First Impressions: Auber PID SYL-1615SYS PID controller for WSM

Discussion in 'Slicers, Grinders, Tools, Equipment' started by texastiger, May 9, 2014.

  1. texastiger

    texastiger Fire Starter

    I am currently putting my new Auber Instruments PID Temperature Controller through its paces on my 18.5" WSM for a trial run. This unit cost me $134.40 on, plus 10.50 shipping, for a total bill of $144.90. (I added the $3 silicone gasket for the fan but I really don't need it).

    I lit up the smoker like I always do, let it come up to temperature and stabilize manually using the vents, then once it was about 225 Deg., I turned it over to the controller by plugging in the blower fan and closing the other 2 vents on the bottom of the WSM. I have some pictures below of the fan setup. I have water in the water pan.

    I had the temp probe clipped to the top grate while it was coming up to temperature alongside the grill probe for my Maverick ET-732. The two temperature readings have stayed within 2 degrees of each other the whole time.

    The Auber has been holding steady within +3, -1 degrees of the 225-deg setpoint for an hour now.

    I smoke a lot of brisket on the WSM, and usually have a few vent adjustments to make in the wee hours of the morning, and I'm hoping this PID controller will help me get a little more sleep.

    The user interface is kinda clumsy if you're used to stuff like iPhone apps - this one requires close reading of the manual to set different parameters. The good news is that if all you want to change is the setpoint, it's silly-simple to do that. If you want to set hi and lo alarms, that is not hard but you have to read the instructions.

    The 6.5 CFM fan seems to be just fine for the 18.5" WSM. I will be smoking a "Mothers' Day" brisket overnight tomorrow night, so that will be the real test.

    Here is the fan setup. It has a spring that clips the fan tightly enough to an open hole in the lower vent. 

    The LED display doesn't photograph well because of the way it flickers, but the Auber was set at 225, reading actual temp. of 227, while the Maverick read 226. Not bad.

    I don't have a picture of the probe, but it attaches to the grate with an alligator clip and has a 6' cable to the yellow plug on the bottom of the controller unit.

    So far so good. I'll post more later as the experiment continues. I hope to give it a 5-6 hour test before I trust it overnight with a brisket
    Last edited: May 9, 2014
  2. texastiger

    texastiger Fire Starter

    Just for a test, I set the setpoint down 5 degrees to 220, and in about 10 minutes, the temp was holding steady at the new setpoint.
  3. Good to know......wonder how well it would work with the little WSM!?

  4. texastiger

    texastiger Fire Starter

    Tell you what, Martin, i have a WSM Mini that I built, and I plan to try the Auber out on that one too in a week or so, and I'll let you know how that turns out.
  5. texastiger

    texastiger Fire Starter

    I wrapped up the experiment last night about 7:30 or so. I had made a couple more setpoint changes up and down 10 degrees at a time and it responded well to them.

    There was overshoot after I opened water pan door but it recovered in a reasonable time. The amount of overshoot was about 15 degrees and lasted maybe 10-15 minutes. which is about what happens without the temp controller.

    I removed/replaced the dome lid a time or two, and let the grate temp fall to about 170 or so, and the recovery only took 5 minutes or less.

    So far I am pleased with the Auber temp controller. Tonight's brisket smoke will be the real thing...
  6. tishthedish

    tishthedish Fire Starter

    How is the 6.5 CFM fan holding up? Do you wish you got the 10 CFM? I plan on doing chicken between 300-325F often. 
  7. texastiger

    texastiger Fire Starter

    The 6CFM fan works well for my long, low & slow smokes ~225-250. It seems to be keeping up with the needed airflow just fine for that, cycling off and on about equal amount of the time. But I haven't used the Auber for anything in 300-325 degree range - if you're going to be doing that a lot, you might want to go with the 10CFM. Sorry I don't have any first hand knowledge of it on hot cooking sessions.
    Good luck!!
  8. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I have been looking at the Auber controllers a lot lately. I am leaning towards the 20 cfm fan since it is such a small price increase. I figure better to have the capacity and not need it than need it and not have it.
  9. texastiger

    texastiger Fire Starter

    I think you're probably right. One thing I have noticed on my Weber Smokey Mountain smoker (18.5") is that the fan blows hard enough on the coals to carry a little bit of ash up from the charcoal basket to the grates. I don't notice any effects on the meat flavor or appearance, but the grates look a little dusty. If mine had the 20CFM fan on it, I imagine that when it kicked on it might stir up more dust. That's the only consideration I can think of with my setup if I were to use the 20CFM fan.
  10. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I hadn't considered that. I will be installing the fan on a ball valve so I might be able to constrict the air if needed. Or I might have to install some sort of baffle inside the smoker to keep it from blowing directly on the ashes or at least disperse the air a bit.
  11. texastiger

    texastiger Fire Starter

    That's a good plan
  12. tishthedish

    tishthedish Fire Starter

    So I contacted the sales rep and they said to use the 6.5 fan because of better temp control on the lower end. 10+ is better for 300+ on the 18.5"
  13. tishthedish

    tishthedish Fire Starter

    Just ordered the 6.5 CFM for my 18.5" :)
  14. texastiger

    texastiger Fire Starter

    Awesome! I think you will like it
  15. tishthedish

    tishthedish Fire Starter

    I hope so!! They said the 6.5 would still get the 18.5" above 300 because it's insulated well.
  16. Which probe did you pick? the tc k6A or the tc kcmm-c? looking at buying but not sure which one to get :)
  17. texastiger

    texastiger Fire Starter

    I have the TC-K6A and it works really well. The clip lets me put it anywhere I want to on the grate. My only issue with it is that on my late-model WSM-18.5, the alligator clip can be kinda difficult to get through the silicone grommet on the side of the smoker, it's manageable and I haven't broken anything in the process, I just sometimes have to use one or two of my golf words...
  18. Golf words -- haha!!! I like that :)

    I am pretty sold. Seems like youve been using it since last year (based on the date of the first post on this thread). So looks like the product lasts!

    Might be a silly question - but do you remove and reseal the holes of your WSM with aluminum tape? I am hoping to be able to use the Auber during long smokes but adjust the vents manually during short smokes (ribs, chicken)

  19. texastiger

    texastiger Fire Starter

    Yes, I just remove the tape & reseal when I use the Auber. Like you mentioned I don't use it every time I smoke, and the tape comes right off.
    Yes, after more than a year it's still doing great. It's well built. Be sure to keep the owners manual. Sometimes I forget which button does what. Then I use another golf word :)
  20. I think I will pull the trigger and get myself one :) thank you for your input!

    Last question :) what kind of tape do you use? did you have to buy extra tape? I imagine so if you've been using it a year!

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