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Pitmaster IQ 110 - Page 4

post #61 of 87
No excuse for bad customer service.
post #62 of 87

Stupidity is my excuse for bad customer service.  Cabin Fever was one of our first customers (this happened nearly 2 years ago).  We were a very small company and I was fearful of the attitude people take nowadays about returning stuff to the store.  So I published our policy stating no returns of used equipment.  At least at that time, this was also the policy of our competitors.


Cabin Fever bought a controller and for whatever reason struggled with its use.  He asked to return it and I resisted.  I regret this every time I come across one of his posts expressing his displeasure.  I eventually agreed to let him return it and he got 100% of his money back (less shipping).  Yes, 100% less shipping despite what this thread would lead you to believe.  I am sorry for resisting him and causing him heartache. And since this bad experience, we have never turned down a request to return an IQ.


My initial fears of managing returns was unfounded.  Including Cabin Fever and the other gentleman that went through a similar experience, we have only had to deal with a dozen or so returns.  By an astronomical percentage, our customers are happy with their purchase.  And the few that aren't are satisfied in the end.


We have also been hard to get on the phone in the past.  However, we now have Barb in Customer Service.  She is committed to keeping everyone happy, although it is sometimes a monumental task.  Give her a call at 636.447.7974 if you like.


Once again, I am sorry to have upset an initial few customers including Cabin Fever and promise not to do it again.  I started pitmasterIQ for fun.  I saw an article in Circuit Cellar in 2000 about an engineer who used an industrial PID controller and computer fan to control his kamado cooker and I knew one day I had to do that.  Then years later I saw the BBQ Pitmasters episode where Harry Soo and Lee Ann Whippen were using their blowers.  I had to make my own.  It looked like Frankenstein but worked great.  Eventually, family and friends convinced me to bring it to the marketplace.  My industrial controls company, Digital Power & Motion, manufactures the IQ and markets it through pitmasterIQ.

post #63 of 87

Let me be the first to say, Welcome to SMF John. My 2 cents, Thanks for posting and giving your side. Every story has multiple perceptions based on your viewpoint and side of the situation, its nice when we can get both and even better when honesty and understanding come together to create solutions.  Things happen and sometimes people make mistakes, or poor decision's. It takes guts to own up and also learn from them and put measures in place to see that they don't happen again. I admire anyone who is willing to own up and learn from their mistakes, I've made plenty myself  as have most people. Its not so much what happens as what we do about it. Thanks for throwing yourself out there it goes along way, believe me.  I personally haven't pulled the trigger on a pit controller yet and need to with the holidays approaching and I'm going to give your IQ another look simply because of your post, I hope other SMF members do as well.

post #64 of 87

Let me throw my two cents in. Even after reading this thread, I still went ahead and bought a pitmasteriq. Used it 3 times and so far it has worked perfectly. After it gets up to temp, that little green light stays green for hours, even on my non insulated Weber bullet. The only problems I have had is me not reading the directions and thinking it was broken, which it wasn't. Don't get me wrong, it is as simple as plug and play, it just needs to ramp up to temp.

post #65 of 87

Quick updated on the PitmasterIQ: Since my last post I now trust it enough that last night I put a 9 pound pork shoulder on the Weber 18.5 and set it to about 225 and went to sleep. Checked it at about 0630 this morning(9 hours later) and it is the still maintaining temp. I thought I might have to add some coals, but I guess Louisiana winters don't get that cold. I should be able to go for about 12 or 13 hours before adding more fuel.

post #66 of 87
Well I bought one as well and the 1st time I went to use it the power supply failed. So I contact them for an RMA number, they sent it but then came back and said they'd send a new supply. OK, things happen. Then they wanted the failed supply back, no pre-paid UPS. So it cost me $7.50 to ship it back to them, not the end of the world but the 1st time out of the box and I have to pay them for their defective product? So the new supply showed up, I figured maybe they'd trhow in a few drink coolers or some consolation gift for my hassle.....nope, not even a note. So if you're reading Pitmaster...you really need to improve your customer service image. It's poor.

Ray from Mass.
post #67 of 87

I just received the IQ 120 for my WSM 18.5" and I did the "modified" minion method, using the crescent shape. I also got the smoker up to temp and unplugged and replugged the unit back in. It's been running for 13 hours without having to refuel. I am hoping to be able to go the entire time. I am using standard kingsford. I have 225 set and the Ivation is showing 232.


