One of the founders of Codlo contacted me last week to tell me about the water bath temperature controller that they've designed and are planning to build with the assistance of Kickstarter (the online crowd funding website). I've used a variety of methods to control temperature in a water bath for sous vide cooking and one of my favorites is simple: plug in a PID controller equipped with a thermocouple to the wall and plug in a device like a rice cooker filled with water into the controller. Submerging a thermocouple connected to the PID controller in the water bath provides feedback so the controller can toggle the power to the heating device on and off to accurately control the temperature of the bath. Codlo is such a controller, but designed to be aesthetically pleasing, easy to use, and intuitive. The Kickstarter campaign begins at 9am PDT on Friday, June 28, 2013 and can be reached at http://get.codlo.com/.
The Codlo device makes everything about controlling the temperature of a water bath easy for the typical home cook. Instead of storing a water bath appliance like the Sous Vide Supreme water oven, the Codlo is a grapefruit-sized device that simply plugs into a wall socket and connects to any other heating device that can hold enough water to cover whatever food you plan on cooking - a rice cooker, electric roaster, slow cooker, or even an electric coffee urn.
It comes with a thermometer cable (I forgot to ask if it was a thermistor or a thermocouple) that wraps nicely around the Codlo when not in use.
The heating device, such as a rice cooker, needs to be the kind that starts heating when plugged in and stops when unplugged. The fancier cooking devices which return to a standby state or a menu when plugged in initially won't work. A good old fashioned electric rice cooker which has a single switch (on or standby/hold) is perfect for this application. You just plug it into the base of the Codlo controller and plug the controller into the wall. The thermometer cable then needs to be dropped into the cooking device's basin and setup is complete.
I use a variety of sous vide devices at home and my personal favorite is an Auber PID controller hooked up to either a small rice cooker (for eggs) or a large rice cooker (for larger ingredients) and essentially setup is exactly the same. However, the appearance and interface to my PID controller is a bit "industrial", and, in general, I need to explain to people how to use it or get it ready. With the Codlo, the design is so clean that it setup is intuitive and practically self-explanatory. The bright colors (initially available in Graphite, Lime Green, and Firebrick Red) draw the eye to the parts the user needs to interact with (the cable, temperature controls, timer controls, and a check mark to start cooking).
I haven't seen a unit in person yet, but it appears that (unlike my PID controller) it is capable of estimating the time it takes before the water bath has reached the programmed target temperature while heating. During cooking phase, there is a built in timer and the display turns from yellow to green when the timer has finished counting down. Done!}?>
It's available with NEMA 5-15P/R plug and receptacles for US customers as well as UK and European style plugs.
Their plan for Kickstarter is to provide the first 200 people who pledge at the £69 level (around $105 on June 27, 2013) a Firebrick Red Codlo along with a digital copy of their Sous-Vide Guide. Another 800 red units will be available at the £89 level ($136). (Additional pledge levels and rewards are available including choice of color, rice cooker, and customization.) They plan on delivering the units by Spring 2014. Once the Kickstarter campaign is over, the device probably won't be available for purchase until they've done their production run in 2014. At that time, they plan on having a target price around £129 ($197).
I haven't decided if I'm going to pledge yet. I already have two PID controllers, a Sous Vide Supreme water oven, and two immersion circulators... the last thing I need is another sous vide water bath controller, and yet it looks so cool and easy to use that I might not be able to help myself.
Go to http://get.codlo.com/ after 9am Pacific Daylight Savings Time (16:00 UTC) on Friday, June 28, 2013 to see their Kickstarter page.
Codlo Sous Vide Controller Kickstarter
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