Post your HeaterMeter graphs

Bryan Mayland

TVWBB Honor Circle
Someone had a great suggestion, that we should post our graphs to give some examples of HeaterMeter control. To post your graph, you can either screenshot it or save the PNG image from the archive (select View, then click the 'Save graph image' button) and upload it to a hosting service like http://imgur.com

If you post, make sure you include details like what model of smoker you use, blower modifications, PID parameters, what you were smoking.

This is my large Big Green Egg smoking a 5.2lb boston butt. Servo mode (BPID=0, 10, 0.05, 10) with the top vent halfway slid open. The vent appears to be open too much which caused a few strange spikes up to a max of 237F. The set temperature was automatically lowered from 225F to 215F at 6:34am when the food hit 175F using an alarm script. Foiled at 8am and messed with the temperature to try and hit 11:30am 200F food temperature, which I hit on the nose.
 

Dan Francis

TVWBB Fan
Here is a 12 hour 7.5 lb Butt cook on WSM 22. Used KB with top vent 1/4 open. This is first cook with swing open damper installed on fan. Didn't seem to make a lot of difference compared to previous cooks without damper. It's neat to see the spike at about 12:00 and how the PID dampened out the oscillations to get back to 250. I'm guessing spike caused by wood chunk(s) igniting. I am not sure why the food temp line has oscillations, they seem to follow the fan.

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Alan Erickson

TVWBB Fan
Did this one last weekend. Brisket, probably around 12#'s, overnight cook. Cooked on a Char Griller Kamado for around 15 hours. Top vent was only opened to the 0.75 mark. Wish I could open the top vent more, but the temps are tough to control when the vents opened much. Used a stock Auber fan. The fan output was limited to 30%. Used Royal Oak lump. Got 15 hours out of a single load, and probably could have gone another 6 hours. Wrapped it in butcher paper after around 8 hours, which you can see the spike on the graph when I took it off to wrap it. Started off at around 250 and then ramped to around 275 part way through to push through the stall. Brisket turned out great. A little oscillation in the temperature, but as long as the coals don't go out I can live with it. Also had some trouble where the alarms didn't always go off, and I need to dig into that a bit. Need to do a cook on my 18.5" WSM one of these days.

 
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Phillip P

TVWBB Fan
Yesterday's smoke.

6# bone in pork butt. Fourth cook of in my WSM 22.5. It is tightening up and performing better with each use. The fan is inserted into an aluminum bowl which is held tight to one of the chamber bottom vents via a toggle bolt and 5" screw. Lump coal and I tried a new (to me) "fuse" Minionesque method where I put a big rock in the center of the grate and lined the perimeter with the lump (this was suggested by Meathead on amazingribs.com). All vents were closed save for the fan and the top vent which was open enough to get a pencil eraser through. It burned really nicely around the rock and kept a pretty consistent temp for most of the day.



Settings were:
B: 4
P: 3
I: .005
D: 5

Smoke wood was pecan, apple and cherry.

Highlights were:
1. The meat. Purchased from a new local butcher (www.craftbutchery.com) that is pretty outstanding. The pig was slaughtered less than 24 hours before it hit the grill. Much more than I usually spend on meat, but it was obvious from just rubbing it that it was going to be special. Worth every penny.
2. Lighting the thing. The fuse method meant that it took much longer to get the smoker to temp. I think next time I will dump a bit more lit fuel at the beginning.
3. Lid Open..although the lid open indicator only went off once, there were three times during the cook that I opened. The lump is so sensitive to air that all bets are off when you open and the temps can shoot up very quickly despite missing your top.
4. 4pm to 5pm was a really magical time for me. Watching that temperature stay soooooo steady.
5. I foiled the butt at around 3 pm at 150ish (when the lid open indicator hits) and reloaded the chamber with what I *thought* would be PLENTY of fuel. We then we down to check out the BBQ comp about 20 miles away, confident that the Heatermeter had everything under control. I didn't expect the fuel to give out so soon and when I got an alarm SMS telling me the temperature was dropping in the chamber, we hauled butt back to the house. I like to hit 200 ~ 204, it was holding steady at 197 by the time we got home and I figured it was good enough. Into the cooler to rest for an hour and a half.
6. Eating...best pork butt I have ever smoked, hands down. The meat really makes the difference.
7. Feeling comfortable with driving 20 miles away while my smoker is going. I saw a lot of Stokers and Party-Q's at the the comp, no Heatermeters. I wil try and change that in the near future. Thanks Bryan!

