electric conversion

Discussion in 'ECB Owners Group' started by laitang, Apr 6, 2015.

  1. laitang

    laitang Newbie


    I just got a freebee ECB. For ease of use, I wanted the electric conversion kit, but as I live in the UK with 230V ac, the kit with its 110V ac feed is unsuitable.

    So I am considering making my own electric conversion kit using a 2500W oven heating element, a capillary thermostat, a metal tray, lava rocks, other misc items.

    My question you kind sirs out there, who may have done this already is,

    1. Is the 2500W element an overkill? Its the most readily heating I can buy. ( The bulb of the thermostat will be sited just under the top grill support. )

    2. Are the lava rocks really needed? I'm using them, only because Brinkmann use them in their design. I notice in other 'cabinet' type electric smokers, that lava rocks are not used.

    3. Any tips/advice is greatly appreciated.

    many thanks

  2. thinblueduke

    thinblueduke Meat Mopper

    I've done something similar (I'm in Japan).  I wanted a setup that would let me use charcoal, gas, or electric, depending on the situation.  I don't have any photos of the finished electric conversion, but here's most of it:

    I bought a thin aluminum disc from a restaurant supply company.  The disc was designed for use in pizzerias.  I cut out the center so that both a coffee can (for use with a portable gas burner) and the burner from a 1500W electric hotplate burner would fit through it.  I left a little space open for air intake.

    So far, I've only used the electric setup for cold (OK, maybe "cool") smoking... things like cheese.  I haven't tried to get it up to 110C, but if I have time tomorrow, I can give it a try.  Of course, it depends heavily on the ambient temperature.  I'm not sure it would get up to temp in the winter, but I'm fairly confident it'll work in the summer.

    The portable electric burner has a control dial, and I think that'd be all that's necessary.  I did have to look around for a 1500W version.  Almost all the new ones I could find were 600W or less.  I picked mine up second-hand.

    I don't think you would need lava rocks at all.  They're mostly useful in charcoal units as a heatsink, to keep temps steady (charcoal temps can fluctuate quite a bit).

    BTW, here's the burner setup for the gas version.  For electric, I just switch out the burner and replace the coffee can and colander with a small skillet.

    Let me know whether any of this is helpful.  I can try to snap some pics of my electric setup if you think they'd help.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
  3. dcarch

    dcarch Smoking Fanatic

    To convert 230VAC to work with 120VAC appliances, if you are good with electric work:

    Get a high power diode with proper wattage rating, and connect in series. Not very expensive.

  4. laitang

    laitang Newbie

    That's quite a neat set up you have there thinblueduke! Yes, very helpful, got me thinking about the gas option as well. Thank you!
  5. laitang

    laitang Newbie

    Great idea dcarch to cut out out half of the sine wave. Thanks!
  6. thinblueduke

    thinblueduke Meat Mopper

    I just gave it a whirl.  With ambient temp at 10C/50F, and a moderate breeze, I set the electric burner at max (1500W).  In an empty ECB, after 10 minutes, it was up to 110C/230F.  At 15 minutes, it would get up to about 118C/245F, but when the breeze picked up, it would drop back down to 110 or so.  I'm sure it would go considerably higher with a warmer ambient temp and less wind.

    I've never checked to see where butane canisters max out, but I don't even use them at the halfway setting to get to 110C.

    Here are a couple of pics from today.  Looks like everything needs a little spring cleaning!  The element is at a bit of an angle; it's not usually like that.  I just didn't bother to seat it properly for this test.

    Like I said, I prefer electric for keeping temps down, rather than up.  I've got a little line marked on the dial at the "smoke threshold."  Compared to charcoal, I've found gas to be more convenient and consistent (temp-wise), faster at startup, easier for cleanup, and it annoys the neighbors less (less overall smoke generated).  The overall cost is about the same.  I also still get a smoke ring with gas, which I don't with electric.

    Anyway, I hope this helped.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2015
  7. laitang

    laitang Newbie

    Thanks thinblueduke! I'm aiming for about 200 dec C with my design, so the 2500W heating element should reach that.

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