If you’re going to freeze your butt off smoking in the middle of winter you might was well have company while you’re out there. [Zach’s] company wanted to crunch some data about smoking breaks and worker productivity. Instead of just meeting the bland data collection needs he decided to add functionality.
He took time to explain the different parts of the system. Above you can see the web interface that lets you know which of your coworkers are smoking right now. It also lets you click to check in and out from your breaks. After this was up and running he found that often the smokers forgot to ‘clock out’ before a break. As a backup system he build a physical interface on the way out of the office. Each smoker has their own button with a corresponding LED. If the light’s on you’re having a break and when it’s off you’re working. This controller is Arduino based and uses a Perl script to monitor the input and sync both that physical display and the web interface. [Zach] posted a few pictures if you want to take a look at the rest of the system.
Bradley smokers are coveted for their ease of use, as they require very little interaction from the user once the hopper is loaded with wood pucks and the machine is powered on. The more robust models are quite pricey, so [Maukka] decided to build his own version of a Bradley smoker as an add on to his existing unit. He fabricated a smoke generator out of aluminum, including all of the components you would normally find in an automated smoker. Once the hopper is loaded with wood pucks, the smoker runs autonomously, shuffling new pucks onto the heating element, presumably at timed intervals. The main barrel of the smoker has a separate PIC-controlled heating element installed, and is connected to the smoke generator by an aluminum duct. This configuration allows [Maukka] to cold smoke items such as fish, nuts, and cheeses using the smoke generator by itself, while also permitting the smoking of meats at far higher temperatures when the main heating element is used. This is truly a fantastic build, and the cold smoker component is something I would love to have as an addition to my Weber bullet.
Be sure to explore his blog a bit to catch all of the build details, as they are separated into various posts.
[Thanks Hali Batsuiba]
[dafonso] purchased a nice 1500W smoker but was somewhat dismayed that it only had one cooking temperature. To compensate he designed his own PID control system which allows him to set the cooking temperature digitally. At the heart of the system is a PICAXE 18 micro which switches the smoker on and off using a solid state relay. Rather than testing the 110V system on the smoker itself (which would have been a pain indoors) he used a lamp instead. To see if he was getting the correct temperature he taped his thermocouple to the light bulb and let the PID switch the lamp on and off. Also be sure to checkout his video which does a good job of explaining how he was able to solder the surface mount components required for the control board.
[Peter Rauch] has built this meat smoker that has a touch screen control interface. His system is capable of controlling the cooking by monitoring the internal temperature of the smoker as well as the temperature of the meat itself. His touch screen interface allows him to enter his desired parameters and it basically just takes over from that point and texts him when it is done. You’ll have to download the pdf to get to the juicy details of his build, but it is an interesting read.
It looks like he’s using a 4-loop Gefran GFX4 temp controller in conjunction with a Modbus remote terminul interface and a TS8010 HMI touchscreen for the bulk of the electronics. It even has protection limits he can set to keep his family from bumping it up to 1200 degrees.