I had to move my pit temperature gauge at the beginning and set it next to the probe for my Ivation wireless thermometer. They are within around 7 degrees now. Good enough for a first try. At the beginning they were at least 25 degrees off because I had them on opposite sides of the grill.


Overall I am very happy with the IQ120 and the tips from this forum. The installation instructions were non existent from Pitmaster, so apparently I got it right.

post #68 of 87
I have a IQ 120 and it works great. You really have to read the instruction and see the YouTube videos to really understand the unit
post #69 of 87
Originally Posted by Lemans View Post

I have a IQ 120 and it works great. You really have to read the instruction and see the YouTube videos to really understand the unit

Where are you putting your probe at? And have you tried lump charcoal? I plan on doing a test run with lump doing the standard minion method and see what kind of issues I run into (time, temp etc).

post #70 of 87

I always use lump charcoal.... and i take a bamboo skewer and stick it in the meat and attach the prob to it...start with a small fire and slowly add fuel.. If you start too big you will over shoot your target temp..

post #71 of 87

I will try the bamboo skewer method. It makes sense for sure. And with your charcoal are you using the minion method or some variation? And how long can you run your smoker for? (thanks for the info!)

post #72 of 87

I can maintain 250 for about 4 hrs without adding fuel. Ps I dump my hot coal right in the center
post #73 of 87
post #74 of 87

I also bought an IQ 110. Getting very frustrated with it, my WSM thermostat was bouncing between 190 and 250, the IQ fan was going on and off, but the IQ gave me a solid green light indicating it was within 5 degrees of target. After fussing with it nearly an hour, I went in the house and got a meat thermometer and stuck it in the vent on top of the WSM. in a few seconds it read 225 degrees and hold there constantly. the WSM about three inches away was bouncing like an elevator. As many articles have indicated, the WSM thermometer is pure junk. I am one to confirm it is USDA certified junk after seeing my results. My ribs came out competition quality.

post #75 of 87

Let me state I have nothing but admiration for the Pitmaster IQ-120.  I did a torture test of the unit, and even intentionally stacked the odds against it:


Today, the pitmaster will be connected to the notoriously difficult Chargriller Akorn.  It won't be set up with the recommended "ring of fire" method, rather, it will be the classical Minion method (with very few coals started).  The Akorn has already had all the factory leaks addressed.  The stock leaky configuration of the Akorn (I believe) is a big part of the heartache people experience getting a stoker to work with it.  The stepped approach will be used to get it to temperature.  It will start at 175, then 200, then 225.  Stability will be checked, then it will be bounced up to 400 to season the brand-new grates.  Later tonight: Pizza!

post #76 of 87

Test run so far is looking good.

Condition of test:

Chargriller King-Griller (Akorn/Kamado), condition new.

The unit has had all the applicable sealing modifications recommended by others.  One exception, the top vent was not sealed at the base; the current design uses an O-Ring which seals well.

The unit also has the optional "Smoking Stone" which is 5/8 inch thick.

Top top vent is open enough for the temperature probes to pass through the "half-moon" at the bottom of the vent slits. The bottom of the flat part of the slits are about 1/16th inch open.

The Griller was loaded with lump "B & B" lump charcoal in the classical cone pattern.  The top center coals were heated with a blowtorch for 60 seconds and the lid closed.

The IQ damper is set to a "2", this makes overshoot more likely, but reduces the chance of the charcoal going out from oxygen starve when an overshoot occurs.

The IQ was set to 175 degrees and started.  Initial (worst) overshoot was 8 degrees.

The IQ was then set to 200 degrees.  Initial (worst) overshoot was 10 degrees.

The IQ was then set to 225 degrees.  Initial (worst) overshoot was 13 degrees.

I am going to leave it at this setting for a few hours to make sure the fire does not go out (as others have experienced), or I don't have any greater temperature swings.



John I Que,

I have a serious code upgrade suggestion for you.  There needs to be an option to select "insulated" or "high-efficiency" on the stoker.  When selected, it reduces the stoking rate at Pit Set Temp minus 35 (or settable)  degrees (instead of the 25 degrees mine works at).  It needs to do a bit more taper on the air delivery when you are at Pit Set Temp minus 10 (or settable) degrees.  This will make people who have well-insulated/efficient smokers (such as Kamado style) experience less overshoot. 

