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Gravity Fed smokers and Grills We are the inventors of these Gravity Fed Smokers and Grills. Innovative and efficient, these BBQ Grills and smokers can burn multi-fuel of charcoal, Wood Pellet, Wood Chunks, Wood Logs and reach temps of 300C or 572 F.


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Unread 02-21-2012, 07:42 PM   #1
colonel00
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Default Golden Tiger PID smoker controller from Ebay - review with lots-o-pics

So, as some of you may know, there is a vendor who is a member of this forum that lives in China. He makes PID controllers and sells them on Ebay. Obviously there was some concern with this arrangement and a good discussion in a thread found here. Another forum member purchased the base model and has a review within the thread above. After being involved with that thread and seeing that the seller had genuine intentions and was eager to help, even with a language barrier, I decided to take a chance and ordered the model called the Tiger that comes with a remote. I am glad I did. Granted, I have only had one cook so far and it was a short rib cook. However, I was truly impressed with what I got for a substantial amount less than some of the other controller products out there.

First, here are some of the main features of the base unit. It has a Manual mode where you can adjust the fan speed with the + and - buttons. The fan blows constantly at whatever speed you want. I found this very nice for bringing the UDS up to temp. Then there is Auto mode. This mode can be kind of complex at first but with a little playing I quickly figured it out. In Auto mode there are 4 program sets for the pit temp and one set for the meat temp. For the pit sets, you set the target pit temp, the duration you want that set to run, the high temp alarm and the low temp alarm. This multi-set feature will really be handy when I want to do a hot and fast brisket. I usually like to start the cook at lower temps and then ramp up the temps. With this module I can set it to cook at 225 for an hour or whatever and then go straight up to higher temps or even makes stops along the way for various amounts of time. Now, if you just want to do a simple cook like I did with the ribs, you just set the target temp on the following set to 0 and only the previous set(s) are run in the program. As for the meat set, I have not really played with it so I am only speaking from what I read on the seller's manual but you can set a target meat temp and the controller will adjust the cooker to hold the meat at a certain temp instead of watching the pit temps. If you do not want this feature then again, like with the pit sets, you just set the target temp to 0.

For the remote, the controls are pretty much the same. The only thing you cannot do with the remote is control the fan speed in Manual mode but you can switch from Auto to Manual. Everything else can be done including programming your pit and meat sets. I will describe more about the remote as we go through the pics.

As for everything else, the fan looks decent and came with the pipe nipple adapter that I requested. Not only can I just attach this directly to the ball valve on the UDS but I can also run a hose as you will see in the pics. The probes were a little confusing and I will discuss them more later but I do not have any major concerns at this point at least.

I know I will be forgetting some stuff so please ask any questions if you have them. I actually took notes on my thoughts as I did stuff both during the unboxing and the cook but I have no idea where I put them

So here we are. This is everything that came in the box. As you can see, there is the fan, two probes, the remote, the power connection, the PID unit and an antenna. I placed a couple of quarters around for a size comparison.





Now, I feel I should point out the following blemishes to be true and fair. On the main unit there were some slight scratches or abrasions. On the end you can see where a drill bit walked a bit as he was building the unit. On the remote, there are some tiny particles between the LED screen and the outer plastic. While these may look pretty bad in the photos, they really aren't a bother at all. Plus, you have to remember that this is a guy who does this as a hobby and the product you get is a reflection of that. In no way would I let these minor defects affect my recommendation for this product in any way.





Here is a better look at the fan and the adapter. One oddity on the adapter is one of the bolts sticks up a bit but that is of little concern. There is also a photo looking in the end of the adapter. There is actually a little metal flap that opens when the fan runs and closes when it turns off. However, this only happens if the fan is pointing up with the pipe at the top. Obviously this would be an issue when connecting it directly to the ball valve of a UDS. However, during my test cook, I left the fan laying flat where the flap would not close and I did not have any major issues with excess air getting in when the fan turned off. I do, however, plan to change my setup to better take advantage of this flap.





Here is the remote powered up. You can see that the particles are still visible but not that much of a distraction. It did not connect because the main unit was not powered up yet. You can adjust the backlight too.





Here is a look at the probes. I was a little confused by them at first. One has threads and a nut which I assumed was the pit probe. The other probe, however, is actually larger in diameter. Both have blunt ends which is also a bit different. The "meat" probe does have silicone filling the end but I might cover that with heat shrink tubing just to be extra careful.






