I am currently putting my new Auber Instruments PID Temperature Controller through its paces on my 18.5" WSM for a trial run. This unit cost me $134.40 on www.auberins.com, plus 10.50 shipping, for a total bill of $144.90. (I added the $3 silicone gasket for the fan but I really don't need it).
I lit up the smoker like I always do, let it come up to temperature and stabilize manually using the vents, then once it was about 225 Deg., I turned it over to the controller by plugging in the blower fan and closing the other 2 vents on the bottom of the WSM. I have some pictures below of the fan setup. I have water in the water pan.
I had the temp probe clipped to the top grate while it was coming up to temperature alongside the grill probe for my Maverick ET-732. The two temperature readings have stayed within 2 degrees of each other the whole time.
The Auber has been holding steady within +3, -1 degrees of the 225-deg setpoint for an hour now.
I smoke a lot of brisket on the WSM, and usually have a few vent adjustments to make in the wee hours of the morning, and I'm hoping this PID controller will help me get a little more sleep.
The user interface is kinda clumsy if you're used to stuff like iPhone apps - this one requires close reading of the manual to set different parameters. The good news is that if all you want to change is the setpoint, it's silly-simple to do that. If you want to set hi and lo alarms, that is not hard but you have to read the instructions.
The 6.5 CFM fan seems to be just fine for the 18.5" WSM. I will be smoking a "Mothers' Day" brisket overnight tomorrow night, so that will be the real test.
Here is the fan setup. It has a spring that clips the fan tightly enough to an open hole in the lower vent.
The LED display doesn't photograph well because of the way it flickers, but the Auber was set at 225, reading actual temp. of 227, while the Maverick read 226. Not bad.
I don't have a picture of the probe, but it attaches to the grate with an alligator clip and has a 6' cable to the yellow plug on the bottom of the controller unit.
So far so good. I'll post more later as the experiment continues. I hope to give it a 5-6 hour test before I trust it overnight with a brisket
Edited by TexasTiger - 5/9/14 at 1:31pm