Lowlights were:
1. Brand new high heat ET-73 probe lost it's shrink-wrap at the junction to the couple. One reason (I'm guessing) why the meat temperature was so wacked out while it was in the cooler.
2. Probably didn't put enough smoke wood in. The ring was much smaller than I am used to, but that may be a byproduct of the meat.
3. As the smoker gains some seasoning and I figure out exactly what my coal strategy will be, I hope to avoid some of the temperature flux and hope that I'll be able to fine tune the BPID settings better. I didn't change them at all during this cook because I wanted to see what would happen without any fiddling. (Any suggestions are welcome.)
 
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Dale Ward

TVWBB Fan
Started with Ribs 3-2-1 at 275 deg ribs were falling off the bone tender, next time little use 3-1.5-1 hope to give a little bite to them.
I was using Servo mode (BPID=0, 10, 0.05, m10) Same as Bryan was using. Top vent at 1.8 to 2 on Big Steel Keg. Put fire out then knocked off ashes and relit lump at 10:48 pm set temp to 225 and put in 13 pound brisket for second smoke of day, it was short smoke for a brisket only 12 hours, did not foil the brisket in the smoker. I pulled at 185-190 and foil wrapped, wrapped in towel and put in cooler for 4.5 hours till dinner came out of cooler still steaming hot and was best brisket yet, I usually go 18 to 20 hours on brisket.



 
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RalphTrimble

TVWBB Diamond Member
I just finished building a simple gravity damper for the fan and did my first test cook. (Check out the thread here for details about the damper valve)
Here's a graph of the pit showing two jumps up on the setpoint, I am really pleased at how fast the temp rises and how well to settles on the set point....


It also recovers from lid open really well....


FINALLY I am happy with the way the Heater Meter controls my FauxMado grill....
 

Ben Crocker

New member
Brisket - BGE

12lb Brisket on a large BGE


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Using an Auber blower, lump charcoal and pecan wood. BPID 4, 10, .02, 10. Put temp probes in both parts of the brisket. Wrapped in butcher paper during the stall. Started at 225, stepped up to 240, then finished at 250. My BGE has a hard time staying stable at 225, but is fine at 250. After this cook, I replaced the top gasket to see it that will help.
 

John Case

TVWBB Member
WSM 22.5, Pork Butt

Here are the results and comments of my first Pork Butt smoke as well as the first time using the HM4

Please post any comments in this thread

Smoker was started up around 7:30 PM to test HM4. Full of coals with a hole in the center to dump about 30 hot coals into. Using Kingsford Original.
Stacked 2 coal grates, the stock grate that sits on the bolt heads from the legs. The other is the exact inside diameter as the coal ring so I put that on top of the standard coal grate. My thinking was I would not have as much coal drop through due to smaller holes.

2 bottom vents closed, top open about 0.25, Fan mounted in bowl and toggle bolted in place, open 100%. Water pan foiled and filled with hot water.

WSM 22.5 has nomex gaskets and probe grommet hole.

Smoker came up to temperature (225) and held it nicely about an hour later. So I figured I would prepare the butt.

8lb 2oz, boneless Swift Premium pork butt from Costco, tied up the butt, rubbed with Memphis dust. Let sit at room temperature for about an hour, rubbed again and put in smoker at 10 PM

Decided early on after having read about the stall, that I would power through it and give the HM a run for its money.

Can we make this thread a sticky thread?

