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Feature Suggestions & Hardware Ideas....anything goes!
#1
Feel free to give me any ideas/suggestions moving forward....

as far as new/different hardware ideas.....keep the idea CHEAP...er...I mean VALUE driven Wink

I'll try and keep the top post updated with a Work in Progress(WIP) list....

Here's my quick list I'm hoping for:

Simple Profile Switching for Settings:
  • things like fan speed (min/max/preheat)
  • probes attached
  • network connection settings for when you move your controller around

Cooking Stuffs
  • General stuffs you see in other products, they all have different names and such.  But to be able to easily setup:  "pre-heat to 220f,  cook at 240f for 3 hrs, cook at 340f for 1 hr, and once meet is at 190f cool-down to 190"....and get update alerts during the 'stages'...

Hardware
  • Auto-Lid Open Detect....I've already got a $0.20 piece that can detect when the lid is open/tilt.....it's a small bearing that I guess I can put on the hinge to see exactly when to shut-fan down if lid is open (no more blowing ash!)..who knows?
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#2
Profile switching sounds like a great idea to help make the project more flexible.

Would it be possible to make a separate profile depending on what you want to control? For instance, an "Output Type" profile. I think adding a profile for controlling an electric element via SSR will help make this project very tempting to electric smoker users.

The electric smoker I have is VERY popular and is made by MasterBuilt. I follow the "My Masterbuilt Electric Smoker" group on FB that has 19k members. The biggest problem with their smokers is that they are notorious for having large temperature swings and probes that sometimes read up to +/-30F off.

Most users seem to use the Maverick brand remote temp sensors and use them to monitor cooker temps just because we all know that the display on the smoker is probably nowhere close to accurate and cannot be trusted. I see a lot of people on there also use what used to be the iGrill thermometers. Apparently, the iGrill was recently bought out by Weber and now the app seems to be complete garbage from what i have been reading. I own a Maverick and iGrill thermometer and hate them both. The Maverick seems accurate, has great range due to it being RF, and is a solid device but setting temps and navigating through the setup is a PITA. The iGrill seemed like a great device until I actually bought one and realized how awful the bluetooth range was.

Another issue the smoker I have is the wiring. Masterbuilt uses very thin light gauge wiring to provide power to the element. There are tons of people having issues with the connectors burning off. Myself included. I think between the high temps, high current, and the fact that the connection contains dissimilar metals it is a major point of resistance and will just continue to burn off unless the issue is addressed.

It is for these reasons I have started looking for alternative methods for not only controlling the temps of the cooker but also to monitor and be able to set alarms all with a simple device connected to my homes intranet. Your project along with the Pitdroid app seems like the perfect cost effective solution to all of these issues.
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#3
sounds good, the good news is that I don't think we'll need anything special like a 'output type' ssr. Using the fan output pin with pulse mode(which it has already) seems like the only thing needed to work with via SSR. Fan settings will be part of the 'profiles' so we should be good to go....

But I'm all for 'custom' profiles specific for electric smokers.... I'm sure we can think of other things specific to electric smokers to make it easier to setup!
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#4
(03-23-2017, 06:45 PM)NailBuster Wrote: I'm hoping that damper(servo) only will be enough for my setup so that battery operation would last a lot longer....  I don't like having to power-plug my controllers in.....

YES, it would be nice to have a controller/damper/fan setup that could run on battery with maybe a solar panel for charging.  I have seen at the parts sites LiPo listed, but not sure they could last for a whole 16-18 cook while driving a servo & fan.  Of course this is an integrated solution, all in one design.

But one could always just rig up their own external battery to supply power, using for instance a sealed AGM type battery. What volts/AmpHour would be needed?

+1 for 'Profiles'

+1 for Preheat Mode. have it so the controller does a very slow temperature ramp up so as to avoid initial overshooting.

I'd like to see a manual 'shutdown' mode button (or something). So when I deem the cook to be over I can tell the controller to stop the fan and fully close the damper.

what about ability to control a second servo, say one that is attached to the exhaust vent so when shutdown mode is set, it'll close the exhaust vent as well so the charcoals will extinguish.

+1 for cook till meat reaches set temp, then maintain a lower temp.

+1 for 'lid open' detect

what about ability to text message alerts? Not sure if that was already stated so just mentioning it here.
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#5
Basket Shaker ™ ... LOL
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