My younger brother and I are both engineering students, so anything we build is guaranteed to be absurdly complicated. We're just doing it for fun, and hey, if someone offers to buy the thing when we're done, all the better.
We have a Bradley Original and it works great. We've done ham, bacon, summer sausage, chickens... Using that basic idea, we are going to duplicate and maybe improve its features.
1. My questions are about hardware. I'm going to start looking for a broken old fridge with a mostly metal interior. Once I have that, what's the best source or model for an electric heat element, to get the interior up to cooking levels?
2. I am planning on having it actually use Bradley biscuits because they are readily available, and that will make the thing easier to sell when it's done. So, what kind of element should I use for a burner to turn the biscuits into smoke? Has someone tried this? Did it work? Can you link me to something I can use here?
3. I found auberins.com on another post here, and I think I'll buy a few thermocouple sensors...one for the interior temp, and a pointy one for the actual meat temp. Are these things pretty easy to work with?
We're going to program a microcontroller to have these functions; hold a temperature (plus or minus a few...we don't need a PID controller), keep the smoke going (advance the biscuits once every twenty minutes), and shut down when the food is done. All we need for electronics is a knob and a button for temp settings, the two thermometers, and a servo to run the biscuit hopper.
Thanks in advance,