New Twist To An Old Smoker

Discussion in 'Side Fire Box' started by johnnyt, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. johnnyt

    johnnyt Smoke Blower

    Well my years of collecting junk has paid off again. Was thinking about making an arduino board with small stepper motor to control the gas valve for the propane burner I'm running in my smoker. Then I realized I had to much stuff laying around the garage to not try to rig something together. So, using a thermostat control valve out of a mid 80s rv oven, and small control valve out of an old wall mount propane lantern, a thermocouple out of a propane salamander (fan was shot), and about 10 bucks in fittings, I'm ecstatic what turned out. 








    The control is setup for two fuel outputs, one for main burn, one for pilot. I removed jet from the pilot and plumbed it into main line after running it through the sensitive adjuster (small black knob). Btw, this setup is not on or off, it is constantly adjusting the fuel output according to where you have the main dial. I decided against a pilot for the fact that I always want flame going. I haven't ran it long enough to know for sure but I'm sure it will get to a point where it wants to kill the main burn. The small valve only turns about a 1/4 turn, so with it being perpendicular to the main valve once I get a box made up I will put a 2  inch vertical slot next to the main knob and rig up a rod (flat stock). Kinda like the throttle on a lawnmower.





    Tomorrows project will be rigging up the thermocouple, had to get new probe as I broke the old one removing it. Guess patience isn't my strong suit.




    Where'd my workbench go!!!







    I ran it for 10 minutes with the thermostat probe in the middle of the smoker and the set at 300. I didn't think to grab my digital but the the factory dial thermometer was reading almost 350 when the flame started to regulate itself, was pretty cool. Once I mount the thermostat probe permanently I will have to spend some time marking actual temps around the knob. I was hoping to start work on my reverse flow plate while I had it in the garage but now I really want to get this control system done and wheel it out for some ribs this weekend! How do you guys ever lay up your smoker for modifications?
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013
    jgwellwood likes this.
  2. z
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  3. handymanstan

    handymanstan Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    That is so cool.[​IMG]   I love it when someone thinks out of the box.  I will be watching [​IMG] and waiting to see the finished control.

    Stan
     
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    ........X2.......   [​IMG]   .......        [​IMG]         Cool mod.......  Dave
     
    buggman likes this.
  5. 05sprcrw

    05sprcrw Smoking Fanatic

    Great idea book marking this thread for future reference.
     
  6. johnnyt

    johnnyt Smoke Blower

    Well I just wrote a bunch on here and submitted the reply but nothing happened, so if I post twice please forgive me. First off, thanks for the compliments. However, I just hooked up the thermocouple and it is not working. Brand new probe as I call it. Thinking the switch mechanism is bad. Has great gas flow but no matter how hot I get the tip it won't stay lit on its own. Stumped, and now I have to go to my nephews birthday party so that's it for the day. Does anyone have any ideas what could be wrong? Wonder what the chances of getting a bad probe/thermocouple from the store. Only thing different is I went 2 feet longer and I'm sure the temp of the tp is higher than it was.


     
  7. handymanstan

    handymanstan Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Johnnyt I am confused if the tip gets hot is it not the purpose  to shut off the gas and when it gets cold it turns on the gas?  I am not a gas person but just makes sense to me.

    Stan
     
  8. johnnyt

    johnnyt Smoke Blower

    Hey Stan, I noticed I did ramble on and wasn't to clear on some things. The probe for the the thermostat works that way. When it gets hot it shuts down fuel, cold it turns up. But the thermocouple is just a safety feature I'm trying to add. It is a separate probe that sits right in the flame, it is only spose to fuel in as long as its hot. You hold the bypass button down for roughy 20 to 30 seconds and it should stay lit after that cause it is hot. It's for in case the flame gets blown out it doesn't keep pumping fuel into the smoker. Actually had that happen once and let me tell you, a minute with the door open isn't enough time to clear out  10 minutes worth of gas in the chamber. Lost my eyebrows that day I did.
     
  9. handymanstan

    handymanstan Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Oh now I see.  That makes sense. Like I said I am not a gas person but I will be thinking about this.  Good luck!

    Stan
     
  10. handymanstan

    handymanstan Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Good day Johnnyt.  I see no one else has jumped in yet and I was thinking if the thermocouple you are using is for a pilot light then might it be restricting the amount of gas to the amount a pilot needs?  I am probably wrong but trying to help.

    Stan
     
  11. johnnyt

    johnnyt Smoke Blower

    I picked the brains of some of the maintenance guys at work today and come to the conclusion that it should be working. The thermocouple I bought is a universal one so no definitive heat required. Pretty much a guessing game. They all told me no such thing as being to hot, so after work I tore it down, and hate to admit this, but I never tightened it all the way. I told yous patience isn't my strong suit. Was in a hurry to get cleaned up to get to my nephews bday party, I screwed it in by hand then moved on to the lp line then leak checked but never torqued down the thermocouple. Long story short, it's going great now. 



    After 20 minutes with it on the broil setting (full blast), I hit 450 and climbing. Was satisfied so I shutter down. 


    Good way to get grease out of a non reverse flow, set to 450 and prop on an angle.
     
  12. handymanstan

    handymanstan Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Nice I am glad you figured it out. [​IMG]So now you can adjust the heat with just a turn of the knob. [​IMG]Now its time to get smoking and show us what that pit can do.

    Still watching [​IMG]

    Stan
     
  13. johnnyt

    johnnyt Smoke Blower

    I can't wait to try her out. But got to make a box up for the controls and some brackets to hold thermocouple and igniter close to flame. Hopefully I can do a small smoke this weekend.
     
  14. johnnyt

    johnnyt Smoke Blower

    Definitely not going to be able to smoke this weekend. Got sidetracked from the control box and worked on the burner.


    Killed two birds with one stone, got the burner perfectly centered,



    And made it pretty much wind proof




     
  15. johnnyt

    johnnyt Smoke Blower

    Making some more progress.


     
  16. handymanstan

    handymanstan Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  17. johnnyt

    johnnyt Smoke Blower

    Thanks Stan! You seem to be the only one interested in my progress. Not sure if I should keep posting or not?
     
  18. handymanstan

    handymanstan Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Oh fiddle faddle fuddle.  Don’t stop now there are lots watching I am just the one running my mouth and I want to see this work out.[​IMG]

    Stan
     
  19. z
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  20. johnnyt

    johnnyt Smoke Blower

    Ok, gonna keep posting, I decided to weld the side door on da firebox closed. I never use it. Just lets all kind of wind in. When I first got the smoke and was stick burning with it I used it a lot, but since converting it to propane never even open it.


     

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