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Author Topic: Another heating element questions  (Read 1065 times)

Offline MNice

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Another heating element questions
« on: March 19, 2017, 09:35:30 am »
Hi,

I'm having issues with my Bradley smoker my wife got me for Christmas a year ago.  I've only used it 3 times and not sure if I'm in the learning curve or if something is wrong.

the first time I used it I did one rack of ribs and 1 chicken(so not a full load by any means) it worked great ran it around 200 with the temp controll between 1/2 and 3/4 on the dial. 

the 2nd time I did a bunch of pork butts (maybe 3 still not full) I could not get the temp any where near 200 degrees Then I read if the connections were tight that can happen? so I figured that was my problem and didn't worry too much. 

3rd time I did a full load of chicken pieces. with a house full of company. (yes my bad for testing it first) and the same thing (if fact didn't get much over 100 dg) after 3 hours I had to move them to the oven. 

I'm hoping to smoke a turkey for Easter and don't want to have lunch be served as a late supper. 

After reading further: on all occasions I did pre-heat, I used hot water but not boiling, the meat started cold did I did not bring to room temp. 

heres my questions:  Would doing those things (preheat,boil,start warm meat) made that much of a difference or could I have a bad element. 

Today I ran it empty (completely all shelfs and water pan removed) and all the way to high heat, and no briquettes I started with a very heavy ext. cord and after 20 minutes was at 200 dg (just shy) I unplugged it and let cool completely and plugged it directly to the wall outlet after 20 min it was at 250 (again just shy)

Is it running as intended or is the element going out?   also should the element glow read from end to end? mine was red only in the center about 2/3 with the end 2 inches  or so on each side staying black. 

I know its no longer under warranty I'm just wondering if I bought a new stock element if that would help or if I should look at retro fitting a duel element I read about (or the 900w people mentioned)

also If went that route would it still work on a 110 outlet (right now the outlet I'm using is on a 15amp fuse (I don't want to blow fuses every time I smoke)

thanks for any insite you can provide

Offline TedEbear

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Re: Another heating element questions
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2017, 11:01:05 am »
You can test the element with a multimeter.  A good element will read around 27-32 ohms.

Also, make sure that you have the top vent open at least halfway or more.  Some people think that by closing the vent it will heat faster but all that does is trap moisture and lead to other problems and doesn't help with the heat anyway.

I have an OBS.  I got frustrated with the long times it took to reach the desired temp and slow recovery times so about 4 years ago I installed a second 500W element.  It now only takes around 8-10 minutes when I first turn it on to reach 225*F. 

Having two elements running plus the smoke generator hotplate pulls around 10.2A on a 110V line.  The "PIE" formula is P=I*E where P=watts, I=amps, E=volts.  Thus, P/E=I.

If you increase the element capacity you should replace the stock control with a PID controller.  The factory one isn't designed or tested to handle anything above 500W.  There are how-to articles on how to do all this if you're interested.


I'm hoping to smoke a turkey for Easter and don't want to have lunch be served as a late supper.

Also, you probably already read this but it is recommended to finish cooking turkey in your regular house oven to crisp the skin, after you smoke it.  The Bradley doesn't get hot enough to do this and the skin may seem a bit rubbery otherwise.




« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 11:20:11 am by TedEbear »

Offline Edward176

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Re: Another heating element questions
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2017, 11:13:45 am »
Hi MNice, sounds like its working normally, as you stated when you ran it empty. The heating element glows red on about 2/3 -3/4 with the ends about 1-2 inches not glowing (at least mine works like that). Did you smoke your chicken with the top vent open? Chicken is very moist and requires a lot of energy to heat it up, and if you had a FULLY Loaded smoker with chicken parts then the recovery time would be very long. Remember that this is a smoker and not your kitchen oven and its LOW and SLOW operation. I've done a full load of chicken in the past and it takes s lot longer then a few pieces. If possible plug your Bradley directly into the outlet and try to make sure nothing else is on the same circuit. If you have to use an extension cord then, as you tried, a good quality heavy one is the best.  Keep your vent fully open, Boiling water in the bowl and give it lots of time. Or after a few hours in the smoker you can remove it and finish in the oven. Remember that this smoker is LOW heat and SLOW (time related). The more you load your smoker, especially moist chicken/turkey add more time. 6 loaded racks of chicken will take a lot longer then a rack or two.
Maybe one of the more knowledgeable experts can chime in and have some additional advise. Good Luck.   

