Traeger body and Smoke Daddy feeder

Discussion in 'Pellet Smokers' started by damascusmaker, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. Maybe a spare time project this winter. The fan and auger motor work on the Smoke Daddy, direct power. I have no idea how to wire things back up or test the control? The snout is kinda long on the feeder, shouldn't be a problem for me to cut it down, but never having seen the inside of a Traeger, I don't know how long it should be?

    Well, I found a diagram for the Traeger control and I believe I have it wired correctly. Display is showing "Err" So I'm guessing the control is shot.

    Thanks  ..  Matt
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
  2. bill1

    bill1 Smoke Blower

    With everything wired per diagram, unplug the power, let it sit a full minute, then plug it back in.  Still ERR?  

    Have you verified that with direct power the "hot finger" filament gets hot?  I think it only runs for a couple minutes to get the first pellets combusting, but if it fails as a dead short or fully open, it MIGHT give you an error message.  If you can't get it to heat with direct power, what happens to the controller display with it totally unplugged? 

    And what about the heat/temperature sensor???  What happens if you just unplug it?  They're ~$20 and probably doesn't hurt having a spare. 

    It looks pretty weathered.  Any chance something that's supposed to be grounded to the "chassis" has a poor connection?  I note the Traeger RTD temp sensors appear to only have 2 wires so wonder if the mounting plate for it isn't a 3rd wire to ground?  I'd ensure that connection is "bright & shiny" first of all. 
  3. Thanks bill1,

    I actually got it to run for a while and everything seemed to work correctly. I heated the sensor with a heat gun and the auger stopped as it should and then came back on as the sensor cooled. The supply fan ran the whole time, I under stand that is correct? Then I got the Err again. Found somewhere the sensor is supposed to read 1000 ohms. Well, it does part of the time and other times it is all over the place. Lucky it worked long enough to let me see the board seems to be good. The hot rod is open so if I decide to go ahead with this I can see already I need a starter rod and a sensor. I'm only in at $30 so far. Owning a blacksmith shop, I can always make it a solid fuel burner of some type, probably cheaper than buying parts. But I met one guy who loves his Traeger so I kinda want to try that route as an alternative to my uds.
  4. bill1

    bill1 Smoke Blower

    DS--This is great news!  

    I wouldn't sweat the hot rod.  You can find ~400watt units that run off 120Vac on ebay in lots of diameters for well under $10.  If it won't work with the control system, just run it to a wall plug and unplug it once it starts making good smoke. If you don't mind lifting up the grates, etc, you can start pellets easy with a small propane torch.  

    And  that's good info to have about the temp sensor.  That shows it's a PT1000 RTD and not the more common PT100.   Play with the leads going to the sensor.  If you can't get it to read a steady 1000 ohms, it needs to be replaced.  Traeger has the exact replacement for ~$20.  Or you can maybe find something close on eBay for ~$10.  

    Wish I could find a used Traeger (or Smoke Daddy, etc) for $30!  
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015
  5. Thanks for the help bill1,

    Both parts on order, Amazon 2 day. I didn't realize until your post that the hot rod can be had as a generic part. 
  6. bill1

    bill1 Smoke Blower

    I'm glad I could help.  I find those hot rods to be a bit fragile so not surprised if that's a failure mechanism.  They're available cheap now because they're a key part in "3d printers".  (Talk about a mix of 21'st century and caveman technologies!)  

    Traeger only uses them to start the pellets.  I've found they fail quickly if they're getting heated electrically from the inside at the same time they're seeing hot pellets or coals on the outside.  So don't let it run too long at the full 120V ac waveform.  My next iteration (I have a homebrew gravity feed mechanism, not a real Traeger/SmokeDaddy) is to put a cheap 600W light dimmer in line with the hot rod so I can keep the pellet burn at Blonder's suggested 600-700 degF region with minimal pellets and still have plenty of smoke for flavoring.  (I have additional electric filaments in the smoker to add heat independent of the pellet burn.)   If you end up using your resurrected smoker as a low&slow smoker (seems a lot of folks use them as grills) you might want to consider the light dimmer trick too to keep the burn temperature in the right range throughout the smoke and still get decent lifetimes from the hot-rods.  I haven't really mastered it yet, but I think I understand the basics.

    Hope to hear back from you in a few days. 
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  7. Parts came today, wired up and tested on the bench. Seemed to work perfect, self ignited and stopped and started as I think it should. Filled my big shop with smoke. Now I need to fab the missing parts to make everything whole.

    If anyone has any photos or dimensions of the heat deflector and grease pan, I would really appreciate seeing them.
  8. Still need to make the internals and handle.I found plenty of photos of the diffuser and grease pan online but no dimensions. If anyone has theirs out for cleaning, I would appreciate a few measurements. It would be great to know the distance from the pan edge to the cc wall.

