Digital vs. Original with PID

Started by bakerjm32, December 30, 2006, 01:00:26 PM

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I know a form of this question has been asked a million times on here, but I can't seem to find this answer. I am in the market for a BS and I want to know which one works the best? From what I have gathered the digital one has problems with constant temp control and can't be used for more than 9hrs. 40min. If I buy an Original and add the $100-$150 worth of PID equipment will it ABSOLUTELY solve the temp control problems. If it will why did the guys at Bradley not figure this out already. I mean you can buy an Original for $269.99 (Cabelas) and add $100-$150 (approx $400 total) and have a better product than the Digital ($450) for less money. So what do you think????



Wecome to the forum. You are asking the mystery digital BS question. Since I have the original with a home-grown PID controller, I cannot make a comparison to the DBS.

Many people here have used the Original BS without added accessories quite well, and developed the feel for adjusting the slider and getting the temperature they want. The after-market crowd piled on with PID controllers, remote therometers, and some added fans and extra heaters. Many thought the DBS would be the OBS with a tight PID controller, but that does not seem to be quite the case. On the other hand, many DBS owners are happy with the beast. Depends on whether you want to tinker or not..........


West Coast Kansan

From the DBS side, I echo A n S remarks - the mystery is real.  I cant help but think Bradley will at some point make a Digital - DBS with something beside the display. The only issue is the control scheme seems to have a very slow sample rate allowing for temp fluctions between ON and OFF. Over the period of a typical smoke they are meaningless (and argueably an advantage over tight temp control).

I will say the DBS is pretty straight forward and easy to use once you learn its personality. It is very consistent and repeatable time after time without worry about temp settings that may change with ambient or other variable. On the other hand the OBS has advantages in cold smoking where an extra cord is not required to seperate the generato from the tower.

What is really odd is the Rib out of my neighbors OBS and my DBS are the same ribs = excellent!!! Except I use Iceman's sauce now and it is much better than his ...  ;D ::)

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Mr Walleye

I agree with what's been said. It is a little disappointing that the DBS doesn't more accurately maintain temperature but I'm not sure if it really makes that much difference. The 9 hour 40 minute thing is not that big a deal either because you can reset it. The only thing I would add is the DBS also has the ability to control and shut down the smoke generator. I think I will try to built a PID strictly for the box heat element and see if I can get the best of both worlds, accurately maintain temperatures and eliminate the 9 hour and 40 minute issue. I have also added a fan on it.

Either way I don't think you will go wrong.


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Hi there, a few months ago i was in the same situation, although i would have had to wait another month for the DBS, as they were not released at that time in the U.K.

Anyway i got the OBS, and as far as i'm concerned it's already paid for itself, it has produced some really awesome food, and has been very easy to use.
I have been thinking about modding mine with a PID, just to make things even easier  ;)

I'm sure whatever you choose you'll be happy with, both versions produce great food, all said and done that's what it's all about  ;)
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I'll go out on a limb here and start a revolution.  Maybe Bradley will get the hint if people stop buying the digitals with the poor temperature control.  The Digital is not worth the extra money if you are buying it for regulated heat control.  Save your hard earned cash and purchase the original and build or buy a PID (temp control device).  It will serve you better and still be cheaper.  I would hope that Bradley would change out the temp control with a PID and also add a stir fan for more even temps throughout the box.  With two simple (and not very costly) changes, they could put themselves on a level none of the other smokers could even touch.  And if Bradley is listening, I would be happy to use my video and editing skills to produce a demo video for their website and sales.   
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West Coast Kansan

Well, I would join the revolution if i could tell a difference in the smoked outcomes. The precision seems to be as much a pursuit of the fun as it is an issue.  DBS gotta unit that is not providing commonly thought of Digital level of control but smokes pretty good food without tinkering.  OBS you tinker with it some and it smokes pretty good food. Spend some more money and time and you dont have to tinker and temps are more stable. Not worth the liberty or death signup for me.

I do agree the website is from the 80s and the Video certainly needs work.

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Welcome to the forum.  I had the same choice a few months back and went with the Stainless Steel version of the original.  I feel that I made the right choice.  I have been well pleased.  I may get one of the other members to help me out on a PID or something one day to make the temp swings less.  WCK is right on about Iceman's sauce.  It is absolutely perfect....
Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth.

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Here is my 2 cents worth.  If you are going to be smokin' butts, chickens, ribs and the like then the Digital will do just fine.

If you want to make sauage or smoke any item where a temp swing of more than a couple of degrees will hurt then you need to go with the original.

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Although I am no authority yet, I have used my DBS twice now and am well satisfied. I dont't like the large temp swings, but it dosn't seem to be a problem yet. If I knew what I do now, I may have bought the obs and added a PID.  I may build one anyway , just to have somthing to play with.

So there is my 2 cents worth for what ever its worth.

West Coast Kansan

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hi, i have the original smoker and am looking for a way to convert it to automatically maintain temps.  seems a PID can do this from reading this thread.  what the heck is a PID??? where do i buy one, or find instructions to build one.  any help on this would be great.  sorry for the little thread highjack :)



Here is step by step instructions, only thing I do different is go with a OMega TC as they are much better quality.

These threads should get you started and lots of experienced people her if you have questions while building it. It's not as intimidating as it sounds.

agent provocateur

if i had a pid
id pid in the morning
id pid in the evening
all over this land
id pid the porcine
id pid the bovine
id pid the cloven hooved beast of the pasture
all over this land

feed me jerky


The poet that didn't know it. 
Nice Agent.
You had me worried when I saw Porcine.
I was thinking you were going down the toilet (porceline).
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