PID controller minimum outside air temp

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by rustyreel, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. What is the minimum outside air temp for a PID controller whether it being a
    plug and play model or one that I can build. I have read on another forum
    that the minimum ambient air temp con only be 32 degrees and they stated they had to buy a thermocouple with a long wire so he could put the PID controller in his garage when he operated the smoker. I live in the north country
    and will be using my smoker during the winter below 32 degrees and don't
    have a garage to put my PID in. Any info would be appreciated.

    Thanks... Bill
  2. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I couldn't tell you but I'm sure someone will be along shortly with an answer!
  3. I wouldn't really think there would be a temperature they would specifically need, the concern might be the liquid crystal display may freeze, but we use similar controllers at work to operate our gas furnaces and they have been fine in well below 0 temps as our mill is not heated inside
  4. plj

    plj Meat Mopper

    uh-oh - I've used my homemade pid down at around 10 degrees...   :)

    I have no idea why the outside temp would be an issue, what reasons did they give??
  5. I received this email from Auber Instruments regarding minimum ambient temp :

    Hello  Bill,

    [font=arial, sans-serif]1) For the plug and play controller for electric smoker, the sensor has to be above 32 to read. You can use you hand to warm up the sensor to get it start. the controller can be at any temperature.[/font]

    [font=arial, sans-serif]2) For the plug and play controller for charcoal smoker, the controller itself has to be at above 20 to function correctly. The sensor can be at any temperature.[/font]

    3) for component type controller, the controller need to be above 32F to reading accurately when thermocouple  sensor is used. It can display a reading when controller is below 32F, but my not be very accurate. If will display error when controller is below 0F. The sensor can be at -200F. 

    4) For component type controller with RTD sensor connected, the controller and sensor can operate to at least -40F accurately. But we have not tested below -40F. Some model may not power up.when temperature is below -40F.

    Suyi Liu
    Auber Instruments

    I guess my next question for those of you in the colder climates is what type of sensor do you use, a thermocouple or RTD sensor?

    I am currently converting an old frig to a electric smoker  Thanks to those who replied to my thread
  6. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Since you have not bought 1 yet my vote is for the RTD, since it is good for -40F Just my $0.02
  7. I wonder why he said the a RTD because a type K thermocouple is good -328 °F to +2462 °F.  Most of the PID can use either RTD or thermocouple.  I would use a thermocouple cheaper, more durable
  9. Condensation from the  heating of electronics  the controller  in freezing or below freezing environment can cause moisture to short out the internal circuitry of the unit. This can be overcome by properly enclosing the unit in some form of a heated and ventilatate enclosure. As far as the unit not reading until +32, they possibly built in some form of temperature compensation in the unit. If this is the case, I would go with another manufacturer and use a type K TC. We use a lot of TC's and RTD's where I work but our controllers are usually in a heated and/or purged cabinet. I plan on using an Omega PID on my new smoker build but it will be in my garage and in an enclosure(fiberglass Hoffman). I will be using type K TC's also. Now. if I am reading this thread correctly, you have not bought the plug and play unit yet but this manufacturer also sells other PID controllers that will work for you as long as it is properly acclimated in cold temps.
  10. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When i lived in PA i used my PID in 20-30* temps. On the -11 days i had to hold the probe to get it gong.

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