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Testing Home Made Blower Controller in BGE with KBB

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  • johnec00
    Charter Member
    • Aug 2014
    • 564
    • Orlando, Florida
    • Equipment:
      '88 Vintage Fire Magic gasser with over 3000 cooks to its credit
      18 Inch Weber Kettle (Rescued from neighbor's trash)
      Rotisserie for 18 inch kettle
      Master Forge propane smoker
      Pit Barrel Cooker
      Smokey Joe with mini WSM mod
      Garcima paella burner
      Anova Sous Vide
      Slaiya Sous Vide (gift)
      2X Thermoworks cooking thermometer
      DIY 4 channel bluetooth thermometer
      LEM grinder, sausage stuffer and meat slicer (all gifts)

      Favorite Beer:
      Key West Wheat

    Testing Home Made Blower Controller in BGE with KBB

    Been fooling around with a home made blower controller off and on for a while. Recently got an adapter for my BGE from EBay, so yesterday decided to try it out with some KBB instead of the normal chunk. I expected a lot of ash, so I removed the fire grate and put 7 pounds KBB in the Kick Ash Charcoal Basket. Lit it near the center with one of the Weber cubes for 15 minutes then added the plate setter, grill, and probes for the controller and a Thermoworks thermometer. Closed the lid. Bottom vent fully closed and top vent barely cracked. Set the controller for 225º. It ran about 21 hours, mostly at 225º with short excursions to 250º and 275º yesterday afternoon. Pictures:

    Montage of controller:
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    KBB in basket:

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    Plate Setter and probes:

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    Temperature trace:

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    The controller is working quite well, still 1-2 degrees higher than the set, but that's easily fixable. It agreed well with the dome thermometer and Thermoworks digital. New nerdy toy!

    KBB works, but there was a tremendous amount of ash, at least 3 inches in the bottom of the fire box. I should have taken a picture, but forgot until after the shop vac cleaned it up. It was an interesting experiment, but I'll be sticking with lump.


  • Jerod Broussard
    Moderator
    • Jun 2014
    • 9673
    • East Texas
    • Pit Barrel Cooker "Texas Brisket Edition"
      Weber One Touch Premium Copper 22" Kettle (gift)
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      B & B Pellets

    #2
    Neat. If it goes +/- 10 degrees it still beats an electric oven by FAR!

    Comment

    • TripleB
      Club Member
      • May 2017
      • 627
      • La Crescenta
      • Jambo Backyard Smoker
        Weber Smokey Mountain (22" & 18.5")
        Portable Kitchen 360
        Portable Kitchen Grill
        Pit Barrel Cooker
        Weber "Brownie" Circa 1978 22"
        Weber Gas Grill, Silver A
        BBQ Guru ATC
        Favorite Beer: Peroni
        Favorite Sports Teams: Rams, Dodgers, Kings, UCLA Bruins

      #3
      Very cool. I always appreciate those who can tinker and create. I’m also impressed with the tel-tru thermostat. I have one on my PK360 and it’s on the money with the thermoWorks probe. Good job.

      Comment

      • RonB
        Club Member
        • Apr 2016
        • 12550
        • Near Richmond VA
        • Weber Performer Deluxe
          SNS
          Pizza insert
          Rotisserie
          Smokenator 1000
          Cookshack Smokette Elite
          2 Thermapens
          Chefalarm
          Dot
          lots of probes.
          CyberQ

        #4
        Great job!

        Comment

        • Henrik
          Founding Member - Moderator Emeritus
          • Jul 2014
          • 4236
          • Stockholm, Sweden

          #5
          Very cool!

          Comment

          • Skip
            Founding Member
            • Jul 2014
            • 3231
            • Blue Earth, Minnesota
            • MAK Pellet Grill, Large BGE, Weber Kettle with SnS, Weber Gasser, Pit Barrel Cooker, Cast Iron Pans & Griddle, Grill Grates, Mostly Thermoworks Thermometers

            #6
            Fun experiment! Thanks for posting.

            Comment

            • Spinaker
              Moderator
              • Nov 2014
              • 10522
              • Land of Tonka
              • John "J R"
                Instagram: JRBowlsby
                Smokin' Hound Que
                Minnesota/ United States of America

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                ************************

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              #7
              Very Cool! I love these experiments! Thanks for sharing this with us.

              21 hours is a solid burn time. I have always had trouble getting that done with KBB in my Kamados. I have found that the KBB Ceramic stuff is a little better.

              Comment

              • JCGrill
                Club Member
                • Mar 2017
                • 1729
                • Minneapolis / St Paul burbs
                • Charcoal - 22" Weber Kettle
                  Gas - Saber
                  Smoker - Green Mountain Daniel Boone
                  Portable - Charbroil Tabletop Propane Grill

                #8
                So you bought some controls and put them together?

                Comment

                • glitchy
                  Club Member
                  • Jul 2019
                  • 549
                  • Central IA
                  • Weber Summit Charcoal Grill
                    w/ Big Joetisserie, SnS LP, and Vortex
                    Weber SmokeFire EX4
                    Weber Q100
                    Fireboard 2 Drive
                    Anova Precision Sous Vide

                  #9
                  Did you build totally on your own or did you use some of the HeaterMeater plans and software? I built a HeaterMeter years ago and it was fun to tinker with. I was getting tired of chasing probe noise when the Fireboard came out and moved over to that and threw my homemade in a drawer.

