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Old 03-14-2004, 12:36 PM   #1
txhoosier
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Default thermometer calibration

greetings and salutations fellow diners of the smoked flesh.

I've always been curious/worried about the accuracy of my smoker thermometer. As luck would have it, I work in a calibration laboratory that has a temperature lab with several oil baths designed to measure and help calibrate devices (used in manufacturing) within extremely tight tolerances.

This week I took mine in (and my neighbors, he is a member of this forum too) to do a performance test to see how accurate it was. Well, mine sucks. Threestick's therm was much closer, just 10 degrees out on the low temp band.

Heres the how it lined up:

reference point.................dial reading
200....................................215
250....................................275

It was really out of whack when it got hotter - as much as 50 degrees wrong.

I realize that everyone doesn't have access to a Hart Scientific oil bath to check yours, but please beware. Check yours against others/freinds/what have you. Mine is a New Bransfels brand, silver dial with a red band. Reads in F & C. Says "outdoor gormet" on the bottom of the dial. I'm gonna look for a better therm. Anybody got any ideas?

Sincerely,

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Old 03-14-2004, 01:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
Mine is a New Bransfels brand, silver dial with a red band.
Problem solved - they blow. I don't know one person who has claimed to have an accurate NB thermometer.
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Old 03-14-2004, 01:58 PM   #3
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I don't know about the New Bransfels brand, but most can be calibrated by putting in boiling waser and twisting the face untill it reads 212 F.
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Old 03-14-2004, 02:06 PM   #4
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The NB described cannot be calibrated. It's farking worthless.
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Old 03-14-2004, 02:25 PM   #5
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ok -

love the farking worthless comment, love that movie. but i digress.

i'll try that boiling water trick, it might recitify the problem.

what thermometer do you guys recommend/use?

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Old 03-14-2004, 05:50 PM   #6
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I recommend any thermometer thwt reads 210-215 when droppeed in boiling water.
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Old 03-14-2004, 11:00 PM   #7
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While we are speaking of calibration, is there any way to calibrate the nutemp 701?
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Old 03-15-2004, 06:35 AM   #8
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For those still seeking info on this topic look in the q-talk archives late oct and early nov 03. There are 2 good threads on this topic. "how to calibrate cheap temp gages" and another with "tech" in the title. Would have linked but I'm just too lazy to type all that $hit. One note, if you're going to do a 0*C test in ice water you must add salt. Ice water will only get down to 2-5*C, adding salt, one fourth cup per gallon, to very icy water will give you a very accurate 0* c reading.
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Old 03-15-2004, 07:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcquer
For those still seeking info on this topic look in the q-talk archives late oct and early nov 03. There are 2 good threads on this topic. "how to calibrate cheap temp gages" and another with "tech" in the title. Would have linked but I'm just too lazy to type all that $hit. One note, if you're going to do a 0*C test in ice water you must add salt. Ice water will only get down to 2-5*C, adding salt, one fourth cup per gallon, to very icy water will give you a very accurate 0* c reading.
Hit that nail on the head.
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Old 03-15-2004, 08:09 AM   #10
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I replaced my NB thermos with Brinkmans. they are about 25 bucks at wally world. They were much more accurate, and easier to read at a distance. Just a siver face with the needle on it. As far as calibrating the NuTemp, I doubt it can be calibrated, but jsut a call into Dave will find that out quick.
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Old 03-15-2004, 08:38 AM   #11
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calibrating in ice water is a better way to check your thermometer as water boils at differnt temps depending on your altitude above sea level, but all water is ice cold( 32deg.) at any altitude.
just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 03-15-2004, 08:58 AM   #12
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Yeah, but no one smokes at 32 deg. The boiling point of water decreases with altitude in a linear manner as follows:

The boiling point of water
  • Sea level 212 F 100 C
    2000 feet 208 F 98 C
    5000 feet 203 F 95 C

So say you're at 3,000 feet, that's half way between 208 and 203 or 205.5
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Old 03-15-2004, 09:22 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark
Yeah, but no one smokes at 32 deg. The boiling point of water decreases with altitude in a linear manner as follows:

The boiling point of water
  • Sea level 212 F 100 C
    2000 feet 208 F 98 C
    5000 feet 203 F 95 C

So say you're at 3,000 feet, that's half way between 208 and 203 or 205.5
I have smoked at 32 deg and less many times this winter!

And water here at 6,700 ft boils at 199 F. Farks up all kinds of cooking recipes.
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Old 03-15-2004, 10:39 AM   #14
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Unless you live in Nepal, the following document should be sufficient for calibrating temperature gauges that are callibratable.
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Old 03-15-2004, 07:08 PM   #15
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ok -

you guys are a wealth of knowledge on any topic. I'm impressed. Threesticks was right, I needed to get in here and start mixing it up with you boyz. Sea level, Nepal, lowering the freezing point of water, you guys are next level man.

will look out for the wally world therm. also in the market for a nice wireless job with an extra loud alarm when temp eceeds parameters. this way i can REALLY drink lots of beer and not sit outside all the time.
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