BRADLEY SMOKER | "Taste the Great Outdoors"

Bradley Smokers => The Digital Smokers (BTDS76P & BTDS108P) => Topic started by: ChicaFeliz on July 26, 2012, 11:56:39 AM

Title: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: ChicaFeliz on July 26, 2012, 11:56:39 AM
Hello,

Have a quick question.

I just bought the 4 rack digital unit (Jim Beam version). I have used it twice.
Both times the unit could not reach the set temperature (225). Not a super big deal, just had to let it cook longer.

I read about how to mod the unit to a 900 watt heating element. Both 900 watt mods I read about use a PID.

My question is this: can I replace the 500 watt unit with a 900 unit and have the Bradley digital controller control it?
This would be a direct replacement with original wiring and no PID setup.

Also, the mods I read about use a finned 900 watt elemet. Do they make a 900 watt element same size and format as the 500 watt?
I wouild like to do as little and possible to upgrade the heat level.

Thanks alot
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: Kahunas on July 26, 2012, 12:06:06 PM
In a word. No. If you are going to upgrade to a 900w you will need to go with a PID controller. They make finned and unfinned 900w heating elements. I went with the finned one myself, I think it dissipates heat more evenly. Probably really doesn't matter in the small space of a bradley cabinet. Anyway I haven't seen a 900w element shaped exactly like the bradley element but that doesn't mean someone doesn't make one.
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: BAM1 on July 26, 2012, 03:18:28 PM
Here is a picture of my 900W conversion.  I made an extension bracket to use the original holes and just added longer bolts with a sacer.  I rerouted my wiring to one side but I saw in the Grainger catalog the they make the same heater that has the capability to wire on both sides.  I have a PID and have ran it like this for 1.5 years with out a fan but will be adding one because the back of smoker is hotter.
(http://i1089.photobucket.com/albums/i341/bam91966/IMG_0684.jpg)
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: ChicaFeliz on July 26, 2012, 04:37:25 PM
Thanks for info Kahunas, and BAM1,

What is the reason the Bradley controller can't control the 900w element? [I am a total newbie]

If I add a second element (500w) does that one also need to be controlled by PID device?
If I do that, the Bradley oven controller is basically not used? Is that correct.

Thanks again for your help
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: Kahunas on July 27, 2012, 06:52:49 AM
Yea,
The extra current needed for the increase wattage is too much for the original controller I am told. Adding a PID with a solid state relay will allow it to put full  power to the heating element and switch it on and off as it gets closer to the set temperature. You can either install one yourself or buy one of those Auber (SP?) things to control it. I haven't checked into those to see if they can handle the extra load but I am betting they can. BAM1's is similar to mine but I added the fan. I also added a shroud over the fan to direct the flow of air better. It still isn't enough to allow me to stop rotating racks as I cook if I have a full load. But now I can cook with a full load and hit chamber temperature rather quickly. Not sure what to do with it to make the air flow better and eliminate the rotating of racks. At least when I open it and rotate I am back at temperature within a few minutes.
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: mikecorn.1 on July 28, 2012, 11:11:11 AM
I have a 2' fan in mine and in my case, it doesnt eliminate the having to rotate racks. Some have had better luck with theirs.
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: TedEbear on July 28, 2012, 05:15:10 PM
I have a 2' fan in mine

A 2 foot fan???  You shoudl be able to fly that thing around the back yard.   ;D
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: mikecorn.1 on July 28, 2012, 05:32:22 PM
I have a 2' fan in mine

A 2 foot fan???  You shoudl be able to fly that thing around the back yard.   ;D

Uh oh, take 1 foot 10  inches from that  ;D :P
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: muebe on July 28, 2012, 08:43:39 PM
I have a 2' fan in mine and in my case, it doesnt eliminate the having to rotate racks. Some have had better luck with theirs.

And I thought my 5 inch fan was big :o
Title: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: mikecorn.1 on July 28, 2012, 09:16:46 PM
I have a 2' fan in mine and in my case, it doesnt eliminate the having to rotate racks. Some have had better luck with theirs.

