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Hacking a VS200 Food Sealer

This food sealer just wasn’t cutting it for [Tinkering Engineer], so he decided to do something about it. The issue with this sealer was that it didn’t have a mode where it could simply seal bags without pulling a vacuum on it. Going through the whole process takes a reported 40 seconds in order to evacuate the air and then seal the bag. Without pulling a vacuum, the sealing process took only 9.

After taking everything apart and looking around, a PIC microcontroller, and vacuum switch were found as well as other assorted electronics. Although the first thought was to replace the onboard PIC with an Arduino, a much simpler solution was arrived at. Two switches were added, one to disable the vacuum pump and the other to manually turn on the heater. This would allow the machine to function as originally intended or simply let bags be sealed without the vacuum function.

This hack may not be the most advanced one that we’ve ever seen, but it’s a good reminder that some projects can be done very simply if you’re willing to look around!

Comments

  1. Devin says:

    Nice work going for a more elegant solution instead of throwing an Arduino at the problem!

  2. Whatnot says:

    Yep that’s classical not standing fro silliness with a simple hack.
    But wow, they put a security screw on the PCB? that’s just so daft, as if someone that opened it would then be “Oh now I’m foiled”.
    I just hope that was merely a case of some security screw from the casing accidentally winding up in the wrong tray else it’s a new level of idiocy.

    • Dax says:

      Probably a case of not having to use two different tools on the assembly line.

    • It was just one screw out of four that was a security screw. The rest were Phillips. And when I originally opened it up, the screw was under some wires and stuff. I had to cut some zip ties and move some stuff to get at it. The other screws were easily accessible. It was obvious that they put it there to foil somebody. But as you said, someone who got to that point wouldn’t be stopped.

      • Whatnot says:

        I guess the hack was less ‘simple’ than I thought if you also had to cut wires just to get to the damn screw already.

        incidentally, to deal with such things I myself just took a normal screwdriver with a long bit (reversible with flat and philips head) I once bought for 1 euro at an electronics shop and dremeled a slot in the middle of the flat head and now it works with normal screws and security ones, easy as pie :)

      • Whatnot says:

        Cut zipties* I meant to say

      • Whatnot says:

        Next project: make it pump out the air and pump in nitrogen (not the freezing liquid kind), seems they do that with bread and such since nitrogen is inert, and cheap since 78.08% of the atmosphere is nitrogen.

  3. Well. says:

    Well, if you didn’t want your food to be be put in a vacuum, why not just use tupperware?

    • Olivier says:

      Because tupperwares aren’t a solution for everything.

    • Peter says:

      The “bags” are actually not bags but rather long, flat tubes. If you want a new bag, you seal the end/bottom of the tube and cut however long a piece you need. You place your food inside and then pull a vacuum and seal the other end. The first end seal does not require a vacuum but there was no way to skip that step. This hack streamlines the process. Other food sealers do have an option of sealing without pulling a vacuum.

    • The Timmy says:

      …not always for food use. in fact, many years ago, when a couple of guys and I were up to no good, (starting trouble in the neighborhood) we bought one so that we can re-seal items from the store in shrink wrap film from the craft store (sold to be used in making gift baskets). we later grew up and went about a more legitimate life style.

      can also be used to seal bags of parts for DIY kits to be sold or other small packages. not everything has to (or should) be vacuum packed.

  4. SparkyGSX says:

    Why didn’t he just wire a switch parallel to the vacuum switch, to fool the microcontroller into thinking the pressure was low enough to start sealing?

    • The sealer waits a certain amount of time after the vacuum goes high when the bag is evacuated. It doesn’t instantly turn on the heater. Plus, the heater is only on for a set amount of time. By going straight to the heater, I have more control.

  5. kuhltwo says:

    Cool. I have one of these as well, nice to see someone else has the same ideas I have.
    Sometimes you do not want to pull a vacuum on food. Like bread. Really messy.

  6. andar_b says:

    I always ended up wanting to seal one end of the bag, or to use a pre-cut length of bag from the roll, and the vacuum wouldn’t ever turn off. >.< Great idea.

  7. aztraph says:

    Great hack, but i have a question: are you pulling a vacuum on your bags with food in them? because if the food is destined for the freezer you DO want a vacuum on them to prevent freezer burn.

  8. cgimark says:

    I would have dumped the firmware on the pic and added my own options. While the pic can protect its code from being read, it seldom gets used.

  9. Itwork4me says:

    The hack is what it is. I just take a wet finger, run it along the foam seal and then i butt the edge I want to seal against the lip of the drip tray, between the element and the damp foam. The damp foam creates a seal real fast, triggering the element in seconds. Been doing this for years.

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