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PID Controllers - Part 1: Why I don't recommend one


Fire Starter
Joined Jun 18, 2012
My thoughts on "PID Controllers - Part 1: Why I don't recommend one."

Note: I'm specifically saying I don't recommend a PID controller, not that I don't want to control the temperature! Also, there is nothing wrong with using a PID controller; I'm just saying it's not needed!

I'm going to discuss the following
  1. Why are we interested in controlling smoke-chamber temperature?
  2. What are some different methods in controlling temperature?
  3. What is a PID controller?
  4. Why would someone use a PID controller?
  5. Is a PID controller needed?
  6. What is the optimum controller for controlling a pellet smoker?
  7. Why I don't recommend a PID controller

Topic 1: Why are we interested in controlling the smoke-chamber temperature?

We are interested in controlling the smoke-chamber temperature so that we can produce a smoked final product that: A) taste great; B) can be proud of, and maybe C) a little bragging rights.

If we don't control the temperature, then we will end up with a final product that may satisfy
all of the above; A, B, and C. But not frequently, if ever! Certainly not repeatedly! And if we can't produce a great smoked product repeatedly, then we can't plan on: A) When it will be ready, B) how it will taste, and C) will it be safe to eat.

Temperature control lets us provide predictability of our final product. Without predictability, we can't invite guests over for dinner! Not only can we not say at what point it will be ready to eat, we could not even say which DAY it will be ready to eat! Worried abut food poisoning? Better have some idea of the temperatures the meat was produced at.

So, we want to control our temperature because doing so provides us with the ability to predict: if it will taste good, when it will be ready, and if it will be safe to eat.

Part II: What are some different methods in controlling the temperature....coming soon.

My background: 10 years in process control at nuclear power plants, as a technician and engineer, and 41 years in software.


Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Jun 20, 2013
Interesting post, banjo. Since I'm about ready to install a PID in my MES 30--the control panel heat control calfed--the timing couldn't be better. Looking forward to your yet to come installments.

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