Author Topic: New DigiQ II, Digital Competitor by BBQ Guru  (Read 29036 times)

Offline Mr Walleye

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Re: New DigiQ II, Digital Competitor by BBQ Guru
« Reply #30 on: September 13, 2007, 02:34:20 pm »
Oh well... There's always a learning curve to everything!  :D

At least it was just a setup issue. I will look forward to your next report.

I don't know if you have been following the forum but they are talking about a number of big changes for 2008. One of which may be the ability to have multiple meat temp probes at the same time. Wow... it just keeps gettin' better! Here is the link to this.

http://www.thebbqguruforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=363&start=15

Oh ya... How did the Pastrami turn out? I probably didn't need to ask that but my mouth is watering!  :P

Mike

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Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: New DigiQ II, Digital Competitor by BBQ Guru
« Reply #31 on: September 14, 2007, 02:12:54 am »
One good thing about my error is that I got to talk to Fred. He is quite a person to talk with. Barbecuing is his hobby, his specialty/passion is making temperature controls for all sorts of products. I glad he combined his two passions. He was telling me that he had been using the DigiQ in the field for several years before he felt it was good enough to market. In that time there has been seven firmware updates. He doesn't expect any further updates in firmware, but if there are I'll have the ability to get the one I have updated.

I haven't been on the forum lately, thanks for the link. I will check it out. One thing I meant to ask him but forgot, was I wanted to know if it was possible to develop a splitter device so the Raptor could control two  different temperature controls. Most electric smokers are 500 watts or less, and the Raptor can control a device up to 1800 watts.

The first stage of the pastrami came out good. I'm experimenting seeing if I can make the meat more moist; I brine cure one, and dry cured the other. I have to let it refrigerate at least one day, then finish it off by steaming them. I'm hoping the dry cured one comes out moist, because I feel dry curing produces the best pastrami. I'll be posting my results, good or bad, so far it's a pretty lengthy write up, because of the two different curing methods.


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NePaSmoKer

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Re: New DigiQ II, Digital Competitor by BBQ Guru
« Reply #32 on: September 14, 2007, 04:45:31 pm »
Habs

Please let me know about a splitter, I am interested in one also.

nepas

Offline Arcs_n_Sparks

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Re: New DigiQ II, Digital Competitor by BBQ Guru
« Reply #33 on: September 14, 2007, 09:56:51 pm »
One thing I meant to ask him but forgot, was I wanted to know if it was possible to develop a splitter device so the Raptor could control two  different temperature controls.

Habanero,

What do you mean by this?

Arcs_n_Sparks

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: New DigiQ II, Digital Competitor by BBQ Guru
« Reply #34 on: September 15, 2007, 03:45:34 am »
Arcs;
It's early in the morning so I'll attempt to explain. If I'm unclear on anything let me know.

A wire connects from the temperature control device (controller) and plugs into the Raptor. I'm not sure what is the proper name for the plugs that fit into the connector and Raptor, but they are similar to the type of plugs that are used to connect a device to it's AC/DC adapter. This wire send and receives information to and from the Raptor and the controller to manage the heat in the cabinet.

There is only one connection on the Raptor, so you can only run one controller. There are adaptors on the market that will allow you to plug two devices into one unit, I believe they are called "Y" connectors. If you use a regular "Y" adaptor that will allow you to plug two devices into the Raptor, I don't believe the Raptor could distinguish what device is sending the signal, so it would send the same information to both. Such as responding to both signals by, turning on the power to both when it receive a signal from one, then immediately turning off the power when it receives a different signal for the other. So I believe you would need a splitter ("Y" connector), that could be able to distinguish what unit sent the signal, keep those signals separate, and send back a signal to the correct unit.


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NePaSmoKer

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Re: New DigiQ II, Digital Competitor by BBQ Guru
« Reply #35 on: September 16, 2007, 05:31:16 pm »
Habs

Does the DigiQ hook to the raptor with the same connector as the competitor.

nepas

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: New DigiQ II, Digital Competitor by BBQ Guru
« Reply #36 on: September 17, 2007, 02:20:58 am »
Yes. It hooks up exactly the same way, the cord from the raptor connects to the Fan connector on the DigiQ II.