Offline rexster

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Re: Another heating element questions
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2017, 11:15:00 am »
Welcome to the world of Bradley modifications. I see a second 500w element in your future, as it's the easiest mod you can do. Plenty of information here on how to accomplish this and you'll wonder why Bradley didn't incorporate that in their design. Although I have read a couple of posts that people were running the additional element without a PID, it's safer and more efficient to run some type of PID. The easiest way in one of the Auber PIDs as they are plug and play. Plenty articles on here to read up on
Stainless 4 rack Bradley
6 Rack DBS w/second heat element
Auber PID
7 Foot X 20" Pipe BBQ pit with offset firebox
Jenn-Air 75000 btu gas grill w/sear burner
Weber Performer charcoal grill
Portable Kitchen All Aluminum Charcoal Grill
2 MES 40" smokers
PK360 Grill
Vacmaster 320 Vacuum Chamber Sealer

Offline MNice

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Re: Another heating element questions
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2017, 05:47:23 pm »
You can test the element with a multimeter.  A good element will read around 27-32 ohms.

Also, make sure that you have the top vent open at least halfway or more.  Some people think that by closing the vent it will heat faster but all that does is trap moisture and lead to other problems and doesn't help with the heat anyway.

I have an OBS.  I got frustrated with the long times it took to reach the desired temp and slow recovery times so about 4 years ago I installed a second 500W element.  It now only takes around 8-10 minutes when I first turn it on to reach 225*F. 

Having two elements running plus the smoke generator hotplate pulls around 10.2A on a 110V line.  The "PIE" formula is P=I*E where P=watts, I=amps, E=volts.  Thus, P/E=I.

If you increase the element capacity you should replace the stock control with a PID controller.  The factory one isn't designed or tested to handle anything above 500W.  There are how-to articles on how to do all this if you're interested.


I'm hoping to smoke a turkey for Easter and don't want to have lunch be served as a late supper.

Also, you probably already read this but it is recommended to finish cooking turkey in your regular house oven to crisp the skin, after you smoke it.  The Bradley doesn't get hot enough to do this and the skin may seem a bit rubbery otherwise.

Thank you I hadn't read about the skin I'll make sure I finish in the oven, 

Offline MNice

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Re: Another heating element questions
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2017, 05:50:00 pm »
Welcome to the world of Bradley modifications. I see a second 500w element in your future, as it's the easiest mod you can do. Plenty of information here on how to accomplish this and you'll wonder why Bradley didn't incorporate that in their design. Although I have read a couple of posts that people were running the additional element without a PID, it's safer and more efficient to run some type of PID. The easiest way in one of the Auber PIDs as they are plug and play. Plenty articles on here to read up on

Thanks I think that's the direction I want to go.  I'll start searching the posts for the How To's. does anyone have a link by chance on one of the easiest to follow mods?

Offline TedEbear

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Re: Another heating element questions
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2017, 04:46:37 am »
Thanks I think that's the direction I want to go.  I'll start searching the posts for the How To's. does anyone have a link by chance on one of the easiest to follow mods?

Here are several how-to links, from the archives of the old Bradley user recipe site.

Additional Heating Element Modification

Additional Heating Element for OBS with On/Off Control

Those links no longer have the pics with them.  If you want the pics you have to d/l the entire recipe site file, which you can get from the link below.  Look for "Recipe_v5" and "GSReader v2.8" in the thread below.

Recipe Site

Here's what I did to my OBS a few years ago, following the how-to guides from the recipe site:





Offline MNice

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Re: Another heating element questions
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2017, 07:31:58 am »
Thanks for the replys,  I'm not able to open the file (I use a work provided computer and the fire wall is blocking it) 

there is a pretty good description in the link so hopefully I can figure it out without the pictures.