Author Topic: Building HeaterMeter PID - DIY  (Read 24353 times)

TmanEater

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Building HeaterMeter PID - DIY
« on: January 25, 2015, 05:32:09 PM »
Starting a new thread to document my HeaterMeter PID Controller build plans/progress and give everyone a fixed location for reference if they feel inclined to watch, build, or buy a pre-made one themselves.

Background Information:
What is the HeaterMeter PID Controller?
A PID Controller is control loop feedback mechanism. In BBQ smokers it is basically a device with an algorithm that monitors temperatures of your smoker/pit and provides a method of controlling your heat to maintain your desired setpoint(s) as accurately and stably as possible. The HeaterMeter PID Controller is a development project started up by Bryan Mayland (aka CapnBry) that is geared for the Big Green Egg (BGE). This project is gaining traction and continually evolving with improvements and new adaptations due to the great community of developers and users. The current version I will use for the basis of this thread is v4.2.4. I applaud Bryan for the great foundation work he has provided and hope everyone here at smokingitforums can consider it a viable future option for their temperature sensor and PID controller needs. Please visit the following links to learn more about the HeaterMeter PID controller:
Why would I want one?
Most Smoking-It owners want to become king of "Lazy-Q", am I right? The HeaterMeter costs roughly $200 +/- $50 (labor and time costs to build excluded) depending on features and quality of components used in the building process. This is in the same financial investment ballpark as the current Auber PID's that so many users on this forum invest in. It is my belief (will know when I finish this project build) that the HeaterMeter will be more capable and feature rich than the Auber. Please be aware that this comes at the expense of more complex and challenging setup conditions. Once everything is setup and tuned it should be "smooth" sailing on the BBQ train while you drink more beers "slaving over dinner"!  ;)

Here's a few previews of what's on the horizon:
  • Custom 3D printed case for modified 4-line LCD HeaterMeter Pit/Probe status monitoring

   
  • Real time Pit/Food monitoring from anywhere!

  • Wowing your family/friends with a BBQ and Beer science lesson!



HeaterMeter Build and Integration Plans:
4-Line LCD w/Thermocouple and 3 probe support
I settled on this configuration because I plan to modify my SI2 smoker to utilize a permanent "Pit" probe thermocoupler similar to what the Auber PID controller installers within this forum typically install in their units. I plan to maintain legacy analog and new heatermeter PID controller functionality by way of installing a bypass DPDT ON-ON waterproof switch. I wanted to dedicate a quality pit probe and 2 food probes for my smokes. Having the room for the 3rd additional probe port in the HeaterMeter was just icing on the cake. I really wanted complete visibility to my smokes through the LCD and Wireless (Wi-Fi) interfaces. This allows me to real time monitor my smokes anywhere/anytime so I'm not constrained to being near the BBQ all the time. Finally, I wanted to help the HeaterMeter project bridge the gap into supporting electric smokers through the addition of adding a solid state relay (SSR). This should really open up my "Lazy-Q" visions. And I love technology and tinkering so why the hell not try a project like this?

I want to be as open and transparent as possible so followers can make reasonable and accurate assumptions based on their experience levels, willingness to try new things, and budgetary estimates of what to expect based on what they have and need to make this a success. I knew going into this project that I would be spending a fair amount more than the standard costs because I needed some tools and things I haven't used in years (e.g. soldering iron and other electronic tools and supplies). I also realize I'll probably spend quite a few hours re-learning stuff I haven't used in practice since my college days. I hope to pay close attention and remember enough things that prevent myself from making any significant and costly mistakes.

Parts and Pricing - My experience
ItemPriceQtyShippingTotalLink
Soldering Station59.9910.0059.99Link
Solder 60/40 Rosin Core28.9910.0028.99Link
HM v4.2.4 PCB14.0012.0016.00Link
Raspberry Pi A+24.9910.0024.99Link
20x4 LCD10.4910.0010.49Link
USB Wifi Adapter8.9910.008.99Link
32GB Micro SDHC15.9910.0015.99Link
12VDC 1A Power Supply5.9910.005.99Link
ThermoWorks probes16.0024.9936.99Link
Solid State Relay (SSR)12.1710.0012.17Link
DPDT Toggle Switch2.6610.002.66Link
PCB & Thermo Parts38.2614.9943.25Link
Probe Jacks0.87103.3812.06Link
TC Connector & resistors2.0726.1410.28Link
TC Mini Connector3.3010.003.30Link
TC 4" Probe11.9517.3819.33Link
Grand Total311.47

This is my total cost so far and I'm missing a case and one small part I missed, so add ~($30+$2). My numbers may not be reflective of others who may already have some of the expensive equipment like electronic supplies and thermo probes. Average kit should be around $200 to complete + some labor of soldering/debugging. I went with high end everything like 2 - Thermoworks food probe thermistors, Thermocouple that will permanent mount in my smoker, 4 line LCD, etc...

