SmokeFire First Uses Questions


 

BFletcher

TVWBB Wizard
After not intending to get a SF, I did. I received an unusual amount of gift cards for Christmas and with the $200 discount I lost all sense of logic.

Over the weekend I used it 3 times including the burn in. It was frustrating and I don't like to complain. Here's what I experienced:

  • During the burn in the target temp was reached and maintained for ~15 minutes. Then it descended to >100f below the target and hung there for ~10 minutes before climbing again to the target
  • During the first cook there were a couple times when using the app to adjust the target temp where the actual temp did not change (the smoker displayed the new target temp but the pit temp did not change according to the app and smoker display (on this cook I was not using a third party pit temp thermometer). There were times I waited up-to 15 minutes before realizing the temp was not going to change. I had to toggle a new target temp in order for the SF to respond. This occurred multiple times.
  • During the second cook the issues noted above persisted, though the swings were in the neighborhood of 50-75f when the pit descended. The third party pit temp thermo mirrored the swings. Pellets were reaching the auger and I could hear what sounded like pellets dropping from the chute
  • Judging by the app and SF display the temps are adjustable in 5* increments, yet there were times when changing temps through the app the resulting target temp was 1* above what I set (251, 276, 326)
  • Whenever I increased the target, even by a delta as high as 25*, the unit would confirm the new target had been reached within 3 seconds
  • I attached a pic of the hopper. I started with a full hopper. At the end of the cook pellets were still being fed but I envisioned they would flow more evenly. As it was, I received a low pellet notification since they were clear of the sensor. And it feels to me like they could stop feeding if this persists
The most recent firmware and software updates auto-installed during the initial startup (most recent according to Weber's version history). Do you regular users experience any of these behaviors? After reading-through some of the links provided by Lew more closely I suppose I can reinstall the app and possibly reset the smoker. Beyond that, I'm not aware of any other attempts on my part (and those will not improve the pellet flow).

Thanks for any input you can offer

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Lew Newby

TVWBB Wizard
Well, now you’ve joined the crazy folks. Congratulations!!! I don’t recommend making any changes just yet. The December update to the grill software is messing with lots of folks. I’m having temp control problems like never before. I’m waiting to see if the next update fixes some of the problem. Since the update I have experienced every problem you listed. Wax on the long ramp in the hopper or slick tape helps the pellets slide better. Did you get the EX4 or 6?
 

Lew Newby

TVWBB Wizard
One tip on the Smokefire. If you set the grill temp to 300 or lower the temperature climbs very slowly. If you set it to 305 or higher the fan kicks on high at 90 degrees and stays on high until temperature is reached. Getting to 250 is faster going to 305 and then reduce set temp to 250.
 

BFletcher

TVWBB Wizard
@Lew Newby thanks for your feedback. I have the EX6. I'm not overly concerned with the hopper and just because I think pellets might stop feeding doesn't make it true. But the control and temp issue is not something I'm willing to live with long term. I sent a diplomatic email to Weber; I'm patient and I don't need an immediate response nor remedy but I need an agreement that if the problems persist they will allow a return.

While I'll limit sharing my displeasure, I do believe it is appropriate and fair to share my experience here; providing honest feedback on our experiences with Weber products is an important aspect of the tremendous value of this site.
 

ShaneF

TVWBB Fan
My hopper looks like that every time. I push or rustle the pellets every few hours on LnS cooks and haven’t gone out on overnight cooks. There does seem to be some temp issues with the latest update, but if you are going to be upset about anything within plus/minus 20 degrees of your set point you need to stick a probe in you indoor oven and watch it. Nothing is truly going to change immediately for a cooking device except maybe a gas range top. Maybe it was already 20 over when you changed it, so it said ahh I’m good. You mentioned overshooting by 1 degree.

My Traegers did plus/minus 50 when I had them ‘dialed in’ and put out good food. Your oven probably does plus/minus 20-25. If you think other pellet grills don‘t really go up and down versus lying on the display, we should probably find some independent lab test data. My WSCG with a Fireboard 2 Drive and Pit Viper fan cycles plus/minus 10-20 all night long and it‘s limited airflow and insulated.

Another thing to keep in mind is the SmokeFire is not insulated and has 3 pretty large rear vents right in the chamber versus a side stack. Wind affects mine a lot. I’ve had times I fired it up not paying attention to the wind and 30 mins later it was stuck at 150 or so and walked outside and realized that there was a prettY strong wind blowing straight into the vents. I turn the grill 90 degrees and within a few minutes it’s at temp at holds fairly steady for the cook duration.

