Electrically turn smoke on/off?

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by engineer, Mar 5, 2015.

  1. engineer

    engineer Newbie

    Basically, I want full electric control on my whole smoker (fridge build, but it doesn't matter for this post.)  I'm open to pellets, dust, even Bradley biscuits.  I just don't want anything that has to do with a lighter or a propane tank or anything.  I'm going for a fully electric control.

    I'm basically reverse-engineering a Bradley, but with more capabilities.  I want to be able to set it to smoke for two hours and then turn itself off.   So AMNTP is out, smoke pistol is closer but expensive.  

    I can handle the controls.  I am just looking for advice on buying or making an electric on/off smoke generator.  (Making is always better!)

    Has anyone done this?  

    Thanks!
     
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You need to wire an element, solder iron or something the will burn the chips, chunks, pellets, etc. if you want it to shut off right at 2 hours you'll either need to load just enough chips pellets chunks for. 2 hour period. Or have the smoke chamber separate and have a door that closes of after two hours.
     
  3. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You want the smoker to turn off both smoke and heat? 
     
  4. Hello.  As stated an electric heat source used to burn whatever you are using for smoke wire to a programmable timer.  Now it may not be EXACTLY 2 hours but the element should cool down quickly and stop smoking.  The one catch would be IF the smoking fuel is smouldering and can get oxygen it may continue.  Case's idea of a separate smoke chamber would be about the only way.  And I'd bet it would need to be pretty air tight when closed so that the "draw" from the smoker couldn't suck in air and keep the smoke fuel smouldering.  Buying that smoke pistol may be easier and cheaper.  I have never used one but that controlled with a timer might just be your best route.  Only ideas I can come up with.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!

    Danny
     
  5. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Does it have to be dead on 2h? With AMNTPS you can get reasonably good control over the smoking time.
     
  6. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Hum, Just thinking aloud.

     A separate smoke chamber such as a Little Chief smoker with a pipe containing an electronic ( normally closed) damper to your product container.  You would be able to use many types of fuel allowing smoke color and density control.  A timer could then be used to control both the Little Chief and the damper.

    Just thinking,

    Tom
     
  7. Hi Tom.  So how do we COMPLETELY seal the pipe to ensure the smoking fuel no longer smoulders, producing smoke which COULD be drawn into the product chamber?  UNLESS we add a second exhaust damper that opens when the damper to the product chamber closes?  The smoke then SHOULD vent to the outside.  That might negate the need for an air tight seal.  Let it smoke if it wants, it is vented outside and not into the product chamber?  Well, in theory.  NO idea if it would work.  Just throwing out some thoughts.  OMG!  I think I may have strained a muscle!  My brain isn't used to that much use!  I need a cold beer and a lie down.  May have to call in sick for work tomorrow.  [​IMG]   Keep Smokin!

    Danny
     
  8. engineer

    engineer Newbie

    Good ideas for dampers.  I've done some remote control hobby projects so it would be simple to get a little motor to shut a door after a set amount of time.  And I'm not too concerned about it being EXACTLY right.  

    Basically I'm going for the idea that you could stick something in the smoker, set the presets like temp and start delay, and then go to work, and have it be done and off when you come home.  

    So I could have pellets in a burn pan with an element under it.  I will use an electric timer to shut off the power to the element, and maybe also a damper to extinguish the pellets.  I think that will work.

    If anyone's done something like this, I'd like to know how it worked!  

    Thanks
     
  9. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Getting spasms myself.   I would think with the damper closed (no draft) and the heat off, the embers would soon die.  [​IMG]   It shouldn't matter as long as very little if any smoke would pass by the damper.

    T
     
  10. engineer

    engineer Newbie

    Haha, don't hurt yourself.  

    Has anyone made a homemade electric pellet burner?  Could I just use a rangetop element and put a pan of chips or pellets on it?  Or does it need to be a special kind of element?  

    Again, I'm not looking to make an AMNS type, but rather electric.  I'm trying to mimic the plug-in-and-then-ignore-it features of the Bradley, but using pellets.  
     
  11. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    PM Dave Omak,  I believe he has a hotplate set-up on one of his smokers.

    T
     
  12. radioguy

    radioguy Smoking Fanatic

  13. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I converted both of my Big Chief's by installing the guts of a 5th burner into each one.  Though I normally use a AMNTS in the smoker, sometimes if I feel not enough smoke is happening,  I simply throw a few extra pellets (approx. a tablespoon's worth) into the skillet that sits on the element.  Instant smoke.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
  14. engineer

    engineer Newbie

    Exactly.  We are actually going to use an Arduino microcontroller instead of the Pi because we have a few here at home, and because my brother has done some programming on it.  The Arduino is similar but simpler and easier to program, while still having many similar features, like Wi-Fi.  We were planning on doing the smartphone thing too, more for "cool factor" than actual practicality.  You could read the temps, change the setpoints, turn off the burners, turn off the smoke etc.  I'll keep you updated on how that all works out.  
     
  15. Hello Engineer.  No one is ignoring your idea of a "hot plate" type thing.  Was my first suggestion as in some sort of electric heat source for smoke.  The turn off the electric heat thing is easy to figure.  The problem you gave us was "turn off the smoke after 2 hours".  Todds products are lit separately.  BUT they show that as long as there is a proper air flow they will continue to smoulder and produce smoke.  Have you ever seen a house fire?  Firefighters are there for HOURS after "the fire is out".  So long as there is a tiny ember that can get air the risk of smoke AND flare up exists.  You MUST deal with fire to some degree.  You are in some way burning wood to produce smoke.  To paraphrase a movie; fire breaths and fire eats.  So long as a fire can breath it will eat!  So the problem becomes: how do we stop the fire from breathing?  Understanding fire and or heat control is what this is all about.  Seems technology hasn't completely taken the skill out of it.  Keep Smokin!

    Danny
     
  16. engineer

    engineer Newbie

    Danny, in the back of my mind I was thinking about having the pellets drop into a water bucket, just like the Bradley does it.  Maybe I'll do that.  

    So for a basic smoke generator, I think I'll just put a pan of pellets on a hot plate.  I love goofing off with motors and servos...i'll make it dump itself into some water when it's done smoking.  

    Again though, I don't really care if it stops smoking instantly...

    If the supply of fresh fuel is shut off, and the electric element/hot plate is shut off, then the most that can happen is the pellets currently in the burn pan will continue burning until they get used up.  That's a limited amount of time...idk, half an hour max?  

    Thanks for all your expertise and interest in my (kind of weird) project!
     
  17. dcarch

    dcarch Smoking Fanatic

    Do a search here, my system may be able to do what you want.

    1. Amount of smoke.

    2. Duration of smoke.

    dcarch
     

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