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-   -   Anyone tried this charcoal smoker controller ? (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=85689)

BruceKWHP 05-31-2010 11:43 AM

Anyone tried this charcoal smoker controller ?
 
I was looking at various Pit controls for Robot, my UDS. I came upon this item:

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?ma...00432804d31619

I am still interested in making my own with a PID as a base... the above just looks easier. If anyone has built one that works with a PID, please point me to the post!

Any ideas on building a fan for either setup?

Solidkick 05-31-2010 01:08 PM

Never heard of them...where do you get the fan and the smoker adapter to hold the fan? I did see those (but I just glanced through the site)

BruceKWHP 05-31-2010 01:19 PM

here is a link for a 5 cfm fan on Digi Key:

http://parts.digikey.com/1/parts/438...w-b40-l00.html

I am planning to make a housing with a "flap" door to protect the fan from heat.... making the UDS was fun, this is just another evening project.

Chef Jim 05-31-2010 04:50 PM

Looks like a good price if it works.

swamprb 05-31-2010 09:40 PM

I have seen the Auberins name a lot on the coffeegeek forums. They seem to be the preferred brand for those that mod the Rancilio Sylvia or Gaggia espresso machines with PID controllers.
Supposedly they have some SouVide(sp) controllers that are the catsass!
Outta my league, but the BBQ controller is worth a looksee.

BBQ Grail 05-31-2010 10:24 PM

Okay, I'm interested. So I order one of these units, pick up the fan. Now how would I adapt the fan to work on my WSM. Would I still need to order adaptors from someone else or what?

SmokeJumper 05-31-2010 11:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BBQ Grail (Post 1297509)
Okay, I'm interested. So I order one of these units, pick up the fan. Now how would I adapt the fan to work on my WSM. Would I still need to order adaptors from someone else or what?

That looks like a really great deal on a control unit.

I suggest getting a metal bodied fan with better environmental sealing to resist high temps, dust, moisture etc. You also should find a unit that has an easily adjustable air output rate as the controller only designates 12v full current on or off to the fan output. If the fan you choose blows too hard when the thermostat kicks in you may get temperature overshoots. Also, an adjustable air rate allows you to shut off the inlet completely when opening the lid to prevent overheating, flying ash and burnt eyebrows. The low-cost plastic digikey model doesn't look like it would jive well in smoking/grilling conditions, would take some work to adapt and has no rate adjustment.

I ended up getting the pit viper fans for my kit. They are easily adjusted for output rate and still run quiet and smooth despite the inner chamber being coated with ash, carbon, grease etc. I have also run them outside in blizzards and rainstorms with no deleterious effects. These fans have a stainless steel cylindrical outlet that are easy to adapt to different smoker dampers. Of course the big downsides of the pit viper fan/adapter is cost. If someone has found a lower-cost unit that has similar specs I'm all ears.

bbq lover 05-31-2010 11:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BBQ Grail (Post 1297509)
Okay, I'm interested. So I order one of these units, pick up the fan. Now how would I adapt the fan to work on my WSM. Would I still need to order adaptors from someone else or what?



john at stoker had adapters for a fan to fit your wsm http://www.rocksbarbque.com/product.gc?ID=16

Sammy_Shuford 06-01-2010 02:25 AM

They are a good company, with excellent tech Support.

I use this one on my Bradley.

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?ma...00432804d31619

Duster72 06-01-2010 06:16 AM

I use Auber stuff on my all electric brewing rig. Good company.

BruceKWHP 06-01-2010 09:30 AM

I have not held a BBQ Guru / pit viper fan in my hand. It is rated at 10 cfm and looks like a molded plastic fan / housing inside a sheet metal cover with a sliding damper door on it. Am I close to being right?

Or is it made of metal, with metal fan blades? I was reading about one of the fans (for a Stoker I think) that had a plastic fan blades and a flap door to protect it. The flap door swings open with airflow.

The low end BBQ Guru is just a tad over $200. and probably worth the coin.... just has no "I did it myself" factor like the UDS has!

The PID temperature control / display units can be had for $35.00 plus probes and fan.... and some tinkering. That is what got me started down this road.

