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Thermoworks Smoke dual probe troubles?

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  • KevinG
    Club Member
    • Oct 2016
    • 147
    • Hummelstown ,PA
    • Weber 26.5" kettle
      Weber 22" kettles (two, one at home and one at the hunting cabin)
      Kamado Joe Big Joe, with divide and conquer system (October 2016)
      Weber Smoky Joe portable kettle
      Napoleon 450 RBI gas grill ( currently "mothballed" in the basement)
      Thermapen Mk4 thermometer from ThermoWorks
      Smoke dual probe wireless thermometer by Thermoworks

    Thermoworks Smoke dual probe troubles?

    I had something strange happen while using my (recently purchased) Smoke dual probe during a recent "Fun" charity BBQ competition in my local area. I was using it on my Weber 26 with the meat probe in a nicely tied (per Meatheads technique) Prime Beef Sirloin roast, 4 lbs. The air temp probe was about 4 inches away. I had the kettle set at approx 250, holding pretty steady, in a two zone configuration (no slow n sear)...After about 2 hours or so, the meat probe was nearing 100. Then all hell broke loose...suddenly the alarm was going off saying the meat was now 140...a 40 degree jump in seconds. Obvious a malfunction. I removed the probe and set it off on the table. The readings were clearly inaccurate, as the airtemp was in the 30's but the probe was measuring approx 40 degrees warmer. All the connections were fine, and the grill probe was still normal (not obviously broken). I checked the meat with the Thermopen and it was indeed at 100 or so. I kept the roast on without the probe. I am certain that the probe did not slip out of the meat or change position at all. I am certain of this, as I did all the typical troubleshooting prior to removing the probe from the meat. My friend keeping me company during the competition that morning was also helping me trouble shoot the issue, and he is a Neurosurgeon, so I know I wasnt just being stupid. Ive since used it again, all seems fine with both probes. The unit seems fine as well. Any ideas? I haven't spoken to Thermoworks about the issue, since it seems to be working fine now. Im baffled, maybe just a gremlin? Or maybe I should purchase back up probes, or the upgraded probes? I do remember someone mentioning the connections in the reviews I read, something about better "couplers" would have been more ideal. Anyway, I still really like it. Just looking for some other thoughts on the matter. Thanks
  • TBoneJack
    Club Member
    • Aug 2016
    • 269
    • WSM, 18.5"
      Thermoworks ThermaQ
      Thermoworks Smoke
      Therma Pen MK4 - orange
      Easy Bake Oven
      Favorite beer: Coors
      Favorite wine/liquor: Gave both up last year
      Wish list: Kamado Joe, Myron Mixon MMS-36 water smoker

    #2
    KevinG , I received a new Smoke for Christmas, and I already had a ThermaQ. So I decided to test them together on a cook, and the Smoke consistently showed 5-10 degrees F above the ThermaQ, while the grate probes were sitting within an inch of one another. I was afraid of that when I ordered the Smoke. I knew I'd compare to the ThermaQ, and I was afraid they would show different readings.

    This was with grate probes. I do not use the meat probes since I use a manual Thermapen MK4.

    Comment

    • fuzzydaddy
      Charter Member
      • Nov 2014
      • 4970
      • Winchester TN
      • Hardware
        Blackstone 36” Griddle.
        Slow 'N Sear Deluxe Kamado & Kettle Grill.
        Slow 'N Sear (1.0, Deluxe, 2.0).
        DnG Pans/Racks, Easy Spin Grates, Elevated Cooking Grates.
        Weber Chimney Starters (regular and compact).
        Joule, Instant Accu Slim.
        GrillGrates.
        Maverick XR-50 [my favorite].
        ThermoWorks Smoke & Gateway, Thermapen, Thermapop, ChefAlarms, DOT, probes

        Consumables / Favorites
        KBB (short cooks), Weber (long cooks), B&B Hardwood Briquettes when I'm out of Weber.
        Ribs (beef & pork), Pork Butts, Chuck Roasts, Pork Tenderloins, Shrimp, Fajitas.
        SnS Grills salt free rubs: Not Just for Beef & Rocky’s Rub.
        MeatChurch Holy Cow. MMD, BBBR, S&G, Herbs de Provence, SPG.

      #3
      The Smoke probes are the same Pro-Series probes I've used for almost 3 years with my ChefAlarms and DOTs and have yet to have an issue, except when (1) I let one get over hot charcoal and literally fried it, and (2) I had a little moisture on the plug end which caused inaccurate readings until I got the moisture dried off.

