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?
Edited by JohnnyT - 4/5/13 at 6:47pm