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-   -   Problems with Pitmaker vaults and safes (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=146880)

jmoney7269 10-28-2012 05:31 PM

Problems with Pitmaker vaults and safes
 
After reading this thread.
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=136989
The sad thing is that is a known problem with Pitmaker BBQ vaults and safes. The whole build a small fire and keep adding to it is not the answer.
Since the door and firebox door is airtight, there can be only 2 problems. The exhaust is not sealing or worse the intake. Anytime your using a force draft system, to properly tune it, the intake and exhaust has to be easily sealable from 100-0%. I have dealt with many algorithm systems including pellets where you have to control fuel feed which even has more variables. The answer for these BBQ vaults and safes are the exhaust needs to be closed to 25% to keep it from drafting and having the runaway temps. Since your using so little fuel and using a forced air draft system, it's gonna flow 10cfms no matter what the exhaust flow is and actually you could probably go lower than 25%. The intake should be 100% open so the draft has has the ability to use the whole tuning spectrum with the airflow from 0-100%.
This even stems back to drag racing days. You take a naturally aspirated engine with decent heads that flow 350 Cfm @28" water on a flow bench intake and 225 Cfm exhaust, then engine is only gonna make the hp allowed by those flow numbers. Now put a supercharger or turbo on it (BBQ guru or stoker) and now your flow numbers of the heads drastically increased to double if boosted to 1 atmosphere (14.7 psi) the thing is that I can believe Pitmaker hasn't figured out this simple task yet!! What even amazes me more is that when Pitmaker allows people to have problems with their product and blame the performance issues on the customer. A fire runs just like a gasoline engine, wide open all the time until you control it via air and fuel and butterflies (intake and exhaust)
I sternly believe that Pitmaker is the best built cabinet smoker in the world, but when I order mine, it will be made how I want it, and I guarantee it will work how I want it to, perfect, just like my UDS does.

I like Bigbutts 10-28-2012 06:00 PM

When I was considering a Pitmaker I noticed on a promo video of theirs the temp as 275 and if I remember correctly the guy said " Here at Pitmaker we cook a little hot"...or something to that reference....anyway I called and asked HOW to cook at a lower temp and he said that was a very good question and to add water to the pan.......now I decided to buy an old fashioned offset (used Jambo)......but I always wondered about that. Very nice fellow at Pitmaker as with all people I talked to in the industry but that stuck in my mind for some reason......

Bludawg 10-28-2012 07:07 PM

I agree with what your saying and it makes sense, however and this is only my opinion........ whether its a Pitmaker , Backwoods, Gator,UDS or a WSM. none where designed to use forced draft so using one is overkill like putting a Holley 1150 dp on a Pinto. I still don't get the fascination with a Guru or a Stoker especially on a vertical pit that is insulated and designed to run at a steady temp for hrs. IE a UDS once the desired temp is achieved it will hold it until it runs out of fuel. A Pitmaker being insulated will hold temps even better so why use one of these devices?

jmoney7269 10-28-2012 07:11 PM

Yeah I saw that same video, but he really meant to say was "we're Cookin a little Hott Because this is as low as we could get it to settle today." Fire is a simple concept to control especially when your using Charwood (lump).

jmoney7269 10-28-2012 07:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bludawg (Post 2257996)
I agree with what your saying and it makes sense, however and this is only my opinion........ whether its a Pitmaker , Backwoods, Gator,UDS or a WSM. none where designed to use forced draft so using one is overkill like putting a Holley 1150 dp on a Pinto. I still don't get the fascination with a Guru or a Stoker especially on a vertical pit that is insulated and designed to run at a steady temp for hrs. IE a UDS once the desired temp is achieved it will hold it until it runs out of fuel. A Pitmaker being insulated will hold temps even better so why use one of these devices?

