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PBC + Fireboard V2 Drive + Pit Viper Fan

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    PBC + Fireboard V2 Drive + Pit Viper Fan

    I went ahead and added a pit viper fan to use with my new Fireboard V2 Drive on the PBC. Did a test run last Sunday.
    This thing is about to be renamed "Precision Barrel Cooker".

    First - You need the XL dome adapter. You have to bend the metal a little bit to fit the barrel shape. You have to decide where you want to drill holes. I used 6/32 machine screws to attach - one in each corner of the adapter plate. I ran a circle of RTV high temp sealant around the original hole cut in the barrel. This thing ain't leaking any air..... at least not from around the adapter.
    I had planned to mount from the inside of the barrel but had a hard time getting all the holes lined up. Even with what my mother affectionately calls "long ass monkey arms", it is a bit of a reach. So just mounted from the outside of the barrel.

    Click image for larger version

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    For the first run, I wanted to see if I could maintain a low temp, and then ramp up to 350.
    I ran with both rebars in the whole time.

    I lit the PBC with 50 briquettes KBB in the basket and 30 briquettes in the chimney.
    10 minutes of the chimney getting hot.
    10 minutes of the coals dumped with the lid off.
    The added the lid, plugged the fan in and started the program.

    Program was to start at 225, go to 240, 260, 280, 350, and then back down to 250, just to see how long I could keep a usable temp.

    Setting a program was super easy, through the app.
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    You can see the temp spike when I put the lid on, but quickly went to 250. I dialed the damped on the pit viper fan to 1/3 Open.
    It didn't need the fan to run. Cruised in the mid 230s for and then finally went down to 228. The spike in fan use is from me editing the program while this was going on -- user error.

    I don't particularly see the need to smoke at 225, but it can be done.

    Next I progressively ramped up the temps.

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    Fan kicked in and kept the temp right about 240, as programmed.
    To get ramp up to 260 the fan war running over 90%, so I opened the damper up to 2/3 open.
    Left the damper alone and the fan adjust temps to 260, and then 280 as programmed.
    With this amount of fuel, and the air restricted, it topped out about 320.
    I opened the damper to Full Open and opened my lid vent (a standard feature when you get the JPBC) to half and the fan maintained a 350 degree temp.

    I let it run at 350 for 1 1/2 hours to simulate cooking chicken halves after I would have smoked ribs.

    To bring the temps down, I brought the damper back to 1/3 and closed the lid vent.

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    I have the Lid Detect set to 3 minutes. That was plenty long for me to open the lid, add a mahi mahi filet and breakfast sausage on the grate, run the leads through the rebar, and get everything sealed back up.
    Charcoal was running low, but I let it chug. The fan couldn't quite get things back to 250 with the food on, but it ran a solid 225.
    When the fish hit 110 I took it off and seared it on the gasser and the PBC temp went up. I think either having the ambient probe surrounded by food on the grate gave an artificially low reading OR the fish blocked some of the air flow maybe. Either way, with just the sausage on it got back to 250.
    When temps started dropping again, I opened the damper to full. There was a long steady decline and I pulled the plug when it fell to 200 degrees. I got a little over 7 hrs out of the 80 briquettes I used.

    I consider this mostly a success.
    There were a couple fumbles with my using the interface, but they were easily corrected.
    It took a little while to get down to 225, but the fan did it's job, and kept temps where they were set.
    The fan made sure I could get to 350, after it had cooked low for 2 1/2 hrs.
    I can't imagine really needing to cook low AFTER cooking hot, but the fan made sure I could use the charcoal til it gave out.

    Right now, an ideal Saturday cook is to cook 3 or 4 racks of ribs, and where they're done, crank the heat to 350 for chickens.

    I think to accomplish that, I would need a little more fuel. Probably 60 in the basket, and still 30 in the chimney.
    To run at 250 or below, I would keep the damper set at 1/3 open. For 250-300 2/3 open. For 350, full open plus lid vent open OR start with more lit coals for a higher starting temp.

    Happy with the Pit Viper. Happy with Fireboard V2. And some fish tacos and elotes aren't a bad treat for doing a "dry" run.

    Click image for larger version

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    Thanks for the write up. It was an interesting read.


    • BFlynn
      BFlynn commented
      Editing a comment
      @alabama smoke

      Like I tell my wife - it costs less that what you just spent on shoes.

      Fireboard was about $250
      Pit viper was $50
      XL dome adaptor was $20ish.

      Other mods were pretty cheap. I think you could install a top vent for $10.

      I don't think the smoke has a control function, but if it does, then you only need the fan adapter.........

    • BFlynn
      BFlynn commented
      Editing a comment
      Alabama Smoke

      There are other solutions. Any controller with can from BBQ gurus would work.

      If @bbqphill still has his digiq + fan available you just need the XL adapter and could get set up for about $100 and still use your smoke to monitor food temps.

      I also view all of my bbq purchases as "saving money" since the bbq place around the corner charges $26/lb for brisket, $20 a rack of ribs, and $10 for half a chicken.... And still has the audacity to charge you for sauce.

    • BFlynn
      BFlynn commented
      Editing a comment
      Ive only done 4 cooks in the PBC and figure it's saved me at least $300 vs if we had gone out for bbq.

    Yes. It works extremely well. I’ve forgotten to put the rebars back in when grate cooking at 225 and it still holds it there. I’ve done 24 hr + run tests and cooked for 16 hours.

    will it work great stock? Sure, around 275-300 which is good for many things. I do like with the fan how I can switch gears and fire up some chicken after going low for so long. The fan also compensates for weather, even downpours and snow. I noticed that the fan also helps keep the temp high when moisture is hitting the coals , say for a few chickens.


    fun stuff


    • BFlynn
      BFlynn commented
      Editing a comment
      The fan does not seem to adjust for Houston weather. It was swampy as {insert your favorite swear or euphemism here} Sunday!

    Something else to think on.....................a big part of the fun is over thinking things in the pursuit of perfection, knowing full well I will never actually achieve it!


      Great post.


        BFlynn why not use the fan Fireboard makes? Is the BBQGuru pit viper considered a higher quality fan or something?


        • Dewesq55
          Dewesq55 commented
          Editing a comment
          I'm not BFlynn , but the Pit Viper fan seemed to have some better connection adaptors than the FB fan and I think it is a bit more powerful, although the FB fan, which I have, seems plenty powerful enough.

        • BFlynn
          BFlynn commented
          Editing a comment
          That's probably a good fan to use too. I went with the Pit Viper bc other people here had already had success with it.
          It's worked pretty well. I'm sure the one from Fireboard is also good.

        Put the setup in my kettle recently and overall quite happy. Have not seen any reason to adjust the baffle from full open. Seeking to understand why you do this.



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