or Connect
SmokingMeatForums.com › Forums › Smoking Supplies & Equipment › Smoker Builds › Just finished my new smoker build, need reviews/input.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Just finished my new smoker build, need reviews/input.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

First of all this website is really cool. Ive done a lot of reading here and I just finished my homemade wood built smoker. I have a yoder ys640 pellet smoker i use for pork butts, ribs, chicken etc, but i needed one just for summer sausage. My pellet grill had to many temperature swings inside the unit causing over cook to under cooked summer sausage from one side to other and from top rack to bottom rack.  Any way i built this wooden smoker with inside dimensions of 36 x 24 x 64, approx 32 cubic feet. Insulated 3 1/2 inch walls, bottom and top. I did check on the plywood, and the stuff I used does not contain formaldehyde, and I think after a initial 8-10 hr smoke with no meat in it ought to pre-season the inside good enough to get started. So i am heating the unit with a 120 vac 1500 watt electric element, and am using the amazen smoker tubes for smoke on the inside. I have not bought my temp controller yet because i am unsure at this point what to do. Upon firing up the unit for the first time here are my results. Outside temp was 36 degrees, within first 30 minutes smoker came up to 133 degrees, after 1 hr 158 degrees and after second hour internal smoker temp was 183 degrees. This was with heating element on 100 percent of the time. So my question is---what will happen when its 20 degrees outside and I have 50 lbs of cold summer sausage hanging in the smoker, will this heating element work???? Should I add a second 1500 watt element and power it on a dedicated outlet to take care of the current draw issues, then would i have to buy two temp controllers?? Or should I go with a 220 vac heating element. Only one of these that i could find was 2100 watts, i dont think that would be a big enough increase. And my other concern was, i was planning on using the auberins ws-1500 dpms thermo couple controller, but this unit only controls 120vac, i dont think they make one like this unit for 220 vac.  Any input would be very helpful. I have attached some pics of my build.

post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 

Also wanted to add, i got plenty of smoke with the two amaznsmoker tubes, And I have 4 temp gauges on the unit, two on the front and two on the right side. As I monitored temps in unit they were all within about 4-5 degrees, so I was happy with that. Unlike my pellet smoker wich had a 40 degree temp difference from left to right. So I'm convinced the unit is insulated enough. My goal temp. is about 155-160 finished (internal temp) of summer sausage. Im just not sure if this unit will struggle with the 1500 watt heating element when it is loaded with meat. Hope I can get some advice from people who have more experience than me.

post #3 of 17
Very nice, good job! I bet you can't wait to smoke it up.
post #4 of 17

Nice looking smoker!

 

I think the 1,500 watt element will be fine.  Remember you are only going to 150-160* and that will be in stages over time for sausage smoking.  You don't need to bring a mass of meat up to temp quickly as you will be using cure anyway. 

 

Another thought on changing the design.  Since it's built now and usable with the simple addition of a temperature control unit, why not see if it does what you want first before redesigning it with a bigger element.  I think you will find it is fine with the 1,500 watt element.  The only change you may want to look at is get try taping some foil over part of the intake vent to see if that helps with your temps.  Remember you only need enough air to feed the smoke tubes and not keep a gas fire burning.  That vent may be a little large (I can't tell from the photo if it has an adjustable damper or not, but that would do the same thing as trying to cover part of the intake with foil).  I suggest foil as it lets you see if a smaller intake makes a difference without actually modifying the cabinet design for a trial.

 

I would *NOT* use the Auber WS-1500 as it is only rated at 15 amps and does not have the programmable step function. You want to go with the Auber WSD-1503CPH which can handle up to a 1,800 watt element and can be programmed in up to 6 stages which is perfect for sausage smoking.  You can set it for x amount of time at one temp, then it will step up to x amount of time at the next programmed temp, etc...  The 1503CPH also has a 2nd probe for monitoring temps in a sample of the meat.  It's a little more expensive than the WS-1500 but it does everything you will want for that cabinet and is "plug and play" ready to go.

 

The other option is you can build your own PID controller and there are a lot of folks here who have done that.  It just depends on how comfortable you are working with 110v AC circuits (and remember, AC "can" kill if wired improperly).

