Loss of Temperature

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by tacosmcgee, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. tacosmcgee

    tacosmcgee Fire Starter

    Hello, all

    Just wanted to get some thoughts. I have a Smoke Vault propane smoker. Last time I tried to smoke ribs, I could not get the temp above 225 degrees with the propane.

    I tried to disconnect and reconnect the regulator to no avail and after completion I just kind of shut it down

    I'm giving everything a shot now. I took EVERYTHING out.... Including the water pan and the wood tray. On full blast I was approaching 400 degrees with an external thermometer. Now that I have replaced everything and added a little bit of water to the pan, I am topping out around 261 degrees. Again, this is with a very high flame. If I leave it sitting long enough, I would guess it will climb but again there is no wood or meat in the smoker to soak in heat.

    I would think If the temp climbs that well when empty it is not a gas flow issue due to a stuck regulator? I have no had any trouble keeping good heat until recently and would rather not replace the whole thing

    Thoughts?
     
  2. tacosmcgee

    tacosmcgee Fire Starter

     
  3. tacosmcgee

    tacosmcgee Fire Starter

     
  4. tacosmcgee

    tacosmcgee Fire Starter

    To turn the problem off and back on again, I removed everything and seconds later am reading nearly 360 degrees

    I added the water pan with the water and am seeing a temp drop steady below 300 under high heat because it's not keeping up with the previous temp with what was obviously a more direct flame

    With everything back in (no meat) I am around 260. With meat over a month ago I struggled to get to 230 in any decent amount of time.

    Do you feel this is a gas flow issue? I would think not if I got that hot that quickly, but maybe? Would a stuck regulator allow heat on high in a vertical smoker like this allow temps to get to 360 to 370 pretty quickly?
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2016
  5. tacosmcgee

    tacosmcgee Fire Starter

    I have pulled the water pan forward just a little and an up around 270

    Again, on high heat I used to be able to get MUCH hotter than this under almost any setting for the vents and the front dial never past medium. I'm struggling on high right now so something has clearly changed but I doubt it is the regulator stuck? Maybe?

    Oh and when smoking I don't see much rolling out of the door so I don't think I have a major issue with door leaking heat?
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2016
  6. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Don't use water for one. I run a dry smoke pit. Haven't used my water pan for years. You may need a needle valve. One of the best modifications you can make.

    Are you using the stock therm In the door? If so I'd recommend getting a separate digital therm like the iGrill2 or the Maverick 732. These will allow you to check the temp if your probes to verify that them hey are accurate. The stock therms on most smokers are not very accurate and you have no way to test them for accuracy.
     
  7. tacosmcgee

    tacosmcgee Fire Starter

    Hi, and thanks for the response.

    1) I AM using water but always have so something has changed in the equipment?? I can get to about 270 with no wood or meat but that's with the flame on high. When working well, I can get to this temp if I am accidentally too far past medium and that's with meat inside so this is definitely different
    2) I am using an external probe that I cleaned to make sure it is reading right. I am using a dual probe Ivation unit with the one probe out in the middle of the box

    I guess my big question is does this indicate a stuck regulator? I don't want to buy one if I don't have to and it seems like I am getting *some temp but at a reduced level and a reduced speed of temp increase
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2016
  8. tacosmcgee

    tacosmcgee Fire Starter

    All, leaving the smoker alone for a LONG time I am at 277 with no wood or meat on the highest heat setting available

    I eventually got up to 310 degrees by COMPLETELY leaving it alone but we all know wood needs to be changed and meat brushed, etc

    This is definitely different behavior so something is wrong. Does the regulator still make sense at all given all the above?
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2016
  9. tacosmcgee

    tacosmcgee Fire Starter

    Hate to just up and bump this but I really don't have any questions answered. Any help?
     
  10. an issue with temp, could be an issue with the regulator itself.... also external factors could play a part in temp.... wind, cold temp....
     
  11. tacosmcgee

    tacosmcgee Fire Starter

    Definitely not wind or temp. I was wondering with everything I described above if it could be the regulator because I get quite a but of heat when I put the trays out of the box

    No wind and very warm temps on multiple attempted setups
     
  12. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    Like dirtsailor asked, are you checking the factory therm on the door to get your readings? They are known to be 30 to 50 degrees off. Just treat it as decoration and get a digital probe type. A basic Maverick isn't very expensive.
    I'm not familiar with the Smoke Vault, but with my MB gasser my biggest problem was keeping the temps DOWN even at the lowest setting...
     
  13. I don't use a gasser but researched them quite a bit before I got an electric and I have had issues with gas grills. So maybe I'm talking out of my a$$, but I'm personally not liking the color of your flame. Possibly a spider or cob web in the burner preventing proper air/gas mix in the burner. Would explain alot.
     
  14. tacosmcgee

    tacosmcgee Fire Starter

    I will check this. Thanks. I did have the heat on "high" but was thinking maybe it's a regulator and or a clogged burner if I can figure out how to get in there
     
  15. tacosmcgee

    tacosmcgee Fire Starter

    Yes, I showed above I am using a dual probe external thermometer to get my readings. No looking at the door reading at all

    I normally get to 240 or more on "Medium" heat with meat, fluid and wood very easily and as you said have to dial it down. This is with my external dual probe thermometer.

    Now I have to put it on HIGH to get even 250 and that's after if builds for a long time with no fluid and no meat. Now if I take out the fluid pan and wood tray I get to about 370 in a few seconds with that external probe. But it's getting a pretty direct heat
     
  16. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    In the pic, your Flame is Yellow, should be Blue. Not enough Air and running a Cool Flame. I would bet there is Soot on the chip pan, should be pretty clean. As above, Spiders and other critters like to get in the Venturi. Gas flows but not much air being pulled in...JJ
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2016
  17. tacosmcgee

    tacosmcgee Fire Starter

    Good responses, guys. Thanks

    So I need to clean my pans and check for any stuck regulators or clogs etc in my burners? I will give it a shot without buying the regulator first as the other items are free. I appreciate the ideas because I am anxious to smoke again
     
  18. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Run a hunk of Wire down the tube, twisting it to grab any Web. The Soot is not a problem but rather a result of a cool under oxygenated flame. Same with a yellow Flame on a gas stove. All your Pot bottoms will turn black with a powdery soot...JJ
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2016
  19. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    Sorry, I read right over the probe part, Tacos.
     
  20. hillbilly jim

    hillbilly jim Meat Mopper

    Any mass of water (water in a pan, big chunk of meat, etc...) will absorb heat and retard the box temp. When I set up to hot smoke something that has some mass to it, I start by setting the box temp. After I get the meat in the box, I have to keep adjusting fuel delivery to bring the box temp up to what I want. That has to be taken into account.

    I, like the others, think you have an oxygen/fuel mix problem. Certainly, the fuel channel has to be clear. But, there's an adjustable device on the burner head, usually right where the hose connects, that regulates oxygen delivery to the fuel as it enters the burner head. See if you can find that and check it. It should be more open than not. The more oxygen allowed to mix with the fuel gas, the more blue you should see in the fire.

    As has been mentioned, that yellow flame indicates a fuel mixture that's too rich.
     

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