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Been a while! New Electric Build!

whitegardens

Fire Starter
37
24
Joined Dec 7, 2015
Looks good! Though I'm not crazy about the 2 SSRs for power to the element. Why didn't you get a DPDT SSR instead?
Honestly didn't look hard enough to find one in all reality.

Do have a link to one are referring to? I can always make things better.

The only advantage I can think of to my set up is heat dissipation for the SSRs.
 

whitegardens

Fire Starter
37
24
Joined Dec 7, 2015
More details.

Needed some sort of grate and recycled the coal basket and is going to be phenomenal with the ceramic briquettes and I'll put my water pan on here.

Not crazy about the wire holding it for now, but it will allow me to test.

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Steve H

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
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Joined Feb 18, 2018
Honestly didn't look hard enough to find one in all reality.

Do have a link to one are referring to? I can always make things better.

The only advantage I can think of to my set up is heat dissipation for the SSRs.
I didn't realize the cost of them. Used them. But never bought one. Ouch! Perhaps your set up is a better go around.
 
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whitegardens

Fire Starter
37
24
Joined Dec 7, 2015
I didn't realize the cost of them. Used them. But never bought one. Ouch! Perhaps your set up is a better go around.
More than likely why I didn't come across those! Lol

The parts individually for this build aren't expensive and I'll probably acquire some backup parts to have on hand.

But, everything slowly adds up to a lot. I originally wanted to use a wirelessly monitored pid controller with food probes, but it was 275 dollars by the time it came from Italy.

Something I would love to eventually upgrade to, but the ink bird 20 dollar pid is a better alternative for now.
 

whitegardens

Fire Starter
37
24
Joined Dec 7, 2015
It's official... It's operational.

Large quantities of meat will be smoked tomorrow......!!! :emoji_laughing:

Little bit of a breeze, and I'm seeing a 3* swing on average. Sometimes a degree more, sometimes a degree less.

This is strictly with the auto tune only.

My back porch has one enclosed side and that is where I'll use it during really windy days.

Not going to fool with the programing yet. I will do that at some point. But for now I couldn't be happier!
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whitegardens

Fire Starter
37
24
Joined Dec 7, 2015
Getting ready to do 12lbs of jerky this weekend.

No water pans of course, and will cover the plate with all ceramic bricks to minimize direct heat.

Got my new probe in and am not happy with the location in the smoker being too close to the wall. But, it is responding well and I have my analog and digital thermometers to monitor other points.

This is where I was thinking of doing a thermopile with 2-3 k type thermocouples and get a get average of the air temp.

From my reading, I don't think you can do multiple RTD probes and can only use 1.

But it will do for now. Going to log all my cooks and batches for reference especially when I start playing with the PID settings.

When ahead and axed my brass conduit and bought steel brake line this time. Cheaper and I can get it from a local automotive store.

Also ordered some stainless steel hobby rod to make nicer s hooks to hang my plate above the burner.

Will be easier to remove for cleaning.

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whitegardens

Fire Starter
37
24
Joined Dec 7, 2015
Jerky day!

Started at 7am. Set temp to 200 to get the jerky up to 160. As soon as it hit temp, then turned down to 130.

Have played some with the pid I hit 1. 5 hours of only. . 2 degree basically hold. Point 2......not 2.

Then the wind might pick up and then I get a - 2, +7 temp swing.

Also, almost 100% humidity, rainy overcast. Still drying down good.
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Regardless, it's doing great for the most part. Bit of smaller bits of jerky I've pulled so far have been phenomenal in consistency and texture.

Doing the same 12lb batch I normally do. More room to spread them out and I feel I will speed up the process and gain time.

Fan has also been on and I think that's helping.
 

whitegardens

Fire Starter
37
24
Joined Dec 7, 2015
Let's Do A Wrap Up!

This has been fun! Going from a modified MES smoker to stepping up to a 220 rig has been worth it so for. From proof of concept, both builds have been great and this one even better.