I haven't been able to fully test mine, but I can say this. The display is bright and can be seen with ease in bright sunlight from at least 8 feet, either straight on or at about a 20° angle on either side, and up to about 12' straight on. One problem with seeing the display at a distance is the color of the DigiQ II. I have the bright gold, which I would not change if I had the chance, but the glare for the box made it more difficult to read the display. If seeing the display from a greater distance important then a darker color such as blue or black would be better. On overcast days, or evening and/or dawn hours the distance of view is much greater as is the angle of view.


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NePaSmoKer

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Re: New DigiQ II, Digital Competitor by BBQ Guru
« Reply #37 on: September 17, 2007, 05:14:14 am »
Thanks Habs

I was thinking on the gold as my 1st color choice and the blue as my 2nd. Guess its blue for me.

nepas

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: New DigiQ II, Digital Competitor by BBQ Guru
« Reply #38 on: September 24, 2007, 02:05:26 pm »
DigiQ II Review (click on pictures to enlarge)

Wow! It’s hard to believe that this October I would have had the Raptor/Guru (with the Competitor) for three years. While I’m thinking of it, one feature I love that my competitor doesn’t have, is stored memory. The setting you input are saved including the pit and meat temperatures and it does not revert back to factory defaults after the power is turned off. I couldn't cover everything in this write up. If any one has a question just post it or pm me and I'll do my best to answer.

Size comparison

I had hoped to have had this review done last week, but my first DigiQ II was malfunctioning. At this time, it is unknown what was causing the malfunction. This is the first problem of its kind, and they are going to thoroughly check out the unit to find out what is causing the malfunction. I believe it’s a bad chip or maybe a power interruption when they were installing the firmware. The new unit is working great. I only had one problem with the Competitor, and that was when I pulled the wire out of one of the thermocouples. That was completely my fault, but this will be harder to do, because the wiring for the thermocouples of the DigiQ II are steel armored. I won’t go over the specs that can be obtained from the online manual. What I want to review is the operation of the device. Overall I am very pleased that I purchased this.

If you already have the Raptor/Guru setup you will only need the basic DigiQ II package, which goes for $159.00 + s/h. The hook up is the same as the Competitor, and may be easier, since the pit and meat thermocouples have separate connectors, they are less likely to get tangled up, and you don’t have to use both thermocouples. So if you just need to monitor the pit (cabinet) or just the meat, you only need to plug in that thermocouple.

First and foremost, make sure that all connections are tight. The thermocouples have a snug fit, and even if you feel it click in, keep pushing to ensure that it is fully connected. As an added precaution, twist and push at the same time. If the thermocouples are not completely inserted the display will show three dashes “- - -“, that’s an indication that the temperature is out of range, or you have a faulty thermocouple, or the most likely cause, the connection is not complete.

Some features are great for charcoal smokers, but need a slight adjustment for electrical smokers. One is the “Open Lid Detector”. This feature senses when the lid (door) is opened (by the sudden drop in temperature), and it will shut down power. Then when the lid is closed, it slowly brings the temperature up to prevent the temperature from over shooting the set temperature. This is an excellent feature when you have a very hot source of fuel; like charcoal/wood that can bring the pit temperature up fast, but not ideal for  a 500 watt electric smoker. So I disabled that feature.

Even with the “Open Lid Detector” disabled, when the DigiQ II is heating the cabinet up during the preheating period, once it gets within 20°F below the set temperature, it will begin to start regulating the heat more slowly, almost to the point it can stall at a certain temperature. After awhile it seems to sense that it needs more fuel and will again bring the heat up faster. In my test trial, it took approximately 45 minutes for the cabinet to climb the last 20°.

Fred gave a couple of good work arounds on this. He suggested not putting the pit thermocouple in the cabinet and waiting until the cabinet reaches the desired point then place it in. Or set the temperature 20 – 30 degrees higher than desired, or even set it a 300°F, and when the cabinet gets up to the correct temperature the turn down the pit temperature to the temperature you want to smoke at. The latter is the best solution.

