Oct 1, 2010 at 5:46 am #1263871
My heart is going pitter-patter everytime the mailman comes by this week. Why? Because Excalibur is sending me their "factory exclusive top of the line deluxe model" dehydrator to gear test for them with a complete set of tray liners. It's the 3926T model with the 26 hour timer. I can't wait. It also made me feel good that they thought enough about my websites and books to do this.
Now… if it wasn't stuck at Canadian customs I'd be a much happier camper.
I've used Excalibur before but not this particular model. I'd be interested in hearing any experiences with it while I not-so-patiently (lol) wait for mine to arrive.Oct 1, 2010 at 12:48 pm #1650583
I have been using what is now called the Excalibur Deluxe Series ED-3500 Five-Tray Food for a few years now.
It has been the only dehydrator that I have used and have had mine for about 2 years now.
Never had a problem with it…very simple.
I also have the teflon non stick sheets, which is something you have to have for the liquidy foods.
I have made beef jerky, dried my own fruits, and even tossed on indian food from a restuarant to dehydrate.
The drying seems pretty even all over the tray.
I will turn/rotate the tray 180 degrees once to help with drying the "front & back" of the tray evenly.
This is just because the heating element is at the back of the machine.
I do not need to rotate the trays vertically, like in a dehydrator with the heating element at the bottom of a stack.
Honestly, the only thing that is a little wonky about mine is that the front door is not on a hinge. It is just a piece of plastic that you hang on the top edge/lip of the front of it.
It is solid and secure and works well.
If it were hinged, it would likely make it harder to clean, so it is a very minor complaint on my part.
Think you will love it and congrats on being chosen to gear test it…..you are a very worthy and logical choice for them to come to.
Please let us know what you think about this new one…maybe give us insight to what is different than the current models. (If you are allowed to).
-TonyOct 1, 2010 at 2:07 pm #1650619
Thanks Tony… I see what you mean about having to rotate once during the drying cycle. I'll probably do that as well.
I like the look of it from what I can see in a photo. The air flow system seems to be logical and convenient. Don't get me wrong… I love my Nesco FD75PR but I dry 8 to 12 trays at a time and rotating them with the top fan configuration can be cumbersome.
I think that the total drying area might be the same as my Nesco being run with 12 trays. I'll have to measure it.
It's also interesting to me that you can run this one with some of the trays removed which would make it easy for me to use this as an incubator for my jars of homemade yogurt or larger items like whole peppers and such.Oct 1, 2010 at 2:37 pm #1650633
Definitely can run the Excalibur with less than the maximum number of trays.
The Excalibur really is quite brain dead simple in construction.
Simple slots to slide in the trays…nothing more.
As I am only using this for my backpacking meals and drying fruit from time to time (not a heavy user at all), I will often only use 3 of the 5 trays that I have.
Plus for "taller" food that would hit the tray above it, being able to remove a tray helps.
Thinking back, the only time that I might have rotated trays vertically is if I had all the trays going….even with the heating element being at the back of the unit, the top trays would dry a little slower. Possibly as a result of moisture/humidity of the food from the lower trays rising up and saturating the dry air…heat rising = little slower drying on the top most trays?
I will say that in terms of using it, little noisy, but not too bad. Does not put off any heat at the back and the hot air is vented out the bottom of the front door.
Not hot enough to damage anything. Top of the unit can be warm to the touch, but again, nothing to worry about. Heck, would make for a nice way to dry out a Platypus water bag/bottle by tossing it on top of it while it is running for a slow drying? :)
-TonyOct 2, 2010 at 6:55 am #1650762
Noisy doesn't phase me… lol. Not after baking with an Outback Oven on an MSR Dragonfly (still my favorite combo thought).Oct 4, 2010 at 10:52 am #1651301
Some days I could just hug the postman and I almost did this morning! Only I would get this excited about the arrival of a food dehydrator and perhaps that is an occupational hazard.
I'm interested to see how this unit compares to my Nesco™ FD 75PR. As many of you know, the Nesco has been very good to me and it still going strong.
Here are my thoughts at first glance.
The pro side of things: It seems to have a great deal of drying area for the size. I like that I can take trays out and customize the height for drying larger items, making yogurt or proofing bread. I like that I'm not going to have to unplug the unit and lift the fan part off every time I need to check the food. The front door is sturdy and convenient. The cord length seems good and the thermostat setting dial is easy to read. It also appears super easy to clean. I find the trays on my other unit are a bit of a pain. A timer will be most welcome.
On the con side of things: The only thing I can see being problematic is that the ParaFlexx™ sheets don't have the lip that the fruit roll trays for my Nesco have. This might be an issue when drying runnier items such as soup. That said, I can always use a bit of heat safe plastic wrap or reduce the liquidity of the soup or whatnot on the stove prior to drying. Or course, I still have to read the manual and there may be other suggestions from the manufacturer.Oct 14, 2010 at 10:42 am #1654538
So did you get a chance to use your new dehydrator yet?
If so, what do you think, like or dislike?
-TonyOct 14, 2010 at 10:50 am #1654541
So far I really like it. I find that the drying is pretty even and I used it the other day to incubate yogurt. That worked out wonderfully. I'm going to take some photos of the different stages of drying for the article I am working on and I'll post some pictures here too.Oct 14, 2010 at 11:49 am #1654560
Cool….looking forward to seeing the photos and getting your impressions.
I only use mine on a very simple/basic level.
I have even tossed in Indian food from a restuarant into mine and taken that on the trial. :)
I am really lazy….
-TonyOct 14, 2010 at 12:56 pm #1654575
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
One problem with any dehydrator is that it can consume a fair amount of electric power, especially if you run it night and day to prepare lots of food for a long trip.
I have my own free photovoltaic power, which helps out there. The trick is that I want to do most of my food dehydration during the cool winter months when the waste heat will be useful in the house. That just happens to be when my photovoltaic output is the lowest.
–B.G.–Oct 15, 2010 at 6:41 pm #1655011
I've dehydrated quite a bit over the past few years and have never noticed a big difference in the bill. Perhaps three to five dollars a month and that's if I am running it every day as I sometimes do when working on a manuscript. I also dehydrate foods so that I can preserve local, in-season, fruits and such for my son's school lunches and veggies for soups. Our rates here are 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour for the first 600 kWh used each month and 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour above that.
For me, the electricity cost is far better than the monetary cost and environmental cost of imported fruits from California, Mexico and Chile. I also run the dehydrator full every time as to maximize the output vs cost.Oct 15, 2010 at 11:14 pm #1655079
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Laurie, your Ontario Hydro electric rate is a bit less than what I have to pay, but if I make my own photovoltaic power from the sun, then that is best of all.
Mine is an ancient American Harvest model from about thirty years ago. The thermal protector fuse is easily replaced. I burn that up about once every ten years.
–B.G.–Nov 4, 2010 at 3:54 am #1660965
Once every 10 years isn't that bad really.
Back to the Excalibur… I really, really love this dehydrator – so far so good. I've been doing quite a bit of testing and so that I don't waste energy I fill the extra trays with fruit or carrot leather for my son's school lunches and with ingredients for some unusual types of flour. The results have been stellar and I find it so much easier to check my food that on the Nesco. That said, I still love the Nesco too.
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