                  Comment

                  • johnec00
                    Charter Member
                    • Aug 2014
                    • 564
                    • Orlando, Florida
                    • Equipment:
                      '88 Vintage Fire Magic gasser with over 3000 cooks to its credit
                      18 Inch Weber Kettle (Rescued from neighbor's trash)
                      Rotisserie for 18 inch kettle
                      Master Forge propane smoker
                      Pit Barrel Cooker
                      Smokey Joe with mini WSM mod
                      Garcima paella burner
                      Anova Sous Vide
                      Slaiya Sous Vide (gift)
                      2X Thermoworks cooking thermometer
                      DIY 4 channel bluetooth thermometer
                      LEM grinder, sausage stuffer and meat slicer (all gifts)

                      Favorite Beer:
                      Key West Wheat

                    #10
                    and JCGrill Both the circuit and software are completely my own. So far, the controller is still on perfbord as I fiddle with getting it to transmit wirelessly to a Visual Studio program on a PC.

                    Click image for larger version  Name:	inside.jpg Views:	0 Size:	313.1 KB ID:	882622
                    Last edited by johnec00; July 18, 2020, 02:57 PM.

                    Comment

                    • JCGrill
                      Club Member
                      • Mar 2017
                      • 1729
                      • Minneapolis / St Paul burbs
                      • Charcoal - 22" Weber Kettle
                        Gas - Saber
                        Smoker - Green Mountain Daniel Boone
                        Portable - Charbroil Tabletop Propane Grill

                      #11
                      Super cool. I'm a controls guy, but that's above my pay grade. I use off the shelf controllers when I need to do something. Which of course is cost prohibitive for something like this. Haven't done a bread board since I was in college.

                      Comment


                      • johnec00
                        johnec00 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I did sort of the opposite. Never touched a breadboard in college or almost 40 years as a mechanical engineer. After retirement, I got intrigued with the little micro-controllers . . . about the size of an overgrown finger nail and cost about 2 bucks. Tremendous capability. Anyway, keeps me from drinking too much.
                    • aladdin4d
                      Club Member
                      • Sep 2018
                      • 111
                      • St Louis
                      • GMG Davy Crockett, MHP WNK

                      #12
                      Can you give us any nitty gritty details on the...wait a minute! You're trying to have this communicate wirelessly to a.....to a PC? That's keeping it real! I ended up getting a Tappecue just because it has a public api I could use with PowerShell.

                      Comment

                      • Black99vette
                        Club Member
                        • Jun 2016
                        • 378
                        • Aurora, IL

                        • Smokers & Grills
                          • Weber Original Kettle Premium 26"
                          • Weber 22" Performer Deluxe
                          • Weber 22"
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                          Thermometers
                          • No name brand
                          • A wireless unit - not sure of the brand

                          Accessories
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                          Hobbies
                          • Grilling / Smoking & Cooking
                          • Work Working
                          • Home Improvement / DIY

                          About Me
                          Real Name: Wayne
                          Location: Aurora, IL

                          Occupation:
                          • Software Engineer Manager - Home Automation, Security / Access Control & Video Systems

                        #13
                        Very cool, been on my bucket list for some time (Along with 100 other things).

                        Comment

                        • SparkDog
                          Club Member
                          • Dec 2018
                          • 71
                          • Amarillo
                          • Hunsaker Vortex Drum, Weber 2-Burner Spirit Gas Grill and 22" Weber Kettle with SNS on the way.
                            When time permits, I will also brew some beer and ride bicycles

                          #14
                          johnec00 I have thought about doing something similar until I get to the programming. What type of algorithm are you using to control the fan? I imagine there is a relay that turns the fan on and off but I don't think it would work like the solid state relay that controls my kettle temperature on my brewing set up. I have a little Party Q for my weber and the fan just seems to turn on and off with no variation in pattern that I can detect when at or near temperature. I would be interested to hear the details on the programming.

                          Comment


                          • johnec00
                            johnec00 commented
                            Editing a comment
                            I use a PID (proportional - integral - derivative) algorithm to control the blower. It outputs fan voltage between 12 and 2 volts depending on how far the measured temperature differs from the desired temperature.
                            Here's a geeky explanation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PID_controller

                          • johnec00
                            johnec00 commented
                            Editing a comment
                            When I was in college in the late 60s, the latest and greatest programing language was something called BASIC. When I started fooling with microcontrollers some years ago, I purchased a development system called BASCOM that uses BASIClike language. If I was starting out, I would look into something called ARDUINO which is an open source hardware/software system that is supported by hundreds of user routines. Just searched, they have a tutorial with software that does what my controller does.

                          • SparkDog
                            SparkDog commented
                            Editing a comment
                            johnec00 thanks for your reply. I use the arduino to control my kettle for brewing. That uses the PID to turn the heating element on and off. I never thought to vary the fan speed. I just had on/off in my mind like my kettle and the Party Q. I think you have shown me what my next project should be

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