BBQ Temp Controller - Any Interest?



  • Re: BBQ Temp Controller Build

    Although my time is very limited, I'd really like to get some more interest in this project and get some working code up for others to contribute to.

    Background: I enjoy smoking different types of meat on my smoker, however it is always a challenge as some cooks can go as long as 12+ hours. When you expect to have guests over mid-afternoon, it means a really long night of monitoring and making minor adjustments to ensure temperatures stay where they should on both the smoker and the meat being cooked.

    Goal: To build a temperature control system for charcoal/wood burning smokers that allows monitoring of the grill temperature as well as 1-2 probes for the internal temperature of the item(s) being cooked. It should be able to be integrated into a controller such as OpenHAB easily using the mysensors API. It should also have the capability to control a small fan which blows into the firebox of the smoker to increase the cooking temperature to a specified value. There are commercial versions of these, but if we are building home automation sensors and switches with arduinos, why stop there? Commercial versions can be found here or here.

    Any takers to help develop this for others to use? I'm far from the best coder, but would love to get some help putting a working package together for others to use. My time is scarce these days, which is the main reason I keep putting off this project. If you're willing to contribute in some way, let me know and I'll post up my progress on the code and we can divide and conquer.

    If there's no interest, I'll keep it on my project list and eventually try to work it out myself.


  • Admin

    I'm very interested in the results of your effort. I've had the luxury of enjoying my first season with a smoker (Weber Smokey Mountain). Also glanced at the commercial products but it would be much more fun to build something for controlling the temperature.



  • @hek - glad to see some interest. I'll let this post settle for a couple days and see how much interest there is. I purchased all the components (probes, fan, etc.) some time ago, and never got around to finishing this project.

    One thing I've learned about smoking over the years is consistency in temperature is the key. I started with a home built offset cooker that was near impossible to control. I then built a Stumps-style smoker after seeing them. That was way too big to be practical, so I moved on to a Big Green Egg, which I love.

    Back on topic...I really hope we can get this going.



  • @Tango2 said:

    @hek - glad to see some interest. I'll let this post settle for a couple days and see how much interest there is. I purchased all the components (probes, fan, etc.) some time ago, and never got around to finishing this project.

    One thing I've learned about smoking over the years is consistency in temperature is the key. I started with a home built offset cooker that was near impossible to control. I then built a Stumps-style smoker after seeing them. That was way too big to be practical, so I moved on to a Big Green Egg, which I love.

    Which kind of probes did you buy? I have been thinking about doing something similar, but wasn't able to find temperature probes that could sustain both the temperaure and humidity for a long time

    • Jan, happy owner of a Primo Kamado for many years!


  • I believe I purchased my probes from AuberIns.com. I see that they have a PID controller that can be used to control the grill temp, and it's fairly priced. What it doesn't do is give you a way to remotely monitor or set parameters, and it only has one probe to measure the grill temp.

    What they do offer is a pre-configured blower with adapters for several different types of smokers. Buying one of these may be better than trying to fab your own.



  • So here's my initial attempt at putting something together. Fair disclaimer, this was done while staying up all night doing a cook after being awake all day. I think it probably has a good overall structure of what needs to be done, but the content can be improved in almost every area.

    EggCooker20160618.ino

    I see a couple things needing to happen:

    • Get reading from multiple probes
    • Send readings to controller via MySensors formatting
    • Get setting from controller via MySensors API for grill temperature setpoint.
    • Use grill probe reading and grill temp setpoint with PID controller library to control fan

    Hopefully this will get some discussion started. Any inputs on the best way to tackle this?

    Also, how about a good name for this project?



  • I have been working on this idea as well. My issue was finding probes that would survive the higher temps and run off a minimal power supply (batteries) - while still being cheap. It is the last item that has prevented me from moving forward. At the prices I have seen for temp probe/IC it is actually cheaper just to get a store bought meat thermometer with a remote display that is locked in. I suppose one could figure out their transmission protocol and port it to some radio receiver to an arduino. I have not even looked at making the grill react to inputs yet but I like that idea.


  • Hero Member

    I have some of these included in my home automation system. Usually sold at 99 sek during BBQ season. 433MHz Rubicson interfaced via the USB RFXtrx433.


  • Hero Member

    The RFXCom receivers also support the Maverick ET732 and ET733 BBQ Thermometers and the Oregon Scientific AW129 and AW131 thermometers. I currently use the AW129 but am also interested in a dual probe thermometer that can control a fan.

    Cheers
    Al



  • @wergeld said:

    I have been working on this idea as well. My issue was finding probes that would survive the higher temps and run off a minimal power supply (batteries) - while still being cheap. It is the last item that has prevented me from moving forward. At the prices I have seen for temp probe/IC it is actually cheaper just to get a store bought meat thermometer with a remote display that is locked in. I suppose one could figure out their transmission protocol and port it to some radio receiver to an arduino. I have not even looked at making the grill react to inputs yet but I like that idea.

    To me, this part is what sets this idea apart from others. For example, if you see that your food is cooking too fast, you could remotely turn down your cook temperature to slow it down a bit. Or you could script your controller to adjust the cooking temperature at a certain time or after a particular condition is met.



  • I've been using 'Heatermeter' for years, it's awesome!


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