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Retrofit WiFi Controller

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    Retrofit WiFi Controller

    L bought a Woodwind SG 24 last year to begin my grill farm at my new home. After spending a summer with it, I began looking for a replacement PID controller because I wanted a bit closer control over temperature. Camp Chef must have heard my psychic vibes because shortly after they released the new WiFi models of Woodwind smokers, they started making the controller available as a retrofit product. I called Customer support, and for $250 a retrofit controller was promptly delivered to my doorstep in a couple of days.

    In the box, is a replacement controller along with 4 temperature probes and installation instructions. Installation took all of 15 minutes. You simply unscrew the current controller and the bottom plate on the hopper to get access to the wiring. Disconnect the wires to the controller, connect the wires for the new controller (all marked (A, B, C, etc), attach the WiFi Controller ground wire, and screw everything back into place. The only cautionary task is to use a zip tie or something similar to pull together the excess controller wires to that they do not get caught up in the fan.

    Once the WiFi Controller is physically installed, You need to download the Camp Chef app and follow the instructions in the app to setup the Controller. A solid WiFi connection is strongly advised for this part. The WiFi Controller will work on the grill without use of the app (or WiFi), but that kind of defeats the purpose unless you are getting it solely for the PID capability.

    The app is a reminder that grill/smoker manufacturers should get competent help when designing and coding app software. The initial release was very clunky and subject to disconnects and hangups when error conditions were encountered. My heart goes out to Weber Smokefire owners who are experiencing this in spades. Perhaps my background in software development is making me a bit too critical, but I truly hope that they manage to improve the user experience and functionality in future updates.

    Once everything was set up, I did a test cook using a 6 lb brisket flat. I cooked it at 275 with a smoke setting of 7. Pulled and wrapped it at 160 and then put it back on (smoke setting at 1) to finish at ~205 and probe tender). After resting it for 30 minutes (it was a test after all, or I'd have rested it longer), I "tested" the result. The bark was good, but I was surprised at the lack of a good smoke ring. I think this may have been due to my use of Camp Chefs "Charwood" pellets - also an experiment. I normally use Lumberjack competition blend. I had noticed the distinct lack of smoke during the cook, but was still expecting a smoke ring. The brisket tasted good - so good that my 5yo grandson who had volunteered to taste it was dancing around the kitchen in what his mother called "brisket bliss". I think I'll try again with different pellets along with a smoke tube and see what I get. I had done brisket on it last year and got a good smoke ring. Otherwise, the temperature control was all that I could ask for and ignoring the app related issues, it was worth the money to make the upgrade. For my purposes, controlling it by app is not a necessity.


    Just this week, they released a new app and controller firmware update that is intended to address issues with using the app on a Android phone running version 10. They state that the connections issues exist for "some devices" and that you may need to use either a non-Android or older Android phone to perform the update. II have an Android 10 phone and it took 3 days of repeated trial and error to get the new firmware update to install on the smoker. I started out using my phone and when that didn't work, tried the update with my daughters iPhone - still no joy. Fortunately, - or so I thought, I had a couple of older Android phones around. I tried them both with no success. I finally just reset the WiFi Controller, re-registered it, and tried again with my original phone - finally success! My take-away form the experience is that a good WiFI connection matters along with patience when power cycling the smoker after the update completes. There appears to be a lag of up to a minute while the update configures in the background with no visible indication on the screen. In my earlier update attempts, I may not have waited long enough...

    More to come. I plan some pork and chicken cooks in the coming days - weather permitting. Click image for larger version  Name:	CC Controller.jpg Views:	0 Size:	4.76 MB ID:	821541
    Last edited by spartacusjones; March 28, 2020, 10:09 AM.

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