Second Element, and PID

Started by Spunky756, May 09, 2018, 12:15:18 PM

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I have bought a digital 6 rack Bradley. Yes I am a female that has no idea what I am doing, but I am trying so any help would be handy. I would like to add a second heating element or just install an larger heating element. From what I can see the larger heating element would be easier or me to figure out I think, would this be correct? If so I have seen 900w and a 750w install what would be best? If i do this, is this where I need to buy a PID to help control the larger heating element. This is where I'm getting lost, and not sure what I need to be doing. So anyone that could help me out I would appreciate the help. 


Usually you need a PID if you are doing temp sensitive food like sausages. If you just plan on doing ribs,butts,chicken etc. you should be good with what you have. If you need or want to add an extra heating element you may need a PID?  Hopefully someone with more knowledge will be by and let us know. I added one because I make my own sausages.


Hi S756,

As Watchdog described you do not need a PID simply because you are adding a second element or replacing the original element with a larger one...500 watt converted to a 750 or 900 watt. As WD said, the PID is used to provide a finer control of temperature swings and to program temperature cycle times. This is useful for making sausage.

For all your basic smoking and cooking processes adding a second or a larger element will improve warm up times and shorten temp swings when you open the door for product rotation or basting or water bowl replacement.

Personally, I ordered another original element from Bradley ( good service ) and just wired it in parallel with the original giving me 1000 watts of heating (2 x 500). Here's a link to the thread I created detailing the installation. People have accomplished the same end result in different ways. Feel free to review and ask any question you have. If you give a rough idea of where you are you might find someone nearby would be willing to help you out.
It's going to take a lifetime to smoke all this.


Thank you all so much for the information. It was very helpful. Yes I'm mainly cooking chicken ribs and butts. But was looking for the quicker warm up where I spray liquids on them well mainly the butt during cooking. I really do appreciate all the help. As far as where I'm located I'm in South Central KY.


Do you really need a PID for the digital smoker? I would assume it will keep the temps +- 5 degrees.



I have the 900watt with a PID but I do sausages + - 1deg of temps control but I do ribs and chicken, bacon also, I also have the cold smoker for doing cheese and a curing cabinet. 
Bradley 4 rack Digital, 900 watt, Auber PID
Bradley cold smoke adapter
Char-Griller Smoking Pro BBQ Smoker with rotisserie
Brinkman Bullet Smoker
Weber 24"
Custom Hard Cure Cabinet for Salami
One Auber Master Temp monitor and two remotes with probes, up to ten remotes can be used.


Quote from: gorillamotors on June 13, 2018, 05:29:29 AM
Do you really need a PID for the digital smoker? I would assume it will keep the temps +- 5 degrees.


Jim, temp swings of +- 20 degrees are common with a Bradley when starting a smoke.  Temp swings tend to moderate as the meat temp increases.  For product such as sausage, where a 10 degree temp swing can cause the fat in the sausage to melt and result in dry, sandy sausage, a PID is a good investment.  My PID delivers +-2 degree temp control all during a smoke.


Hi all,
Just to be clear... Am I correct in understanding that the BDS controller and wiring will tolerate one of the heating element upgrades without using a PID?  I don't make sausages, etc, so don't need precise control, but do want faster heating and recovery cycles. 

Would love to avoid the $200+ expense!



One of the considerations is how you wire the second element. If you wire it directly to the plug like most of the directions show, you are bypassing the controller and therefore your 2nd element will bi on wide open. If you wire it with just a bridge wire from one elelment to the 2nd then your bradley controller will control it. Now can it handle it? Bradley will only say that it is rated for 500 watt as that is what they certify it to and must say for liability purposes. Can it withstand higher. Some have used it tht way with no issues bit it boils down to the level of risk youwant to assume. No one can give you a direct yes since it has not been tested in all circumstances.
"It ain't worth missing someone from your past- there is a reason they didn't make it to your future."

"Life is tough, it is even tougher when you are stupid"

Don't curse the storm, learn to dance in the rain.


I have installed the 900 with PID and have never looked back. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Me personally I would never just do the 900. If you going to modify it do it right and get the PID.

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Quote from: mpneumann on July 19, 2018, 11:16:52 AM
Would love to avoid the $200+ expense!


You don't have to spend that much on a PID.  If you buy an Auberins PID that installs in a project box you can put everything together for around $80, even cheaper if you install it in the smoke generator.  I have an original Bradley with a Auber PID mounted in the SG box.  The cost was around $70.