Auberins Pid Controller WSD-1503CPH Caused A Fire In My Smoker

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KBFlyer

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Mar 7, 2018
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Ontario Canada
I like to write about my successes but today I am writing a warning about relying on a PID contoller to control the heat in your smoker.
I have owned the Bradely smoker since around 2011is my best guess. I purchased the Auberins Pid Controller WSD-1503CPH shortly after. I have replace the sensors a few times over the years because of wear and tear. Well last night I had some beef bones in the smoker to smoke for beef broth and had it set for 150*F. Everything seemed fine for a hour or so. Let the dog out to do her thing and heard the smoker sizzling like I was frying bacon. As soon as I opened the door flames came rushing out. Lucky have a fire extinguisher close by and put it out before any real damage could happen. Needless to say the bones are in the trash and the smoker needs a good cleaning but at least I still have my house in one piece.
Turned out the temp sensor braid was damaged and the controller just shot way past the set point. Never have been happy with these sensors as they break down pretty fast.
So just a eye opener for me and hopefully anyone else reading this.
 
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I like to write about my successes but today I am writing a warning about relying on a PID contoller to control the heat in your smoker.
I have owned the Bradely smoker since around 2011is my best guess. I purchased the Auberins Pid Controller WSD-1503CPH shortly after. I have replace the sensors a few times over the years because of wear and tear. Well last night I had some beef bones in the smoker to smoke for beef broth and had it set for 150*F. Everything seemed fine for a hour or so. Let the dog out to do her thing and heard the smoker sizzling like I was frying bacon. As soon as I opened the door flames came rushing out. Lucky have a fire extinguisher close by and put it out before any real damage could happen. Needless to say the bones are in the trash and the smoker needs a good cleaning but at least I still have my house in one piece.
Turned out the temp sensor braid was damaged and the controller just shot way past the set point. Never have been happy with these sensors as the break down pretty fast.
So just a eye opener for me and hopefully anyone else reading this.
WOW well that $ucks. Glad you, your pooch, and your home are safe.

Chris
 
Glad it was just some ribs that toasted!

It’s a good reminder for having a safe space around them because electronics fail……

I can tell you I know beef bones burn baby burn just like wood if they get hot enough. My old pellet went haywire more than once and went fire pit mode….i always keep a RE near by but also a box of salt near by as well…..dump the load and call the pizza joint for take out.
 
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Well the bones were donated by my neighbour the butcher who works at the local meat processing plant down the road but it was a shame to have waisted them. Two large bags of bones waisted.
Oh well I'm still here and so is my house. New fire extinguisher as its cheaper to buy new then to get them recharged where I live.
 
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That was lucky.

Don't know anything about Auber products, but they aren't the only temp sensor seller out there. Perhaps find a different source?
 
That was lucky.

Don't know anything about Auber products, but they aren't the only temp sensor seller out there. Perhaps find a different source?
Not really the fault of the Auber products. It was my fault not to inspect the cables to make sure they were OK. Auber products are rated pretty much number 1 for PID controllers. I do have the InkBird conrollers which work good but are limited to what they can do like ramping up temps during the smoking process. This is the big reason I use Auber products.
I have built a couple from scatch from Auber PIDs for my curing chamber but they don't get subjected to the abuse of weather and heat that a smoker would give. And they are mounted to stay in one place.
 
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You must have just caught it, as the thermal fuse in the Bradley will disconnect the element on an internal overheat. Be sure to check that the chamber will heat up before your next smoke. The fuse is a one-shot fuse, unlike a MES with an overheat thermostat. The flare-up when you opened the door may have tripped it. Replacing it requires removing the back and soldering in a replacement.
 
I like to write about my successes but today I am writing a warning about relying on a PID contoller to control the heat in your smoker.
I have owned the Bradely smoker since around 2011is my best guess. I purchased the Auberins Pid Controller WSD-1503CPH shortly after. I have replace the sensors a few times over the years because of wear and tear. Well last night I had some beef bones in the smoker to smoke for beef broth and had it set for 150*F. Everything seemed fine for a hour or so. Let the dog out to do her thing and heard the smoker sizzling like I was frying bacon. As soon as I opened the door flames came rushing out. Lucky have a fire extinguisher close by and put it out before any real damage could happen. Needless to say the bones are in the trash and the smoker needs a good cleaning but at least I still have my house in one piece.
Turned out the temp sensor braid was damaged and the controller just shot way past the set point. Never have been happy with these sensors as they break down pretty fast.
So just a eye opener for me and hopefully anyone else reading this.
I'm glad everything turned out ok!

This is a great reminder that we just can't completely leave a smoker un-attended no matter if it's electric or low temp or anything else.

I've never had a fire in my smoker but have definitely had flame-up/fire going in my mailbox mod when too much wend got going and hit it just right. My wireless thermometer has warned me every time and I run out and handle it.

I'm able to use oven mitts and remove my mailbox mod to the middle of the concrete porch and handle it.
 
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Glad you got it under control. I had a bad fire in my MES40 once. I put the pellet tube on the heat deflector which started the pellets on fire and starting the fat in the pan on fire. I pulled the pan out and grease on fire went every where. Man was that scary! Got me to do the mailbox mod.
 
