A little while back I wrote up a post about Stian Eikeland’s “SousVide-O-Mator”. In the time since, Stian wrote up a great post on his own blog explaining how his project works and how you can build your own control hardware. He writes:
A professional sous vide setup costs at least >$1000, so it’s a bit out of reach for the normal home cook – except for the DIYers.. It’s not that hard to build yourself if you put your mind to it. What you need is the following components:
Water bath with a electric heater.
Some method of circulating the water.
A way of accurately regulate the heater based on water temperature
Some way of plastic bag packing you meat.
Water bath with heater is easy enough, there are tons of items out there that does this – slow cookers and rice cookers for example. I use a simple rice cooker, the cheaper/simpler the better (we’re going to cycle it’s power on/off, a dumb cooker will behave better facing a power loss). To circulate the water I use a simple ebay aquarium pump (payed $9.90 for mine). To pack the meat in airtight bags you can either buy a cheap vacuum-packer or simply use zip-lock bags (fill your sink with water, add meat to bag, submerge bag in water but keep the opening above waterlevel – pressure from the water will press out all the air, seal the bag..)
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Good job getting a PID setup going.
I skipped the PID on my sous-vide kit. It seems to be okay just having a 1 degree temperature threshold before cycling power. I also use the same hardware for converting freezers into beer/wine/cheese fridges and some difficult fermentations like tempeh.