• Veteran Sous Vide Canning

    In roll call I had posted about my attempts to modify my small SmokinTex smoker to solve problems with temp swings and keeping the smoke going. The problem I soon realized after first using it, was at the low temps for sausage, the element didn’t stay on long enough to reliably produce smoke from the wood box.

    So I got a smoking tube for pellets which always produces smoke. Then to reduce temp swings I placed a 6" electric duct fan over the vent. Whenever the temp would rise too high I would plug it in to vent excess heat. Worked great but I was still running out constantly to keep an even temp. Then I recently got a thermostat control set on cool to turn the vent fan on and off at certain temps in an attempt to automate it a little bit.

    Tried it out today and I’m not too proud to admit it was a total failure. We’re all here to learn from each other right? I put the temp sensor for the cooling thermostat and another sensor down by the sensor for the smoker thermostat. Just in case I put another sensor in the mid part of smoker like I usually do. Started my smoking process and temp readings were all over the place. I ended up just turning the vent fan on and off manually like usual. I’m thinking I should’ve put the cooling thermostat in the mid part of smoker too.

    Hope everyone is having a blessed and happy Thanksgiving with family and friends!

  • Big Green Egg Team Blue Regular Contributors Cast Iron Power User North Dakota

    marzig20 Thanks for the info and the experiment. Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Team Orange Power User Canning Masterbuilt Regular Contributors Veteran New Mexico

    marzig20 That’s how we learn, often by mistakes, but if you don’t try you don’t know.

  • Veteran Sous Vide Canning

    bocephus I’m not giving up. Almost any problem can be solved. I may have an ex-wife that would disagree, but I solved that problem too.

  • Team Orange Power User Canning Masterbuilt Regular Contributors Veteran New Mexico

    marzig20 Keep at it, that is how most great ideas come from, (numerous improvements).

  • Team Blue Masterbuilt Canning Kamado Joes Regular Contributors Power User Sous Vide Oklahoma

    marzig20 good luck with plan B


  • marzig20 have same issue at low Temps on my cookshack. The 2 smokers are brother/sister type thing. The issue with them are insulation and air flow. They are so well insulated that at low temps the heating element doesn’t stay on long and then there is the air flow from just a very small vent on the top and a very small grease drain on the bottom.
    Another thing that doesn’t help with these units is that they are not PID controlled. What I have done is to take string and tie loops in at at different lengths So I can hold the door open at different amounts to help control air flow. Then I take a mini fan and sit it by the door to keep a constant air flow so my smoke tube doesn’t snuff itself out from lack of oxygen.


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  • Veteran Sous Vide Canning

    This post is deleted!
  • Veteran Sous Vide Canning

    Randie N said in Smoker modification:

    marzig20 have same issue at low Temps on my cookshack. The 2 smokers are brother/sister type thing. The issue with them are insulation and air flow. They are so well insulated that at low temps the heating element doesn’t stay on long and then there is the air flow from just a very small vent on the top and a very small grease drain on the bottom.
    Another thing that doesn’t help with these units is that they are not PID controlled. What I have done is to take string and tie loops in at at different lengths So I can hold the door open at different amounts to help control air flow. Then I take a mini fan and sit it by the door to keep a constant air flow so my smoke tube doesn’t snuff itself out from lack of oxygen.

    I always knew the problem was with airflow. That is a very good idea. I never wanted to actually cut into the smoker. It does such a good job on whole briskets, pork butts, etc

  • Veteran Sous Vide Canning

    Now I have another crazy idea. As Randie N mentioned, this type of smoker is well insulated and has very little airflow. The heating element is either on high or off. By the time the thermostat shuts the element off there is a lot of residual heat left in the element. As it cools it still continues to heat the smoker raising temps well above the thermostat setting. Not a problem if doing a brisket at higher temps.

    Today I found a rheostat dimmer rated for 1,000 watts. The element in the smoker is 700 watts. I think if I plug the smoker into the rheostat and set the smoker thermostat so it is always on I can control how hot the element actually gets. Just like when you adjust the element on an electric cook top. I’ll keep the duct fan on top running continuously to provide enough air flow to keep the smoke tube smoking.