Once you lower the set temperature in the unit, it doesn’t completely shut the power off. It will slowly lower the temperature, until it gets about 3°F below the set temperature, Then it will auto tune for about 5-8 minutes until your set temperature is reached. Once it tunes into your set temperature, it stays on it with maybe a + 1 variance, without a problem.

The only sudden change I had during operation was when the sun was no longer shining on the cabinet. The cabinet temperature will drop 3 – 4 degrees, then it appears to be auto tuning again, and it will lock on to your set temperature in 5 – 10 minutes. When the smoker goes from shade into full sun light, the DigiQ II maintained the correct temperature at all times.

DigiQ II on universal mount. The reason there is only one digit displayed is because it was in menu mode.

Hot Smoke Test: Sunday, 9/23
I didn’t have any food to smoke, so I used a disposable aluminum pan, with 5 pounds of sand and 2 pounds of water to simulate a light load.

11:40 AM
Disabled the “Open Lid” feature, and made sure the “Ramp Mode” was off. Set the pit temperature at 260°F, and the meat temperature at 186°F. The ambient temperature was 76°F, and the sand water mixture (“food”) was 71°F. Open vent to 1/4. Smoke was in full sun.

12:24 PM
Temperature was climbing steady, until the cabinet temperature reached 241°F. At that point the DigiQ started to slow down the rate of heat. As I stated earlier, if this is the temperature I wanted to smoke at, then I would set the DigiQ to 260°F or higher during preheating. But for this trial I wanted to see how long it would take the DigiQ to reach the last 20 degrees.

12:28 PM – 1:10 PM
Temperature stalled between 246°F-249°F.

1:10 PM – 1:31 PM
Some point in time the temperature rose to 260°F. The DigiQ learned that more heat was needed and applied more power to bring the temperature up to 260°F.

1:45 PM
The temperature was holding at 260°F. I opened the door to allow the heat to drop, as would happen when loading food. When heat display registered 235°F, I closed the door, and the temperature continued to fall until it reached a low of 224°F.

1:55 PM
Temperature quickly recovered to 255°F, and then slowly brought the temperature up to 260°F. The “food” temperature was now 167°F.

1:57 PM
The cabinet temperature reached 260°F.

2:30 PM
I checked the temperature, and it was holding at 260°F. I turned off the generator and open the vent 1/2 open.

3:00 PM
The temperature was holding at 250°F, and the Raptor/DigiQ was applying full power. The heating element alone would not heat the cabinet higher. I lowered the set pit temperature to 240°F. Again the DigiQ slowly lowered the cabinet temperature. Smoker now in full shade.

3:05 PM – 3:15 PM
The cabinet fluctuated between 237°F - 240°F, during auto tuning. At 3:15 PM it stabilized at 240°F.

4:00 PM
The cabinet temperature continued to hold at 240°F.

5:00 PM
The cabinet temperature continued to hold at 240°F.

6:00 PM
The cabinet temperature continued to hold at 240°F; and the “food” temperature was 182°F. I ended the trial.

This morning I did a trial at a lower temperature. First I tested to see if the DigiQ II could hold the cabinet at 70°F. Normally I won’t have the heater element on, but I want to see if the DigiQ II could regulate lower heats. For some reason, in this trial the DigiQ II held at 76°F. Ambient temperature was 50°F, and I had detached the generator and was using the cold smoking setup. I had 4 pounds of cheese and a dozen plum tomatoes in the smoker, so I didn’t want to experiment too much. After 4 hours of smoke, I took the cheese out, left the tomatoes in, turned on the DigiQ II on and set the pit temperature to 140°. It performed as well as it did for the higher temperatures; so to keep this post as short as possible I won’t post the data. The tomatoes are still in the smoker, and again the shade affected the temperature temporarily, but it recovered quickly and is holding steady at 140°F.
Other considerations; the LED display is bright and you can see it from at least 12’ straight on, and 10’ at about 20° angles, in full sunlight. The bright color of the gold, made it more difficult to read the display in full sunlight. The universal display is nice, but for the Bradley the optional magnetic mount would be much better. Again I have to say that I am very pleased with how the DigiQ II performed.

