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Old 09-16-2009, 06:32 PM   #1
Homercidal
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Default Rival Seal-a-meal >:(

Ok, I've had this particular Seal-a-Meal (SAM) for a while now. I have used it pretty rarely. 2 nights ago I collect my dried hops and prepare to seal them up under vacuum. First seal is fine. I add the hops to the bag and vacuum seal it all nice and when I pull the bag out, it sort of "sticks" to the machine a tiny bit.

I notice a small whiteish area right in the center of the seal line. The next one leaves a small hole right there. After a few more I really check the sealing line on the machine and notice a tiny bump where the heat tape covers the heating element. I think it's something got caught under there so I carefully lift the tape with the tip of my pocket knife and don't see anything.

Turns out the heat tape has a teflon coating, so that the plastic bag doesn't stick to the tape. Somehow that coating got damaged and now the bag sticks to the tape and it pulls off.

So I email the company to ask about replacement element or tape. In the meantime I dab a bit of silicone to the spot and hope that it works long enough to finish the hops.

I finally get an email back and they tell me that they do not offer that part and they suggest I purchase a new unit. I very nicely tell them that they can shove it up theirs and I'm not buying another piece of junk from them if they fail in under 30 uses and they don't even offer replacement parts for wear items.

This is the second SAM I've had. The first quit trying to seal after a short while too. Problem is, I don't use them that much, so it's over a year usually before the problems pop up and they are not under warranty anymore.

I love these things, but I can't justify spending the money on something that (even though it was only $40) ought to last longer than they do!

I looked in Mcmaster-Carr and found similar tape strip with silicone adhesive and teflon coating for under $10. And it's 5 yards long!! I plan on fixing this.

I just don't see how the company figures they can make money on this stuff if people only buy them once and then never want to buy they products again.

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Old 09-16-2009, 06:38 PM   #2
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Huh, I have one of those as well, and have maybe used it 10 times total. This makes me nervous about the reliability of the device. Have you considered going with the FoodSaver instead? I have noticed with mine that even after the second use the rubber gasket was pulling out occasionally.

One option I'm considering whenever I replace my current one, is just buying whatever is being sold at Costco, due to their extremely lenient return policy. So, even if the manufacturer turns out to be a bunch of *sswads, you can still replace it for essentially free.

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Old 09-16-2009, 06:42 PM   #3
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I will certainly consider other options if I ever have to replace this one. I sort of picked this one up because it was cheap and I didn't need any fancy features. Just a vacuum sealer. I don't even use the "port" on this, whatever that is for.

I certainly won't be buying on price next time, but it's hard to feel like spending too muhc when you use it like twice a year. Now that I grow hops and have started purchasing hops in bulk, I might use it more, but not that much more.

Last night, after the silicone glue peeled right off the spot, I broke out the clothes iron and tried to use the edge of that to seal the spot. It "sort of" worked, but wasn't 100% reliable.

I'd like to have something working since I have 4 lbs. of hops coming and I want to vacuum seal them in mylar bags for safe-keeping.

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Old 09-18-2009, 11:54 AM   #4
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Got the tape last night. It is not the same stuff. The sealing strip on the machine uses a woven fiberglas tape with a teflon coating. The stuff I got was sort of thin and looked like dark grey scotch tape. But very slippery!

Well, I had to try it. I cut a 3/4" section and placed right over the spot that was sticking. The first seal showed a very small spot where the bump was, but it sealed nicely!

I went back and resealed 4 bags (about 8 seals because I replaced the old bags and was using a roll, and had to seal the opposite end too.

It performed flawlessly. One time I sealed twice too quickly (they recommend a 20 second rest period to allow it to cool down) and it was just a small bit uglier, but still very well sealed.

Now I'm ready for my bulk hops order!

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Old 09-18-2009, 12:12 PM   #5
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I have a Food Saver. I have owned it for 5+ years. It gets a lot of use. I am a fisherman and I spend my summer stocking my freezer. It's a bit testy at times and I have to use a piece of paper towel to keep the "juices" from preventing a seal, but I'm very happy with it.

My Uncles next door neighbor has an old school vacuum packer. Im not sure of the make or model. Basically its a vacuum chamber. You place the bag inside the machine. It sucks the air out of the machine. BAM!! The vacuum chamber is opened and all air is sucked out of the bag. Simultaneously the bag is sealed. These bags are much more inexpensive than the Food Saver or Seal a Meal rolls. This machine is also probably 30+ years old. Also no need for the paper towel trick. Probably costs more than $40 bucks though.

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Old 11-01-2010, 11:54 PM   #6
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Could you post contact info for the company where you purchased the "fix"? I have the same issue with mine. Mom got one two years ago, never used it. I used about 5x and have the same issue.

Thanks!

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Old 11-02-2010, 12:03 AM   #7
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I also have a Food Saver and its seen a lot of heavy use and i have never had a single issue with it.

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Old 11-02-2010, 05:01 AM   #8
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+1 to the Food Saver. I use mine all the time with little to no issue. The only problem I've ever had with it was the vacuum sort of pooping out after heavy use. I just slowed down a little to let it rest between cycles some and that did the trick.

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Old 11-02-2010, 12:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Homercidal View Post
I will certainly consider other options if I ever have to replace this one. I sort of picked this one up because it was cheap and I didn't need any fancy features. Just a vacuum sealer. I don't even use the "port" on this, whatever that is for.

I certainly won't be buying on price next time, but it's hard to feel like spending too muhc when you use it like twice a year. Now that I grow hops and have started purchasing hops in bulk, I might use it more, but not that much more.

Last night, after the silicone glue peeled right off the spot, I broke out the clothes iron and tried to use the edge of that to seal the spot. It "sort of" worked, but wasn't 100% reliable.

I'd like to have something working since I have 4 lbs. of hops coming and I want to vacuum seal them in mylar bags for safe-keeping.
That "Port" is for a hose attachment, one of those attachments will allow you to vacuum seal Mason Jars. Start putting your hops in the mason jars and seal them with the attachment, it works pretty well!
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:52 PM   #10
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My parents have a seal-a-meal from the late 70's. It's still going strong.

I still bought an old foodsaver off ebay. I bought it last year and it came with a VHS instruction video!

B

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