Video of my Computer Controlled Smoker

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geek with fire

Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
Aug 5, 2007
Rural out-skirts of Sedalia, MO
Well, as promised here's a video of my computer assisted temperature controller for my smoker. I was hoping I could wait until I cleaned up some of my "farm engineered" pieces of the puzzle, but I recently realized that the second coming of Christ may arrive before I get that done. So, below is what I've got so far. Let me know what you think. Am I compensating for inexperience, or does it have merit?
if that doesn't work, go here:
... just wow.
All you need now is a device to refuel the sfb for ya'...
Yea, the PID loop is embedded in the code.....and needs to be tweaked by someone much smarter than me. I'm mathematically savvy enough to program the PID and get it close, but I must have killed too many brain cells in college to tune it.
Man I imagine trying to tune something like that would be almost impossible considering the ever changing variables you are dealing with from one smoke to another. PID's, especially heating/cooling, can be tedious in the perfect settings sometimes. I'd say if you've got it close then you should be happy. But just for giggles, what type of controller & code are we talking about?
Now it is time to do some regional field testing. Topeka is an awesome market for this, and I will offer my services at no fee to you! :D

Seriously though, that is about the most totally awesome merge of technology and smoke that I can ever recall seeing. Job well done!

Edit: You asked if it compromises for inexperience. Yes it does and that is the beauty of it. Learning to smoke with fire isn't hard at all if it weren't for the wood, fire, temperature, wind, direct light, food mass, food temperature, and on and on. Your device helps in the one critical area of maintaining a temperature within a reasonable range. Sure there are other aspects to consider, but this is a huge step toward making the wood smoking technique a little easier for people to venture into. I am purely an electric smoker guy because I can't tend to the firebox all damn day regulating the temp. With your computer, that would alleviate that problem as long as the weather conditions weren't too out of whack.
Free market testing....That's almost unheard of! ;->

In all seriousness, once I have the bugs worked out, I think I'll just sell the software for minimal cost to compensate for my time (and to keep me tinkering with it!) and give away for free the list of materials to buy to make it work. I already have a day job, so I'm not trying to get rich here.

Thanks for the kind words,
That is a great idea and excellent follow through after thinking of it. Any thoughts on watching it on web cam and controlling it at home from work?
Not sure if you were serious or not, but yes, without the web cam. I started coding the other day on a remote control console that I can run on my PDA and access the controls through the internet. Not so much when I away from the farm, but at least when I'm out mowing the back 40.
I am proficient in ASP.NET and SQL so I could code a web interface on this site for us to login to and pre-set smokers! We could control the temperature ranges via the web interface! We could set up email notification if the temp drops too low. Or even cooler! Email notification when the meat hits the desired temperature!

Oh God, this is the coolest thing ever!!!! Meat smoking and web development! I gotta run to the bathroom before I pee myself! is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.