    I’m definitely interested in the PK100 but with the small batches I make I can’t justify the cost. Especially when I give 3/4s of what I make away. I guess being retired I just have far too much free time on my hands.

  • Team Orange Masterbuilt Sous Vide Team Blue Power User

    I have a masterbuilt electric. What I did was order a inkbird pid controler. Its capable of 12 stages of temperature and time. I place the inkbird’s thermal sensor just above the heating element after I warm up the smoker. The smoker draws more amps than the inkbird can pass thru so we built a relay box the smoker gets on off power from. The box plugs into the 120 recrptical. The inkbird plugs into a passthrough circuit in the box. The relay ON/OFF switch plugs into the inkbird HEATING/cooler controler and the smoker plugs into the power out on th relay box. I turn the smoker dial to high and start cooking. I can controll the temps down to 120 degrees and as high as 225. The inkbird is only rated up to 240 so I dont go higher. My temp swings when cooking very by about4 degrees with the probe next to but not touching the element. Work fantastics on thermal processing that changes temps often.

  • Regular Contributors Power User

    Without making modifications to the cabinet to increase air flow, I am not sure if they can be entirely satisfactory for sausage making, even with adding a PID controller, which is a very good first step.
    As mentioned, they are about perfect for use as a smoker/oven for briskets, ribs, and butts, but for sausage you just need more air volume for drying, IMO

  • Team Orange Masterbuilt Sous Vide Team Blue Power User

    Vegas humidity is usually real low so drying is not usually a problem for my tastes but I can see where it has limitations

  • Veteran Sous Vide Canning

    processhead said in Smoker modification:

    Without making modifications to the cabinet to increase air flow, I am not sure if they can be entirely satisfactory for sausage making, even with adding a PID controller, which is a very good first step.
    As mentioned, they are about perfect for use as a smoker/oven for briskets, ribs, and butts, but for sausage you just need more air volume for drying, IMO

    I finally bought an Inkbird PID controller. It’s prewired and can handle the 700 watts of my smoker oven. So far the results are very promising. The best temp control that I have ever had. I’m still struggling with the menu flow with only four buttons. I should probably have one of my grand kids help me with that, LOL. I plan on opening the drain hole in the bottom to aid in better ventilation.

  • Regular Contributors Power User

    marzig20 said in Smoker modification:

    processhead said in Smoker modification:

    Without making modifications to the cabinet to increase air flow, I am not sure if they can be entirely satisfactory for sausage making, even with adding a PID controller, which is a very good first step.
    As mentioned, they are about perfect for use as a smoker/oven for briskets, ribs, and butts, but for sausage you just need more air volume for drying, IMO

    I finally bought an Inkbird PID controller. It’s prewired and can handle the 700 watts of my smoker oven. So far the results are very promising. The best temp control that I have ever had. I’m still struggling with the menu flow with only four buttons. I should probably have one of my grand kids help me with that, LOL. I plan on opening the drain hole in the bottom to aid in better ventilation.

    I recently put an inkbird PID controller in a homemade electric smoker. It supposedly has a self-tuning feature. My experience with the self tuning was not very good. Internet reviews backup my experience as well.
    After manually tuning the PID, it was holding +/- 2 degrees around the setpoint temperature.

  • Veteran Sous Vide Canning

    processhead that’s the problem I’m having with the self-tuning. How do you manually tune?

  • Regular Contributors Power User

    marzig20 said in Smoker modification:

    processhead that’s the problem I’m having with the self-tuning. How do you manually tune?

    I sold the smoker recently and don’t have the PID handy to check the settings. I’ll see if I can contact the new owner and get the key settings.

    Did you get the ITC-106VH? What kind of temperature probe did you use with the controller?

  • Veteran Sous Vide Canning

    processhead it’s a IPB-16S. It came with a NTC sensor (R25 C = 10K ohm).

  • Veteran Sous Vide Canning

    processhead I spent last night and this morning researching on how PID controllers work. I’m thinking that the values you set on the smoker you sold may not work with my “Rube Goldberg” contraption.

    Do you think I should reset to factory defaults and then start manually adjusting? First start with the proportional and then the integral values. Will I even have to mess with the derivative value?

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