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Unread 08-13-2012, 05:02 PM   #1
Porcine Perfection
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Default Review of the Auber PID temperature controller for an 18.5” WSM (model SYL-1614SYS-W)

This is my initial review of the Auber PID temperature controller for my 18.5” WSM (model SYL-1614SYS-W).



Before I do a performance review, I am going to mention my experience with their customer support and order processing. I found a topic regarding this unit here on the Brethren website, but there wasn’t a whole lot of information on it. I had some questions and I sent them an e-mail on a Saturday night and had an e-mail with my questions answered by 10AM Sunday. I ordered this the following Wednesday morning and it was in my mailbox (from Atlanta to Kansas City) Friday afternoon, and this was using the cheapest shipping available! I was also looking at the Golden Tiger from Woodpelletsmoker in China. I am sure they have a quality product and are genuine, but for me the customer service made me choose this company. There would be no language barrier. If I had to return it, it would be easy and cheap to return. I also knew it would arrive in a timely manner (although I didn’t expect it this quickly).

The main complaint I had heard of this unit was the probe was an alligator clip that was often in the way. I communicated this concern to them and they gave me a couple of options that would work better at no additional cost. I ended up using the TC-K3MM probe pictured below.



The manual was a little bit technical but I have a degree in electronics so it was easy for me to understand. There are two basic ways to control the temperature with the controller. The easiest is to just use the front up and down arrows. You can also enter a programming mode where you set the temperatures and two alarms. You can also program fan speed and other variables, but most people think the factory settings are adequate. The buttons are firm and responsive. It took me about 10 minutes to read the manual and program it the first time. The 6.5 CFM fan is small and looks rather cheap but in my tests documented below it got the job done.

Installing this took about 30 minutes total because I drilled a 5/16” hole in the middle section to mount the TC-K3MM probe. It took only 10 minutes to install the fan (it is spring loaded) and use the provided heat shield tape to cover the two other holes in that air damper. They offer a foam gasket to place between the fan and the damper since it is rounded. I asked them if this was needed and was told it was not absolutely necessary but some people like to use. I did not get this and the fan is fairly flush with opening. It is suggested to close the other two bottom dampers and leave the top damper closed or 1/4 open. Connections to the controller are labeled and straight forward. The controller runs on 12V DC and includes an adapter.

One debate on this unit is if you should go with the 6.5 CFM fan or pay an extra $16 and get the more powerful 20 CFM fan. I decided to do some chicken at 300 degrees to test this out. Using the Minion Method it took 30 minutes to reach the target temperature. The PID controller pulsed on and off at different speeds to prevent it from overshooting. After my chicken was done (it took a little over an hour) I kicked it up to 350 degrees. It took 25 minutes to climb there. I then took it back down to 300 degrees and it took 18 minutes to cool down. The unit never went more than five degrees above or below the target temperature. I did not try to go higher than 350 degrees and the manufacture recommends using the larger fan for anything over 300 degrees. A nice compromise would be to make the standard fan at 10 CFM. After the cook all you have to do is pull the fan out to disassemble. I will keep the probe attached but it is secured with a wing nut when I need travel with it.

The cost of this unit was $127.26 as they are having a 10% off sale until Labor Day. Shipping from Atlanta, GA to Kansas City was $10.94.

The quality, price, plus excellent customer service makes this an excellent choice for a simple controller that is PID.
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Unread 08-13-2012, 05:39 PM   #2
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Thanks for the write up. I have been looking into various temperature controllers and had narrowed the choices down to the DigiQ and the Auber. The fact they are local to me has pretty much made up my mind. Thanks again.
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Unread 08-13-2012, 05:48 PM   #3
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I've had one for my egg for several years, once you get past the "geek" instructions it truly is set it and forget it. Two weeks ago I did 4 butts on the egg for 14 hours and never opened it once.
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Unread 08-13-2012, 06:33 PM   #4
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I too have one and love it! When i got mine it did come with a 10cfm fan and it works great.
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Unread 08-13-2012, 06:54 PM   #5
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I have one I use on my wsm. Love it. Used it saturday and kept 250 all day. Had a butt on lower grate and brisket on top. I also had ribs going on the offset. What a world of difference. Constant attention to offset but the wsm just kept cooking away. Sort of felt like I was neglecting it.

Auber customer service is first rate. I actually had a calibration problem with mine when I got it. Was reading 6 degrees too high. Tech rep walked me through the recalibration.


If you ever want to check a probe of any type, use ice water and not boiling water. Evidentially many factors determine at what temp water boils according to the tech guy.


