Author Topic: Temperature in Smart Smoker Fluctuating Badly  (Read 906 times)

Offline abngourmet

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Temperature in Smart Smoker Fluctuating Badly
« on: April 02, 2019, 07:54:48 pm »
I’ve had my smart smoker for about a month now, and have done a few cooks with it.  Today, I’m doing ribs with my students (we had it an outdoor, but warm area), and the temperature fluctuated as much as 30 degrees, without opening the door.  Anyone know why this is happening, and how to fix it?

Offline Orion

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Re: Temperature in Smart Smoker Fluctuating Badly
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2019, 09:11:38 pm »
That is pretty typical for a stock out of the box smoker. The temperature regulation is not finely tuned. What happens is that the element is powered until the desired temperature is reached and then the power to the element is interupted. The temperature will continue to rise slightly even though the element is no longer powered. It might rise above desired temperature by as much as 20 degrees. Then with the element not powered the temperature will drop below the set temperature by as much as 20 degrees before the element is once again powered to regain the desired temperature.

This is normal operation and not a problem unless you are smoking sausage ect which demands precise temperature range or limits. I bet if you put an accurate temp probe in most any residential oven you would find its doing the exact same thing but probably slightly less of a temperature swing. Running your smoker in really cold or windy conditions can exacerbate the temperature swings.

Unless your getting into really fancy product smoking I wouldn’t give it much thought. Your ribs or loin or shoulder or butt won’t see the difference.

A rather expensive temperature modulator can be purchased and dialed in to reduce temperature swings to about 2 degrees. I’ve never run one and I’ve still had good succcess although many users do employ them and really appreciate the finite control.

Perhaps someone that’s runs a PID will give you an explanation of where to buy and what you can expect.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2019, 09:13:29 pm by Orion »
It's going to take a lifetime to smoke all this.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Temperature in Smart Smoker Fluctuating Badly
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2019, 03:36:01 am »
If you mean your 30°F swing includes about 15° above to 15° below the set temperature, then as explained such swings are usual. If your 30°F swing means  about 30° above to 30° below the set temperature that could be a problem. For most smoking projects such swings that you are experiencing won't be a problem, but the tighter temperature control does give you a better finished product, and the time it takes to cook is more consistent.

An Auber PID is one way to go, but they can be expensive, unless you build one yourself. There are less expensive electric heat controllers out there, though they come with less options. For around $60 or less you can purchase a decent controller that will keep the smoker cabinet more accurate. The below link will take you to one.

WILLHI Temperature Controller




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Offline abngourmet

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Re: Temperature in Smart Smoker Fluctuating Badly
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2019, 04:38:00 pm »
I’m having fluctuations of more than 20 degrees.  That is the issue.

I have a digital smoker, and I never had a problem with it.  I make artisanal sausages, so as you note, temperature control is critical.  I thought I’d have better control with the smart smoker, but as it turns out I don’t.

I have a PID (I’ve got a curing chamber I made at work), so my next cook, I may try hooking that up to it.

Offline TedEbear

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Re: Temperature in Smart Smoker Fluctuating Badly
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2019, 05:56:03 am »
I’m having fluctuations of more than 20 degrees.  That is the issue.

That's normal for the Bradley.  Most people do not notice it but similar temp swings happen in a regular oven in the kitchen.  I have a new $3,000 double wall oven in my kitchen.  I used my smoking temp probes to calibrate the setpoint but it still has a temp swing of 17-20 degrees.

Offline abngourmet

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Re: Temperature in Smart Smoker Fluctuating Badly
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2019, 05:21:43 pm »
I'm having fluctuations 30 degrees below the set temperature.  It rises to the set temperature, then drops approximately 30 degrees.  In other words, it's not holding the heat at all.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Temperature in Smart Smoker Fluctuating Badly
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2019, 01:35:45 am »
Does this happen at any set temperature, or when you set the oven to maximum or near maximum temperatuer?

