BRADLEY SMOKER | "Taste the Great Outdoors"

Bradley Smokers => The NEW Bradley Original Smoker (BS611) => Topic started by: Boonman on December 24, 2018, 07:29:22 am

Title: Adding 3rd Heating Element
Post by: Boonman on December 24, 2018, 07:29:22 am
Has anyone added a 3rd heating element?  I was attempting to smoke a 25# Turkey this Thanksgiving, 5°F ambient temp outside, and I couldn't get the cabinet temp over 180.  I have a second factory element installed, and am using an Auber WSD-1500H-W controller.  I installed the 900 Watt Element last night, and am planning on using the factory controller for that, and running the auber with the two 500 watt factory elements.  I added a second receptacle in the rear panel, and ran new wiring to the now 3rd element, to be able to split the two, and not over burden the factory wiring.  I'm hoping this shall solve the cabinet not coming up to temp issues, and maybe bring new possibilities of ramping up the temp at the end of the smoke, so I dont have to move to the oven.....  I burned it in last night, and I had the cabinet at 400°F in about 8 minutes outside.  I'll post some pictures later.  It appears to be just what was needed.  1900 Watts of power now.... 
Title: Re: Adding 3rd Heating Element
Post by: Boonman on December 24, 2018, 09:42:40 am
(https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipM82jUUlZJEPbLEcyHQM-IHCWjAg9xwyfZk83dd)
Title: Re: Adding 3rd Heating Element
Post by: Habanero Smoker on December 24, 2018, 02:14:08 pm
Hi Boonman;

Welcome to the forum.

I'm not sure if the insulation in the Bradley will withstand those high temperatures. Did you by past the high temperature sensor on the original element?

Two 500 watt elements should have given you a higher cabinet temperature than 180. Where was your temperature probe located?
Title: Re: Adding 3rd Heating Element
Post by: TedEbear on December 25, 2018, 05:12:01 am
Welcome aboard, Boonman.

Remember, the Bradley is a slow smoker, not an oven.  400*F is way higher than what it was designed to run at.  I have dual 500W elements in mine and have no trouble getting the chamber temp to 250*F in cold weather.  If it was struggling with getting above 180*F be sure you're blocking any wind from sucking the heat out the vent.  Also, you could try more insulation if you're using it in 5*F weather.  Some people have modified things like a hot water heater blanket and attached it all around the outside.

However, I think 400*F will eventually cause damage to the Bradley.
Title: Re: Adding 3rd Heating Element
Post by: Boonman on December 25, 2018, 02:17:52 pm
Thanks for the welcome fellas.  I wasn't looking to smoke at 400, just kinda seeing what it was capable of when I first powered it up....  blocking wind is a bit of a problem for me, and I do not desire to construct anything to barricade it.  However, yesterday, I put a 25# bird in, and kept an eye on it.  What a difference.  Temperature recovery is amazing.  I would compare it to the difference of single factory element, and than adding the second element.  I left the oem bradley controller running the 900 element, and the auber running the twin elements.  Worked flawlessly.  I have the temp probe located just below the highest rack that goes in.  It maintained my set 225 temp, and with any opening of the door, it was back up to temp in a couple minutes.  It didn't care about the wind, outside temp was about 15 deg F.  I'm happy with it.  Oh, no bypass on the high temp limit switch.  However, the 900w element has no thermal shutoff.  I will be ordering one, as it is a separate circuit.  On some meats, I just like to finish some things up at a little higher temp, and figured if I  could do it in the bradley,  and just add a step in the cooking profile with the controller, all is well.  I was able to do that, and it looks to be a welcome addition.  I tried posting some pictures, but am having trouble with hosting them somewhere.....
Title: Re: Adding 3rd Heating Element
Post by: TedEbear on December 25, 2018, 09:08:57 pm
Google Photos (https://photos.google.com/) is one of several decent free host sites.

Title: Re: Adding 3rd Heating Element
Post by: Habanero Smoker on December 26, 2018, 01:49:17 am
The placement of the temperature probe will give you a lower reading. I place my on the bottom rail close to the door opening. When you place the probe in-between racks, or above the highest rack, the temperature will read much lower. The lower readings are caused by moisture evaporating from the food. This evaporation, especially from meats and during the early stages; can lower the temperature as much as 40°F near the surface of the meat.

