Cigar Forums banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 4,224cu.in. countertop humidor (2.44cu.ft. or ~600 cigars) that I need to humidify. Going the Boveda route is far too expensive, requiring six 320g packets, and using passive a PG solution would be an eventual sinkhole as well when compared to the cost of an electronic unit, thus my decision to get such a unit. After more research and reading too many reviews than I cared to -- much with a pinch or two of salt :serious: -- I decided upon the Cigar Oasis Excel 3.0 Electronic Humidifier.

First, a kudos to CheapHumidors.com as I got this new, complete unit in box with papers for $99 and free shipping. After much internet looking they had the best price and it was my first purchase from them ever. Also, it was at my door within a week :smile2: The box and unit itself are all quality looking and feeling, nothing "cheap" or flimsy about any of it.

Okay, right now my countertop humidor has taken a couple weeks to season and is on the downward cycle, getting close to 69%RH, thus I cannot comment on the effectiveness of the unit immediately but I will later on.
Picture 1/3: The unit in my humidor. Set to go off at 69%RH (Relative Humidity), temperature showing 71.2ºF, and the current RH of 71.0%.
Picture 2/3: Bottom cabinet removed showing COE3 (Cigar Oasis Excel 3.0) placement. Power cable is flat so no huge gap or pinched cords -- nice! I actually moved the flat power cord to the upper cabinet, on the right side, where there's less pressure on it.
Picture 3/3: Top cabinet removed showing COE3 placement. Closed CAO box holds some 69% Boveda packs for my desktop humidor as well as taking up volume and thus less air to humidify. More boxes to come to shrink the internal volume some more.

Here's what I can tell you
1. I have a Photographic Thermometer (mercury style) that is accurate to +/-0.5ºF. I used it when I was in darkroom photography just prior to the digital boom. I checked the thermometer accuracy of the digital unit and found it to be 3ºF high when my mercury thermometer is placed anywhere away from the unit. If I place the mercury thermometer on top of the digital display then the temperature is a match (+/-0.5ºF within each other). Thus by placing my mercury thermometer anywhere else within the humidor (including within the cabinets) the digital thermometer reads about 3ºF higher. I attribute this to the electronic module of the COE3 because of the electricity running though it does generate some heat. So right off the bat the thermometer isn't accurate AND there is no way to calibrate it :vs_unimpressed: Cigar Oasis should place the temp sensor on the opposite side of the unit and allow for temperature calibration.
2. The RH fan setting -- when the unit will spin the fan and pump moist air from the reservoir into the humidor -- is user-settable. I set mine to 69% since that seems to be the current forum wisdom. If I don't like it I can quickly change it :wink2: The reservoir uses distilled water so nothing special :smile2:
3. The RH display/sensor can be calibrated! After my testing I determined my COE3 was 2%RH on the high side so I was easily able to drop the readout by 2% and it's within +/-0.3% of the Cigar Oasis Caliber IV Hygrometer of mine and basically spot-on with the analog unit I have.
4. The display is BRIGHT! With no cigars in my humidor it almost acts like a night light as the light shines through the slats. I like a DARK room and luckily this isn't a deal killer.
5. I am not going to use the smart phone app. Reviews are less than satisfactory and having to pay for a subscription :surprise: is a total turn-off. It should be free but if not then it should be no more than $10/year. Given the volume of the cabinet, I don't travel a lot, and I have a family that can monitor it for me should the need arise, makes the app even more superfluous and not worthwhile.

That's it for now. I'm looking forward to how well it will perform, particularly how noisy it is as this humidor is just over a foot away from our bed. If it doesn't live up to expectations, hey, it was less than a Benjamin and I can always use the digital portion for environment readings so not a big loss :nerd2:
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Okay, the RH of my cabinet finally came down and the humidifier unit has been working perfectly for over the last week and a half...heck, almost two weeks really. While my setting is at 69% the RH hovers above 68%, typically in the middle range i.e. 68.4% to 68.7%. The fan itself isn't loud. It is in the cabinet, which is right next to my bedside, thus it's about 2' away from me so I do hear it when it comes on. It's no louder than my watch winders that are sitting a few feet away and it doesn't disturb me when I'm sleeping. My cabinet must be doing a fairly good job of being sealed because I don't hear the fan going often, I think only two times after I've gone to bed in about two weeks. -- naturally it activates during the day when I'm not around, I'm just saying that it's not running a lot.

