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Review of the CyberQ WiFi temperature controller

cybergoon

Fire Starter
65
10
Joined Mar 23, 2012
This is my review of the CyberQ WiFi system from

Here is what I purchased:

CyberQ WiFi with 8' Probes

Bulkhead Adaptor for my trailer smoker

Standard Weber/Weber Smokey Mountain Adaptor Mount

Pit Bull 25CFM Fan

I have the CyberQ WiFi up and running on my WSM 22.5". I got it connected to the Internet and port forwarded with little in the way of problems (did it on 2 different routers, Apple Airport Extreme (latest version) and an older Netgear).

Issues I ran into:

Airport - None really, other than having to hunt and peck my way through the settings on the router to find DHCP reservation and port forwarding settings.

Netgear - the router was defaulted to G+N only. Had to set it to G+N+B, then it connected right away.

The worst issue with the CyberQ WiFi is there is no visible error/code to point you in the right direction when having connectivity issues. It would be fantastic if they could add the ability to scan for networks like every other WiFi device I have ever tried to use. I'm hoping this can be added with a future software update.

Once I had the connectivity worked out, I started getting ready to use it with much anticipation. I felt the instructions could have offered more in the way of tips/tricks, but they were sufficient to get it hooked up. Mainly, I am referring to placement on the WSM. I had to install and remove the adapter a couple of times to get the best fit and airflow. I ended up installing the adapter on one of the top holes. It seemed to not fit quite right on the bottom hole, plus the air outlet was pointing directly at the rim of the charcoal grate, so I wasn't convinced the airflow would be unimpeded. Another issue I had with the adapter was when I screwed it on, it was sticking past the edge of the damper wheel, so later on in the smoke I noticed the air was blowing half outside the smoker. All I had to do was turn it with some force to get it fully on the wheel. This could be easily fixed with a slight modification by the manufacturer. If they could put a tiny lip the same diameter as the air hole in the damper wheel, so it has a fixed position over the hole, it would solve this issue. Minor issue, but easily overcome.

Once the adapter was in place, I filled my ring with unlit charcoal, poured on about 15 lit coals, sealed it up and turned on the CyberQ, set for 250. The temperature on the CyberQ started to rise, then drop. It kept bouncing between 93 and 104 degrees. The dome temp on the smoker was gradually rising and was up to almost 200. I could tell the smoker was heating up, but was beginning to think I had a bad "Cook" probe. I was about to try another probe, but noticed the "Cook" probe wasn't clicked all the way into the jack. I clicked it in all the way and the temperature jumped to 235 and the fan immediately shut off. The fan had been running 100% up to that point. Temp overshot to 285, but has since calmed down. I don't blame the CyberQ for the overshoot, since the fan never came on once until the temp finally got below the 250 degree set point. The only reason it overshot was I didn't have the probe plugged in all the way, so the CyberQ thought that the temp wasn't moving, so it kept blowing at 100%. We weren't anywhere close to ready for the meat, so it was no problem waiting for it to come down. It was windy out, so there was plenty of oxygen getting in through the access door, so it took about 3 hours to come down. I will be picking up some oven seal to correct that issue before my next cook.

While waiting for the temp to drop, I configured the CyberQ WiFi for email. This was rather easy using these instructions from another post:

Sign up for a free account at http://www.gmx.com.

Use these settings in the CyberQ WiFi:

SMTP Hostname: smtp.gmx.com

SMTP TCP Port: 587

SMTP Authentication Username: Your gmx username w/ @gmx.com...

SMTP Authentication Password: Your gmx password...

Email Recipient: The email address you want to send it to.

Email From: Does not really matter who it is, but I just do it the same as the recipient.

Remember to submit the changes, then reboot the CyberQ, then test it.

Once this was done and the meat was prepared, it was time to see it in action. The WSM is pretty solid at holding temps, so the CyberQ was a little bored until later in the cook when the charcoal was about used up. Every time the temp dropped a couple degrees, the CyberQ did its job and brought the temp back up. Toward the end of the cook, I decided I wanted to brown the cheese on the ABTs, so I changed the set temp to 275. The fan started huffing and puffing and brought the temp up with ease, even though there wasn't much fuel left to burn. I like the way the algorithm reduces the fan use the closer to set temp it gets, so it doesn't overshoot the set temp. Once the CyberQ was in control, the most it went over the set point was 2 degrees the whole 9 hours the smoker was lit.

