PID Temp Controller for MES

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by mysticalman, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. mysticalman

    mysticalman Fire Starter


    I have an electric brewery in my basement.

    I have an idea for a different way to control the temp on a MES.

    Rather then having the element either on or off, like the current temp controller, has anyone wired up their MES with a PID controller?

    The advantage I can think to doing it this way is that you can have the controller only supply partial power to the element for a more constant heating and smoke control.

    I would think that it would then have less of a hot spot on the side with the heater because there would be less heat.

    A link to a controller that I am talking about can be found here.

    Then you would also need a SSR:

    If my smoker wasn't under warranty I would do the leg work and the tutorial on how to do this, but would like to know if anyone else has done something like this?
  2. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Warranties are made to be broken. I don't think I own one computer or gaming system I haven't opened and modded immediately, heck, all you're doing is improving anyway.
    How much longer do you have on your warranty?

    Not sure if anyone here has tried anything like that before but it sounds like you might be onto something.

    Oh, what kind of beer do you brew?
  3. mysticalman

    mysticalman Fire Starter

    I bought the extended warranty. It doesn't want to heat the best so I think I may be calling in to see if I can get a new one.

    As far as beer goes, Belgians are my favorite I brew a really tasty Honey Wit, Stouts come in second, and in the summer I love a nice crisp and hoppy pale ale.
  4. mgwerks

    mgwerks Smoking Fanatic

    As notoriously quirky as the MES controller is, I'd be tempted to do this if I knew how.
  5. smokebuzz

    smokebuzz Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Since i ALWAYS get in trouble when this subject gets brought up, i will just ask questions.

    1. Are you sure you will be getting an analog output with this "PID" controler?
    2. How does an SSR work with an analog output?

    You did mention, you don't want on/off.
  6. mysticalman

    mysticalman Fire Starter

    Here is a write up of how to wire up a PID controller. I lost the diagrams I used when I did up my brewery.


    You will need to scroll down a bit to see the diagram on how it works.

    The way the PID works in 2 ways.

    You can manually adjust the percentage of power to it.

    So when I use the PID on my boil kettle I set the PID at 90% until I start to boil, and then I turn it down to just keep a boil and avoid a boil over. To accomplish this the PID will cycle that SSR on and off quickly to maintain the percentage I set.

    When I use the PID on my Hot Liquor tank, I need to maintain a set temp for when I mash my grains. So in that instance is when the PID shines.

    The PID will keep increasing power to bring the temp up to the point I need, then what happens is that the PID will cycle the SSR on and off multiple times a second to maintain the temp. When you first turn the power on, and have it get to temp it may take a few minutes to learn how to maintain the temp since it has built in intelligence to determine what power level it would need to maintain, and how fast it would need to cycle to keep the temp you set.

    The only down fall I can see with using it in the smoker is that if you use chips the heating element may not get hot enough to produce smoke. I use pellets when I smoke on the MES and can produce smoke when I have the temp set at 100 degrees.

    So if a person would be using it to smoke or dry jerky or sausage you may need an external source of smoke.
  7. plj

    plj Meat Mopper

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