PID-Controlled Slow Cooker

This week, my Cuisinart CSC-650 Slow Cooker trashed another batch of food. The temperature was too hot, and stayed too hot, and burned the heck out of my sweet potatoes. When I made stock this week, it also cooked too hot, and spit and made a mess of the countertop. The Amazon reviews suggest that many other people have the same problems that I did.
The Cuisinart has ruined food before, but enough was enough. This time, I gave up on the cooker, and got permission from my lovely wife to disassemble it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have a real thermostat, so it wasn’t something I could adjust. I ended up trashing the device, which was somewhat cathartic (not as cathartic as fixing it would have been). Oh well, I wasn’t going to be using it again anyway.
Wikipedia says that , for “safety” reasons. A couple of people have also looked into hacking slow cookers, but nobody seems to have done much work to solve the problem.
I’ve considered just buying another slow cooker after reading some reviews and meta-reviews, but I feel sure that whatever I get will just cook at too high a temperature.
What I really want is a tweaked-out slow cooker with a PID controller that’s content to let me cook at “unsafe” temperatures. It looks like this Hamilton Beach model actually uses a temperature probe to control cooking, and at $50 I might give it a try, but the absence of a high-end gadget model with more precise controls is disappointing at best.

3 thoughts on “PID-Controlled Slow Cooker

  1. I have that Hamilton Beach. It opens up easily, and the circuit board comes out with just a few screws. You can wire in to pins 1 and 2 of the optoisolator. Ground on pin 2. Send a few volts to pin 1, and you’ll be heating the unit. Drop a temperature probe into the pot and let your own circuitry decide when to turn it on and off.

    I haven’t figured out how to read the temperature probe provided with the unit. But a thermocouple probe is easy enough to do separately.

    At any rate, I couldn’t find a slow cooker that really cooks slow. You have to regulate the temp yourself, but then you can do whatever temperature suits your fancy, even super low temps for sous vide.


    • Hey James, Have you been able to locate the probe controller on the hamilton beach? Ideally I want to use the machine’s own PID controller to control the temperature, but allows me to go above and below the already set temperatures (140-180).


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