There needs to be an opposite setting for "Low Efficiency" smokers (such as some offset smokers).  It does not reduce the stoking rate until you are within 10 (or settable) degrees, this way, they do not wait as long for their smoker to get up to temperature.  Both of these options could be achieved by a "taper at" setting; when the temperature hits "Pit Set Temp" minus "taper at" value, the fan reduces it's rate to get the last few degrees at a lower stoke rate (rather than the fixed 25 degrees mine does). 

Another great option would be the "Max Stoke" option, where it sets a hard limit on maximum fan speed the unit uses to raise the temperature.  This would also help some users from over-stoking and ending up with a huge overshoot. 

I use the IQ on my mini-WSM, WSM, Kamado Kooker and soon, a modified Kingsford grill.

Edited by Addertooth - 9/13/14 at 12:34pm
post #77 of 87

It took about 1.5 hours for the Kamado Kooker to shed the 13 degrees (darn but those things are ridiculously well insulated and efficient).  Now it is staying between 225 to 230 at all times.  The past hour it has been 225-227.  The blower is running at about 7.5 percent duty cycle (3 display indicator rotations per 40 second period).  I am going to ramp it up soon to 300, 350, 400 for pizza tonight.

post #78 of 87

The rest of the temperature steps worked well without major overshoot.  I would do a Q-View on the pizza, but it evaporated as soon as it was sliced.  Beautiful crispy crust, the cheese was nicely caramelized.  It looked and tasted like it was cooked on a wood fired brick oven, awesome. At the time there were three stones in the Akorn, the smoking stone (diffuser below the main grate), a 15 inch pizza stone on the cast iron grate and a 13 inch stone on the warming shelf.  The two last stones were added at 225 degrees.  The temperatures were eventually ramped up to 400 for the Pizza (after doing a 4+ hour stability test at 225).   The issue is now settled in my mind; the minion method works on an Akorn, provided it is properly sealed. It does low and slow as well as high temperatures for doing pizza and searing.  No need to do a pesky snake or a ring of fire.  This way you have more charcoal in your firebox for potentially longer smokes.

post #79 of 87

Hi Addertooth


Thanks for the comprehensive test report. It is posts like this that take this forum heads and shoulders above the others.


I have been running my IQ-110 on Webers for several years and it has always done an effective job. The first couple of tries were not very successful as I was just trying to follow the meager instructions that came with it, but once I saw John demonstrate it on You Tube I could see what I was doing wrong. The biggest mistake I think people make when using the IQs is to have too big a fire to start with and already overshooting the temperature before the IQ has a chance to get in control.


I have not tried what you suggested about stepping up the temperature in stages until you reach target but will give it a try.


The IQ-120 seems to have a few more settings that you can play with. Do you think that these warrant upgrading from the 110?





post #80 of 87


The short answer is yes.  The IQ-120 has a second probe for the meat, and can make smoker (pit) temperature change decisions based upon meat temperatures.  One of the tricks it can do is:

Cook a brisket/pork shoulder at 225 until the meat hits 200, then automatically drop pit temperature to 150, to rest the meat.  This allows you to avoid racing out, pulling, wrapping the meat in a towel, and throwing it in a cooler.  This trick will not work on Kamado style cookers, they retain their temperature too well, and the meat will overcook.  But, it does work well on Weber Smokey Mountain units and other smoker/grills which do not have insulation (provided you pop the lid on them to dump the temperature down to 175, then put the lid back on). 

The feature can work in the opposite direction as well.  Smoke a (turkey/chicken/Cornish hen) at 225 until the breast meat reaches (130/115/105) then have it automatically raise the pit temperature to 375 to improve bite-through on the skin.  This gives the greatest amount of low-and-slow for the bird, but eliminates the "rubber skin" texture of birds which are only cooked at a low temperature.

I really like the digital display on the 120.  It shows the current pit temperature and the current meat temperature.  At a glance, you have the status of everything.  It also lets you know the duty cycle of the blower, this gives insight to how much "life" is left in your coals. 

The damper on the IQ-120 seals well enough, when set to the zero position, it will completely snuff out the coals (assuming all the other dampers on your grill/smoker are closed).

Picture of snuffed coals the next morning (the orange stuff is corn-meal for the pizza, not rust):


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