How Do Portable Ice Makers Work?

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Published: 16th May 2011
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Have you ever wondered how your portable ice maker is able to produce so much delicious fresh ice? You pour in the water and, just a little while later, the interior container is filled with ice cubes. Some types of portable ice maker can produce different sizes of ice cubes depending on the settings. Most potable ice makers can produce a batch of ice in a matter of minutes. You probably love your portable ice maker because it produces plenty of ice for your family and guests in a timely manner, but you probably don’t know exactly how your potable ice maker is able to freeze all that ice. What exactly happens while you are waiting for the portable ice maker to create all that yummy, refreshing ice? Here are the basics of how your portable ice maker works.

The basic idea is relatively simple. The very first “ice makers” were the traditional ice cube tray. To use an ice cube tray, you fill the tray with water, stick it in the freezer, and wait for the water to freeze. You then break the little cubes out of the mold, and voilà, you have ice cubes. This concept seems very simple, but it is essentially the basic idea behind how a portable ice maker creates ice. The main difference is that the process a portable ice maker uses is completely automatic.

When your portable ice maker is turned on and filled with water, it will begin its ice-making cycle. Most ice maker water tubs have a line marked inside so you know exactly how much water to put in. You then put a plastic divider inside the water tub that has holes in it. This divider rests on plastic stops that keep the divider above the water level.

When the ice-making cycle starts, the portable ice maker will pump water from the bottom of the tub up into the freeze tray. The ice maker will continue to pump water up until the entire freeze tray is full. If it overflows, the water is simply sent back to the tub to be used for another freezing cycle.

After the freezing tray is full, the portable ice maker refrigeration unit is turned on and starts getting cold. A loop of copper tubing that extends into the water in the freeze tray is cooled and transfers the cold into the water, which soon freezes into ice cubes. If your portable ice maker is creating small ice cubes, the cycle will be short and the cubes of ice will be thin. If you are making large ice cubes the cycle will be longer so that the ice cubes will have more time to get larger and thicker.

When the cooling is over, the copper coils get warm, which melts the ice cubes a little bit so they can slide out of the freeze tray and into the holding tub, where they land on top of the plastic divider, which keeps the new ice cubes away from the water.

The cycle will continue until it runs out of water or you turn off the portable ice maker. You are now ready to pull out and use your next batch of fresh, delicious home-made ice!

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