Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by possumgritz, Jan 31, 2008.

  1. possumgritz

    possumgritz Fire Starter

    Has anyone bought and tested the allied-kenco thermostat. I like how you can just plug it in with no wiring involved. Any temp fluctuations? How accurate are they? I'm electrically ignorant so while the PID method looks like the way to go, I think it's out of my skill range. FWIW I found a dandy commercial stainless steel fridge that I'm planning on making into a smoker. I'm just trying to get my ducks in a row before I start the project.

    Thanks for any advice or suggestions.
  2. mulepackin

    mulepackin Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I do have one on my freezer conversion. To be honest it is a new addition, and I haven't had a chance to really use it yet. In testing, it seems to heat about 20 degrees hotter than my capillary tube thermometer and my baby dial indicate. Kicks back on just a few degrees less than the set point. I don't know if this is by design or if there is a calibration I need to do. 20 degrees seems like a big range. I would think about 10 (5 either side of the set point) would seem about right, although I've never tested my home oven with the same degree of tenacity I've given my smoker so maybe this is normal. It will be nice to not have to "babysit" the smoker when I'm doing alot of what I do with it. Previously, I would have to really watch it and adjust dampers, etc. to get temps up. Then if I went to bed, I would have to get up every few hours to check it, or it would overheat and the fat would start to run out of my products. I'm sure it will be better for that. Bombo80 also uses one on his refer conversion, and has alot more experience with it than I, so again if he doesn't chime in here PM him. Also, it is not totally wireless, in that it comes with an outside outlet box, but you still have to wire in the outlet which is not rocket science. I am still kind of experimeting with my heat source as well, so it is nice to have the option of just plugging it in. It could be wired direct if you chose to do it that way. By the way what is the PID method?
  3. possumgritz

    possumgritz Fire Starter

    I appreciate the reply on the thermostat. I would like at least to be within 5+/-.

    Supposedly a PID controller, from what little I understand, while act like a thermostat but while have a greater accuracy. I have read where some get an accuracy of +/- 1 degree. I'll see if I can find a link on a PID controller or maybe someone that knows about them will chime in.
  4. possumgritz

    possumgritz Fire Starter

  5. mrh

    mrh Meat Mopper


    There a bunch of guys that have Bradley's that have made the PID controllers. Also there are several like you who said they didn't know if they could do it, and had it turn out for them. I really like the one I made. Once it gets to temp it does hold within a few degrees +/-. I see you posted a link from Oldmans site. If you do try to build one you can get lots of help from the Bradley web forum lots of helpful people there, just like here. Oh I had around 100 dollars in cost building mine. Could be done a little cheaper, depending how you go about it.

  6. cheech

    cheech Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I built a temp controller for a member and used this controller.

    Last I spoke with him it held the temp with in 2 degrees.

    Auber makes a nice controller, if I ever had to redo mine that is the one I would use.
  7. possumgritz

    possumgritz Fire Starter

    I think I'm going to bite the bullet and just try to make a controller. It looks like it would be the best way to go. It'll be cheaper to. Wish me luck.
  8. mulepackin

    mulepackin Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That looks like a great way to go. Wish I'd have come across it before I bought mine. It doesn't look too difficult, and I get a lot of satisfaction from building my own stuff. Good luck with it, and let us know how it works out.
  9. kookie

    kookie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Or you could do like I did on my little cheif and use the pluging/control box from an electric frying pan/skillet. I have been using mine for about a year now and it works great. I have made two now one for each of my smokers. I have only a couple bucks into them. I found them at secand hand stores for a buck a peice. All I did was open them up and soldered a pig tail on it and closed it up and I drilled a hole into the smoker for the temp probe to go in at. Its pretty simple. Hope that helps.

  10. mulepackin

    mulepackin Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Kookie, if you get a chance can you post up some pics of that? I always figured there had to be a way to use them, just never sure where to start. I'm just curios.
  11. kernbigo

    kernbigo Fire Starter

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  12. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've used electric oven thermostats in the two I've built. Can be bought off Ebay for around $25. They are calibratable. Fairly simple to hook up. Nice thing is the capillary tube that you can mount more convieniently in the box. Good luck.
  13. mulepackin

    mulepackin Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You got any pics Trav? I'm always interested in good thermo setups.
  14. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey Mule: Here is the picture I have of "Used to Be Cool"s control panel. Havent got it mounted yet. The top control is for cold smokin and is off an Alto Sham prime rib cooker. the second control is a Robert Shaw oven thermostat. That will handle normal smokin duties.

    They wire into a 5400 watt dryer element I am using for the heat in the frig conversion. The capillary tubes will simply run through a whole in the side of the box and mount at about mid point in the smoke chamber.
  15. minichef

    minichef Fire Starter

    Ebay has cheap controls, like this one; item# 350043988574 $41 shipped.
    One nice thing is the 85 to 265VAC power supply, if you are running 240V heaters just tap off that power coming in to supply the control. No need to step down the power or run a separate cord just for control power.

    If I didn't work for a controls company I would try this. It has 3 preset PID settings, plus you can auto-tune once everything is setup. The auto-tune figures the PID settings for you. The control I use will cross your setpoint 3 times taking measurements on how long it took to reach the setpoint and how much over shoot happened, then come up with settings.

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