MOVE IF NEEDED - can I use this to control a hot plate?

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SherryT

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I had NO idea where best to post this, so move if needed!

So I bought this Inkbird ITC-306T late last year to control a heat mat for seed starting and never got around to using it. The temp range is 58 - 210F.

Can I plug a hotplate into this and be able to control the hotplate temp OR would I have to open up the hot plate and bypass the built in control (I'm betting it will and have NO idea what I'd need to do if it does)?

I see so many cold/warm smoked sausage recipes that say to start at a low temp and gradually bump it up and remembered I had this.
 

DougE

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As long as the controller can handle the wattage of the hot plate, you should be able to just set the plate on high and let the controller cycle it on and off.
 

SherryT

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Thanks for the reply, Doug...

According to the item info, its maximum output load is 1200W and my hotplate is 1100W, so I'm good?
 

indaswamp

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WaterRat

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Will partially depend on the hotplate. Some will default to “off” if they lose power which is what that controller will effectively be doing to it. Don’t plug it into a GFI if you do try it, it will probably trip it. Worth a shot but I’m not sure this is your best option, seems like a lot of bouncy load between cycles.
 
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WaterRat

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indaswamp

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I have used the same controller for an analog hot plate in my smokehouse to ferment snack sticks. I works, as long as the hot plate is analog. oscillates +-3~4*F...

I had the unit set @85*F and my smokehouse is 36cu.ft.
With a smaller smoker, I would expect the range to be wider.
 

SherryT

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I'm sorry I didn't more clearly define what I wish to do...

I have a Big Chief smoker. I did a test with the hotplate on high "and" AMNPS inside the BC without the stock element plugged in and hit regular smoking temps when the ambient temp was in the mid-70s. I was curious more than anything else, but the reason I bought BC was to be able to cold/warm smoke as that's difficult to do in my gasser.

Now that the weather is cool, what I want to do is be able to use THAT setup so I can adjust the temp up/down as needed while cold/warm smoking.

I know there's a bunch of posts where someone (was it Daveomak?) completely removed the stock element that came in the BC and replaced it with a hotplate, but I would need someone to walk me through that step-by-step...I can build just about anything I set my mind to and there's not a woodworking tool I can't use (and use well, I might add!), but I've never fooled around with wiring or anything electrical except for replacing a wall outlet or a light switch, so I thought if the setup I described would work I could avoid a crash course in Electrical 101.

Sorry for the confusion.
 

DougE

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If you want to cold smoke with just a tube, ambient temps have to be 60° or below in my experience to keep things below 80° in a smallish cook chamber. I burn dust in my tubes, which burns cooler than pellets, but they still put out enough heat to get above the mark if it's above 60°, or so, outside.
 

Steve H

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This unit was not really designed for what you are going to do. I doubt the thermocouple is designed for a smoking chamber. What is the max temp you are going for?
 
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SherryT

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Well, I finally got around to giving it a shot...

  • Set Inkbird to 120F (arbitrary temp setting)
  • Plugged Inkbird into outlet
  • Inserted Inkbird temp probe through the hole hole I drilled into Big Chief for my regular probe
  • Set hotplate into Big Chief and turned it up all the way
  • Plugged hotplate into Inkbird
Inkbird said working and did cut off at 120F (as did the hotplate), but the temp inside BC just KEPT on climbing, leveling out at 165F according to Inkbird's temp reading.

So, I unplugged Inkbird, opened BC up and let everything cool down, inserted my regular probe into BC on the same shelf and within 2 inches from Inkbird's probe, and ran the test again...

When Inkbird showed 120F and turned off, my regular probe (ThermoPro TP20) was reading 110 and read 10 - 15 degrees cooler than Inkbird all the way back up to that same 165F as before.

So, I'm thinking the climb up to 165F after Inkbird cut off is due to the size of the BC AND that I have it wrapped in that two-sided reflective insulation from Home Depot.

As for the temp difference between Inkbird and my ThermoPro, it hasn't been a week since I did a boiling water/ice water check and it "was" accurate, so I don't know.

I think I'm simply gonna nix this whole hotplate-in-the-BC idea, bite the proverbial bullet, and buy a MES...I'm TIRED of fooling around with trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear and use BC for what I bought it for...COLD smoking (for which it is PERFECT!).

Sigh...
 

indaswamp

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So, I'm thinking the climb up to 165F after Inkbird cut off is due to the size of the BC AND that I have it wrapped in that two-sided reflective insulation from Home Depot.
That and the residual heat from the hot plate. When the power is shut off, it takes a while for the hot plate to stop heating up, level off, and cool off...
 

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