In my recent post featuring the top ten arduino projects of the web I mentioned Mike sklar’s YATC (Yet Another Temp Controller) which I recently picked up a kit to build so I figured I would share my experiences with this kit.
You can see that all of the components needed to build a fully functional temperature controller come neatly packaged and boxed ready to build.
following the guide is easy and I had the entire thing soldered and working in a half hour.
After getting everything together I had to give it a try and see if it held to its +/- 1 degree F in the heating temp range so I hooked it up to a crockpot, set the temp and waited. Typical of a PID controlled system, (which this is not, thanks @kithygh for pointing this out) when the temperature first built up it overshot the set point and then settle closer to the set point on subsequent heating cycles. This controller uses a simpler algorithm but is still quite good at maintaining constant temperature.
Above is an example of a typical PID, this is a simpler but it still works in a similar fashion control system. This system won’t arrive at exactly your set point but will eventually get to where it oscillates at +/- 1 degree since it is only able to turn the device on or off with digital control and not modulate the amount of heating or cooling applied. It does however work fantastically and meets the claim of staying within 1 degree of the set point.
Next, I wanted to try sous vide, a cooking method named for cooking under vacuum. The method utilizes food typically placed in a vacuum sealed bag being placed into a heated water bath. In this case I cooked a flank steak at 135F for 42 hours. The results were a very tender flank steak. I have also seen some good chicken recipes that take much less time.
The thing I liked most about this temperature controller is the variety of uses that it has. Some other ways it can be used are
1. Converting a chest freezer into a highly efficient refrigerator/kegerator
2. A controller temp fermenting/rising chamber
3. Curing chamber for finishes/paints
Conclusion: This is a great kit, everything goes together with ease. The PCB is sparse enough that soldering shouldn’t be too difficult and the kit comes with every thing you need to be up and running in under an hour except a soldering iron and some solder.