PID Food Warmer Cabinet Remodel- Sausage machine (Will take suggestions along the way)

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by welderdan, Aug 6, 2016.

  1. OK yall here goes. I have been a member for a couple years and have enjoyed the site, time to give back by documenting this build and get some tips along the way. I found this smoker on craigslist in 2014 while looking for an old refrigerator to convert.The seller I believe is a member here or was back then. The smoker served its purpose but its time to upgrade. 

    Ive attached the below pics as my starting point. Original build had insulation in the cabinet with foil backed tape- I took it out before these pics. Also the Mypin T series PID and power switch panel was mounted on the front of drawer in bottom of the smoker. A couple things I did not care for about this was controls were low to the ground which was a pain to set and also not the cleanest spot with food drippings. The cabinet had a thermocouple sticking in the back wall about mid height it didnt seem to give an accurate measurement cross the entire cabinet cooking space. The element as you can see was mounted on the removable drawer which I do like in case it needs to be taken out to be worked on. However the floor below the cabinet was not sealed which allowed heat and other liquids to get into the electrical area inside the cabinet drawer. Also there was no deflector to keep the element from being dripped on. My smoke source has been a custom made martini shaker smoke generator lit with a torch and forced into smoker with an adjustable aquarium pump.

    The Myin PID I havent been able to find any manuals or clear instructions to program the control or troubleshoot it.It was basically a thermostat for me. For the last half of a year I would plug the 220 volt setup in, turn it on and the PID was showing all kinds of different numbers and I had no idea how to reprogram it so I have been slacking on bbq. Just this month I bought a 350lb sow off a show pig breeder I use in FL and had it sent to the butcher I have used since I was a kid. 1/2 the pig was ground and frozen in 5lb bulk packages, the other half was cut in your typical pork cuts. So I am ready to smoke with no smoker- slight problem!

    As far as smoking I enjoy the weekend smoke making all the typical cuts but I am really interested in getting into custom sausages/fish and maybe even do jerky in the smoker instead of the dehydrator. I have been tossing different ideas around about heat and smoke sources. I thought about the smokedaddy pellet auger. It is a nice system but I did not care for the temperature ranges. I want to be able to maintain lower temperatures and set custom temperature programs so the PID and electric element is the best setup for me.

    My general plan with this build: 

    control panel and heat source wiring

    smoke generator/exhaust/air intake fab and install

    insulation install

    stainless steel interior sheet metal install/welding

    heat element with dripping deflector shield install     (not sure if using the same element: tips gladly accepted)

    shelf and dowell rod install

    door and seal rebuild-plan to get rid of window in door insulate and put a nice sheet metal on door. 

    repaint exterior once build is complete. 

    Yesterday I pulled the trigger on the Auber Instruments dual probe SMD100 PID, Two K type thermocouplers one for meat one for cabin, some connectors, a heat sink, 40amp ssr, and a control cabinet to mount on the outside of the smoker. Thinking this will all go near the lock on the door that looks like a latch. The door actually latches via magnets which I plan to keep. 

    I am a union welder by trade and am not an electrician. Fabrication and welding is not a problem for me if I can get the time off work and sneak away from the wife and three daughters for me time. I read the manual for the auber controller and am highly impressed with their product so far. I dont think the wiring will be too much of an issue with their information and whats available on this site.

    Looking forward to this build and yall's help and discussions along the way. I guess for starters whats your thoughts on elements.

    Also Smoke: been burning chips in the generator you see. it tars up a lot and glues/seals itself together but produces decent smoke for at least 2 maybe 3 hours. I prefer the flavor of an open flame and wood burning but as I said I need the ability to customize my cooking programs and lower temperatures. I like some good heavy smoke on my products and would like to find or build something that will generate smoke longer without adding too much heat. 

    Thanks for your time and happy smoking. 


    Last edited: Aug 6, 2016
  2. Update and a question. Received my PID, probes and control box in the mail yesterday. Waiting on the weekend to start wiring this thing up. Pid power input is around 80 to 480 volts. Not sure if its best to wire the input power for 110 or 220 at the pid. Either is acceptable just wondering if there were any advantages to either. Also wondering if any one has had experience cutting mounting holes in the control panel boxes. Whats the best way. Thinking a dremel with a small cut off wheel. Any opinions out there? Submit some more pics once i make some progress. Thanks
  3. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Power it the way that is easiest for you to wire.  It will not matter to the PID.

