Author Topic: 30° temp difference bewteen controller and actual  (Read 555 times)

Offline bob15

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30° temp difference bewteen controller and actual
« on: September 02, 2017, 02:33:11 pm »
Hi, first time poster, third time user with the Bradley digital smoker. I have a question regarding the temp controller and its accuracy: I have the controller set to 190°F and the readout also reads around 190°F, but actual temp inside the smoker, via a ThermaQ is 160°F.

I put 10 pounds of pork bellies in and set it to 140° and then upped it to 150°F, but noticed after several hours that the IT was no where close to 150°F (it was stuck on 116), so I found and stuck the air temp probe inside (first time opening the smoker door since I started) and found the air temp was 120°F. Cranked the temp to 190 and now I get a 160 temp readout.

Currently I am on my 7th hour for these bellies, outside temp was in the 70's and is dropping into the mid-60's. I tried the vent all the way open and mostly shut and it didn't change anything.

Is it possible the heating element is dying? The smoker is probably 5-6 years old, but was never used until a couple months ago. Or is the controller not calibrated correctly?

I have noticed that it takes a long time (+2.5 hrs) to get even hamburgers (2 pounds) up to an IT of 150 (co-workers unit takes an hour). It also took over 6 hours to do boneless chicken breasts. Those times were with using the controllers air temp and the Thermaq for only an IT. Do these times sound correct?

Any idea?

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: 30° temp difference bewteen controller and actual
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2017, 03:45:12 am »
Hi Bob;

Welcome to the forum.

As for the difference in temperature between the Bradley sensor, and the ThermoQ it is likely due to the placement of the probe. If you do a dry run and place the ThermoQ probe near the Bradly sensor you will get a better differential of the two thermometers. Even though it is small, there are definite temperature zones in the Bradley.

If the probe or sensor is too close to the meat, that will give you a "false" reading. Evaporation of moisture from the meat can cool the area near the meat down to nearly to 40°F below the actual temperature. It is best to have a 2" - 3" clearance, and also try not to let dripping hit the probe.

My experience with a failed heating element is that they burns out suddenly; like an incandescent bulb. As for the slow performance if the smoker, that may be caused by too many other appliances drawing power on the same circuit that the Bradley is plugged into. This can prevent the Bradley from performing at 100%. See if some of these appliances can be turned off while the Bradley is in use, or use another circuit that doesn't have such a heavy load on it.



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Offline bob15

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Re: 30° temp difference bewteen controller and actual
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2017, 04:56:39 am »
I ran the Bradley yesterday, empty, and found the temps much closer. Also saw the heat rod glow, which it wasn't while I was doing the pork bellies, which definitely rules out a bad heating element.

My concern or question is, taking over 9 hours to smoke a pork belly normal? This also included me raising the temp on the smoker to 190 for a couple hours and then 220°F for the last 30 minutes to get an IT of 145-150°F (it getting dark outside with no lights around the smoker....).

When smoking in the future, its it best to use the thermaQ for inside smoker temp or is using the Bradley temp thermocouple/readout is best?

When I was smoking, there was no other appliance running on that circuit. It did have a 14ga extension cord though......

Offline TedEbear

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Re: 30° temp difference bewteen controller and actual
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2017, 07:35:34 am »
When I was smoking, there was no other appliance running on that circuit. It did have a 14ga extension cord though......

A small gauge extension cord can cause problems.  I believe the owner's manual says to not use an extension cord with the smoker.

Offline bob15

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Re: 30° temp difference bewteen controller and actual
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2017, 08:13:56 am »
25' foot, 14 gauge is what I used.....should have been sufficient, I would think. Voltage drop is less than a volt.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: 30° temp difference bewteen controller and actual
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2017, 01:22:10 pm »

......My concern or question is, taking over 9 hours to smoke a pork belly normal? This also included me raising the temp on the smoker to 190 for a couple hours and then 220°F for the last 30 minutes to get an IT of 145-150°F (it getting dark outside with no lights around the smoker....).

As you stated, during part of your cook, or at least when you checked the heating element it wasn't glowing red. Look for loose wires, and make sure your power cords are seated properly.


...When smoking in the future, its it best to use the thermaQ for inside smoker temp or is using the Bradley temp thermocouple/readout is best?


The ThermaQ will give you a more accurate temperature reading; but again it depends on how/where you place the ThermaQ pit probe.


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                   inhale.
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Offline goyde

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Re: 30° temp difference bewteen controller and actual
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2017, 05:05:05 pm »
I agree with this. It just seems like it cannot get over 200deg. I've had the temp set for 320 and it's been closed over 2 hours and the gauge says 186 and the probe thermometer I have put down in the top vent says 198. I don't get it. I'm just trying to smoke some wings. I end up finishing up all my dishes in the conventional oven. I don't know why it doesn't get hot. But then I guess I should have suspected this was a bad purchase because the power supply in the control unit was bad from get go.

So disappointed. Time to start looking for good electric smoker.

Offline rexster

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Re: 30° temp difference bewteen controller and actual
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2017, 08:59:13 pm »
Remember, the Bradley is designed for low and slow smoking/cooking. Most Bradleys have really big temp swings. With heat output around 650 watts, and a controller that is just not that good a controller, this is what you get. One of the first things I did when I got my second Bradley was to add a second heat element and a PID (Auber). Excellent heat output and steady heat with the PID. And more predictable cooking
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 bob15

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Re: 30° temp difference bewteen controller and actual
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2017, 03:51:37 pm »
A couple weeks ago (after the above bacon temp issue), I did 2 racks of spare ribs (using all 4 bradley racks) and kept the thermocouple close to the built-in one and the temps were fairly close. I also had a nice glowing heating element. Ribs came out tasty....again.

In a couple weeks I plan to try another 10 pound pork belly again, but start at a hotter temp of 220 °F.

Goyde: don't give up.

Offline goyde

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Re: 30° temp difference bewteen controller and actual
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2017, 10:57:28 am »
Remember, the Bradley is designed for low and slow smoking/cooking. Most Bradleys have really big temp swings. With heat output around 650 watts, and a controller that is just not that good a controller, this is what you get. One of the first things I did when I got my second Bradley was to add a second heat element and a PID (Auber). Excellent heat output and steady heat with the PID. And more predictable cooking

Rexster,

   What heat element did you get to add ? I was thinking about replacing my element with a new one.


Thanks,
Goyde