And I thought my 5 inch fan was big :o
;D


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Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: ChicaFeliz on July 30, 2012, 02:49:07 PM
Thanks for all the info folks.

One more question:

Shopping for a pid temperature controller. I know that everyone on this site likes the Auber plug and Play. It looks good, but is a little pricey for me right now.
Will these do the same thing (with more work on my part):

Control Products TC-9102
http://www.controlproductsonline.com/9102-series-temperature-controllers-p-103-l-en.html

Or this at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Display-Temperature-Controller-Great/dp/B002PIM3R8

Thanks again
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: TedEbear on July 30, 2012, 07:36:48 PM
Shopping for a pid temperature controller. I know that everyone on this site likes the Auber plug and Play.

Well, not everyone.  I have a $45 Auber PID controller that I installed in my SG box in my OBS.  It is single probe and not plug and play but it was about 1/2 the cost of those other Auber controllers.  All I wanted was something that controls the temp more accurately than the slider temp control and the Auber PID does it very well.  Chamber temps stay within several degrees of the setpoint, no matter what the outdoor temp does overnight, how hard the wind is blowing, etc.

If you don't have room in your SG box on your digital smoker you can install it in a project box.  In addition to the PID controller you'll need a SSR, thermocouple, project box (if you don't install it in your SG box) and some miscellaneous hardware. Here's the how to:  PID Controller (http://www.susanminor.org/forums/showthread.php?315-PID-Controller)
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: Habanero Smoker on July 31, 2012, 01:52:44 AM
Just quickly looking at the TC-9102, that will work. It has a range of 300°F, and can handle 30 amps. You may want to check about how long the sensor cord is. Looks like you have to wire in your own male and female plug.

If you decide to go with the digital controller from Amazon, you may want to follow the information TedEbear posted.
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: Kahunas on July 31, 2012, 06:14:37 AM
For my money I would go with the one from Amazon, add a solid state relay and just get some thermocouple wire for your cabinet probe. You can twist the wires together on the end and maybe crimp on an electrical coupling of any type to form a cheap probe, maybe use an gator clip to make it easy to move around your cabinet. You can also make it as long as you would like so you get a custom fit.
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: Alanfromwis on July 31, 2012, 09:49:37 AM
  I have a 4 rack digital that I have a 900 watt element comming in the mail, but in the meantime put together a unit to allow the Bradley controller to handle the 900 watts. It works by taking the 120 vac used to power the element & appling to the primary of a small power transformer with the secondary of 9 vac, then rectifing with a full wave bridge to get 9 vdc. This is then applied to the solid state relay (observing polarity). On test run with 500 watt element, it worked fine. A wall wart would also work for this.
  When testing I took readings on the digital controller & also a single probe Manerick placed with probe about 1 inch from Bradley sensor. Started to record temps at 168 on Maverick & Bradley read 153 (15 degrees different) at 245 0n Maverick,  Bradley shut off at programmed 220 ( 25 degrees different ).
  Then a surprise, while the Bradley temp fell from 220 to 210 & turned back on the Maverick fell from 245 to 190 ( 55 degrees ) with probes only about 1 inch apart. Thinking about this it seems like the stainless back heats up much slower & cools off much slower & the Bradley sensor is reading the metal temp & not the air temp.  If that is the case, the oven air temp is much warmer than the Bradley sensor indicates even very close to the sensor.
alanfromwis
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: Mr Walleye on July 31, 2012, 06:28:02 PM
Alan

Certainly the theory of your findings seems correct in my mind. (my minds a funny place though!  ;D ) I wonder if you rerun the test with your Maverick sensor directly against the rear of the cabinet near the Bradley sensor if you would see more similar temps.

I have seen some temp sensors that are mounted in an insulator so the surrounding materials don't affect them. Ultimately, you want to measure the air temp for sure and this is probably the reason most people don't use the cabinet mount style sensor for the Auber PID.

