What size of heating element

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by danowood1, Apr 29, 2016.

  1. danowood1

    danowood1 Newbie

    I'm converting a warmer/proofer into a smoker.  Inside dimensions is 18" wide, 26" deep, and 50" tall.  Approximately 14 cubic feet area.  The outer walls are stainless steel inner walls aluminum or ss.  Wall thickness is 1" with fiberglass insulation.  I installed hi temp silicone gasket on door.  (which is also 1" thick with fiberglass insulation).  I installed a 12x8 1000 watt 120v heat element.  Temp only gets up to 150 degrees.  So I installed a 2nd 1000 watt 120v heat element (same one) and them came up to 250 degrees.  I would like to get up to 350 to 400 degrees not that I would cook or smoke at that temp but for quicker recovery time and better temp control  I am using an Auber 1200 GPH pid controller which is plug and play.  I am using a Bradley biscuit feeder for smoking, that has the inlet air vents built into it.  Any one have an idea of what size of elements I need to get to where I need to be to get the temps I have set for max temps?  thanks
  2. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Something that large will likely need to be in the 240 volt range like an oven. An appliance repair store is going to be your best bet. And a qualified electrician to install a dedicated circuit.
  3. danowood1

    danowood1 Newbie

    Thanks, I was hoping to stay away from 250v units.  In your opinion there is no amount of elements in the 120v range that will get me the temp I need?  My smoker is on wheels and is some what portable and 250v may not be available at some places.
  4. walta

    walta Smoke Blower

    Since your smoker is about twice the size of a home oven just about as well insulated and operating at the same temperatures.  My guess is you need twice the normal wattage. It seems normal is 2500 watts.

    I believe to get 5000 Watts you will need 21 amps requiring a 30 amp 240 volt circuit or 42 amps at 120 volts you will need 42 amps requiring a 50 amp 120 volt circuit.

    If you choose to remove Tim Allen (MORE POWER RRRRRR) from your design team look for a element of 2160 watts or less at 120V. As that is about all you are allowed pull from a 120 V 20 Amp circuit.

    In my opinion anything over 300° is baking not smoking.  Think low and slow.

  5. danowood1

    danowood1 Newbie

    I installed a 1500W 120v element coil type.  This element heats up a glowing red.  Brought temp up to 305 and was still slowly climbing.  I think this is going to work out just fine.  Prob is it consumes 13 amps, my auber 1200 is rated 12 amps.  SO I have to go up to the next level controller the wsd1500 which is good for 15 amps.  I have left over from the project 2 new 1000 watt 120v elements and my ws1200 gph.  May consider selling if anyone is interested.
  6. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    here's a 1500 watt element that's bigger than the coil type... has a male plug on it to plug into the PID...

  7. danowood1

    danowood1 Newbie

    Thanks, the one I had were about that size, but were only 1000W and never got red and didn't put out enough heat for the area.  The one you pictured has a specialty plug for it and cord that I don't think would survive the heat in the box.  Where it's place I can't do a direct through the wall connection.  The one I got was 20 bucks and throws ample heat for my purpose. Thanks for sharing the info though. 
  8. gearjammer

    gearjammer Master of the Pit

    You could just buy an SSR (solid state relay) that would handle the amperage.

    Then let the PID control that, wouldn't cost you near as much money.

  9. danowood1

    danowood1 Newbie

    Yea I looked at that, by the time I bought the ssr (relay) a heat sink, a project box, thermal paste, a couple of IEC sockets, and the time involved it wasn't worth the time and trouble, they gave me 30% off so the cost spread wasn't very significant factoring in all the previous said;  and beside I have a dual controller now that will also monitor my meat temp and fire box temp and can program it to have either shut the unit off at designated times and or temps.
    Last edited: May 5, 2016
  10. lancer

    lancer Smoking Fanatic

    If you talk to Auber going a few amps over the rating for the controller is probably not a big deal.  The heat sink is on the bottom of the controller and a low volume computer fan mounted under it and blowing on the heat sink when the power is on will likely provide ample cooling.  I'm using a WDS-1500GPH that's rated at 1800 watts/120volt and 2400 watts/240 volt.  I have 240 volt power in the garage and every building on the farm so I'm driving over 2600 watts at 240 volts.  They said that with a fan blowing on the heat sink it would work just fine. 

    EDIT: Actually they said 2600 watts was fine as long as the heat sink had nothing keeping air away from it.  I suggested a fan and they said that would allow going a fair bit higher yet with the wattage.  If I decide to push it mush harder though I'll use a relay to control the elements.

    Last edited: May 7, 2016
  11. danowood1

    danowood1 Newbie

    Thanks for the info, I did talk to them and yes they said it wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't for an extended period of time, However, for a 8 to 10 hour smoke they said it wasn't recommended and could damage the unit. SO I stepped up to the 1500 unit.

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