The more you use the Auber, the more you will wonder how you ever got along without one.

I thought about the Stoker and Guru, but really didn't care about all the additional features they have plus the higher cost.

I removed one of the bottom dampers to mount the fan. Pick up two 3/4" plugs from Lowes for the other two holes and you can tape the fan tight, no air leaks.
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Unread 08-13-2012, 10:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP7794 View Post
The manual was a little bit technical but I have a degree in electronics so it was easy for me to understand. There are two basic ways to control the temperature with the controller. The easiest is to just use the front up and down arrows. You can also enter a programming mode where you set the temperatures and two alarms. You can also program fan speed and other variables, but most people think the factory settings are adequate.
How do you program the fan speed ??


Bill
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Unread 08-13-2012, 11:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cayman1 View Post
I have one I use on my wsm. Love it. Used it saturday and kept 250 all day. Had a butt on lower grate and brisket on top. I also had ribs going on the offset. What a world of difference. Constant attention to offset but the wsm just kept cooking away. Sort of felt like I was neglecting it.

Auber customer service is first rate. I actually had a calibration problem with mine when I got it. Was reading 6 degrees too high. Tech rep walked me through the recalibration.


If you ever want to check a probe of any type, use ice water and not boiling water. Evidentially many factors determine at what temp water boils according to the tech guy.


The more you use the Auber, the more you will wonder how you ever got along without one.

I thought about the Stoker and Guru, but really didn't care about all the additional features they have plus the higher cost.

I removed one of the bottom dampers to mount the fan. Pick up two 3/4" plugs from Lowes for the other two holes and you can tape the fan tight, no air leaks.
You have a pic of your set up?
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Unread 08-14-2012, 08:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big brother smoke View Post
You have a pic of your set up?
No, but I'll take one this evening. Can't see much except the fan taped on. the plugs are covered with foil tape.

I have a very original wsm and the vent plates didn't fit well. I ordered new ones. The old had to be removed by grinding off the rivet. New ones mount with bolts so it was easy to take one off.
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Unread 08-14-2012, 08:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willbird View Post
How do you program the fan speed ??


Bill
"SSR output for Fan 12VDC, 1 Amp"
must be constant fan speed, not variable speed.
should be on-off only, but in PID mode, good too.
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Unread 08-14-2012, 09:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodpelletsmoker View Post
"SSR output for Fan 12VDC, 1 Amp"
must be constant fan speed, not variable speed.
should be on-off only, but in PID mode, good too.
You are right. I did not state that correctly.

Quote:
Controller with artificial intelligent enhanced PID control program, It has a bright LED for out door use. It has a built-in buzzer that can be set for both low limit and high limit alarm. Developed by industrial control engineers, this controller utilizes an advanced AI (artificial intelligence) enhanced PID algorithm that can hold the cooking temperature within a tight range and prevent temperature overshooting from disturbance such as opening/closing the pit lid, wind, sun, and ambient temperature drops..
You can program the variables to change the logic although most people say the default values work fine.
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Unread 08-14-2012, 09:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big brother smoke View Post
You have a pic of your set up?
The default set up is very similar to this.

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Unread 08-14-2012, 10:02 AM   #12
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Cool, I have two aubers and was looking to make them tight as possible to the vent.
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Unread 08-14-2012, 10:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big brother smoke View Post
Cool, I have two aubers and was looking to make them tight as possible to the vent.
I suppose you could get air tight w/o removing the damper, but it would take lots more foil tape. If my damper hadn't been so easy to remove, I'd probably just done more taping. It is great w/o the damper. Plugs fit flush as does the fan. 4 pieces of tape and good to go. I'm just leaving my fan mounted since my pit area is covered and I also have a cover for wsm.

Last edited by Cayman1; 10-17-2012 at 10:11 AM..
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Unread 08-14-2012, 10:43 AM   #14
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Is it really all that important to have everything air tight? In my one and only cook with it I just taped the two holes on the damper that had the fan and closed the other bottom dampers.

If it is, wouldn't it be easier to just tape the other holes from the inside?
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Unread 08-14-2012, 10:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP7794 View Post
Is it really all that important to have everything air tight? In my one and only cook with it I just taped the two holes on the damper that had the fan and closed the other bottom dampers.

If it is, wouldn't it be easier to just tape the other holes from the inside?
I think it will depend on what temp the pit runs with the fan OFF. If it runs cooler than the minimum temperature you will ever went to run then fine, but in many cases is may not, then the controller can do nothing to control the heat.

BBQ seems to be about controlling the pit, and sealing any uncontrolled leaks seems to be a major part of that process ?

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