My review of Lion v4
My Controller is nearly working how I would like it to, so I decided to write this review.
I ordered the v4 Lion with Stainless Steel box and the C Adapter for my UDS. The ordering process was painless through PayPal, and the price was right (~$260). I received the unit slightly quicker than the 2 weeks I was originally told.
It arrived with no documentation whatsoever, which was a little frustrating, however, reading through the 13 page thread on here I was able to figure out how to get things operating in the most basic sense of the word. The box provided is basically useless, it is too small to fit the fan, controller and even the smallest battery. Speaking of which, I bought a tiny 1.3Ah sealed lead acid battery and a 12V charger, on battery alone the unit will run for 1~2 hours before shutting down. I run with the battery connected to the charger, the battery acts as a 'damper' for high draw scenarios, and would also provide some degree of 'critical cooking'. However, there is no online indication of a low battery, so if you were to lose power the only way you'd realize (from your sofa) is when the web server stopped responding. Based on my experience I would go with at least a 6Ah battery if I was running without a mains hookup.
The thing I love about this controller is the ability to sleep at night! I cooked a 9# brisket at roughly 220degF with no interaction until I pulled it to wrap at ~165 internal. I slept a full 8 hours worry free. The ability to make changes from bed, the sofa, Sam's Club (when you realize you're out of foil) etc etc is awesome too.
The things I dislike are mostly down to a complete lack of support from the builder. Mr Wang had no interest in the fact that the SS box he sold was much too small, claiming it was somehow a 'standard size'. Issues (which were numerous) in setting up the network/Internet features were ignored. He would refer to the 13 page thread on here saying that it 'is standard network equipment' with no advice on how to get things up and running. I eventually was able to get the controller on my home network, accessible both by ip address and also on the Internet, with it's own web address thanks mostly due to hours spent reading online, and a lot of trial and error. I am more than willing to help others get online if they are struggling, send me a PM.
The website for the controller is rediculous. It has nothing on the Stoker, the interface is ugly and the graphing feature, while nice, looks goofy. The graphs produced should have an Auto-Scale feature, such that they do not go all the way to 596degF. Hopefully someone might produce an app or a better looking interface. Finally, my controller is far from being accurate to 1 or 2 degrees as claimed. I have tried various settings for P, I and D, and cannot do better than +10/-5 degrees. Not bad at all, and certainly within my comfor level, but I would love it if I could get it precise.
I do not know, but I feel like the fan provided (50cfm) is way too powerful or it does not work. There are times when the 'out' light is on, implying the fan is trying to run, but the fan is not moving. I have tried changing the Minimum Fan Speed UdC, but I do not know how to find the minimum for this fan. The result is that the fan basically operates as a on/off binary state, not variable voltage as suggested by the builder.
Overall I am happy with product, and feel like its performance is slightly below its price point, but not bad. If we can get some significant improvements it could absolutely be a Stoker-killer, but until then I'd probably save my money.
I am asking the builder, Mr Wang to contact me regarding a refund for the SS box and also the fan, which I feel is defective.
1. I am using a Li-ion battery, 2 a.h. the size is small enough to be put in the SS box with the fan, controller. also 2 a.h is big enough to power the system for 10+hours. Lead battery is too big in size. Also lead battery will lose capacity step by step. You bought 1.3 a.h, but the real capacity may be 0.5 a.h. SS box is designed for Li-ion battery.
2.LION is a standard WIFI equipment, different environmental needs different method to access to Internet. Good you finally do it. Be honest I can help less to access LION to Internet. But two IT masters are really writing a guideline separately
3.Temperature accuracy depends on the smoker too. My gravity feed burner and controller can keep my smoke temperature accuracy around 1 F.
Let us image, you forget to add coal to your smoker, after 5 hours, your smoker temperature may fall to environmental temperature.
please visit www.allchinas.com about my gravity feed burner.
