Need advice using Fireboard + Pit Viper on Weber Summit


 

DaveInLA

New member
I picked up the Fireboard Drive + pit viper fan to use on my Summit Kamado, and did a dry run (12 lit coals, no meat, no water pan) yesterday. I had a lot more problems than I expected, primarily with high temps. Naively, I thought it would be set it and forget it. Couldn’t really get the temp to settle, had a harder time than I did without the controller, probably because I was more hands off and thought it would be like a gas oven. Not having any meat or water pan to absorb some heat didn’t help though.

My questions-
1. The BBQ Guru website says when using the Pit VIper for small-medium smokers (which I consider the Weber Summit), to close the damper halfway. The damper is the switch on the fan that has “open” and “closed” settings. Is this the setting you guys have had success with? Also, when the damper is open, does air still enter the smoker when the fan is not running? I imagine it does, but want to make sure.
2. What settings are recommended for the fan, max fan 100%? And with lid detection, default is 7 min. I’ve read some people drop it to 1 min, but that seems like it’ll activate the fan quickly after closing the lid; wouldn’t this lead to temp overshoot?
3. What can I do to make the temps rise faster when the fan is on? In my trial, the temp came up really slowly even with fan at 100%. I reviewed some of the charts people posted of their Fireboards and it seem their temps were more responsive to the fan than mine was. For example, the temp had settled to around 280 for a couple hours and I increased the set temp to 300. After 40 min, temp only went to 283-284.
I would guess this is because my damper isn’t open enough? Again, I set mine to about halfway because I was concerned that an open damper would let in too much air, even when the fan wasn’t running.

Thanks
 
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Shane - glitchy

TVWBB Super Fan
I’ve never had problems with mine so never put that much thought in it. I run the Pit Viper damper wide open. If I’m cooking under 300°, I fully close the boom vent on the WSCG and the top is open maybe 1/8”. If I’m cooking over 300, I usually open the bottom vent about halfway between closed and smoke, but I need to test to see if this is even necessary.

I have max fan 100% and use 5 mins for lid detection.

I feel like you might want more lit coals for 300°. When I spin birds (custom Big Joetisserie), I usually have two heaping full charcoal baskets fully lit for 350.
 

DaveInLA

New member
I smoked a couple racks of ribs with the Fireboard/Pit Viper a few days ago and had trouble getting precise temperature control. Did an empty run with a tray full of water (which I used with ribs as well) just to test some things, and basically got the same problems. Here’s a 4 hour segment of what’s happening. Basically, when temp was below 225, the fan quickly ramped up to max speed and the temp started to go up. The fan kept running at high speed until the grate temp reached around 225, at which point the fan would quickly slow down; but by then, it was too late and temp would again overshoot. With little oxygen at the coals, the temp quickly dropped, fan turned on, etc. Temp generally ranged between 219 and 231, which isn’t terrible, but I bought the Fireboard so I could do better.

I also attached a photo from another website’s review of the Fireboard; you can see the first half of the review, his fan behaved the same way mine did, but in the 2nd half, it improved. Instead of running at max speed for several minutes and then turning off, the fan ran at variable but lower speeds almost continuously, giving much stricter temp control. I figured he lowered the fan max speed so I tried that and also closed the damper about 1/3 of the way, didn’t seem to make a difference. Most of the time, the top vent was open roughly 1/8”. Any advice?
 

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DanHoo

TVWBB Honor Circle
Hi Dave, I have a Smoke X4 and a Billows, and I've only used it twice on my E6, however I used it a bunch on my BGE.

What I found that worked best on the BGE and also worked well was to control / limit all incoming air and have it come in from the billows, even if the billows was not running. On the E6 I had all of the lower vents closed and only had air coming in from the fan.

Top vent was closed down since I my target grate temp was 225F. It was really just a sliver of opening on the top.

My strategy is to get the fire going, and stable without any fan running, and only after the meat is on, and temp stable do I plug the connector into the fan.

I guess my point is, the E6 doesn't really need ATC if the fire and the inlet / outlet vents are set correctly, yet I like having it again as insurance so I don't have to wonder will it cool off while I'm not paying attention to it ( eyes closed, sleeping... )
 
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