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KenM

Auber PID Controller And The Akorn

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Didn't start reading this entire thread until after my post. I see this topic has been covered. So Monday I'll let the temp settle and then hook up the Auber. Still debating wether or not to change the settings ...decisions decisions...

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I have one of these controlers as well. I use it for a larger off set smoker and it does a fine job. So glad to hear i will be able to use it for my akorn when I get it. I am wondering if the fan i have is too strong for a more compact and less gappy cooker like the akorn. Its the 10 fps fan.

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I can confirm that the auto-tune instructions really nailed it.  After several highly successful cooks with exact temps the default settings for the PID seems to overshoot the temperature way to much.  Or possibly I gained experience to build a slow fire and let the PID bring up the temp.  I'm sure its a combination of both :)  I slow cooked a port butt first of the season here... Maintained darned near 230 the whole time plus or minus 5.

 

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OK, I'm in desperate need of guidance. I'm due to do a brisket in 2 weeks and I'm at the end of my rope. I cannot control my Akorn with my Auber. 

 

I've tried the stock settings, the settings from this thread as well as the settings that Auber tech support has suggested (P = 1.8, I = 1200, D = 70 SF = 30). 

 

In every situation, I'm overshooting badly. 

 

I set for 225 and I end up at ~270 every time. 

 

The fan shuts off around 210, but things keep going up. 

 

I have installed a new Nomex gasket. I I really believe my setup is as airtight as I can get it. 

 

As the temp comes back down, the fan comes back on at 225, but by that time the damage is done. The fire's out. 

 

I have tried different lighting methods, from 1/4 of a Weber cube to lighting one piece of lump outside the Akorn and putting it at them bottom center of the pile. There's very little difference either way. I end up around 270.

 

I had much better control with my Tiptop Temp, but I don't trust it for an overnight cook. 

 

When I turn off the fan and  close my top vent entirely, the temp stops climbing within about 10 minutes, so I believe I'm sealed pretty well. 

 

I'm open to pretty much anything at this point. Any suggestions are welcome. 

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The auto tune fails every time since the fire's out after the first overshoot. My top vent is open about 1/8",just the small holes at the outboard end of the vent, no light showing for the length of the slot.

Today I'm thinking that I have too much charcoal in the unit. I'm going to try a ring of fire. How long a burn can I expect with a layer of charcoal only about 2" deep at 225?

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk

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2 hours ago, John Divers said:

The auto tune fails every time since the fire's out after the first overshoot. My top vent is open about 1/8",just the small holes at the outboard end of the vent, no light showing for the length of the slot.

Today I'm thinking that I have too much charcoal in the unit. I'm going to try a ring of fire. How long a burn can I expect with a layer of charcoal only about 2" deep at 225?

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
 

 

@John Divers - it's very hard to put in too much lump.  In fact it's almost impossible.  Forget that ring of fire bull butter.  Your kamado is meant to run on a full firebowl of charcoal.  The kamado has been around virtually unchanged for 3,500 years and there's virtually nothing new under the sun.  The ring of fire is nothing but a means of extending cooks in very drafty cookers, i.e. kettles, etc.  The ring of fire is not meant for kamados and in using it you're crippling your kamado.  A full firebowl of lump should last at least 14 hours in a low-n-slow cook.

 

I would suggest you're not doing yourself any favors by obsessing over a controller.  Again, kamados have been used to produce great cooks for at least 3,500 years and nobody used a comtroller until recently.  I've used a controller exactly once and I've cooked thousands of butts, briskets, etc.  Might I suggest that you learn how to control your Akorn using just the vents a first step?  Conquer the basics, learn first principles, and when you have all that mastered, move on to something as complicated as a controller.  I'm assuming you're an engineer of some type.  You didn't start out designing circuits as a freshman.  You had a lot to learn before your design courses.  So too with kamados.  Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.  Crawl, walk, jog, run, sprint.  You may know electronics, but you need to learn kamados.  Once you learn how to control a kamado then you'll do just fine with marrying your electronic expertise with your kamado knowledge. 

