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Controller Questions for my Fridge Smoker

tastetester

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Hey all, Long time, no smoke around here. I'm trying to revive my fridge conversion that I made a few years back and the thermostat is shot. So I need a new controller.
What I'm wondering about are controllers that you can set time programs in.
Do you find it really handy, or no? I have a very limited budget being a retiree of limited income, otherwise I would probably be jumping on the Auber WSD-1200GPH. That pretty much ticks all of the boxes, but at a price. I was also looking at the Inkbird ITC 310T-B. That is much less expensive, but with a loss of features and also lower temperature limits. If time programs are something that isn't useful then I would probably just get one of the inexpensive PID controllers. My heat source is an 1100 W element.

Any advice out there?

Thanks,
Michael
 

chopsaw

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I have an Auber 1510 on a mes 30 . I use the time / temp program . I love it . I guess it just depends what you have to spend vs how much you use the smoker and what you're smoking .
 

radioguy

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It really depends on what your plans are. I have a small electric that I mainly use for jerky and sausage. Both of which use timed ramp up cycles. Programming a PID may be troublesome (depending on pid), but once its programmed then each is easily recalled. I have 2 programs, jerky 5 hours and snack sticks 6 hours long.

RG
 

tastetester

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Thanks for the quick answers guys. So I take that as two votes for controllers that offer step control.

Chopsaw- Do you know that the differences are between the 1510 and the 1200 other than the wattage that they can handle in the load? Do you use the second probe in your product, or do you go with a straight time program control?

I doubt I will use it as much as the pros around here, but when I had it running before I made quite a few pastramis and polish style sausages. And a number of cured loins and turkeys. And some fish. I would like to do those still as well as some summer sausage or salami types.

Do you ever run above the 248 degree limitation that the Inkbird 310T has? Part of the reason I'm trying to run a very tight budget here is that I want to build a drying/curing set up to go with the smoking operation.

Thanks,
Michael
 

chopsaw

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The one I have only has 1 chamber temp probe . I have used mine at higher Temps but never more than 275 , the highest temp for an mes . They're great for sausage or cured meats .
 

tastetester

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Ah, I guess I was looking at the wrong one for yours. I like the idea of the second meat probe, though I think I've read some posts here that say it can be misleading for sausages. Would be very nice for pastrami, as my memory tells me it can take widely varying times to get to temperature.

If I recall correctly I can get my build up to around 350 with the current element. And I think I've run it that hot to crisp turkey skin when I was doing a combo smoke/roast cook on it. The Inkbird model I'm looking at has an upper limit of 240. I don't see any problem with that for smoking, but wonder if I would miss having the huge outdoor oven for some other purposes. The Auber probes can handle whatever I can run in this build.

Thanks,
Michael
 

chopsaw

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My smoker uses the Auber SMD-200 PIDs driving 25- amp SSRs and 2500- watt elements (240V). I use it mainly for snack sticks and sausage and always use the ramp-up programming. Works like a charm.
 

tastetester

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Thanks Chopsaw. I figured out my error after I saw that it had one probe.

That looks like an excellent model, Alan. All of the setups mentioned would work and all have a slightly different set of trade offs. The price point seems pretty similar on all of them as well.

I emailed Auber with a couple of questions. Hopefully I will hear back soon.

Next up, automating my smoke generator.

Thanks,
Michael
 

tastetester

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My Auber WSD-1200GPH came yesterday. After spending a good part of the evening trying to figure it out I finally got it scoped. Today I have it running a little scientific oven/incubator that I'm proposing as the basis for a fermentation cabinet and it's holding the set point pretty near perfectly. Tomorrow I'll move it out to the smoker and give that a test run. May have some summer sausage going by the beginning of the week.

Thanks for the assistance,
Michael
 

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My Auber WSD-1200GPH came yesterday. After spending a good part of the evening trying to figure it out I finally got it scoped. Today I have it running a little scientific oven/incubator that I'm proposing as the basis for a fermentation cabinet and it's holding the set point pretty near perfectly. Tomorrow I'll move it out to the smoker and give that a test run. May have some summer sausage going by the beginning of the week.

Thanks for the assistance,
Michael
Good deal. My temps seldom stray more than 1-2 degrees. PIDs do a great job.
 

tastetester

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Yes, they are pretty cool. I ran the test program when I had it in the incubator and as soon as the meat probe hit the set point it ticked over to the next step and started dropping the temp to a hold temperature. And then it glided right into the next set point with no overshoot. I probably should have opted for the SMD200 for it's greater flexibility in probes and the two programmable output relays, but I was antsy to get started smoking and knew from my past history that it would take me at least a couple of weeks to get together the box and actually build out the SMD200 system.

I was going to test it in the smoker today, but we got a bit of snow last night and I wasn't in the mood to slide around out there to test it. So I picked up 3 corned beef chunks today and I'll test it with meat. Hopefully tomorrow. Been a long time since I've had my own homemade pastrami and I'm looking forward to it.

Michael
 

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Sounds like you’re good to go. The only reason you would really need the SMD-200 would be if you need to run high-wattage 240v heating element. Let us know how the pastrami turns out. BTW, I was transferred from Houston to a project in Marshalltown 2016 thru 2017. Too dang cold for this Texan.
 

tastetester

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Ha ha, yes it's a bit cold by Houston standards. But it's barely qualified as a winter by our standards here. I've only had to shovel a few inches of snow a couple of times and maybe two or three nights dipped below zero. It's supposed to be a fairly nice 50 degrees tomorrow, so it should be prime weather for a good smoke. I'll try to get a few photos of the pastrami. I still need to get my order in for some sausage making supplies. I'm anxious to get going on some sausages to put the controller through it's paces.

Besides the 240V capability I was thinking that I could use one of the two extra relay outputs on the SMD200 to run a pellet igniter in my smoke generator while the other one controlled the fan. That and the ability to use K type thermocouples in case I ever got around to building a heat treating oven for metal work. A subject for a different forum no doubt. Ha ha.

Michael
 

tastetester

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IMG_1790.JPG


It worked.
IMG_1821.JPG

I posted a bit more of the story over on the smoking side.

I might consider autotuning it. I seemed to have a very slow attack on the set point on the initial rise. Once at the set point it was rock solid Maybe at the the same day that I do that I'll set the two probes around the box in different places to see how even my temps are and make a map.

Michael
 

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Try the auto-tune. My parameters changed quite a bit from the default numbers when I ran AT. My build has been finished for a few months now and I’m still tweaking it.
 

tastetester

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Thanks for the info, Alan. It seemed to start lowering the power well before the set and climbing up to it very slowly. On the other hand, the smoker was cold and later when it changed during a step and went up 25 degrees it seems to have climbed quickly because it did it while my back was turned. And I was watching it pretty often. Ha ha.

I'll see what autotune does for it tomorrow or the next day. I'm not planning on having to use it til the middle of the week or so.

Michael
 

chopsaw

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I'll see what autotune does for it tomorrow or the next day. I'm not planning on having to use it til the middle of the week or so.
Auto tune threw mine way off , but I'm using an mes 30 .
If that doesn't work for you , look at some of this , starting around post 130 of something . Read thru from there . Post 135 , is how I set mine up .
Auto tune may work for you and mine is a small mes 30 and a bit different controller . Just something to maybe give you an idea .
When you get it set , you will love it .
 

tastetester

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Yes, I was worried that it could throw it off. Which is why I want to look into it right away. If it throws it off I can do a factory reset and at this point only lose one simple recipe. Ha ha.

Thanks,
Michael
 

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