Smoking Meat With A Commodore 64

When [Deadline] couldn’t find a replacement control module for his Masterbuilt electric smoker, he could have just tossed the thing in the trash. Instead, he decided to come up with his own system to take over for the smoker’s original brain. Basing it around the nearly 40 year old Commodore 64 probably wouldn’t have been our first choice, but it’s hard to argue with the end result.

Connectors to control the smoker’s hardware.

At the most basic level, controlling an electric smoker like this only requires a temperature sensor, a relay to control the heating element, and something to get those two devices talking to each other. But for the best results you’ll also want some kind of a timer, and an easy way to change the target temperature on the fly. Connecting the relay and temperature sensor up to the back of the C64 was easy enough, all he had to do was write the BASIC code to glue it all together.

This hack was made considerably easier thanks to the fact that the Masterbuilt’s original controller interfaced with the smoker by way of a couple relatively well documented connectors. So instead of having to mess with any of the mains voltage electronics, he simply had to bring a wire in the connector high to fire up the smoker’s heating element. This bodes well for anyone looking to replace the controller in a similar smoker, with a C64 or otherwise.

In the past we’ve seen some very impressive custom smoker controllers that look as though they could easily be adapted for use with these commercial units. Though the true smoke aficionados might prefer building the entire thing to their exacting specifications.

27 thoughts on “Smoking Meat With A Commodore 64

          1. My parents live in a forest and have fought wood roaches for years. They won the fight when they got the top from an old John Wayne movie to get rid of roaches by “smoking them out”. They closed the damper on the fireplace for a bit and went outside. Roach free! No exterminator fee!

  1. “Connecting the relay and temperature sensor up to the back of the C64”

    The Github page seems to suggest that the temperature sensor at least is wired to the joystick port, presumably to the ADC in the SID, so technically at least part of it is in the *side* rather than the back.

  2. Was it just me or did anyone else think maybe the built-in temp sensor was likely off by 8x-10x (110.49, 88.39) and simply adjusting the resistor/program would have still got a close enough result.

    1. I was thinking the same, but I already had the same issue with a thermostat. voltage dividers are most accurate when both resistors have the same value so all he had to do was measure the resistance of the sensor and choose a matching resistor.

  3. A ZX80 would have been a better choice, for it overheats on its own and you don’t need the grill anymore :-D

    Seriously though, great and fun idea. I’d be tempted to add some sprites representing cooking food, and some SID-generated noises in that sense :-D

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