      I don't know how accurate the meat probe would have been when measuring the air temp while on your table. I would go ahead and contact ThermoWorks and see what they have to say but you may have a faulty probe that will eventually act up again. I'm a big fan of having backups for if/when I have a failure or need to troubleshoot.

      Comment

      • customtrim
        Former Member
        • Dec 2016
        • 1119
        • stow ohio

        #4
        I had a problem with a new grate probe on the dot called them that evening and they shipped one the next day. Give them a call great customer service and support

        Comment

        • KevinG
          Club Member
          • Oct 2016
          • 147
          • Hummelstown ,PA
          • Weber 26.5" kettle
            Weber 22" kettles (two, one at home and one at the hunting cabin)
            Kamado Joe Big Joe, with divide and conquer system (October 2016)
            Weber Smoky Joe portable kettle
            Napoleon 450 RBI gas grill ( currently "mothballed" in the basement)
            Thermapen Mk4 thermometer from ThermoWorks
            Smoke dual probe wireless thermometer by Thermoworks

          #5
          Thanks guys! I was wondering about moisture...cuz it was working well the next time I used it. We did have snow flurries...could have been a rogue snowflake. Definitely, wasn't over the coals, I had the cable and meat on the cool side in a 2 zone set up. I'll contact Thermoworks, I'm not typically a complainer, so I wanted to give it a try before pestering Thermoworks. I love that Thermopen MK4, holy crap is that thing sweet. It's totally changed, and improved my grilling/smoking. How the hell did I survive, and why was I using the ridiculous 5 dollar piece of crap I had before. Hands down, the Thermopen was the best and most consequential advice I've taken away from AR so far. If you don't have a Thermopen , get one!

          Comment


          • customtrim
            customtrim commented
            Editing a comment
            KevinG best thing that happened to me was walki g out the door to check my temp with a cheap thermometer and the screen door caught in the jamb bending it. Immediate time for a upgrade to the mk4

          • KevinG
            KevinG commented
            Editing a comment
            It's fate I guess, which I would have had that kind of epiphany, but AR saved me from my heathen ways!

          • fuzzydaddy
            fuzzydaddy commented
            Editing a comment
            My over the coals probe is the only one of my mess ups I'll reveal at this time. Haha. I have the regular thermapen. Maybe I'll get the MK4 in 2017.
        • ecowper
          Founding Member
          • Jul 2014
          • 3565
          • Maple Valley, WA
          • Grill = Hasty-Bake Gourmet Dual Finish
            Smoke = Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5"

            Thermometer = FireBoard FBX11 with 2 ambient and 6 meat probes
            Thermometer = Maverick ET732
            Thermometer = ThermoWorks Chef Alarm
            Thermapen Mk IV = Light blue
            Thermapen Classic = Grey
            PID Controller = Fireboard Drive + Auber 20 CFM Fan

            Favorite cook = Tri-Tip for the grill, whole packer brisket for the smoker
            Favorite wine = a good Bordeaux with steak, a good Syrah with pork, or a nice bottle of Champagne or California sparkling wine
            Favorite beer = Sam Adams Boston Lager or Shiner Bock
            Favorite whisky = Lagavulin 16 year old single malt

            Best Cookbooks - Meathead's "The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", Chris Lilly's "Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book", Aaron Franklin's "Franklin BBQ"


            Eric Cowperthwaite aka ecowper

          #6
          KevinG I had a probe on my Maverick ET-732 behave similarly. I unplugged, removed from the meat, cleaned the thing from one end to the other. Then plugged back in and .... voila ..... it was working fine again, reading same temp as my Thermapen. I ordered new probes that day so that I would have extras. But my conclusion is that I had a little bit of moisture on the plug end of the probe. Have not yet had any of those kind of problems with my Fireboard, but I'm sure with the sort of use my BBQ tools get, I'll find the "issues".

          fuzzydaddy the Thermapen Mk IV is the best upgrade ever. I thought I was a bit silly for getting one when I already had the regular Thermapen. Heck no .... the backlighting and rotating display make it 100% better! Next time they put them on sale, get you one!

