Choosing the proper heating element?

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by iast8, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. Hey Everyone!

    Newbie here currently working on constructing my first electric smoker using a combine muffler of all things haha. 

    Would anyone be able to provide some guidance and what size/wattage of heating element I should be looking into? The total volume I am looking to heat is approx. 8.5 cu ft. Any help/thoughts/advice/concerns/questions is greatly appreciated. 

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2013
  2. Hello IAST8.  I see this is your first post.  Could you please swing by Roll Call so that we might give you a proper Howdy.  Also, you have posted this in fridge builds.  No harm done.  I think you might get more answers if you post this in smoker builds.  Just re-post your query in the different forum and I know the folks with experience will be along shortly to help you out..  Welcome to the fun and good luck.  Keep Smokin!

  3. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Try Amazon dot com "Brinkmann 812-3323-0 Smokeshop Electric Converter" It also shows a variable rheostat  in a combined price. Its a 1500W that should be plenty without seeing your muffle. Don't know I have seen a bigger one without going to special engineered items.

    Just a thought
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013
  4. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    I just put that element in a smokehouse that is about 30 cu ft and I can only get to about 180* but I'm only using it for sausage and jerky. I'm sure in your 8.5 cu ft smoker it would get as hot as you would ever need.
    I hooked up a PID to it so I have total control over temps.

  5. wjordan52

    wjordan52 Meat Mopper

    IMHO good insulation is just as important as the element wattage in building electric smokers. Most of us want to use typical 110v / 15a outlets, which limits the current draw, but also means no special wiring. A simple wrap can make a all the difference in the performance of your smoker. Good luck on your build... we'd love to see pics!
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013

  6. Here is a picture of the muffler I am using. This picture is a little dated and since it was taken we have the rest of material inside removed, so it is now completely gutted. 

    wjordan52, what would you suggest for insulation around something like this? Additionally, we already have plans to construct a door with gasket in order to seal off any hot air from escaping. 
  7. wjordan52

    wjordan52 Meat Mopper

    Wow! That's a big muffler! Should make a cool smoker. Can I assume it's going to be a vertical?

    There are a number of ways to insulate depending on how much work you're willing to do. This time of year you may get away with wrapping a welding blaket around it. If you intend on using it all year you'll probably want to sandwich insulation between two layers of welding blanket, especially considering where you live. Keep in mind that since the insulation is on the outside there'll be no concern about it being 'food safe'.

    Of course that's the quick and dirty solution. Once you see how your smoker performs you may want to make it a little more permanent (and better looking).

  8. Haha thanks! I think it should be a pretty neat build as well! Above is the machine it would've came from (CaseIH 9230 Combine). Yes I am planning on setting it upright once I weld a frame to bolt it into. Additionally, I will probably wind up mounting some castor wheels underneath the entire assembly for easier transportation due to the weight of everything. With the muffler gutted now I would guess the weight of the muffler to be around 40 lbs. but before we opened it up and started hollowing it out, that muffler weighed nearly 200! Not a very easy one man job haha.

    I'm sure I'll have to play with the insulation factor a little bit as I get going with it, but thanks for your advice! 

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