When the pork loins and ABTs were all finished, I logged into the CyberQ and changed the set temp to 0 (which it automatically changed to 32 degrees, as that is its lowest setting). The fan shut off and I buttoned the smoker up to let it cool down. I removed the fan and temp probes and cleaned them up a little bit and packed it away for next weekend's smoke.

Notes:

1. I have a feeling that most of the people who have issues getting the CyberQ set up in infrastructure mode is because they are trying to configure it using the buttons on the device. I noticed that using the arrows to set the password went to UPPERCASE first, then 1-0, then lowercase, then 1-0 again. I did not find any way to insert any special characters ([email protected]#$%^&*) using the buttons on the device. In order to enter my password, I had to do it from the ad-hoc webpage since I have some special characters in my password. This could easily be fixed in a future software update.

1.5 If you lock yourself out of the device due to changing the network settings and need to redo your setup, hold all four arrow buttons for about 3-4 seconds until it indicates on the screen that it has been factory reset. Then you can connect in adhoc mode again.

2. Make sure to plug probes all the way in until they "Click".

3. Ensure placement of the adapter so that it isn't blowing air on the outside of the smoker.

4. Do not light too many coals. Judging by how long it took to come up to temp for this first cook, I'd say my number of 15 lit briquettes could probably be reduced by a couple.

5. The temperature probes all appear to be spot on. I used my ThermaPen to double check the meat temps against the probes and they were spot on. Having 3 meat temperature probes was REALLY nice. I'm used to only having one, two if my friend remembers to bring his ET-732.

6. When I placed my order online, I had forgotten a couple of things, so I emailed Lisa Jo at thebbqguru.com and she was very helpful with adding what I wanted. I had ordered a separate fan just for my WSM (10CFM) thinking the larger fan would be too powerful for it. Lisa Jo responded and told me that I could just use the 25CFM fan that I needed for my trailer smoker and close the vent part way to throttle it back. That saved me some $$$, so I was happy. Lisa Jo was very helpful and I really appreciate that when making online purchases.

7. For the WSM 22.5", I would recommend purchasing 3 of these http://tinyurl.com/9nghoez from Home Depot to cover the extra holes in the damper wheel.

8. I REALLY hope that they come out with an Android/iPhone app to compliment this device. I think it would make it WAY more useful.

All in all, I am very impressed with this device. I have not used any others, so I have nothing to compare it to. It came packaged very well and seems very durable. After I had placed my order, I got cold feet and almost cancelled the order due to all of the complaints people had about infrastructure mode, which was the main reason I purchased it, but decided that it was likely user error causing the problems.

I would highly recommend this device based on my experience with it thus far. I will continue to use it pretty frequently, so if my opinion changes, I will update the thread at a later time.

Thanks,

Marc

p.s. I do not wok for the manufacturer, nor am I affiliated in any way. This is my personal opinion and experience with it so far.
 
Last edited:

coronaca92879

Meat Mopper
162
11
Joined Mar 22, 2010
Do you have the ability to monitor/ control from your iPhone? I'm interested in this for my wsm for that reason.
 

cybergoon

Fire Starter
Thread starter
65
10
Joined Mar 23, 2012
Do you have the ability to monitor/ control from your iPhone? I'm interested in this for my wsm for that reason.
You can monitor and control from anything with a modern web browser. There are people out there that are designing apps for iPhone and Android as well. I haven't tried any of them yet, but plan to soon.
 

jarjarchef

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
3,141
113
Joined Sep 30, 2010
That sounds very cool. I love gadgets...just the problem iss they are usually out of the price range I can get the boss to agree too. But this is one I may have to really start working on....

