Hello Fellow Pellet Heads,

Today i had a long talk with Tony at CookShack about my FEC100 temp swings, I have owned this unit for two months now new from CookShack with the IQ4 Controller and cooked on it about ten cooks now i seem to see when i am cooking on this unit @ 224F I see a high of 50+ degrees and a drop of 30+ degrees , after emailing Tony my pictures of where the unit lives he seems to think its a venting issue, now bear in mind I live in California and I really haven’t smoked on a windy day, but Tony seems to think I need a stove pipe and a back draft vent cap, I have seen this unit in use at many competions and never see a stove pipe with a cap used, and I never see smoke being pushed back in the unit it seem to flow out nicely with no wind swirling around it, so I post my question here for help. Now bear in mind this in not consistent there are days I get about half of what I posted, so it’s intermittent, also I am using CookShack Pellets and has used Tragger Pellets with the same result, now bear in mind I never open the door and most of my cooks are 2 hours to 5+ hours.
Please take this as a informational question to be learned from not a rant.. I’m attaching pictures of my setup.

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Original Post
Tony's comments don't surprise me. I had always been taught to have the FEC's exhaust turned out of the wind. While I don't use a stove pipe and cap on it, I just turn it so the wind is not blowing in the exhaust hole. And I do this for both my IQ4 FEC100 and my pre-ramp FEC100. So far, it has worked for me. But thanks for sharing the info.
Think about it like this, it's not smoke going back it, it's airflow dynamics. You have a 5" hole and "maybe" the outside air difference is coming in and helping cause the issue.

There are a lot of solutions.

Me? I kept it simple. I just went out and bought a cap, cut it down so it slips right over the hole. I'll have to take a photo, but with 60mph winds in Oklahoma (wind chill -20) I need it somedays.
Thank you both for your input, I really hope more people jump in and add their comments as well, just for me I never had the chance to cook on this unit on a windy day, so I guess i need to spend some money on some tin someday to see if it fixes issue, I’m just not convince it’s the problem, but i am a total newbie at this so ill go along with the old dogs and see if there wise. I have read so much on this in the find area and the discussion doesn’t seem to go so far , so for all you lookie lews please jump in and add your experiences and comments..

Thanks Again John & SmokinOkie
hey new2smoking
I had the same problem for months, feel free to give me a call at 618-656-4300 and Ill tell you how I solved my issues

Doc
quote:
Originally posted by StlDoc:
hey new2smoking
I had the same problem for months, feel free to give me a call at 618-656-4300 and Ill tell you how I solved my issues

Doc


Hey Doc, probably good to post the info in case others see this thread and have a similar question.

Also, I would never post my phone # on the internet, just a word of caution from your moderator.

Use a PM to send it if you have to.
quote:
Originally posted by SmokinOkie:
Think about it like this, it's not smoke going back it, it's airflow dynamics. You have a 5" hole and "maybe" the outside air difference is coming in and helping cause the issue.

There are a lot of solutions.

Me? I kept it simple. I just went out and bought a cap, cut it down so it slips right over the hole. I'll have to take a photo, but with 60mph winds in Oklahoma (wind chill -20) I need it somedays.




So SmokinOkie,

I was re reading your post "I need it somedays" are you saying on windy days you just put a cap on it, and on some days you dont? If that’s correct then I shouldn’t be having these problems with my draft situation, since i always have no winds where I live that would affect my problem? So my questions are still open why I’m having these temps’ swings! then you are saying in the end of your post that "There are a lot of solutions" well then I would love for you to post them so i can read and lean more about it for myself! Maybe i get this ironed out quicker. any thoughts would be appreacited. Smiler

I also reattached my picture to expain where my FEC100 lives, in a offset of a corner of fences, to the back unit the fence is a 6' fence with the unit about 6" to back of the fence and on the other side of the fence is no structures within 75 feet and the right side fence is apporx 30 inches away from where the units lives the right fence is where the exaust lives and that fence is 8' feet high with no structurs on the other side of the fence is 50 feet away Home. and the front of the cooker is blocked but a covered patio with roof hight of 10 feet so the area of my cooker has wind breaks at all angles ecept on the controler side is and open area for about 25 feet with a 6 foot fence , hope i didnt loose any here but im expaining the layout of my cooker.

Thanks for the reply in advance.

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Last edited by Former Member
Given that photo, I don't think it's an air flow problem (Tony knows his stuff, so I'm just trying to help here), but...

I would try the cap to see if it helps.

On my IQ4 (I have 2) I don't have that large a fluctuation, you will see an overshoot when you first start, it just happens.

Do this, turn it on, leave the door closes and at 2 hours what is the temp setting saying compare to what you set it at? How about hourly after that? NEVER open the door?

But on mine, if I leave the door closed, it stabilizes with +/- a few degrees until I open the door the next time.

The other issues have to do with mechanical (fans, controllers, auger) as well as pellets (what brand can have a little influence some just burn better than others, but the IQ usually compensates automatically)
Last edited by Former Member
quote:
Originally posted by SmokinOkie:
Given that photo, I don't think it's an air flow problem (Tony knows his stuff,so I'm just trying to help here ), but...