I am a former landscaper, and the next build someday will hopefully be a built in, outdoor oven mirroring an outdoor fireplace. I've already worked out how I want to do a custom firebrick lined box and then add a custom SS insert and racks. I would probably use racks that are of standard size for ovens in order to have simple replacements. Then put in a controller that can be accessed via Wi-Fi.

Someday though, but I digress.

So I'm at the point where this smoker is operational and has been used three times. A trial run, a cold smoke run, and a run just yesterday that included a brisket, beer can chicken, and a rack of baby back ribs.....

Rundown of the takeaways.

1.) Getting the utmost temp control seems to be the key to maximizing run times and food quality in the end.

- Obviously a given, but you start to see the difference and it's dramatic. My jerky especially, though some of it might be due to the cabinet space etc... I truly believe the temp was the factor. The fan I added also worked way better than expected in terms of temp control. I didn't think I would need it with standard smoking at 250* degrees, but I was wrong. I ran 4 hours yesterday with three thermometers reading differently, once I put the fan on high, they all pretty synced up. Previous to that though, I didn't notice and cooking difference in the meat.

So I'm at the point where this smoker is operational and has been used three times. A trial run, a cold smoke run, and a run just yesterday that included a brisket, beer can chicken, and a rack of baby back ribs.....

2.) Size Matters.

- The size of the box is exceptional.........Not only has it allowed me to space the components well (IE-Burner), but has allowed me to add more than enough water pans , diffuser plate, etc.... Then on top of it, it's making cleanup less of a chore. The Masterbuilt MES analog model I was using before was a pain to clean, especially under the burner.

-I have had plenty of room to smoke different items on different levels on one run and it was great. All the while I didn't even come close to using the full capacity of the 3 racks I was using. With all 6 racks, you could easily lay out 12 racks of baby rack ribs, or one full slab on each rack. I also hunt and utilize venison (obviously for the jerky) and I want to start making my own salami and snack sticks. My goal is to do 25lb batches at a time, and with 6 racks, I should be able to accomplish this. With Jerky, I could possibly do a full 25 lb. batch and slam it in there, but I'll stick with the 12lb. batches. The little bit of extra space between the pieces I assumed helped out.

- The craziest part is that these racks are only 7" wider and same 12" depth as a MES, but putting a whole rack of ribs in without cutting is priceless, and can't wait to do a large brisket someday.

3.) Ceramic Briquettes, I'm sold

- Now granted, I have more water than before as an added heat sink, but when doing jerky I noticed the advantages also. Basically they are easy to clean. They hold a lot of the crap that falls and to clean them, I just rotate them out with the ones I have on my grill. This way I'm not taking any extra time to clean them. But most importantly, I believe they add to my recovery time after I've had the door open. This coupled with being a 220 element, It takes 5 minutes to get back to stable temp. Yes, you don't want to be opening the door often, ever, but it's good to know that I can without possibly adding another hour of cooking time.....

There is way more detail I can go into, but that is the brief synopsis.

- Changes I will make, most likely.


So of course there are a couple things that I need to address.

1.) When not in use, the smoke vessel collects water. This is due to my high moisture content I'm getting in the smoker. It is what it is. I have already ordered a SS plug to put in place when not in use. I will just remove the vessel when not smoking. I did not encounter this on my MES smoker and I'm guessing it's do to the fact that the current Dyna-Glo Box is tighter.

2.) My PID controller is too cheap. It's an inkbird general PID. I'm going to struggle to get that temp perfection out of it unfortunately. I did see gleaming signs at low temp that it's achievable to keep within .5* degrees. Eventually I plan on upgrading. I've looked into a smart PID made in Italy with WI-FI controls and food monitoring. This is a 250-300 dollar investment. Auber has a setup I'm considering also...... Regardless, I'm now understanding that all PID controllers aren't the same and there are some that will hone in on your specific needs.

