So did a really good big 'double' smoke on the bank holiday weekend (See it here) and I used my Stoker II (Controller, available here)
As I was doing two rather huge beef rib sections, I used two bags of Aussie Beads (including half a chimney for starting) minion method (well, piled on!)
Smoked from 6am till about 2pm.
Using the controller, I had two of the bottom vents closed and the third covered with the controller fan.
Without really thinking about it, once the meat was off and the pit-beans & foil wrapped corn-on-the-cob had been taken off after 8mins directly on the coals, I turned the controller off (stopping the fan) and closed the top vent.
The next day, I came to clear up and could not believe how much UNTOUCHED Aussie Beads was left!
Managed to remove a FULL chimney of beads that had either not been touched or had only a small patch of white on them and were still strong enough to squeeze without them disintegrating.
So it seems that the controller not only makes the temps perfect for the whole cook (no stalls!) but is also more economical.
Can't recommend this controller enough. Although I presume any/all controllers will do the same job.
Using a controller is 'kind of' cheating I guess. but the question is, why NOT use one?
It's a little like using cruise control in your car. You still need to know how to drive .....