Settings were:
B: 4
P: 3
I: .005
D: 5

Smoke wood:
9 oz Cherry
10 oz Apple
4 oz Hickory

How it went:
07:30 PM started smoker, full load of coal, small divot in center for about 30 light coals, foiled pan, filled with hot water
09:30 PM added smoke wood
10:00 PM Put in butt fat cap down
01:30 AM temp down to 208, fan at 100% since 1:00 AM, stirred coal, butt at 130
07:00 AM temp down to 195, fan at 100% since 5:20 AM, added more coal, butt at 154
10:50 AM temp down to 215, fan at 100%, stirred coals, no room under grate, fill with ash, butt at 168
01:30 PM temp down to 215, fan at 100%, broke open smoker and removed ash which was all the way up to the grate so no air could flow under. Removed smaller grate. Added coal, butt at 168
01:50 PM smoker back up to 225, fan at 0 to 3%, butt at 168
02:30 PM still going, wondering if powering through the stall is smart or not, smoker at 225, fan at 9%, butt at 168
02:50 PM starting to wonder if food probe is not working, stuck butt with meat thermometer, it’s right on the money! Both at 168
03:00 PM WOW, finally hit 170! we’re moving now, well maybe, damn I’m hungry!
03:40 PM low temp (200) alarm went off, had to stir coal, went down to 197, Butt at 172
04:15 PM temp still dropping, lit a half chimney of coal and added as well as more unlit. So far have gone through about 30 lbs of coal
05:00 PM pit at 230, pushed pit temp up to 250, butt at 174
06:00 PM pit losing temp down to 190, fan at 100% stoked coals,
06:30 PM fan at 100%, opened top vent to 100%, opened 1 bottom vent to 100%, butt at 183
07:00 PM closed bottom vent to 50%, smoker at 260, butt at 187
08:00 PM butt at 195, tested with fork twisted 90 degrees meat pull apart nicely.
08:30 PM pulled and eating pulled pork, no time to rest it, I'm starving!


Questions/observations:
1 - Used PitDroid app.to monitor HM4. Set up alarms to monitor while I tried to sleep. Worked very well.
2 - Will not use the 2nd coal grate again, I think it caused ash to get stuck and not fall threw. Thoughts?
3 - ET-732 pit probe worked fine
4 - ET-732 food probe dropped out 4 or so times for seconds each time (Bryan posted a fix of soldering the shield to ground on connector)
5 - Having problems keeping steady temps. Should I change the PID settings?
6 - The fan blows across the coals, would it be better to have the fan blow under the coals? (saw a post where someone made an air distribution chamber for under the coal grate)
7 - Blue blower speed bar is neat, but what is the small grey line tell you?
8 - How can I hold temps like I see everyone else is able to?
9 - 30 lbs of Kingsford original seems like a lot?
10 - Butt seems very black instead of brown? But it tastes good, moist.
11 - Is foiling at 150 to 160 degrees the better way to go?
12 - Butt started at 8lb 2oz, finished at 4lb 14oz, during the stall/cook it lost about 3 lbs of moisture. Is that much weight loss normal?
13 - 22 hours to cook a butt, holly $hit, anybody else ever have one go that long?

Please let me know your thoughts on how I can improve the performance of the HM4?

Graphs:




Meat rubbed and ready to go:


Finished still on the grill:


Sliced to show smoke ring:




Thanks,
John
 
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D Peart

TVWBB Pro
Did you really open the lid 14 times or did the automatic lid open kick in on you? I have to set my auto lid detect to something not so tight as my UDS does fluctuate more than defaults allow. When the lid is detected open it stops your fan and can lead to poor temp control.

Yes it does look like you need to tune the PID parameters, what type of smoker are you using? You should be able to start with something closer if you ask around. The PID parameters are very dependent on the heat change characteristics of your smoker.

The butt looks great, I expect them to look like a burnt lump of coal. 22 hours is a little on the long side, but not unheard of, just depends on your hunk of meat. I do wrap as it will make it much faster and I don't mind a softer bark. If you want a hard barker just wrap, but take it off after you are thought the stall. It will still stall after unwrapping due to the moisture evaporating, but will be faster than no wrap.

My $0.02,
dave
 

John Case

TVWBB Member
I just counted as per my log and I opened it 8 times, (nice catch D. Peart) and that was to only intervene when fan at 100% and still loosing temp.

The smoker is a Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5" with nomex seals, therefore it's very tight. I never see any smoke coming out anywhere but the top vent.

There is a graph above that looks pretty good, he has the WSM 22.5 like mine and his PID settings are the same. Anybody have any suggestions for the PID settings?

My next butt, I think I'll wrap it around 150 - 160 degrees.

John
 

John Case

TVWBB Member
WSM 22.5 Ribs

Here are the results and comments of Ribs on the Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5" with HM4, 2nd smoke using the HM4

Please post any comments in this thread

Smoker was started up around 11:30 AM. Full of coals, 40 briquettes were lite in a chimney and scattered around. Using Kingsford Original.

2 bottom vents closed, top open about 0.25, Fan mounted in bowl and toggle bolted in place, open 100%. Water pan foiled without water.

WSM 22.5 has nomex gaskets and probe grommet hole.

Smoker came up to temperature (225) and held it nicely about an hour later.