    Also I have some fairly decent programming instructions for the MYPIN units.  I posted them in the thread linked below.  I would go with the Auber to run the smoker, but with a manual you might be able to use the MYPIN for something or even as a temp display only.
  4. A little progress this weekend. Pid mounted in panel with two power cords. A 1" hole saw and a grinder with a cut off wheel and some files did the cutting. Shopped around for a dremel cutoff tool but they are proud of those things. Figured i would stick with the tools i had. The black cord will be incoming power 10/4, the white one 12/3 will plug to the element which will have a power cord and plug sticking out of the back of the smoker. I plan to leave the element and and power cord mounted to the drawer so they are removable from the cabinet if I need access to modify or work on it in the future.

    Also I like the idea of not mounting and hard wiring the control panel to the smoker. Allowing me to store the panel inside the house when it is not in use. Started connecting 14 guage AWG stranded wires in control panel, waiting on a 30 Amp switched breaker to come in and a few more thermocouple panel mount connectors from auber. Didn't want to get too far ahead with wires inside the panel and then start cutting and drilling more holes.

    Looked on smoking meat forums a little bit for cool control panel ideas didn't see much under a forum search. Anyone got any neat mods on their controls besides the basic PiD setup. Was thinking a small LED beacon light on top of the panel wired to one of the relays. Thinking I will set it for the final step of the cook once the meat has hit internal temp and the cabinet has dropped temp to a warming mode. Be a good way to know that your product is finished without looking at temps.

    Researching element size and options now, talking with dward51 on the side to handle that. Looking forward to some more progress. Stay tuned.

    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
  5. Panel is not complete, but far enough along to plug her in and see the PID light up and operate. Checked the meat sensor temp with some ice water and the wife's hot tea as she was walking though the kitchen. Here's a couple pics. Going to wire in a 110 volt outlet that is always hot. Will use it with aquarium pump for smoke generator, a temp work light for night time meat checks, charging a cell phone, plugging in a radio or who knows what else. Still planning on doing a rotating green or red LED beacon light wired into one of the relays as a meat has reached internal temp visual alarm. Ebay has them pretty cheap, but all this stuff adds up and the wife is going to use it against me at some point to get what she wants. 

    On baby duty for the rest of the weekend while the wife is working for some friends on their BBQ food truck "Riverside BBQ" at the National Wild Turkey Federation. Last time they cooked I got their leftover BBQ. Maybe I can get lucky again...since my smoker is out of commission for now. I hope to see a little more progress this weekend.

    No overtime lately so I am waiting to pull the trigger on auber dual temp meter pid that the bottom two thermocouple outlets wire into. Thinking I will build a nice rack on the side of the smoker that the panel will mount to while operating and then can be unplugged and stored inside the house when not in use. 

    Next phase of build will be on the element drawer. Plan to keep it as a slide in drawer that houses element, deflector, air intake, with a 220 volt plug that will plug into the white cord that comes out of my panel. Thinking this will be the easiest way to maintain and clean the smoker over the years of use. 
  6. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looking pretty good so far!

    You can add a 2nd unit for a food temp display.  Alarm function is built in to most.  You don't need the full PID, just a dual channel process thermometer (about 1/2 the price of a PID or less).  Alarm can trigger buzzer, flashing light, or whatever you want it to trigger as long as you provide the proper interface or use something the alarm output can "light".  Or if you get a good deal on a dual channel PID, just use it for temp display only.  You don't have to hook anything up to the SSR output to use the display and alarm functions.  Plus you have a backup if the main PID flakes out.   Just do a quick move of the screw terminals and you are back in business.

    It looks like you have plenty of room in the cabinet, and you don't have to worry about heat sinking an additional PID if it's not going to have an SSR associated with it (as in just used for temp display and alarm functions).

    If I ever get around to converting the warmer I bought a while back (I keep putting off the dissasembly and foam insulation removal), I'm thinking about using a Smoke Chief pellet smoke generator for the smoke source.   Yeah, I know.... trays and tubes are easier and a lot cheaper, but that device keeps catching my eye.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
  7. Hey every one. Back at it a little every weekend. Can't go full bore on it got to spend a little time and money here and there to keep it fair to my wife and three girls. Not too much more work to go. The hardest part is over. 

