solar power

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by areallynicegirl, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. So my husband and I are building an uds, the weather is changing and I think we can burn out the barrel soon! I have a question, well maybe more of a thought, please feel free to tell me if this is dumb.....

    My husband is in hvac and used to do restaurant equipment. He has all kinds of parts and goodies laying around. He has a control unit from Johnstone that we can use to basically set the uds to whatever temp I want and it will keep it there within 3 degrees on either side. I know this has totally been done before. What I'm wondering is, does it sound dumb or is it possible to set it up to run on solar? One reason I really like the uds is the lack of reliance on grid power or propane. I feel like even if SHTF (pardon my french lol) you still have your smoker lol. I probably sound like a crazy person now :) on a less crazy note, you could take it to deer camp and still have a fancy fun toy!

    Any thoughts about this would be cool. I've learned before I present an idea to hubby, it's better to figure it out first. That way when he disagrees with me, I have some leverage :)
  2. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A UDS when built to the normal spec will be pretty much set it and forget it.  The use of a temp controller isn't really needed for this style of smoker most of the time.

    Now, on an offset or different style of vertical smoker, yes, the temp controller would be a nice to have item.

    As for solar powering the unit, that will depend on a few things.

    What is the required voltage and amperage draw of the controller?

    What is the required voltage and amperage draw of the fan motor that will be used to "stoke" the fire as needed?

    A solar panel hooked to a deep cycle battery, or batteries, can work well for low voltage and low current applications.  Sometimes a capacitor, or a bank of capacitors, may be needed for initial start but it can be done and used off the grid. 
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2015
  3. What I'm hearing you say is for the uds, temp controller may be unnecessary. But it could potentially be ran on solar power if the numbers are right, correct? Hubby knows all the tech stuff, I just need to sometimes have my ideas vetted by other people in order to refine what I am trying to ask him to do.

    Makes sense, maybe I should hang on to that controller for our other idea. We were thinking of a couple other builds we may try in the future. Thanks for your help!!
  4. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Definitely hang on to that controller!  It can be used for a variety of things cooking related.  It can also be used for non-cooking projects as well.

    The UDS, once learned, can be pretty much set to run around 225-250 for 6-16 hours on a single basket of fuel.  But, you need to learn where to set the valves for air intake to get it tuned in just right.  One or 2 test runs and most have it going on.

    If the controller is 110v AC, you may have trouble getting it to run on a solar setup due to the number of batteries required.  The panel itself won't provide enough amperage for 110 most of the time.

    If the controller and the fan are both 12v DC, a good panel and a good deep cycle battery may be all you need.  The blower doesn't run all the time, just when needed.  24v DC and above will require more than one battery, or quite a bit more electronics.

    NEVER stop thinking of new and better ways to do things!  That's what keeps things interesting in this mad world of ours.  Just think, if someone hadn't thought about smoking a log of ground sausage, the fatty would have never been born!  One guy smoked a log of sausage, others built upon it!
  5. The fatty is stroke of pure genius for sure! God bless whoever thought that up! I'll ask tonight when he gets home what kind of power it runs on. We have been working on setting up our travel trailer on solar so I have solar on the brain these days lol.

    Thanks again :)
  6. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I have had a different experience with my UDS. It holds steady for a few hours but as new pieces of charcoal light the temps will start to climb. I am in the process now of building a controller and fan for mine so it really is set and forget. 
  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    My UDS is set and forget, unless the weather lets loose then I have to adjust it every once and a while. For your controller you could make it work on solar, but you'd need a battery bank, inverter, etc so it may not be practical for packing camping. I prefer my mini-wsm for camping. I can still cook for a quite a few and its easy to pack.
  8. I'd love to build a mini, everyone seems to love them. I keep finding smokey Joe's on Craigslist for like 10 bucks, it's hard to not buy one. I barely convinced hubby to let me do the uds, he's not crazy about me putting another project on him right now. Camping for us involves a travel trailer, there is no backpacking in any way ,shape, or form lol.

    I just was trying to think of a way to use this super cool toy that is practically free to me....maybe trying to run it on solar is wishful thinking. I don't have a problem plugging things in, I just was thinking it would be really cool to be able to use solar power.
  9. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What is the temperature range of the controller?  You may be able to use it for sous vide 

  10. I have no idea, but I'm pretty sure it will do what ever I tell it to.........

    Sous vide would be so cool! When I went to culinary school, we had one but it was on the down low because our county health was not a fan. Granted this was like 8 years ago so I'm sure it's different now. Our chef wanted us to be able to play with it but we weren't allowed to serve it to the rest of the school. I can think of a million things to make in a sous vide! I'll have to get the thing out and see what the instructions say.
  11. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    PM me if you need any assistance getting it going.  I can go over how I used a PID to make mine.  Same basic concept.
    areallynicegirl likes this.
  12. I will thank you!! :)

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