2 St. Louis ribs from Costco of about 3 lbs each.

Settings were:
B: 4
P: 3
I: .005
D: 5

Fan:
Started at 100% max
12:50 PM fan set at 60% max
4:30 to 5:30 fan set at 70% max

Smoke wood:
6 oz Apple
6 oz Hickory

How it went:
Time Temp Comments
11:30 AM 80 Started smoker, fan set at 60% max
11:42 AM 193 Brain fart, top vent closed, opened to 100%
12:00 PM 199 set fan to 100% max
12:30 PM 223 Put meet on, added wood, 6oz hickory, 6oz apple
12:50 PM 221 set fan to 60% max
01:00 PM 223 smoker up to temp
03:00 PM 211 Foiled ribs, 2tbs apple juice each, set smoker to 250 (wanted to speed up the cook, figured smoke was done since being wrapped in foil)
03:20 PM 250 smoker up to temp
04:30 AM 247 Removed foil
05:25 PM 218 Stoked coals
06:00 PM 225 baste with SBR sauce
06:15 AM 248 DONE!



Questions/observations:
This cook went better then the last one.
One reason I think it went better is because I removed the 2nd coal grate stacked on the first.
No water in the pan, just foiled. Have to see if I continue without water. Maybe try the clay pot method?
Had to stoke the coals more then I thought I would have to.
I think I'll redo the blower and have it blow under the coal grate so it provides air from under the coal, instead of just on 1 side? (WSM has 3 air inlets spaced around for a reason)


 

RalphTrimble

TVWBB Diamond Member
John, that cook looks like it went much better....

Like I said before, I dont have a WSM so it's hard for me to give you direct advice.....

...but on my Char-Broil H2O smoker that is similar in design to the WSM I built an air delivery system out of copper tubing that I call the "air burner". It is a series of tubes made from 3/4" copper water pipe with holes drilled in it, it kinda looks like a gas burner so that's why I call it the "air burner". Here's a pic:




I am kinda surprised you need to stir and stoke your fire so much, I NEVER have to do any stirring or stoking on this little smoker with the "air burner", I just toss more lump coal in the door if it's running low and that's about it. This smoker holds whatever temp you set rock solid until it runs out of coals, when it starts running out of coals you can see the fan percentage ramp upward from in the teens, when it starts hitting about 50% I know I need to throw in more coals. I throw the (unlit) coals right into the pan on top of the "air burner", no grate or nothing, and it lights up and burns like magic!

As you can see, the air burner will pump the air right up into the coals from all around the burn pan, so it will stoke your fire in all corners. Lighting the fire is also a breeze, just a little paper lit on fire under a pile of lump coal and it's off to the races! This is by far my easiest smoker to run, my Kamado is a touchy little sucker that doesn't behave the HM nearly as well as this Char-Broil smoker. I think that is partially due to the "air burner" and partially due to the fact that this smoker does not hold the heat nearly as well as a Kamado.

At any rate, I've never had any of the problems you've had running lump coal in this smoker Since you have mentioned delivering the air in a more central location I thought I would throw this idea your way....
 

John Case

TVWBB Member
Ralph,
Thanks, I'm going to make an airburner myself. I just need think about how to get the air in. I don't want to really drill a hole in the bottom. But the air vents on the WSM are above the coal grate. I may cut away some of the coal grate to allow the pipe to go below. I'll post pictures of what I end up doing.

John
 

Darren C.

TVWBB Pro
This is my 3rd smoke on my 18.5" WSM. It was my first Boston Butt and first cook using the HM.

I used the default settings:
Bias: 4
Proportional: 3
Integral: 0.005
Derivative: 5

As you can see, the grill was pretty hot when I started. So, I closed the vents almost completely. My strategy from there was to open the vents as the fan became necessary. My logic was that if the fan was running, my vents were too closed. Theoretically, I figured the smoker should be able to maintain a pretty steady temp on its own. My goal was to limit the amount of work required by the fan on the HM. When I did make an adjustment, they were very slight. That seemed to work pretty well. I just had to be patient and give the adjustment time to work.

Next time, I might try a slightly different strategy, I might close the vents a little too much and allow the fan to do more work. That might reduce the number of times that I have to manually tweak the air vents. The only fly in that ointment is that I noticed a fair amount of ash on the foil when I pulled the food. I'm assuming that's due to the increase air flow from the fan. Ultimately, I'd like to add a servo to my HM and let the vents control the air flow. The WSM has 3 vents on the bottom. I believe keeping 2 closed and focusing on 1 vent would be sufficient for maintaining a 225 - 250 pit temp.

