Yoder 640 damper

Discussion in 'Pellet Smokers' started by yoder ay heehoo, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. Hey guys,

    I got my 640 last week and so far I love it.  I did the initial bacon cook to season it up a bit (with some ABTs for good measure). I have also done baby backs and a pizza so far.  Everything has been awesome, I am really pleased with it overall.

    I know you have to learn your own pit and all but I am wondering where everyone else has sets their damper to get the most even heat across the entire lower rack? On the bacon cook the row on the right side got a bit overdone all the way up to 6-8 inches from the side.  For that cook I had the damper pushed in about 5-6 inches since that seemed to be a common position people used here on the boards.

    During my rib cook I tried the damper out all the way and my maverick read about 40 degrees hotter than the thermostat when it was in that far right position.  I moved it to the left side at one point and it was within a degree or two of the thermostat.

    I emailed with Byron from Yoder and I am going to try pushing it in even further to try to even the pit out a little but I thought I would ask and see how you guys run your 640s as well.


  2. I have started running my damper in about 2 or three inches..it seems to even out more.  Try a biscuit test, put raw out of the can biscuits on it and see how they cook.
  3. Thanks for the reply, I picked up some biscuits and will do some testing tomorrow (weather permitting) [​IMG]
  4. mechanic

    mechanic Newbie

    If you are foiling the diffuser plate, make sure that you don't have an excess of foil on the edges, especially the right side edge, and make sure that the foil is absolutely up tight against the bottom of the plate and not away from the plate where it will cause turbulance in the air flow.

    Also, make sure that your chimney is flush with the inside wall of the smoker and does not protrude into the cooking chamber at all.
  5. Hmmmmm, you may be on to something with the foil.  I have been foiling around to the bottom of the plate and have found some ash caught in the foil under the plate so I bet it is hanging down a bit.  I was careful about the chimney being flush but the foil thing never occurred to me.  I will try to adjust that as well.   Thank You!!
  6. Howdy!

    I had the day off I and did an unscientific test with my 4 day old YS640. I say unscientific because I'm a hack.  I also had a bag of pellets I was willing to sacrifice.  My goal was to find hot or cool spots and learn how to use the baffle.  What I found is that my cooker act completely opposite of what the manual led me to believe.  The right side, (chimney side) is very stable and much hotter than the fire pot side no matter where I put the baffle.

    Here are my results:

    The day started at 77 degrees with a slight breeze, no more that 3-4 mph.
    The foil is completely off the diffuser plate and the plated itself is positioned as perfectly as I found possible.
    The firebox is also perfectly positioned.
    Hickory pellets, (gourmet delight)

    My two probes were mounted approx. 1" above the lower grill, one on the left near the fire box and the other on the right near the smoke stack. The tip of each probe was at the center of the grill. If you count the bars on the stainless steel grill racks, each probe is at the 10th bar. The one on the left 10 bars to the right and the one on the right 10 bars to the left. I was too lazy to get a tape measure.

    I tested with the baffle all the way out, in 4-5 inches (no tape measure) and all the way in. Here are my results

    Time                  35 min            90 min            130 min          160 min         190min       225min

    Baffle position     4-5"                 4-5"               flush left          full out           4-5"            flush

    Ambient Temp    77                    88                 90                  91                 91               91

    Left Probe          376                  209               215               215                214             211

    Right Probe       400+                 237               222               238                237             230
    Yoder temp       351                   223               225               222                227             217

    Set temp          325                   225               225               225                225             225

    Notes: At 45 minutes I turned the cooker down to 225. I did that because even though the set point was 325 I was getting much higher temps and didn't want to risk warping the heat diffuser.

    The right probe, (smoke stack side) held remarkably steady temps throughout this little test while the left side probe near the fire pot fluctuated quite a bit. I assume this is due to the probe being near the fire pot.

    Finally I'm going to go out on a limb and say the test probably wasn't fair. It was just getting too hot. I've cooked enough barbecue to know that the ambient temperature really makes a difference. I have a cooker that will hold 108 half chickens. Yes, really, 108. On a hot day the birds are done in about 75 minutes. In the winter it takes almost 2 hours.

    Today during the test it was pretty much 90 degrees. Additionally I had NO FOOD in the cooker! That makes a difference too. A lot of difference. I would have like to try the test with about 5-6 butts in the cooker but I don't need the product and don't have the extra money to blow. (motorcycle ride coming up, but that belongs in another forum.)

    Thanks for reading all of this. I still think the Yoder is a very fine cooker and look forward to spending a lot of time with it. I'm doing some St. Louie spares Friday for lunch. I'll take a picture. The forecast is for only 100 degrees.