SmokeJumper 06-01-2010 11:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BruceKWHP (Post 1297698)
I have not held a BBQ Guru / pit viper fan in my hand. It is rated at 10 cfm and looks like a molded plastic fan / housing inside a sheet metal cover with a sliding damper door on it. Am I close to being right?

Or is it made of metal, with metal fan blades? I was reading about one of the fans (for a Stoker I think) that had a plastic fan blades and a flap door to protect it. The flap door swings open with airflow.

OK, I humbly stand corrected. I did a full strip down of the pit viper unit this morning and it does indeed have a plastic bladed fan on the interior with the exact same form factor as the digikey one posted earlier. PM me if you want the exact model. The fan blower is a squirrel cage type arrangement with 50 or so miniblades. So any "magic sauce" in the pit viper design is not the fan. Instead it comes from the stainless shroud and machined aluminum output port. These parts do a few important things:
1. Act as a rigid chassis with limited protection from the elements
2. Enable control of the fan output rate
3. Enable easy adapter design and quick release from the adapter.
4. Dissipates heat from the cooker before it hits the fan.

If I were to take a stab at fabricating this (I'm no fab genius) I would use thin stainless stock. Next I would:
1. Cut and bend a squared off taco shape to hold the fan unit and drill holes to bolt the fan unit into it.
2. Cut a rectangular end plate with a round hole in it for the fan output, weld this to the squared off fan output end of the taco, and seal the square fan output to round metal output interface with some type of non-permanent sticky adhesive.
3. To get the air to the cooker and dissipate heat I would weld a 2" length round stainless stock onto the end of the round hole.

Adapters would have to be fabricated per your cooker design. All could contain a round input nozzle to connect to the output nozzle on the fan shroud. To make the two round stocks interface snugly, one could create two grooves that go all the way around the housing output nozzle that could accept a silicone o-ring and size the round stock on the adapter to seal well to these o-rings.

For Weber kettles or WSM the adapter is a bit tricky as you need a way to snug a piece of round stock to one of the holes in the daisy wheel. To do this I would take the 2" round stock, weld a very small flat crossbar to the center, and tap/drill it to accept a long threaded screw. That screw then could then be used along with a large wing nut and bolt to tighten it against the weber.

Adapter would be cake for the BGE. All you need is a rectangular stainless piece that fits into the damper slider with a welded on round stainless output nozzle that interfaces to the round output nozzle on your fan chassis. To make the adapter snug to the cooker, you would use a super thin stainless wrap around shim on the top or bottom of the damper slider that would be pushed up once you had it all the way slid onto the damper track.

The only things these quick ideas don't address are fan output rate control. I'll have to think more about that.

Thanks for humoring me on this little rant.

MadCityJim 06-01-2010 11:53 AM

FWIW:

I bought this unit and I bought the BBQ-Guru Pit Viper fan and adapter. The Pit Viper fan plugged right into the Auber SYL-1613. Unfortunately the control malfunctioned. Auber is sending me a new one. (they also tested it with the fan to make sure that was not the problem) It should get here later today--USPS says it out for delivery.
I should get a quick test in tonight or tomorrow...

SmokeJumper 06-01-2010 12:21 PM

If $80 is the lowest price for the Auber unit some might still want to take a close look at the BBQ guru NanoQ that can be found for $30 more. It has several features that the Auber likely doesn't have including:

1. Open lid detection so the fan doesn't go nuts when you baste, load, or flip.
2. Adaptive control algorithm to learn how fast your cooker heats up and adjusts ramping rate accordingly.
3. A nice stainless mounting plate/hardware with several mounting options.
4. A rugged sealed exterior with colors to match your themapen and a picture of Shotgun Fred.


As a disclaimer I have no affiliation with BBQ guru besides the fact that I have two units, they have worked great for me and I think they are a decent value for the build quality. I would still like to find/fabricate lower cost fan units as after the teardown this morning I think they are overpriced.

luke duke 06-01-2010 12:59 PM

FYI, this is the 25scfm fan that the DigiQII used to ship with.


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