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PID Food Warmer Cabinet Remodel- Sausage machine (Will take suggestions along the way)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

OK yall here goes. I have been a member for a couple years and have enjoyed the site, time to give back by documenting this build and get some tips along the way. I found this smoker on craigslist in 2014 while looking for an old refrigerator to convert.The seller I believe is a member here or was back then. The smoker served its purpose but its time to upgrade. 


Ive attached the below pics as my starting point. Original build had insulation in the cabinet with foil backed tape- I took it out before these pics. Also the Mypin T series PID and power switch panel was mounted on the front of drawer in bottom of the smoker. A couple things I did not care for about this was controls were low to the ground which was a pain to set and also not the cleanest spot with food drippings. The cabinet had a thermocouple sticking in the back wall about mid height it didnt seem to give an accurate measurement cross the entire cabinet cooking space. The element as you can see was mounted on the removable drawer which I do like in case it needs to be taken out to be worked on. However the floor below the cabinet was not sealed which allowed heat and other liquids to get into the electrical area inside the cabinet drawer. Also there was no deflector to keep the element from being dripped on. My smoke source has been a custom made martini shaker smoke generator lit with a torch and forced into smoker with an adjustable aquarium pump.


The Myin PID I havent been able to find any manuals or clear instructions to program the control or troubleshoot it.It was basically a thermostat for me. For the last half of a year I would plug the 220 volt setup in, turn it on and the PID was showing all kinds of different numbers and I had no idea how to reprogram it so I have been slacking on bbq. Just this month I bought a 350lb sow off a show pig breeder I use in FL and had it sent to the butcher I have used since I was a kid. 1/2 the pig was ground and frozen in 5lb bulk packages, the other half was cut in your typical pork cuts. So I am ready to smoke with no smoker- slight problem!


As far as smoking I enjoy the weekend smoke making all the typical cuts but I am really interested in getting into custom sausages/fish and maybe even do jerky in the smoker instead of the dehydrator. I have been tossing different ideas around about heat and smoke sources. I thought about the smokedaddy pellet auger. It is a nice system but I did not care for the temperature ranges. I want to be able to maintain lower temperatures and set custom temperature programs so the PID and electric element is the best setup for me.


My general plan with this build: 


control panel and heat source wiring

smoke generator/exhaust/air intake fab and install

insulation install

stainless steel interior sheet metal install/welding

heat element with dripping deflector shield install     (not sure if using the same element: tips gladly accepted)

shelf and dowell rod install

door and seal rebuild-plan to get rid of window in door insulate and put a nice sheet metal on door. 

repaint exterior once build is complete. 


Yesterday I pulled the trigger on the Auber Instruments dual probe SMD100 PID, Two K type thermocouplers one for meat one for cabin, some connectors, a heat sink, 40amp ssr, and a control cabinet to mount on the outside of the smoker. Thinking this will all go near the lock on the door that looks like a latch. The door actually latches via magnets which I plan to keep. 


I am a union welder by trade and am not an electrician. Fabrication and welding is not a problem for me if I can get the time off work and sneak away from the wife and three daughters for me time. I read the manual for the auber controller and am highly impressed with their product so far. I dont think the wiring will be too much of an issue with their information and whats available on this site.


Looking forward to this build and yall's help and discussions along the way. I guess for starters whats your thoughts on elements.


Also Smoke: been burning chips in the generator you see. it tars up a lot and glues/seals itself together but produces decent smoke for at least 2 maybe 3 hours. I prefer the flavor of an open flame and wood burning but as I said I need the ability to customize my cooking programs and lower temperatures. I like some good heavy smoke on my products and would like to find or build something that will generate smoke longer without adding too much heat. 


Thanks for your time and happy smoking. 





















Edited by Welderdan - 8/6/16 at 11:04am
post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 
Update and a question. Received my PID, probes and control box in the mail yesterday. Waiting on the weekend to start wiring this thing up. Pid power input is around 80 to 480 volts. Not sure if its best to wire the input power for 110 or 220 at the pid. Either is acceptable just wondering if there were any advantages to either. Also wondering if any one has had experience cutting mounting holes in the control panel boxes. Whats the best way. Thinking a dremel with a small cut off wheel. Any opinions out there? Submit some more pics once i make some progress. Thanks
post #3 of 6

Power it the way that is easiest for you to wire.  It will not matter to the PID.