The fan sucks air from the TOP of the unit and blows it out the SIDE of the unit. From what I can gather, the reading needs to be 1% point below the desired setting and remain so for about a minute or so before the fan will kick on. The unit does come with a 90-degree USB adapter so I now have my unit turned and closer to the right side. I've also filled the dead space with some empty cigar boxes so there's less volume to maintain. The CAO Pilón box actually holds several Boveda 69% packets for my smaller desktop humidor.

Granted, my time with this unit has been rather short but so far I am quite happy with it and it's working as advertised. I've been monitoring it several times a day, every day that I've had it, morning, afternoon, and evening and it's consistent. With my experience as it stands I recommend it. We'll see how things work out in the long run...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Power cord on right side of cabinet (closest to wall so it can't be seen), top shelf installed:


Top shelf removed, top view into cabinet:


Supplied flat power cable (top shelf removed):


Closer top view of unit with 90-degree USB adapter:


Images attached below for larger picture viewing:
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Update
I moved the humidor to the top of the dresser because:

  1. The hum of the fan was noticeable since it triggers fairly often. This is understandable in order to keep the RH fairly steady. The 3' of distance honestly made a difference.
  2. The humidor was often in the 68°F-69°F range. Moving closer to the window helped to keep the temp closer to 69°F-70°F.
The humidor is almost a foot higher in elevation now and the window is south-facing, thus better solar exposure. Curtains are blackout and thus well-insulated compared to more decorative ones. HVAC vent is centered below window. There is a deflector on the vent to direct most of the air under the dresser and into the room. Without it the vent would blow up into the curtains and window and be less effective at maintaining room temps. Since some HVAC air does blow up the backside of the dresser the humidor is better temperature controlled than against the cooler east wall where it formally was.



New setup. Fan blows towards sloped back of bottom tray. Bottom digital hygrometer (Caliber IV) is used for checking RH of interior which slowly bleeds into trays. I had to adjust the CO3 unit readout down by -7 for the RH in order for the interior to maintain 69%. More on this later.


Looking down with the top tray removed. I keep the analog hygrometer in the trays as another RH check while sorting this out. Since everything is getting dialed-in I will put the analog unit back into the original desktop humidor and the digital one into one of the trays. I did notice that the RH for the trays lags the interior, however, they seem to uniformly level out i.e. no unusually high or low RH spots. There is full flow inside each tray (internally side to side & top to bottom) but there is no bridge between the top and bottom tray units. Having a fan to keep the air in motion would likely reduce the lag time for the trays to get to the desired RH. The fan from the CO3 itself isn't strong and the unit would fit best in a smaller humidor like the desktop unit I have -- it would do very well in such a smaller space.


I can't see where the sensors are in the upper unit of the CO3. They are not more exposed to the outside of the unit and I speculate they are contained within or near the main processor which I think is not the ideal location for them. As noted earlier the temperature sensor is definitely affected by its location within the CO3 unit. As such I think this is why I had to dial down the RH readout so much -- seriously, -7 out of a possible +9 to -9 is cutting it pretty close!

The humidor itself would benefit from a seal on the perimeter of the trays where they meet the cabinet as well as copper-cladding in the interior -- there's a lot of wood to keep humid. However, relying upon Boveda humidity control would be cost prohibitive. While using a plastic tupperdor system of storage would surely be simpler it definitely lacks the ABCs (aesthetics, beauty, and charm) of the hobby. I like mechanical wrist watches so having a classic wooden humidor fits my character. Oh, and the aroma that lightly scents the room is definitely better!

