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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 07-12-2018, 09:04 AM   #1
Shane Toner
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Default Input on an ATC?

What is everyone's favorite ATC and why? I'm looking for something that will record the temps during the cook and can operate a fan if desired also. More than 2 probes also, 4 at least. So many options! All seem to be around the same price range even the DIY ones. Any input at all would be helpful. Online research is not enough, need real reviews!
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Old 07-12-2018, 09:08 AM   #2
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Heater meter is awesome
Total cost less than $200.
Control it from anywhere in the world
It can use up to 4 probes
It datalogs
It doesn't use the cloud, so as long as your home wifi is working it will work

Very programmable
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Old 07-12-2018, 09:16 AM   #3
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I like my Flame Boss 300. I had an iGrill 2 before that, and a couple analog non-graphing pitmasterIQ 110's. The Flame boss has a pit temp probe and up to 3 meat temp probes. I use the fan for temp control on my Primo XL and it does a good job holding temps. When running my Shirley, I'll use it to remotely monitor pit temps and maybe some meat temps when weather or life doesn't allow for posting up next to the smoker to monitor with the Tel Tru's on the door.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:32 AM   #4
Shane Toner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el luchador View Post
Heater meter is awesome
Total cost less than $200.
Control it from anywhere in the world
It can use up to 4 probes
It datalogs
It doesn't use the cloud, so as long as your home wifi is working it will work

Very programmable
Thank you! Is it easy to use for a beginner? I'd have to buy a fan and probes so the total cost seemed closer to $300 with everything I would need. Everything else seemed around the same price. The Flame Boss, CyberQ, fireboard was a little more expensive, and there were a few more around $300.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:55 AM   #5
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The Heatermeter is the best one for efficient cookers because it is capable of simultaneously controlling a fan and a servo damper. On my kamado, the fan rarely runs except for startup and it holds temp by being able to clamp down the air intake as much as needed.

The HM is also the most flexible and most capable software wise. The downside is that to get the most out of it, you have to be willing to get your hands dirty with configuration and scripts. If you are not afraid of tech, I highly recommend it.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane Toner View Post
Thank you! Is it easy to use for a beginner? I'd have to buy a fan and probes so the total cost seemed closer to $300 with everything I would need. Everything else seemed around the same price. The Flame Boss, CyberQ, fireboard was a little more expensive, and there were a few more around $300.
here is a rough price breakdown

$72 heatermeter board(diy solder)
$0 misprint case for it
$10 for power supply
$35 for raspberry pi 3
$10 for wifi usb adapter
$20 for damper and related
$15 for fan
$3 for ethernet cable

so thats approx $160

I use thermoworks probes that come on sale at around $11 each
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:58 PM   #7
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I have been using a fireboard for the last couple of months (switched from a guru digiq) and I will say that so far it has performed fantastically. I was looking for a single unit that would monitor up to 5 different meats and also run the fan for competitions.

I initially purchased it for the 6 probe ports and the ability to run my fan but found the Bluetooth/WiFi connection to be really convenient and allowed me much more freedom to run around and catch up with friends instead of having to sit and watch the pit come up to temp.

It does all sorts of graphing that can be exported into excel and also allows for quite a bit of customization in terms of naming cooks or probes so that they are easy to track. I can’t imagine wanting any more data than what this makes available.

There are quite a few reviews online now showing its operation and how customizable it is as well as reviews of probe accuracy. In terms of the probes, they seem more like industrial probes to me than the typical commercial probes you get with all the other temp controllers/monitors. Some have even done experiments with the probes submerged in water.

It is one of the more expensive units on the market now, but if your needs are similar to mine, I can’t think of another unit on the market that does as much as the fireboard and is rated as high as the fireboard is.
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:23 PM   #8
Baychilla
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An old and inferior CyberQ. It can't send email, it's not upgradeable to play with web apis or sms. If I want to check it remotely I have to visit it's own internal web server. Accessing it from outside my house requires poking holes in my security. I do have a windows app that will chart from it. It works for me. It works well across a range of devices (might need a different fan based on device though).

