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Camp Chef Woodwind -- Having Wifi Issues

midcont

Newbie
11
1
Joined Aug 12, 2020
Have had the unit a few weeks and could use some feedback on the wifi.

I'm thinking the antenna is very weak on it. I am seeing the network but no bars on the grill, where my phone/ipad/laptop and a wifi coverage test all show 2-3 bars.
I can grab the network and do a reset, but then the unit loses the internet signal and I'm back to square one.

I don't have a wifi pw. When the unit asks for it, I put in a single spacebar and that seems to accept.

This is the second hopper/auger/control unit. The first one was replaced when the auger stopped working which I've come to figure out is because the motor is poorly secured in its housing.
Wifi reception was equally bad on both of them.

Is there something I'm missing? Camp Chef customer support is very slow because of Covid and they have not offered me a solution.
 

bill1

Smoking Fanatic
411
118
Joined Apr 25, 2015
Wifi antennas like to have free space around them, with wood, stucco, or brick counting largely as "free space" from an RF standpoint while sheet metal, drip pans, aluminum siding does not. You're not sandwiching your cooker's wifi antenna between the metal of the cooker and the metal of a wall or other surroundings (storage shed??) are you?
If no one else gives you a ready reply, you might want to post a picture of your setup and it may generate more response.
 

robrpb

Fire Starter
50
19
Joined Jul 15, 2020
What make and model router do you have? How far is the unit from the router?

When logging in and you are asked for a pw I would just hit next since you don't have a pw on the router.

How come you don't have a pw on your router? I would encourage you to add one.
 

bill1

Smoking Fanatic
411
118
Joined Apr 25, 2015
Several floor to ceiling windows/doors and the unit is 5' from one of them.
doesn't sound like a problem then.
robrpb's questions about router distance sounds like a good one. If you have no problem with other networked devices it wouldn't appear you have too much metal near the router. And what version of IEEE 802.11 standard is used on both the router and the cooker? 11b&g were pretty basic and low power and range. I'd say you want at least 802.11n
Also if most of your neighborhood is taking advantage of free wifi (since you don't have a password) that could be affecting your connectivity too.
 

midcont

Newbie
11
1
Joined Aug 12, 2020
I'll check the version but once you are 20' past my house you can't get the signal, so nobody is stealing it.
But the fact that it see's the network, albeit with no bars, whereas every other device sees the network fine would be pointing to a poor antenna, no?
 

robrpb

Fire Starter
50
19
Joined Jul 15, 2020
What happened when you tried to connect without putting a space in for the pw?

How far is the unit from the router?
 

Steff3

Newbie
29
16
Joined Jul 1, 2019
Can't speak to camp chef products but with my Inkbird wifi unit, it would only connect to 2.4ghz band even tho it would see my network. My router is dual band, 2.4 & 5.0. I had to go into my router and name both bands differently then log into my wifi with my phone to the specific 2.4 band. Once I did, the Inkbird connected up right away . Maybe nothing to do with your set up, just throwing it out there.
 

dubob

Meat Mopper
210
111
Joined Mar 1, 2019
According to Camp Chef (talked with them on the phone last week), the WIFI antenna is completely surrounded by metal inside the hopper walls. My TV is further away from my router than my Woodwind is and gets 2 to 3 times greater signal strength than my grill gets. It really should have an external antenna on the outside of the hopper box. I'm having similar problems with my WIFI upgrade to my Woodwind, plus, the Camp Chef App keeps stopping on my new T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy A21 phone. Waiting to talk to a Camp Chef IT engineer on that one. I'm very disappointed in the support on this issue thus far and have told them about it. I've been dealing with this for over a week now and can't get a call back from them with 4 voice mails left this week alone. I'm about ready to put the old controller back in and ask for a refund.
 

midcont

Newbie
11
1
Joined Aug 12, 2020
What happened when you tried to connect without putting a space in for the pw?

How far is the unit from the router?
It won't let you proceed to connect without putting in something.
It's about 20' from the router (5' from the window) and the house has a mesh network anyway so there is continuous coverage at any corner (and outside).
I ran a heatmapper wifi survey which is a program you run on your laptop and walk a grid while it maps wifi strength. This is how I confirmed range 20' from the back of my house (15' beyond the smoker).
I also tried taking an iphone and making it a hotspot and putting it on top of the smoker and still it would not keep the connection.

I did get instructions via email from Camp Chef yesterday to try to help, but I'm skeptical because the unit was new, I'm on my second one, and I've basically tried this on my own short of deleting the app and waiting:

Go to settings on grill controller and Reset the controller and then..

