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Sous vide with a digital deep fryer element?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I just got around to cleaning a deep fryer I've had forever and it occurred to me that maybe it could be used as part of an immersion circulator? I've seen pumps online that can handle circulating the water, would the heating element along with the thermostat that is built into the fryers element work to heat water? Here's what mine basically looks like:

 

post #2 of 7

I'm sure it would heat water, but the issue would be to keep the temperature within a narrow range... I don't think your deep fryer would be very good at that... but I've never tried, and it sounds like you may be in a position to try!

 

Been meaning to try sous-vide ... one of those days. 

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by French Fries View Post
 

I'm sure it would heat water, but the issue would be to keep the temperature within a narrow range... I don't think your deep fryer would be very good at that... but I've never tried, and it sounds like you may be in a position to try!

 

Been meaning to try sous-vide ... one of those days. 

 

Yea I know it's critical to keep it exact and that's what I was asking to see if anyone had tried. This fryer has a digital thermometer that controls the element which is just like the DIY setups I've seen. The question is, how accurately?

post #4 of 7

Digital is not good enough.

 

You need a PID controlled digital thermostat.

 

A PID controller can "learn" (auto ranging) the thermal characteristics of your entire system, and make adjustments to compensate to stay within a very narrow temperature range.

 

A PID controller can be less than $20.

 

 

dcarch

post #5 of 7

DCarch, can you use any PID controller? Or do you need one that is specifically designed for sous-vide cooking? Can you recommend one by any chance? Thanks!

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcarch View Post
 

Digital is not good enough.

 

You need a PID controlled digital thermostat.

 

A PID controller can "learn" (auto ranging) the thermal characteristics of your entire system, and make adjustments to compensate to stay within a very narrow temperature range.

 

A PID controller can be less than $20.

 

 

dcarch

 

Thanks, yea I was extremely surprised at how cheap the controllers were. Nice ones too. One day I'll get around to putting one together!

post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by French Fries View Post
 

DCarch, can you use any PID controller? Or do you need one that is specifically designed for sous-vide cooking? Can you recommend one by any chance? Thanks!

 

Number one, you should not try anything unless you understand electric power wiring and grounding. Or you will be cooked instead of the food.

 
PID controllers some have relay contact outputs, and some have power out for a solid state relay (SSR). You will need to set the fryer's thermostat to the highest temperature and plug the fryer into a PID controlled SSR and let the SSR to turn the heating element on and off. 
 
The ones have only relay outputs will need a low DC voltage supply to drive a SSR.
 
Go on ebay, you will find a ton of PID controllers, make sure they come with a temperature sensor or you can buy the sensor separate (type K)
 
Buy a SSR rated high enough in wattage handling capacity (less than $10).
 
dcarch
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