Now, one thing to remember is that this requires a 12v power source. You can use a car battery or even a smaller rechargeable battery but I didn't have one handy. Luckily I did have an adjustable power converter which put out 12v so that is what I used to power it up. One note about this and I will update when I get a chance to try this with a battery. When the fan is blowing at its max speed, the low battery light flashes and the warning beeps. This can get a little annoying.



Here are some pics of it powered up and running. This was in my kitchen so I set the temps low to do some testing.






Here are some images of the remote in the act of setting the programming sets.




And here is an overall photo of the whole setup connected and running.



So, on Saturday I decided to run up to Lowe's to get a few things to make a compartment for all of this stuff. I picked up some little plastic shoe boxes, some pipe elbows and a 6ft hose with rubber adapters. This is designed to connect a dishwasher to a disposal but works perfectly for my application. Sorry for the horrible cell phone photos in this group as my camera battery was dead.






On Sunday, I decided to cook some ribs as a test run. Originally I really wanted to test this with a long cook of a butt or brisket but that will have to wait. So, here is everything packed in the box. this worked alright but I plan to change my setup soon as I did not really like how it all was crammed in there and the flap for the fan was not able to function correctly.




When it came time to put in the probes I was quickly reminded that I did not think it all through. The meat probe fit through the whole I had already drilled in the drum for my Maverick probes but I failed to think about how I would hold it on the grate. I used to have a wood block but I couldn't find it so I just winged it and let the probe rest on the grate with the tip over an open area. Unfortunately, the pit probe did not fit through the hole. Without major work, I decided to remove the brass air line coupling that I normally have in place to hold my Walmart turkey fryer thermometers. The hole was big enough to insert the probe and I used the nut on the inside to hold it in place. Since I was cooking ribs, I didn't care so much about the meat temp so I left both probes to monitor the pit temps. I used the meat probe that was lying on the rack as the pit temp probe for this cook as it was closer to the ribs and I was not using a diffuser. I ran the hose from the blower down to one of the intakes on the UDS that is normally capped.





Here is everything as it sat while the drum came up to temp. As you can see, this is quite bulky in this setup and that is another reason I plan to change the housings for the controller and blower.



As I mentioned before, I put the controller in Manual mode and let it run at full until the UDS reached 200*. Then I switched it to Auto mode with the target pit temp at 250*.



Here is the remote showing the temps, the program mode and the duration left. Since I was only cooking at a single temp the duration was set at 500 minutes.


Now for the fantastic pr0n Sadly this is all I have Right after I put the ribs on I got a call from my father inviting me over to his house for a last minute get together for my step-sister's birthday. I did not get a chance to get any in-progress photos and as soon as the ribs were done they came off and were wrapped for a rest and transport to my dad's. I can tell you that there were a hit even with that Foil Hat Rub that I used. I guess I will have to try that stuff again. The worst part is I only at 1 rib from the rack as a single rack goes quite fast in a room full of 7 people. On the bright side, everyone loved them so that is always nice too.




Overall, I am very pleased with this product. Granted, as I showed, there are some blemishes but no more than I will give it during its use. Everything worked as it was supposed to and even with the language barrier and the somewhat difficult to understand manual, I was up and running in no time. Now, there is still the obvious question as to its long term quality and reliability. I guess I will just have to cook more To those that wonder why I needed a controller for a UDS, and I know someone will ask, the answer is I don't. I don't plan on using it for every cook as most of the time the UDS does just fine on its own. I do plan on using when I have all day or all night cooks. It will be nice to have that piece of mind knowing that it is taking care of the cooker and keeping it at the temp I want. Besides, it is such a cool little toy anyway.
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Last edited by colonel00; 02-21-2012 at 08:14 PM..
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Unread 02-21-2012, 07:49 PM   #2
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One more pr0n tease I just found

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Last edited by colonel00; 02-21-2012 at 08:30 PM..
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Unread 02-21-2012, 08:27 PM   #3
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Now that looks really cool! I love the remote (lazy arse mod?). And one can never have enough toys... Can you post a link to the vendor (if mods permit)?
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Unread 02-21-2012, 08:30 PM   #4
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Here is the seller's vendor forum.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=95

Here is the Ebay listing.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Charcoal-Bur...item20bfb0ab24