1- Turn controller off on grill
2- If possible, go to the device list in the app and swipe the listed grill to the left to delete it
3- Close the app (make sure it isn't just running in the background, that it's actually closed)
4- Delete the app
5- Go to Bluetooth settings and forget the grill entirely
6- Turn the phone off and back on
7- Re download the app and login
8- Turn the controller on
9- Wait two full minutes
10- Start the app and try again
 

midcont

Newbie
11
1
Joined Aug 12, 2020
According to Camp Chef (talked with them on the phone last week), the WIFI antenna is completely surrounded by metal inside the hopper walls. My TV is further away from my router than my Woodwind is and gets 2 to 3 times greater signal strength than my grill gets. It really should have an external antenna on the outside of the hopper box. I'm having similar problems with my WIFI upgrade to my Woodwind, plus, the Camp Chef App keeps stopping on my new T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy A21 phone. Waiting to talk to a Camp Chef IT engineer on that one. I'm very disappointed in the support on this issue thus far and have told them about it. I've been dealing with this for over a week now and can't get a call back from them with 4 voice mails left this week alone. I'm about ready to put the old controller back in and ask for a refund.
Please update us when you talk to them again. Maybe ask them about what Steff mentioned:
Can't speak to camp chef products but with my Inkbird wifi unit, it would only connect to 2.4ghz band even tho it would see my network. My router is dual band, 2.4 & 5.0. I had to go into my router and name both bands differently then log into my wifi with my phone to the specific 2.4 band. Once I did, the Inkbird connected up right away . Maybe nothing to do with your set up, just throwing it out there.
 

robrpb

Fire Starter
50
19
Joined Jul 15, 2020
I wonder if your problem is with bluethooth. Bluetooth has a very short range? Just curious, what bluetooth version is the unit?

Just to be clear, what device are you trying to connect the unit to via bluetooth?
 

midcont

Newbie
11
1
Joined Aug 12, 2020
Iphone Xs.
Bluetooth connects fine and I can monitor/change temps and set timers from bluetooth.
But you need wifi if you want to monitor if you leave the house or are out of range of bluetooth.

One feature I wish it had was an alarm when the internal temps gets to the desired setting. Right now it's only like a note you can add to reference every time you look.
 

dubob

Meat Mopper
210
111
Joined Mar 1, 2019
I finally got a call back yesterday afternoon from Customer Service supervisor. She has been out of town for a few days and didn’t get my voice mail until yesterday when she came in at 1:00 PM. The IT guy is out of the office until Monday, so can’t talk to him until then.

I tried the Camp Chef App on my wife’s phone and it doesn’t work there either. I went to the T-Mobile store and they fiddled with it for about 20 minutes and couldn’t get it to work. Their best guess is that there is a glitch in the app. Looking at the app reviews on Play Store shows it as very poor with at least half the ratings being one star.

Camp Chef App.jpg


The company told me yesterday they would give me a full refund if that was what I wanted. I’ll talk to the IT guy Monday before deciding for sure but will more than likely just get the refund.
 

K9BIGDOG

Fire Starter
SMF Premier Member
70
74
Joined Jul 7, 2017
Lots of folks having trouble with Camp Chefs WIFI, myself included. They did have an issue with iPhones and bluetooth causing problems but a recent update to the app has supposedly helped. But I am also of the opinion that their WIFI antenna is either very poor or the WIFI circuitry is very underpowered. I have their Gen 2 upgrade controller so I know there is no antenna hiding inside the hopper walls. I have very strong WIFI and every other device picks up my WIFI signal very strong except for the grill.
 

midcont

Newbie
11
1
Joined Aug 12, 2020
According to Camp Chef (talked with them on the phone last week), the WIFI antenna is completely surrounded by metal inside the hopper walls. My TV is further away from my router than my Woodwind is and gets 2 to 3 times greater signal strength than my grill gets. It really should have an external antenna on the outside of the hopper box. I'm having similar problems with my WIFI upgrade to my Woodwind, plus, the Camp Chef App keeps stopping on my new T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy A21 phone. Waiting to talk to a Camp Chef IT engineer on that one. I'm very disappointed in the support on this issue thus far and have told them about it. I've been dealing with this for over a week now and can't get a call back from them with 4 voice mails left this week alone. I'm about ready to put the old controller back in and ask for a refund.
My access points are compatible with 802.11n b/g standards.
So I tried again over the weekend following the instructions their customer service sent me with the same result.
I also tried using the old hopper/auger/control unit which is now inside the house in a box.
With it 10' from the access point I could see two bars of reception. Went through all the same steps, get to the point where the instructions ask you to power the unit off and power it back on. Did that and then it fails at the end.
Connecting a device to the internet should not be this difficult.
It's really a shame because the unit cooks great and has great features, but it's missing one of the main attractions.
 

dubob

Meat Mopper
210
111
Joined Mar 1, 2019
After talking with my phone company and Camp Chef about the problems with the phone app and seeing the extremely poor reviews of the phone app on Google Play Store, I decided to bag it and send the upgrade controller back to Camp Chef for a refund.
 

robrpb

Fire Starter
50
19
Joined Jul 15, 2020
To me it sounds like Camp Chef dropped the ball and and their R & D team didn't properly test it or they knew there were problems and they didn't want to correct the problem for whatever reason. Unfortunately things like this are happening more and more with companies today.
 

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