Author Topic: "Top Secret" Leaked!! New "Prototype" Electronic Smokin-It Model 2!  (Read 18007 times)

DivotMaker

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December 2015 Update!
We finally did it!  The new Model 2D and Model 3D are now available!  These smokers have an integrated PID controller, designed by Auber Instruments, so it works the same as a standalone Auber PID.  Check them out here:


Product Release:  Smokin-It Model 2D and 3D





Boy, am I excited!


I got my hands on a new prototype for testing - the Electronic Smokin-It Model 2!  I'm grateful to Steve and Ben for giving me the opportunity to test this bad boy out!

Let me give a couple of "disclaimers" before I tell you all about it:

1.  This is the FIRST prototype of the new electronic controller; there will most likely be some issues to address, but that's what this is for!  We want to work-out all the "bugs" before releasing this unit.

2.  I'm not a Professional Product Tester, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. ;)

3.  Feedback/suggestions are welcome!  That's another reason for this posting!

4.  I just got hold of it night before last, so the pictures/videos aren't the best quality, but did the best I could with very limited time.  There will be MANY more reviews to come!

5.  There is a "known" issue regarding accuracy of the electronic controller.  This is being addressed, and I'll be evaluating it extensively.

Okay, now that the lawyers are happy,  ;) , we can get down to business!

I unwrapped, cleaned and mounted it on the cart night before last.  Last night, I was able to season the unit.  Some very interesting things were discovered in those few hours, some of which I'll get into later.

Initial impressions:

1.  I have a model 1, so I was definitely impressed with the size of the model 2! 

2.  It is a standard model 2, in every way, except the top and controller.  As you can see below, the controller is housed in a newly-designed black plastic housing.  It appears to be a very heavy-duty plastic, and looks weather-proof.  The buttons are "touch-sensitive" buttons, meaning you don't have to "press" on them, just gently touch.  Took a minute to figure that out, but really liked it once I did.

3.  I like the layout of the controls.  They're simple and elegant.

4.  One minor issue:  When the smoker is mounted on a cart, the display is unreadable when standing directly in front of the smoker (unless you're over 6' tall).  I had to step to the side a bit to read it.  When the smoker is on its own wheels on the floor, it's fine. 

Seasoning:

I threw a couple dowels in, and placed the Maverick on a shelf.  I also added 2 1/2 bricks to the shelf to act as a "heat sink" (simulated meat...lol).  I can now add hickory-smoked bricks to my repertoire! I turned the smoker on (there's an "On" button), and the display sprang to life!  It has a pleasant blue backlight (which you'll see in the videos).  When I touched "Time," the top "time" line started to flash.  It displays in hours:minutes, so I just used the up/down keys to set 4 hours.  Pressing "Set" saved the setting.  I set the temp to 250 (max) the same way.  Easy so far!

I was amazed at the difference in the heating elements between the model 1 and 2!  The 700 watt element in the 2 is a hoss!  I noticed, almost immediately, that the temp gauge on the controller was not keeping pace with the Maverick's box temp.  The box temp climbed rapidly, but the controller lagged 20+ degrees behind during the run-up.  See the chart, below, to see the differences.

Once the controller sensed the temp at 246 (box temp 277), it cycled the controller into maintenance mode.  During the heating process, the indicator light on the controller was solid red.  When it reached temp, it turned to a yellowish-green.  As the box temp began to drop, the controller remained steady for some time.  Eventually, I began to hear the controller start to "click" as it turned the element on and off.  The light never did turn red again, as it seems the controller switches to this maintenance mode when it gets up to temp.

During the preheat to 250, I experienced something that has been written about on the site several times, but I never experienced with my model 1:  The "Smoke Belch!"  I've attached video of this.  The first time it happened, I was standing over the smoker, looking at the controller display.  Scared me so much I almost dropped my drink!  Smoke spewed from every orofice in that sucker for 2-3 seconds!  Out the top, around the door, and even out the bottom!  Ben and I discussed this last night, and may have it figured-out - more on that later, after I test our theory.

There were no big "temp swings," like with the analog controller.  The most difference I saw, and only briefly, was 9-11 degrees.  Most of the time, the controller and Maverick varied by only 1-6 degrees.  Not bad.  It doesn't seem to be PID-accurate yet, but I know this is being addressed.

