heatermeter on a masterbuilt 560?



New member

Got a new (and now barely used) masterbuilt 560 gravity fed charcoal smoker.
Want to replace their computer with my HM4.3
the 560 doesn't have a damper and the HM seems to really want a damper
Will the lack of a damper be a problem? if so, what are some solutions? Or just abandon the effort for now?
the fan is a 12VDC, 500mA at full load. Is this within the HM fan drive specs?

A friend gave me his brand-ish new masterbuilt 560, which he assembled but never used (something about a WAF which I've never heard of but from the way he was talking seemed like one of those things to just nod sympathetically and otherwise keep quiet about...). I saw online a bunch of stainless steel aftermarket parts so I ordered the whole kit and added it.

Now, as Tim Allen would say, I want to 'rewire it'. I don't really like their computer and am looking to heatermeter the smoker instead. My concern is that is that the 560 is -only- fan controlled. There is no damper, much less one that can be HM controlled.

The fan itself is a 12V fan that draws about 500ma give or take at full load. I think I read somewhere that this is within the spec of the fan driver of the HM (I have the 4.3) but want to verify. I do understand that I'll probably need bigger wire than just cat5 24awg or whatever it is and I have a leftover RJ45 to screw terminal breakout I'll use for that. The fan connectors are the JST model robot connectors, and I've got some of those too.

There are indications that the mfr computer drives the fan with PWM (my voltmeter says there's an AC component on the voltage, but that may just be ripple). In any case I don't think that will matter because their computer will be completely disconnected and probably removed, so the HM varying DC drive should not be a problem (but I also remember reading that there are fans that WANT PWM, and will lock/freeze/burn with just varying DC...I don't know anything about that. Maybe I should set the HM do PWM just in case?)

But, as I mentioned, there is no damper, and the HM seems to be damper reliant. And while later on I can (and probably will) try and do something with a 3D printer for an inline rotary damper, that's more work than I want to go to now. But for right now I'm not sure what to do about this or even if I should do anything, so am soliciting the Group Wisdom and Guidance.

Thanks in advance.

Joe Anshien

I would use it as is and see how you like it and if it needs changing. From what I can tell it keeps temps great. Why mess with it?

Bryan Mayland

TVWBB Hall of Fame
The HeaterMeter definitely doesn't need a damper, we all went years without one until 3D printing came along and upped our game. It definitely does make the vent setup have a lot more wiggle room though.

The blower output max is 1A, so 500mA should be fine. I'm not sure what brushless dc motor would actually want PWM power as input, they're much better off with steady DC because then the controller runs all the time instead of getting its plug pulled 500x a second and trying to maintain its speed.


New member
Thanks. Good to know. I'll probably do this this weekend (something fun, rather than yard and home maintenance!) Anything in particular I need to check/uncheck/set in the configuration for a 'no-damper' run? or just let the HM pretend it's running a damper as well as the fan?

Bryan Mayland

TVWBB Hall of Fame
The standard settings are more for no-damper operation than not, so it should just work. The fan pulls more power than our standard one does, so it stands to reason it is more powerful, so you may need to tone down some of the settings if it reacts too quickly.