 

Looks like you are well on your way to making some great smoked sausage!

post #5 of 17
ok then.... looking good... First off let me say... I struggled with the 1500 w element as well... You will not be happy with this heating element especially after you load the smoker up .. you will not get over 120-130`... Myself, I went up to 220 v and used elements out of an old oven... I used the element from the bottom of the stove (bake element) first... temps went up to 180 or so (empty) ... i was looking to get up around 250 so that I can smoke regularly (ribs, butts and so forth)... I ended up hooking up the broiler element as well (both elements).. and temps shot right up to 250 within 30 minutes.. and mines not insulated, just 1/2" plywood ... I will say the broiler element seemed like it got hotter but I never did just the broiler element by itself... I am still using propane at the moment as I have to get over 100' of 12/3 wire to run 220 v from my breaker box to the smokehouse....

as for a controller... I would suggest the SYL-2352P from Auberins .. It has a ramp feature so you can set it up to ramp your temps up slowly over a period of time.... The controller doesn't actually power the element... it powers a SSR which in turn lets the power go through to the heating element.... both the controller and SSR (25A SSR MGR-1D4825) will run off of 110 v or 220 V .... Hope that helps some....
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

I am pretty comfortable with AC, have been working with it my whole life. I guess the advantage would be that i would save a little money. So I guess I would have to buy controller, SSR, heat sink, and sensor. The plug n play look so nice and are already done.If a guy built one, wired it together, I guess it would be pretty much like the plug n play models? Same type of operation?  Good idea on my vent, it is adjustable. I did close it all the way and it did make a difference. I guess the smoker only taking 1 hour to come up to 158 degrees isn't to bad, that would be the equivalent to the one hour drying time before the smoking starts. Would I be correct in assuming that after the summer sausage starts coming up to temp it will be a little easier to maintain the heat in the smoker, were the electric heating element wont have to stay on constant?  Just to let you guys know, I have been making summer sausage for a few years, but have peeled off from the group of guys and smoking my own. Previously would use a actual wood fire in a out house style smoker, but that would require a man to sit there for 6-10 hours constantly adjust temp. and adding wood etc. My goal is to have this homemade smoker do most of the work for me so I don't have to baby sit it the whole time.

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

ok then.... looking good... First off let me say... I struggled with the 1500 w element as well... You will not be happy with this heating element especially after you load the smoker up .. you will not get over 120-130`... Myself, I went up to 220 v and used elements out of an old oven... I used the element from the bottom of the stove (bake element) first... temps went up to 180 or so (empty) ... i was looking to get up around 250 so that I can smoke regularly (ribs, butts and so forth)... I ended up hooking up the broiler element as well (both elements).. and temps shot right up to 250 within 30 minutes.. and mines not insulated, just 1/2" plywood ... I will say the broiler element seemed like it got hotter but I never did just the broiler element by itself... I am still using propane at the moment as I have to get over 100' of 12/3 wire to run 220 v from my breaker box to the smokehouse....

as for a controller... I would suggest the SYL-2352P from Auberins .. It has a ramp feature so you can set it up to ramp your temps up slowly over a period of time.... The controller doesn't actually power the element... it powers a SSR which in turn lets the power go through to the heating element.... both the controller and SSR (25A SSR MGR-1D4825) will run off of 110 v or 220 V .... Hope that helps some....

 

Ya thats what Im worried about. I dont wont to get into a position were I have 50lbs summer sausage and a smoker that wont work. I want to get everything figured out and tested before my next run. Jackdnls 07 do you have any idea what the wattage was on the broiler element  or baking element?

post #8 of 17
not exactly sure... but looking at replacement elements they are in the range of 2500 - 3500 w ... When I loaded the house up with sticks and started the process with the 1500 w element and the temp wouldn't go up... I started about a dozen charcoal briquettes in the charcoal chimney and just set the whole thing in the house (on a clay tile) to supplement the heat... then the electric kept it steady at the set temps... was good enough to finish the process.... Like I say.. i have been using propane since until i can get the electric working right....
post #9 of 17
To answer your PM....

