How to properly set up & use a blower / temp control system? Are they worth it?


 

D. Dix

TVWBB Member
I have a BBQ DRAGON blower and use it to start & I thought, help me to regulate temps in my WSM 22.5". It didn't do what i'd hoped it would do and I was hoping to get some feedback on regulator kits and see if I need to have a temp gauge along with the blower or whether, I just set it up wrong or what? Any help would be appreciated. THANKS!
 

DanHoo

TVWBB Honor Circle
I have a thermoworks billows and a Smoke X4 to control it. I use it on my BGE and it works great. I recently picked up a WSM 22 and have yet to use the billows on it, yet I expect it will work. I mo

There's a few threads on temp controllers with the WSM. here's one

 

John K BBQ

TVWBB All-Star
The BBQ dragon is a nice blower, but probably best used when you're wanting to get a bed of charcoal really hot for direct grilling (like steak night). A system like the Thermoworks billows can be helpful, but it's not a "Fix All" I do own this system, and it does work. In order for it to work really well, you'll want to be sure your WSM doesn't have too many air leaks, and it's still important to build the fire correctly. I really like mine but I only use if for cooks that are 8 hours or longer, or if I'll have to leave the house for a few hours while the WSM is running.

If you do decide to buy the Thermoworks, you'll need to make sure you get the fan, power supply cable, and cables to connect the fan to the controller and such... I really like Thermoworks products, but when I bought mine, some of the cables were not included. You might need to buy 3 different line items.




You might want to read this thread too

 
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DanHoo

TVWBB Honor Circle
If you do decide to buy the Thermoworks, you'll need to make sure you get the fan, power supply cable, and cables to connect the fan to the controller and such... I really like Thermoworks products, but when I bought mine, some of the cables were not included. You might need to buy 3 different line items.

The Billows "kit: now includes all the items listed.

1644021411222.png

I also bought the kamodo mounting kit. There are other styles as well.

1644021480457.png


And for anyone using this on a kamodo, the damper is a must-have, otherwise the air intake with the fan off is too much and you cannot keep low temps low. I'm not sure this is an issue with a WSM, but its only an extra $2.99

1644021543041.png
 
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Mac LA

TVWBB Super Fan
I've have 2 digiq dx2 for both my 22 wsm units and wouldn't dare use anything else. These things allow me to sleep so good for long cooks. If you're looking to swtich, I would recommend Digiq.
Only thing is dislike now are the plastic covered fans but that's just personal preference. If you use expansion rings, or bigger smokers, they offer bigger fans and or a 2 to 1 cable to use two blowers on a single controller...
Just my 1 cent
 
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D. Dix

TVWBB Member
The BBQ dragon is a nice blower, but probably best used when you're wanting to get a bed of charcoal really hot for direct grilling (like steak night). A system like the Thermoworks billows can be helpful, but it's not a "Fix All" I do own this system, and it does work. In order for it to work really well, you'll want to be sure your WSM doesn't have too many air leaks, and it's still important to build the fire correctly. I really like mine but I only use if for cooks that are 8 hours or longer, or if I'll have to leave the house for a few hours while the WSM is running.

If you do decide to buy the Thermoworks, you'll need to make sure you get the fan, power supply cable, and cables to connect the fan to the controller and such... I really like Thermoworks products, but when I bought mine, some of the cables were not included. You might need to buy 3 different line items.




You might want to read this thread too

I really appreciate the feedback. I've seen the thermoworks and I have some of there stuff. I have heard some good things about the Flame boss 400. Any thoughts good/bad about this unit?
 

D. Dix

TVWBB Member
I've have 2 digiq dx2 for both my 22 wsm units and wouldn't dare use anything else. These things allow me to sleep so good for long cooks. If you're looking to swtich, I would recommend Digiq.
Only thing is dislike now are the plastic covered fans but that's just personal preference. If you use expansion rings, or bigger smokers, they offer bigger fans and or a 2 to 1 cable to use two blowers on a single controller...
Just my 1 cent
Awesome! Seen these too!
 

TimA

TVWBB Pro
I just posted to your other reply...

I use Thermoworks X4 with Billows. I’ve never used the damper and have zero issues maintaining low temps on my Summit Charcoal (Kamado-style). If you overshoot, it’s a pain to bring down, temp controller or not.
 

D. Dix

TVWBB Member
I forgot to mention that I moved on from my thermoworks Smoke into a Grill eye unit. (a gift from my bride, as was the BBQ dragon) With 6 probes and app based use, it has worked out well. Looked like a cheaply made unit at the time, but once I used it, it has performed way better than expected & held up well. Plus, I know it makes the wife happy!;) So, I don't think I would go back to TW, so other alternatives would be better. Thanks.
 

C Lewis

Closed Account
I'm pretty sure that they BBQ Dragon is more for lighting and accelerating the heat on your charcoal. I have a similar unit that I use when reverse searing, to get the medium coals screaming hot.

A proper ATC will have the blower and some kind of temp control, that will monitor the pit temp and operate the blower as needed to maintain that set temp. I have the Billows and Signals from Thermoworks, the IQ110, and the Party-Q. All work well once everything is adjusted and set up correctly. As contradictory as this might sound, I think that you will get the best results with your ATC once you learn to operate the grill effectively without it. What I mean is that you usually need to get the grill set up initially first, and understand how the air will affect the heat, so that the blower system can operate properly. Otherwise, you're just chasing temps with a blower control instead of chasing them with vents. Hope that makes sense and helps a bit.

Charlie
 

John K BBQ

TVWBB All-Star
I'm pretty sure that they BBQ Dragon is more for lighting and accelerating the heat on your charcoal. I have a similar unit that I use when reverse searing, to get the medium coals screaming hot.