    Progress includes cutting old shelf mounting brackets down and riveting 3/4 inch x 1/8th inch carbon steel angle iron to the brackets for interior wall framing to mount to. Riveting was just easier due to brackets being aluminum. Next was insulation install which is ceramic kaowool fiber blanket rated at 2500 degrees. 1" thick 2' wide and 25' roll cost around 100 bucks with shipping. Stuff cuts excellent with a box cutter and was installed with tie wire, which worked perfect. Easy to handle. From there a local sheet metal shop bent some 16 guage 304 stainless sheet metal. a u shaped piece for interior walls, and two pans for roof and floor. The roof is 3 sided to allow no lip at the door. To weld the sheet metal in I drilled 1/8 holes and counterbored the edges back to open up the holes and get a full penetration spot weld. My buddy brought his welder over and we tig welded the sheet metal in. I think 16 spot welds on walls and then we seal welded the roof pan in. Welding thin sheet metal isn't about cosmetic looking welds (tough stuff to weld - managing heat to not warp sheet metal and to fuse metal with enough heat without melting it away). Between Corbin and I fitting and welding we had the sheet metal installed in about 3 hours. I am using the old chimney just had to make a flange plate for interior of soker and exterior of smoker to seal weld the chimney in- this will be next weekends project hopefully. 

    Also hit the local Fox appliance store and purchased a 2800 watt 220 volt heating element, some high heat wire, and they gave me an electric fan motor that they couldn't sell due to its rotation being reversed. The fan motor is rated at something like 1500 rpm and I have a 4 to 5" fan blade for it. I plan to get a dial switch to be able to adjust the speed down.  The element and fan wil be installed on the bottom pan attached to the drawer. I haven't done research on the exact control I will need for the fan. Once I get the chimney in I will start working on that. I guess at that time I will figure out a plan to install element, fan, drip pan.

    Was planning on going with old shelf set up but they are not the right size now so I will have to come up with some bracket set up and shelves, thinking I will make it to include dowel rods and hanging hooks for sausage and nets.

    Also was planning on putting sheet metal on old door. But new plan is to frame a new door out of some small tube steel, using the same hinges. Thinking aluminum sheet metal will go on interior of door to keep it light insulation on interior of door, and outer door skin out of sheet metal but then taking it to a hydrograpics shop that will do some custom dipped graphics for the exterior of door.

    The front of drawer will have handle and air intake and maybe the speed control dial for the fan.If you all have intake suggestions or any suggestions in general send them my way. 

    Also plan to go with venturi smoke generator on the side. its worked for me in the past. But I've been looking at doing some extra smoke sources just so I have several options. One is a wood box above element like the cookshacks and the smoken it smokers have. Do you guys think the chunks or chips would flame up sitting over the element in a steel wood box for a smoke source. I have had this happen in the propane vertical smokers you get at department stores. I've had some expensive brisket turned into a piece of charcoal recently at Christmas. 

    Also will be looking at the amazn smoke tubes. Just want to have several options. I've looked online at several smoke generators and haven't found anything that has impressed me. 

    Also the control panel is operational but I will be adding an additional temperature sensor and building a stainless steel angle bracket on the side of the smoker to hold control panel when smoker is in use. 

    I know its a long post thanks for reading it to end, and please give me some feedback on whatever you think will help me get this thing to a final product. For some reason I can't seem to upload numerous pics so they will be listed as separate replies below. 

    Thanks and happy smoking. 
  8. ab canuck

    ab canuck Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Looks good, making me think about that now.... lol. I also have one to redo. I want to build a smoke house this spring so it's a toss up...... Welcome back
  9. Thanks for looking guys had one more pic of interior after welding but it says it can't upload due to the size of the file. Appreciate all tips info and pics of your suggestions. Hopefully next long update like this will be the completed build.

    All suggestions or pics of your: shelves, mounting brackets for shelves, drip deflector, fan setup, smoke source in electric setup like mine, air intake are appreciated, and mounting of element are appreciated. 
  10. [ATTACHMENT=3225]Screenshot_20170219-145009.png (2,824k. png file)[/ATTACHMENT]

    Got the old chimney welded in. Welded a thin carbon plate on chimney and slid it down through roof. Riveted that plate to the exterior roof and slid another plate onto chimney pipe inside smoker and seal welded plate to chimney pipe and stainless interior roof. Came out pretty good. That 16 guage stainless sheet metal wants to warp with a lot of heat. Really a pain to weld. Riveted the edge of the stainless roof pan to the aluminum body of the smoker house. Making the plates and doing the above welding took around 5 hours. What a pain.

    Waiting on the sheet metal shop to make a new bottom pan for the element drawer. Picked one up friday but it wasn't made to my specified dimensions, they did well on other orders so i didnt measure this one.

    Still looking for ideas on racks/ dowell rod setup for hanging if yall got any.


  11. ab canuck

    ab canuck Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I am going with Dowels for hanging when I build Aluminium shelving would be great but pricey I would think. SS would be great. I see people using appliance shelves, There are Q-matts also that can go on shelves. You can build or have built steel ones, season them then a light coat of oil.  

      Here is something form m1tanker78

     These would work as long as they are not galvanized, Concrete screen, on a frame.  Just ideas. 

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