Here's a couple of older posts regarding the same or similar subject.

http://forum.bradleysmoker.com/index.php?topic=19496.0

http://forum.bradleysmoker.com/index.php?topic=15591.msg185989#msg185989

Title: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: mschoonmaker on July 31, 2012, 07:05:05 PM
Having a bit of a problem here.

If adding a secondary element requires more amperage (as it should), and this can be accomplished by adding a PID controller + solid state relay versus using the BDS controller output alone, why not simply allow the BDS controller to control a SSR to drive both elements (or the 900 watt)? This bypasses the PID and allows the BDS controller to (in)directly control both elements (or a 900 watt element).

Please educate me...


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Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: Mr Walleye on July 31, 2012, 07:38:17 PM
mschoonmaker

You are absolutely right. We discussed this a few years ago but I don't recall anybody actually trying it. You would need a SSR with an input voltage that would handle the 110VAC that the DBS would be sending it to switch the power to the elements. The Auber SSRs are rated at an input voltage of 3 - 32 VDC which wouldn't work in this case. I wouldn't be surprised if you contact Auber that they may be able to get you one.

Mike
Title: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: mschoonmaker on July 31, 2012, 08:10:12 PM
My point, however, is that the BDS controller is a PID in its own right, and should need only a SSR to take advantage of the 900 watt element OR dual 500 watt elements. No auber PID needed, at all.


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Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: Mr Walleye on July 31, 2012, 08:53:55 PM
No it's definitely not any type of PID controller. It's simply an on/off type of controller. As I recall the DBS shuts off the power to the element when it reaches the set point. As the temp cools to 10 degrees below set point the DBS control switches the element back on. Unfortunately when the cabinet reaches the set point, the element is still red hot so the temp swings above the set point. Same problem but the reverse when the cabinet temp drops to 10 degrees below set point except now the element is cold and takes a minute or to warm up and the temp continues to drop a few mare degrees. Basically a PID anticipates the element lag times and applies a percentage of power to the element to eliminate or at least minimize the temp swings. You could set it up that way (with a SSR and no PID) and it should have no problem handling it because the DBS controller is simply switching the SSR. The SSR is handling switching the load.

Having the SSR controlled by a PID would have much tighter temp swings though.

Mike
Title: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: mschoonmaker on August 01, 2012, 03:55:28 AM
Thanks much, I had not previously found anything that described the control implementation of the BDS, and if they were going to put a control engine of sorts in there, why not PID? After all, "it's just software" :)
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: Alanfromwis on August 01, 2012, 09:25:43 AM
Hi All,
  Have read recent posts on this issue, & am now doing 2 shoulder roasts & baby back ribs that I started this morning at 6am. I am using the BDS controller to turn SSR on and off with no PID. When BDS controller would turn on & off, this 120vac is fed to a small power transformer with a primary of 120 vac and a secondary of 9vac then a full wave bridge rectifier to produce 9 vdc. This then turns on & off the SSR The meat load is about 10 lbs. temp swings are less with meat in than when I tested it with no oven empty. I had some of the parts, but for $30 to $40 you should be able to get all new parts for this setup. Almost forgot to mention that I included a 120 vac neon indicator to show when element is on or off.
Alan
Title: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: mschoonmaker on August 01, 2012, 09:37:12 AM
Hi Alan,

I'm curious why the transformer et al, instead of just using a SSR that switches a 120vac load with a 120vac signal direct from BDS?
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: Alanfromwis on August 01, 2012, 10:07:44 AM
Mschoonmaker,
  Not sure any of that configeration are available. However you could use a 9vdc wall wart, and I think with a current rating of 100 milliwats would be more than sufficient as the ssr takes very little current. I got my SSB from Auber for $15 plus shipping, & you shouldn't need heat sink for either 900 or 1000 watts. Should have fuse holder with about 15 amp fuse in input to ssr.
alanfromwis
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: ChicaFeliz on August 01, 2012, 10:16:12 AM
Hi ALanFromWis,

That is what I would like to do.
Possible for you to post a quick diagram on how to do this?
Or parts list with a detailed discription.

