Temperature Controller questions

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by damascusmaker, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. May I draw on the experience here again. I want to use a control on my UDS-30. Admittedly it is pretty stable, but it seems to like tiny adjustments occasionally, hard to have complete trust in overnight butt cooks. Additionally since I've had my Traeger rescue I'm kinda spoiled to the convenience it provides. But the pellet system hasn't satisfied me with enough smoke taste. 

    Ive been considering buying a PID and building a unit. Also considered the IQ110, and the Auber Instruments plug and play system meant for the Kamado styles and BGEs. A requirement is the unit must be reasonably easy to move between barrels and work on a UDDS-55 that I haven't built yet.

    What are your thoughts? If cost wasn't an issue what would be the top choice for this application? Just in case I get some lucky funds.

    Another question on building a system is, how is the air supply shut off when the fan isn't running. My 30 would draft enough air through a stopped fan to hit 400 I believe. Can the PID be used to close a valve when the fan is off and open when needed?

    Thanks  ..  Matt
  2. I had not seen that elkhorn98. It's interesting after a quick look. I'll do a deeper study, thanks.
  3. I did look into the HeaterMeter. I really like the DIY concept and it seems to be a very nice and versatile unit. The problem is electronics is a weak area for me. I'm very DIY but more in a nuts and bolts, cut and weld comfort zone. Thanks.
  4. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have used the IQ-110 now for several years with my Weber and it works well.
  5. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The Auber Instruments plug and play units, and the Dual Probe PID units are good ones.  They are very accurate and are also very easily moved from one location to another.

    As for valve closure.  Yes, you can do that, but you'd need a linear actuator or an electronic valve attached to a switch or relay that would activate/deactivate at a set temperature.

    An easy fix for the air draft is to make a damper of sorts that opens with the forced air of the fan, but closes down with no air flow from the fan.  Kind of like a dryer vent flap works.
    cats49er likes this.
  6. Thanks for the input all. Right now I'm leaning toward the Flame Boss 200, may need to wait a little for funding to fall in place. Anyone have anything good or bad I should know?
  7. Ok, Funds in place!

    Any last minute advise? I just saw the stoker wifi. Haven't done any research on it yet. Still leaning toward the FB 200. CyberQ down my list due to poor reviews about connectivity difficulty and poor customer service.
  8. F B 200 delivered yesterday. Monkeyed around with it yesterday afternoon. Fairly impressed, easy to connect and manage. Fired up the UDS empty for experimenting. Just wondering what you think about this.

    My UDS 30 takes just a small crack of air to run low and did in-fact run away, drawing enough air through the un-shuttered blower to be out of control without the exhaust nearly closed. Remember I'm still new to smoking, the advise I've been following from most here is to always run an open exhaust to avoid stale smoke. I wonder, is stale smoke not an issue with a power draft system? Or should I start designing some type of shutter or restrictor plate?

    This thing has the potential to allow me to monitor and adjust from my shop with minimal interruption when I'm working, and to sleep through long cooks with confidence. I think I'm going to really like it. I'm just not sure about smoking with a nearly closed vent. Thinking about a simple restrictor like the Q fans. Or a simple sliding plate on the intake side of the blower. Your thoughts please.
  9. bbqwillie

    bbqwillie Smoking Fanatic

    If you're running into problems with the unshuttered fan, you can replace the fan with one from BBQ Guru. They are compatible with the FB 200 and the Guru fan is airtight and has a flue.
  10. Thanks BBQWillie, Always an option. I'm going to experiment with the blower I have for now. Was kinda hoping Dave O would weigh in on the almost closed exhaust. The smoker did come under control that way.
  11. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    From reading threads from many folks that have UDS's, if they are properly constructed....  air tight with the proper amount of exhaust holes, they will burn, unattended for up to 8 hours....  That includes the proper amount of charcoal in the basket......

    If you are having trouble controlling temps, it may be that there is inadequate heat loss, because of the small drum..

    When you closed off the air inlets, before the mods, did the fire go out..   A tweaked lid or too much exhaust, will continue to add oxygen to the fire...

    As usual, this is all guess work based on folks actual results from their threads...
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Another thought....  there is too much air going in.....    Plug all the inlets except for a 3/8" pipe nipple....   connect the Flame Boss to the 3/8" nipple....  the FB should then run continuously...  if it does stop, the 3/8" nipple will cool down the UDS until it calls for  heat....  or so it should... says here in really fine print....   
  13. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    3/8" pipe is ~1/2" ID...   a 1/2" hole will do the same but won't have the directional air flow....
  14. Thanks Dave, As always your thoughts are appreciated. Yeah, I've been using it since the build this past summer and it works almost perfect. To run low, like 225, it only takes a small crack of air and does go out immediately when I closed the air supply and close the exhaust. The smoker is very sensitive and I do need to make minuscule adjustments from time to time. Although it has preformed well on a few overnight cooks (my good wife checked it for me up in the morning).The whole reason for the blower for me is monitoring when I'm in the shop and sleeping with confidence when needed. Your suggestion about the 3/8" is I would guess about spot on about the amount of square inches of opening I normally run on. I'll see if I have a photo or take one of my intake design. 

    So you agree it is preferred to control the intake and the note above that came with the controller isn't a good idea?
  15. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Generally, you want the control on the air inlet...  pluggin off the exhaust usually doesn't work...  Crummy smoke and bad taste to the meat... 
  16. This is roughly where this smoker likes to run

    So it's a given it will run away with the fan intake side round at 1-7/8 and the output of the blower at 1-3/4 x 1-1/4

    I'll experiment. It might be that 3/8" will be plenty under power. If it's too much I'll just make a bushing for the inside of the pipe.

    Thanks Dave and all the others here who are so quick to help newbies like me.
  17. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When hot smoking the temperature control is all about balancing the air flow over the coals and each smoker will need to be handled differently. The air inlet has the role of regulating the air coming in and the exhaust regulates the the air and smoke going out. The physical size of each on any given smoker will often determine how they are best used - a small vent fully open can have the same effect as a large vent that is partially closed. There is no golden rule regarding whether to keep the vents fully open or to partially close them, so you should experiment with your unit. It is important though not to close either vent completely or the coals will usually go out. Most temperature regulators will recommend the use of their devices with partially closed exhaust vents.

    When cooking with my Weber Kettles or with a WSM I find that by keeping the exhaust vent 3/4 closed you get the maximum temperature control using the bottom vents. By leaving the exhaust vent fully open the convection causes the hot air to pass through the smoker much faster and has the effect of sucking the air in faster through the bottom vent. When this happens a small adjustment in the bottom vent can lead to quite a big difference in air flow over the coals and therefore temperature change. By partially restricting the speed that the hot gasses can escape, the suction in through the bottom vent is reduced and the vent can be adjusted to a greater degree to regulate the air flow - and so allowing for finer tuning of temperature.

    Even with the vents 3/4 closed there is still good air movement through the unit - just place your hand over the vent and you can feel this. Some will say that by not leaving the top vents fully open you will get "stale" smoke and the meat will taste of creosote. This is just not true - though you must leave the top vent at least partially open.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
  18. Thanks Wade, I understand what you are saying. What a great resource this place is.

    I now have the ability to make adjustments on both ends. I'll experiment to find what works for me and my little barrel. Eventually goal is to find the sweet spot that'll allow me to work or sleep and trust the controller with the bulk of management.

    1/4 inch and 1/2 inch opening marks

    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016

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