My Inkbird doesn't have gain control, but it has a massive range for the Derivative (D). With the massive derivative I'm getting little to no overshoot, but the drawback is that when you do that, you get longer settling times to get back to short swings. This derivative is needed for the heat loss of the cabinet, and the soak time needed to correct the temperature of the diffuser plate above. The element response time is great with the 220, takes only 10 seconds or less to glow red.

Currently, I'm getting +1* temp overshoot at most and -6* under. I've played with P and I to trying and minimize the under, but this might be the best I can do. But, overshoot is the killer on lower temp processes, and minimizing that is great.

Inkbird ITC-106

C- 1 ( 1-4 for SS state relays)
P- 8
I- 13
D- 2000

I might be even contacting Auber next week to discuss a standard 1/16th DIN PID that would work better than what I got.

Really do I need to be splitting hairs like I am. Probably not.... But this portion of the build is the rabbit hole for perfection and just to see how much control I can achieve. Even if I want more remote monitoring, I can always just do a standalone BBQ and food thermometer. But, the overall investment for both, might be a better investment for 1.

https://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=464


3.) Sealing the cabinet better.

I tried some high temp stove sealer and it' just drying out. The best I've used so far is High Temp, Heavy duty, red gasket sealer. It's made for oil and other chemicals (and turbo chargers) and has resisted what I've thrown at it so far. I'm getting moisture leaks at the seams and I'll use a tube of it for the seams to keep my drips from getting in-between the pieces you can't clean, and that's where it rots. This cabinet I intend to paint every spring also to keep it lasting longer.

4.) Insulation.

Being just sheet metal, I'm going to be getting too much heat loss. But I want to keep this thing light and portable, mainly for storage. So I have been looking into options, and being such a clean build, I plan on doing a custom fit cover. I intended on having a custom thermal cover made, but in the end I plan on using Ceramic fiber insulation (refractory) with foil protecting it on both sides. I've found both items, and I think I can pull it off with foil tape so that there is no sewing involved and do custom cut and panels. This should cost around 100- 120 dollar to do. I'm willing to bet a custom cover ordered would be a minimum of 500 dollars. I can also patch it over time with foil tape if necessary.

The goal then would to minimize weight and outside temp variables such as sun and wind. This coupled with an upgraded PID would probably satisfy my desire for the utmost control.

5.) Power Input

My original intention with the 220 input plug in the front was to be able to slide the whole panel out, work on it, and re-install with it being wired almost 100%...But....... I don't like how it looks..............

I want to go ahead and put in another switch cutting the DC 12v power to my relays in order to keep the PID controller on, while making parameter changes. Or to leave the unit on, and cut the AC power to the element basically.

So when I make that change, along with an updated PID controller, I'll modify my panel, and just run a pig tail out the back, put a plug on the end, and have a clamp to lock in place after the panel has been re-installed. This will keep a cleaner look over all while cooking. This will also help me to put on the coal box door for a weather tight seal if I need to in say wintery conditions.

6.) Element.

little did I know that you can bend oven elements prior to first use. I have not tried the unit out at high temps where I want to achieve 400* degrees for cooking things like pizza. But, if I do, and it fails, then I intend on buying an element with more surface area to bend into place if need be. Or, I can add a second, smaller element and still stay under my 30amp circuit and receptacle limit.

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Conclusion-

In the end, with what I got, outstanding is all I can say..... The focus this time around to hone in on my temps and make sure I have the most control possible, is paying off immensely already. The food I've cooked has just been phenomenal. The cleaning, the control, the capacity, the consistency, and the results......

Overtime, as this build evolves, I plan on updating this thread. In the meantime, if you have gone through this rabbit hole to this point, please feel free to ask any questions, or, make any suggestions. I will check occasionally and do get email notifications in my personal email when someone replies.

I'll post pics from time to time of the foods that I will be doing. Salami, smoked salt, nuts, cheese, fish, etc.....

Thanks!
 

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