A proper ATC will have the blower and some kind of temp control, that will monitor the pit temp and operate the blower as needed to maintain that set temp. I have the Billows and Signals from Thermoworks, the IQ110, and the Party-Q. All work well once everything is adjusted and set up correctly. As contradictory as this might sound, I think that you will get the best results with your ATC once you learn to operate the grill effectively without it. What I mean is that you usually need to get the grill set up initially first, and understand how the air will affect the heat, so that the blower system can operate properly. Otherwise, you're just chasing temps with a blower control instead of chasing them with vents. Hope that makes sense and helps a bit.

Charlie
Charlie's comments are spot on. I will add that sadly the PartyQ has been discontinued. However, the manufacturer of the Party-Q, BBQ guru is probably one of the first and in my opinion one of the best makers of charcoal pit ATC products. They would be my 2nd choice next to the T-Works. I've had both good and bad experiences with BBQ Guru products/services. I have had 3 or 4 interactions with Thermo Works and all have been "Good/Great" believe T-Works customer service.
 

John K BBQ

TVWBB All-Star
I forgot to mention that I moved on from my thermoworks Smoke into a Grill eye unit. (a gift from my bride, as was the BBQ dragon) With 6 probes and app based use, it has worked out well. Looked like a cheaply made unit at the time, but once I used it, it has performed way better than expected & held up well. Plus, I know it makes the wife happy!;) So, I don't think I would go back to TW, so other alternatives would be better. Thanks.
My perspective on Grill Eye vs TW..... you need both! I have a TW Smoke X4 with billows, and an old reliable Maverick remote temperature monitor. I use the Maverick on shorter cooks when I don't feel like/need to break out the TW with Billows. I'm not sure if your older TW Smoke set up had the connections to run a Billows, but I believe there's a chance it didn't. I know "going back" to TW might be hard to explain but I think TW's customer service and warranty is pretty good compared to most others.
 

DanHoo

TVWBB Honor Circle
My perspective on Grill Eye vs TW..... you need both! I have a TW Smoke X4 with billows,

Are you using the Billows on a WSM 22? How is it mounted? How do you run it? I recently picked up a WSM 22 and haven't sorted out a mount.
 

John K BBQ

TVWBB All-Star
Yes, I use the Billows on my 22" WSM - there is no need for a special adaptor, although it would be a nice to have thing. There re two spring legs on the billows that you can force together, and then when both ends are close enough together, you stick them in one of the vent holes. Then the spring action on these two legs will hold the billows in place, and the foam gasket prevents any gross air leakage.

I circled the spring legs below so you can better see what I'm talking about.

1644097036348.png
 

Colin

TVWBB Pro
Are you using the Billows on a WSM 22? How is it mounted? How do you run it? I recently picked up a WSM 22 and haven't sorted out a mount.
Dan, as John stated you do not need a special adapter but you will need to tape over the remaining holes and of course close the other vents. There is the dog bowl option that I like because I don't always use my Billows. Here is a pic of it on a 14" WSM.

IMG_20211127_120700.jpg

It has a 1" hole to mount the Billows and a 1/4" hole for a long toggle bolt.
 

D. Dix

TVWBB Member
My perspective on Grill Eye vs TW..... you need both! I have a TW Smoke X4 with billows, and an old reliable Maverick remote temperature monitor. I use the Maverick on shorter cooks when I don't feel like/need to break out the TW with Billows. I'm not sure if your older TW Smoke set up had the connections to run a Billows, but I believe there's a chance it didn't. I know "going back" to TW might be hard to explain but I think TW's customer service and warranty is pretty good compared to most others.
I agree with you that TW customer service is great, no question, but the original SMOKE unit i had did not have access with billows. It had no bluetooth connectivity, just the remote handheld, and was only set up for 2 probes. The GrillEye for $70.00 has BT connectivity, comes with 4 commercial grade probes and is set up for 6! The range on the BT connection is pretty darn good. Thanks for the feedback. Me thinks I will have to get a separate unit for temp regulating. I did a brisket cook over the weekend and found using briquettes and smoke wood for flavor, temps stayed remarkably more consistent over the entire cook (as opposed to lump) and was done, on time and came out perfect. I'm not a Kingsford fan, and since I can't get Weber briquettes any longer, I've gone to B&B, & found Royal Oak "Chef's Blend" restaurant/commercial grade briquettes that work well. For now, briquettes seem to work without too much other add-ons, for at least the time being anyway. Thanks everyone for your feedback, I've read them all. You guys are awesome! Love this community. Blessings!
 

Issom

TVWBB Fan
I've have 2 digiq dx2 for both my 22 wsm units and wouldn't dare use anything else. These things allow me to sleep so good for long cooks. If you're looking to swtich, I would recommend Digiq.
Only thing is dislike now are the plastic covered fans but that's just personal preference. If you use expansion rings, or bigger smokers, they offer bigger fans and or a 2 to 1 cable to use two blowers on a single controller...
Just my 1 cent
I just ordered a bbq guru ultraq and want to know ur set up for a good cook and do u open the top vent? Sealed off bottom vents?
 

Mac LA

TVWBB Super Fan
I just ordered a bbq guru ultraq and want to know ur set up for a good cook and do u open the top vent? Sealed off bottom vents?
I've not used the ultraq but for my setup, I plug the vents where the fan mates to the bowl and close off the others. I leave the the top vent wide open. The only time I've cracked the bottom vents is when I was running low on charcoal but was so close to finishing a smoke which helped raise the temps to finish it off. There was still some unlit coals but just a few of them so this helped ignite them quicker to get it done.

Hope this helps.
 

 

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