    Getting close, progress photo, @ $70 now! [​IMG]

  9. Finished for now, killed the $10 cartridge heater in dry run. Probably just light it manually until everything proves out. Running great right now.  [​IMG]

    Last edited: Oct 30, 2015
  10. bill1

    bill1 Smoke Blower

    dry run as in no pellets?  Yeah, that will do it.  Those cartridge heaters need to have more than air around to suck the heat away.  
  11. As in no meat. I ran it 2-3 hours with pellets, just to be sure all systems were go. Then it died completely (blown fuse) in the first minute when I was showing my wife how nice it works. Chased down a pack of fuses and manually lit it for a cook. Overall pleased with the system, but reading about them, the igniter seems to  be a weak link. Admittedly I bought a sub $10 generic to experiment with rather than a genuine part. What is the watt spec on the original?
  12. bill1

    bill1 Smoke Blower

    They get red hot so they must be at least 200-300W.  But they only run for a minute or 2 in the factory models.  If yours ran longer than that (is that possible?) that's probably why it failed.  After all, after a couple minutes, instead of the pellets wicking the heat away FROM the cartridge heater, they are now burning so are adding heat (ie watts) TO the cartridge heater.  Then the internal temperature gradients are going the opposite way from designed, the insulation cracks and the filament oxidizes, and fails "open".  
  13. Thanks bill1, It was a 250 Watt cartridge heater that failed. I saw later one of the apparent non oem Traeger replacements for sale on Amazon claims to be 200 Watt. The bad one shot the fuse but now tests to be open, so it must have shorted first. I wouldn't mind to pay a little more for one with a warranty, but hate to buy another at any price that might fail so soon.
  14. bill1

    bill1 Smoke Blower

    I'm not understanding.  The fuse blew MORE than few minutes into the smoke job, right?    If it was the heater that opened the fuse, it must have been drawing current.  That's bad.  You have to turn it off ("open" the current to the heater) after just a couple minutes, as soon as you see smoke.  If the factory controls are not doing that, you'll have to run out separate wiring and plug/unplug it manually yourself..  
  15. Sorry for not being clear. Started up and ran fine, igniter got red and started the pellets as it should then went out, I think. Kinda hard to tell once a good pellet fire starts. Somewhere I think I saw that the controller is supposed to energize the rod for 4 minutes at the beginning then shut the rod down for the duration. Until the power is turned off then on again. I let it run between 2 and 3 hours until my 1800 square foot 14 foot high shop was full of nice blue smoke, then shut down. Later as I started to show my wife how nice everything worked, lost all power before the rod even got red. This is surely when the fuse shot. I'm thinking a short blew the fuse then the element opened. Ohm meter shows it to be open now but neither wire has continuity to the case of the cartridge now. Have you had good luck with those die heater cartridges? It's tempting to figure I got a defective one and try again, since the price is 1/4 to 1/5 of the price of a bona fide Traeger unit. Looks like Amazon is going to refund the price of the dead cartridge, that's good.
  16. bill1

    bill1 Smoke Blower

    To tell the truth, I only got 3 smokes out of my last one before it opened.  But I was running it wide open and non-stop to get some extra heat.  Mine's in a 2" vertical pipe of gravity feed pellets so I just screwed out the 1/4NPT fitting holding the cartridge and I now fire in a propane torch to start the pellets (and replace with a 1/4 plug).  I have another $5 dollar unit to replace it but haven't got around to it yet.

    Thermal cycling is hard on these things too.  I can believe they just don't last more than a dozen smokes.  At $5, I'm willing to consider it a consumable part, especially if it fails after the smoker is started so it hasn't ruined a smoke.  

    Any longtime Traeger customers want to claim 100's of heat cycles without a problem?  The Traeger units may be better than the eBay Chinese ones.  

    I wonder if you didn't have other issues with the unit that blew the fuse?  Then when the thing restarted the 4-minute cycle (which sounds reasonable) things were just too hot for the little heater.   Your unit looked pretty weathered initially so I'd check to make sure all insulation on motors, fans, etc are all A-ok.  

    I'm putting my next one in line with a 600 watt PWM light dimmer so I can run it at lower temperature and hope to get more life out of it.  Of course getting the same wattage in a longer or larger diameter unit could lead to longer life too. Just don't bother with a 240 volt model.  They won't get hot at all.   
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2015
  17. Thanks again bill1, That gravity feed pellet concept sounds interesting. 

    I think all the other components are Ok, took both motors apart for cleaning and oiling, saw no signs of wear on the auger or bushing etc. This feeder came from a large commercial unit that a friend converted to a Spicewine setup for a customer. I think it never saw much use. 
  18. bill1

    bill1 Smoke Blower

    Well, then I'd just try again.  If you want to verify the fuse-blowing isn't from the heater, you could leave the heater out and start the pellets off with a propane torch instead.  Then add it in and see if you have the problem again.  

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