BRADLEY SMOKER | "Taste the Great Outdoors"

Smoking Techniques => Sausage Making => Topic started by: pmmpete on February 24, 2012, 12:24:43 am

Title: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: pmmpete on February 24, 2012, 12:24:43 am
I decided to add a fan to my smoker in an effort to even out its temperature and smoke levels, but the fan kits which are available are pretty expensive, so I figured out how to add a fan for less money.  I bought a replacement motor for a bathroom vent fan for $15 at Home Depot.  Replacement motors are available for about the same cost from Lowes and Ace Hardware.  And I ordered a 3.5" aluminum fan blade from Grainger for $4.66, plus $9.23 of shipping.

(http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i444/pmmpete/IMGP8423s.jpg)

Before you buy a motor, measure the thickness of the back of your smoker and confirm that the shaft of the motor is long enough to hold the fan blade, with enough clearance between the fan and the back wall of the inside of the smoker to allow air to circulate.  The fan blade I bought is supposed to move 100 cfm of air.  A bigger and/or higher volume blade will fit in my smoker, but I decided not to go overboard.  The fan blade blew air back at the motor when I tried it, so I dismantled the motor and reassembled it with the rotor facing the other direction.  Note the difference in the location of the copper wire in the picture above and the picture below.  Now the fan blade blows air away from the motor.  Grainger shipped the fan blade to me in a padded envelope, and it got slightly squished in transit, so I had to realign the blades.  If you order a fan blade, ask the supplier to ship it in a box.

Then I rooted around in my workshop and found a power cord, a power switch, and a galvanized framing angle, I picked up about $1.00 of miscellaneous hardware at a local hardware store, and I assembled the fan.  The total cost of the parts was about $30.

(http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i444/pmmpete/IMGP8431s.jpg)

Then I drilled holes in the back of my smoker for the shaft of the motor and two mounting screws, and mounted the motor on the back of my smoker.

(http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i444/pmmpete/IMGP8435s.jpg)

The fan works pretty well, although it doesn't seem to blow as much air as it did before I mounted it, probably because the blade is pretty close to the back wall of the smoker.

(http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i444/pmmpete/IMGP8432s.jpg)

I'm going to catch some Lake Trout this weekend and smoke them, so I can see if the fan improves the performance of my smoker.

(http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i444/pmmpete/IMGP8317s.jpg)
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: Habanero Smoker on February 24, 2012, 02:02:15 am
I like the idea of the toggle switch.

The motor is a good deal. Is there any specs. listed on the box so that members can compare that motor with the one from Grainger that goes for $50.

Is there more information on the:
HP:
RPM:
Shaft Length:
Rotation direction:
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: pmmpete on February 24, 2012, 07:12:20 am
The motor I bought is a Broan BP50 replacement ventilation fan motor and blower wheel.  The only specification on the box is "50 cfm." The shaft is 3/16" in diameter and 1.5" long.  The shaft originally rotated counter-clockwise as you look at the shaft.  I couldn't find the part on Broan's website, so I don't have any other specifications for this particular fan.  You can go to your local hardware store, locate the replacement ventilation fan motors, and pop open the boxes to see if they contain specifications for the motors.  The motors come with a standard electric plug on the wires, so to determine which direction the motor rotates, you can bring it over to a wall plug in the store and plug it in.

The replacement motors which were available locally all came with a "blower wheel," which is a 4.5" plastic disk with eight fins sticking out from it at right angles.  A picture is shown below.  I didn't like the idea of putting a plastic fan in my smoker, so I invested in an aluminum fan blade.  But if the plastic blower wheel is acceptable to you, you could add a fan to your smoker even cheaper.

(http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i444/pmmpete/IMGP8436s.jpg)
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: TMB on February 24, 2012, 07:40:48 am
Nice fan mod!   I like the price as well.   I hope it works the way you want it to
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: rsherman24 on February 24, 2012, 07:50:28 am
Nice find.  I just ordered the fan kit from SmokeAndStuff after contemplating building my own mod for some time.  After reading every post I could find during research, it seems that everyone adds an additional fan blade to the outside of the smoker wall to cool the motor.  Obviously this requires a motor with a longer shaft and an additional fan blade. 

Have you had any issues with the motor heating up while running and attached to the oven?
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: JZ on February 24, 2012, 07:59:22 am
Nice job.

Please let us know how it does with the fish and if you still have to rotate the racks. I see your smoker is a different brand but assume you had uneven heat distribution in the cab too.
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: pmmpete on February 24, 2012, 09:03:31 am
I decided not to worry about the motor heating up, because the shaft of the motor and the two mounting bolts shouldn't transmit very much heat from the inside of the smoker to the body of the motor, and because the body of the motor is entirely exposed to the outside air and should dissipate any heat transferred along the shaft and the bolts pretty well, particularly in cold weather.  I'll let you know if this theory turns out to be correct.
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: squirtthecat on February 24, 2012, 09:06:43 am

Could you bend the tips of those fan blades in a bit?  Perhaps that would 'push' a little more air around?
Title: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: mikecorn.1 on February 24, 2012, 10:59:06 am
Nice find.  I just ordered the fan kit from SmokeAndStuff after contemplating building my own mod for some time.  After reading every post I could find during research, it seems that everyone adds an additional fan blade to the outside of the smoker wall to cool the motor.  Obviously this requires a motor with a longer shaft and an additional fan blade. 