I still have concerns about operating the Bradley at such high temperatures. The foam insulation will not withstand those temperatures. When you did your upgrade, after taking off the back panel, do you recall what the foam insulation looked like in the area just behind the element. On my Bradley mine had all melted away, and this was before I installed the second element. It's best to reverse sear in a hot oven, or a grill.
Title: Re: Adding 3rd Heating Element
Post by: Boonman on December 26, 2018, 06:38:19 am
I will explore google photos.   As for the back of the unit, the hard foam insulation had a whisp of discoloration which appeared to sneak through the wiring openings where the wire passes through the ceramic insulators.  I will see what temp readings are in the cabinet at various locations this weekend.  I'm doing a few hundred chicken wings, and I dont use a probe for them.  That'll leave me with 4 probes available for measurement at the various locations.  Every time in the past, I clip the cabinet probe to the rear of the highest rack, but let it dangle below the rack, at the rear of the cabinet, if that makes sense?  It usually lines up pretty close to the height of the OEM thermo in the door. 
Again, I'm not running it up to 400.  My max is 310 or so, at the end of a cook.  But like you guys mention, perhaps finishing on a grille or in the convection is the right way to do it. 
I will say that the recovery is amazing with the power.  I dont need the extra 900 watt element, only for the cold weather smokes....  For normal use I can use either the twin bars, or the 900.  Come to think of it, itll be a nice backup, should one of the 500 watt elements take a dump.  It won't leave me stranded..... 
Title: Re: Adding 3rd Heating Element
Post by: Habanero Smoker on December 26, 2018, 01:12:58 pm
Chicken wings will really test the heating ability. If you don't already do so, keep the top vent wide open to prevent moisture buildup inside the cabinet. I feed my probes through the door.
Title: Re: Adding 3rd Heating Element
Post by: Orion on December 26, 2018, 03:39:30 pm
I recently became interested in pottery and thought I could double function my BDS as a kiln by adding a third and fourth element. I need to maintain temps of 1500 C. for 12 hours. Won’t be able to make large vases or anything but the four racks will be perfect for one clay plate per rack. Thoughts?
Title: Re: Adding 3rd Heating Element
Post by: Boonman on December 26, 2018, 07:44:41 pm
You guys crack me up...  perhaps the point of the project was missed along the line...  I wasn't interested in making a kiln, or smelting metal, or anything like that.  I just did not wish to have to construct a small shed, insulation blankets, or other methods to run the smoker in the cold and wind that I have to use the unit in.  It seemed to me that the cost of installing a third element ($50) to aid in recovering temps in wind and cold, and opening the door for rotation of racks, basting, water bowl maintenance, etc...  seemed like a logical idea.  I found no information on it and it appeared as though noone had done it.  90%of the time, my smoking is done in the cabinet at nothing over 225.  But when the cabinet couldnt get there, it takes forever.....  it seems to be a worthwhile improvement when the additional heating needs are relevant. 
Title: Re: Adding 3rd Heating Element
Post by: Orion on December 26, 2018, 09:17:39 pm
Hahaha! Glad you saw the sarcasm in my post Boonman. I understand your point and it sounds like you have accomplished what you set out to.

I was poking fun at the whole idea of people continually upping the degree of modifications. Before you know it people will devise self rotating racks and self cleaning units.

With all the heat rise and temperature hold issues I wonder why Bradley hasn’t made more product development changes to resolve these consumer concerns right out of the box. It has certainly been shown to be easy enough to do.
Title: Re: Adding 3rd Heating Element
Post by: TedEbear on December 26, 2018, 10:01:07 pm
I've occasionally said that if Bradley would ever design a smoker with a built-in PID controller plus a 1000W element and sell it at a reasonable price they'd have to add a second production shift to keep up with the demand in sales.
Title: Re: Adding 3rd Heating Element
Post by: Habanero Smoker on December 27, 2018, 01:33:00 am
I believe Bradley did some research in upping the wattage. Several years ago a member either mistakenly, or intentionally posted a picture of his Bradley with what I believed to have been a 750 watt element. It was serpentine in shape, and installed in the same connectors as the 500 watt element (essentially a replacement). For what ever reason it never made it into full production. Maybe it was too costly to add a more accurate temperature controller.

Boonman;
I've never criticize your need to add more wattage. We received similar criticism when we first began adding the extra element. I go back to my concern about the safety of it. The insulation may not be rated for such high temperatures, and the gauge of the metal may be too thin. I've noticed some warping of the back wall just above my dual heating elements.