New UDS not heating up enough.

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by irishluck09, Jun 7, 2015.

  1. irishluck09

    irishluck09 Newbie

    Little new here but this is my 2nd UDS Ive built.

    For some reason I am have an issue getting my uds up to temp 

    and having issue with is smoking.

    I have 2 inlet holes and 4 exhaust holes.

    The inlet holes I do believe are 1/2" and the exhust is 3/4" opening

    My coal basket is about 14" around and 12" high. 

    I filled my basket with kingsford charcoal and put around 10 pieces of wood scattered through out the whole basket.

    Started the coals by heating up 5 pieces with a weed burner and dropping them on top.

    With both inlet holes fully open it is only getting up to like 115*. I decided to drill a quick 3rd hole in the bottom and it only still got up 180* and with minimal smoke.

    Any ideas here?

    Im attaching pictures to this post as well.

    You'll notice one picture of alot of smoke coming from it, I was manly just burning wood inside of it to cure it slightly. No cooking.

    And you'll notice another picture with meat inside of it and the only reason there was smoke is cause I left the lip half open.

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
  2. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    You need 4  Intakes holes.

    I will fill my charcoal starter little less then half full

    (when I dump it in the basket I get the lid back on quick)

    then I open at least 2 intakes. as the temp is getting close to what I want it at I will close one off and then adjust as needed .

      5 pieces of coals will take awhile to heat up.

    how much space between the bottom of the basket and the bottom of the UDS ?

    Did you do the "boil test" on your thermometers ?

    here a link to the one I built...

    hope that helps. PM me if you need more help.

    I can go hours on end without having to adjust the temp
  3. irishluck09

    irishluck09 Newbie

    Alright I went ahead and cut a 4th hole for the intake.

    So I have two just open holes and 2 holes I can regulate.

    I also filled my basket up again but not all the way full. 

    Lit 10 coals and stuck them on top of coal basket.

    I have about about 1 to 1.5 inch under the basket. Its just sitting on some metal pipe until I can make an ash thing for it.

    Im not even sure what the boil test is.

    But so far with the extra tips you gave me just now, it is smoking alot better and heating up a little more. At about 200* right now.

    How do you know what you need to smoke the meet at and for how long?
  4. irishluck09

    irishluck09 Newbie

    Also where did you get the grill grates that big at?

    Ive got some that I think are about 20" and spent $4 on them each.
  5. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    On intake you need to put nipples with caps on three of them. if you look at my build on of the pictures show them.
    as far as space under the basket you need at least 4 inches for air to get under and for ash to fall.
    there a lot of good builds on here . Just use the search bar at the top.
    now if still can't get the heat up you might need bigger exhaust holes.
    the best part about the UDS is when your done smoking you can shut off all openings and kill the heat.
    and save the charcoal in the basket for the next smoke. I can get 16 plus hours out of a full basket.
    I would add cap that you can put on the exhaust pipes.
    as far as the grate it was one that came with a cheap grill (like the weber grills)
    can buy grate at lowes or home depot .
    as far as smoking the meat depends what your smoking. Most meat I try to stay around 225. chicken 250 to 275.
    never smoke by time. you go by temp of the meat. pork butts go to 200 IT. pork loin 145,
    just look around on this site. A lot of great info.
  6. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    At the top of this page on the right hand side you will see "visit" click on it then sign up for the basic E-course. (lot of great Info)
    then just look around. you will spend hours and hours looking around.
    hope this help you ...

  7. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    If your basket is only 1.5" off the bottom than your intakes are too high. The air will draw in an up so from the looks of the pics you are only getting good air to half your basket. Also, 1/2" intakes are pretty small. I have two 3/4" and one 1" intake. I fill my basket almost full then add an entire chimney of lit charcoal to the top. It is a lot of fuel but I don't want to ever run out during a smoke. 

    Are you getting the charcoal going strong enough with the weed burner? A chimney would help ensure that they are red hot before adding.
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    There are 4 inlets on this drum..... all below the basket.......

    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015
  9. irishluck09

    irishluck09 Newbie

    Yea my air inlets are a little high. I think 4-5" from the bottom.

    So I guess I need to raise my coal basket up.

    What do you guys use at the bottom of your basket to catch the ash?

    Yea I make sure the coals that I put on top of the basket are red hot with the weed burner before adding them.

    I have to air inlets that can be opened or closed. Im going to add valves to the other two air inlets this weekend.

    Question, do you know if anyone on here has built a wood smoker box to the bottom side of a uds and smoked with just wood?
  10. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I use a deep dish pizza pan as my ash tray. I got an un-coated aluminum one for around $15. 
  11. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    My intakes are 3/4 inch and about 3/4 inch up from the bottom. If it were me I would probably find a new drum and start over. This design is proven and trying to do something different always makes more problems than it's worth. Lots of guys use 1 inch ball valve and that works fine too. 1/2 inch is too small.
  12. irishluck09

    irishluck09 Newbie

    Well this is my second drum. Put alotof work into it. Not going to redo it lol.

    If anything I will plug up the old holes and redrill them lower, use 4 inlets. 2 using a balls valves and 2 using pipe with caps. 

    I will also raise the basket up a few inches so that the air can travel through the whole basket instead of only half of it.

    That seems to be my main issue is the air flow.
  13. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    If you step up to a 1" ball valve you should only need 1. Two is nice but for $15 a piece I opted for one and it has worked great. If I need more air I open one of the caps and close the valve most of the way. 

    I would think that the barrel could easily be saved. It takes a lot of work to get to the point you are at so might as well try and save it. It might not look the best with capped holes but that just adds to the ugly part of it. 

    Hope you get it worked out. 
  14. drewed

    drewed Meat Mopper

    Unless they have changed handles ( and that is possible!)  That is a GATE valve and not a BALL valve.  Much less flow through a gate valve. If it takes more than a 1/4 turn to open it is not a ball valve.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2015
  15. Depends if it is a full port ball valve. 99% of gates are full port. A full port 3/4 ball valve usaully will have more area than a non full port 1" ball valve . Cost is typically less for 3/4" full port also, depending on brand.
  16. irishluck09

    irishluck09 Newbie

    Well ive got to say, just by adding two more air ports in the bottom has improved the smoking alot. Along with using 10 lumps to start the basket instead of just 4.

    I smoked 2 full racks of ribs for 8 hours Sunday and wow! they turned out great!

    Im still going to redo the air intakes and redo the basket slightly. But the picture you guys are looking at i just a water faucet I found in the garage.

    There is a ball valve on the other side.
  17. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    Glad it is working for you. 
  18. kevinessence

    kevinessence Newbie

    I am new to this forum and just built my first UDS.I am having problems mine to heat up. It's smoking and has been for a few hours now but won't get above 130 degrees.i have 3 inlets 3/4 and 2 3/4 exhaust. Thanks for any help you can give me.
  19. trannyguy

    trannyguy Newbie

    Hey you are on a fairly old post so not many people will probably see it but sounds like you need more air in and out as well. On both of my Uds's I have two 2 inch intakes and 1 3 inch exhaust and I can get them both to 600 degrees pretty easily. Try to crack your lid open and see if just more exhaust would help.

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