DIY Sous Vide Immersion Circulator




About: Chef for 28 years, always looking for a new challenge and always looking to make something!!

Many if these Sous vide circulators are available and main stream but they are $200 plus!!! With the exchange rate in Canada so high right now that would be $300 for me. This project cost me $45 as I used items that I had and a few items from I will include links in the materials list. Hope you enjoy and as it is my first instructable any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated!!

I have seen many people make them on many sites and even on this site, I used their ideas as my influence and hope you like my version.

Have fun DIYing!!!

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Step 1: Video of It in Action

Step 2: Parts List

  • Project Box

  • Heating Element

  • Digital Thermostat

  • Circulating Fish Tank Pump

  • Old Computer monitor power cable, had this lying around.
  • Dollar store outdoor extension cable to cut and make the connections.
  • Glue Gun
  • Metal Screws and nuts
  • Dremel cutter
  • 2 in x 1/8 in flat aluminum strapping, used to mount to your sousvide container
  • Electrical wire connectors
  • Four 1 in x 1/4 in steel bolts and nuts
  • One 4 in x 1/4 in bolt

Step 3: Starting the Assembly

As I started this project I had no intentions to do this instructatble so the first few pics are not there but I will get the idea. I learned a lot about myself and what to do and what to do differently next time. Works great and can;t wait to build more.

Drill four holes for the following items:

  • The main power line, you decide where you would like that.
  • Two holes to use to mount the flat aluminum strapping.
  • Last hole is used to run the power to the water pump and the thermostat

First thing I did was mount the flat aluminum to the project box. this was because I hid the bolts under the digital thermometer.

I bent the Aluminum by hand to the desired shape and drilled two holes to correspond with the holes in the project box. I mounted this with two bolts and nuts. I then hot glued them to make sure it was water tight.

I them mounted the pump to the flat aluminum with two bolts and again hot glued them.

As you can see you also need to cut two holes for the thermostat and the Heating element. I measured the size it each item and using a dremel tool cut the holes to size. The thermostat has two orange clips that go on after you slide it in the project box to lock it in place. The heating element I fit in as tight as I could and used a glue gun to seal it. I know, you say the glue will melt!!! As the heat is transferred to the water it does quite well. Next time I would used a metal ring to lock it in place and not rely as much on the glue but it does the job!!

Step 4: Running the Wiring!!!

This is where I really learned the most. Electrical is common sense but as I like to say, "if sense were common we would all have it", LOL. I have seen many different digital thermostats and I picked this one for the main reason that it has a straight forward connection and would be less complicated to wire for people with little experience.

I ran the main power in and stripped the wires.

I then stripped the other power cable and cut the other pieces I needed.

  • Three black wires around 4 inches each, stripped on each end.
  • Two white cables of the same length, stripped on each end.

As you can see from the wiring diagram it is quite straight forward and I will explain it as I see it. I am not an electrician and that is why I used this thermostat. Straight forward!!

  • White is hot and black is not!! LOL, that is how I treated it to keep it straight in my head.
  • Strip the wires for the pump and the wire that is on the larger prong of the plug is the white one and the other will be treated as black. The pump will be wired straight to the power source as it will always be on..
  • On the Thermostat you need to connect the power to the 110v terminals. I treated the right terminal as white and the right as black to keep it straight in my head.
  • On the thermostat in the 110v input put a white wire in the right side and a black wire in the left. Screw them down.
  • In the power supply to the element put two black wires and screw them down. The wire on the right side goes to the left terminal on the element.
  • Put a white wire on the other terminal of the heating element.
  • Connect all the white wires and connect with a electrical wire connector.
  • Now connect all the black wires to do the same.
  • The ground wire I just capped with a wire connector as the thermostat does not has a ground input.

Step 5: Final Assembly!!!

Now that the hard part is done it is straight forward from here.

  • Anywhere you drilled a hole is where you now use the glue gun to make it water tight!!!
  • Put the lid on the box, this project box has a rubber seal to make it water tight!!
  • Drill a hole for the metal screw to help hold it stable on your selected container!!

That is really about it, just some advice.

When you first power on the unit make sure the element is in water, it shows out a lot of heat and well the box is plastic!!! As well the particular thermostat I used can heat or cool, make sure you set it to heat or if not no sous vide!!!

First thing I did was sous vide egg and it was all worth it!!

Have fun and let me know what you think!!

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    11 Discussions


    3 years ago

    regarding whit is hot and black is not. US electrical code is the opposite from this. The way I remember is a bit of a history lesson. Tar was the first insulator used, it is black, so that color convention was carried forward.
    I hope this helps.


    3 years ago

    Nice bit of kit. Thanks for sharing. My daughter and son inlaw like their meat cooked well done,aka cardboard,with your machine I cook it in the bath then just add grill marks and color and zap I'm a BBQ wizard.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    So good to hear!!!! Im in the process of designing a new one with upgrades!!! Had the help of a really good man and when the parts arrive I will update with a new instrucatable!!


    3 years ago

    I'm curious, have you measured how accurate/precise your temperature control is with this device?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    I have. It's usually within .5°C. Pretty good for this setup and you can adjust menu times to help.


    3 years ago

    Maybe start to keep this straight in your head....White is NOT hot, but black is certainly HOT.....please try not to kill people from bad electrical advice. I do like your project, however.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    All advice is good advice. I did state I was new to electrical and was learning as well. That is how I reminded myself and have learned much more along the way after I posted this Intractable. It was a way to keep the wiring straight in my head and has worked great ever since. Maybe If I do a 3rd gen I will update my technique!! Glad you liked it and thanks for the feedback!!


    4 years ago

    Hi NL_Buddha nice article !
    I'm in too sous vide cooking to.
    My only question is does the aquarium pump hold up to high heat
    75c ?
    Hope i get a quick response.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago


    I just sent you an email about this?
    Did you get it? As well, check out my sous vide 2.0. Much better design and better product. The pump has been working great. I have looked at high temp pumps and if mine fails I will let you know. So far no issues and it's been 6 months and I have used it at 90*C at times for extended periods.

    Have fun and hope it goes well!!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks so much. I am quite flattered they featured my article. I never quite expected that!!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is a cool project. Thanks for sharing! I hope we see more from you in the future.