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Author Topic: 900W or dual heating element?  (Read 22691 times)

Offline rscearcy

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900W or dual heating element?
« on: December 13, 2011, 02:20:13 PM »
I think I just blew my second heating element in less than a year (4 1/2 yr old 6 rack DBS).  I say "I think" because I haven't taken the time to test the element that's in the smoker.  However, assuming it tests bad and I have to replace it, let me ask you about "upgrading" to either a 900W element or adding a second heating element.  I can't find where I can buy a 900W element (Bradley doesn't carry them).  I have a bookmark to one of the posts here that diagrams the steps to add a second heating element.  I think one of them even talks about a switch for the second circuit.  (That sounds like a great idea, under the philosophy that we don't want to rush "low and slow.")  I do use an Auber PID, so rushing my smokes shouldn't be a problem.  It is frustrating at the beginning of a smoke to wait an hour or more for the smoker to regain its target temp after loading.  I can see the value to more horsepower getting to temp faster.  I know there were some bad elements about the time I bought my replacement, so I would expect better results from a new one. 

I do love my BDS and plan to have it for many more years.  But, what's the feeling about either the 900 W element or dual element?  If you've done either, how has it worked for you?  Thanks for your help.

rscearcy
Porterville, CA
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Offline viper125

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Re: 900W or dual heating element?
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2011, 02:44:55 PM »
Well just installed the double mod today! Just have to pick up a couple fittings. If I had the problems some seem to have Id probably go 900. But I haven't had a problem and have three elements so it was cost effective for me. But  from what I was reading you also need a fan for the 900 not positive. I will continue this way till my three blow then I'll consider it.
A few pics from smokes....
http://photobucket.com/smokinpics
Inside setup.

Offline TedEbear

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Re: 900W or dual heating element?
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2011, 03:14:51 PM »
I can't find where I can buy a 900W element (Bradley doesn't carry them).

Grainger Supply sells the 900W finned element.  I went with the dual element last winter.  Although one of them bit the dust it was during the peak of all the bad elements going around.  It was fairly easy to install.  Just cut two approximately 9/16" holes in the heat deflector for the ceramic ends of the second element to fit into and a couple of 3-4" short loops of wire going from each end of one element to the other.

You mentioned that you already have a PID controller.  I wouldn't recommend an element upgrade without using one of them.

beefmann

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« Last Edit: December 13, 2011, 04:53:24 PM by beefmann »

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: 900W or dual heating element?
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2011, 01:55:51 AM »
I've completed my second element upgrade 2.5 years ago, and haven't had any problems. The on/off switch is to allow you to turn off the second element so you can operate the Bradley as it was originally intended.

The dual element with the PID, helps the smoker recover faster to your set temperature; while you continue to cook low & slow. It will not cook at a higher temperature, unless you want it to. Because the extra heat brings the cabinet up to the set temperature much faster, you save quite a bit of overall cooking time. In addition, you can open the door more often to check internal temperatures, rotate racks, mop etc. without worrying about adding a lot of additional cooking time.

These directions may be easier to follow, than reading through threads:
Second Element DBS

Second Element OBS


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Offline GusRobin

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Re: 900W or dual heating element?
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2011, 10:55:28 AM »
I did the dual element right after I initially seasoned the unit and glad I did. Two of the ways to do it is independent of each other or a simple loop connection. While the loop method is simpler I did the independent (with switch) and glad I did. As stated you should always use a PID or other temp controller with the dual element for safety reasons. One day as I was going to start my cook, my PID went out. Having the on off switch I was able to disconnect the PID, use both elements to get to temp and then switch off the second element. Anytime I had to open the smoker I would switch the 2nd on back on until at temp then switch off. So for the little bit of extra effort it was well worth it.
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Offline viper125

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Re: 900W or dual heating element?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2011, 12:33:31 PM »
That.s the reason i'll probably do the switch. After all I bought it and its laying here doing nothing. I have thought about looking at it and possibly installing on back of smoker. Just so not to have to mess with panel in front. Not sure that back is thick enough with out adding spacer though. Element is in and wired. Just need to do switch and hook up wires. Just figure it really won't get used in most cases. Just thinking. Anyone think I shouldn't for some reason?
A few pics from smokes....
http://photobucket.com/smokinpics
Inside setup.

Offline WideGlideMike00

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Re: 900W or dual heating element?
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2011, 01:03:57 PM »
Just thinking out loud here. The main reason I even look at posts pertaining to heating element mods is because of heating element failures.
So what I am wondering is if any of the people that have done the dual element set up had their original heating element fail while it was running alongside the finned element?

