[QUOTE=Smoke & Beers;1258206]
Originally Posted by Sean "Puffy" Coals
OK, so my first build went alright, but I'm not really happy with the way it's
working. It's a pain to adjust the 3 inlets I made, steady temps are
basically non-existant and I spent a ton of money and time making a
cleanout door that mostly just gets in the way and causes heat loss.
I've built 12 drums using the basic Redneck Norcor blue print and have success with all of them holding temps. Perhaps the cleanout door is causing your temp problems...not because of heat loss, but the added air flow?
Remember the KIS method (Keep It Simple)...
Let us know how #2 turns out!
I have to say that is right on in my experience. It is so rare to hear someone complain about temp control in these, I just have to comment. I used the "fat belly mod" for easier air control, but once she's burning, I close up all vents except the one with the ball valve on it. I have 4 vents instead of 3, is my only "major" mod to the airflow system.
The door could mess it up, all right, by letting in too much air. You could seal it temporarily with fireplace cement to check that. But I'd also look closely at fire basket design and how you are lighting it.
Is your basket at least 2" up off the floor of the drum? Is the basket large enough in diameter that it takes up most of the drum diameter? Both are important. Look carefully at your basket design. Mine will do two 8 hour or so smokes when HALF filled with coal and fist-size chunks of wood. I just shut off the air after the first smoke, then relight for the second.
The BEST way to light the fire, in my experience, is with a Harbor Freight propane weed burner, and I learned that here from others. In 2 minutes, I can get that fire going evenly and well across the basket. Lower the basket in there and once that UDS hits the temp and all vents are closed except the ball valve, it will sit there solid on that temp for hours and hours.
If that isn't your trouble, I would look at the upper venting, and especially if you are using the drum lid. I use a Weber lid, but guys I know who use the drum lid say you must use a 6" or longer piece of 2" pipe in the large bung to improve draw (if you are not using holes drilled around the lid).
There are only so many things that can go wrong with your fire. Too little air in, not enough going out to make a sustainable draw, or the air that does get in is not getting to the fuel because of poor basket design/size. It's rising past the fuel without feeding the fire and going out with other hot gases, cooling the smoker as it does.
Pix. May give you some ideas...