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VacMaster VP112 Chamber Vacuum Sealer
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- Vacuum package soups, stews, and marinades
- Keep game meat and fish fresher longer
- Store meats and fish scent-free
- Eliminate waste of bulk quantities of foods
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|Item Dimensions||13 x 19.25 x 27.5 in||13 x 28 x 19.5 in||14 x 20 x 15 in||19 x 24 x 19 in||12 x 24 x 19.5 in||19.25 x 16.75 x 9.5 in|
Our VacMaster VP112 Chamber Machine provides the solution to the problem posed by other vacuum packaging machines currently on the market. How do you vacuum package liquids and liquid-rich foods? Current machines on the market are suction machines, meaning the air is vacuumed out of a vacuum bag and then the bag is sealed. However, along with air, liquids are also vacuumed out of the bag, leading to partial and even failed seals. Our VP112 Chamber Machine uses a different technology to eliminate this problem. When sealing with our chamber machine, the vacuum bag that will be sealed is placed inside the chamber of the machine and the lid is closed. Air is sucked out of the entire chamber, not just the bag itself, allowing air pressure on both the inside and outside of the bag to remain equal and liquids to stay in the bag. The bag is then fully sealed and air is returned back into the chamber.
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My VacMaster VP112 stopped working today after a little over a year and a half of use. It would start to evacuate air but not get very far because a leak was letting air back in. The problem turned out to be in the accessory port. I called VacMaster Tech Support at 1-800-821-7849 and spoke to Gary. He confirmed my suspicion that my accessory port was leaking by having me do the following experiment: place two fingers and a thumb over the three holes in the knob at the back of the chamber and run the sealer. If the gauge stays low, it means the leak is not inside the chamber but somewhere else in the machine, probably the accessory port.
Gary told me that being beyond my one year warranty the cost of shipping the unit both ways and paying for labor would get expensive. I also didn't want to wait that long to get my sealer working. So he told me how I could attempt to repair it myself. Here are his instructions plus my advice after having done it once:
1. Lift out the sealer bar and plastic boards and set aside.
2. Remove the top screw on each of the four arms and gently spread the arms to remove the lid. Set aside.
3. Remove the chamber by removing two screws on each side and lifting the chamber partway out. You'll see a hose connected to the back of the chamber, secured by a radiator clamp. Loosen the clamp and remove the hose. Then the chamber can be set aside but be careful because it's still connected by wires for the sealing bar.
4. Repair or replace accessory port.
You can now reach the accessory port. It might help to loosen and detach one more hose near the accessory port if it's in your way. The accessory port is composed of four parts: two plastic parts which screw together (one on the inside and one the outside of the machine), a spring, and a ball bearing. The spring presses the ball bearing against the hole in the outer plastic piece to prevent air leaking when not in use.
You'll find that the two plastic pieces are covered with silicon caulk. You'll need to scrape away the old caulk first. Then see if you can screw the two plastic pieces together without the spring and ball bearing inside and with the outer piece of plastic not in the housing but just connected directly to the inner plastic part. This is the easiest case. If it works, next try replacing the spring and ball bearing and see if you can still screw the two parts together. There'll be more pressure this time because you're pressing against the spring. If that works then put the outer piece of plastic back in the housing and try to screw everything together again the right way, with the inner piece inside, containing the spring and ball bearing, and the outer piece outside. If that works, take it apart, coat the threads with silicon caulk, and put it back together. Let it sit for 24 hours before using.
In my case, the two plastic pieces were in good enough shape to screw together without the spring and ball bearing but once I replaced the spring and ball bearing I couldn't get them to screw together again. I think the threads are not strong enough anymore to withstand the force of the spring. I'll need to replace both plastic parts which will require pulling the inner plastic part off its hose. It can be pulled right off. It's not glued on. But it is on tightly so you might need to push the hose from the top with a flat screwdriver to get it off.
