Smoking with PID

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Arapaho G

Newbie
Original poster
Jan 12, 2024
26
9
I have rewired my 30" MES and purchased an Auber WS-1510ELPM multi purpose. I've read a few comments here about the heat element not coming on as much using this controller and a resulting lower volume of smoke being created. Is this a concern and will I need an independent smoke generator? If so, what is your recommendation? Thanks.
 
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I have rewired my 30" MES and purchased an Auber WS-1510ELPM multi purpose. I've read a few comments here about the heat element not coming on as much using this controller and a resulting lower volume of smoke being created. Is this a concern and will I need an independent smoke generator? If so, what is your recommendation? Thanks.
Hi there and welcome!

I don't know from personal experience but have read cases where guys are fine if they put chips/pellets in on initial heat up and then just keep feeding where the cherries keep the new wood going. Also a number of people just saying it works period but then a few saying they had trouble.

I imagine that if you smoke at a higher temp it would help keep wood burning.

With all of that said, I would highly suggest you move to using an A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker (AMNPS) tray with a mailbox modification or at least the tube version of the AMNPS.
Why? If you use the tray you can get 12 hours of perfect smoke without having to fool with it once it gets going. The mailbox mod will basically ensure it works well WHILE keeping you from having to open the smoker and now heat and smoke are truly independent of each other.

The tube version will work with you setting it in the smoker but makes stronger smoke and for maybe 4 hours max instead of 12 hours like the tray.

If you have rewired and are using a PID controller then the next logical step is AMNPS tray with a mailbox mod and you can now do long smokes and overnight smokes with little hassle and while you sleep :D

Ask any/all questions you have :D
 
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Here’s a couple shot of my MES40 which is PID controlled and uses a mailbox setup which has a AMNPS cage with pellets.
 
I would absolutely use a separate smoke generator.Like said above an Amazen tray or tube is the way to go.

I personally use a ubolt modified tube burning dust made from pellets.A 12" tube burning dust can give you up to 10 hours of good clean thin smoke.
 
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I also use a mailbox with a smoke tube , but I have mine adjusted to wear it " blinks " on and off . I burn actual wood chunks at higher temps . I never tried it just loading the chips in the tray . Using a tube or tray is the ticket , but adjusted right you can maintain a constant temp in the tray .
 
Thank you for your responses. I am not familiar with the mailbox mod, but just by looking at the pictures I am assuming that the mailbox is a separate smoke generating chamber. The box holds a tray or a tube that holds pellets or chips, and then said pellets or chips are started manually with a torch. The chamber then feeds smoke into the smoker. Do I have it right? Is there a link that explains the mailbox mod?
I have always used water-soaked wood chips in mesquite, hickory, or apple. Never tried the pellets. Does the mod work with water-soaked chips? Chips vs pellets, another conversation.
 
Yes the mailbox mod is a smoke generator but with no heat source. I typically use the AMNPS tray that is slightly elevated off the floor of the mailbox. The mailbox floor has maybe 9-12 1/4" holes in the bottom. The door of the mailbox has 4 holes. Yes a 4" hole in the back which the duct tubing is attached to allowing the smoke to go up and into the smoker's chip loader port.

I have used the tube with pellets or dust but my go to is still the AMNPS tray filling each trough about half full with pellets. Sometimes I have lightly sprinkled some chips on top of the pellets.

Have never tried water soaked chips. Since the chips would not be in a tray that is very close to the heat source, I don't see how it would work in a mailbox mod.
 
Yes the mailbox mod is a smoke generator but with no heat source. I typically use the AMNPS tray that is slightly elevated off the floor of the mailbox. The mailbox floor has maybe 9-12 1/4" holes in the bottom. The door of the mailbox has 4 holes. Yes a 4" hole in the back which the duct tubing is attached to allowing the smoke to go up and into the smoker's chip loader port.

I have used the tube with pellets or dust but my go to is still the AMNPS tray filling each trough about half full with pellets. Sometimes I have lightly sprinkled some chips on top of the pellets.

Have never tried water soaked chips. Since the chips would not be in a tray that is very close to the heat source, I don't see how it would work in a mailbox mod.
You start the pellets or chips manually with a torch, correct?
 
Couple more pics . Goes into the chip loader hole .
3" duct fits the hole .
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Get good draw and the smoke flows .
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Thank you guys. That looks pretty slick. I will give it a try.
 
Just ran out to my smoking shed and here's some pics of my mailbox. 100% aluminum, not painted inside.

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Well, it now a little smoke painted inside.....:emoji_astonished:
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With a PID controller cycling the element faster, potentially as fast as a few seconds, after stable temperature is reached, the element itself doesn't get as cold, and more importantly its peak temperature does not get as hot, as with a thermostat type control with it's much longer cycle time. This means that the peak temperature that the chip are being exposed to is lower, so they don't smolder and smoke as much (or potentially at all.)

Perhaps, one way to combat this would be to increase the cycle time of the PID, if that option is available on your PID (it is in REX-100 style controllers.) Maybe a couple of minutes, such that if the power required to keep chamber temperature is 50%, the element would be on for a full minute, allowing the element to get pretty warm indeed. I have not tried this personally, because...

I am a firm believer in separate temperature and smoke control in my electric smokers. This is an innate feature of my Bradley, and I have added the cold smoker attachment to my MES 30 to achieve this. The chamber temperatures for both are under PID control, and the smoke generators operate independently of this.

That said, the advice to make a mailbox type mod (or smoke tube or maze) is good advice. If the aluminum mailbox (from Gilbralter, IIRC) was still available, I would have done that instead of ponying up for the cold smoker for the MES.
 
I just looked at your Auber WS-1510ELPM PID manual and the cycle time is programmable. Try a test smoke at 120 seconds and see if smoke generation improves.
 
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