As promised, I bring you a report of the temperature controller i have purchased from Taobao for doing Sous Vide. It costs only 40 Yuan (S$8.30) including the domestic delivery. I bought this out of anger that the Anova Precision Cooker broke down the very first time i used it.
It took quite a bit of browsing on Taobao to find this particular temperature controller, which has a working temperature range of -9 to 99°C, perfect for Sous Vide. The other temperature controller that i use for beer fermentation only has a range of -9 to 38°C. Also, this temperature controller is able to accommodate the 3 pin plug used in Singapore, which is rare among products sold on Taobao. Another plus point about this temperature controller is that it even comes with a timer! So, in terms of functionality, it matches the Anova Precision Cooker. The temperature sensor is connected through a wire that is thin and flimsy looking, and i wonder if it can really withstand temperatures of 70°C and above (theoretically it should, since it is intended for up to 99°C).
I tested the temperature controller and it worked as advertised – it cut off electricity when the temperature exceeded the set target temperature range of 54-55°C, and when the temperature dropped to 53°C, it supplied electricity again. This may be a problem for people who are particular about maintaining a precise temperature for Sous Vide, as the temperature can vary as much as 4°C (during my test the temperature went up to as high as 57°C as there is a lag time between the cutting off of electricity and the stop in temperature rise).
To explain further how the device works, you basically set the temperature at which to supply (54°C as pictured above) and to cut off electricity (55°C as pictured above), so it can work for both heating and cooling (e.g. for beer fermentation, set 21°C as the start temperature and 20°C as the stop temperature). I’m not sure what happens if both temperature settings are the same though, and i don’t think i want to try.
So there you have it, you can have do Sous Vide with just S$40 (vs S$255 for the Anova Precision Cooker) – S$10 for a temperature controller including the shipping to Singapore, plus a slow cooker/crock pot which can be had for as low as S$30.
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