Author Topic: upgrading my OBS  (Read 1032 times)

Offline codyop12

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upgrading my OBS
« on: November 14, 2016, 06:48:04 pm »
 This is my first time to post so if I am not doing it right please let me know. So my i got my OBS last year for Christmas. I am new to even using a smoker. After a ton of trials and plenty of errors, i decided to look in to some tricks on perfecting using my smoker. I know there are plenty of mods out there that can upgrade any machine I guess that i am trying to decide which to do. I bought a Auber PID duel control today. I have seen that some people put a 900w heating element with a fan in as well. I was wondering if these are worth doing? and if they are maybe someone could reply a link on the steps to do them. Thank you for your time!!!!

Offline TedEbear

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Re: upgrading my OBS
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2016, 04:49:51 am »
First, welcome aboard.   :)

I added a second 500W element to my OBS a few years ago and also installed a PID controller in the smoke generator.  It turned my smoker into what I wish Bradley would have done from the factory.  Click on the link below for some guides on doing these and other mods to your smoker.

Bradley Accessories - User Modifications




« Last Edit: November 15, 2016, 04:55:06 am by TedEbear »

Offline tskeeter

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Re: upgrading my OBS
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2016, 10:57:59 am »
Let me extend my welcome, too, Cody.

Like, TedEBear, I added a PID and did a dual element mod, but no fan.  It looks like most of the folks who have done mods skip the fan.  That must mean the other mods are meeting their needs.

While a fan mod does even out the temperature throughout the smoker cabinet, I use the temperature variations to my advantage.  The thickest racks of ribs on one of the lower trays,  where the temp is higher, and thinner racks of ribs on upper, cooler trays.  The same for roasts such as pork shoulder.  Biggest in the warmest area and smaller where it is cooler.  The same strategy applies to cheeses.  Soft, likely to melt up top in the coolest area and harder, more heat tolerant cheeses, closer to the heat.  These days, using the heat stratification characteristics of the Bradley is second nature to me.

A thought on single element vs. dual element mods.  If your single element fails, you are SOL.  If one of your dual elements poops out, you can finish in limp mode.  I think a dual element mod is easier than a single element mod.  Especially if you do it the way I think TedEbear did his.  By simply modifying the reflector to hold the new element and making up a couple of 2 inch pigtails with loops on both ends to go from the studs on the original element to the new element.  This avoids the fabrication of mounting brackets that single element mod users seem to need.

Enjoy your smoker.  And get busy earning that smokehouse hero badge!

Offline codyop12

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Re: upgrading my OBS
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2016, 09:51:27 am »
Thank you guys for your help!!! I am getting my Auber PID tomorrow and am pretty pumped about it. I love my smoker but found controlling the temp to be a problem. I clicked on the link to look at the mods people have done for adding a second heating element. They were pretty helpful but none of the pictures would show up so I could see how to wire it. I think the web site that the pics are uploaded to is not working so it would let me see anything.  I have looked at a couple of different places and can't find much. I am just trying to make sure that I wire everything up right. I am going to attempt to smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving and want to make sure I can get the temp right. Once again thank you guys for the help!!!!

Offline tskeeter

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Re: upgrading my OBS
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2016, 02:52:43 pm »
Cody, a Bradley heating element has a threaded metal stud sticking out of either end.  The power leads coming through the back wall of the smoker, behind the ceramic heating element holders, have a loop fitting on the end.  The loop goes over the stud and is held in place with a nut. 

To extend the wiring, you take a 2 inch or so piece of high temp wire (from an appliance parts store) and put loop fittings on both ends.  (You'll need two of these.  One for each end of the element.)  You'll need to notch the outer piece of the two part ceramic holders so the high temp wire can pass through where the holder parts come together without the wire getting pinched.  I found a rod saw blade for a hacksaw frame works well for this.  Got my rod saw blade at Home Depot.  The next step is to drill hole in the sides of the reflector to allow the reflector to function as the holder for the new heating element.  The new element ends up positioned an inch or two in front of where the original element is located, at about the same height.  I've had the best luck drilling these holes with a step drill (unibit), but you can do the job using a series of twist drills , a light touch, and finishing enlarging the holes with a file. 

Now for the assembly.

Attach extension wires to old heating element.

Insert new element in holes made in reflector.

Reassemble ceramic heating element holders and reflector, routing extension wires through notches you made in the holders.

Attach extension wires to studs of new heating element.

Your mod is complete and ready for testing.


Bear in mind that a dual element mod draws more power than the Bradley control system is rated for.  I recommend you always use your PID, which carries a higher power rating, when operating your modified smoker.  Also bear in mind that this mod will void your manufacturer's warranty.  Some folks delay mods until their warranty has expired.

Last comment.  Some of these instructions may be confusing until you have had a chance to remove the original heating element and study the parts that make up the assembly and study the pics that TedEbear provided. 

Final suggestion, I promise.  When you smoke your turkey, keep your vent wide open.  Turkeys are large and they contain a lot of moisture.  If your vent isn't open enough, moisture gets trapped in your smoker.  The trapped moisture absorbs a lot of heat, so it prevents your smoker from getting back to your set temp after you put the bird in the smoker.  I know this sounds a little counter-intuitive, but, open your vent.

Offline codyop12

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Re: upgrading my OBS
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2016, 07:12:00 pm »
Thank you tskeeter!!!! Feel 99% better doing it now. And thanks for the advice on the bird!!!

Offline codyop12

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Re: upgrading my OBS
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2016, 07:15:25 pm »
Oh and last question.... Well maybe. What gauge of wire do you suggest?

Offline TedEbear

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Re: upgrading my OBS
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2016, 07:18:32 pm »
You can see the pics of the how-to article if you click on the link below and follow the instructions for installing everything in it.  Once you have that up and running go to the Bradley Accessories and User Modifications section in it for the second element mod with pics. 

I didn't wire mine quite the same way.  As Tskeeter said, I made two short 3-4" loops of wire and just wired the first element to the second element on each end. I've been using it this way for 3 years and it works fine.

Recipe Site

Also, be VERY careful when you drill the larger holes in the heat reflector.  The metal is quite thin and tends to tear.  I drilled mine out to 3/8" and then used a grinding bit to enlarge them from there.

« Last Edit: November 16, 2016, 07:20:37 pm by TedEbear »

Offline TedEbear

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Re: upgrading my OBS
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2016, 07:35:17 pm »
Oh and last question.... Well maybe. What gauge of wire do you suggest?

A 500W element operating at 120V will have around 4.2 amps current passing through it.  I believe I used 14ga wire, which is way more than large enough.  14 ga wire can safely handle 15 amps.  I went to a mom and pop appliance repair store, looking to buy some high temp wire.  The guy gave me 1 ft of it free.


Offline codyop12

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Re: upgrading my OBS
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2016, 05:52:28 pm »
Thank you guys again I appreicate all of the help!!!!!

Offline codyop12

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Re: upgrading my OBS
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2016, 05:55:01 pm »
I downloaded that program but cannot find it in my computer after download. Am i doing something wrong?

Offline TedEbear

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Re: upgrading my OBS
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2016, 05:34:21 am »
Before the download begins, check to see the folder location that it will be saved to.  On mine, it goes to my Downloads folder.  If you cannot find the file, you can try using your Windows search function for a partial file name.  There are actually two files, the recipe_v5.exe and the GSReaderv2_8.exe

Offline codyop12

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Re: upgrading my OBS
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2016, 03:31:00 pm »
Hey Ted i got the program!!!!! Thanks for all your help!!!!