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Cheap DIY Automated power drafter (Guru)

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
A while ago there was a thread about what you want to accomplish in 2009. Well, on my list was making a cheap Guru Pitminder device using linear circuits (non microprocessor based).

SMF members I give you the Simple, Cheap, Auto Temp System or what's been named SCATS for short.

Here's a pic of what I've got:

Here's how to make your own:



post #2 of 9
nice job Rob, how much do you have into it? I am interested in how good it works
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Cooked ribs with it last night

I cooked 2 slabs on the WSM using this device last night. It works quite well actually. Once the smoker gets up to temp adjust the knob until the "Fan On" led turns on dim - kind of like arming it. The fan will be off. Once it drops below your set point the LED and fan slams on hard and the fire stokes up then it turns off again. I had a stoker doing the charting but I wasn't quite sure how to save the chart. I'll try and post it if I can.

The Guru fan is overkill at 18volts. On a WSM you could go with a small computer CPU fan if you figure how to mount it. With the parts I have listed you could probably make this for $35.

post #4 of 9
Hey Rob. I didn't realize you were a member over here. Nice to see you. And again, I dig the rig!
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 


Thanks Josh,

Now I can finally move on to writing my Java PDA app to control the Stoker. I used Amir's StokerLog software last night. It's pretty sweet. All I want is something simple running on a WiFi PDA.

Have you seen this device yet:

Looks interesting and cheap at that. So many toys, so little time!

post #6 of 9
That thing is sweet. I have been looking for something like this. I am going to have my buddy take a look, and see if her can build it for me, he is an Electrical Engineer.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Guru on the cheap

I used to be an EE many moons ago but gave it up for software. She can probably improve the circuit a great deal by using pulse width modulation and some other techniques. It's a pretty easy build though - have fun with it.

post #8 of 9
I will. Thanks again for posting it.
post #9 of 9
Yea, I looked at Arduino when I started my temperature control process. I chose Phidgets instead because I'm a lazy programmer. Phidgets is a bit more expensive, but very easy to program. Also, at the end of the day, I wanted some sort of user interface (a display). By the time I started adding that stuff, it was just easier (and to a point, just as expensive) to user a computer as the brains and user interface.

Also, I can use my PDA to control my system wirelessly as needed, but really don't use it that often. Once you get your system dialed in, I think you'll find that setting and forgetting is the best way to run.
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