How does a portable ice maker work
A long time ago, it was so difficult for people to produce and procure ice. With the advancement of science, people were successful to invent the machine which can produce ice efficiently. With the invention of the ice maker, ice making has reached into people’s home. This invention of ice maker has enabled people to produce ice according to their desire and requirement at any place and at any time. Having the facility of easy transportation, the portable Ice makers are the smallest and fastest ice making machines of the present day. People are very much curious to know about how this machine work.
Previously people used different types of ice trays to produce ice. They used to fill the tray with water and placed it into the freezer. After waiting for around 30-45 minutes, they could collect the solid ice cubes. There are three components such as water valve, a heating unit and an electric motor which are needed to run an ice maker. Now what you have to do is to plug-in it to the circuit powering it and to the plumbing lines.
How To Setup And Maintain Your Portable Ice Maker
There are different types of ice makers, and all of them do not work in the same way. Rather than filling a mold with water and then place it into the freezer, the portable ice maker freezes the water directly requiring less time to produce ice. The detailed explanation of How does a portable ice maker work are given below:
1. Pour water into the water reservoir of the unit up to the fill line. As these units are mobile, they cannot be connected to a water line. Therefore supplying water need to be done manually. So water should be poured directly into it with a faucet, bucket, etc.
2. The water is pumped to the freezer tray right at the top of the unit via a hole at the bottom of the water reservoir. If there is any overflow, it spills back into the tank.
3. Just as the refrigeration cycle starts, the prongs on the heat exchanger are put into the water of the freezing tray. The submerged spikes get cold very fast, and ice starts to form on them in a few minutes.
4. The size of the ice cubes depends on the amount of time the prongs are left immersed in the water. A longer time means the thicker ice. It usually takes 6 minutes for the thick ice to form and large pieces of ice take about 12 minutes. Time is taken to freeze, however, can be affected by the room temperature and how long the unit has been running.
5. When the ice has attained the proper size, the freezing tray empties excess water left in the freezing tray into the reservoir. At the same time, the heat exchanger starts to reverse itself, and the spikes begin to heat just enough so that the ice pieces start sliding off the prongs and tumbling in the storage basket above the reservoir.
6. The amount of ice stored in the storage basket is monitored by the second sensor. The system shuts off before the basket gets full. A second sensor monitors the amount of ice in the storage basket. The system automatically shuts off when the basket is full.
- Some important aspects to remember about a portable ice maker:
The portable ice maker will not keep your ice cool for a long time like a freezer. It should be used right away.
- If you do not need to use it immediately, you should keep it in the freezer of your refrigerator.
- If you do not use the ice right away, then it will melt in the storage bin and will drain back into the water reservoir for reuse.
- As the freezing element of a portable ice maker is directly put into the water, with the lowering of the air temperature, ice is formed quicker than a freezer.
- The ice maker is meant for making ice only it cannot be used for multipurpose like a refrigerator.
- As the ice maker produces ice only, its taste remains perfect.
The Refrigeration Cycle in brief:
The portable ice maker uses the same vapor compressor refrigeration cycle as used in a freezer which is based on the scientific principles of thermodynamics. The vapor compression refrigeration cycle is a method for shifting heat from a low temperature to a high temperature. The primary objective of a refrigerator is the removal of heat from a low temperature. During transformation from a liquid into the gas, a coolant absorbs the surrounding heat and then releases that heat when it changes back into a liquid again.
The following four main components enable the transfer of heat through the coolant.
Compressor: Compressor compresses the coolant, converting it into hot and high-pressure gas. The task of a compressor is to raise the pressure and the boiling temperature of the refrigerant vapor to an optimum level so that the refrigerant can condense by releasing its heat using the condenser.
Condenser: The condenser is a set of coiled pipes on the outside of the unit which disperses the heat as the coolant changes into a high-pressure fluid. The capacitor comprises of tubes with outer fins. There are mainly three types of condensing units: air-cooled, water-cooled condensers and a combination of both. Among them, the air-cooled condenser is the most popular.
Expansion valve (Flow control device): Expansion valve controls the flow of the liquid refrigerant into the evaporator, lowering the temperature of the coolant. There are mainly four types of valves which are in use. They are Automatic Exp. Valves, Thermostatic Exp. Valves, Capillary Tubes, and the Float Valves.
Evaporator: The Evaporator is an important part of the refrigeration system and does the actual cooling by absorbing heat, making the interior of the unit cold. The evaporator is placed where cooling is needed. The evaporator contains finned tubes made of metals with high thermal conductivity that absorbs heat.
In a portable ice maker, the cold produced by the evaporator is concentrated in the prongs to form ice on them as they are submerged in water.
There are different brands of portable ice makers available in the market. Before choosing your ice maker, you should decide your need and affordability first. If your need is for more supply of ice, you should choose a bigger one, which can make lots of ice. If your need it for family or small get-to-gather-parties, you may go for a smaller portable ice maker. The portable ice maker is made to last for a long time. So, before buying, you should read the product features, customer reviews, etc. carefully which may be helpful for you to select the best portable ice maker.