anybody using a PID controller?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by omahasmoker, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. omahasmoker

    omahasmoker Smoke Blower

    i am looking t o step up to a PID controller. they look like they will allow me to have tighter temperature control and set up a cycle for smoking fish and whatnot. but i still have some questions and concerns.
  2. plj

    plj Meat Mopper

    I use one, I'm very glad I spent the time/$ to do it. Lots of instructions around on how to do it if you search, I looked at all the instructions out there & basically followed them with a few minor tweaks - namely I set it up as a stand-alone temp controller so the kids can also use it to maintain temps in our homemade incubator. I got my supplies from Auber Instruments, very pleased.

    I do suggest a long lead for the temp probe, and definitely put a heat sink on the relay.
  3. omahasmoker

    omahasmoker Smoke Blower

    i wonder if i will have a problem using the PID in very cold weather. its about 5 degrees F here now and i will be smoking later today. will the PID work in that weather? or will i have to store it inside and then hook it up when i want to use it?
  4. If you only need to to go up to 220 degrees a temp controller will work. I just got one from for about $60. It just has one stage but they sell fancier ones. They will wire it with heavy cords if you want for about $20 extra. I called for info and they were helpful and shipped priorty mail for about $7.Don't know if its true but I read PIDs must be at 32 deg to operate. These supposedly work well below zero
  5. I use a PID on my smoker. I have not had any issues smoking in bitter cold weather, other than my beer freezing...sorry, no issues with the PID[​IMG]. I also store it in the cold all winter in an unheated shed. It is a definate advantage once it's tuned in, it takes all the guess work out of temperature control. It has made for a much more consistent product for me. Good luck!
  6. nickelmore

    nickelmore Smoking Fanatic

    I am still modifying my PID, I have an adjustable 1500 watt element controlled with a relay output of a PID.

    I still need to tinker to increase the on/off time. It is cycling the element too fast for my liking.

    I am comfortable having slight temperature swings.
  7. omahasmoker

    omahasmoker Smoke Blower

    what brand/model PID are you guys using? there are a lot of them out there. i downloaded the instructions from Fujita for one of their models. crikey, it was like a phone book. i am looking for something a mere mortal can use.
  8. silverado2100

    silverado2100 Fire Starter

    Im used one on my last smoker and liked it. I just made one from one of the cheap packages on ebay. Make SURE you put a heat sink on your ssr(soild state realy) tho.
  9. kozmo

    kozmo Fire Starter

    I built one just a couple of weeks ago and have had no problems maintaining temperatures in the cold, however, I too am adjusting the cycle times because the element is on and off way to frequently.

    You can read about it on my blog ->

    Edit: I too use a heatsink, wasn't sure about it when I put it on but after running a couple times it gets toasty now and then (the heatsink that is) can't imagine it without one.
  10. kozmo

    kozmo Fire Starter

    Also just a thought the SSR will probably generate enough heat that it should keep the PID warm enough if there is a concern with it getting too cold once its going.
  11. omahasmoker

    omahasmoker Smoke Blower

    OK. where do you get a panel to mount it in? they all look like they fit the same size hole. dagned if i can find a panel with that size hole in it though.
  12. ol' smokey

    ol' smokey Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Here's a pic of my PID controller I built using parts from Auber's. It's enclosed in a 7x7 PVC box. I'm using a 25A SSR, solid state relay. On my bradley I have a 1250W finned heating element that draws 8.3A of current. I don't use a heat sink although it's not a bad idea if your going to use more than 10A of current. I also have a plug in connector on the back for ease of changing thermocouples, I also use it on my drum to force feed air to controll temps. This setup will control the temps +-10° after using the autotune feature. I'm sure with some tweaking one could tighten that up.

    Here's the bradley setup.
  13. troski

    troski Newbie SMF Premier Member

    I use a Honeywell T755 with a 4-20ma output that drives 2 eurotherm 425a scr's that control 2 2500 watt heaters. Don't have to worry aboat heat with the scr's like you do wih ssr's. I've been useing this setup for 6 months and it works great.
  14. Like others, I also got a lot of stuff from Auber: 1/32 DIN temperature controller, 25A SSRs, heat sink, RTD sensors and connectors and thermocouple connectors.

    Though I have the Auber PID controller, I'm actually using a 1/16 DIN Ogden ETR9300 controller that I got off eBay (I see they still have "More than 10 available.") because I plan on using the Auber for reading a meat probe. I should have gone to Auber for the meat probe itself, but I didn't see one on their site until after I ordered one for more than twice the price from Thermoworks.

    I mounted the Ogden and Auber controllers in an aluminum project box along with the SSR, heat sink, various connectors, a switch and fuse. To be honest, the box is a bit lightweight for the 110v plugs if you plan on unplugging them often. But if you're going to plug your smoker into it once and leave it that way, then it's probably okay.

    I'm only driving 500 watts on my CookShack so the heat sink doesn't even get warm- either that or the aluminum case is dissipating a lot of heat itself since it's sandwiched between the heat sink and the SSR.

    Anyway, the Ogden does well for me, though I must say that the first time I autotuned it for my smoker (after initial testing on my rice cooker for sous vide cooking), it was way out of tune. After putting in more reasonable initial settings, then having it autotune, it was better. And after it self tuned, it was great. Now it holds +/-1 degree with almost no overshoot when starting up.

    Give me a few weeks since things are going to get busy soon, but after that I hope to have pictures and a rough wiring diagram of what I have set up. I also hope to have tested the cook and hold feature I've implemented (which is why I needed the Ogden instead of the Auber).

    So, to address your concerns: the specifications for my controller indicate it's rated for operation between -10C to 50C (14-122F), outside your range, though not by much. But at least the storage temp is -40 to 60C. But, yeah, at over 100 pages, the manual can be overwhelming. On the other hand, it has more detailed information and examples than the six page Auber instruction manual.

    Panels- I just cut it out of the project box. If you wanted to get really fancy, a friend of mine has used for work projects.
  15. omahasmoker

    omahasmoker Smoke Blower

    so what does the ogden do that the auber does not do?

    i called auber and told them about my concerns regarding running an electric smoker. they have a new PID controller coming out soon that is made for sausage smoking. it will have multi step temperature control that will ramp up either by time or temperature. i hope to see the specs soon.
  16. The main thing is that it has an external trigger input. That allows me to have a second setpoint. So on another controller with a meat probe, I can set a target temperature for the meat, and as soon as it hits it, the smoker can be lowered to a holding temperature.

    Oh, I forgot to mention that the Ogden I got was set up for dual relay outputs, but I was able to take it apart, remove one of the relays, add a couple of resistors and convert it to SSR drive.
  17. rhino70

    rhino70 Fire Starter

    Is this the PID unit that you are talking about when you are saying that you have an auber unit??

    Do any of you use this unit?? I'm not much of an electronics guy, but this seems to be a plug and play unit that could be used to control a smoker for temperatures for cold and hot smoking.

    I am trying to put together a parts list for a fridge smoker and would like to put some sort of controller in it. Would this one work for cold and hot smoking?? Any info you could give would be much appreciated. thanks.
  18. This unit is good just for smoker temp you might want to get the dual probe so you can keep an eye on you meat temp also

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