Does setting a manual fan speed put HM back into startup mode?


Phillip P

I was about 3 hours into a cook (setpoint of 225) and I had to put the HM into manual fan mode (setpoint of -100) for a bit. It seems as though when I put in my original setpoint (225) the HM was in startup mode.

The reason I suspected this was that the blower was back at a percentage of the output.

I had never noticed this before.

Is it normal?

Phillip P

It seems about as normal as putting the heatermeter into manual mode 3 hours into a cook :)

You got me there... barbecue in New England is truly a sport.

The System Log PID settings are fun to play around with and pretty great when you have stable conditions. However, there is no such thing as stable conditions in NE.

I had things dialed in and had gone on to another task when the weather took a turn and sucked 15 degrees out of the WSM in a period of 6 minutes. When I got the first alarm (down 5 degrees) I didnt think too much about it. When I went to go check on it a little later, it was obvious the very finely dialed in PID was not keeping up with the weather and the ship was sinking fast.

It took a few minutes at 100% to get the coals back up.


TVWBB Diamond Member
Sounds like you need a more responsive setup. You can do this with more aggressive PID settings, or have you ever considered trying an air-burner setup? I found my air burner on a bullet smoker was super responsive, able to stoke up rapidly and back off quickly as well. Might be worth an experiment if you deal with crazy weather like this regularly.
Here is a pic of my air burner setup in case you are unfamiliar.

Phillip P

Ralph, I remember the air burner well.

I built one for my kettle when I was still using it as my everyday machine.

During the winter, I use the Akorn exclusively because, well, it rocks. I also use it any time I am smoking enough meat to fit into it.

When the air gets warmer and the crowds get larger the WSM comes out. Normally, it is not a big deal. Today just so happens to be a interesting weather day and the "System Log" tunings get to be pretty granular.

PID settings to the rescue in this instance.

Benjamin Thibault

TVWBB Member
I would say the best investment you can make, is something to go around the outside of your smoker to block the weather. If New England is bad for weather, Chicagoland is worse. I made a simple wind blocking set up for mine. Its simply 4 pieces of 4' tall, 2' wide plywood. I took 2 sets of 2, and put hinges to make 2 90* "corners". They go completely around my cooker to form a square, and a piece of plywood on top. This keeps out wind and rain sufficiently to where my heatermeter keeps my pit +- 3 degrees even on windy rainy nights.

Bryan Mayland

TVWBB Hall of Fame
I was about 3 hours into a cook (setpoint of 225) and I had to put the HM into manual fan mode (setpoint of -100) for a bit. It seems as though when I put in my original setpoint (225) the HM was in startup mode.
Good question, I had to look this up because I was not sure myself. Putting the output into manual mode does not change the mode at all (be it Startup, Recovery, or Normal). It should force it to go into Normal mode but it does not. This is a bug and I will fix it in the next snapshot. If it was in startup mode before entering manual mode, it will stay stuck in Startup indefinitely regardless of temperature. Disabling manual mode will force a change to startup mode again (which will end immediately if the temperature is over the setpoint).