I'm experimenting with two different relatively inexpensive portable induction burners (Max Burton 6200 and Update International IC-1800W). I live by myself and often like to cook a small portion of pasta. So tried boiling 6 cups of water in a Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless 4-quart saucepan, uncovered.
In particular, the Max Burton unit kept shutting down several times as the water was heating up. The Update International only did it once. Both units are supposed to give error messages when they shut off, but I didn't see them.
Reading the instructions, it appears that the unit shuts down when there's the wrong type of cookware or the pot is too small - that shouldn't be the case with the cookware I was using - it's definitely induction-compatible and the diameter of the sauce pan is about 7 inches.
The units' instructions also say they will shut down when the internal temperature of the unit is too high or the heat of glass cooking surface is too high. With the Max Burton cookware, I did the old school "crank-up the wattage as high as possible to see how fast I can get the water boiling"-approach, and started the unit at 1800 watts, which might have caused the problem, but I'm not sure.
My bottom line - are there optimal setting for boiling a relatively small quantity of water with these burners? I realize I may have unrealistic expectations of the ability to quickly boil water with these portable units - the Cook's Illustrated reviews suggested they are not really better than a gas burner in terms of speed.
Finally, the reason I wanted to get an induction burner is that I live in an apartment with a very old electric stove top that works terribly. I've tended to do all my cooking with a butane portable burner, but there are some drawbacks with that being my only heat source, so I wanted to try something new.
Thanks in advance for any advice.