All in all, first impressions are good!  I look forward to smoking some good Q, and giving you feedback in "real world" situations with food!  It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it! ;D

 
Electronic Smokin-It Model 2
“Seasoning”
1/16/14, 48-degrees ambient temp
Elapsed Time:              Controller Temp:        Actual Box Temp:       Notes
:10                                  84                                   104
:12                                  91                                   117                 Smoke begins
:14                                  96                                   124
:17                                  104                                 133
:18                                  107                                 136
:22                                  140                                 174
:25                                  149                                 183
:29                                  170                                 203
:31                                  177                                 210
:32                                  185                                 216                 Big smoke belch!
:34                                  201                                 232
:35                                  206                                 237
:40                                  244                                 277
:42                                  246                                 273                 Controller in maintenance mode
:44                                  248                                 271
:45                                  251                                 270
:51                                  251                                 255
:55                                  248                                 252
:56                                  248                                 250
:58                                  246                                 246
:60                                  246                                 248
:62                                  246                                 250
1:05                                252                                 261
1:06                                253                                 262
1:11                                251                                 259
1:18                                246                                 252
1:20                                246                                 253
1:41                                253                                 262
 
I stopped charting at this point.  The rest of the seasoning was similar to the results after :55 minutes.  The temp would go up and down, based on the controller cycling.


Videos:
The belch:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/rpawls3wke2ft4v/VIDEO0012.mp4
Temps:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/uspdmeuueyn9hv0/VIDEO0014.mp4
https://www.dropbox.com/s/5vz3ogg0ta9tkbq/VIDEO0015.mp4
https://www.dropbox.com/s/gkakkholpwiym3a/VIDEO0016.mp4
https://www.dropbox.com/s/yd2hy4i4ycvie5g/ESI%2018.mp4

 

Lots more to come - Stay Tuned!
« Last Edit: December 08, 2015, 08:06:53 PM by DivotMaker »
Tony from NW Arkansas
"Official Smokin-It Test Pilot"
Smokin-It Model 1, 2D conversion, and 3D
Auber PID, NexGrill 896 6-burner, CharBroil Big Easy, Anova Precision Cooker w/WiFi
Wife, Son and One REALLY Big Dog!

Three Sons BBQ

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Re: "Top Secret" Leaked!! New "Prototype" Electronic Smokin-It Model 2!
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2014, 09:21:01 PM »
That is more like it.

I will be sad forever that I did get my SI unit several months before they had an integrated PID on the unit but such is life. I like what I have perfectly and reality before this all gets squared up for an SI3 will be some time. NOTE I am a licensed PE and live two hours from Steve should they ever want me to get their PID tweaked in an afternoon pro bono if you will.

That said it will be a real great model. I would seem to think having a more vibrant display would be important .... Something with bright red, or blue, or green LED so you could see at night for those long smokes.

Also, if Steve is going this far... Take one more step and let this controller have one IT probe, two or thee meat probes, and let the unit have a wi if option to something that is most reliable ( not sure if that is iGrill or something else ) but having all this it would be great if there was a way o then walk around my house with the temps in my hand   

All in all congrats to Steve for stepping it up.

Note they should apply my shelf mod to all carts going forward ( simple hole and then users can buy a hitch pin ). 

God speed.
Brinkmann '07... Offset '11... Smokin-It '13!!!

DivotMaker

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Re: "Top Secret" Leaked!! New "Prototype" Electronic Smokin-It Model 2!
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2014, 09:27:42 PM »
Great comments, Steve!  Rest assured, Ben is watching, so your ideas are heard!

The internal meat probes are a good idea, but I think they are trying to weigh failure points with price points.  Once you start getting too complex, you have more points of failure, and will increase the cost way too much.  The great thing about Smokin-It, and why I bought one, is value for the dollar.  Great features, but not so many that they're not a better value than the competition. 
Tony from NW Arkansas
"Official Smokin-It Test Pilot"
Smokin-It Model 1, 2D conversion, and 3D
Auber PID, NexGrill 896 6-burner, CharBroil Big Easy, Anova Precision Cooker w/WiFi
Wife, Son and One REALLY Big Dog!

