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Author Topic: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit  (Read 22268 times)

Offline ChicaFeliz

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Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
« 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

Offline Kahunas

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Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
« Reply #1 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.
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Offline BAM1

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Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
« Reply #2 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.

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Offline ChicaFeliz

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Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
« Reply #3 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

Offline Kahunas

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Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
« Reply #4 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.
Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

Offline mikecorn.1

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Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
« Reply #5 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.
Mike

Offline TedEbear

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Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
« Reply #6 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

Offline mikecorn.1

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Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
« Reply #7 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
Mike

Offline muebe

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Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
« Reply #8 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
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Offline mikecorn.1

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Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
« Reply #9 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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Mike

Offline ChicaFeliz

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Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
« Reply #10 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
« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 02:53:29 PM by ChicaFeliz »

Offline TedEbear

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Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
« Reply #11 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

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
« Reply #12 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.


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Offline Kahunas

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Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
« Reply #13 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.
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Offline Alanfromwis

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Re: Upgrade heating element upgrade - digital unit
« Reply #14 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
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