I've been searching and finding threads all over the place - some relevant and others not so much. I hate to but I'd like to learn more and maybe try my luck at putting one to work on my MES. As I understand it, the PID is a bit of an intelligent controller that uses algorithms to 'learn' how what it is controlling performs then uses that information to send signals to the SSR (solid state relay) to pass current or not pass current based on the status of the PID. The thermocouple is the sensing device that provides the feedback loop to the PID which would be wired to the PID and the probe would reside inside the MES. I have trouble understanding how my MES would get its current. Would it be plugged into a 120V AC circuit or wired to the SSR - and not plugged into a 120 VAC source - allowing the PID to control the MES' heating element switching. Does the SSR have to be connected to the MES wiring so that low voltage signalling controls when the element has power with the MES getting its power from the 120 VAC mains, or does the MES actually get its power thru the SSR? It seems that the latter would not be feasible. If the MES power comes from the mains, then the SSR has to be wired into the MES circuits meaning that one must know and understand the MES wiring that controls the heating element.
From reading the MasterBuilt website I learned that my unit has a 1200 heating element. What, if any, bearing does that have on the specs for the PID and the SSR? Do they have to be rated specifically to cover 1200 watts? Is there some other controlling rating, such as the voltage and amperage used by the MES to control the heating element power switch?
I did a bit of looking online after reading posts here. Amazon Prime has a MYPIN TA4 PID unit with heat sensor probe for $26.99 and a FOTEK SSR 40DA unit rated -3 to 32 VDC for $5.29. Add a little bit of wire and the lugs to make the connections, and Bob's yer uncle, no? That is considerably less than the $175 for the Auber plug-n-play unit. I realize that others have said that he TA4 is not of the highest quality, but buying from Amazon means I can return it (as opposed to eBay).
What am I missing?
In closing, I think this subject of using PIDs to control temps in our smokers - be they charcoal or electric - has enough interest to have a sticky thread somewhere to make it easier to find and read the information. The search functions aren't quite discreet enough to winnow out all the chaff.