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Author Topic: E-mail to Bradley Technologies  (Read 19374 times)

Offline renoman

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E-mail to Bradley Technologies
« on: January 02, 2014, 08:06:32 AM »
I have sent the following email to Brian at Bradley. Lets hope he can give us a definitive answer.

Dear Brian
   I am an owner of a Bradley Digital 4 rack smoker for about three months now and I am also a frequent visitor/participator in your Bradley Smoker forums. These forums have provided me with a wealth of knowledge about the use of the Bradley smoker as well as many recipes and tricks of the smoking trade.
   Recently there has been discussion about the ability of the smokers to recover their heat after the door has been opened for one reason or another. Especially in the colder climates like we have here in Alberta now. It seems that many Bradley owners have modified their smokers by either adding a second element or replacing the existing element with one of larger capacity (750-900 watts). This practice has been going on for years and there doesn’t seem to be any serious incidents reported by doing this modification however  along with the larger or second element it seems that you have to add a P.I.D. to control the higher wattage and bypass the Bradley electronics altogether. Although I am sure Bradley does not condone this practice it seems to be working very well for the people that have modified their smokers.
   This brings me to my questions. Just what is it in the Bradley Digital Smoker that cannot handle the extra wattage and why doesn’t Bradley offer a smoker with a higher watt element? Is there something in the electronics or is it the actual heating of the cabinet that is at issue here. Are the people who are doing this modification risking fire by adding the extra watts? I do not in any way expect you to condone this practice but there are many topics on this issue on the Bradley forums and inquiring minds would like to know exactly why or if Bradley suggests not doing this modification and what exactly would happen to the smoker if one were to add the additional watts to the existing Bradley electronics.
   I would like to thank you in advance for helping out with this issue. It will put a lot of discussion to rest if we can get a good clear answer from you.

Respectfully
D. Andrews



Offline tailfeathers

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Re: E-mail to Bradley Technologies
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2014, 08:18:05 AM »
Well written and respectful.


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Offline TMB

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Re: E-mail to Bradley Technologies
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2014, 09:33:17 AM »
Good e-mail, but you need to remember that Bradley's are sold in a lot of countries and making a unit to fit all of these is a trick in it's self.

  Just because the USA and I guess Canada use a certain power grid does not mean other countries do or could handle the power  needs of higher wattage elements.  I know a few that have bumped theirs up but would it work in another country?


Just a note, I work on Honda and Acura cars and there are many things over seas they won't bring here because of laws or regulations. 

 So thinking this way is the reason why I posted this   

A fair question though!
« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 02:11:42 PM by TMB »
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Offline dcw1

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Re: E-mail to Bradley Technologies
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2014, 09:58:43 AM »
This is the best site EVER!  Here's looking forwad to some great information!  (OK?) :)

Offline renoman

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Re: E-mail to Bradley Technologies
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2014, 01:30:52 PM »
Got my reply but unfortunately you guys are going to have to take my word it for once I speak to Brian Nelson.

Hi Doug
I would be happy to discuss these issues with you send me your phone number or feel free to call me @ 604-946-3848

Thank You
Brian Nelson
Production Manager
Bradley Smokers
8380 River Road
Delta BC. V4G-1B5
Ph 604-946-3848
Fx 604-946-3839
1-866-508-7514
brian@bradleysmoker.com

Offline dcw1

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Re: E-mail to Bradley Technologies
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2014, 01:33:55 PM »
I'll call him---I am really good at interacting with people.  :)

Offline renoman

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Re: E-mail to Bradley Technologies
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2014, 01:37:46 PM »
I just called him. He was not in but I left my number with the girl on the phone.

Offline dcw1

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Re: E-mail to Bradley Technologies
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2014, 01:49:24 PM »
Yeah, I got the same story…not in.  But, I distinctly heard a, “Hell no!” after the assistant said to hold for a second. She then came back on and said he wasn’t in.  Perhaps word of my stellar interpersonal skills have made their way to British Columbia.   :)

Offline renoman

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Re: E-mail to Bradley Technologies
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2014, 02:10:10 PM »
Well I just had a 15 minute chat with Brian Nelson from Bradley and I must say he is a very pleasant guy. Apparently they have been monitoring this topic over the last few days and actually had a meeting this morning to discuss how they would handle my email. That is why he did not reply by email however he did say that he would send me an email that I could put on the forum to address this issue. Basically the reason Bradley does not support the addition of larger or more elements is because they simply are not certified for that and they have to be certified in so many different countries that it is not cost efficient to do so. I personally got the answer that I was looking for but in respect for Brian I will keep it off the record as he requested at this time. I will post the emailed response as soon as I get it.

Offline dcw1

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Re: E-mail to Bradley Technologies
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2014, 02:16:24 PM »
What'd he say about me (dcw1)?  All good I suppose. :)

Offline renoman

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Re: E-mail to Bradley Technologies
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2014, 02:26:13 PM »
The reply

Hello Doug

It was a pleasure to speak directly with you today.

The current models of smokers go through electrical certification to operate with a 500W element.    We cannot and will not condone the use of anything other than the current element for the current models. 

