Temp stability issues?

I just got my unit, filled a Dutch oven with water, put in the unit, set it to 130 (for fish) and waited. It reached temperature quickly, but the indicated temperature kept rising. At 140, I turned it off and read the instructions in case I was supposed to do something. (When all else fails, read the directions, right?) Apparently I should not have to intervene, so I turned it on again. The temperature stabilized at about 132; I added the fish; the temperature dropped a couple of degrees but came back up quickly. But it seems to fluctuate by +/- a few degrees. I though, with 0.5 degree settings, that it would do better than that. Other people’s experiences, please?

Small vessels tend to fluctuate more as they have less water to serve as a buffer to temp changes. Also make sure your water level is close to the max mark. A stock pot will probably help solve the issues you are seeing.

I figured more water would help, but I was really concerned to see the temp 10 deg above the target and rising rapidly! One cookbook suggests using the smallest amount of water that will fit the food easily; I don’t see that Anova addresses the issue.

How did you determine that the water was 10 degrees over temp?  Were you relying on display of the the Anova or did you have an external thermometer?  Reason I ask is that I have seen situations of the displayed temp being highly inaccurate due to a low water level.  I’ve also seen them display complete nonsense in a failure situation.  I would say to keep an eye on the unit for a bit and if it happens a second time, do not hesitate in sending it in for replacement or returning it and buying another unit.  

As for the cookbook stating “use the smallest amount of water that will fit the food easily” -  this is complete crap. With a small volume of water, you have lost your ability to buffer temperature changes, you’ve lost your insulation and circulation can suffer, and you have to constantly be on top of the water level as you have very little reserve when you lose volume to evaporation.  Furthermore, when you add make up water to the smaller bath, something you wouldn’t have to do with a larger bath, you’ll have to match the water temp before adding or you’ll either over shoot the temp or over cool the bath.  For some foods this won’t mater, for others, it could cause issues.  Now, I’m not saying that you should use a 48-quart cooler to cook a single chicken breast, but something like a 5 gallon stock pot, which is what Anova recommends as the capacity of the cooker, is good for cooking most things.  I use a 24 quart stock pot filled to about the max line on the Anova (probably right around the 4 gallon recommendation from the company) for probably 19 out 20 cooks and the machine performs flawlessly**.

**: I don’t use the BT or Wi-Fi link since they suck and are prone to failure due to bad software. I know what my Anova’s temp offset is, take that into account and just set the temp manually and use a ThermoWorks TimeStick timer.
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I was using the Anova display for temperature. The water level was well above the minimum marking.

I would just keep an eye on it then and send it in for RMA if it messes up again.  I can vaguely recall that my first Anova did something weird the first or second time I used it, then was normal up until the day it went totally bonkers and had to be replaced.

Mine did that. Will have to be replaced probably. Happens fairly often

Guys, here’s a tip.  The PC has a wee bit of a design flaw.  The exhaust ports vent the hot air right below the slots for the electronics to breathe.  Yep…a bit of a problem.  It doesn’t take much to add to it to get your electronics to start acting “wonky”.  (yes, that’s a technical term) :wink:  Heh

Anywho.  I found this a few times when I was using Glad press-n-seal to cover my cook’s (it left the only opening as around my PC.  At times there was too much steam coming up and the PC started acting up.  I fixed this by finally getting off of my ass and cutting the hole in the top of my Cambro bin lid.  (see pic)

So, the moral is - electronics really don’t like high temperatures.  If you think there’s a chance that steam is impacting the electronics in your PC, you need to find a solution to keep that moist, hot vapour out of the housing for your PC.

I am lazy. With my Cambro lid I slide it up next to the unit then use a small piece of plastic wrap to cover the gap. This way I still have an intact lid for other uses.

@john.jcb  Yes, but with the hole cut (and some electrical tape on the edge to give it a nice, soft seal) I don’t get any evaporation loss at all (handy for those multi-day cooks).  

Mine is doing the exact same thing right now. First time use. The bath reached 129 degrees, I placed the strip steaks in and of course the temp dropped. It has never recovered. I stopped the cook and started over and even unplugged and started over. The temp is steady dropping. Guess these steaks are trash.

Mine has been fine ever since the first complaint that I posted. Go figure.

Depends how long they were in the “danger zone” - if more than 4 hours they definitely should be tossed.

If less, you can still cook them in a traditional way (and contact Anova Support to get your APC issues sorted out).

Thanks for the response. I tossed them already. They were there for about 1.5 hours. I have reached out to customer support via email. Got a basic response asking I allow 48-72 hours for help. Pretty annoying all around. Waste of time, waste of money on the steaks.

Ken, unfortunately there are many users who don’t know enough about the SV cooking technique to make adjustments when a malfunction occurs. With any new appliance it’s worth taking an out-of-the-box test drive just to ensure correct functioning of the Anova instrument. In commercial kitchens i’ve encountered as high as 50% failure rates with new equipment. They certainly don’t make them the way they used to.

Sorry to say, from your description you only added some extra aging to those steaks. Most cooks rely on the 4-hour rule in the food danger zone, 40F to 130F, or sometimes higher. Steaks are a particularly safe cut of meat unless they have been mechanically tenderized.

Your refrigerator after an ice bath rapid chill is your best friend when you encounter cooking problems. Meat is just too expensive to do otherwise. Consider it as a time-out that will allow you sufficient time to diagnose the problem and identify potential causes without the threat of food spoilage.

Thanks for the info. 50%? Really, that’s horrible. I’m pretty savvy around the kitchen. Cook in many ways, roast whole hogs on the regular but it is my first attempt at SV.

Ken, there isn’t much practical knowledge carry over from conventional cooking to SV thus here’s one more new way for you to learn. An exception is the basic rules of sanitation and food safety where long times and low temperatures can be hazardous.

Judging from the problems described here by Community members that aren’t caused by equipment disfunction, cooking without understanding how to use the SV technique is the primary cause of culinary unhappiness. Or as i like to describe it, - ready, fire, aim.