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Sows ear to Silk purse

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Ok the wifey came home with me a new smoker. A Char-Broil vertical 505. She found it at a close-out store for $109.00 US. They have stacks of them, and I can see why. Its almost a good product for the money, but lacks quality that is easily obtained by spending just a few more minutes manufacturing.


The unit is supposed to be double walled & insulated, but only the back wall has any visible insulation. The rest of it is double walled. So at best we shall say it is 1/6 insulated. The interior has gaps in the walls ( easily filled with high temp ceramic based filler ). The walls also have holes for adjusting racks but they give no plugs to fill unused. Detachable Thermostatic control which optimises temp control with very low, medium, and high marks. The chip tray is within 1 inch of the element, and the water pan holds a 12 oz beer.


Hey I do love the magnetic door latches that I can say will let loose if any warp-age occurs while running it at temps for hot smoking. No really I like that, but some spring loaded hinges would'a been they way to go along with the magnetic latches.


 The dog peeing on this things legs will not bode well for these poorly painted feet.


3 racks, The water and chip tray rack are of course only accessible by opening the door and killing cook time, yet they are sized so small you may want to leave the door open and plan on cooking loooooong times, or not having smoke.....


Does It smoke? I have no clue yet as it rocks due to uneven legs...., But the 1/4 inch diameter exhaust tube really will make this smoker perform like an old man trying to pee with a swollen prostate.


Now With a $50.00 US budget I want to transform this smoker. Into a quality beginners model. It will function just as one 3 times its price, but will require some assembly by me. A DIY upgrade....


Stay tuned ...............................

post #2 of 14

This should be a good one!


I'm in.





post #3 of 14

Four20,  Interesting project, I'm sure you will do a fine job on it.


Best of luck!:popcorn

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

How can someone manufacture 4 legs all different lengths. I will get there soon.

Maybe they should adopt  the metric system.

I know the shop floor is not this bad. Maybe the level is wrong.

OMG bad gaps!

ok sealed for now..................

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Frosty View Post

Four20,  Interesting project, I'm sure you will do a fine job on it.


Best of luck!:popcorn

Its getting there.

Here we go... I have it marked out to cut two of the legs down by 1.25 inch so that I can install casters on the two and adjustable feet on the other two.



The three marks.. The B is the bend mark. The  2nd is the angle to trim, and the third is the cut-off mark.


Bending with a pair of duckbills. Then I overlap and re-tack the welds. Always remember when splitting a bent metal leg to drill a hole in the angle to keep from cracking farther beyond the bend.

I used threaded casters recycled from an office chair. Tacked a nut to the interior of the legs, and doubled a wing-nut to allow up to 1/2 inch adjustment.


Ok since there were a couple dishwashers in the junk yard; I pulled the front levelling feet from one and installed on the other 2 legs. It can be levelled now even tho all 4 legs were different lengths.

Better now, and have only spent $6.99 on a silica based, non VOC filler filler for the gaps.

So now it can be rolled out of the garage and used, but stored in a semi-conditioned environment to prolong lifespan. 


Even if I bought the feet and the casters I would have no more than :


$6.99 for the silica based fire stop non VOC.

$8.39 for the casters

$5.49 for the feet.


My local hardware store price which may vary for your area. I love junk yard building, and have a junk yard to pick from. Do not knock my junk yard. It does help people who cannot afford a new spider assembly for a front loader to keep washing clothes.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Ok I have been looking to plug all the excess rack holes. Lets face it this thing cam with 3 racks, and basically there are only so many ways to configure this thing.


Roll of magnet. Heat rated to 500 f. Cut into pieces and put over unused holes.


post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

Well I feel lonely. 


TBS is necessary for any smoker no matter how cheap it may be. The chip or pellet tray is no longer a viable smoke source. 


So first a few strategic cuts are made, and a punch to flare the hole. 


Pressed in a 60 watt element. 


It now is outside of the cook box. No lost temp, 


I fab'ed 3 glide plates for the chip-box. The irons handle allows ease of removal to re-replenish.

Crude depiction of the intake damper.

Edited by Four20 - 3/20/16 at 6:08pm
post #8 of 14

Looks good so far. 

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

A little bit too much.


Its thinned out. Im wondering if I should pair it with the main element or if i should timer the smoke element?

Originally Posted by old sarge View Post

Looks good so far. 

Thank you,


Tonight was it first test.

post #10 of 14
Maybe it was meant to be a kit.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Joe Black View Post

Maybe it was meant to be a kit.

Definitely needed some better thinking from the char broil company. They basically built a box that would tend to chase off any newbs. 



I cut out the existing 1/4 inch exhaust with a 1 inch hole saw. Utilizing a 3/4 inch black iron nipple and El, I up-sized the exhaust chimney.


The 66 ford is the next to come into the shop.

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 


We have made some progress.


New SS drip pan ( hotel pan 11x13 inch ) Fits.......!Perfectly in the provided rack holder.


Only 2 inches from element to give good steam when needed.


Drilled a hole in the bottom of the existing control. Then soldered the smoke box element to the heating element to pair. The PID is still on its way. This works well so far. I will do its final seasoning tomorrow.


Ok lets see how a 15 Lb packer smokes in it for a trial run.............. Easter Brisket

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

Ladies and Gentleman......


It's time....



post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

For those who may have read about the challenged brisket. This is the smoker used to cook it. The main draw-back I had was the large amount of smoke it gave off even with wet chips in the beginning. Being paired with the element has its drawbacks when trying to get the box up to temp. So I had to remove the chip box and set it aside for the first 20 minutes of the cook.


I installed the lil vent tube that came with the unit in the right side of the smoker at mid level of the top rack to monitor IT with my meat probe. I also had a probe ran through the new exhaust to the inside of the box to monitor box temp. I trust my thermo more than the one which came with the unit. there was about 35 f difference in the two. The door therm says it was cooking at 275f and my probe at the same height said 235f.


Lightly smoking.



Thinly sliced after an 8 hour rest wrapped in foil in a cooler.


Now I am still waiting on china to manufacture the PID I ordered, and put it on the mayflower to float it to me.


I have a good deal of time in the modifications I have done, but it was all in the name of beer time. By sealing the gaps and holes I found that the outside of the box was barely warm to the touch. It is still not simplified the way I had hoped, but I still got more beer to drink. I had budgeted $50.00 to modifications, not counting the beer. 

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