Starting over. What do I want ?


Karl Vacek

TVWBB Member
An old Forum member build me a SMD variant HeaterMeter 4.2.4 with a Pi B+ in 2016. I had frequent wifi and power supply issues (I often just reeled out a 100' Ethernet cable), and finally it died completely after the second year. He fixed it by replacing the processor and it's been working fine. I eventually figured out that I'd been causing my WiFi issues by not raising the HM a foot or more off the patio. Now all is well with connectivity.

Yesterday when I dragged it out to do 4 pork butts it was working just fine till I stupidly tried to do the January firmware update. No amount of reflashing the SD card helped. Same symptoms as the first failure 4 years ago - the display is a row of blocks with the last one or two tapering less tall.

Time to start over. While I still have my apparently good Pi B+, I'm thinking that for all the time I've wasted over the years I'd rather start completely new.

I'll be buying a soldered and tested one. Not buying equipment and learning to do SMD soldering for one or two uses.

I believe I want a HM 4.3 and a Pi 3B ??

I've also had issues (I'm in the Chicago area with an 18" WSM) getting enough heat in cold windy weather, aka half the year here. I wrap the WSM with a fiberglass welding blanket and get by in the winter,snow, rain, etc, but I really want more air flow.

I started with the (Original?) centrifugal blower design and then built a MicroDamper which helped. At that time I also discovered that my first blower was jamming a bit and likely causing my early power issues when the servo jammed. But I still want more air flow for hotter winter cooks like the Thanksgiving turkey.

What blower will give me better air flow without being overwhelming on summer days when it's not Arctic here ? I assume that once the damper and fan are closed, a too-big blower isn't an issue ???

I probably should make an air burner, but so far a simple baffle to direct input air toward the bottom of the bowl has kept the fire pretty even.

And I also learned that by laying my lump charcoal in nicely I can indeed control temps manually for a 16-hour cook even on a windy mid-30's night. The butts look good even without my HM's help.

Karl Vacek

TVWBB Member
Was it something I said? No replies and it's been 6 days...

I ordered a HM 4.3 and case from Bryan and it should be here in a day or two. Have a brand new RPi 3B+waiting for it.

But how do I get a printed RD3 ? Emailed Ralph Trimble and no reply either. Does anyone else print them?


Bryan Mayland

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Sorry, I didn't reply because I didn't have any additional insight. The standard blower will push more air than the microdamper one, which isn't an issue for normal size smokers generally, but an RD3 with the standard blower is a small upgrade. I don't hear much about other blower, apart from the very occasional 15cfm version.

Not sure why Ralph isn't responding, he's usually pretty on top of it so maybe something's going on outside the smoking realm. If you can't get in touch with him, I suppose I could print the parts but I do not have the right servos.

Karl Vacek

TVWBB Member
I have the proper Tower metal gear servos. Had to buy several years ago and still have a couple somewhere.

I was hoping the higher CFM blower would fit. I also have the original design one that turned out to be misaligned when I bought it with the HM. Hence a jamming servo causing low voltage causing reboots, etc. I figured that out after building the Micro Damper, and I recall fixing it then but still never using it to cook again.

But maybe building an air burner will be a better heat boost.

Let's see if Ralph replies. No real rush since I should have working HM tomorrow.

Thank you!!