          Comment


          • fuzzydaddy
            fuzzydaddy commented
            Editing a comment
            Maybe the next sale they have I'll grab one. Thank you for your encouragement!
        • tbob4
          Charter Member
          • Nov 2014
          • 2511
          • Chico, CA
          • BBQ's
            _____________________
            California Custom Smokers Intensive Cooking Unit
            California Custom Smokers Meat Locker
            Santa Maria Grill
            Vision Grill

            Beer
            _______________________
            Sierra Nevada IPA

            Wood
            _______________________
            Almond
            Oak
            Madrone
            Cherry
            Peach
            Apple

          #7
          I have the Fireboard and something similar has happened twice with the grate probe. It shot way up on an instant. Unplugging it and plugging it back in solved the problem. I was going to call the company but I have used it a few times since and it hasn't replicated. Your gremlin description is likely right.

          Comment

          • ecowper
            Founding Member
            • Jul 2014
            • 3565
            • Maple Valley, WA
            • Grill = Hasty-Bake Gourmet Dual Finish
              Smoke = Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5"

              Thermometer = FireBoard FBX11 with 2 ambient and 6 meat probes
              Thermometer = Maverick ET732
              Thermometer = ThermoWorks Chef Alarm
              Thermapen Mk IV = Light blue
              Thermapen Classic = Grey
              PID Controller = Fireboard Drive + Auber 20 CFM Fan

              Favorite cook = Tri-Tip for the grill, whole packer brisket for the smoker
              Favorite wine = a good Bordeaux with steak, a good Syrah with pork, or a nice bottle of Champagne or California sparkling wine
              Favorite beer = Sam Adams Boston Lager or Shiner Bock
              Favorite whisky = Lagavulin 16 year old single malt

              Best Cookbooks - Meathead's "The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", Chris Lilly's "Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book", Aaron Franklin's "Franklin BBQ"


              Eric Cowperthwaite aka ecowper

            #8
            tbob4 I remember you talking about that last month. The more I think about it, the more it seems like the issue I had once with my Maverick a while ago. I think it's moisture at the plug end of the probe.

            Comment


            • tbob4
              tbob4 commented
              Editing a comment
              That could very well be right. Hey - if you find the SRF corned round up your way and decide to buy it I have some cooking advice learned yesterday by trial and error. I will post it a bit later.

            • ecowper
              ecowper commented
              Editing a comment
              tbob4 will be interested in what you learned, for sure. I am still going to make my corned beef from scratch with some Painted Hills beef, but I suspect what you learned will probably apply.

            • tbob4
              tbob4 commented
              Editing a comment
              ecowper - just posted it in show up what you are cooking, spring edition. Thanks a ton for the Fireboard suggestion. It was invaluable yesterday.
          • CaptainMike
            Club Member
            • Nov 2015
            • 2591
            • The Great State of Jefferson
            • Weber Summit Charcoal Grill w/SnS and DnG (Spartacus)
              Old school big'ol Traeger w/Pro controller (Big Tex)
              2 W22's w/SnS, DnG (1 black, 1 copper) (Minions 1 and 2)
              20+ y/o many times rebuilt Weber Genesis w/GrillGrates (Gas Passer)
              20 x 30 Santa Maria grill (Maria, duh)
              Bradley cabinet smoker (Pepper Gomez)
              36" Blackstone griddle (The Black Beauty)
              Fireboard
              Thermoworks Smoke and Thermapen.

            #9
            The receiver for my Smoke went on the fritz and Thermoworks replaced it immediately. Great customer service. I'd give them a call and explain what happened, just for peace of mind.

            Comment

            • Huskee
              Administrator
              • May 2014
              • 15419
              • central MI, USA
              • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

                Want a free bottle of whiskey? Check out my link to Flaviar.com, you join with it, we both get a $50 bottle free.

                Smokers / Grills
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                • Weber 22" Original Kettle Premium (copper)
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                • Brinkmann cabinet charcoal smoker (repurposed)

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                • ThermoWorks fridge & freezer therms as well

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                • Fav other beer: DAB, Sam Adams regular, Third Shift amber or Coors Batch 19, Stella Artois
                • Fav cheap beers: Pabst, High Life, Hamm's & Stroh's
                • Most favorite beer: The one in your fridge
                • Wine: Red- big, bold, tannic & peppery- Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauv, Sangiovese, Syrah, etc
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                About me
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              #10
              This is too weird. I just had to contact T-works myself a couple days ago because I had a meat probe reading 40 degrees high for no good reason. They promptly sent me a warranty replacement. In my house at 68-70 it's dead on, but in any type of hotter environment it will climb 40 degrees high. I thought my Maverick was reading low, turns out the Mav was right and the Smoke probe was off. Whoddathunkit.

