My Programable PID All Electric UDS

Discussion in 'UDS Builds' started by thebige, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. thebige

    thebige Newbie

    Here are the pictures, which speak volumes for the functionality.

    As for the guts:

    Steel 55Gal Drum

    120V 15A input to work on nearly any household outlet.

    Dual PID feeding control to a 25Amp SSR. (second PID used as alarm-limiting relay)

    Dual PT100 RTD Temperature probes

    Output to a single 1000W Electric coil burner with heat-fuse and thermostat bypass

    6 qt cast iron pot for heat retention and woodchip holder

    Two layers of Reflectix insulation: Single 25ftx24" roll.

    Two 22" grill grates with stainless steel mounting hardware

    Custom caster platform for easy maneuvering from storage to cooking location

    I got the rig up to about 190 Degrees F before I put on the Reflectix Insulation, after that: hits 225 F in less than 12 mins (my favorite pork shoulder temp, have gotten over 250 when testing).  Hold temperatures, with +/- 0.5 degree accuracy, indefinitely.

    Have smoked 5-6 full shoulders, 4-6 racks of ribs, more sausage than you can stuff a snout with, peppers, corn, and other tasty items, all with simply perfect results.

    I have a Bill of Materials if you are interested.  All told, it costs about $238.15... give-r-take what you have lying around the house.

    Any Questions?


  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great looking UDS, and great looking smoke!
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Impressive work...JJ
  4. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Very nice! Thumbs Up
  5. That looks awesome! I have the 55 gal sitting in the yard, a load of surplus electronics but I always wondered what the operating costs are to go electric. Anybody????
  7. Thanks SmokinHusker... I don't know why I was thinking a lot more. I've run the numbers before on a old plasma tv that the better have keeps on all day. It's about the same.
  8. ebrite

    ebrite Newbie

    Could you send me a BOM?  This is the exact smoker I have been looking to build.

    Can you explain your alarm limiting relay?  Are you using that for the internal temperature to shut the smoker down?

  9. I would also be interested in a copy of the BOM. Thanks
  10. diamondmarco

    diamondmarco Smoke Blower

    "I have a Bill of Materials if you are interested."

    Yes. I would be very grateful for the bill of materials.

    Thanks ahead of time.
  11. thebige

    thebige Newbie

    BOM is here:

    I reference Amazon and Menards, which is a local hardware store to me, but you can find this stuff anywhere.

    I can work on some electrical diagrams, but the wiring is pretty straight forward if you are familiar with basic electronics.  

    As for the alarm limiting relay: yeah all it does is provide a normally closed relay on PID#2 (measures IT of meat) that the SSR control line from PID#1 (Measures ambient temp of smoker) goes through.  Set the alarm for internal temperature, and when PID#2 alarms on IT, it will open the alarm relay that PID#1's SSR control line goes through, thus preventing the SSR from firing the burner.  I am working on making it a more permanent shutdown: I think there is a way to set the temp that the alarm turns off at, which would allow me to set it low enough that it wouldn't allow the system to energize again... we'll see. 
  12. thebige

    thebige Newbie

    Control Box wiring diagram, not my best, but accurate.

  13. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks for posting your wiring diagram. I have an element that I was going to use to convert my gas smoker to electric for sausage and jerky, but I might use my UDS instead and create some hanging racks for sausage instead.
  14. Thank you
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
  15. any thoughts how it'll do in the cold?

    i know it's a function of how cold it is outside, and how much heat you put into it... 

    i've got a UDS i'm not happy with and am thinking about doing an electric conversion on it
  16. thebige

    thebige Newbie

    No idea about the cold yet... In testing, I got it up to about 260F when the ambient temps were around 70F... It got there pretty quickly too, and it recovers well when i open the lid.  I am very confident in getting it up to at least sausage smoking temps, 120-160F, even when below 32F outside, which is all i need for the winter when processing deer.  Just have to wait till it gets cold and find out, i guess.  But I imagine if I can keep the wind off of it, it should do just fine.

    Ah and I see you are in Madison!  I am just north of I know what you are facing in the coming months.  I will make sure to let you know how it goes!
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2013
  17. so how did your smoker do this WICKED winter we had?

    what did you do for intake / exhaust?
  18. thebige

    thebige Newbie

    That sure was a nasty winter, and this summer hasnt really provided the thaw that my wife (former southerner) was hoping for.  Oh well, I sure didnt mind much!

    The smoker did pretty well in the cold, took a little bit longer to get up to temp, and the cold winds knocked the temp down a bit more, but it could certainly hold 225-250 without a problem.

    As for intake and exhaust, I am still debating that one a bit.  The intake is easy, I have a 1.5" hole in the very bottom of the side of the UDS; thats where the heating plate cord and temp probes go into the smoker.  As for exhaust: there isnt much of a dedicated exhaust design, per se.  The lid does not seal too well (and i dont try to make it, so i figured that should give enough of an exhaust path.  If I use pellets for very long (more than 6 hours) and at high temps, the smoke certainly does get bitter.  I think that might be just more smoke than i need in 6 hours, so I have been using chips or big chunks for long slow hot smokes, and pellets only for the fast, intense, low temp smokes, like sausage.

    The other issue I have been running into is that the smoker seems to be very "Dry".  Pork shoulders (extra fatty) and sausage (low temp, short duration) seem to turn out ok, but i have yet to complete a brisket (long low and VERY moisture sensitive) that I am happy with.  My briskets are always coming up to temp faster than i think they should and being very dry in the end.  I'll just have to keep at it, in the name of science!
  19. 5oakssmoker

    5oakssmoker Smoke Blower

    Have you tried to use pop's brine recipe and soak a brisket for a day or so before smoking? I'm very interested in how that would turn out in the Electric UDS.

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