Regardless of that, why not just eliminate the original bradley element all together and use just the finned 900W heating element alone? (It would save the frustration of having to keep changing the bradley element every 3rd smoke.)
I realize the idea of faster pre-heat, faster cooking times and faster recovery. But the whole idea of a smoker is low and s-l-o-w... right?
(And if you didn't open the door so much, no need to worry about recovery)  8)

Offline viper125

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Re: 900W or dual heating element?
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2011, 01:15:19 PM »
Yes and no! Low and slow is right. But you add a PID because you want to control every thing. So if your trying to get to 225-250 and after 3-4 hours your still at 175 or so it sort of ticks you off. With a double the weather and load of meat has less control and you get more. So if you want to start at 140 , ramp to 150 and keep ramping you actually get those temps instead of what nature try and does. At least thats my reason. As far as the elements go I bought a extra when I bought the smoker over 6 months ago. I smoke average 3-4 times a week since I had it. i have never had any problems. So got a extra element with the parts I bought so know I have 2 extras. Might as well use it. Easy change if I want to change some time.
 You know I hear a lot of people complain about doing mods to get the smoker where they want it. I usually just sort of laugh to my self. This smoker will do all it claims out of the box. I think people come to the forum and see all the stuff others do and they want to also. Well most the others do mods to make a good smoker excellent! I beef up my tractors and cars, My boats ,my computers why not my smoker.
 Not saying your complaining but there is always someone doing it.
 I actually  bought mine because I seen all the mods and liked the idea of creating my own setup that's not exactly like yours or anyone else s. Really starting to get down lately haven't seen a lot of new ideas for mods. May have to think of one myself soon. LOL
A few pics from smokes....
http://photobucket.com/smokinpics
Inside setup.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: 900W or dual heating element?
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2011, 01:37:23 PM »
Low and slow is alright, low and painfully slow is still alright if that is the way you want to go. Providing more options and still smoking/cooking low and slow is much better for me. I would put a second element in the plus column. The longest recovery time is when you first load your smoker, even if you keep the door close. And if I want to open the door as many times as I want, I now have the option to do so. By the way I have a charcoal cooker that smokes low and slow, and has much faster recovery times than my dual element Bradley. So it cooking doesn't have to be terribly slow to make some good BBQ.   8)
 
I'm not sure what you mean "...original heating element fail while it was running alongside the finned element?" I've did my mod 2.5 years ago, after using it as it was originally designed for 4.5 years. When I did my modification I used two new Bradley elements, which are still working fine to this day. I wouldn't have replaced my original, but at the time my original was made from glass, and Bradley had begun distributing all metal elements.


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Offline WideGlideMike00

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Re: 900W or dual heating element?
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2011, 02:39:01 PM »
"I'm not sure what you mean "...original heating element fail while it was running alongside the finned element?" I've did my mod 2.5 years ago, after using it as it was originally designed for 4.5 years. When I did my modification I used two new Bradley elements, which are still working fine to this day. I wouldn't have replaced my original, but at the time my original was made from glass, and Bradley had begun distributing all metal elements."

What I mean was if after someone were to put in the effort to add the 900W finned element, did the bradley element fail? i.e. eliminate the middleman, yank the bradley element (that will more than likely fail anyways) and just add the 900W finned element.  I'm not trying to imply that the bradley element would fail because the 900W element was added, just saying the bradley element would probably fail anyways, regardless if the 900W unit were installed or not.

So it's a pretty simple question - how many people have had their bradley element fail when they have the 900W mod installed.  Hence my 'why not just toss the stock element and go straight to the finned element?'

If no said failures, maybe we are witnessing some kind of engineering 1+1=3 phenomenon that says when you add a 900W finned element, the stock bradley heating element never fails.  ;)

Offline viper125

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Re: 900W or dual heating element?
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2011, 04:16:13 PM »
Far as I know , never had anyone add a 900 when a 500 was left in. When you do the 900 you take all Bradley elements out. With a 900 you don't need a 500 in there.
A few pics from smokes....
http://photobucket.com/smokinpics
Inside setup.

Offline WideGlideMike00

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Re: 900W or dual heating element?
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2011, 04:51:53 PM »
"Far as I know , never had anyone add a 900 when a 500 was left in. When you do the 900 you take all Bradley elements out. With a 900 you don't need a 500 in there."

D'Oh! Ok, makes sense now. I kind of misread/misinterpreted the subject line. I *thought* it was saying 900W dual heating element. I didn't really see the "or" -- I was envisioning the stock heating element left in place and then the 900W unit added in addition to. Sorry.

Offline viper125

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Re: 900W or dual heating element?
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2011, 08:54:46 PM »
I kind of figured. THat's ok you don't learn if you don't ask.
A few pics from smokes....
http://photobucket.com/smokinpics
Inside setup.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: 900W or dual heating element?
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2011, 01:25:30 AM »
Viper has answered your "simple" question.  :)


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