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How A Portable Ice Maker Works: A Definitive Guide

A portable ice maker is a convenient appliance you need to invest in today for several reasons. It’s cost effective, easy to use, robust and durable, consumes less power, makes ice much faster than your freezer, and obviously- they’re highly portable.

If you need plenty of ice in a limited period of time, this is the perfect machine to meet your demands. If you’re planning to host a party for your friends- indoors or outdoors- this is the device you need to create different ice cubes sizes as your friends like.

But how does such a compact, lightweight unit work to produce perfectly solid ice cubes? Have you been wondering?

How Does Portable Ice Maker Work?

The working of your portable ice maker significantly differs from the operation of your freezer or other ice producing machines. Unlike the fridge where you fill a mold with water and then put into the freezer, the portable unit freezes water into ice directly- making the process faster.

Below, I’ll give you a detailed explanation of how this fascinating machine works…

1. Filling Up The Reservoir With Water

Of course, the first thing you always do when you start using your portable unit is filling its reservoir with clean water up to the point where it’s filled to the maximum capacity it can hold.

How to know if your reservoir is full?

It’s pretty simple. All these machines come with LED indicators that will alert you when water in the reservoir hits the fill line.

As a side note, because these are portable units, there’s no need to hook them up with a water line. Just pouring in water using a jug is enough.

2. Plug In The Machine

Next, you’ll need to plug in your device. Nearly all these devices work with the standard 120V electric outlets (plus they don’t consume much power). Then, let the machine turn on and select the correct ice making settings to commence the ice making process.

Most of these machines allow you to make ice cubes of different sizes- from small, medium or large. This is significant in meeting the demands of your friends who might need different sizes of cubes depending on the drinks they’re taking and the size f their glasses.

When making different ice cube sizes, there exists a different in the amount of time, water, and coolant used to generate ice. Larger cubes require more water, time, coolant, as well as fan power.

We’ll look more into different ice cubes sizes in the steps below…

3. The Process Begins…

When you’ve plugged in your machine and made the necessary ice production settings, you’ve just commenced the ice generation process.

The water will be pumped through an opening/hole in the base of the reservoir, up to the freeze tray located at the top of the machine.

Any overflows spills are directed back to into the unit’s reservoir for future use.

4. The Refrigeration Cycle

At this point, all things are set, and the cooling cycle takes place. The half-inch prong’s n the machines heat exchanger gets lowered into the water in the freezer tray above.

These spikes tend to get cold faster, allowing ice to form on them in just a few minutes.

It’s also important to note that almost all of these units come with a large see-through window on their top lid. This allows you to observe the above process- the ice making process.

Plus you can easily tell the amount of ice produced.

5. Varying The Size of Ice Cubes

To achieve the sizes of ice cubes you want, you simply need to vary the length of time the prongs stay in the water.

To get thicker pieces of ice, you’ll need to leave the spikes in water a little longer. While smaller ice might take only 6 minutes, larger cubes will take longer, probably twice that.

That being said, it’s good to note that the freezing duration of your machine can be affected by ambient temperatures as well as how long the machine has been running.

6. Time To Harvest Your Ice Cubes

When the ice attains the desired size, the ice bin will begin to empty all the remaining water back into the reservoir for use in another ice making session.

And at the same time, the heat exchangers starts reversing itself, allowing the prongs to heat up to a given degree. This is to help the ready ice cubes to quickly detach from the spikes and fall into the ice bucket, above the reservoir.

7. When The Ice Bucket Gets Full…

Something fascinating about this machine is the way it behaves when the ice tray becomes full.

The machine comes with a second sensor that for monitoring the amount of ice in the tray. The best part is that this sensor shuts off the unit automatically when it becomes too full.

When your ice tray is full, you can transfer the ready ice cubes in a freezer to create room for generation of more ice (the ice buckets are usually removable).

However, if you don’t wish to make more ice, you have nothing to worry about as these machines com with high-capacity ice buckets- some go up to 2.5 lbs- to help hold your ice cubes.

Also, note that these devices come with a water recycle system that melts down all the remaining ice in the storage bin and directs it back into the water reservoir for use in the next ice production session.

This translates to 100% water conservation!

Final Verdict

That’s the simple process a portable ice maker employs to ensure you always have enough supply of fresh ice. Unlike your freezer, the generation of ice is much faster here, and some units can produce as much 49 lbs in a single day.

These machines are completely comfortable to use, with their clearly labeled, easy-push control buttons situated on a bright LED display.

When ice is ready, just put it in your drink and enjoy the refreshing taste!

  • January 30, 2017
  • Ice
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