You must have just caught it, as the thermal fuse in the Bradley will disconnect the element on an internal overheat. Be sure to check that the chamber will heat up before your next smoke. The fuse is a one-shot fuse, unlike a MES with an overheat thermostat. The flare-up when you opened the door may have tripped it. Replacing it requires removing the back and soldering in a replacement.
Yes I have extras. I have done the second element mode on mine years ago as I live in Northern Ontario so I needed the element.
 
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Not sure if woulda helped but thought all Aubers had a high limit? Got mine set at 350F.
 
They do have high/low alarms... But if not wired to an audible speaker or light to notify you... Just the light will flash on the unit itself ... Alarm warnings can be wired in....


Edit to add... I'm referring to the DIY units... Don't know if the plug-and-play units offer this feature ,,,
 
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That was lucky.

Don't know anything about Auber products, but they aren't the only temp sensor seller out there. Perhaps find a different source?
I did some homework on Auber to learn the temperature probe is a thermister.

I wasn't clear in my first post.
I wasn't looking to replace the Auber PiD base, but source the thermister from another company.
I truly doubt Auber makes their own temp probes as many companies specialize in them.

Not sure if woulda helped but thought all Aubers had a high limit? Got mine set at 350F.
The high temp alarm doesn't work if the fault is the cabinet temp sensor in this circumstance.
 
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Today was the first day I could turn the outside water back on and get the high pressure washer out. Got the smoker all cleaned up. Not shiny new looking but got all that fire retartent stuff out of it. Door seal still works fine but does have a small burn mark top corner but its fine. Plugged it in and the elements heat up so no fuses burnt out that need replacing. Have two new probes coming from Auber but they are taking the vaction route to Canada it seems. They been to more places then I have.
20240311_165919.jpg
 
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I did some homework on Auber to learn the temperature probe is a thermister.

I wasn't clear in my first post.
I wasn't looking to replace the Auber PiD base, but source the thermister from another company.
I truly doubt Auber makes their own temp probes as many companies specialize in them.


The high temp alarm doesn't work if the fault is the cabinet temp sensor in this circumstance.
Thermistor? I thought they used an RTD. Either way, Omega Engineering sells just about every type of temperature sensor made.
 
Thermistor? I thought they used an RTD. Either way, Omega Engineering sells just about every type of temperature sensor made.

RTD means resistance temperature detector, a generic term for a resistor that varies its resistance with temperature. This is also called a thermistor (thermal resistor.) There are NTC, negative temperature coefficient resistors, in which the resistance goes down when temperature goes up, and PTC, positive temperature resistors, where resistance goes up when temperature goes up. Auber likely does not manufacture their probes, but there are several different "standard" curves available, and selecting the correct probe from an alternate manufacturer would require measuring an existing probe at various temperatures, and calculating what curve Auber selected. There are online calculators for this, if you want to do the work. Then you have to find a probe you like from someone else that has the correct sensor resistance curve.

In engineering, we would often comment that the problem with standards is that there are so many to select from
 
I have the Auber WS-1510ELPM PID and just ordered the multi purpose sensor for smoker/sous vide that I ordered four years ago with the unit and wanted the same sensor for a back up. Since this was brought up and on my mind. $24+6 S/H is steep but I have no problems with my 4 yr old original sensor left outside four years. Stick with the same company with sensors and don't build unless you know what you are doing. So this is their discription.

This controller is equipped with an industrial grade RTD sensor (class A Pt100 sensor). It is more accurate, reliable, and offers a wider temperature range than thermistor sensors that are commonly used in home appliances. Two sensor options are offered. 1) Multi-purpose RTD sensor, which has a 6 ft long, double jacked three conductor, high temperature cable. It can be used for either Sous Vide cooking or smoker temperature control.

I left out the flat ribbon sous vide only because we don't want that. We want MULTI PURPOSE for smoker or SV.
 
RTD means resistance temperature detector, a generic term for a resistor that varies its resistance with temperature. This is also called a thermistor (thermal resistor.) There are NTC, negative temperature coefficient resistors, in which the resistance goes down when temperature goes up, and PTC, positive temperature resistors, where resistance goes up when temperature goes up. Auber likely does not manufacture their probes, but there are several different "standard" curves available, and selecting the correct probe from an alternate manufacturer would require measuring an existing probe at various temperatures, and calculating what curve Auber selected. There are online calculators for this, if you want to do the work. Then you have to find a probe you like from someone else that has the correct sensor resistance curve.

In engineering, we would often comment that the problem with standards is that there are so many to select from
I guess I should have said PT100, instead of an RTD.

Anyway I'm going to have to disagree with you on you statement that an RTD can be a thermistor. An RTD is a resistance temperature detector, however thermistors are not considered an RTD. Thermistors are acually considered a semiconductor that are normally made from a metal oxide.
RTDs are either wire wound or metal film.

The most common RTDs are the PT100 & PT1000, made from platinum wire or film. Although I have used thermistors it's been a long time so I'm not familiar with the temp/resistance curves. I do know that PT100 and PT1000 all have the same response curve with varying accuracies.
 
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