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I have several of the components in place already due to home automation. I have a device called an Ocelot that connects to the serial port of the PC. There is a module connected to the Ocelot that can accept analog resistive inputs. I am running Homeseer home automation software. So I can read the sensor points and trigger events on the PC now. What is missing is the temperature probes for the meat and for the meat probes.
buildind a a auto switch to hold woud be easier, and run around $150.

Used temp controller $40 each
Snap Disc temp switch $15 (to maintain 150F)
One shot timer $50
Power relay $20
Thermocouple $10
Other $15

when the temp controller hist set point, it fires the one shot timer, which then puts control to the snap disc.

Snap disc turns on when the temp drops to 120F and off when the temp hits 140F (or any range with a 20F spread)

you would plug the cookshack into the, and this into the wall.

Once your food got the set point, the snasp disc would be controlling the power to the cookshack, and turning it off when ever it got over 140F.

you would have to stick a probe for the food and the snap disc down the vent hole.
quote:
Originally posted by Bladerunner2:
[qb] I have several of the components in place already due to home automation. I have a device called an Ocelot that connects to the serial port of the PC. There is a module connected to the Ocelot that can accept analog resistive inputs. I am running Homeseer home automation software. So I can read the sensor points and trigger events on the PC now. What is missing is the temperature probes for the meat and for the meat probes. [/qb]
type J or K thermocouples are cheap, but I think you need to plug them into something to giver you a useful signal.
I have this controller
http://www.appdig.com/adicon_new/ocelot.htm
It feeds my home automation software.

I could mount this sensor controller outside by my smoker.
http://www.appdig.com/adicon_new/secu16.htm

It has inputs that will accept analog ranges. I would have to translate these to temperature settings from numeric ranges.

I need meat probes to plug into that sensor controller. Is that the type J or K thermocouples you talk about?

Then, I would just code up some smoker control events in my home automation software. Some would turn the heater on and off as the temps moved in and out of ranges. Other events could announce the temperatures and display them on the computer/web. Other events could be coded to reduce the heat range to hold temps.

I use Texas Instruments sensors now in my attic and house to control my roof ventilators. Really neat sensors as each one has its own digital identity.

I wish the leopard touch screens that App Dig sells were not so expensive. They are programmable and I could actually build a complete temperature controller with touch screen right at the smoker.

I thought Cookshack was working on some kind of new controller though. Hate to do all this work and have it superceded by something I could just buy.
Okay, if you have the need for total information, then I say give it a try, many will be interested in the information. As for CS's new controller, summer is busy season and I can personally vouch that Stuart is working his tail off. The new smoker, the new controllers for several smokers OH and traveling trying to sell smokers.

We've had a couple of scientific types that have graphed their results and provided to us.

Now for my soap box...

I'm all about more information, that's why I do this forum for free, I don't work for CS. I love teaching people how to Q since I didn't have access to mentors/teaches as I learned Q.

That amount of information is all well and good, but it won't make a better brisket. I can't give you a guaranteed time and temp for any particular meat that will guarantee results. I know you need more information, but the end result is what matters. Each cook, you have to learn to adjust to the meat itself. Every 6lb brisket flat will not cook the same. Ribs 1/2 lb different will cook totally different. One butt will sit on the plateau for 30 min and another one the same size will sit there for 3 hours.

The only thing that will help is Practice. Practice, practice, practice. Keep a simple log and track time, temp and overall results and you're results will quickly improve.

Don't get me wrong, I applaud you for your scientific endeavour. I just think in our need for information and all the "set it and forget it" types, we get away from the Mastery of the Meat, and Art of the Q and the fun of filling your face/hair/clothers with the smell of good Q cooking. That's why I've done so many contests this year, I'd gotten away from spending enough time with my smoker and it was threatening to leave me Big Grin

Sorry for the "smokin' post" as Tom would say, guess I was in a typing mood.

Smokin'
Temperature measurement is very tricky.

The theory itself is simple. The junction of two different types of metals produces a small amount of voltage which is directly related to temperature. Measure the voltage, multiply by a constant, and you know the temperature.

The problem is the signal is only a few mille-volts, and the relationship is non linear, so a particular constant is usually only good for a 30F range at best. Also, the temperature at the input module can effect your readings.

Typically a special �thermocouple� module is used, which takes care of all of the calibration within a range of -30F to 1200F.


I'm not sure if you input module will work for this or not.