Thank You
Brian Nelson
Production Manager
Bradley Smokers
8380 River Road
Delta BC. V4G-1B5
Ph 604-946-3848
Fx 604-946-3839
1-866-508-7514
brian@bradleysmoker.com

Offline dcw1

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Re: E-mail to Bradley Technologies
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2014, 02:55:00 PM »
Renoman, thank you for your efforts.  Given the number of views here (which continue to climb), you have a captive audience.

Unfortunately, even the manufacturer, the one entity that would specifically know the answer, did not give a detailed factual answer (along the lines of Beefmann's answer).  Obviously, that is the prudent course for Bradley and I don't blame them for such a vanilla answer.   

But the fact that they didn't write how dangerous such modifications are.... well maybe, just maybe... they know the smoker will be ok with the upgraded 900-watt element and the original controls.  But, they just don't want to say so for liability purposes.

More research is needed because we still don't know the answer.  I will post something after I speak to an electrical engineer or an electrician.

Good grief, who knew the search for the truth could be so bloody exhausting.

Offline tskeeter

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Re: E-mail to Bradley Technologies
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2014, 03:48:57 PM »
Renoman, thank you for your efforts.  Given the number of views here (which continue to climb), you have a captive audience.

Unfortunately, even the manufacturer, the one entity that would specifically know the answer, did not give a detailed factual answer (along the lines of Beefmann's answer).  Obviously, that is the prudent course for Bradley and I don't blame them for such a vanilla answer.   

But the fact that they didn't write how dangerous such modifications are.... well maybe, just maybe... they know the smoker will be ok with the upgraded 900-watt element and the original controls.  But, they just don't want to say so for liability purposes.

More research is needed because we still don't know the answer.  I will post something after I speak to an electrical engineer or an electrician.

Good grief, who knew the search for the truth could be so bloody exhausting.


dcw1, if you consider the variety of Bradley smokers that are in use, you can see why your simple question is so hard to answer.  Over the years, a variety of different components may have been used in a variety of different models of smokers.  Some components might be rated for more than 500 watts, while another component used for the same purpose at a differ point in time may not be.   To give a credible recommendation, a person would have to know exactly what components have been used over the years, and in which configurations.  And then, assuming that you were qualified, you'd have to do a system analysis of each possible configuration to determine the maximum capacity of that particular configuration.  So, the safe approach for Bradley is to say "Bradley does not recommend modifying your Bradley smoker" and for those who have made mods, unless you are an electrical engineer or someone else who is qualified to analyze the recommended capacity of each and every component of the heating system, to say use an after market controller that is rated for the wattage that you are installing.

Now, if you know a qualified person who owns you big time, you might be able to get them to disassemble your smoker and maybe the smoke generator to see what parts it contains, who made each part, and look up the specs on each of the parts to determine the rated capacity of each part.  (Note that this could be a challenge since, as far as I know, the smokers are assembled in China and may contain components which are not included in reference material commonly used in the US or Canada.)  If you'd have to pay someone to do this type of reverse engineering of your smoker's heating system, it would probably be way cheaper and easier to drop a couple of hundred dollars on an after market plug and play temp controller that you know will work with the heater configuration you want.  Maybe that's why the accepted wisdom is "The heating system, as designed, is not rated for more than 500 watts.  If you want more heat generating capacity, we suggest you use an after market controller rated for the appropriate wattage.".   

Offline dcw1

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Re: E-mail to Bradley Technologies
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2014, 05:09:41 PM »
I agree totally with you tskeeter.  There is no simple answer to this question but I do believe there is a "right" answer to the question regarding the 4-rack digital smoker.  No doubt the conventional wisdom is to use a PID.  There are a few reasons I don't want to do that though:

1.  the cost of the PID.  Whether a cheap $50 PID or a decent $150 PID, it may be wasted $$.  Throw in the new element (about $50), and you are looking at 25% to 50% of the cost of the smoker.  Is this going to break the bank?  Not for 99% of the members here---on a good weekend, you all spend that on ribs.

2.   with a PID, you now have an extra box with extra wires that you have to deal with. Aesthetically and convenience-wise, the original control box is better. 

3.  it just may not be necessary.

Now, I did speak to an electrician.  He echoed Beefmann.  The fact that the fuse is rated for 10 amps means the controls should not be damaged unless that is exceeded and the fuse doesn't do its job.  Fuses are the weak link in any system.  Exceeding the fuse rating will cause the fuse to blow thus protecting the controls.  Now the electrician did say that if you have something else plugged into the same wall socket as the smoker, you risk blowing the fuse in the house control panel.

More expert information is needed in my mind before I slap a 900-watt element in there without a PID.  But things seem to be pointing in that direction as opposed to a PID. 

WHO KNOWS, THIS COULD CHANGE THE WORLD IN WHICH YOU SMOKE!  And you could then dump your PID on Craigslist and buy more ribs! :)


Offline TedEbear

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Re: E-mail to Bradley Technologies
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2014, 06:03:55 PM »
2.   with a PID, you now have an extra box with extra wires that you have to deal with.

Not necessarily. Here's my "cheap" $45 Auber PID mounted in my SG box: