ThermoWorks Billows

Jake K

New member
I’d say less- the edges are usually up to the top of the ring, and then I dig a pit in the middle for the lit charcoal. I’m not opposed to going traditional minion, though- I just like the donut because I can control the smoke a little better.
 

Jake K

New member
I’ve had the exhaust either fully open to 1/8 open and had similar results. Probe sits on the top rack about an inch from the side. I’ve been running with water in the pan recently.
 

Jake K

New member
Ok- seems like the results are in. It’s only one cook, but it has been night and day. I filled the basket just to the top, dug a hole in the unlit charcoal. Put 40 kingsford blue briquettes in the chimney (just under half full), and dumped them in.

Had the fan running from the start and it’s been within 3-5 degrees for about 4 hours now (265 target with a half full water pan) - I messed with the exhaust a little but have found wide open to be best, as it hasn’t impacted temp and I like having the smoke get out since the intake vents are all closed other than the fan.

I did position the charcoal pit more toward the fan in hopes of having the fan get more air toward the already lit briquettes when I dumped them in.

These steps may be a bit overkill, but it seems to have provided great results this cook, so I’ll keep trying it and see if any issues come up.
 

MKovach

New member
Good info guys, thx, sounds like the concensus is more lit charcoal at the start.

I typically start with a full waterpan and put the probe as close to the center as I can on the bottom rack (this is usually easy with ribs, not so much with pork butt or brisket); I just try to not put it too close to the edge where it may pick up more direct heat.
 

Brad Baker

TVWBB Fan
Because the daisy wheels are above the grate, the air from the blower may be blowing the heat up the cooker rather than into the fire. Have either of you tried an airflow director on the inside of the bowl? You can bend up a few layers of aluminum foil to make a thing that covers the daisy wheel opening on the sides and top, but is open on the bottom to direct the air down below the grate.

air-diverter figure
 

Bob Bass

TVWBB Guru
All any stoker fan/blower does is add oxygen to the "fire" so as to increase the burn rate of said fuel, nothing more, nothing less.
 

Mitch D

New member
John,
You really do not need to go overboard with a manifold.
What I found, as did others, was to reuse our Rock's Stoker WSM adapters. It allows you to use all 3 holes on that single vent for the air. I did it in an attempt to reduce the air velocity into the WSM.
The adapter is nothing more than a stainless steel dog water/food bowl. You add a hole to mount the Billows and a hole to take the long attachment machine screw. Super easy to do and very effective.
Bob, i'm doing the dog bowl modification for my 18.5 WSM and the 18.5 only has 3 vents so I'm taking up one of them to hold the bowl on which leaves 2 vents for the fan. Do you or anyone else know if this modification will work like it does for the 22.5? I will be getting the billows tomorrow and will try a cook later this week depending on the weather. Thanks, Mitch
John,
You really do not need to go overboard with a manifold.
What I found, as did others, was to reuse our Rock's Stoker WSM adapters. It allows you to use all 3 holes on that single vent for the air. I did it in an attempt to reduce the air velocity into the WSM.
The adapter is nothing more than a stainless steel dog water/food bowl. You add a hole to mount the Billows and a hole to take the long attachment machine screw. Super easy to do and very effective.
 

Bob Bass

TVWBB Guru
Hi Mitch,

While mine is working on a 22.5 WSM, it will work just fine on the 18.5 WSM.
I believe the number of vents and vent hole sizes are the same for the 22.5 and the 18.5 WSM.

Wishing you the very best in your cooks.
 

Mitch D

New member
I believe the 22.5 has 4 vents, mine has 3, but since it is significantly smaller I would think it would be just as important to have the fan a little further away from the action. I will let you know how it works out. Just did the cut out for my the probes today which was easy. Great forum, great advice. Thanks
 

MKovach

New member
So do most of you guys get the pit up to temp the old fashion way then plug in the Billows, or you plug Billows in immediately and let it get the pit up to temp?
 

John A. Winston

TVWBB Member
I suppose I have been lucky but having owned a 18 WSM for many years and a 22.5 WSM for 5 years, I never saw the need for adding a blower to control my temps. Once I learned where to set the vents on both WSM's (I use Kingsford) and how much charcoal to use, both my units would run overnight without a lot of attention. I am just doing backyard cooks for family and friends but the food always turns out good. I suppose if you are doing competition cooks thing might be different, but for what I am doing adding blowers, etc. does not seem necessary.
 

MKovach

New member
I'm spending so much time trying to get this fan working right starting to wonder if it's worth it, just cannot get it to hold temp. Will get it up to temp then damper down the vents as instructed and down goes my temp. Been using the smoky mountain for 20 years with great success so would like to think I know what I'm doing, thought I'd get something to make my life just a little bit easier and get in some sleep while I'm cooking but it's starting to p!ss me off. :-(
 

MKovach

New member
Seems to be red hot by the fan but won't keep the rest of the coal chamber with enough airflow.

At this point I'm invested enough to try the 2nd fan expansion but still doesn't explain why so many others are having success with this setup.

Might try lump next time, might allow for a little more air to flow through plus it burns hotter.

Still would appreciate any suggestions!

Thanks.
 

MKovach

New member
Ok, made some progress although doesn't live up to the hype, lowered the billows to the bottom hole of the vent which seems just enough lower and at an angle its blowing oxygen up and under the coals instead of over it, though I also had to open all of the vents, and it finally seems to be keeping at temp.
 

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