Quote:
Originally Posted by caliking View Post
Now that looks really cool! I love the remote (lazy arse mod?). And one can never have enough toys...
I can say that one of the best features is that you don't have to have the remote on all the time like you do with a Maverick remote thermometer. You can just turn it on, check what you want, make a change if you so choose and then turn it off. Also, I know it powers down by itself if the connection is lost or off and I believe it also powers off after a period even if there is a connection. I will have to test this further but it is a nice battery saving option.
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Unread 02-22-2012, 08:16 AM   #5
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Thanks for the review. does the fan stir up the ash and blow it around the UDS?
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Unread 02-22-2012, 08:34 AM   #6
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I'm curious about the temp. differences when you had it laid out on the counter, shouldn't they be the same?
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Unread 02-22-2012, 08:55 AM   #7
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I would suggest he consider having the meat probe end in a point. Easier to enter the meat and also easier to recognize compared to the pit probe.
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Unread 02-22-2012, 09:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devious View Post
Thanks for the review. does the fan stir up the ash and blow it around the UDS?
I did not notice any issues. Even at full speed, the air flow isn't that excessive. Granted, with the UDS running it is difficult to see all the way down to the bottom through the smoke but I definitely did not notice flying ash up by the meat when I opened the lid. I will monitor this more and let you know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanTX View Post
I'm curious about the temp. differences when you had it laid out on the counter, shouldn't they be the same?
Good catch The differences are due to how I was running tests. I had the fan blowing on the ends of the probes which cooled them down. Then I would pick one up and hold it tightly to warm it up. This is how I was simulating a heat increase on the pit or meat probes so I could see how it all functioned. During the cook, the temps were different as well but that was more due to the placement of the probes in the cooker. When I first turned it on, the probes were within 2 degrees of each other probably because of where they were sitting and my handling of them. As the cook progressed, the difference grew but I don't think it was ever more than 25* difference. Based on the placement in the UDS where one probe was sitting directly over the heat (no diffuser) on the grate and the other was 6" higher and 6" from the drum wall towards the front, I can accept the difference in temps.
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Unread 02-22-2012, 09:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warthog View Post
I would suggest he consider having the meat probe end in a point. Easier to enter the meat and also easier to recognize compared to the pit probe.
I agree with you. The large, blunt tip will be fine for large cuts like butts and briskets but if I wanted to monitor the temps in thighs, this probe would create a gaping hole.
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Unread 02-22-2012, 09:10 AM   #10
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I am the designer, manufacturer and seller of this kit. My name is Zhaohui Wang and I am in Beijing, China
As my English is poor, if anyone buys on eBay, please post here and ask any question here.
I hope all old buyers can help each others. Anyway we are BBQ brethren.
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Unread 02-22-2012, 09:12 AM   #11
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If you have a small pit, if the fan is too strong to stir ash, you can tune down the fan speed. Just input a data to limit maximum fan speed in percentage, say 30% of rated speed.
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Unread 02-22-2012, 10:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodpelletsmoker View Post
I am the designer, manufacturer and seller of this kit. My name is Zhaohui Wang and I am in Beijing, China
As my English is poor, if anyone buys on eBay, please post here and ask any question here.
I hope all old buyers can help each others. Anyway we are BBQ brethren.
I see a lot of prices for various components on the ebay listing. What is the cost for the configuration Colonel00 has presented here? Cheers!!!
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Unread 02-22-2012, 10:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hamiltont View Post
I see a lot of prices for various components on the ebay listing. What is the cost for the configuration Colonel00 has presented here? Cheers!!!
Tiger, FAN, Adapter C US$198
Air and land mail US$30
total US$228.
But TIGER is not available now. When I get 10 orders, I will make it again.

You can also buy Basic model WOLF, fan, adapter C US$138
Air and Land mail cos US$30
total US$168
or
WIFI model LION, FAN, Adapter C US$208
Air and land mail US$30
total US$238.
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Unread 02-22-2012, 11:28 AM   #14
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Been looking at these. Great write up. Headed over to the ebay link provided to check it out again. I like how he used all of your pics!
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Unread 02-22-2012, 04:15 PM   #15
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Thanks for the great review. I've seen it before and wasn't willing to take a chance on an unknown product with other good product out there. But, this has given me second thoughts.

I would be very interested in knowing what the range of the remote is - especially with transmitting to partially below-grade basements and such.

And, just because I'm a geek, I would love to see a graph of the pit temps as it is coming up to temp. I have these for my Pitmaster iQ. I was shocked when I did it a third time (with different charcoals each time) the graphs were almost exactly the same each time. It was interesting to see how it stepped the temp.

I might be in the market for a second controller later this summer, so please keep us updated as to any reliability issues or such.
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