Ok, after reading posts for months and wishing I had a larger smoker, and liking the thought of digitally controlled electric heat, it just hit me that I have most of the components sitting in the basement.
I have the following parts from a screen print dryer rebuild that never came to be:
- three 3,600 watt Watlow Raymax stainless steel radiant panel heaters (max temp is 2,000 F).
- Omega "fuzzy logic" auto-tune PID controller with SSR output & J temp probe (I think it's a J probe, but I forget)
- two mercury wetted relay switches, one 60 amp and one 30 amp (both 240v)
- three high temp squirrel cage air recirculation fans (don't recall the CFM from memory)
- 10ga and 6ga high temp nickel clad multi-strand wiring
These are the flat panel type IR units and I'm thinking as long as they are covered and shielded from drippings they would work. We used to run them at 340* to cure plastisol inks on tee-shirts all day long (it's parts for a 10' tunnel dryer with forced air recirculation for those familiar with the industry, assembled dryer pulled 55amps @ 240v when running full blast and put out 10,800 watts IR heat). I also have the Watlow analog dial controller and the DC gear reduction motor and DC controller for the belt feed (saving the DC drive setup for a possible future rotisserie smoker build).
Smoke source would be a smoke generator or AMNPS. Cabinet is still under consideration, but I may have an inside track on some surplus heavy gauge aluminum traffic light control boxes that are big enough and at a decent price.
Has anyone used IR panels like this as the heat source for a electric smoker or have I totally lost my mind?
Granted a 3,600 watt IR heater is a lot for a smoker, but it should be able to be dialed back with a good digital controller. Panel is about 10" x 24" long and looks like this (more like the one on the left). Would be laying flat on the bottom of smoker box and protected by drip panels. Since it's an IR panel, I'm thinking a 1/4" steel plate painted with flat black 2000* paint sitting above it would work as both a heat sink and radiant panel to transmit the heat to the air circulating in the box. At 3,600 watts heat recovery should be pretty fast I would think
Edited by dward51 - 11/26/11 at 3:17pm