Cool Smoke Fridge Build

Discussion in 'Fridge/Freezer Builds' started by unionguynw, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. unionguynw

    unionguynw Smoke Blower

    Hey all getting ready for my first fridge build.  Got her all gutted and ready to start ordering equipment.  My primary uses will be Jerky, Salmon, and later getting into sausage.  She should not see temps much higher then 180.  I have other tools for the hot stuff!  So far here is what I'm thinking:

    1. PID with the ramp function for doing sausage at some point.  I want one with at least 2 thermocouple inputs. Seems like one from Auber will be the way to go.  I can't tell if this one has more than one input  

    .    Guess an email to Auber will be in order.  Any regrets from anyone who has used one of these?

    2. 1500 watt element.  Not sure what to do here.  I've seen the links for drillspot, but those seem pretty spendy compared to the 1500 watt element at Cabelas.

    3. I found some drying racks from an online bakery supply that seem like they would work

    4. I'll add some sort of drip pan between the element and food.

    5. amns for smoke.  Options started out with the Bradley generator, Smoke Daddy, and a hot plate.  AMNS seems like the best rated solution for cold and hot smokes.  I may want to do cheese, eggs, or fish prior to canning and that would take a cold smoke.

    Any thing you would do different and why?  Any thing I'm missing?

    Here's a pic of her before demo:

  2. Unionguy, sounds like you got a pretty good plan so far, I am not familiar with that type thermometer, in addition to it 2 thermocouple inputs, you might need to check and see what the temp range is on that thing.  I noticed that it says that it is typically used for glass kiln or for heat treatment ovens. It might be that it needs higher temps to work properly, would hate for you to pay that much for something and then not be able to use it. Great looking old fridge, we use to have one just like it when I was a child, (many many moons ago).  Looks like it will make a first class fridge smoker!  Keep up the good work and keep us posted with pics and equipment selections.

    Your SMF Friend,

    Barry  [​IMG]   
  3. unionguynw

    unionguynw Smoke Blower

    I'm back at it!

    I got her all gutted and installed a 4" stack with a cap.  I installed it through the back at the top for hopefully better smoke circulation.  I still need to figure out the following:

    1. Bottom vents: I was considering 1" pipe to get through the 3" thick walls.  How many? Location?

    2. Looking at AMNS for smoke.  Thinking the one that can use both dust or pellets.

    3. 1550 watt element from Grainger:

    Does that seem sufficient or overkill for just under 8 cubic feet?

    4. Looking at the Auber instruments duel probe 1800w smoker controller: OR possibly this one that I found through another site that uses wifi in addition to the PID functions: The unit would be the Lion.

    Any and all suggestions would be appreciated!
  4. unionguynw

    unionguynw Smoke Blower

    Stack installed and 2 3/4" pipes with ball valves for air intake

    Auber dual probe controller is ordered, AMNPS 5x8 is ordered! 1500w finned strip heater picked up from Grainger this morning. Can't wait to get this thing together!
  5. fagesbp

    fagesbp Smoking Fanatic

  6. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Lookin good what you going to use for a PID? I did almost the exact same fridge put 7 custom racks in it and a replacement element 1500 watt Man you will luf it.

    On the PID Make sure you get yours that can go to 275 or so mine only goes to 220 which is great for most smoking. good luck and keep us updated
  7. unionguynw

    unionguynw Smoke Blower

    Thanks, could have saved me $20 had I known.
    My Auber WSD 1503cph just came today.  I am reading through the instructions now! I have a friend working on racks and getting me some aluminum for holding the racks and the heating element.  Not sure how high the Auber PID will go.  I don't see me using it at more than 200 degrees.
  8. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have gotten mine up to 300° with a 1500w Brinkmann replacement element, in a similar set up. I wouldn't try any higher than that.
  9. unionguynw

    unionguynw Smoke Blower

    Got her all running and did my first load of Jerky this weekend.  Figured I get some more pics of the finished fridge on here:

    Here is the 1550 watt finned strip heater from Grainger.  The wires are run up through 3/4" pipe that I will seal with hi-temp silicone.  This picture was before I mounted the element.  I used 1.5" aluminum flat bar bent 2" in opposite directions to mount the element 2" off the bottom of the fridge.  You can also see my 2 air intakes which are also 3/4" pipe with ball valves attached.

    Here is a picture of the drip pan I had made.  It is aluminum plate bent and welded in the corners.  It sits on 1x1 aluminum angle riveted to the fridge wall.  I mounted it about 1/8" above the element.

    Racks installed.  Racks are 1/8" thick expanded metal.  Plain steel.  They were cut 2" deeper than I needed and the front and back 1" was bent to add strength.  They sit on 1x1 aluminum angle that is riveted to the wall.  I can fit 9 racks 3" apart.

    You can also see the hinges I installed for the door on the bottom.  The bottom was held by clips and springs and I modified it to be used as a door.  My plan was to set up a shelf in the opening to mount my Auber controller.  Not sure if I'm still going to go that route or not.  It works fine with the controller sitting next to the smoker and the probe wire going through the door.

    Here is a picture with the Auber controller up and running.

    Thanks for looking!
  10. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks like you're on your way!
  11. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks Great
  12. skunkeroo

    skunkeroo Newbie

    Hi there.

    It looks like you have a very fancy build in mind. I am very familiar with the temp control unit you linked to. I will tell you now, that is not a unit for any at home build. it's intended purpose it to be used on large industrial machines. It is not an actual thermostat, simply a display and control device that is then connected to other thermal transmitters and a contactor bank through a PLC cabinet (Programmable Logic Controller) Not only that, it requires a 4500 dollar device to calibrate it.

    You maybe better off buying an old fashioned thermostat switch, You can even get one with a digital display for not too much more.

    As far as your heating. Stay simple. You can buy replacement coils for a stove range for about 15 dollars a piece. Wire them to a set of contactors, controlled by your thermostat. Install a dial thermometer (not only to give it a nice classic look, but also to monitor your temperature in addition to your thermostat)
  13. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Verynice !
  14. browtines

    browtines Newbie

    Just finished my yesterday
  15. browtines

    browtines Newbie

    Another picture
  16. browtines

    browtines Newbie

    No photo of the inside i was seasoning it at the time of the photos. Held steady temps from 100 to 350. The whole setup only ran me 150 so i can't complain.
  17. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Smoker? Are you sure you're not building a 'droid?
  18. Hello!

    Looked at your build and love it! I need to install a "finned stip heater" in my unit to make it more efficient. I am pretty handy, but when it come to one of these heaters, I am absolutly clueless! Do you have an additional pictures of the heater and the actual wiring of how it works? I have a double stack 55 gall drum smoker that is 100% wood, but want to convert it to electrical. I already burned up (melted) 2 brink man heating elements...

  19. unionguynw

    unionguynw Smoke Blower

    Frank- I just went to my local electrical supply and they got me the proper gage 3 wire cord based on the 1550 watts of the element.

    Element itself only has 2 terminals. 1 for the positive and 1 for the negative. 3rd wire is grounded to the body of the fridge.

    You need something to control the current going to the element and that's where the Aurber PID I mentioned above comes in. The PID plugs into the wall and the cord from the element plugs into the pid.

    Hope that helps.

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