thermostat tolerance

Started by wendler.s52, February 12, 2008, 04:01:31 PM

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My original bradley smoker died and I just replaced it with a digital 4 rack.
with the smoke burner off, when I set the temp to 170 the actual temp varies from 155 to 185 (mostly closer to 155).
Is this acceptable tolerance for this thermostat?
It makes it very difficult to finish off summer sausage.
appreciate any info,


Pretty much the nature of the beast, wendler, and the reason for many posts on this forum. The thermometer is very inaccurate. If you don't already have one, I would suggest a Maverick ET-73 or similar dual probe thermometer. Many users have gone to high tech PIDs, which I'm ready to do, to regulate and measure very accurate temperatures. There are many threads in the forum regarding this issue, so take some time to read through them. And, welcome to the forum!

Mr Walleye

Hi Sheldon and welcome to the forum.

Obviously you have some experience with the Bradley, just not the DBS. The DBS is not as accurate as I thought it should be when I bought it. Although, depending on what your smoking, the temp swings may not have any effect on the finished product. As you indicated, maintaining exact temps for finishing things like sausage it would certainly be nicer if the temp control was a little tighter.

When I first got my DBS I did some temp swing tests. With a small load and a setting of 200 degrees I would see the temps swing from 187 to 205. I could hear the unit cut out at the set temp of 200 was hit and unit would climb to 205 before starting to drop. Once the temp was falling you could hear it cut in at 189 but the unit would continue to drop until 187.

I have since added a PID controller to mine, along with a circulation fan. I can now control my temps +/- 1 or 2 degrees.


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I'm not sure how to send a thanks on forums, but I appreciate the responses to my question.
I guess I won't bother calling Bradley customer service.
Before that sausage was done, I had the thermostat set to 190, the thermometer read 195 and a 3rd party thermometer in the box read 160.

thanks again,

Curtis Jackson

While I, too, am very dissatisfied with the thermometer on the digital Bradley, I also agree that I don't think it makes that much difference. Smoking is a different state of mind, and a more forgiving art form, than is regular cooking. The tolerances are much wider.

Keep in mind, for example, that especially in the 6-rack smoker the temperature difference between the bottom rack and the top rack can be HUGE. And yet we still turn out excellent finished product by just rotating the racks once during a long smoke.

Now, if you want to get upset about the fact that the oven temp can't be set lower than 120F, or that there is no input or display for an optional meat thermometer on the digital unit, I'll lead the griping.    :)


The box will heat with just the puck burner to over 100 degrees without the oven part turned on. 
I have measured over 40 degrees difference from the bottom rack to near the top rack in a fully loaded 6 shelf bradley with 12 racks of jerky in it.  That is why the rotate racks is important during long smokes with multi rack loads going.  It is also why I finish in a dehydrator after the smoke has been applied as it is more convenient to rotate the dehydrator racks than the smoker racks plus the dehydrator fan provide a better drying process than heat (IMHO).

I would like to dispell one repeated message here on the board on the built in digital temperature read out.  From the little experimentation that I have done, the built in temperature sensor is as accurate and any other general use temperature probe sensor.  The reason so many state the sensor is inaccurate (including myself) is not because of the accuracy of the probe but becasue of where the probe is located in the box, the relation to the heating element, the amount of heat being let through the V-tray, the distance from the meat and the physical positioning of the meat on multiple racks.  With the larger heating area in the 6 rack, there will be more of a variation from top to bottom.  There is also variation from front to back.  The probe is on the back wall above the 2nd rack from the bottom, so in general, it is in the best position possible for a probe that is fixed mounted and only in one location.   Moral of the story, multiple box temp probes are the best bet to ensure your product is receiving the proper temperature.
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