WHOOPS! I forgot … the final jury-rigged Frankenroaster

Motor on the outside.
Motor on the outside.

Hmmm, how did I forget to post this quick update?

Much to my dismay, Jules was correct. Put the damned motor on the outside of the roaster, Mr. Emery! It was an engineering struggle, but worth the pain. I found a tube that would fit the motor shaft, took a shaft out of a trashed motor, slapped it all together with blood and tears, and extended the shaft through the side wall of the toaster oven.

No longer does the motor really see or experience any heat. Jules and I are now cranking out coffee and having a grand old time doing so. So, we’ll see how long it lasts. Heck, Jules even printed out “Frankenroaster” on a label machine for me, to give him a proper name.

Sous Vide 2.0: The Sous Vide-enning

The imperfect perfection.
The imperfect perfection.

Few know that Sous Vide 1.0 took a huge dump by committing suicide. It drained all of its water over night and fried itself to death. It also ruined a rack of ribs, but, that won’t happen again!

Introducing Frankenvide: Sous Vide 2.0. It’s NEWER. It’s better! It slices! It DICES. It even juliennes!. Two out of five of those are accurate. It’s marred and imperfect, but I think I love him. I even bumped the toner where it said COOK. Now, it says COCK, but I’m too lazy to take it back apart. It will say COCK forever, methinks.

It has a new design, simpler controls, and is all around lighter and better. I just heated water and there was no overshoot. Now, I’m ready to get back to cooking the water immersion method.

Some design notes:

1) The first iteration had no pump. I tested heating and there was about a 12 degree difference between the meat thermometer and what old Franky was telling me. I was frustrated. I went through every line of code. I changed the coefficients, over and over. I then decided to shake the thermistor and it jumped in temp! I thought, “huh, there must be a short!” Then, I realized, I moved the thermistor to the same level in the column of water that the meat thermometer sat at! There was about a 12 degree difference between the bottom of the water and the 6″-8″ of water on the top! Holy COW! I never thought the pump did much in the first version. BOY, was I wrong.

2) You can see the heating element sits vertically in the water, this go around. I read that a horizontal element will whistle and make more ruckus, as the first sous vide demonstrated. With the element vertical and the pump pushing water around it, the heating element is nearly silent! All that can be heard is the hum of the water pump.

3) The hole is ABOVE the water! I won’t ever have to worry about this bad boy leaking … EVER! There is even a wee bit more room to cook than 1.0. If this heating element takes a dump, I’ll just need to pop in a new one. No worries about sealing, etc.

4) Different brain: I went with the Atmega328. This is just way more stable than 1.0. There was less PCB to create and seems to be running great! Also, a lot less code, since the chip is driving the display, as opposed to 595’s and all of the data shifting.

I think this one will last a lot longer. Mrs. Emery is ready to get back to her meats, as she has missed them, greatly.

P.S., I considered putting a PID algorithm in this. It is completely unneeded. It holds temperature within .2 degrees of its set temp. For this application, that is plenty accurate. So, if you decide to build your own water immersion cooker, don’t worry about the time and/or money expense of a PID controller. There simply is no need when the thermistor is accurate, detects temperature quickly, and there is sufficient flow of water to keep the temperature steady.

Quick Mead Racking Roundup

The good, the bad, and the ugly. WOW, is all I can say about the results of the mead. Keep in mind, the yeast and nutrients were identical in these batches. But what happened?

Here are the notes:

#1 Mead

Honey Boil: 0 minutes
Original Gravity: 1.082
Final Gravity: .998
ABV: 11.29% ( Flavor notes: Dry and smooth. It will be grand after some time to condition.

#2 Mead

Honey Boil: 10 minutes
Original Gravity: 1.094
Final Gravity: 1.010
ABV: 11.03% ( Flavor notes: Taste of caramel, smooth, sweeter than #1 Mead, and dry. Quite tasty! (At the end of the day, this is by far my favorite.)

#3 Mead

Honey Boil: 15:00 minutes
Original Gravity: 1.094
Final Gravity: 1.030
ABV: 8.4% ( Flavor notes: Slightly bitter. Smooth. Tasted quite like a cola, Julie noted. Thought, “HEY! MILLION DOLLAR IDEA!”

#4 Mead

Honey Boil: 12:30 minutes
Original Gravity: 1.094
Final Gravity: 1.012
ABV: 10.76% ( Flavor notes: Dry with notes of caramel and note as sweet as #2. A little more bold in flavor than #2. #2 has now become Julie’s, as she said this is no longer her mead.

#5 Mead

Honey Boil: 17:30 minutes ( the real bochet )
Original Gravity: 1.082
Final Gravity: 1.050
ABV: 4.2% ( Flavor notes: One word: horehound. It was bitter. Jules won’t drink it. Not the greatest thing.

Well, there you have it. What the hell happened with #5? That was a disappointment after such fantastic showing out of the gate. Well, these will condition for a year or so. Then, they’ll get bottled. Might have to make a larger batch of #2 and test market #3 as Adult Cola.