I have to disagree with you on the 1150 dominator on a pinto as relatin to BBQ Because your comparing apples to apples not apples to oranges.
Although the dominator will work, your still facing the fact that your comparing natiral aspiration to natural aspiration which is the natural draw or vacuum of the engine (pit). Your placing of the dominator into the eauation is irrelevant because your still using vacum but reducing the efficiency of the engine. This is directly related to the law of diminishing returns.
Almost all engines inherently benifit from forced induction, they become more efficient.
As to not understanding the fascination with a guru. Well let's go into further detail. I can overfuel my pit to 100% max fuel capacity, the same that cars do when they travel, they fill up. The difference is that once you get the draft set right, you go to sleep depending on weather conditions and you may or may not be above/below your setpoint 20 deg or so or I can load my drum up with 20 lbs of lump get it going, and I know without a doubt that I will be at exactly the setpoint 5-12 hrs later no matter what I'm doing. Even though none of the car manufactures or Pit builders design their stuff to be used with forced induction (BBQ guru) it still makes them more efficient

Kenny Rogers 11-05-2012 05:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmoney7269 (Post 2257917)
After reading this thread.
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=136989
The sad thing is that is a known problem with Pitmaker BBQ vaults and safes. The whole build a small fire and keep adding to it is not the answer.
Since the door and firebox door is airtight, there can be only 2 problems. The exhaust is not sealing or worse the intake. Anytime your using a force draft system, to properly tune it, the intake and exhaust has to be easily sealable from 100-0%. I have dealt with many algorithm systems including pellets where you have to control fuel feed which even has more variables. The answer for these BBQ vaults and safes are the exhaust needs to be closed to 25% to keep it from drafting and having the runaway temps. Since your using so little fuel and using a forced air draft system, it's gonna flow 10cfms no matter what the exhaust flow is and actually you could probably go lower than 25%. The intake should be 100% open so the draft has has the ability to use the whole tuning spectrum with the airflow from 0-100%.
This even stems back to drag racing days. You take a naturally aspirated engine with decent heads that flow 350 Cfm @28" water on a flow bench intake and 225 Cfm exhaust, then engine is only gonna make the hp allowed by those flow numbers. Now put a supercharger or turbo on it (BBQ guru or stoker) and now your flow numbers of the heads drastically increased to double if boosted to 1 atmosphere (14.7 psi) the thing is that I can believe Pitmaker hasn't figured out this simple task yet!! What even amazes me more is that when Pitmaker allows people to have problems with their product and blame the performance issues on the customer. A fire runs just like a gasoline engine, wide open all the time until you control it via air and fuel and butterflies (intake and exhaust)
I sternly believe that Pitmaker is the best built cabinet smoker in the world, but when I order mine, it will be made how I want it, and I guarantee it will work how I want it to, perfect, just like my UDS does.

They sell Guru's and the adapters in the Pitmaker showroom. In fact I was just in Vegas last weekend with the PM boys and they were using a guru on theirs. I'm assuming they don't make them standard, because many people like to be able to cook without power...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bludawg (Post 2257996)
I agree with what your saying and it makes sense, however and this is only my opinion........ whether its a Pitmaker , Backwoods, Gator,UDS or a WSM. none where designed to use forced draft so using one is overkill like putting a Holley 1150 dp on a Pinto. I still don't get the fascination with a Guru or a Stoker especially on a vertical pit that is insulated and designed to run at a steady temp for hrs. IE a UDS once the desired temp is achieved it will hold it until it runs out of fuel. A Pitmaker being insulated will hold temps even better so why use one of these devices?

The Guru helps the pit regulate the temperature better. Since the vault is so heavily insulated, if you overshoot your target temp, it's a bi*&h to get it to come back down again...

I have a stoker on my BGE, but don't have an adapter yet for my PM... I love how well it works on the egg though. I can load it up with lump and let it run for DAYS... I've done 48 hour smokes before really low temp, 165, just as an experiment, just to see how much smoke I could get into a piece of meat! (It was phenomenal BTW)

doctordun 11-05-2012 08:06 PM

I've only had my Pitmaker Safe about 6 weeks.
No Guru or anything else.
After using a ceramic Kamado for 15 years, I've learned how to "sneak" up to my goal temperature.
Start with a small fire, get the draft started, and make very small adjustments to the in and out vents.
Note: after making an adjustment, wait 30 minutes before correcting. With a well insulated smoker, changes take time and over shooting a temp is very hard to bring down.

I now know where my vents need to be for various temps.

JS-TX 11-05-2012 09:05 PM

Why not use a 5cfm fan? I use that on my stoker/keg setup when I do decide to use an ATC. Even with a 5cfm fan I STILL have to tape over the "air output/exit" with foil tape cause it will feed too much air for the keg and completely overshoot my target temp. Insulated pits save tons of fuel, but sometimes they can be too efficient IMO. I also have to sneak up on my target temp on my kegs regardless if I'm using my stoker or not.