Also I have some fairly decent programming instructions for the MYPIN units.  I posted them in the thread linked below.  I would go with the Auber to run the smoker, but with a manual you might be able to use the MYPIN for something or even as a temp display only.



post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
A little progress this weekend. Pid mounted in panel with two power cords. A 1" hole saw and a grinder with a cut off wheel and some files did the cutting. Shopped around for a dremel cutoff tool but they are proud of those things. Figured i would stick with the tools i had. The black cord will be incoming power 10/4, the white one 12/3 will plug to the element which will have a power cord and plug sticking out of the back of the smoker. I plan to leave the element and and power cord mounted to the drawer so they are removable from the cabinet if I need access to modify or work on it in the future.

Also I like the idea of not mounting and hard wiring the control panel to the smoker. Allowing me to store the panel inside the house when it is not in use. Started connecting 14 guage AWG stranded wires in control panel, waiting on a 30 Amp switched breaker to come in and a few more thermocouple panel mount connectors from auber. Didn't want to get too far ahead with wires inside the panel and then start cutting and drilling more holes.

Looked on smoking meat forums a little bit for cool control panel ideas didn't see much under a forum search. Anyone got any neat mods on their controls besides the basic PiD setup. Was thinking a small LED beacon light on top of the panel wired to one of the relays. Thinking I will set it for the final step of the cook once the meat has hit internal temp and the cabinet has dropped temp to a warming mode. Be a good way to know that your product is finished without looking at temps.

Researching element size and options now, talking with dward51 on the side to handle that. Looking forward to some more progress. Stay tuned.

Edited by Welderdan - 8/14/16 at 5:06pm
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Panel is not complete, but far enough along to plug her in and see the PID light up and operate. Checked the meat sensor temp with some ice water and the wife's hot tea as she was walking though the kitchen. Here's a couple pics. Going to wire in a 110 volt outlet that is always hot. Will use it with aquarium pump for smoke generator, a temp work light for night time meat checks, charging a cell phone, plugging in a radio or who knows what else. Still planning on doing a rotating green or red LED beacon light wired into one of the relays as a meat has reached internal temp visual alarm. Ebay has them pretty cheap, but all this stuff adds up and the wife is going to use it against me at some point to get what she wants. 









On baby duty for the rest of the weekend while the wife is working for some friends on their BBQ food truck "Riverside BBQ" at the National Wild Turkey Federation. Last time they cooked I got their leftover BBQ. Maybe I can get lucky again...since my smoker is out of commission for now. I hope to see a little more progress this weekend.


No overtime lately so I am waiting to pull the trigger on auber dual temp meter pid that the bottom two thermocouple outlets wire into. Thinking I will build a nice rack on the side of the smoker that the panel will mount to while operating and then can be unplugged and stored inside the house when not in use. 


Next phase of build will be on the element drawer. Plan to keep it as a slide in drawer that houses element, deflector, air intake, with a 220 volt plug that will plug into the white cord that comes out of my panel. Thinking this will be the easiest way to maintain and clean the smoker over the years of use. 

post #6 of 6

Looking pretty good so far!


You can add a 2nd unit for a food temp display.  Alarm function is built in to most.  You don't need the full PID, just a dual channel process thermometer (about 1/2 the price of a PID or less).  Alarm can trigger buzzer, flashing light, or whatever you want it to trigger as long as you provide the proper interface or use something the alarm output can "light".  Or if you get a good deal on a dual channel PID, just use it for temp display only.  You don't have to hook anything up to the SSR output to use the display and alarm functions.  Plus you have a backup if the main PID flakes out.   Just do a quick move of the screw terminals and you are back in business.


It looks like you have plenty of room in the cabinet, and you don't have to worry about heat sinking an additional PID if it's not going to have an SSR associated with it (as in just used for temp display and alarm functions).


If I ever get around to converting the warmer I bought a while back (I keep putting off the dissasembly and foam insulation removal), I'm thinking about using a Smoke Chief pellet smoke generator for the smoke source.   Yeah, I know.... trays and tubes are easier and a lot cheaper, but that device keeps catching my eye.

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