Three Sons BBQ

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Re: "Top Secret" Leaked!! New "Prototype" Electronic Smokin-It Model 2!
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2014, 09:35:50 PM »
Ok ok... Price... You think someone as cheap I mean frugal... As me would remember that.

Maybe... Considering I'm a Tinker... Just make the controller so one could easily mod-squad these  things if they want.

Man drilling through stainless with my work tools at work and only using my 19.2V rechargeable was an adventure. Now ever, in some odd way I enjoy my smoker more.

Will anxiously await reports.
Brinkmann '07... Offset '11... Smokin-It '13!!!

benjammn

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Re: "Top Secret" Leaked!! New "Prototype" Electronic Smokin-It Model 2!
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2014, 10:18:13 PM »
Great news and love the ideas. Very close to the control panel I had drawn up for the system I am planning. I would love to be on the tester crew for AZ since the one thing that I see about this panel is the fact that AZ is a bitch on plastic panels like that. UV kills everything here and would be interesting to see how it would hold up overall. This is obviously a simpler version of the PID that is being used now. I like the simple nature of it. Tony pm me if you will.
Ben in Chandler, AZ
Proud owner of #2

benjammn

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Re: "Top Secret" Leaked!! New "Prototype" Electronic Smokin-It Model 2!
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2014, 10:36:39 PM »
Based on the vids you have posted, there might be a difference in the thermostats. With the controller being inclosed on top of the smoker, it might be having a harder time balancing the external temps to the Maveric's. The Maveric is outside the box and the thermo dynamic response is different. Also it depends on the thermo probe type that is being used for this unit. It might have a lower tolerance level than the Maveric, not sure. You might need to try out some different levels of the thermocouple to get a more accurate reading. There are a lot of things that might be affecting the built in thermocouple to be that far off.
Ben in Chandler, AZ
Proud owner of #2

DivotMaker

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Re: "Top Secret" Leaked!! New "Prototype" Electronic Smokin-It Model 2!
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2014, 10:40:25 PM »
Based on the vids you have posted, there might be a difference in the thermostats. With the controller being inclosed on top of the smoker, it might be having a harder time balancing the external temps to the Maveric's. The Maveric is outside the box and the thermo dynamic response is different. Also it depends on the thermo probe type that is being used for this unit. It might have a lower tolerance level than the Maveric, not sure. You might need to try out some different levels of the thermocouple to get a more accurate reading. There are a lot of things that might be affecting the built in thermocouple to be that far off.

Good analysis, Ben.  Before the unit was shipped, Steve moved the thermocouple around, and got the same results.  I plan on doing my own tinkering with that, too.  It may also be the actual thermocouple, itself, that's the culprit.  There are many different kinds, and it may be that this is not the correct one.  Time will tell....  Thanks for the input!
Tony from NW Arkansas
"Official Smokin-It Test Pilot"
Smokin-It Model 1, 2D conversion, and 3D
Auber PID, NexGrill 896 6-burner, CharBroil Big Easy, Anova Precision Cooker w/WiFi
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old sarge

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Re: "Top Secret" Leaked!! New "Prototype" Electronic Smokin-It Model 2!
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2014, 10:50:20 PM »
A very good intro and series of videos. While the difference between the onboard SI controller reading and the Maverick are wide initially, once the SI hits the mark, it appears pretty solid for a pro to-type and the difference between it and the Maverick are tolerable, again for a prototype.

I have to agree with Steve on the IT issue. But I also see the importance of the price point and acknowledge that secondary thermometers like the Maverick are not a big investment and can be very satisfactory for IT monitoring. Sort of a mixed bag comment.

Regarding the temp variations:  Did you calibrate the Maverick before testing?  I ask only because at the 40 minute mark, the SI unit was steadily climbing while the Maverick was steadily falling and taking a  big 15 degree dump between the 45 and 51 minute mark with the SI units holding steady at 251. From that point on, I would have no trouble trusting the SI unit. The temp swings are not that severe.

Keep on testing. I am confident that with time, the tolerance can be tightened up.