Thanks everyone for the input. I ve learned alot.
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: mschoonmaker on August 01, 2012, 10:21:34 AM
Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Opto-22-Control-Optical-Isolation/dp/B0058UX17G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343841346&sr=8-1&keywords=solid+state+relay+120vac
Opto 22 120A25
120VAC load, 120vac control, 25 amp (way more than needed) $32.00

Alternate (better):
http://www.amazon.com/Opto-22-Control-Optical-Isolation/dp/B0058UX04U/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1343841346&sr=8-4&keywords=solid+state+relay+120vac
Opto 22 120A10
120VAC load, 120vac control, 10 amp (probably just about right: 1000 watts/120v = 8amps). The 900 watt element would only be 7 amps, so the 10 amp SSR would be OK.
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: Alanfromwis on August 02, 2012, 05:36:12 AM
Hi ALanFromWis,

That is what I would like to do.
Possible for you to post a quick diagram on how to do this?
Or parts list with a detailed discription.

Thanks everyone for the input. I ve learned alot.
ChicaFeliz,
  If you look at your message inbox, sent you a message.  What mschoonmaker said in his post will also work. I had all the parts for the mod that I did except the SSR. Tested it and it makes recovery time after opening door much shorter with the 900 watt. As for temp swings, they are more than with PID, but they even out somewhat over time. The IT is the main temp parameter anyway.
alanfromwis
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: Alanfromwis on August 21, 2012, 01:07:04 PM
http://s1076.photobucket.com/albums/w446/agkrans/900%20watt%20mod/?action=view&current=b80f73a3.jpg
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: Alanfromwis on August 21, 2012, 01:15:42 PM
Have been trying to add pics from photo bucket & am gaing on it, but still no pics. Alan
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: Mr Walleye on August 21, 2012, 07:27:49 PM
Alan

Here is a link that should get you hooked up to post pictures.
http://www.susanminor.org/forums/showthread.php?488-Answers-To-Bradley-Smoker-FAQ-s&p=768#post768

Here's you picture...

(http://i1076.photobucket.com/albums/w446/agkrans/900%20watt%20mod/b80f73a3.jpg)

Mike
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: TedEbear on August 21, 2012, 08:07:12 PM
Have been trying to add pics from photo bucket & am gaing on it, but still no pics. Alan

Look at the 4 boxes below each pic on Photobucket.  Click on the one the says "IMG code" and paste the contents of it into a message.  Click on the Preview button to see that it worked like you wanted and then post the message.   :)
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: Alanfromwis on August 22, 2012, 07:23:24 AM
another try to post picture(http://i1076.photobucket.com/albums/w446/agkrans/900%20watt%20mod/c169025e.jpg)
Title: Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
Post by: Alanfromwis on September 10, 2012, 06:35:20 AM
Hi All,
  Have read recent posts on this issue, & am now doing 2 shoulder roasts & baby back ribs that I started this morning at 6am. I am using the BDS controller to turn SSR on and off with no PID. When BDS controller would turn on & off, this 120vac is fed to a small power transformer with a primary of 120 vac and a secondary of 9vac then a full wave bridge rectifier to produce 9 vdc. This then turns on & off the SSR The meat load is about 10 lbs. temp swings are less with meat in than when I tested it with  oven empty. I had some of the parts, but for $30 to $40 you should be able to get all new parts for this setup. Almost forgot to mention that I included a 120 vac neon indicator to show when element is on or off.
Alan
  Update,
  Have tested this setup further & found it works very well to recover temps after door is opened & initial warmup as well. Does also make higher temps with a larger meat load. The way it's designed, if or when I decide to go with a PID, this unit can be unplugged & PID plugged in as a direct replacement as there are no mods of any kind to existing digital controller. I have $26.75 in new parts in this setup & using a power cord & power socket from a used computer. A used wall wart could be used as a DC power supply.
  On a day when the air temp was about 80, element was on about 7 minutes, & off about 9 minutes with about 10lb load & temp set at 220 degrees. A big improvement over 500 watt element.
  alanfromwis