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Temp Controller (blower) on an offset smoker

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I have seen a few people who use a temp controller/blower on their wood smokers and I had a curious interest in them. A few weeks ago I bought an igrill2 thermometer and used it on my last 2 smokes. Now that I have an accurate reading at grate level I find myself paying more attention to the temp swings which occur from loading more wood, wood burning down, etc. I realize that a person doesn't have to be anal about keeping the temp EXACTLY on a chosen number and that temps will fluctuate slightly. I'm just more aware of what is happening and strive to minimize the difference. I find myself going out to tweak the inlet air control slightly more than I ever have done. I have an Okie Joe's Longhorn. It's sealed up pretty good and I use a charcoal/wood basket in the fire box on the elevated grate that came with the unit. My swings are from my inexperience with the unit and previously only having the Tel-Tru thermometers on the lid to track temp. I understand that a wood offset requires more attention than an electric or a gas unit to maintain proper temps. I'm looking at a controller to lessen the required tweaks to the air and change my attention to monitor fuel level and condition. My long winded question is this. Of the people who use them do you like the controllers? I know some brands have better tech support than others (from what I see on here). Some do more than others. I have been looking at the Auber units since the PID controllers for electrics are talked about with such reverence on the forums and the price is good. Also they are on sale thru the end of the month. I would like to see a variable speed on the blower vs and on or off which the Auber (and probably most others) uses. I would think that if installed in my air inlet it would blow ash dust into the cooking chamber. Per an email response from Abur you install it above the charcoal grate. How do you users do the install? I was wanting to use the existing opening down low. Any ideas or advice are welcome. It's through this forum that I learned so much and can produce some nice brisket, pulled pork, and ribs! Thanks!! Don

post #2 of 12



I use a DigiQ DX2 on my WSM and I swear by it. It makes the WSM as close to "set and forget" as  you can possibly do when Qing. BUT it's a vertical smoker.


I've never used one on an offset., although I intend to modify a charcoal offset next Spring to accept my DigiQ. Winter has set in up here and I'm not  gonna fool with it until it starts to warm back up in the Spring.


The only concern I have on a stick offset would be the fan capacity. Most of the kits come with a 10 cfm fan and I'm not sure that's enough air for a big offset. I believe you can special order 25 cfm fans but they are pricey.


My WSM install is on the lower intake, below the fuel box and I never get ash in the cooking area above. I doubt that the fan has enough power to blow ash across the fire box and into the cooking chamber but I'm guessing based on fan speed and air movement. Again I haven't user one on an offset (YET).



Edited by BBQWillie - 11/26/15 at 5:59pm
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks Willie. I've looked at The Auber units and you can get a 10 or 20 CFM blower for $154. I'm not sure which size I'd go with. I did contact Auber customer support and they thought either would work for my smoker. An Okie Joe Longhorn has less volume or close to as a 55 gallon drum made smoker. I'm guessing less. Have you ever had problems with your Digi Q? Is the fan either off or on or is it a variable speed?

post #4 of 12

If your smoker is about the size of a 55 gal drum, the 10 cfm fan should work fine. I've had the DigiQ for 2 seasons and have had no problems at all. The fan turns on and off. It is not variable.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 


post #6 of 12

When you modify it, take pics and let us know how it goes. I'm sure many of us would like to follow this. When I do my charchoal offset in the Spring I'll do the same.

post #7 of 12

Updates from you guys on using a temp controller on an offset? I was just looking at doing this to mine. I see people talk about using them on offsets but no one has really given a solid review on if it works just as well as on the vertical units. 

post #8 of 12
Originally Posted by Braun View Post

Updates from you guys on using a temp controller on an offset? I was just looking at doing this to mine. I see people talk about using them on offsets but no one has really given a solid review on if it works just as well as on the vertical units. 


Haven't had the time and the Wx is just now getting to the point that we in the NE can come out from hibernation (It was 32 last night but warming to 65 today and 80 tomorrow!). I'm so starved for BBQ that I'll be using the WSM and MES for the next month just to get my BBQ blood level up to a point where I can start working on the new pit.

post #9 of 12
Hi. I just upgraded from a Chargiller to a Longhorn. I used a Heatermeter on the CG and during my seasoning heat on the LH. With the HM, you can use any number of fans, and can also include a servo for damper control. Ive been experimenting with various combos, and have found that the axial fan used in the "Microdamper" doesn't provide enough oomph. On the seasoning heatn I reverted to my 25cfm blower style fan throttled down to about, I'm now building a "large" Adapt-A-Damper that combines a 15cfm blower withe the servo, and I think that is hoing to be the perfect combo for the LH.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

I still haven't jumped on anything yet. I have seen good experiences people post about with the DigiQ DX2 and the Flame Boss. I'm looking at the IQ120/130 and still the Auber. Auber has a new model out this year which looks like a cool unit! WiFi and all. It's about $125 more or so.  I don't really need the food probe option since I use the igrill2 to monitor the food.  But that won't decide my choice either way. A controllers ability to keep a set temp of course is paramount. Ease of operation and ease to set are important. I'd be happy with a black box with a display of set/actual temps and the required power & probe sockets. It sounds like the HeaterMeter is a bit more geeky than I would take on. This time of year I stay really busy so finding the time for reading about and researching the different units is difficult. I'll post what happens.

Edited by Wichita Chief - 5/29/17 at 8:30am
post #11 of 12

I have used a Guru on my WSM for years. It would hold a temp for 23 hours without even adding any charcoal or wood.


When I bought my Lang, I put a port in the firebox below the wood grate.


I had to buy the 25 cfm fan to get enough air.


But to tell you the truth, I can keep the temps just as steady with the dampers.


And why bother with a temp controller on something your going to have to add wood to every 45 minutes or so anyway.


In my opinion, for a stick burner it's a waste of money.


Just my 2 cents!



post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Good point Al. I always see people who burn charcoal talking about them but rarely do I see many stick burners mention them. Needing a 20-25 cfm fan to make it work is what I was figuring and your mention just reinforces that. Thx!!

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