PID question

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by lighthearted, Mar 1, 2017.

  1. Hi All,

    I'm a bit new here, so please bear with me. I have a 40" Landman digital electric smoker that fluctuates in temp over  30-40 degrees sometimes. I bought this cheap PID

     from Amazon based on a few good words from this site. Then, I realized that it has a 1100W limit, while my smoker has a 1200W element. I initially thought it might be ok as long as I don't turn the smoker all the way up to it's max heat setting (275), but I don't think that's the correct way of thinking. I think that the heating element is probably at full (1200W) every time it goes on. This seems like it would kill the cheap PID that has a 1100W limit. What do you people think? 

    Is there a cheap fix for this, or should I buy a PID with a higher watt limit? Maybe there is some kind of adjuster (rheostat?) that I can plug in after the PID to lower the wattage used by the smoker. Will this work, or would it run the risk of damaging the smoker?

    Thanks for your help,

    Last edited: Mar 1, 2017
  2. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

  3. There is no way the PID you bought will damage the smoker even if is shorts out completely. It would be as if you just had the smoker plugged directly into the outlet and turned it all the way up. Looking at the description of the unit, it says it works for BBQ so it should be ok, even on your 1200W element. As an EE, we design with a 20% rule meaning that if the unit is rated for 1100W, it should be able to handle 20% more which puts your1200W element well within that range. Notice I said "should". You should run a test with a simulated load in the smoker, connect the PID and turn the smoker on "full". Check the PID for overheating and let it run for at least a few hours while rechecking. Personally, I run a 1200W Auber PID on my 1500W MES analog. Going on 2 years and many many smokes without issue. When smoking in the heat of summer, I put a small muffin fan on my PID just For good measure. Check with the manufacturer and see what they say as well. JMHO, HTH
  4. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Also.. you will have to rewire the smoker so that you by-pass the manufactures controller... the heat element needs to plug directly into your new controller...
  5. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes, as said above.  I by-passed the controller of my Masterbuilt and now plug the heating element directly into the PID.   It's a Auber PID.  Very awesome.
  6. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    The description also said it has a 10 amp relay which is 1200 watts at 120vac. So it should work but for how long and other PIDs have a great ventilation system and or heat sink. Once the smoker is over the desired temp the quick relay switching maybe ok. So maybe plugging in the element directly into the recetacle for initial heat up then plugging into this PID will increase its longevity. If it is going to be used and not returned, I'm interested on hearing more about it for the price.
  7. Thanks for all the great advice here. I finally got around to trying this cheap PID I got from Amazon. Basically, it looks like no PID is going to work with my digital electric smoker. When the PID steps in and cuts power to the smoker, the smoker shuts off as it should. When the temp falls back down to my desired range the PID turns the power back on to the smoker, but the smoker just sits there waiting to be told what to do. It doesn't continue from the same place it left off. I looks like any PID would need an analog controlled smoker in order to properly work. Someone here mentioned rewiring my smoker, but I don't really want to go to that length. I would more likely keep my current smoker and live with the mild fluctuation in temps or maybe buy an analog smoker to run with a PID. Anybody have any other thoughts?


  8. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you want to use the PID, I really think you need to consider doing what has been suggested earlier and by pass the smoker's controller all together and wire the element directly to the PID.   Can you tear into your smoker to see if you can do this minor surgery without making a permanent commitment?   Meaning being able to wire it back to stock if needed/wanted?
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  9. i bought a new smoke hollow electric smoker and found out it had a wide temp swing on tstat. solved that one with a pid control( been making them for a while casting my own bullets). it keeps temp within 5 degrees of set point.

  10. i just turn temp up all the way on my smoke hollow electric and let pid control it from there.
  11. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    Just following up to see if your using this controller and as mentioned that it should handle the 1200 watt element since it should accomodate 20% above the 1100 watt rating.
  12. No. Actually, it didn't seem to work with my smoker. It works by pulsing the power on and off. Since my smoker is digital it rests all settings every time the power is shut off. I think to use this type of controller you would need to use an analog smoker rather than a digital smoker.

    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
  13. redoctobyr

    redoctobyr Smoke Blower

    From what I understand, the PID controllers can only be added "easily" to analog smokers. You turn the smoker's thermostat all the way up, and plug it into the PID controller.

    With a digital smoker, you typically have to wire the PID controller's output right to the smoker's heater, bypassing the smoker's electronics. You can, preferably, keep the smoker's over-temperature safety cutoff device wired-in. Or you can add your own temperature safety.
  14. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    If I go that route I would have a power cord going straigbt to the element, using the safety Mes snap disk sensor , bypassing all other stock electronics. Since it's not a PID that learns and anticipates it would seem that it would coast above and below set points like the Mes controller unless the sensor is in closer proximity to the exposed heating element for quicker cycles and set this controller by the dedicated digital therms at food level. This 1100 watt 10 amp controller may get over heated on start up with a 1200 watt element, being the longest heating cycle or one may have to plug directly into the recepticle for preheating and plug into the controller afterwards for quick cycles. If electronics are engineered 20% above the given rating then this is intriguing to me. If anyone reading this has any input on being used for 1200 watt Mes heating element please let me know.

    The reviews are decent and it seems to work well turning non digital crockpots into a sou vide. Hopefully you can find a use for it. If the sensor is accurate and you want to get rid of it, PM me.

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