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Author Topic: Home Made Automatic Temp Controller - Model 2.0  (Read 4953 times)

Winz

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Home Made Automatic Temp Controller - Model 2.0
« on: June 23, 2016, 04:56:41 AM »
After lots of thought, I decided to forgo purchasing a high-end ATC unit (Stoker, CyberQ, etc) and instead upgrade the previous ATC I built:   http://weberkettleclub.com/forums/weber-kettles-accessories/automatic-temp-controller/msg141250/#msg141250


The goal of this project was twofold:  Make the unit portable so it can be used with multiple kettles, and clean up the asethetics of model 1.0 which looks like this:





A pretty butchered wiring job.  It worked, but was not pretty....





Here are all the components of model 2.0 hooked up and working prior to final assembly.  I went with a much smaller enclosure, a single display PID, a single toggle switch, and no indicator light (the PID already has one built in making it redundant).   I spent more time on the wiring as well, knowing that it all had to fit into the small enclosure:





All buttoned up.  I used a K type thermocouple connector to enable reuse of my investment in thermoworks probes.  They work well and certain models can thread through small grommets in the cooker.  Shown is a new probe I bought that is very stout and will mount permanently in Wapiti.





Back side.  From left to right:  Motor connector, power connector (different size than motor connector), probe lead, and illuminated power switch.





The previous motor I used cost me all of $9 and worked pretty well.  For model 2.0, I decided to splurge and buy a 10 CFM Pit Viper from BBQ Guru as they were on sale for fathers day, and I have always liked this style of motor.  It has a built in damper for micro adjustment, a nice metal housing to protect the fan, and a fitting design that allows you to easily install and remove it for use with different cookers.  The Pit Viper is a nice upgrade to my home made unit.





Next steps include a mounting system for the ATC that will protect it from the elements, and a jig that will allow me to use my ARLO wireless camera to monitor cooker and food temps remotely.  I would like to be able to see the temps of my pork butt without having to crawl out of bed   :)


Winz






In an ongoing relationship with a kettle named Bisbee.

Neil_VT00

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Re: Home Made Automatic Temp Controller - Model 2.0
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2016, 05:19:54 AM »
Looks like a nice clean upgrade.  Are you using an Auber PID?

Looking forward to hearing about how it works for you.
Wanted: Burgundy 18"

Winz

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Re: Home Made Automatic Temp Controller - Model 2.0
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2016, 08:42:16 AM »
Looks like a nice clean upgrade.  Are you using an Auber PID?


Yes, it is an Auber SYL-1612B unit.  I went with the DC model because I use a battery to power it.  The upside is that you can also plug it in using a cheap AC/DC converter.


Winz
In an ongoing relationship with a kettle named Bisbee.

blksabbath

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Re: Home Made Automatic Temp Controller - Model 2.0
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2016, 09:17:30 AM »
Very cool.  I didn't even think about using a 12v battery.  I have a diy sous vide controller that I was going to modify for my smokey mountain.  I think I would just need the blower and change the temp sensor.

How does the blower mount?  Is there a backnut on the inside of the kettle?

cheers!

Winz

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Re: Home Made Automatic Temp Controller - Model 2.0
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2016, 09:27:04 AM »


How does the blower mount?  Is there a backnut on the inside of the kettle?

cheers!


I used a smokey joe platinum as the base for Wapiti.  Here is the full picture:





For the blower, I mounted it in the existing vent hole and plugged up the other 3:








Winz
In an ongoing relationship with a kettle named Bisbee.

blksabbath

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Re: Home Made Automatic Temp Controller - Model 2.0
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2016, 10:21:21 AM »
Whats the ball valve do?  Shut for opening and closing the lid or something?

I love the little bulkhead fitting.  Very cool!

Winz

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Re: Home Made Automatic Temp Controller - Model 2.0
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2016, 09:10:48 PM »

@blksabbath
Whats the ball valve do?  Shut for opening and closing the lid or something?



Yes, exactly.  I used the ball valve to close off the air supply at the end of a cook.  Unfortunately, the distance between the fan and the charcoal limited the fans effectiveness (kind of like blowing air through a long hose).  Since then, I have taken it out.  The fan I am using has a sliding door that accomplishes the same task.
Before:



After:





Winz
In an ongoing relationship with a kettle named Bisbee.

addicted-to-smoke

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Re: Home Made Automatic Temp Controller - Model 2.0
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2016, 12:48:17 PM »
Fantastic stuff here, @Winz. Any chance of a more-or-less hand holding "How To" for the rest of us?

I don't know a thing about any of the components mentioned here, but would be interested in them if say, they could transform my mini WSM (SJ Silver-based) or 18.5" WSM into something more sophisticated.
It's the iconic symbol for the backyard. It's family/friends, food and fun. What more do you need to feel everything [is] going to be all right. As long as we can still have a BBQ in our backyard, the world seems a bit of a better place. At least for that moment. -reillyranch

pbe gummi bear

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Re: Home Made Automatic Temp Controller - Model 2.0
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2016, 12:24:41 AM »
I'm really digging the evolution of your ATC, Winz. How do you charge the battery?
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Winz

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Re: Home Made Automatic Temp Controller - Model 2.0
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2016, 06:34:59 PM »

@pbe gummi bear

I'm really digging the evolution of your ATC, Winz. How do you charge the battery?


Here is the battery system for Version 1.  I had both the battery and the charger when I started the first project.  The battery is a sealed lead acid battery that weighs 4.8 LBS.





Here is the battery for version 2.  It is a lithium ion battery that has 85% of the capacity of version 1's, in a small package that weighs 13oz.  The charger is a standard AC/DC wall plug unit.  The battery even has a USB receptacle on the front so I can charge my iPhone while I smoke a pork butt  :) .  On a full charge, it will run the blower continuously for 25 hours or about 50 hours for a real-world cook.  Plenty of capacity.





Here is the complete version 2.0 set up (minus the blower).  It is a very compact unit that is ultra portable for camping, competition cooking, or just moving from kettle to kettle:





It's 71 degrees in my knife drawer....


Winz
In an ongoing relationship with a kettle named Bisbee.

Lemans

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Re: Home Made Automatic Temp Controller - Model 2.0
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2016, 04:59:58 PM »
So it looks great but what was the final cost?
My pitmaster IQ120 was $$139.00
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Winz

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Re: Home Made Automatic Temp Controller - Model 2.0
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2016, 02:24:54 PM »
So it looks great but what was the final cost?
My pitmaster IQ120 was $$139.00


Thank you.  Regarding cost - I am not really sure of the final total, but the goal of this project was certainly not to save money.  There are many ATC units out there that you can buy for what this probably cost to build.  The goal of this project was to improve upon my first home-built ATC by cleaning up the aesthetics and upgrading the components.  The fun derived from researching, planning, designing, and building was worth whatever premium I might have into it.


Winz
In an ongoing relationship with a kettle named Bisbee.