    Thank you for reading all of this and I look forward to your comments.

  7. Interesting numbers, thanks for sharing. I'm also curious about the damper and its positioning. That's why I purchased two analog thermometers with my order, so I could at least get an idea how far off the two sides were and adjust the damper accordingly. Next week baby!
  8. Thats pretty impressive work!  I have not done any testing that thorough but I think your pit runs about like mine.  I have moved my maverick probe around during a few longer cooks and my right side is always hotter.  I have also played around with bacon and biscuits across the grates and the ones on the bottom right (even 6-8" from the side)  are always done well before the rest. I do recommend this type of testing though, its a lot more rewarding than just using a thermometer!!  I have found that my temps are most even when my damper is about even with the outside edge of my stack, which is pushed in about 8-9 inches.  I have read that 4-5 inches in was supposed to even things out the most but I guess each pit (and its surroundings) have to be learned individually.  I have not really done a huge amount of meat on any of my cooks either, maybe a butt or a few racks of ribs but I'm not sure why that would make a big difference in even temps across the grate.  I could see that making a difference with being a few degrees off from the pit setting but not from left to right. 

    Don't get me wrong, this thing is fantastic.  I have not had a bad meal off of it yet!  And this is my first time cooking Q so I would say its very forgiving overall.  I suppose following recipes from the experts from the forum helps too [​IMG]

    I have recently had another idea about something to try.  The left side of the pit is about a foot from my house, which is in compliance with the instructions in the manual but maybe less than ideal.  I wonder if airflow into the fan is a bit restricted and affecting the temps?  Is your pit near anything on the left side?  I will try to pull it to the middle of the patio next time I use it.

    And congrats on the purchase tropez!!  You will love it, trust me this thing is awesome.  Just be ready to spend a lot of time sitting and listening to pellets trickle into the firepot and smelling the wonderful smell of Q!!!  I am really enjoying it and my wife probably even more so since she has to cook a lot less than ever before, lol. 
  9. Thanks! I'm very excited, I feel like I graduated to the big boy club by upgrading from a Traeger to the Yoder. The Traeger/Rec Tek/GMG all seem like the same class of machine (look similar, sound the same when running, pretty much the same fit and finish) but to me, the Yoder/FE/MAK lines seemed to be logical upgrade paths.

    I was always the chef of the house. When my wife cooks it's simple stuff. When I cook, it's game on. I found I cooked a lot more with a smoker (at least so far). The propane grill I had was only used for steaks really, my stove for everything else (when I felt up to cooking). for like 12 years I've been in my home with nothing but a propane grill outside. All these years I've been missing the flavors of smoking my own foods!

    I really do love smoking so far. I like sipping a beer, smelling the smoke, knowing kick-butt flavors are just hours away!
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2013

    Yoder Baffle update:

    I spoke with Byron at Yoder yesterday about the uneven temps I experienced. He told me that in May they installed a diffuser fan on one of the fans. They felt that both fans pushed too much hot air to the right side of the cooker and the decision was made to install the modified fan.

    So, here ya go. This result is on MY cooker which may for whatever reason operate differently than YOUR cooker. I started some ribs three 1/2 hours ago. After my conversation with Byron and some pondering I decided to push the baffle completely to the left side. I smoked for an hour at 165 degrees. The temperature between left and right was 3 degrees or less. Quite often it was dead even across the grill surface. I tried to contain myself hoping that when I increased the temp to 225 it would still work. The current ambient temp is a pleasant 82 degrees.

    After an hour I increased the temp to 225. Went inside, had a couple of cups of coffee and went back out. Dead even, again! So for the past 2 1/2 hours I've been watching. Other than a brief 1-2 minute spike when pellets are added the temps have been within 3 degrees the entire time. Much of that time is within 2 degrees and several times it's dead even.

    This is insanely good. Better than I've ever seen in my 29 years of slow cooking. It's just not supposed to be possible. Sort of like being able to see Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix and Muddy Waters all at the same concert.

    I called Byron this morning to let him know. Evidently he got excited. He kept saying he wanted to get on a plane and try some of my ribs.

    On a side note; When I picked up my Yoder my friend Mike went with me. He got one too. Same build date. I tested his cooker yesterday and it performs the same as mine.

    Good news. I've got to go now and spray some ribs and maybe have another cup of coffee.

    -- Bob
  11. So, the jealousy I feel right now Is hard to put into words...
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2013
  12. What was the build date of your pit?
  13. June 14, 2013. 

    Did St. Louie's yesterday.  Baby backs today along with some sweet corn. 

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