The "How-to" for making an Arduino controlled smoker

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I'll look into it.. if you can varry the voltage to a electric motor we should be able to varry the voltage to a element.. this might also solve your chip buring problem. if you could keep the element on all the time at say 40% power it should be hot enough to smoke the wood chips.. but it might be more simple to use a small 100 watt element in an external burner to make the smoke and just have the arduino turn that on or off depending on when you need smoke.

One of the problems I have with my PID controller is that it is constantly "cycleing" on and off and I cant figure out how to make a larger swing.

I am afraid that the contant cyleing to keep it at a low temp will burn out the element.

I am still playing around with vents and fans and such, but was looking at one of these controllers to solve that problem.
Thanks Bob for your hard work. I finally have all the parts I need and I'm just waiting for some time to put it all together.

Keep us updated!
In the program, what is the purpose of the USE_KEEPALIVE and keepalive-server? and is it really necessary?

Mess with the P value and zero out the I and the D values and you will have larger pulses...or you could make everything zero and it would just be on if the temp falls below. But you do run the risk of overshoot.
I think it is for his wireless. the keep alive function sends a comunication every min or so to maintain the internet conection to the webpage and prevent a time out.

Good stuff

I'm following yours + the original instructions from  cause I really just want to monitor a charcoal bbq

so the oven element it's just for the electrical mode...  but your instructions about how to setup the wifi shield and some other stuffs appears to be very informative... I've some parts already ... Just missing a visit to radio shack and the blower from digikey

thanks, AM.
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thanks for all this info... just finishing construction of the box itself so the heat is next on the list.  this looks like a great tool to tinker with.
Hey Bob,

Thanks for the great writeup! This has inspired me to finally pick up an Arduino after seeing so many great projects being done with them. Taking this on as my first project will be… interesting.

I do have a few questions if you don't mind. Is there any reason that this kit requires a Mega rather than Uno Arduino? It looks like a bit more work (and $) is required for the Mega.

Also, have you had any more success in tweaking the electric version to output smoke more consistently? I use a router speed controller as a sort of external dimmer to control my hot plate temperature. I'm thinking that if I dial back the hot plate temperature, I can at least minimize the number of on/off cycles. I just might look into using a few relays to allow switching between low/med/high hotplate settings in the hopes that I can always get the chips smoking and just dial up the ambient temperature as needed.


I was looking for a project for all the Arduino stuff that I bought a while back.  Now I've got one!  Thanks, Bob!
Ok - is there a way for someone without a degree in Computer Science and Electronics to make one of these?  I have a SmokinTex electric and am not happy with the 20-40 degree temp swings I sometimes experience. I have no idea what 90% of what you said here means and the 10% I do understand is making my head spin 
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Very Nice ...Building this for replace my current old type...

If you have any ideas as to how to access this from my laptop in the house

so i can keep an eye on temp, and even a camera feed...

would love to colaberate here for any ideas...
Maybe this is an old thread and it is dead, but i am super excited about it!  I love working with arduinos and I am building a fridge smoker right now.

I'm thinking of combining this project with this project:

What i am wondering (and excuse my noobness here) is do you control a fan at all with your smoker? or are you just controlling that element (which i guess is controlling your smoke generator).  I was wondering if i still need a secondary element or can i get enough heat just from the smoke that is being pumped in?

I am also a web developer, so i am pretty excited about the web interface and what i can do with it.  Overall sounds like a really fun project, and thank you for sharing.  I will report back with my results.


You can head over to TVWB and there is a nice Arduiono/Web based controller project there.  I've built three of them for myself and friends.  Works really quite well and having it already connected to a webserver so you can control everything is pretty sweet.  Total cost in ~$80 for the parts to put it together.

Hopefully it's OK to post a link to this.  If not moderators just remove it and if anyone is interested you can PM me.

Bob, I want to make a distiller controller and your project can be very help for my. One probe for mash temp and one probe for vapor temp. Both probes with set point both with a output for control a valve for the burners. This is with a LCD display or with a wireless connection for control the arduino via a iPad. Can you modify you project for that? Thanks for your answer.

This is fantastic! I'm thinking of doing something similar but to regulate the gas flow of my gas smoker. I've found a digital gas mass flow controller online and I'm hoping I can use your code/design as a base and swap out the relay/heating element with this gas flow regulator. The idea being that the Arduino will regulate the gas based on the temp inside the smoker. A couple of questions for ya:

-What are you using wifi for?

-Do you have a link to the Arduino board with the built in wifi?

-Any thoughts/tips/tricks on starting up?

I've got plenty of microcontroller experience so I'm hoping this isn't going to be too bad! is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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