              Comment

              • David Parrish
                Founding Member - Pit Boss Emeritus
                • May 2014
                • 5046
                • Charlotte, NC

                #11
                Originally posted by KevinG View Post
                ...After about 2 hours or so, the meat probe was nearing 100. Then all hell broke loose...suddenly the alarm was going off saying the meat was now 140...a 40 degree jump in seconds....
                That's happened to me before. I set the probe to the side and used a different probe for the rest of the cook. The next cook the problem probe worked just fine. Maybe it was water like the others mentioned? I dunno. The Smoke/ChefAlarm/DOT are still my fav thermometers when I'm not logging data. Fireboard is my fav for logging cooks.

                Comment


                • DWCowles
                  DWCowles commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I remember when Maverick was your favorite

                • David Parrish
                  David Parrish commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Not anymore
              • KevinG
                Club Member
                • Oct 2016
                • 147
                • Hummelstown ,PA
                • Weber 26.5" kettle
                  Weber 22" kettles (two, one at home and one at the hunting cabin)
                  Kamado Joe Big Joe, with divide and conquer system (October 2016)
                  Weber Smoky Joe portable kettle
                  Napoleon 450 RBI gas grill ( currently "mothballed" in the basement)
                  Thermapen Mk4 thermometer from ThermoWorks
                  Smoke dual probe wireless thermometer by Thermoworks

                #12
                Thanks guys, Ive not had further troubles with the Smoke, if I do I'll call them. I used the grate probe and the meat probe this past Saturday night doing a sirloin tip roast without issue, which was pretty awesome. Had some neighbors over then on Sunday, Mk4 thermopen was awesome. 8 adults, some wanted rare, others medium rare, and medium well. Would have been tricky if I didn't have the thermopen, I feel like I'm cheating when I use it! Everyone was pleased with the doneness.

                Comment


                • fuzzydaddy
                  fuzzydaddy commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That's great to hear!
              • ronminbc
                Club Member
                • Jan 2017
                • 8
                • Richmond BC

                #13
                The Smoke/Chef Alarm/DOT probes are thermistor based. The way they work is the tip contains a temperature sensitive resistor that has less resistance the hotter it gets. The casing plus an insulated wire inside the casing bring that out to the plug allowing the Smoke unit to measure the tip resistance and interpret that as a temperature reading. If any moisture gets into the circuit at the plug end or down inside the probe it can form a high resistance short. The Smoke unit will read both resistances in parallel which will be a lower resistance than the probe tip thermistor by itself resulting in a false high temperature reading.

                Comment


                • CaptainMike
                  CaptainMike commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yeah but....huh?

                • fzxdoc
                  fzxdoc commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Sounds as though that circumstance is something that the Thermoworks/Smoke folks need to address. Moisture and cooking outside go hand in hand. The probes need to be more robust, seems like. Having so many folks report the same problem makes me skittish about buying the Smoke.

                  I'm holding out for when the Thermoworks folks buy the Fireboard.

                  Kathryn
              • JPGators17
                Charter Member
                • Jan 2015
                • 449
                • Orlando, FL

                #14
                I haven't had that issue, but I did have the base and receiver freeze on me. I started getting suspicious when I didn't see even a tenth of a degree change for 30 mins or more. I restarted the units and it jumped up to the "real" temp. Other than having to re-sync the receiver more often than I'd like, that's the only issue i've had with it.

                Comment

                • ronminbc
                  Club Member
                  • Jan 2017
                  • 8
                  • Richmond BC

                  #15
                  I have the Smoke unit and have not had any trouble with it. In my comment above I was just mentioning what can happen if the internals of the probe or the plug end gets wet and how that can result in a false high temp reading. Smokers can be very moist places. The Thermoworks probes are considered commercial grade from what I have read so problems should not be frequent and their customer service is very good. I have also read that drying the bad probe out in a low temp oven can make the probe work properly again. Sorry about my explanation about how they work, being an electronics engineer for 40+ years and an electronics hobbyist 10 years before that I lose track of myself and out comes technobabble. I am now on the edge of retiring and enjoying this site a lot as a new hobby.

                  Comment


                  • fzxdoc
                    fzxdoc commented
                    Editing a comment
                    No need to apologize, ronminbc . I enjoyed reading your explanation of what was probably going on with the weird readings. Enjoy your retirement when it happens--more time to BBQ!

                    Kathryn

                  • Thunder77
                    Thunder77 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I liked the explanation, being an electronics technician myself.

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