermostat; and I have a small submersible pump rated for the temperature range for sous vide:;hash=item3a894588fb

I'll hook up power to the temperature controller, and send the output to a 2 receptacle socket in a handy box. It would be convenient if I could just plug in the pump's wall-wart 12v transformer into one of those sockets, and plug the aquarium heater element into the other; however, that would mean that the water would only circulate when the heater kicked in. Is that a problem, or should I have the pump running 24/7, or am I just being a nervous nellie? (no offense to anyone named Nellie)

This post was edited by arley on Mon, Dec 30, 13 at 9:17

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OTOH, the pump is rated for a life of 26000 hours, which is about 3 years constant use; maybe it's moot.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 9:20AM
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Arley - I recall being a bit confused by the controller's instructions - it's an inline switch, not a power supply. The way I set mine up was first remove the jumper on the hot side of the outlet so that each plug is powered separately: one always on for the pump and one switched by the controller for the heater.

Email me if that isn't clear - I can easily take it apart and draw up a wiring diagram for the whole thing as I did it.

This post was edited by foodonastump on Mon, Dec 30, 13 at 10:40

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 10:35AM
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I worded that switch/ power supply thing badly/incorrectly so disregard that. "I know what I meant" LOL

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 10:54AM
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FOAS, I appreciate the offer; I may take you up on that. Lemme try and see if I can figure out the wiring. I was working on it several months ago, then I had to put it aside. Of course, by the time I get this together, they'll probably have a $49 sous vide appliance at Walmart.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 1:05PM
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Thank goodness to my sous vide setup. I was cooking like mad the past 8 days for a lot of people.

I was able to serve prime ribs, ducks, steaks, pork rib roasts, fish, short ribs, pork spare ribs, ---- all perfectly done, perfectly hot, at the perfect serving time --- all with no stress! I can see why restaurants like to use sous vide for their cooking.

Your system:

The pump should run full time. Only the heater is to be controlled by the controller.

The pump you have is good. I use a different pump which has an 110vac motor. Much simpler than your brushless DC motor. A DC brushless motor has electronics inside (Hall Effect Device) which is more heat sensitive.

You should get backups for all components, so that for long cooks you will not be stuck.

Also get a couple of spare temperature sensors. Don't buy the sensor alone, can be $7.00 to $10.00. But this instead:;hash=item2ecb456630

The sensor is the same thing, much cheaper.

I had to replace my senor, which did last a few years of non-stop use.

Have fun and let us know your progress.


    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 1:53PM
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So far the only boo boo I've made is that I ordered an ice chest that was too big; well, I'm sure it'll work but it's way bigger than I expected. It was on sale at Amazon, and I'm a sucker for big markdowns, a $129 chest marked down to $38. But unless I'm gonna cook an entire beef shoulder, it's overkill. I'm gonna look for one in the 25-48 quart range.

Dcarch and FOAS, thanks for the support! Will post progress and results.

Here is a link that might be useful: ice chest on sale at Amazon

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 4:38PM
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This was on "The List" TV program last night. You all are ahead of the trend!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sous Vide Craze

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 5:47PM
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Nice to hear that, but I was afraid that my efforts would soon be eclipsed by a standalone appliance.

Let me see what I've spent so far:

Temp controller $19
Aquarium heater element $40
Circulating pump $18
Electrical box/switch/wires about $15
25 qt ice chest $20

So I guess I'm still under what I would have spent on a standalone doodad. And if I were to use an ice chest I already had, then it would be cheaper.

But hey, it's a do it yourself guy thing.

Still waiting on the pump to arrive, then I'll put it all together.

I'll try to take some pics as I put it together.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 8:58PM
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