I would try the cap to see if it helps.

On my IQ4 (I have 2) I don't have that large a fluctuation, you will see an overshoot when you first start, it just happens.

Do this, turn it on, leave the door closes and at 2 hours what is the temp setting saying compare to what you set it at? How about hourly after that? NEVER open the door?

But on mine, if I leave the door closed, it stabilizes with +/- a few degrees until I open the door the next time.

The other issues have to do with mechanical (fans, controllers, auger) as well as pellets (what brand can have a little influence some just burn better than others, but the IQ usually compensates automatically)


Ok I see what your saying and i do have to agree with you i dont think its a air-flow problem as well, with that bieng said , i should have stated that the over my over-shoot has been always been about and 1+Hrs. in the cook.. and again i have this problem with Cookshack and Tragger Pellets, plus its not consistant its about every other cook its about half of the swing posted on other cooks witch is @ 224F the raise of temp is about 250+ or - and low is 210+ or -

Thanks for the reply, im glad you felt the same before i went out and purchased abunch of pipe and a cap, What Cap did you purchase for your unit??

Thanks Again, Big Grin
Last edited by Former Member
Overshoot. What I do as as my unit comes CLOSE to the temp, I open the door and dump some heat (it's throwing out pellets trying to generate more heat, so it will always overshoot) but this tends to minize the overshoot.

IF after say 4 hours you have it set at 225 and it's still going +/- 20 or 30 degrees, I'd call CS and tell them again. And IQ should not have the much variation.

The cap I bought was a 5" diameter, have about a 4" tube with a cap on top of it. I'll see if I can take a photo, not sure how soon I can get it for you, but I'll try.
quote:
Originally posted by SmokinOkie:
Overshoot. What I do as as my unit comes CLOSE to the temp, I open the door and dump some heat (it's throwing out pellets trying to generate more heat, so it will always overshoot) but this tends to minize the overshoot.

IF after say 4 hours you have it set at 225 and it's still going +/- 20 or 30 degrees, I'd call CS and tell them again. And IQ should not have the much variation.

The cap I bought was a 5" diameter, have about a 4" tube with a cap on top of it. I'll see if I can take a photo, not sure how soon I can get it for you, but I'll try.


That’s great, I agree i think CookShack need another call on this one to see, I’m not so hip since i bought in this unit with the idea it will control temps within 5 degrees, i was sold on this concept and am hoping mine is just more of a temperamental fluke, so you have been using the IQ4 now for a long time what realistic temp swing are you seeing, i know you see allot of FE with Freddie, let me know your experience.
Also a Picture is always welcome, dress warm i know you said it cold. Wink
quote:
Originally posted by SmokinOkie:
quote:
Originally posted by StlDoc:
hey new2smoking
I had the same problem for months, feel free to give me a call at 618-656-4300 and Ill tell you how I solved my issues

Doc


Hey Doc, probably good to post the info in case others see this thread and have a similar question.

Also, I would never post my phone # on the internet, just a word of caution from your moderator.

Use a PM to send it if you have to.


Heck I dont mind anyone calling to talk bbq! I dont want to post my solutions due to warranty and different cookrs have different reasons for temp swings. My methods may seem unorthodox, but after 7 months of trying different things, I can make my FE produce stick burnner taste when i want and my temps are within 2 degrees almost all the time.
So anyone interested, ask away hehe

Doc
It is about -9c here I think that may be about 15f in your neck of the woods. The wind is blowing pretty good to.I've had a cook going today for about 6hrs.I am cooking at 228degrees at last check it was 233degrees.I have had pretty wild fluctuations on my FE.Cookshack has sent me fans,fireboxes and an auger. Little by little these changes helped. I only used an elbow pipe,I bend it up in fair weather and down when it is nasty.No cap needed so far.I also followed the advice given buy the good people on this forum and kept on cookin..Some had speculated that the cooker just needs lots of work to get broken in and then the temps may settle down some.It may sound and feel frustrating..but I think they may be on to something.I don't cook for a lot of people so my loads are small compared to a some. I may do a chicken or a rack of ribs or even a slab of salmon..the idea is to play with your new toy until you figure it out.Sooner or later your little baby's going to purr and produce like you won't beleve.Consider this the fun part..you are a part of a chain,of soon to be very happy Que'rs who,like me will be writing a note to the next concerned Cookshack owner.
Results of my cook today !

First off I vacuumed out my pot Toughly and loaded Cookshack Pellets. I preheated my unit at 224F for 20 min after a talk today with STlDoc, thanks man it worked allot better today, ok Loaded my cooker with two 3.3 lbs of TriTips fat side down marinated for two hours and then spiced Watch my cooker for the full cook here are my results.
The temp swings started out after i loaded its first swing of 248 degrees for a high and 210 degrees for a low then after the first swing it became more mild with a high of 238 degrees and an low of 215 degrees witch i though was allot better then average so im stil seeing a high swing of 12 + or - degrees and a low of 9 + or - degrees for a low
I do have to say I was very happy with the performance today.. The TriTips were to die for perfectly tender with a great smoked taste. I Pulled then at 132f and let them rest for 45min doubled wrapped in Aluminum Foil and wrapped in a thick towel and stuck them in my cooler.