Side note: The lower cartridge weighs 12oz when full with distilled water.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Sun Grown Pilon, thank you for your in depth analysis of the COE3. I recently purchased the same unit from Cigar Oasis, so I especially appreciate your insights and pictures that have assisted me with my setup. So far, so good! My unit is working nicely inside of my 300 count humidor. My wife purchased the Chancellor Humidor for me as a gift last year and it has held steady RH for the past 14 months that I've owned it. Initially, I used the two passive Credo-style humidifies that came with the unit but transitioned to the humidification beads, which worked nicely. However, the beads require frequent recharging (every two weeks), and I wanted something that would last longer so I wouldn't have to open my humidor as often. Therefore, I decided to give the COE3 a shot and so far I don't regret it. I'm just hoping it lasts! I decided to keep a pouch of the beads on the top shelf and the Cigar Oasis Excel on the bottom of the humidor, which seems to have balanced out the RH evenly throughout. The Chancellor contains two cedar drawers that are stacked and a larger cavity at the bottom for full boxes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Glad to help. I would like to hear your experience after some time with it -- the more the merrier since this thread is the only one I've seen getting more into the product.

I know my humidor is a solid wood unit and well-built but it's also meant [in my opinion] to be in a humidity controller B&M, thus leakage wouldn't be as much of an issue versus a drier room where it currently resides.

Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Well, just like you reported, my thermometer is 3 degrees higher then the actual temperature inside my humidor. I have two separate thermometers that both read 69º, and the CO reads 72º. I think you're spot on regarding the cause too. Though it would be nice if Cigar Oasis adjusted the temp downward by 3º to compensate for the heat that's given off by the processor, in the end it's not that big of a deal to me as long as the RH sensor remains highly accurate.

Because of the construction of my humidor (a few stacked trays that fit snuggly with no gaps which impedes airflow), the humidity that the COE3 releases drops by 5 points by the time it reaches the top shelf, so I added a canister of florist foam that's saturated with a 50/50 mix of PG and distilled water on the middle shelf to boost RH in the upper sections of the humidor, and it balanced out the moisture beautifully. I bought the florist foam (the type that holds moisture) at Michael's and made a sizable humidifier out of a plastic lined canister. Some may think this defeats the purpose of having a Cigar Oasis Excel 3, but I like the fact that my homemade humidifier on the middle shelf is working with the CO below to maintain an even distribution of RH. It seems to be working nicely, and the CO only turns on a couple of times throughout the day. It gives me peace of mind that as the PG slowly dries out, the CO will come on more frequently to adjust. In this picture, you can see the CO in the bottom right corner.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nice looking humidor!


Yes, I understand the whole florist foam, good idea.


The one thing that is really missing from the COE3 is a low/empty water indicator. Even for smaller units it should be included.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Nice looking humidor!


Yes, I understand the whole florist foam, good idea.


The one thing that is really missing from the COE3 is a low/empty water indicator. Even for smaller units it should be included.
Yes, I agree. A low water indicator would be a welcomed feature. What I've done to keep track of the water level is to document the time it takes the COE3 to reach the set point for RH. Meaning, I use the stopwatch on my phone to time the duration that it takes for the COE3 to reach the set point and turn off. I start the stopwatch the moment the fan turns on and stop it the moments it shuts off. In the beginning that interval was 23 seconds, and 5 weeks later it's 28 seconds. That tells me the unit is still pretty full with distilled water. I think I'll pull it out and refill it once it takes more than 40 seconds to reach the set point that I have it programmed for which is 69% RH.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes, I agree. A low water indicator would be a welcomed feature. What I've done to keep track of the water level is to document the time it takes the COE3 to reach the set point for RH. Meaning, I use the stopwatch on my phone to time the duration that it takes for the COE3 to reach the set point and turn off. I start the stopwatch the moment the fan turns on and stop it the moments it shuts off. In the beginning that interval was 23 seconds, and 5 weeks later it's 28 seconds. That tells me the unit is still pretty full with distilled water. I think I'll pull it out and refill it once it takes more than 40 seconds to reach the set point that I have it programmed for which is 69% RH.
Great idea! I'll have to do that (y)
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top