 

I wish you nothing but the best in learning your Akorn.

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@CeramicChef I thank you sincerely for your input. Your input on this topic speaks for itself.

With that being said, I've had very little luck in the 16 months I've been using my Akorn in maintaining a low temp.

This morning, I set up my Akorn with a brick and a 2" deep ring of fire. I used the settings that are listed for Kamados in the instruction manual (P = 1.8, I = 1200, D = 70 SF = 30) and I've been running +3/-2 for three hours. True, it took around an hour to actually achieve 225, but it's been rock solid since.

As I said before, my concern is an overnight cook I've got coming up. If I'm doing ribs or even a butt, I can babysit it, but I'd love to get some sleep before my guests arrive two weeks down the road.

At least for now, I'll stick with what works for me. If you I need to get up once during the night to reload then so be it.



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@John Divers - I wish you well on your upcoming cook.  

 

Just a thought ... Are you absolutely certain you don't have air leaking into your Akorn?  An easy test is to start a fire, make certain it is well established, then throw a nice sized piece of smoke wood right in the middle of the fire, and then let things sit until you have smoke rolling out the top vent.  Now shut both the top and bottom vents.  Look at every seal on your Akorn to make certain you have no smoke leaking out.  Like I said, just a thought.

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@CeramicChef, ad someone posted earlier on this thread, these things are aren't pressure cookers :). I have sealed my top and bottom vents with RTV, I just installed a Nomex gasket on the bottom shell. I haven't tried your suggestion, but when the blower is going, I do see a very small amount of smoke around the leads to my temperature sensors. Other than that, I'm certain that I'm as airtight as I'm going to get. The proof for me is that when I close the top vent and leave everything else alone, the temp drops almost immediately. It's out in no time.

Next time I'm grilling steaks, I'll try your suggestion.

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Here's another idea...

Since RoF seems to work, I wonder if a full bowl of lump lit differently would work too.

Maybe dropping a soaked cotton ball down under just the top layer would light few enough coals but keep burning.

Thoughts?

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@John Divers - you should always start every kamado cook with a full fire bowl of lump.  For low-n-slow cooks light a single spot in the middle of the lump pile.  For cooks in the vicinity of 300-400, light your lump pile in 2 spots equidistance across the lump pile.  For cooks in the vicinity of 400+ light your pile in three spots equidistance in the lump pile.  

 

As for lighting you lump, you can use any number of methods.  I've used premade wax/sawdust lighters, cooking oil soaked paper towels, MAPP and propane Benzomatic torches, cotton balls soaked in 90% isopropyl alcohol, etc.  They all work equally as well in my experience.  I would never use a chimney.  That is a rather crude way to light lump.  

 

As I've stated many times, the ring of fire is entirely inappropriate to kamados.  In kamado cooking, you manage fire/heat and thus temp by adjustment of the bottom and top vents not by some inane arrangement of charcoal.  Just dump the lump to fill up the firebox and light 'er up.   When the firebox of a kamado is fully loaded with lump for a low-n-slow cook, you can expect between 18 and 22 hours of steady heat.  That's in both the Akorn and ceramics.  

 

Kamados basically haven't changed in 3,500 years.  The methods of cooking on kamados have been well established.  Is always best to learn first principles and employ best practices.  This leads directly to kamado success and away from water pans, ring of fire lump arrangements, proper use of heat deflectors and drip pans, etc.

 

All the best to you in understanding your kamado.

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I'm a long time lurker on the site, but never registered.. I just registered to say thanks to KenM for posting his settings.  I bought a used Auber 1615 for my Akorn and dialed in the settings on Sunday.  After partially covering up the intake my fan. (Unit came with a 10CFM) I had the Akorn sit at 225 (+ or - 5 degrees)for 10 hours, needless to say I was ecstatic.  I'm currently waiting for my 6.7 CFM to come in the mail so I dont have to use a fan with duct tape..

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Do these parameters work for the Auberin's 2615 as well?  I'm using the 6 or 6.5 CFM fan.  The factory settings are:

P=45

I=1200

D=75

T=15

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