Now that you are describing what the fluctuation is, it may be a bad sensor - either your temperature sensor or your high temperature sensor; if the smart smoker does have a high temperature sensor. If it does, the way your smoker is responding, it seems like a bad high temperature sensor. This type of sensor is designed to shutoff the smoker when it reaches a certain temperature to prevent fires. Depending on the sensor, this can occur anywhere from 280°F - 320°F. After shutting off, it will automatically reset when the cabinet cools down to a certain temperature. If that is the problem contact Bradley.

Even if that resolves the problem, you will see temperature swings as I describe in my first post.


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Offline abngourmet

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Re: Temperature in Smart Smoker Fluctuating Badly
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2019, 09:48:44 am »
I had it set at both 225 degrees, and then 250.  It still fluctuated badly.

Offline dubob

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Re: Temperature in Smart Smoker Fluctuating Badly
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2019, 09:57:57 am »
I had the same exact thing in my Bradley Digital until I bought and installed an Auber PID Controller.  The temps are now managed to less than +/- 2*F.  It very strange, based on the proven success of PID temperature control, that Bradley doesn't build that function into all their smoker products.  Several of the pellet grill makers include it with their products.  Why doesn't Bradley?
Bob Hicks, from Utah
I’m 77 years young and going as hard as I can for as long as I can.
“Free men don't ask permission to bear arms.” ― Glen Aldrich
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” ― Dr. Seuss

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Temperature in Smart Smoker Fluctuating Badly
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2019, 01:27:59 pm »
I had it set at both 225 degrees, and then 250.  It still fluctuated badly.

If you are not setting the temperature at 280°F or higher, I'm speculating the caused can be a bad high temperature sensor. Instead of shutting off the smoker at 280°F or higher, it's shutting it off at a much lower temperature. The fluctuation you are describing is not normal. Usual operation the cabinet will over shoot the set temperature by about 10 - 15°, then drop below the set temperature by around 10° - 15°.

Bradley has great customer service. You should give them a call and explain your situation.


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Offline TedEbear

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Re: Temperature in Smart Smoker Fluctuating Badly
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2019, 05:10:01 pm »
I had the same exact thing in my Bradley Digital until I bought and installed an Auber PID Controller.  The temps are now managed to less than +/- 2*F.  It very strange, based on the proven success of PID temperature control, that Bradley doesn't build that function into all their smoker products.  Several of the pellet grill makers include it with their products.  Why doesn't Bradley?

They just did:  Bradley BS1019 Professional Grade Smoker


Offline dubob

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Re: Temperature in Smart Smoker Fluctuating Badly
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2019, 07:52:34 am »
I had the same exact thing in my Bradley Digital until I bought and installed an Auber PID Controller.  The temps are now managed to less than +/- 2*F.  It very strange, based on the proven success of PID temperature control, that Bradley doesn't build that function into all their smoker products.  Several of the pellet grill makers include it with their products.  Why doesn't Bradley?

They just did:  Bradley BS1019 Professional Grade Smoker
Thanks for the link.  I'll be watching this very closely for a possible replacement in a year or two.  Never like to be a guinea pig for brand new designs.   ;)
Bob Hicks, from Utah
I’m 77 years young and going as hard as I can for as long as I can.
“Free men don't ask permission to bear arms.” ― Glen Aldrich
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” ― Dr. Seuss

Offline abngourmet

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Re: Temperature in Smart Smoker Fluctuating Badly
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2019, 12:09:04 pm »
This thing is a POS.  I cannot maintain an 180 degree F temp no matter what I do.  It's 80 degrees F outside now, so ambient temperature is not an issue. I give up, and I'm going with another brand.

Offline abngourmet

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Re: Temperature in Smart Smoker Fluctuating Badly
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2019, 12:27:14 pm »
I have it set at 180 degrees F.  It is reading 170 degrees F. 

Again, this thing is a POS.

Offline abngourmet

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Re: Temperature in Smart Smoker Fluctuating Badly
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2019, 12:56:15 pm »
Set at 180.  Reading 161.  POS.