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Polder Probe Thermometer—A Fix for Dead One

JoanN Nov 28, 2008 12:21 PM

I’ve had my Polder probe for about a year. It worked great . . . until it didn’t. It was giving me obviously incorrect numbers on yesterday’s Thanksgiving turkey. So this morning I stuck it in boiling water and discovered it was about 20 degrees off. I really like the thermometer, when it works, so started Googling for prices of a replacement probe. After reading a bunch of reviews on Amazon from people who had their probes zonk out on them after just three and four uses and people who bought two and three probes at a time to make sure they had one on hand that worked when they needed it and people who just thought it was a piece of cr*p and were cursing the company for making a defective product, I started searching for an alternative.

I came across a Web site, can’t find it again or I’d link, that said that if moisture gets inside the probe, it will make the sensor ineffective. It said that if you boil the probe in oil, the moisture will bubble out and the probe will work again. I figured I had nothing to lose so I tried it. I put the probe into hot peanut oil and “cooked” it for about half an hour (actually, until the apartment started to get smoky and I figured that was long enough). I waited until the probe cooled and checked it in boiling water again.

Well, I’ll be damned. It worked! The thermometer registered 211 degrees. Close enough for me. The Web site recommended that once you do this, you should put shrink tubing around the connection of the probe and the wire to make sure moisture doesn’t get in there again. Next time I pass a hardware store I may explore that. But at least for now I’ve got a working probe thermometer again and couldn’t be happier to have found a fix for it.

  1. d
    dvanallen Feb 9, 2014 08:45 PM

    Here's a good link: http://www.amazingribs.com/BBQ_buyers...

    1. n
      NYCcook Mar 28, 2013 06:33 AM

      My Polder thermometer suddenly, after years of use, wouldn't register a consistent temperature. The temperature continually changed up and down the scale with no rhyme or reason. This is a different problem than the one Joan reports and I thought that if not the probe itself, then the bit of logic in the body had to have gone bad.
      Not being one to just throw things out, I figured "what the heck. Let's try Joan's fix. It's not working now so, what's the worst that could happen?"
      I have a husband who is very technical and told him what I was going to do. He said it's nuts to cook the probe in oil. He believed there are other ways to dry out the interior of the probe WITHOUT THE MESS AND EFFORT of the oil route.
      Instead, we coiled up the wire and clipped it together so it wouldn't lay on the hearth and slipped the probe into the vent of our wood burning stove in the morning. It was a cold day and so the stove was burning. We left it there unattended for the day.
      At dinner time, we tested it.
      It worked. The temperature read was steady and was accurate.

      Great tip! Thanks!

      1. y
        YoPaulie Jan 14, 2013 07:46 PM

        Thanks Trader Joe. I replaced the shrink tubing with hot glue @ 380 melting point. Just to be safe i wrapped and squeezed tightly a small piece of aluminum fol over the repair. After using the thermometer I noted that none of the glue leaked and after the probe cooled the foil and probe were inseparable, a sealed capsule.

         
        1. y
          YoPaulie Jan 12, 2013 10:44 AM

          SYMPTOM: Mine had the same problem except mine was reading about 100-200 °F above actual. It happened when my son wanted to test the temperature of water for steeping tea. He turned on the unit and placed the probe in the water. As he got a LO reading, he realized the probe was not plugged into the unit so he dropped the probe end into the water while he plugged it into the unit. His response was, “Dad, I don’t think the water is 287 °F.” That’s when he told me what he did and made your repair suggestion plausible.

          REPAIR: I also “deep fried” the probe. WOW! You should see what came out of it, at first a stream of bubbles which was probably air and water vapor, followed by some brownish/black muck (like pan drippings) which floated at first and then sank. After about 10-15 minutes, the bubble stream slowed to near nonexistence and the vegetable oil was starting to smoke. I dried it with a clean paper towel and hung the probe to cool followed by sealing it with shrink tubing. This was temporary and I do not recommend it as the working temperature of the tubing is under 300 °F and may melt onto your food. YUCK! I am considering another material, hot glue. It is a lot better than black shrink tubing designed for electrical wire. Agreed? According to Wikipedia: ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot-melt... ), “Glue guns come in low-temperature and high-temperature (hot-melt) versions. Low-temperature glue guns operate at approximately 250 °F (121 °C) and are well suited when high temperatures are undesirable, such as gluing lace and cloth. High-temperature guns operate at approximately 380 °F (193 °C) and produce a stronger bond. Dual guns have a switch for both low- and high-temperature use.”

          TESTING: The initial test showed a room temperature of 73 °F, a lot closer to reality. The second test was a freezer test which read LO. Then I swung the probe in the air to warm it and the first numerical reading was 32 °F, which is probably the lowest the thermometer is programmed to read. It has now had time to warm to room temperature. I again took the probe and swung it around near my house thermostat. Both read 72 °F.

          COMMENTS:
          I HATE REPLACING WHEN I CAN REPAIR AND YOUR REPAIR WAS A SCORE!
          Or as the say in the soccer world, “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!” THANK YOU FOR SAVING ME THE TIME, HASSLE AND UNNECESSARY EXPENSE OF REPLACING EITHER THE PROBE OR THE ENTIRE UNIT.
          I AM SO HAPPY!

           
          1 Reply
          1. re: YoPaulie
            TraderJoe Jan 13, 2013 05:20 AM

            If you are looking for an alternative to shrink tubing you might want to try a product called JB weld. It holds up to hi heat. It's also NSF certified.

          2. t
            test Feb 28, 2010 08:57 PM

            Found this while looking for details on the issue I was having with our Polder 307. I used a Wagner brand heat gun for just a few moments at just over 300*F. Not a cost effective solution if you don't have one sitting around, but it did the trick.

            Thanks for the post JoanN.

            1. t
              ThermUser Jan 2, 2009 10:26 AM

              My Polder thermometer had a similar problem, showing 75 degrees F in ice water.
              Putting the probe in the oven at 260 degrees F fixed the problem.

              I'm glad to have found your posts!

              1 Reply
              1. re: ThermUser
                JoanN Jan 2, 2009 01:27 PM

                That's good to know. It's certainly easier, and less smokey, than boiling it in oil. How long did you leave it in the oven?

              2. JasmineG Nov 28, 2008 12:50 PM

                JoanN, I have the exact same thermometer, and this indeed was the one that was giving me readings of 155 yesterday (when it was testing the air, and 120 in cold water). I'm going to go into the kitchen and do this right this minute and see if it works! Thanks.

                3 Replies
                1. re: JasmineG
                  JasmineG Nov 28, 2008 03:02 PM

                  Nope, good try, but didn't work for me. It may be because I didn't cook it long enough, but the house got pretty smoky so I couldn't keep going.

                  1. re: JasmineG
                    JoanN Nov 28, 2008 03:21 PM

                    Really sorry to hear that. I had high hopes for both of us.

                    1. re: JoanN
                      JasmineG Nov 28, 2008 03:35 PM

                      I might try it again with peanut oil -- I only had canola and it started smoking pretty quickly.

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