For an Egg (or some similar devices) I like the Smobot. It doesn't need a fan and can run off a USB power cell. It doesn't have it's own app yet but all its data goes on the web. Using a minimum of wires and being able to operate off a cheapo power pack are nice benefits.
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Old 07-12-2018, 02:01 PM   #9
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btw, this is what a graph on the heater meter looks like, and how stable it maintains temps on my uds. +-2 degrees using uneven lump charcoal.

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Old 07-12-2018, 03:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el luchador View Post
btw, this is what a graph on the heater meter looks like, and how stable it maintains temps on my uds. +-2 degrees using uneven lump charcoal.

That's awesome! Thank you so much for the advice and taking the time to help me out. I'm strongly leaning toward the HM. Seems like the price is a lot lower and the quality is the same or even better! Thanks again!
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Old 07-12-2018, 04:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane Toner View Post
That's awesome! Thank you so much for the advice and taking the time to help me out. I'm strongly leaning toward the HM. Seems like the price is a lot lower and the quality is the same or even better! Thanks again!
you are welcome.
keep in mind the $72 hm board you have to solder yourself. it takes 2 hours. if you dont want to deal with that you can buy an assembled one but its double the price i think.
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:06 PM   #12
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I’ve got a Flame Boss 300. Works well enough. If I had to buy one tomorrow, it’d be a FireBoard because it looks better made and they put an emphasis on accuracy.


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Old 07-12-2018, 06:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el luchador View Post
here is a rough price breakdown

$72 heatermeter board(diy solder)
$0 misprint case for it
$10 for power supply
$35 for raspberry pi 3
$10 for wifi usb adapter
$20 for damper and related
$15 for fan
$3 for ethernet cable

so thats approx $160

I use thermoworks probes that come on sale at around $11 each
Eliminate the $35 Pi3 and the $10 WiFi adapter and replace both with a $10-14 pi Zero-W which has built in WiFi and all the computing power you need and then some. That will get you down to $125 and the Zero W WiFi is less buggy than the common USB adapters.
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:05 PM   #14
Shane Toner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m-fine View Post
Eliminate the $35 Pi3 and the $10 WiFi adapter and replace both with a $10-14 pi Zero-W which has built in WiFi and all the computing power you need and then some. That will get you down to $125 and the Zero W WiFi is less buggy than the common USB adapters.
Thank you! So many options! Is that updated list absolutely everything I would need? Also, is it better to get the thermocouple or to just use a probe instead? I have read so much about this thing and am still clueless so thank all you guys for the human input.
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane Toner View Post
That's awesome! Thank you so much for the advice and taking the time to help me out. I'm strongly leaning toward the HM. Seems like the price is a lot lower and the quality is the same or even better! Thanks again!
That graph is actually just showing the pit probe. It can also over lay your meat probes on the same graph. The thin red line is his set point for the temperature. One really cool thing you can do with the HM is have it automatically change the set point based on the meat temp. For example, cook hotter and faster at 300* until the meat hits 165, then slow it down to finish or “active hold” with the pit at 175* or maybe after X hours drop to a hold at 150*. You can also have it send you text, email, or push alerts when targets are hit or parameters are exceeded.

The temp control and stability is amazing, but another thing I love on the kamado is how fast it can get up to temp with the fan vs on its own for higher temp grilling. I can come home from work, punch in 400 and light some charcoal with a propane torch. Go in and grab some burgers or chicken out of the fridge, and by time I get them seasoned and ready, the kamado is humming along ready for them at 400 degrees. I have repeatedly timed it as 8 minutes from walking up to the grill to 400 degrees which is faster than my Weber gasser and much faster than the kamado without the fan. Plus no worries about overshoot or the fire getting out of control, and no need to watch it to see when it is ready. Just light, walk away and do your prep and wait for the phone to beep. Almost as easy as using an oven.
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