About interface I agree with you. I will upgrade later. But basic functions are all there
1.All buyers are using same fan. total buyers are more than 200. there are 2 or 3 fans of bad quality. I sent them a new fan. But this fan works perfect with my controllers in general. If your fan does have quality problem, I can send you a new one
2.SS box. I can not design SS box to suit all batteries. Someone simply uses his car battery. By no means my SS box can suit a car battery. You should discard your 1.3 ah lead battery and change to a 2 a.h Li-ion battery
About temperature accuracy
My controller is one factor, your smoker is an important factor too.
Just think heavy mass ceramic smoker, double walls smokers like stumps and backwoods and vikiing, and single wall of 1.5 mm carbon steel of Brinkmann.
Certainly the best is MY smoker of gravity feed burner.
My gravity feed burner is DIFFERENT from backwoods, stumps,,viiking.,
My burner its self is reverse flow.
"feel like its performance is slightly below its price point,"
My LION V 4 is US$198, SAL mail cost US$20.
One competitor is US$400
and another competitor is US$450
"I do not know, but I feel like the fan provided (50cfm) is way too powerful or it does not work. There are times when the 'out' light is on, implying the fan is trying to run, but the fan is not moving. I have tried changing the Minimum Fan Speed UdC, but I do not know how to find the minimum for this fan. The result is that the fan basically operates as a on/off binary state, not variable voltage as suggested by the builder. "
Your feeling is not correct.
OUTPUT is PID variable voltage.
Fan does not run when output voltage is lower than the minimum starting voltage of fan.
Indeed you can forget how it works.
Indeed SS box is TOO big, next time I will make it smaller
This is SS box with battery, fan and Tiger inside the SS box.
Size of Tiger is exactly same as LION
Probe wires and antenna go through holes on the bottom.
Holes on bottom are also for the purpose of air pass
SS box mounted on my gravity feed burner
Cover is on the SS box. It is RAIN PROOF.
Please check the size of battery, fan, and the controller.
The battery is 12 VDC 2 a.h Li-ion.
There is one customer going to buy SS box.
You can sell the SS box to him at US$30.
I suggest him to read this post and contact you
"My registration is not approved yet on the BBQ brethren forum. My user name is "thegizzard" Can you ask him to contact me by email?"
I got this message this morning. If you do not want your SS box, you can sell to him. Please let me know your decision. then I can exchange your emails.
If you want to keep the SS box, I will sell him a new piece.
Also please check the fan directly on a battery. If it does not work, I will send you a new one
Pm sent. Thanks.
Lion V4 is very easy to set up to Internet
a BBQ-Brethren just received LION V4 and set up in 15 minutes. please ready below.
To: zhaohui wang <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, July 27, 2012 4:11 AM
Subject: Re: Lion WiFi PID
I just received the new Goldon-Lion v4 yesterday - thank you.
It took me less than 15 minutes to have it setup on my network and working perfectly.
I'll be working on a users manual this weekend - I should have you something by Monday.
AS both thegizzard and I fail to get your reply, I will sell a new SS box to thegizzard
Apologies to the Gizzard and Mr Wang, having written my review I did not check back here until today - I completely forgot about this thread.
As an update, I will say that lion is still going strong, which is great. I have cooked close to 100 times with it and it has served me well.
I still cannot do better than +/-10degF accuracy in my UDS. Without a temperature controller I have been able to get the same accuracy adjusting the air intake ball valve. I do believe my fan is defective, it spins but I only ever get binary output from it. Next time I smoke I will copy the graph for you to see.
You say that the control has a 'self tuning' mode, I have run the controller for 12+ straight and I have never seen an improvement in accuracy. Also I have never seen the values for P, I and D change, they are displayed on the bottom right of the graph and are the same as I set.
1.You may need to set a different value of Udc to change maximum speed of fan.
2.You need to hand tune P.I.D.
3.press button of ">" and hold a few seconds, you will find F-C option, click ">" a few times, you will find "Udc". set its value and press ">" again and hold till back to normal display
4.press button of ">" and hold even long time after "F-C", you will find P, I ,D, change their values, press again ">" and hold till normal display.
5. Indeed its a trial and error process. Different smokers will have different PID and Udc.
Every users need to find by himself.
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