During the time that you evaluated the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer, did you happen to monitor the power consumption?
As an off-grid type, voltage, amperage, power factor, and total watts per freeze dry cycle are critical to determine if my available power can support this unit. Also, the length of the full freeze dry cycle is important. Thanks – Roy G.
HJL Responds: After evaluating the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer for three months, I found myself very reluctant to send it back. About the time I was mentally figuring ways to extend the evaluation, I decided it was just time to purchase the unit. Since that time, it has run pretty much non-stop. The unit has been a significant factor in shifting our preps more towards freeze-dried foods and less towards frozen foods, especially in the vegetable department. The freezers now tend to be a holding environment for foods until they can be run through the machine. I am not sure it is suited towards off-grid production as-is, though that may be something that would be worth discussing with the company itself. The compressor for the freezer is fairly miserly in its power consumption, but the vacuum motor is a 1HP motor running continuously. On a monthly basis, I do see the impact on the power bill. I have been running the machine pretty much continuously, but on average you can figure about 72 hours per one gallon of water extracted. Foods such as potatoes have a higher water content than mushrooms, and raw foods have a higher water content than cooked foods.
As delivered, the unit is designed to work with standard house voltage, and there is not much you can do with the sealed compressor. However, the vacuum pump is an off-the-shelf unit designed for industrial automotive A/C; you might find an alt-power source for that. I would suggest a call to the company itself, as they were very responsive to my calls as well as to everyone who I know has spoken with them.