Even if the HM didn't offer any kind of air flow control, I would still be enamored with the rest of it. It is a fantastic device, well thought out and I can't thank Bryan enough for all of his hard work.


 
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RalphTrimble

TVWBB Diamond Member
Darren,
I think your strategy goes a little bit against the general idea of the HM, you are SUPPOSED to let the fan control the fire and NOT have to adjust the vents. In general you want to choke off the fire with the vents and allow the HM to do the "breathing" for the fire. The HM will give your fire the air it needs, and it is important that the HM is able to choke down the fire as well as stoke it up.

As for the ash in the foil, you can set the MAX fan speed in the HM configuration. I would suggest that you lower down the max speed a bit until it's not blowing ash around any more...

All that said, can't argue with the result, looks like you had a pretty stable cook at 225 there, good job running the pit!
 

Darren C.

TVWBB Pro
Thanks for the advice, Ralph. Yea, that's what I started thinking. That's why I mentioned that I plan to try a different strategy next time. I think that the sweet spot for the vents would be to set them so that they are just slightly closed too much.
 

RalphTrimble

TVWBB Diamond Member
Thanks for the advice, Ralph. Yea, that's what I started thinking. That's why I mentioned that I plan to try a different strategy next time. I think that the sweet spot for the vents would be to set them so that they are just slightly closed too much.
As long as the pit temp will drop when the HM fan turns off you should be alright. If the vents are open and allowing enough natural convection flow to keep the fire stoked when the HM fan turns off you will get runaway temps and the HM is pretty much useless at that point. If you see the pit temp hovering above the set point and the HM fan never (or very rarely) coming on then you should close off the other vents more.....
 

John Case

TVWBB Member
Did another smoke today, figured I would kind of follow Harry Soo's ribs running at 275

I made an airburner as inspired by Ralph, a little different. I attached it to the underside of the coal grate and drilled the air holes in the sides and bottom.
The coals burned much more evenly then with the cat bowl method. I did stoke the coals twice to drop the ash. In the future I may just use a rubber mallet as others have done.
I feel I'm closer, just a little more tweaking and I think I'll have it

Bryan, thanks again for developing and sticking with the HM

1:00 fired up the smoker
1:35 put in ribs
3:30 foiled the ribs
4:15 put chicken on bottom rack
5:30 pulled ribs from foil and mopped
6:00 done


Airburner






Here's the graph from today
 

Bryan Mayland

TVWBB Honor Circle
Love those air manifolds!

I did ribs today too. I used the blower + servo today. I started off with the fan setting "fan only at 100%" but with the blower mounted to the servo damper there wasn't enough air getting drafted in, so the whole thing was running ~80% just to keep temperature. I turned that off and got this:


PID settings were BPID= 0, 3, 0.05, 2. Notice that I lowered the P (from 10) vs using the servo alone because the servo needs to move more to change the temp, but with the fan going the P needs to be a lot lower. Think of it like "If the temperature is 5 degrees low, how much output do I need to make things right?" With a servo, which doesn't provide a lot of air, that was 50% (P=10). With the fan going too, 15% (P=3) is plenty to prevent it from getting carried away. Note that it ran ~10% most of the time, which is actually a function of the I term that ramped up to find the right amount of output to maintain 250F +/- about 0.5 degrees most of the time.
 

John Case

TVWBB Member
Love those air manifolds!

I did ribs today too. I used the blower + servo today. I started off with the fan setting "fan only at 100%" but with the blower mounted to the servo damper there wasn't enough air getting drafted in, so the whole thing was running ~80% just to keep temperature. I turned that off and got this:


PID settings were BPID= 0, 3, 0.05, 2. Notice that I lowered the P (from 10) vs using the servo alone because the servo needs to move more to change the temp, but with the fan going the P needs to be a lot lower. Think of it like "If the temperature is 5 degrees low, how much output do I need to make things right?" With a servo, which doesn't provide a lot of air, that was 50% (P=10). With the fan going too, 15% (P=3) is plenty to prevent it from getting carried away. Note that it ran ~10% most of the time, which is actually a function of the I term that ramped up to find the right amount of output to maintain 250F +/- about 0.5 degrees most of the time.
Bryan,
I'm striving to get a constant temp like that. Do you think its possible with a WSM? If I recall correctly your using a BGE?
 

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