I purchased one of these controllers, mostly based on the price and options. I was going to build my own pid controller, but this unit was only about 40 bucks more than I was going to invest on a single readout unit.
My cost for the golden-wolf with a fan and flange was $158.00. The duel readout made the difference over a single readout unit.
Shipping took about a week. I had a short delay due to some manufacturing problem during the new year week. My bad for ordering during the holidays. They threw in an extra temp sensor for the trouble.
I received the unit and started testing the with boiling water and with my pellet stove I use to heat my home. The temp controlls worked well. The fan unit is a 50 cfm fan, which is plenty for my chargriller and uds. The other controllers I looked at only had 5, 10, or 25 cfm motors, with the 35 cfm motor being $150+ just for the motor. Computer fans, which is what all these controllers on the market use, cost about a one dollar per cfm, so charging 180 dollars for a 25 cfm fan is highway robbery.
The unit can control the pit based on pit temp, or meat temp, or run a program that will do both. I just used the pit temp and ran the meat temp as a backup.
I used a 5 dollar electical box to attach it to my side firebox. I thought the higher cfm fan might be an issue, but I had no problems. The unit can also be adjusted so the fan does not run at 100%.
I threw on some counrty style ribs for a test, no reason to waste expensive meat. I had an initial spike when I started the cook, but after that the system ran better than expected, and kept temps where I set it. I forgot to add fuel and it dropped to 190. I threw on another hunk of wood and it recovered with the fan quickly.
I jumped the temps at the end and it changed and ran accurately without fail. Temps remained within 5 degrees and most of the time stayed dead on. My smoker is not air tight and I was using charcoal to start, then used apple and cherry wood.
I used a 4amp power supply because the fan is a 2 amp fan, but I would buy another one of these in a heartbeat.
The instructions are not the clearest, but I was able to figure them out. You can program 4 different cookings phases, but it was easy to turn them off and just run one program.
There are high temp and low temp alarms, Setting them at extreme ranges eliminates them going off if you don't need them.
I extended the fan wires to give me some more room to work with. I just used a small cooler to hold the unit for this test.