The wifi....does it create it's own wifi hot spot or does it need to tie into one to work? To me it sounds a bit odd to have to tie into another router to use it. It is not like you have them at many compitions..
 

cybergoon

Fire Starter
Thread starter
65
10
Joined Mar 23, 2012
That sounds very cool. I love gadgets...just the problem iss they are usually out of the price range I can get the boss to agree too. But this is one I may have to really start working on....
The wifi....does it create it's own wifi hot spot or does it need to tie into one to work? To me it sounds a bit odd to have to tie into another router to use it. It is not like you have them at many compitions..
The CyberQ WiFi has the ability to create it's own network (AdHoc mode), which allows 1 device to connect to it remotely at a time. I find this to be very limited in function. I use the infrastructure mode. This is where you set it up to connect to your home wireless network. Using this mode allows you to connect with more than one device at a time. It was no problem for me to set up using a couple different routers, but some people have issues with this.

Next year when I do more competitions, I plan to take my Apple Airport Extreme WiFi router and connect the CyberQ remotely to it. This way my smoking partner and I will both be able to connect to it with our phones and iPad to monitor and control the temperatures, as well as receive alarms remotely.
 

cybergoon

Fire Starter
Thread starter
65
10
Joined Mar 23, 2012
I have now used the device a few times with my WSM 22.5" smoker and wanted to add a few notes.

I found that my smoker was just too loose around the edges, so I ordered gaskets to seal the door and the lid better. This made a HUGE difference! I also have stopped using the water pan for water and instead I bought 2 17" clay saucers and have them wrapped in foil sitting in the water pan. I then put an aluminum foil pan on top of them to catch drippings. My temperatures between the top and bottom rack are much more consistent now.

The last couple of smokes using the CyberQ WiFi have been essentially effortless. Basically, I go out and light about 10 coals and wait for them to ash over. I then pour them onto the unlit charcoal in the smoker and put the smoker back together and turn on the CyberQ and set it to whatever temp I want to smoke at. Within about 30 minutes, the smoker is up to temp, so I pull the lid and load it with meat. After closing the lid, the smoker is back up to temp pretty quickly, with the assistance of the blower. I can then monitor the ambient smoker temp, as well as all three meat temperatures on any web browser and I have also found a PC program that lets me monitor and record the smoke data. Also, I found an app for my android phone to monitor and control the CyberQ.

In the screenshot below, you can see my most recent smoke (last weekend). I didn't get the entire smoke recorded, as my laptop kept needing reboots for updates and such, but you can see about 7 hours of the smoke. Notice the places where the temperature goes up. This was because the wife wanted dinner at 630pm and the temps were not climbing as fast as I wanted, so I just adjusted the temperature setting from my android phone and let the CyberQ do the work. Food 1 and 2 were 8lb pork shoulders and food 3 was a 12lb brisket. I bumped the temps up 3 times in an effort to keep things moving. In hindsight, I should have just pulled them off and foiled, but I really wanted to see how good of control this CyberQ had over my smoker. There was only 1 time that I saw the temperature over the set temp and that was when I opened the door to add wood chunks.

I can't say enough good about this device. I wasn't 100% sure about it until I made the modifications to my smoker to keep outside air from getting in through the door. If you have a well sealed smoker, this thing is fantastic! If your smoker lets in lots of air, this will still bring it up to temp and fan it if the temps fall, but if air is getting in elsewhere, the device can't snuff it out. It's job is to supply air when the temperature is low and stop supplying it when it gets up to temp and it does it VERY WELL. I'm not sure what the deal is with all the people that are having WiFi issues, since I was able to make it work with no issues on multiple routers, though I am a fairly technical guy. Being able to run to the office for a couple hours and go do some shopping while I had over 30lbs of meat in the smoker is priceless.

* Apparently I don't have the screenshot with me. I thought I had it in email. I will attach it later when I get home.
 

25mike87

Smoke Blower
98
11
Joined Oct 1, 2012
I am still really new to smoking but I really want this thing too bad my budget doesn't allow for spending like this because this thing is amazing
 

jarjarchef

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
3,141
113
Joined Sep 30, 2010
Very nice. Thank tou for the update and info. Perhaps the controls will get a bit easier for the non tech savey as time passes. At this time it is not in my budget, but when I get the RF rig done this was on my to look at list for it. But when I do I will deffinately reach out to you for tips and advice.

Jeramy
 

nzpilot1

Newbie
15
10
Joined Sep 15, 2012
I just ordered one of these so hopefully can get it up and running so I can monitor it from my I phone. Anyway thanks for the review and I will be back in touch if I have problems if thats all right.
 

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