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-   -   My review of Lion v4 (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=139650)

ChrisH 07-23-2012 10:31 PM

My review of Lion v4
 
Howdy,

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.


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