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DIY Sous Vide Cooker

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

My boss has asked me to put together a sous vide rig. I'm starting this thread to document the process.


Right now I'm at the selecting the features/specs stage.


I'm going to make the control box modular so it can run a sous vide cooker, a smoker, a warmer for yogurts and cheese making, beer brewing, heck, even a bread proofer.



The core elements are:


The PID controller: This is the brains of the operation. I've pretty much decided on a JLD612 model.


The Temp Sensor: I'm planning on going with a waterproof PT100 RTD temperature probe. It's a got a good accuracy and resolution that's made it standard in the DIY community. PID controllers only accept certain kinds of probes, so make sure they're compatible. I'm going to wire it into a TRS plug and socket (like a headphone jack) so the probe is not hard wired into the system.


Single State Relay: It's the switch the controller operates that turns the heat source on and off. The JLD612 has an internal relay, but it's too small for our purposes. You'll need to get a heat sink for this component.


With these core items and some odds and ends (project box, sockets, etc), you can build a basic sous vide device by hooking it up to a dumb rice cooker or a crockpot.

post #2 of 8

Why not a consumer induction burner? They don't have fine grained temp settings yet, but they're pretty good at getting to temp and holding it. Seems the extra bits would work with one of those too.


Don't you need a water circulator of some sort as well?


Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

I don't know enough about induction burners, I think the field emitted by them can mess with the probe's readings.


For bigger baths, yeah you'd need a circulater. I was originally planning on using an aquarium air pump to provide turbulence. Also found some submersible FDA approved pumps, but they are DC powered.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

I've kludged together a circuit diagram for the project. Gonna have a techy friend look it over.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Looking at heater element choices. I had been considering using little immersion heaters, or a commercial bucket heater, but I found a water bath setup on a cheese making forum that uses a water heater element that's been built into a pvc guard. I will probably go with that.

post #6 of 8


all the yadda yadda is so far over my head. I couldn't even replace my home thermostat.

I am curious if you can put some type of rheostat (don't even know if that's the word, some type of electric controller)

on a regular old immersion heating element? I remember seeing hundreds on ebay when I had the idea of making

my own proofer at home.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

You'd still have to watch it and adjust it with a rheostat. Better to use a simple thermostat. I wouldn't use a simple thermostat for a sous vide rig because there is a big possibility of over and/or under shooting before hitting the desired temp. Not too bad if you're using for a proofer etc, but it's disaster for sous vide.


The thing about PID controllers is that they are very accurate (within 1/2 deg stability), and they do their own minding. They even have a tuning function that will calibrate them for different rigs.


I'd use a rheostat hooked up to a fan for the smoker set up though.

post #8 of 8

For a heater ($10.00 ebay), I bought a 220VAC 2,000 watt heater and run it at 110vac, that gives me about 500 watts, at that low voltage the heat can last forever.




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