Thanks in Advanced.
Last edited by Former Member
Reference: the views and a couple of replies.

Most folks comment about problems and that is what you read on most forums.

Kinda like ,if everybodys' basic chevy is doing things just like you expect,few folks jump in and say"wow,nothing unusual-it does everything normal".

Many viewers have been here awhile,so they have seen the same discussion,or they have looked on the FIND at page top and seen the threads,or they have read thru the FEC forums-which is actually"our book".

On a smoker,20* swings mean absolutely nothing to the meat,and on a mostly empty cooker,most folks would be astounded that there was that little bit of swing.

They have found that the smaller swings[4*+/-],on a well broken in IQ4,with a moderate load of meat,might use around 30% less pellets on long cooks.

As an expense item,this could be meaningful to a commercial cook,running several cookers,all day,full loads,everyday.

Thus,my above comments could pretty much be old news,as well,and 2 comments would be about all it might cause.

Just a couple of thoughts.

Hopefully,with a few more cooks,your experiences will fall into the "no news" category.
Last edited by tom
Ok Tom, I read you loud and clear, also my swings dropped with a warmup cycle of 30 plus minuts it was more like 17* both directions alot more realistic..

Thanks for the info.
I learned on a stick burner. Sometimes the temps would drop to 150* and other times I would see it up to 400*. But I could still make good tasting bbq with those swings. Even your home oven will fluctuate quite a bit. Just let the cooker do it's thing, while you relax with some cocktails.
My experience is that the radical swings come when I load the cold meat into it. It comes back to temp pretty quickly, but will vary for a while. As time goes on, it will settle in and purr. The more that I cook on it and get that dark seasoning, the better it seems to have become.
I do use a 3 ft length of 5" pipe with an elbo facing down. this get it out from under the deck cover and air doesn't affect it. It is on the North side of my house and we have had it going in below 10 degrees with very good success.
Finally, I do get the fire pot really cleaned out after each cook. Then when I start it back up, I put a few pellets in it to give it a jump start.
the only time I had a lot of excess smoke, and I mean a lot, was when I was at a comp and had finished the Friday night dinner cook, turned it off for a bit, did not clean it out and restarted to quickly. The pot over filled and things were crazy for a while until we got the pot cleaned out.
I am not seeing drastic temp swings at all in my FEC-100. If I have my unit set on 224, it may swing from 215-235, but most of the time it is on 224-228F. Of course I'm not hovering over it or anything, so those numbers just come from when I do go out to check on something.
Well Thank you all for your input especially FF for the sit back and wait with cocktails good thinking., but talking with STLDoc He clued me in when he said to give it a good warm up, i swear i warmed it up to 224* for 45 min and that itself droped my swings to 13* both directions and i give my pot a clean ever time, its when i got lazy and didnt clean the pot thats when it swing like crazy. I just want to say since i have no idea what i am doing but having allot of fun learning, i never yet cooked a bad piece of meat so far, so as my motto gose this is the best Investment i ever maid, and you guys giving me info just helps me lean more about what i am doing.

Thanks Wink
Last edited by Former Member
my temp swings come from wind blowing down my stove pipe, so I try to move it away from the wind or block it some how from blowing down the pipe
Ill tell you what i have learned with mine? Dont worry, though in the meat go inside and go to sleep and wake tomm. with the best Q in town. It took me awhile but i dont worry and most of the time i dont even look at it till its close to time i think it maybe done. I enjoy it alot more knonw that i learned to just trust it!
Excellent answer! Big Grin

That's the one we try to encourage,rather than focusing on all the little things-besides cooking the meat.

The question from experienced cooks is usually"is the cooker going"?

Over the years we learn from fast Eddy,cooking comps:

Make sure the cooker is running

Put big meats on,about 8-9PM

Go to motel,sleep thru the night

Come back about daylight ,to get ribs on and see what they are serving for breakfast.

Take a break,before prepping chicken.
Thanks Tom, Like I said in the earlier post i am hoping to turn this into a recent long thread about most people experience on temp swings, this was never intended to be a rant but a Knowledgeable post, and since i am new to this but learning day by day and am interested in this forum of learning, I was just curious what people are experiencing, also here in Cali most people grill, and I am hoping to add more people to this forum and introducing them to the best Smoker out there on the market..
Last edited by Former Member
I have had my FEC now for about 2 years. About 6-9 months ago the ignitor stop working. Not long after I started getting the temp swings and the high temp reset will kick around 375.
To get by I set it at 140 and it will go to 180+ before it stabilizes. I vacuum out the pot after each cook but have never took it apart and really cleaned it good. It may be worth a try.And yes you wouldn't think someone would let it go that long but I did. Shame on me.

This was a spectacular post!

Im working through temperature swings.  I had already started solving some issues related to wind and preheating, however understanding other peoples solutions were great!

Ill work on preheating tomorrow.

 

Did anyone else try fire bricks in the bottom shelf?

Last edited by Doctor Jamie

You have to look close to know that the last post in this thread is ten years old. You might want to start a new thread.

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