The HeaterMeter Build Process
So I received the majority of my parts this week and spend Saturday starting the soldering process. Things went pretty smoothly as I took my time on the surface mount components and only had a small mistake on a resistor and mosfet where I wasn't paying close enough attention to the directions. Luckily I was able to fix those mistakes without a really major heartache. Tomorrow I may connect the LCD. I forgot to order a part so it's gonna be another week probably before I can mount the Raspberry Pi and HeaterMeter boards together for full operation. I'm considering building another unit that isn't as fancy (i.e. 2 line LCD) and seeing if anyone wants to buy it. Pictures of my soldering job have been attached.

Update: I have built a complete second unit and have it operational now as well. The LCD I ordered from Ebay was partially damaged so I'm awaiting a new LCD to complete it without defects. I will sell this unit or keep it as a backup.

The Smokin-It #2 modifications
It's now February 23rd and I completed my smoker modifications last night. The HM has been completed for about a week and I just got back from vacation so it was time to finish up the project.  Here's some pics:



















« Last Edit: February 23, 2015, 09:29:06 AM by TmanEater »
Smokin Newbie starting Dec. 2014... Learning Lazy-Q As Fast as I can!
Smokin-It 2, HeaterMeter PID
Monitor my live smokes at http://bbq.tonylyne.com

Tony from Marion, IA

DivotMaker

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Re: Building HeaterMeter PID - DIY
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2015, 07:43:35 PM »
Good luck!  Looking forward to the test model!
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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TmanEater

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Re: Building HeaterMeter PID - DIY
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2015, 11:38:23 PM »
Well, looks like I'm building another unit since I forgot 1 part on this one. I decided if I'm paying shipping for more parts I might as well build up a complete second unit and either sell it or hold it for a backup. If anyone is in the market for a pre-built one of these they can PM me or monitor my progress of the build(s) by watching this thread. I hope to get my current one up and running in the next couple of days but it will only have LCD support until I get my missing part to mate the Raspberry Pi and turn it into a thing of Wi-Fi enabled beauty!
Smokin Newbie starting Dec. 2014... Learning Lazy-Q As Fast as I can!
Smokin-It 2, HeaterMeter PID
Monitor my live smokes at http://bbq.tonylyne.com

Tony from Marion, IA

TmanEater

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Re: Building HeaterMeter PID - DIY
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2015, 03:24:29 PM »
Ok, I got the missing part in and have put together the controller and it works on the first power up! I should have the printed 3D case here next week to put it into a pretty packaging format. See the pics below. It has a 4-line LCD display for viewing at the smoker. It manages a Wi-Fi enabled webpage to remotely monitor what's going on. I'm working on creating modifications to send emails and SMS text message alerts to my phone during certain alarm events. This should be one awesome Auber PID replacements pretty darn soon!



Smokin Newbie starting Dec. 2014... Learning Lazy-Q As Fast as I can!
Smokin-It 2, HeaterMeter PID
Monitor my live smokes at http://bbq.tonylyne.com

Tony from Marion, IA

BedouinBob

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Re: Building HeaterMeter PID - DIY
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2015, 10:59:17 AM »
Nice looking project!
Bob - Colorado Springs
NRA & USN

TmanEater

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Re: Building HeaterMeter PID - DIY
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2015, 12:22:54 AM »
Yippee! Today I got the printed 3D cases for my HeaterMeter project.  Here's the integrated photos which really make this thing look professional. My next steps will be to start the smoker modifications for the thermocouple permanent probe modification, bypass switch, and the SSR integration (probably a couple weeks at least since I'm leaving on vacation soon).
Smokin Newbie starting Dec. 2014... Learning Lazy-Q As Fast as I can!
Smokin-It 2, HeaterMeter PID
Monitor my live smokes at http://bbq.tonylyne.com

Tony from Marion, IA

theboz1419

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Re: Building HeaterMeter PID - DIY
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2015, 03:00:18 AM »
one of those pictures looks familiar,  I think I took, one of them, lol.  Tom did a good job on the 4-line cases. 

Looks like you did a great job at wiring up the LCD.

Although I agree about cost can vary from build to build.  I don't think the average person will need 1 pound of solder(that does look good for me though, lol). 

A soldering station is a nice thing to have and for the price its not much more then a cheap weller at HD. Any solder iron will work, although its better to have one with a fine tip or a tip as small as the pads you are soldering.

Everything else looks spot on and I like finding Heatermeter threads on other Sites. 

