Author Topic: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap  (Read 25946 times)

Offline mikecorn.1

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How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2012, 03:27:15 pm »
Nice info. Thanks.


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Mike

Offline pmmpete

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Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
« Reply #16 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.   
« Last Edit: March 15, 2012, 04:01:46 pm by pmmpete »

Offline Salmonsmoker

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Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
« Reply #17 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.
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Offline JZ

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Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
« Reply #18 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.

Offline pmmpete

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Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
« Reply #19 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.

Offline JZ

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Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
« Reply #20 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.

wipf9994

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Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
« Reply #21 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.



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.



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.



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.



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.





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.

Offline pmmpete

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Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
« Reply #22 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?
« Last Edit: March 18, 2012, 05:06:37 pm by pmmpete »

Offline Salmonsmoker

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Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
« Reply #23 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.
Give a man a beer and he'll waste a day.
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wipf9994

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Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
« Reply #24 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

wipf9994

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Re: How to add a fan to your smoker cheap
« Reply #25 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.