WhiskeyPigBbq 11-05-2012 09:06 PM

I have 2500 reasons why I want to love my safe, but in truth and out of earshot of my wife I curse everytime I use it. I broke down and bought a weed burner in hopes I could preheat the smoker and use less wood getting it up to temp. This was somewhat successful. Next smoke I am going to go all natural and leave my new Cyber Q in the closet and see what happens. I am planning on making a new charcoal basket because 3-4 hours at best is no good. Its going to start getting cold in Chicago and the last thing I want to do is have to sit on top of my smoker while freezing my butt off.

jmoney7269 11-05-2012 09:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WhiskeyPigBbq (Post 2264692)
I have 2500 reasons why I want to love my safe, but in truth and out of earshot of my wife I curse everytime I use it. I broke down and bought a weed burner in hopes I could preheat the smoker and use less wood getting it up to temp. This was somewhat successful. Next smoke I am going to go all natural and leave my new Cyber Q in the closet and see what happens. I am planning on making a new charcoal basket because 3-4 hours at best is no good. Its going to start getting cold in Chicago and the last thing I want to do is have to sit on top of my smoker while freezing my butt off.

Shoulda got a pellet pooper! That's All I cook on at home sometimes the UDS. I just want the BBQ vault again Becaise I have the perfect plan to control the temps and cook all meats on one pit

stephan 11-05-2012 11:02 PM

I have a safe and I agree about over shooting your desired temp it will hold the heat. But once you get to where you want to be it stays put [ for me anyway ] I cook around 250 -275 and have not had a problem with or without water.

Dr_KY 11-06-2012 05:49 AM

I'm interested to see how your vault works on this side of the pond.

GreenDrake 11-06-2012 07:31 AM

Every pit has its tweaks and methods. Kenny Rogers and I cook together and we did a couple comps with his Pitmaker trailer and honestly, what I noticed was that the tendency to overshoot ramp up temps comes from the lack of pre-heating. These are pretty conservative pits from what I have seen, providing you pre-heat the chamber and even the massive water pan. What Pitmaker showed Chad seemed to work fine, by stacking the lump/briquette in a daisy chain around the outside edge of the firebox, adding chunk into the chain and letting it do it's job.... we maintained temps fairly easily in the 250 range for the first couple racks of ribs we were playing around with.

I would be interested in a Fat Girl too, I just don't have enough information on them, nor have I seen any videos or enough detailed photos to determine the build quality and temp control, as I have seen with Pitmaker. They are built like tanks though, which is the primary draw for me. I don't want to have to trade up again someday, I want something built to last and their machines certainly are that.

jmoney7269 11-06-2012 09:36 AM

Greendrake, I follow your daisy chain briquette idea, but for us non briquette cookers that's just not gonna work. A pit of that caliber should be able to cook 160-450 no problem. Especially as large as that charcoal basket is you should be able to get 12 hrs min on one load of charcoal. 4 hrs on one load is just not acceptable for those 225 guys. I have only built about 10 pits in my day, but controlling temps only deals with 2 parameters, tight seal and ability to control airflow: intake and exhaust. I used to own a Pitmaker bare bones vault years ago and it was just too much for me to manage at cookoffs weightwise since i do all o the loading and moving myself. I loved it Becaise it was built how I wanted it. It had no side slide intakes. It was just a 3/4 ball valve installed just like the drip pan valve is installed and a fire basket with no solid sides, problem fixed! I can take my drum from 225-350 in a matter of min and cool it down no prob also, Because the airflow is built how I wanted it, just like my past vault

GreenDrake 11-06-2012 09:40 AM

I am no expert on the Vault, I have only cooked on it a few times and for the 250 range, it was great and we barely used anything more than a couple dozen briquettes and a few hunks of wood. We also used lump, why wouldn't a daisy chain method work? Yeah I can ramp my UDS up and down too, but that's only because it's not insulated and you are right, you can adjust the airflow in massive ways. I would love to have a Safe for home use. That Vault is HUGE if you have to haul it in and out of a trailer for comps.


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