The HM such an awesome project, that is finally getting its exposure to the Smoking/BBQ community.   I hate it when people ask questions about what are the best BBQ controllers on the market and not a single person brings up the Heatermeter.  Byran, has taken the Heatermeter and has turned it into a project that someone that has no soldering experience can actually build and even if they don't want to build, there are other ways to get a Heatermeter.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2015, 03:42:54 AM by theboz1419 »

TmanEater

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Re: Building HeaterMeter PID - DIY
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2015, 01:00:05 PM »
theboz1419-


Welcome to smokinitforums. I did link to some pics on the HM forum as a way to introduce it here. I'm documenting my build and experience to help "expand" what Bryan has done and show how great of a product this thing can really become! I probably could have avoided the extra costs in soldering iron, solder, and some "high end" probes/accessories but I just wanted to paint the picture of my experience as accurately as possible. I probably should have avoided the 1lb of solder but I wanted to stock up for possibly building a few more of these and doing other pet electronic projects.


Gotta run now. Hope to see you around here some more.
Smokin Newbie starting Dec. 2014... Learning Lazy-Q As Fast as I can!
Smokin-It 2, HeaterMeter PID
Monitor my live smokes at http://bbq.tonylyne.com

Tony from Marion, IA

DivotMaker

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Re: Building HeaterMeter PID - DIY
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2015, 07:31:52 PM »
Hey Boz, I know you're here for the HM, but I hope you stay for the BBQ! ;)
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!

theboz1419

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Re: Building HeaterMeter PID - DIY
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2015, 06:51:54 PM »
Hey Boz, I know you're here for the HM, but I hope you stay for the BBQ! ;)

Thanks, I  am always looking for new BBQ forums to get new ideas and techniques. 

TmanEater

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Re: Building HeaterMeter PID - DIY
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2015, 09:39:08 AM »
Last night I completed my smoker modifications for the HeaterMeter project. Please see the pics at the original post. I did a bypass switch mounted next to the power light, SSR mounted behind the heating element, and cable runout near the power cable. I used 14 AWG THHN wire , crimp connectors, AC DPDT switch, and 3/8" grommet. I bought wire, grommets, and drill bits from local hardware/home department store (Menard's). Cobalt drill bits worked pretty good to get through the stainless steel but it wasn't easy until I got to the bigger bits (5/16" and 1/2").


I'll post again when I do the inaugural test run/calibrations for the PID. It was a fun project so far!
Smokin Newbie starting Dec. 2014... Learning Lazy-Q As Fast as I can!
Smokin-It 2, HeaterMeter PID
Monitor my live smokes at http://bbq.tonylyne.com

Tony from Marion, IA

SuperDave

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Re: Building HeaterMeter PID - DIY
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2015, 10:34:14 AM »
Tman,
Can you or anyone else that have installed the switches explain why you wanted to retain the analog? 

Model 4, Harrisville, Utah

NDKoze

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Re: Building HeaterMeter PID - DIY
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2015, 10:38:38 AM »
When I add my Auber (probably this Spring), I will be adding a switch for those times where I need to smoke in rain/snow and I don't want my Auber sitting outside as it is NOT weatherproof. Other than pouring rain, I can use my #3 in pretty much any weather conditions. But, wouldn't dream of using it in some of these conditions with the Auber exposed to the elements.

Also for that time when for whatever reason the Auber doesn't work right or my Auber probes go bad.
Gregg - Fargo, ND
Smokin-It #3 that has now replaced the Masterbuilt XL and 10+ Year-Old Big Chief. I also have a Weber Genesis Gas Grill, Weber Little Smokey at home and a Chargriller Deluxe (stick burner) and Camp Chef Three Burner Stove with Grill/Griddle out at the lake place.

BedouinBob

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Re: Building HeaterMeter PID - DIY
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2015, 12:45:10 PM »
+1 with Gregg plus I wanted an alternative if the Auber didn't play nice and I need to do/finish a smoke.
Bob - Colorado Springs
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TmanEater

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Re: Building HeaterMeter PID - DIY
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2015, 09:45:18 PM »
Tman,
Can you or anyone else that have installed the switches explain why you wanted to retain the analog? 


Dave-

I had a few reasons to install the DPDT switch.
  • This thread said Auber PID's had problems in really cold temps and required probe warming.
  • My HeaterMeter PID also isn't waterproof. I may want to use analog if weather forecast is bad or I don't feel like waterproofing my HM PID.
  • PID controllers are digital devices. Electronics can fail and I wanted a backup in the unlikely event my HM PID failed.
  • A switch to change modes is CHEAP when I'm already opening the unit to modify it for PID operation. Literally, it was only ~$5 (and some installation labor time) to add in the switch.
  • I hate to disable features that already come standard if it's easy to continue and support them during modifications.
Smokin Newbie starting Dec. 2014... Learning Lazy-Q As Fast as I can!
Smokin-It 2, HeaterMeter PID
Monitor my live smokes at http://bbq.tonylyne.com

Tony from Marion, IA