The manufacturer has a forum for the product, you may have better luck asking there:

http://www.appdigsupport.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum;f=7
geeze,
and here i thought is was in front of the curve with 4 remote thermos and notebooks going back 4 years.
hey i am in front of the curve!!!!
one bad voltage spike and all that info on the puter is gone.
yep time to go to staples for a new cross pen refill and a new notebook
jack
ps. hope this was taken in humor
LOL, yeah just wanted to see what other endeavors were out there. I would like to try setting this up and letting it control the heating element. But I better finish the kitchen and family room remodeling or I will be living outside with the smoker. I just like the idea of controlling the unit so easily. But I do want to see the new controller that will come out as it may be the cat's meow. Cat, now there's a new taste.
I couldn't agree more with Smokin'. I'm in the hi-tech field and have written product reviews for magazines for many years. I've tested thousands of products--literally. And every now and then I'm presented with a product that technologically is pretty dang cool, but really doesn't accomplish anything or solve any real business problems. A technology looking for a solution is what we call them.
I took a look at the BBQ Guru stuff. Reminds me of a pic based controller a guy has built and used on a ceramic BBQ unit in Electron Volt magazine.
And yes, I agree it is a bit of a solution looking for a problem. I just kinda get use to automation. I only have a couple of lights I even turn on in my house anymore. Otherwise the 20 or so motion sensors take care of that with the home automation system. My roof ventilators are all controlled by my computer and roof and house mounted temperature sensors. It's just a natural thing to think about controlling the smoker using the same technology. Well it's natural for a geek anyway! Oh well.
quote:
Originally posted by Vernon:
[qb] The only thing missing from this is the wireless lan with a pda [/qb]
You can get the PDA part from those nice people that make the Thermapen.....

http://www.thermoworks.com/products/logger/thermapalm.html

I wonder if their software could then send the time and temp information inside to the PC via wireless, which in turn could regularly send a sms text signal to my wife's cell phone, to remind her that it was time to refill the beer in the deck cooler.

Now that's technology! Smiler Smiler

Regards
By Eck Lad
That sounds like fun.

now if we can learn a suckling pig,or a 700 lb sausage sow,or an 18 year old dairy bull,and a 900 lb black & whiteface cross,how to schedule them 8 lb slabs a ribs,20 oz loinbacks,21 lb packers,4lb flats,13 lb or 5 lb butts,and go get me a cold beer and put on some more Billy Joe Shaver-while their operatin' the computer,this will shore be simple. Big Grin
Hi there,

Being a former instrumentations and control engineer, I have enjoyed this thread.

If anyone is looking for a economical data gathering device, the cheapest I found was from Dataq with the Dataq Starter Kit. Its $25 plus shipping and has 4 channels of analog input/output (I/O) and 2 digital input. It connects to the serial (RS-232) port on your pc. They also have a USB starter kit for $50 plus shipping. Both kits come with software to make the charting and graphing easy.

The hardest part is the sensors for this. What you can do is to get the polder or taylor probes as they are essentially 10K thermistors and integrate the probes in a wheatstone bridge and really linearize the signal and derive an analog output to be connected to the 10+/- VDC input.

I beleive there is a scaling and calibration capability in the software that allows you to scale the thermistor output and get the most out of the 10 bit analog to digital (A/D) conversion for the voltage output from the wheatstone bridge.

As I get time I will try and post on here my results but with extremely limited time available this will take some time...

Take care...

Preston
Hi Smokin,

The scenario I described actually easier than it sounds. And I might just make the kit and sell it! Although I probably wont make much money on it, maybe I can barter for barbecue!

You know the actual truth of the matter is, with the Cookshack smoker there is very little that needs to be controlled other than setting the thermostatic control and possibly a strategic placement of the food on the racks and where on the racks that may make a difference.

I can see however needing this instrumentation on an offset or similar smoker. Repeatability is critical in competition, if these guys can make the exact same product the same way they might just be more successful and any competitive advantage that can be had is desired as part of an overall effective strategy.

In terms of sending wireless to your laptop, the cost would be about $200 for 3-4 process variable data points (3-4 temp probes). It would consist of the Dataq serial startup kit, 3-4 polder probes, a few resisters, small enclosure, small circuit board, power supply and a serial to ethernet wireless converter (Lantronix).

Ahh well thats a long way off...gotta work on getting the polder replacement probes to work first before I have grandiose plans like above...

Regards,
Preston

There are a lot of micro controllers that can be used to monitor things. With WIFI, without WIFI, with Bluetooth, without Bluetooth, with cable without a cable... Many makes and models. It really depends on what you want to monitor and what type of monitors do you want to use. Arduino is not the only thing that you can use. But the thing that all of these controllers have in common is the drivers. Many of them won't run too well if the drivers are old. I recommend you first of all after buying a micro controller is to install a software that automatically will install every driver that is needed. I found this article: https://thinkmobiles.com/blog/...free-driver-updater/ , that will help to find a driver updater.

Last edited by JoanneFraser

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