Also, Fred pointed out the DigiQ II is not just limited to BBQ. He has been using it for other thing. The best example is that they hooked it up to a slow cooker, and were able to make their own yogurt, and he gave me a few more examples of connecting it to other kitchen appliances such as an electric grill, that are too lengthy to go into, but hopefully he will be posting that on his website in the future.



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Offline Mr Walleye

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Re: New DigiQ II, Digital Competitor by BBQ Guru
« Reply #39 on: September 24, 2007, 05:56:30 pm »
Outstanding job on the review Habs!

I know I'm not just speaking for myself when saying this, I/We really appreciate your detailed and informative posts.

Only problem..... Now I want one more!  ::)

Thanks again

Mike

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NePaSmoKer

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Re: New DigiQ II, Digital Competitor by BBQ Guru
« Reply #40 on: September 24, 2007, 06:22:51 pm »
Habs

That review is very informative. TYVM

I live 1.5 hrs from Fred and the BBQ GURU team. Going to place my order for a blue DigiQ II in the morning.

Thanks Again

nepas

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: New DigiQ II, Digital Competitor by BBQ Guru
« Reply #41 on: September 25, 2007, 02:25:07 am »
Thanks.

I am drying some plum tomatoes, and left them in the smoker all night. The DigiQ II had been set for 140°F, at 11:00 PM I lowered the set point to 90°F and waited for the temperature to stabilize before going to bed. I got up this morning and checked the DigiQ II and tomatoes. The DigiQ II was holding steady at 90°F. The tomatoes were dying evenly; even the ones by the back wall. So it will hold low temperatures, I may have not given the DigiQ II enough time to auto tune during my first trial at low temperatures.

I forgot to say, the display updates every 3 seconds, so the thermocouples are of very high quality. One thing I wish were different about the DigiQ II, is the temperature alarm setting. The variance for the range in the alarm is 20°F - 125°F. This means the lowest setting for the alarm warning to go off is if the pit goes + 20°F of the set temperature. This has nothing to do with the unit controlling the temperature of the cabinet, but it would make me feel better if you could set the value to at least 5°F.


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Offline Consiglieri

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Re: New DigiQ II, Digital Competitor by BBQ Guru
« Reply #42 on: September 28, 2007, 12:43:49 am »
Habs: Can you help me understand the alarm setting?  Will it only tone if actual T gets plus or minus 20 degrees of the target temp? Or do you have the ability to set high and low alarm parameters? for instance, sound off if you hit temp of x degrees or lower (or if you hit y degrees or higher)?  How tight can you configure the alarm around your target temp?

My thick head is having difficulty understanding the 20 to 125F alarm range you describe. 
Consiglieri

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: New DigiQ II, Digital Competitor by BBQ Guru
« Reply #43 on: September 28, 2007, 02:11:24 am »
You only have the ability to select one temperature, and that temperature is for both the under and over temperatures values.

Example; If you leave it at the factory default which is 50°F, and set a pit temperature of 200°F; the alarm will only sound if the temperature falls to 150°F and below, or 250°F and above. This temperature variance is only for the pit. I've notice that when the meat temperature comes up to it's set value, the alarm will sound as soon as it goes one degree above the set meat temperature. For an electric smoker this is not a problem, because it regulates the heat so well. Once the DigiQ II gets to the set pit temperature it stays there. If there is a significant drop in temperature then you have a major failure in the smoker, or a power outage. If the temperature goes significantly above, then there is a source of heat that is not being controlled by the DigiQ II, such as the generator, or direct sunlight.

Also with the Competitor, I would disable the alarms anyway. You can also disable the alarm in the DigiQ II, by setting the alarm value to 0.


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Offline hillbillysmoker

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Re: New DigiQ II, Digital Competitor by BBQ Guru
« Reply #44 on: September 30, 2007, 05:21:13 am »
Very informative Habs. Thanks for sharing. I still haven't decided on the upgrade for mine.
May the fragrance of thin blue smoke always grace your backyard.


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