Top mounted heating element with convection fan MES mod

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askel

Newbie
Original poster
Nov 16, 2022
11
7
Hello everybody,
I'm new here but not a complete newbie to smoking and sausage making.
I've been making sausages for few years but always dreamed of better way of cooking and smoking them. Usually I use my oven to do cooking and smoke sausages once cooking is done using simple spiral smoker filled with sawdust. It does work but it isn't perfect as smoking supposed to be an integral part of cooking.
Long story short. I found this site and decided to buy cheap smoker and modify it to my needs, e.g. add precise temperature control + convection.
I've seen people replacing stock thermostat of a smoker with PID to achieve desired temperature control precision. And there are some info on adding a convection. But what I actually want to get is:
* Completely remove bottom mounted stock heating element
* Install convection fan with integrated heating element like that on top surface of a smoker
WPW10210594-Whirlpool-Range-Convection-Fan-Assembly.jpg

* Use PID for temp control

So basically the idea is to get rid of bottom mounted heater and related problems like dripping on heating element and achieve more even temperature inside smoker. I'm just wondering if anybody already made such a mod.

Thank you,
Alex
 
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I've ordered all I need to complete that project. Stay tuned...
 
It looks like I'm gonna need to force hot air down. Couple of metal sheets on each side of a smoker should do that.

Although I'd first test it as is and deal with problems as they happen.
 
It looks like I'm gonna need to force hot air down. Couple of metal sheets on each side of a smoker should do that.

Although I'd first test it as is and deal with problems as they happen.
How is it working?
 
It worked extremely well although I had to change original design as I realized that the smoker chamber is small enough to make effective air circulation without making much extra changes. Basically it works great with the heater and impeller fan combo mounted at the bottom of back wall. I have Auber PID controller with three temperature probes so I could use two to keep tracking of temperature at the bottom and the top of the smoker and the difference never exceeds 3 degree Celsius which is good enough for making cooked sausages that require temperature to never exceed 80 C.
Also, I bought steam generator and combined with smoke generator and Auber WiFi PID controller it's perfect setup to do what I like.
I'll be smoking and cooking a salamy tonight and will take some pictures and post here.
 
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You need to be careful (or at least understand) the voltage and wattage of electrical parts. Most smokers are fused for 120Vac/15A service. That may have been a convection unit for a 240V kitchen oven??
 
It worked extremely well although I had to change original design as I realized that the smoker chamber is small enough to make effective air circulation without making much extra changes. Basically it works great with the heater and impeller fan combo mounted at the bottom of back wall. I have Auber PID controller with three temperature probes so I could use two to keep tracking of temperature at the bottom and the top of the smoker and the difference never exceeds 3 degree Celsius which is good enough for making cooked sausages that require temperature to never exceed 80 C.
Also, I bought steam generator and combined with smoke generator and Auber WiFi PID controller it's perfect setup to do what I like.
I'll be smoking and cooking a salamy tonight and will take some pictures and post here.
Where did you buy the steam generator? Is the fan element 110v?
 
Where did you buy the steam generator? Is the fan element 110v?
I bought Earlex SS77USSG Steam Generator on Amazon for $70.

There are 110v and 220v versions of heating element available on EBay both matching the same convection fan assembly:
  • 220v - KitchenAid KSEB900ESS2 Range Heating Element W10661904
  • 110v - KitchenAid KSGG700EBS1 Range Heating Element W10661905
 
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You need to be careful (or at least understand) the voltage and wattage of electrical parts. Most smokers are fused for 120Vac/15A service. That may have been a convection unit for a 240V kitchen oven??
Well, as far as I know plugging 240v heating element to 110v would make twice as low current and is harmless. It's not so the other way around, i.e. plugging 110v element to 240v. Most likely It would melt or blow.
 
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Sounds like an interesting project.
Got any pictures for inquiring minds ?
 
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Sounds like an interesting project.
Got any pictures inquiring minds ?
I apologize for "well seasoned" pictures. I regret I wasn't taking pictures while all the mods were made.

Basically I removed original heating element. Then drilled holes close to the top of both side walls and moved rods that were supporting it. Then I cut square hole at the bottom of back wall (outer sheet only) large enough to put fan. Then drilled holes for fan motor shaft and motor mounting through the inner sheet. I then installed that protective aluminum disk inside and mounted fan motor on outside. Then installed heating element using stainless rivets.
IMG_20230523_181825613.jpg


IMG_20230523_181514920.jpg


The cover you see on the picture is something I also found on EBay that matched pretty well.
s-l140.jpg


On the outside I covered everything with aluminum enclosure that I cut matching hole in its back wall.
enclosure.jpg
IMG_20230523_181726849.jpg


Two plug mounts were also installed on the bottom wall of the enclosure and connected by heat-resistant wires to heating element and fan motor.
IMG_20230523_181742215.jpg


The hole left after removing original element works as a "socket" to plug smoke generator and steam generator hoses.

I'm still not sure about cutting large hole on the top of the smoker and installing air vent damper. Original hole is used to pass temperature probes and also serves as exhaust hole.

As I already mentioned I have two temperature probes beside one for the meat. One at the top and another close to the bottom of the smoker an when I was cooking sausages hanging on hooks the temperature difference between top and bottom never exceeded 3 degrees Celsius which is good enough for me. Convection fan sucks air in through the center then blows it through the heating element through side openings of the cover. That seems to be circulating air well enough for such small smoker.
 
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How do you plan to connect steam generator? I bought exactly the same few days ago but running continuously, it raises temperature too fast. I think I need some kind of interval timer to turn it on/off every 5-10 minutes
 
How do you plan to connect steam generator? I bought exactly the same few days ago but running continuously, it raises temperature too fast. I think I need some kind of interval timer to turn it on/off every 5-10 minutes

I introduce steaming at the last step of sausage cooking when temperature is supposed to not exceed 80 C. Basically I just close that top hole and run steamer for couple of minutes to increase humidity then stop steamer and let the heater do its job. It does require my attendance but that's probably the most "laborious" part of the process. The point is to not let steam/humidity escape the smoker. You don't really need to continuously supply a steam to pid controlled closed chamber.
 
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Finally, ordered high-heat paint to make it look even nicer and probably last longer :)
Next step is to replace expensive but stupid Auber controller with simple DIY controller that would not only work via WiFi but also work as I want a smoker controller to work, e.g. I want to control more that just a temperature. How about a smoke? And it's not just starting to smoke. How about controlled temperature smoke? How about starting a steam generator and run it for as long as YOU want it to run depending on product temperature?
Stay tuned....
 

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