While I'm waiting for my replacement parts, I was able to get the machine to work again just for sealing bags (no accessory port) by leaving the inner plastic part in place and taping over it with metal duct tape. The company does not stock the replacement parts I need but they took them off a machine they were using for parts to send to me. Because they're used parts, they couldn't charge me for them and will just send them free.
They explained to me that the accessory port is meant only for occasional use. I was using mine quite often, almost every day, and it's not up to that. They suggested that I look into some kind of jarring system if I want to do a lot of vacuum sealing of containers.
I was in the market for a sealing machine for freezing food and the exploration of Sous Vide. I have owned other vacuum sealing machines in the past and started my search with the usual big brand machines and came across the topic of chamber vacuum sealers. I wanted and liked the ability of a chamber vacuum as it is able to do liquids, so I went with the VP112.
The VP112A, from VacMaster, is more expensive compared to a standard sealing machine, but is well priced for a chamber vacuum. The sealing bags for the unit come in different sizes and sold in bulk of either 500 or 1000 bags I believe and are very affordable. I use the 3 mil 6x10 size often and the 1000 bags box it come out to about 4 cents a bag (diffent sizes cost different amounts, some cheaper some a bit more).
This sealer is bulky (24x16x9), it may be smaller than other chamber vacuum machines, but it is still large and heavy (55lbs). I have enough space to just leave it out and with my standard cupboard height I do not have any issues with opening or using the machine. I did read some other individuals put there machine in a pantry,garage, cart, etc., but for me I use it enough to leave it out.
The machine is very easy to use, which makes me want to use it more. I use it far more than I anticipated, because I feel it is simple and not a hassel to use. The machine has adjustable settings such a vacuum time and seal time. I adjust vacuum time up or down depending on the size of the object by about 5 seconds up/down and increase the default seal time to 6 seconds from 5 seconds for all items. Also, if you start to vacuum something you can press the stop button and it will stop and move to the seal function (I use this ability to make some smaller bags out of larger bags for certain items by cutting them in half and sealing an end).
This machine has spare parts for purchase. I like the ability to be able to replace a broken part on an expensive item that cost a good amount such as this chamber vacuum. The spare parts listed on the website all seemed to be affordable and easy to do, which I like on both counts.
The VP112 has had some model changes over its lifetime and at the time of this writting the new mdel number is VP112A. I did not know this fact until after I purchased the machine and was dumbfounded when I could not find the accessory hose port. I discovered with the new model VP112A, the ability for a hose attachment was eliminated. I was mad at first then realized that I do not need it and would seldom use that option, but if it was important to me as an option I would probalby still buy this unit, and buy a cheap machine to allow use of a hose attachment. If you really want that hose attachment and that is what you are looking for, I would not purchase a chamber vacuum, as that would be overkill anyway.
Overall, I am very pleased with the unit and would buy again. The model differences (changes) are not clear or really listed anywhere, so I took off one star as I believe a blurb or something should be listed describing the revisions of the machine for consumers in the manual/website/anywhere.
So, I called the company, requesting a replacement. Turns out this is a known issue with the product. Indeed, if you Google "vacmaster vp112 lid," one of the top suggestions that automatically pops up is "vacmaster vp112 lid cracked." So, I'm far from the first to experience this!
I call the company, and reach a very nice gentleman, who says he hears this "all the time" (his exact words), but he's unable to replace it, since my unit is outside the one-year warranty period and he doesn't have the authority to override that.
However, he does forward me to a higher-up. She is either lying or completely ignorant, as she tells me she doesn't know anything about a "known defect" (remember the Google results?), but they'll sell me a new lid, no problem!
So, what to do? I order the lid, which comes with zero instructions, and the installation isn't totally straightforward. Additionally, it isn't a perfect fit, as I have to lean on the lid to get it to seal now.
So, as I said, this unit works fine out of the box. However, there is a manufacturing issue with the lid, which the manufacturer knows all about, and is well described by users, but the manufacturer refuses to support it outside of the warranty period. Basically, you'll be paying a tax of $60 per year (give or take, depends on your level of use) for owning it.