Anyone have an automatic temperature controller for their 14.5 that works well?


 
I have an Auber Instruments PID controller for my WSM 14.5. I have tried just about everything to get it work, but no matter what I do, whenever I run it the temperature in my WSM drops, and keeps on dropping. I have even contacted Auber and changed all the settings on the controller and covered half of the blower with tape, still the same problem. Out of 15 or so cooks with it, only twice has it been set it and forget it. I have given up on it, it’s easier to adjust the vents.

Anyone have and automatic temperature controller that works on their 14.5? I plan on selling the Auber and buying something else if it works.
 

Lew Newby

TVWBB Guru
I have had a 1st generation Auber for 6 years and it works OK - not great. I feel your pain as I've had occasions when I pulled it out and cooked manual. My last cook was ribs at 275°. Temp ranged from 262 to 284. It didn't run away in either direction. I'm running it at factory settings.

I'm not an ATC expert. If temps are falling you need more airflow not less. I would think that taping the outlet would make it worse. That increases air speed but decreases air volume. I listen to the fan to see that it's giving me more than 1 second bursts of air and I honestly don't know if that's telling me something or not. I have had problems with the Auber and ran the auto tune process. That made things worse so I went back to the factory settings.

You have several alternatives but I'm only familiar with the Auber. Good luck.
 
Temp ranged from 262 to 284.

I'm not an ATC expert. If temps are falling you need more airflow not less. I would think that taping the outlet would make it worse. That increases air speed but decreases air volume.

I would love if the auber kept within 20deg.

I have tried the auber without the taped off outlet, I have tried slightly opening the other vents, and I have tried running the other vents along with the auber. all the same results. the suggestion to tape off half of the outlet was a suggestion from auber, they felt the fan was blowing in more cold air than the unit could handle, dropping the temperature.
 

Fred BW

TVWBB Fan
I bought an IQ 110 a couple months ago. After a few hours cooking the temp would drop. With the knob on 250,it dropped and stayed as low as 215 with a green light.The IQ 110 has led lights. A solid green light means it is 'happy" with the temp. So I figured the temp probe was at fault,giving the controller false readings the longer it is hot. I ordered a new probe,and it's been doing great. I smoked some brisket points last Saturday,and it pretty much stayed 240-260 for 10 hours or so. I keep a a thermoworks smoke probe right next to the IQ probe.
Not saying that's whats wrong with Auber. But if there is a way to tell if the controller is happy with the temps falling,and not trying to fan the fire. It seems like a likely culprit.
 
I bought an IQ 110 a couple months ago. After a few hours cooking the temp would drop. With the knob on 250,it dropped and stayed as low as 215 with a green light.The IQ 110 has led lights. A solid green light means it is 'happy" with the temp. So I figured the temp probe was at fault,giving the controller false readings the longer it is hot. I ordered a new probe,and it's been doing great. I smoked some brisket points last Saturday,and it pretty much stayed 240-260 for 10 hours or so. I keep a a thermoworks smoke probe right next to the IQ probe.
Not saying that's whats wrong with Auber. But if there is a way to tell if the controller is happy with the temps falling,and not trying to fan the fire. It seems like a likely culprit.

Do you use the 110 on a 14.5?

on the Auber I don't know when its at a "happy" temperature. I do know when the fan is running, either the green light is on or I can hear. I can hear it run and run and run and the temp just keeps on dropping.
 

Fred BW

TVWBB Fan
No I don't use it on a 14.5. I use it on an 18.5. And Yea,if the fan is running and running and the temp is dropping. It certainly doesn't sound like a probe problem. I guess the only advice I have is if i had it to do over,I probably wouldn't buy the IQ 110. But then again I bought it because it was fairly cheap compared to others,and had good reviews on Amazon. And after getting a new temp probe it's pretty much doing as advertised. Another thing that i was looking for is variable speed fan,which the IQ 110 has. I just light 8 or 10 coals and put them in the middle of the ring,and when the smoker is coming up to temp the little fan really puts out the air. I don't know whats going on with your 14.5,but I DO believe the IQ110 would fan the fire enough to keep the temp high. But the reason I am not recommending it,is it still doesn't hold temp quite as solid as I would like. But that said I have no plans to replace it. I know that's really not much help :(
 

MichaelBen

New member
If your fan is blowing it should make the coals heat up. Not sure why they had you cover half the fan to limit the air when you need more air flow to generate more heat.

A couple of things that come to mind.

How long into the cook does the temp start dropping? If you're starting the cook and the temp is where you want it and then you load it up with alot of cold meat the pit temp will drop and the 14" will take awhile to get back up to temp even with the fan blowing hard.

Are you using a full ring of briquettes or lump charcoal? If there is not enough fuel or too much space between the coals it may have trouble lighting the next coal to keep the fire hot even when the fan is blowing.
 

Len M.

TVWBB Member
Sounds like too much fan for the little cooker.

I have sucessfully run a PartyQ and several Heatermeters w/Micro Dampers on a WSM 14.5, they truly are set and forget.

If I don't dial back the Micro Damper Fan a bit, I can get it to drop the temp by blowing too hard, especially when the ambient temp is cold.
Bottom line is you need to match the fan size and/or speed to the smoker.
 

Brad Baker

TVWBB Fan
Don't know if there is enough room on a 14, but you also might try directing the air from the blower down into the space below the grate so that the combustion air comes into the fire from underneath. I remember seeing a stamped aluminum thing from some ATC manufacturer that would attach over the inside of the vent opening to do this (can't recall which). I used to bend something up out of aluminum foil for my 18, held in place by the fire ring and some crumpled foil. I also made one out of a corner cut out of a Fire Magic disposable BBQ drip tray liner.
 
I use a PartyQ on my 14" and it works great. No problems at all.

good to know. I may sell my auber and try the party Q. how do you use it? do you let the partyQ bring the smoker up to temp or turn it on when the WSM hits your set temp?

How long into the cook does the temp start dropping? If you're starting the cook and the temp is where you want it and then you load it up with alot of cold meat the pit temp will drop and the 14" will take awhile to get back up to temp even with the fan blowing hard.

Are you using a full ring of briquettes or lump charcoal? If there is not enough fuel or too much space between the coals it may have trouble lighting the next coal to keep the fire hot even when the fan is blowing.

Temp drops whenever the fan is blowing. I have let the smoker come to temp with meat in there, plugged in the Auber and still had temp drop. I always use a full ring of charcoal or lump, as much as will fit below the water pan. temp is more stable without the Auber. I'm guessing it is due to too much cold air blowing in.

Sounds like too much fan for the little cooker.

I have sucessfully run a PartyQ and several Heatermeters w/Micro Dampers on a WSM 14.5, they truly are set and forget.

If I don't dial back the Micro Damper Fan a bit, I can get it to drop the temp by blowing too hard, especially when the ambient temp is cold.
Bottom line is you need to match the fan size and/or speed to the smoker.

looks like a partyQ might be the ticket

Don't know if there is enough room on a 14, but you also might try directing the air from the blower down into the space below the grate so that the combustion air comes into the fire from underneath. I remember seeing a stamped aluminum thing from some ATC manufacturer that would attach over the inside of the vent opening to do this (can't recall which). I used to bend something up out of aluminum foil for my 18, held in place by the fire ring and some crumpled foil. I also made one out of a corner cut out of a Fire Magic disposable BBQ drip tray liner.

this is the first thing I tried after my first cook, tried to direct the airflow to below the coals. still had issues.
 
just an update. I bought a PartyQ and used it yesterday, worked perfectly for holding temperatures. we'll see if it works when the temperature outside is cold.
 

 

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