I would try the smoker with what you have.... For bringing it up to the initial temp. and drying all the sausage casings and getting them up to 130 ish deg...... think about using a portable heater... the air will get all the meat up to temp faster and also get the thermal mass of the smoker up to temp. also.... then fire up the smoke generator.... I would close down the vents to minimal... maybe 2 sq. in. top and bottom... If you need to control the temp due to overheating, (if that happens), a dimmer switch will work... check to see it is overrated for wattage using incandescent bulbs.....

post #10 of 17

If you end up going with more wattage than the 1,500 watt single element, I suggest you go with 220v system.

 

Yes it requires running a dedicated 220v line to where you use the smoker, and a little different wiring inside the control box, but you will be much happier if you do need a higher wattage setup. Since you are comfortable working with a home built SSR & PID control system there is really no reason not to build your own system.  The basics of how they work is pretty straight forward. 

 

I will give a big 2nd thumbs up to the Auber Instruments SYL-2352P and a 25 amp SSR to switch the element.   Heating elements can range from salvaged units from a kitchen oven to finned commercial units.  Just make sure the wattage rating is at 220v and it is a single phase element (or can be wired for single phase 220v).  You could even buy a 2nd 1,500watt 110v element like you have and split the 220v into the L1 and L2 legs as two separate 110v circuits at the cabinet (220v from house into cabinet and then split into two 110v legs).  You would need a 2nd SSR but they could be triggered in tandem from the same DC output of the SYL-2352P.  A split 110v system would also give you the option of installing a SPST switch to break the flow of power to one of the elements for low temp and/or low quantity of meat smokes where 3,000 watts would be too much heat.  

 

Lots of options.....

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

Got my hands on oven element. Am going to give it a test run tommorow. Not sure of the wattage, but can calculate after I measure current draw. I am curious to see difference in temp changes. will keep my findings posted. I was looking at the SYL-235P, man that thing is tiny?? If i read the specs right it is only 1.89 X1.89 inches-i guess that is the read out, buttons and all.

post #12 of 17
yup.. it's not very big... but as been said... the controller doesn't supply the 220 v to the element.. just a DC signal to the SSR... just remember the different wiring set up for the 220 v element ....
post #13 of 17

SYL-2352P is your standard 1/16 DIN sized (48mm x 48mm).  The mounting cutout it fits into is 45mm x 45mm.

 

If you are "rolling your own" controller, I would suggest adding a 2nd device to dedicate as a meat temp display.  The SYL-2352P is a single input device and will read and control the cabinet temps, but it will not display the internal temp of any of the meat you are smoking.  You can add their SYL-1512a to monitor and display your meat temp. It also will allow you to set an alarm to notify you when a set point in the smoking process has been reached (ie, the meat is "done").  It's even smaller at 1"x2" (24mm x 48mm).  You can even add more than one of these if you could see a need (such as smoking more than one type or thickness of meat at the same time as they will be "done" at different times).

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

Just to give you guys a update. I changed out he 1500 watt element for a 2400 watt/220vac one and the temp increase was way better. My results were: outside temp 38 degrees, started smoker in 15 min inside temp went to 130, 1/2 hr 160 and 45 min 182. This bigger element draws approx 10.5 amps. I finished the bottom and put on the casters, all i have to do is paint it and get my controller ordered today. I have full confidence that this unit will have no problem handling 50 lbs summer sausage. I attached a few pics of the almost finished product.

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

O i guess i better make some sort of heat deflector to put over heating element to keep any meat drippings from getting on it. Will have to think about this.

post #16 of 17
Good looking smokehouse... Consider insulating the chimney so condensate doesn't drip on the food, or hang a drip catch pan under it... Condensate is a major drawback of using a stack...

Dave
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 

Ya that sounds good. I need to do some looking around and get some ideas on a "shelf or stand" to put over heating element. My internal temps stay pretty stable, is only about 7 degree difference between top and 3/4 way down, 3-4 degrees from front to sides. If i come up with some sort of shelf i guess i could put a drip pan on it to??

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Smoker Builds
SmokingMeatForums.com › Forums › Smoking Supplies & Equipment › Smoker Builds › Just finished my new smoker build, need reviews/input.