all ok in kansas

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mikenkansas

Newbie
Original poster
Oct 15, 2022
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1
Hello to all carnivores.
I have a home built 240 volt smoker using a stove top element in an insulated cabinet and want to add a potentiometer. 240 volt 30 amp circuit. Can anyone advise?
Thanks, Mike
 

SmokinAl

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Jun 22, 2009
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Welcome to SMF Mike!
Glad to have you join us!
You didn’t say where you are from, but since your screen name suggests Kansas. I was just wondering where in Kansas you are located.
My Son is in Wamego.
Al
 

Steve H

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Feb 18, 2018
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You're better off just making a PID control instead of a potentiometer.
Then get a 50 amp SSR and heat sink. Do a search for PIDs here. You'll find a ton of info
 
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JckDanls 07

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Sep 10, 2011
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I agree with Steve on going with a PID controller... Auberins has plug and play set ups... not sure if they have one for 240v though... So you may have to build one (Auberins also has these)... WAY better than a potentiometer ...
 

mikenkansas

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Original poster
Thread starter
Oct 15, 2022
4
1
Thanks for the fast and helpful replies. I started a search of 'pid', but ran into a bit of trouble. Am now banned from the computer without adult supervision. The mrs now looks over my aged and slumped shoulder to confirm I got that idea from a legit web site. will do further investigation.
 
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bill1

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Apr 25, 2015
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I'm with Steve, although I'm ambivalent about which controller philosophy you choose since you seemed to be willing to just "dial in" your desired temp so any thermostatic approach will be a big simplification to that.

The reason you want to go with "on-off" switching instead of a potentiometer is the pot is wasting a fair amount of power in this low-impedance 240V circuit. Not only is that a hit to your power bill but the cost of the components at your high power levels is pretty pricey. (I'll note that, if you're using a kitchen burner, that it was also using an "on-off" approach in its control knob.)

Now instead of a pot, there are electronic approaches (SCR-based phase angle control or pulse width modulation, etc) to a single-knob constant-power delivery, but those parts are also more expensive than a simple on-off relay and controller for it. And although on-off temp control will give you slight temperature ripples, constant power delivery to an element does not mean constant cook temperature. The temperature and wind conditions outside and the increasing temperature of the meat inside all serve to make your cooking temperature somewhat independent of cooking power.

On-off controllers account for that by using an internal thermometer which is the input to the controller to determine when to switch power to the element and when to switch if off. This is particularly important for long cooks like smoking meat.
 

mikenkansas

Newbie
Original poster
Thread starter
Oct 15, 2022
4
1
thank you gentlemen, it all makes sense. I suppose I'll take the leap into tech based smoking . begrudgingly. For hams and tri tips and brined foul I just let er rip, all good. That's too hot for sausages tho. I'm looking for a simple way to throttle it back a bit. Cabinet is stainless and insulated and seals up well.
 

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