Then 50-100 degree discrepancies are definitely unacceptable though and I’ve seen a few of those since the last update. I’m not trying to downplay any of your concerns at all, I also have some since last update. However, I’m wanting to make sure you’re taking weather into consideration and keeping expectations in check too. Pellets grills are about convenience first. I’ve had 10 poopers and nothing else I’ve had grills anywhere near as good as the SmokeFire not has anywhere near the smoke flavor over 225 degrees. My normal cooking temp is 275 now and was always 225 on all the others and my results have ben way more smoke flavor now.
 

BFletcher

TVWBB Wizard
.. but if you are going to be upset about anything within plus/minus 20 degrees of your set point you need to stick a probe in you indoor oven and watch it.
If I gave the indication that I'm upset with a 20* variance then I need to re-read and correct what I wrote.

And when I spoke to the target temp 1* above what I set I meant that the possible temp selections are 225, 250, 275, 300, etc. yet when I selected any one of those choices the display [sometimes] indicated that I selected 251, 276, 301, etc. That's not a big deal but I shared it in case it could be a clue to issues with the app. I was not very clear in sharing that behavior, initially.
 

Lew Newby

TVWBB Wizard
@Lew Newby thanks for your feedback. I have the EX6. I'm not overly concerned with the hopper and just because I think pellets might stop feeding doesn't make it true. But the control and temp issue is not something I'm willing to live with long term. I sent a diplomatic email to Weber; I'm patient and I don't need an immediate response nor remedy but I need an agreement that if the problems persist they will allow a return.

While I'll limit sharing my displeasure, I do believe it is appropriate and fair to share my experience here; providing honest feedback on our experiences with Weber products is an important aspect of the tremendous value of this site.
Spot on. Remember Bruno’s saga last year? He came close to returning his EX6. The problems you’re experiencing are frustrating and venting here is good for the soul. If you decide to return it no one can fault you for that.
 

ShaneF

TVWBB Fan
If I gave the indication that I'm upset with a 20* variance then I need to re-read and correct what I wrote.

And when I spoke to the target temp 1* above what I set I meant that the possible temp selections are 225, 250, 275, 300, etc. yet when I selected any one of those choices the display [sometimes] indicated that I selected 251, 276, 301, etc. That's not a big deal but I shared it in case it could be a clue to issues with the app. I was not very clear in sharing that behavior, initially.
As well, I was just trying to add some helpful feedback from my experiences. I didn't read it you were really upset about anything, just frustrated because it doesn't appear to be working as expected. The grill or app displaying that you selected 251, 276, etc. is not something I've ever seen on mine. I'd give Weber a call on that one, maybe they have some notes or something that indicate a problem when it does that.

Also, just FYI, I have seen the temp drop a couple times like the 100 degrees you mentioned, I pretty sure they were both on the first SmokeFire I had, and when I went out to check on it and rustled the hopper, a bunch of pellets fell like there was a void over the auger chute you couldn't see from above. I removed the finger guard when I bought a SmokeFire again and haven't seen that with the new one.
 

BFletcher

TVWBB Wizard
Thanks @ShaneF. Weber has asked some follow-up questions, one of which was if I have screenshots of the 1* odd-numbered target temp readings. I had a 331 and 351 screenshot that I provided in my follow-up reply.

It will be embarrassing if they discover my flux capacitor is leaking on the '74 Pinto.
 

ShaneF

TVWBB Fan
I just hope they get it all straightened out for you. It’s really a great grill when it works right and that’s why I came back for seconds even knowing there would be more quirks along the way. It just puts out food that is so much better than other pellet grills I’ve had (8 other models).
 

Lew Newby

TVWBB Wizard
Thanks @ShaneF. Weber has asked some follow-up questions, one of which was if I have screenshots of the 1* odd-numbered target temp readings. I had a 331 and 351 screenshot that I provided in my follow-up reply.

It will be embarrassing if they discover my flux capacitor is leaking on the '74 Pinto.
I get that odd-numbered target temp a lot when I set the temp on the app. Since it's one degree I just ignore it BUT that should not happen.
 

Bruno

TVWBB Wizard
I removed the finger guard like may others and it seems to have really helped.
I also have to say mixing up pellets every few hours is nothing to me, it’s still a heck of a lot easier to me than my WSM.
 

BFletcher

TVWBB Wizard
Weber has been extremely responsive over the past week, asking me to perform incremental checks, and submit various pics. Yesterday, they concluded there may be an issue with the controller and/or thermocouple. They are providing those two replacement items.
 

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