Materials

The Controller

You don't need a powerful microcomputer to drive this setup. We selected the Arduino for this project because of the excellent (and well documented) PID and autotune libraries available for it. The Adafruit RGB/LCD shield with integral pushbuttons was also perfect for hosting the user interface.

To build this controller, you will need:
We have all the above as part of a special discounted pack http://www.adafruit.com/products/1401

You will also need some basic tools and soldering supplies:
  • WIre cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • Shrink Wrap Tubing
  • Small Phillips Screwdriver


Cooker Selection

Type

Rice Cookers and Slow Cooker appliances have the basic elements we are looking for:
  • A cooking vessel that holds water
  • An electric heating element

Capacity

You need a vessel substantially larger than the food you intend to cook in it. It needs to have a large enough volume of water with plenty of room for circulation to maintain an even temperature. Look for a rice cooker with a capacity of at least 10 cups uncooked (20 cups cooked) or a slow cooker with at least a 4 quart (4 liter) capacity.

Controls

Since we are building our own controller, you want the simplest manual control cooker you can find. One with a simple switch or control knob is best. We will just turn it on at the highest setting and plug it into our controller. (Here at Adafruit we picked up a "Black and Decker RC880" - a rice cooker with 24 cup capacity and is a great size)
Cookers with digital controls are not suitable - unless you want to rip them apart to bypass the electronics. The controller works by pulsing the power to the cooker. If you do that with a digitally controlled cooker, it will just turn off!
This guide was first published on Jun 10, 2013. It was last updated on Jun 10, 2013. This page (Materials) was last updated on Jun 16, 2019.