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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 02-21-2013, 08:28 AM   #1
bo_gator
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Default Can someone explain digital temp controler to me?

Can someone please explain how digital temp controllers work on a smoker like a WSM
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You mean Sriricha isn't one of the four basic food groups :?:

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Unread 02-21-2013, 08:51 AM   #2
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I use Aubers. There is a fan that fits in one of the holes in a bottom vent. All others are shut. You have a temperature probe that goes on the cooking grate and is connected to the contoller. The controller is set at whatever temperature you want to cook at and when the temp drops below your target temperature, the fan kicks on and blows on the coals till the temp comes up.

Other controllers have a lot more features, wi-fi, charts, graphs, etc., but I just wanted one to contol the temp and the Auber works great for that. I have both size fans so if I want to cook at 300 or higher I just put on the bigger fan and may have to play with the bottom vents. On a WSM wind is a big factor, probably more than ambient temp.
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Unread 02-21-2013, 08:55 AM   #3
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Cayman1 hit it. To put it simpler, the controller blows air on the fuel if it decides that the pit temp needs to be hotter and stops air if it doesn't need to be hotter. It's all regulated by where you have the thermostat setting.

It works basically the same as your thermostat in your house does. You set it and it regulates the temp in the house without you having to mess with turning the furnace on and off yourself.
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Unread 02-21-2013, 10:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bo_gator View Post
Can someone please explain how digital temp controlers work on a smoker like a WSM
Great! If you are looking for detail, here you go:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PID_controller
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Unread 02-21-2013, 12:03 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by yakdung View Post
Great! If you are looking for detail, here you go:
PID controller - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wow, that's over my head
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You mean Sriricha isn't one of the four basic food groups :?:
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Unread 02-21-2013, 12:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cayman1 View Post
I use Aubers. There is a fan that fits in one of the holes in a bottom vent. All others are shut. You have a temperature probe that goes on the cooking grate and is connected to the contoller. The controller is set at whatever temperature you want to cook at and when the temp drops below your target temperature, the fan kicks on and blows on the coals till the temp comes up.

Other controllers have a lot more features, wi-fi, charts, graphs, etc., but I just wanted one to contol the temp and the Auber works great for that. I have both size fans so if I want to cook at 300 or higher I just put on the bigger fan and may have to play with the bottom vents. On a WSM wind is a big factor, probably more than ambient temp.
Are you talking about something like this

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?ma...roducts_id=170
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You mean Sriricha isn't one of the four basic food groups :?:
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Unread 02-21-2013, 12:17 PM   #7
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Simply, a temperature controller keeps a WSM at a constant temperature by controlling how much air gets to your lit fuel.

They all do the same thing, but a little diferently.

Like the Auber, my iQue 110 has a temperature probe that goes in the cooking chamber. That tells the controller what the temp is where the meat is. The controler then uses a variable speed fan to speed up or slow down the flow of air as needed to maintain your desired cooking temperature.

On a WSM, you close down two of the three bottom vents completely, and the temperature controller attaches to the third vent, which is wide open.

CD
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Unread 02-21-2013, 12:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bo_gator View Post
Are you talking about something like this

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?ma...roducts_id=170
Yep, that's it. Simply put, the pid part means this controller learns your cooker and how long the fan needs to blow to raise the temp. I don't mess with the pid part, just use the default "set temp".
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Unread 02-21-2013, 12:47 PM   #9
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They act like fluffer on a p0rn0 movie set. Just enough windy to keep the fire hot
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Unread 02-21-2013, 12:59 PM   #10
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Hey Bo, It's similar to a temp controller for when you're brewin' 'cept you're usin' it to control the heat & not the cold, and it's electrifying a fan for the coals rather than running a fridge. Cheers!!!
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Unread 02-21-2013, 07:10 PM   #11
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So, with an 18 1/2" WSM how bad are these controllers at driving the temps above the set point

How do you know how big of a fire to build when using a controller Is it all trial and error
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You mean Sriricha isn't one of the four basic food groups :?:
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Unread 02-22-2013, 07:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bo_gator View Post
So, with an 18 1/2" WSM how bad are these controllers at driving the temps above the set point

The controller will not turn the fan on if the wsm is at the set temp. Temp spikes are caused by opening the cooker and allowing a big rush of air to the coals no different than opening the dampers.

How do you know how big of a fire to build when using a controller Is it all trial and error

The fire you build, meaning how full to fill the ring is determined by how long you want the fire to last. For most things, I fill the ring. Unless I'm cooking 300 or higher 12-15 lit briquettes is all you need to start it. You should get 8-12 hours on a full ring depending on all the other factors. If you use a controller, try to catch the temp on the way up. When approaching target temp, shut the bottom dampers and let it settle.


A temp range is fine. Don't kill yourself trying to keep an exact temp of say 250. 235-265 is ok for a desired range of 250, but you will find a wsm will hold temp rock solid without much if any attention.

You will learn by doing. Good info here and on tvwbb forum.
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Unread 02-22-2013, 08:03 AM   #13
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I have had the BBQ guru DigiQ DX2 for about two months now and maybe about 6-7 cooks on it. I cooked two butts Wednesday on the 22" WSM and used a full ring of charcoal. I lit about 20 briquettes and threw on top and set the Guru at 235. When the pit hit 175 I closed the other two vents and within a few minutes it was at 235 and every time I checked it over the next 14 hours, it was at 235. Best butts I have cooked to date. It's kind of like the guy used to say "set it and forget it". I trust it that much now. The temp on the WSM is already pretty easy to manage, but I think it's a good investment just for peace of mind on the long overnight cooks. My .02.
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Unread 02-22-2013, 08:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cayman1 View Post
Yep, that's it. Simply put, the pid part means this controller learns your cooker and how long the fan needs to blow to raise the temp. I don't mess with the pid part, just use the default "set temp".
Actually PID parameters are set and that's how they work. The PID tuning loop does not learn the pit. That's why some of the old pit controllers would get "Integral windup" and have a big spike every once in a while. Unless you had a temp alarm, you would never know. The only way a PID controller learns your pit is if it has an adaptive algorithm or fuzzy logic like the auber products.

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They act like fluffer on a p0rn0 movie set. Just enough windy to keep the fire hot
Fark your good! Bout the best explanation a man could possibly hear lol
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Unread 02-22-2013, 08:47 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by jmoney7269 View Post
Actually PID parameters are set and that's how they work. The PID tuning loop does not learn the pit. That's why some of the old pit controllers would get "Integral windup" and have a big spike every once in a while. Unless you had a temp alarm, you would never know. The only way a PID controller learns your pit is if it has an adaptive algorithm or fuzzy logic like the auber products
Good catch. I should have specified the Auber when discussing the pit learning.
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