David from Arizona
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DivotMaker

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Re: "Top Secret" Leaked!! New "Prototype" Electronic Smokin-It Model 2!
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2014, 11:01:27 PM »
Thanks for the comments, Dave!  I have calibrated my Maverick with ice water and boiling water, and it reads within 1 degree (lucky, I think).  This process of creating a new board is definitely more complicated than most would think, in this computer-driven age, and I know changes will be made to make this unit as accurate as possible.  Hang with us, and I appreciate your thoughts!
Tony from NW Arkansas
"Official Smokin-It Test Pilot"
Smokin-It Model 1, 2D conversion, and 3D
Auber PID, NexGrill 896 6-burner, CharBroil Big Easy, Anova Precision Cooker w/WiFi
Wife, Son and One REALLY Big Dog!

swthorpe

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Re: "Top Secret" Leaked!! New "Prototype" Electronic Smokin-It Model 2!
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2014, 07:57:08 AM »
Onward and upward...congratulations to SI for new product development!   As for the smoke belch, that happened to me as well on the original version of the #2, and I suspect others have experienced it as well.  I will be curious to see if it continues...I only experienced the major belch a couple of times and now it just gives a few puff-type belches.
Steve from Delaware
Smokin-It #2

DivotMaker

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Re: "Top Secret" Leaked!! New "Prototype" Electronic Smokin-It Model 2!
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2014, 08:40:48 AM »
Thanks, Steve.  I'm going to do a little testing on the "belch."  We have a theory, and I want to see if it's right before I post on it. 
Tony from NW Arkansas
"Official Smokin-It Test Pilot"
Smokin-It Model 1, 2D conversion, and 3D
Auber PID, NexGrill 896 6-burner, CharBroil Big Easy, Anova Precision Cooker w/WiFi
Wife, Son and One REALLY Big Dog!

DivotMaker

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Re: "Top Secret" Leaked!! New "Prototype" Electronic Smokin-It Model 2!
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2014, 02:52:01 PM »
Here's a couple of better pics in the daylight.  The LCD display is a little dim, but readable.  I think that's due to the thickness of the weather cover on it.

Trapped with work this weekend, so I won't have any more testing until Monday, but stay tuned!
Tony from NW Arkansas
"Official Smokin-It Test Pilot"
Smokin-It Model 1, 2D conversion, and 3D
Auber PID, NexGrill 896 6-burner, CharBroil Big Easy, Anova Precision Cooker w/WiFi
Wife, Son and One REALLY Big Dog!

DivotMaker

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Re: "Top Secret" Leaked!! New "Prototype" Electronic Smokin-It Model 2!
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2014, 04:56:01 PM »
The temperature sensor was relocated during testing in Ohio.  I've moved the sensor back to the original factory location, and will run the seasoning test again.  During the original test, the box temp was reading higher than the controller sensor was reading, which leads me to believe the sensor was too far from the element. (I guess it was "out of it's element").  We'll see if this makes the controller read higher, bringing it closer to the actual box temp!. 

Notice, also, that this seems to be a temp probe, not a thermocouple.  My #1 has a thermocouple mounted to the little shelf between the 2 temp sensor locations shown in the picture.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2014, 04:58:08 PM by DivotMaker »
Tony from NW Arkansas
"Official Smokin-It Test Pilot"
Smokin-It Model 1, 2D conversion, and 3D
Auber PID, NexGrill 896 6-burner, CharBroil Big Easy, Anova Precision Cooker w/WiFi
Wife, Son and One REALLY Big Dog!

benjammn

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Re: "Top Secret" Leaked!! New "Prototype" Electronic Smokin-It Model 2!
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2014, 01:33:41 AM »
Interesting, kinda bet that makes a difference.
Ben in Chandler, AZ
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Wik

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Re: "Top Secret" Leaked!! New "Prototype" Electronic Smokin-It Model 2!
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2014, 07:15:01 AM »
I was thinking about checking temps on 3 different racks bottom, middle with Ribs via Auber, and top during my next cook.  Thought maybe having the Auber probe closer to the bottom would make sense as well, but wasn't sure how that would affect the upper temps since heat rises.  I'll report back my results in case anyone is curious, or maybe the results will be of interest to your future testing.
Wik
Chad from Moorhead, MN
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