3 dead induction cookers. Now what?

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Spivey24

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So I bought this 5000w induction cooker off Amazon for about 400$. Warmfod or Warmford was the brand depending where you look. Just some Chinese OEM rebranded crap that is so prevalent on Amazon. It was great for a while then just died. I contacted the Amazon seller and he sent me a new one. That one lasted a bit then died too. Seems the overheat sensor did not work. so I contacted the seller a second time and he sent me a 3500w replacement this time. Oh well better than nothing. this one lasted a few sessions then blew. Insides were all broken. So I have an outdoor natural gas power burner that will work for the time being, but it’s so less convenient than being in my garage And has no hoist or roof.

So what do I get next.?? I don’t want to buy another cheap induction cooker. I could attempt to get a working cooker out of these 3 dead ones - a guy posted a while back on how to build one, but this is a bit advanced. Looks like a restaurant quality 3500 watt cooker is around 1500$ which is a bit high. Other option would be to ditch my kettle and get one of these 240v all in one units like the Anvil Foundry. Any thoughts? I liked the induction, but there was no way to hook up a controller, so it was a very hands on mash.
 

Homebrew Harry

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I saw a used Anvil 6.5 with pump for $200 on FB. It was a 120v system. Something like that would be a lot less than a commercial induction stove and still keep you electric. I too like to keep it electric. I have a big electric stove I set up outside for canning, brewing and BBQ.
 
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Spivey24

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I’ve seen a lot of reviews of the Avantco dying too. I think I might see a grainfather G40 in my future. Let’s hop for some Black Friday deals.
 
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I’ve seen a lot of reviews of the Avantco dying too. I think I might see a grainfather G40 in my future. Let’s hop for some Black Friday deals.
They have the S40 out now. Much much cheaper. Im just not sure about the capacity though.
 

IslandLizard

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IslandLizard, a Mod here, uses the Avantco IC3500 and recommends it. I am surprised he hasn't posted to this thread.
I just stumbled upon this...

Yes, I have 2 of those. The newer one of the 2 is used for brewing and general cooking, the other, older one, is basically a backup.
I highly recommend them, with a few notes.

Most importantly:
They were <$200 shipped, from Webstaurant.com, up until a good year ago. Then became unavailable, and now they're almost $300 (+50%!), at the same place. Maybe there are other sellers out there, not sure.

So the OPs $400 5000W cooker would be a better value at that, if it only lasted.

Right now pricing is through the roof for anything else in the 3500W range, so the $300 for the IC3500 is still a very good deal, IMO.

I've had some issues with the first IC3500 I bought, new, in 2014. After about a year of intermittent use, the fan stalled. It now gets periodic lubrication, say every 50-some hours of running time. It's a bit of a PITA, but only takes me about 30-45' now.

The 2nd unit, which I bought (lightly) used from another homebrewer here, has not shown that issue at all. At least so far, and with much more use on it than the first unit. I'm keeping an eye on it, and we'll see.

For brewing, induction is simply wonderful, especially when you want to be indoors. 3500W is the minimum, IMO, perfect for 5-6 gallon batches, and still very doable for 10 gallon ones with help of some insulation. Even better if you have a 2nd heating source nearby (e.g., stove, or 2nd induction unit) to get to strike temps, or help achieving a boil.

I've come to love induction, I wish our range was induction instead of radiant heating coils under a glass plate, which is not the most efficient way of heating, or as controllable (instant on/off) or to keep at a certain temp.
 

cubalz

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I have been using an Avantco IC 3500 to heat my sparge water for well over 5 years with no issues. The secret is to not run them full blast ie; 3500 but no higher than 3100 so they do not burn up. Man, after hearing of the price jump, I am glad I have a new spare just in case....
 
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Spivey24

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The secret is to not run them full blast ie; 3500 but no higher than 3100 so they do not burn up.

My first 2 burned up at full power. The third died at less than full power but that one had other issues. I would like to see one of these with a remote control box or something. Maybe I can rebuild the one I have and make it remote.
 

Homebrew Harry

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My first 2 burned up at full power. The third died at less than full power but that one had other issues. I would like to see one of these with a remote control box or something. Maybe I can rebuild the one I have and make it remote.
Why do you need a remote ?
 

IslandLizard

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Avantco is also of Chinese manufacture, but they seem to be a cut above the one you got, having a much better record. They make quite a bit of kitchen/restaurant equipment, or have it made for them.
 

Homebrew Harry

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...
I've come to love induction...
Me too ! I was skeptical at first, but I really like my 1800 watt model for cooking. It can hold a big kettle of oil at the perfect temp for cooking fish or whatever. It's too small to brew a big batch, but it has proven itself.
 
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IslandLizard

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Ha, a control box (electronics) that’s remote, not a remote control for it. It just seems it’s never a good idea to have electronics so close to high heat.
The Triacs (and other power electronics) will always get hot. They should be mounted on an adequately sized heatsink with ample air cooling.

The Avantco has a (plastic) air duct directing forced air over the heat sink and power electronics mounted to it. The control panel and main board won't get overheated that way.

Any clue as to what toasted your 3 units?
Did you ask for another replacement or refund?
 