Have you had any issues with the motor heating up while running and attached to the oven?
The smoke and stuff kit comes with two blades. One for inside the other for outside the smoker.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: wipf9994 on February 24, 2012, 01:24:47 pm
The motor I bought is a Broan BP50 replacement ventilation fan motor and blower wheel.  The only specification on the box is "50 cfm." The shaft is 3/16" in diameter and 1.5" long.  The shaft originally rotated counter-clockwise as you look at the motor.  I couldn't find the part on Broan's website, so I don't have any other specifications for this particular fan.  You can go to your local hardware store, locate the replacement ventilation fan motors, and pop open the boxes to see if they contain specifications for the motors.  The motors come with a standard electric plug on the wires, so to determine which direction the motor rotates, you can bring it over to a wall plug in the store and plug it in.

The replacement motors which were available locally all came with a "blower wheel," which is a 4.5" plastic disk with eight fins sticking out from it at right angles.  A picture is shown below.  I didn't like the idea of putting a plastic fan in my smoker, so I invested in an aluminum fan blade.  But if the plastic blower wheel is acceptable to you, you could add a fan to your smoker even cheaper.

(http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i444/pmmpete/IMGP8436s.jpg)
I did the exact same thing. picked up a motor from Home Depot and went to a local Grainger and ordered a 900w element and a fan blade. thought i would be able to pick it up but no such luck. they dont stock it.
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: Habanero Smoker on February 24, 2012, 01:38:50 pm
Thanks for the feed back. Looking forward to it's performance.
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: NePaSmoKer on February 24, 2012, 01:42:43 pm
I aint never seen these small motors at Homepeepot or Lowes. Mind filling us in on what isle or area.
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: pmmpete on February 24, 2012, 02:00:50 pm
The replacement motors will be with the bathroom ventilation fans.  Find somebody wearing an apron and ask them where the bathroom ventilation fans are located.
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: wipf9994 on February 24, 2012, 02:26:02 pm
The replacement motors will be with the bathroom ventilation fans.  Find somebody wearing an apron and ask them where the bathroom ventilation fans are located.
they are in the bath isle. you cant just buy the motor itself u have to buy the complete motor and bracket it comes in
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: pmmpete on February 24, 2012, 02:32:40 pm
Several local stores I checked stock just the replacement motor and blower wheel, without any bracket or other parts, manufactured by Broan and another manufacturer which I can't remember.
Title: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: mikecorn.1 on February 24, 2012, 03:27:15 pm
Nice info. Thanks.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: pmmpete on March 11, 2012, 10:43:17 pm
I smoked a batch of Kokanee Salmon today, and the fan makes the temperature and smoke levels in my smoker much more even.  Before I added the fan, sausages or fish would smoke and dry out at considerably different rates at different levels in the smoker.  I had to rotate the racks top to bottom periodically to compensate for that problem.  There was also a difference from side to side in the smoker.  The smoke seemed to come out of the generator and head straight for the vent.  Fish or sausages that weren't on that route didn't get nearly as much smoke, and didn't dry out as fast.  So I also had to rotate the racks 180 degrees.

As an experiment, I didn't rotate the racks when smoking this batch of Kokanees.  I can't see any difference between the fish which were on different racks, or on different ends of the same rack, which was certainly not the case before I added the fan. I'm happy about this improvement in performance, and think the fan was a good investment.  Kokanee fillets are quite thin, so I don't know if the fan reduces the length of time required to dry out meat.  I'll have to try some thicker fillets or some sausage to get a feel for that.

To quantify the difference between the performance of my smoker without a fan and with a fan, I could put temperature probes at various locations inside the smoker, and measure the air temperature in the smoker with the fan off and with the fan running.  But based on how evenly this batch of Kokanee got smoked, I know the fan improves the performance of my smoker.

To see how the fan circulates smoke inside my smoker, I'm going to get a piece of glass about the size of the door of my smoker and clamp it over the front of the smoker.  That may help me decide how much space I need to leave between sausages or fish fillets to allow even distribution of the smoke.