Homebrew Harry

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I have been using an Avantco IC 3500 to heat my sparge water for well over 5 years with no issues. The secret is to not run them full blast ie; 3500 but no higher than 3100 so they do not burn up. Man, after hearing of the price jump, I am glad I have a new spare just in case....
That's a good idea. I don't even turn my glass top range above a 9
 

IslandLizard

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Me too ! I was skeptical at first, but I really like my 1800 watt model for cooking. It can hold a big kettle of oil at the perfect temp for cooking fish or whatever. It's to small to brew a big batch, but it has proven itself.
You could use it for brewing, just use a bucket heater or heat stick to bring it up to strike temp, then to a boil. The plate alone should be able to retain a simmer from there on. With a few good layers of insulation around the kettle, of course.
 

Homebrew Harry

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You could use it for brewing, just use a bucket heater or heat stick to bring it up to strike temp, then to a boil. The plate alone should be able to retain a simmer from there on. With a few good layers of insulation around the kettle, of course.
I have a big stove outside for brewing, but I am tempted to try it just to see what it can do. It is amazing how fast these work. You can see the oil taking on those heat waves as soon as you hit the on button.
 

NTBeer

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I also brew on an Avantco, for about 6 years now worth no issues. However, I don't have temp control for fermentation and use it outdoors with an extension cord, so mine is usually used in temperatures of 45 - 60 degrees which also helps keep the unit cool. I bring water up to temp usually at 3100 watts, and boil / simmer at 1800 - 2000 watts once boiling is reached, with a lid partially on.
 

jrgtr42

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One more avantco fan here. I’ve had mine about 5 years with no issues. I’ll run mine at full to get strike water to temp and wort to boil, but it spends most of the time at about 1/2 power for the boil itself.
nevera problem with it, I’ll wipe it down during cleanup and make sure the vent is clean and clear before an after brew day.
 
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Spivey24

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Any clue as to what toasted your 3 units?
Did you ask for another replacement or refund?

no idea what killed to first 2 5k units. No blown fuses or visible damage. Just completely dead. I just opened the third one again and it might be salvageable. The coil was on some spring mechanism that was shattered and the component that visibly blew up turns out to be a soldered fuse. I will try replacing the fuse and see if I can get it working. They have sent me 2 replacements but that is all they will do.
 

IslandLizard

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They have sent me 2 replacements but that is all they will do.
Maybe time to contact Amazon or your credit card company for a refund/credit for selling defective devices.
I would not tinker with the unit until it's all straightened out, with your money back in the bank.

BTW, how long of time have you owned these units, and how many hours on each?
 

Homebrew Harry

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no idea what killed to first 2 5k units. No blown fuses or visible damage. Just completely dead. I just opened the third one again and it might be salvageable. The coil was on some spring mechanism that was shattered and the component that visibly blew up turns out to be a soldered fuse. I will try replacing the fuse and see if I can get it working. They have sent me 2 replacements but that is all they will do.
I have a few appliances that had that damn fusable link burn out. I normally cut the middle out, leaving the ends attached to the wires and solder them together. Never had a problem.
This is not safe so don't do this !
 

Beavis740

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I use an Avantco 3500, but it only goes full power until boil is reached, then I drop it to 1800. The reflectix on the kettle keeps it boiling at half power. My HLT runs off a $50 Amazon 1800W, but it only needs to hit 165F, so it doesn't need to be bigger or faster. I don't mind turning on the water and walking away for an hour and doing something else.

I wish you well in your dealings over these failed burners.
 

JJinMD

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I have been using the Avantco 3500 for the past couple of years. Started with 5g batches, but the last few batches I have done have been 10g in a 20g kettle. Takes a little longer to get up to boil temps, but nice to knock out 2 cornies worth and only spending an extra 45 minutes or so to do it. And that is without any insulation. As the air temps get cooler, might have to get around to wrapping in the reftlectix. If my induction unit conked out, I wouldn't think twice about getting another Avantco 3500 (but might take the advice offered earlier about not running 100%).
 
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RufusBrewer

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It is not uncommon for appliances to have a temperature limited fuse-like component. Typically they are silver with a plastic nose and look like a resistor.

Exceed the temp and your appliance shuts down. They are a one and done, no reset - you have to replace the component.

Look and see if your appliance has one of these buried in it.

 
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Spivey24

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It is not uncommon for appliances to have a temperature limited fuse-like component. Typically they are silver with a plastic nose and look like a resistor.

Exceed the temp and your appliance shuts down. They are a one and done, no reset - you have to replace the component.

Look and see if your appliance has one of these buried in it.


Great tip! I did not know about those. Unfortunately I opened it back up and found nothing similar to that. Even pulled the board and checked underneath and under the heat sink, but nothing.
 

Homebrew Harry

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Great tip! I did not know about those. Unfortunately I opened it back up and found nothing similar to that. Even pulled the board and checked underneath and under the heat sink, but nothing.
They are usually hiding under a peice of braided fiberglass that looks like a little Chinese handcuff.
 

cbier60

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I have been using the Avantco 3500 for a little over 5 years. It runs at full power to heat strike water and from mash temp, then about 2300W for boil (with a steam condenser), but closer to full power the first few years before installing the condenser. However, I have it sitting on two 2x4s to provide a stable surface above the short Berber carpet in the basement. This gives ~2" of free air flow under the unit. That wasn't my initial objective, but may explain why I have never had an issue while others have. I would suggest replicating this to get some air flow under the unit.
 
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