The fan blade I bought looks bigger than most of the fan blades I see in pictures of the fans which other people have installed in their smokers.  Kirby (pikeman-95), on the other hand, has several big fans in his smoker, which probably get the smoke moving like a hurricane in the smoke chamber.  If I had access to various sized fan blades, it would be interesting to change blades to see how the performance of my smoker changes.   
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: Salmonsmoker on March 12, 2012, 07:09:42 am
Keep in mind that the plastic fan needs a housing in order for it to work, so you're better off using an aluminum fan blade. Grainger has the replacement motors, and also I found www.zorotools.com that have motors, fan blades and the 900w Tempco element.
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: JZ on March 13, 2012, 07:44:48 pm
Thanks pmmpete - I have the 2" blade on my fan and after reading your results I have ordered 2 of the 3" and 2 of the 3 1/2" blades. The Acklands Grainger in the closest town to me does not have these in stock and told me that none were available in Canada so they are going to get them shipped up from the south. I was told the 3 1/2" blade will cost me $2.75 plus taxes of course.
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: pmmpete on March 13, 2012, 09:14:47 pm
The blades are cheap, the shipping is expensive.  In my case, the shipping was twice the cost of the blade.  For shipping charges that high, you should ask them to ship the blades to you in a box so they don't get squished in transit.
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: JZ on March 14, 2012, 07:45:08 pm
The blades are being shipped to the local store and I pick them up there. I don't pay for shipping since I am picking it up at the store. At least I didn't last time I ordered some that were shipped up from the US.
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: wipf9994 on March 18, 2012, 11:01:38 am
I decided to add a fan to my smoker in an effort to even out its temperature and smoke levels, but the fan kits which are available are pretty expensive, so I figured out how to add a fan for less money.  I bought a replacement motor for a bathroom vent fan for $15 at Home Depot.  Replacement motors are available for about the same cost from Lowes and Ace Hardware.  And I ordered a 3.5" aluminum fan blade from Grainger for $4.66, plus $9.23 of shipping.

(http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i444/pmmpete/IMGP8423s.jpg)

Before you buy a motor, measure the thickness of the back of your smoker and confirm that the shaft of the motor is long enough to hold the fan blade, with enough clearance between the fan and the back wall of the inside of the smoker to allow air to circulate.  The fan blade I bought is supposed to move 100 cfm of air.  A bigger and/or higher volume blade will fit in my smoker, but I decided not to go overboard.  The fan blade blew air back at the motor when I tried it, so I dismantled the motor and reassembled it with the rotor facing the other direction.  Note the difference in the location of the copper wire in the picture above and the picture below.  Now the fan blade blows air away from the motor.  Grainger shipped the fan blade to me in a padded envelope, and it got slightly squished in transit, so I had to realign the blades.  If you order a fan blade, ask the supplier to ship it in a box.

Then I rooted around in my workshop and found a power cord, a power switch, and a galvanized framing angle, I picked up about $1.00 of miscellaneous hardware at a local hardware store, and I assembled the fan.  The total cost of the parts was about $30.

(http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i444/pmmpete/IMGP8431s.jpg)

Then I drilled holes in the back of my smoker for the shaft of the motor and two mounting screws, and mounted the motor on the back of my smoker.

(http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i444/pmmpete/IMGP8435s.jpg)

The fan works pretty well, although it doesn't seem to blow as much air as it did before I mounted it, probably because the blade is pretty close to the back wall of the smoker.

(http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i444/pmmpete/IMGP8432s.jpg)

I'm going to catch some Lake Trout this weekend and smoke them, so I can see if the fan improves the performance of my smoker.

(http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i444/pmmpete/IMGP8317s.jpg)



The cheap fan from Home Depot didn't quite work so good. midway through the 2nd time i used it it quit working. i'm thinking it got too hot. not sure tho.
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: pmmpete on March 18, 2012, 12:46:45 pm
The motor or its mount might have shifted and let the shaft contact the wall of your smoker, which could stop the motor.  Take the motor off your smoker and see if it starts working again.  If the problem was caused by the shaft hitting the wall, you can fix the problem by enlarging the hole the shaft runs through.  It seems sort of unlikely that the small amount of heat which might be transmitted along the shaft would damage a motor, but I don't know anything about electric motors.  Is there anybody out there in forumland who does know something about electric motors?
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: Salmonsmoker on March 18, 2012, 12:53:30 pm
Most of the fan mods we're doing has a secondary fan on the same shaft but on the outside of the cabinet which creates a heat sink and also moves cooling air across the motor.
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: wipf9994 on March 18, 2012, 01:07:45 pm
The motor or its mount might have shifted and let the shaft contact the wall of your smoker, which could stop the motor.  Take the motor off your smoker and see if it starts working again.  If the problem was caused by the shaft hitting the wall, you can fix the problem by enlarging the hole the shaft runs through.  It seems sort of unlikely that the amall amount of heat which might be transmitted along the shaft would damage a motor, but I don't know anything about electric motors.  Is there anybody out there in forumland who does know something about electric motors.
i got a big enough hole. i got like a 3/8 hole for a 3/16 shaft
Title: Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
Post by: wipf9994 on March 18, 2012, 01:08:54 pm
Most of the fan mods we're doing has a secondary fan on the same shaft but on the outside of the cabinet which creates a heat sink and also moves cooling air across the motor.
i saw that too but i dont have a long enough shaft for a second fan.