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dathzo

Data-based thread for comparing the big temperature controllers: Fireboard, iKamand, Flame Boss, etc

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3 hours ago, ckreef said:

 

I fire up my controller before I light the fire. The real question is when do I adjust the controller to its final setting. The sooner I do that the less overshoot I have but it takes longer to get to that final temperature. 

 

So for me it's a tradeoff. Longer/slower startup means little or no overshoot. 

 

 

I would second that. Lately I have been lighting my fire and starting the controller right away (even with the target temperature). Experience tells me the more you play and tweak this thing, the longer it takes to reach a set target, and you will likely get longer overshoots. These controllers are meant to be set and forget, and I have learned they work best in that way.

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1. What Kamado cooker you are using? Kamado Joe Classic 2

 

2. What temperature controller do you have? Fireboard with Fireboard fan

 

3. What are your vent and fan settings on your Kamado? (Pictures when available) No fan Controls, Top vent open about halfway to the first notch.

 

4. Where do you place your ambient probe for temperature control? (Pictures when available) I put my "grate temp" probe on the grate about an inch inside the heat deflectors.

 

5. At what point on your cook you let the controller to take over  I get the grill to cooking temp then put on the controller. I let that run for about 15 min before I add the meat.

 

6. Please share the graph from your temperature control with eventual fan output Fireboard.thumb.jpg.6639fd9f61dd0baec36fe42575b7c287.jpg

7. What do you love about your controller? I have all the faith in the world in my KJ, but I definitely sleep better at night knowing that when I get up that everything should be as I left it. I had a few occasions where the wind picked up a or started raining badly and my cooks were almost ruined. This little thing puts all that out of mind. Plus asking alexa the grill temp while I'm watching football or doing some things around the house is really nice.

 

8. What would you improve about your controller? I hate the fan. I have a really hard time getting the fan in place as well as making sure the damper closes tight to it. I'm looking for a better solution. When buying I wanted to keep it all "Fireboard" I love the controller but the fan sucks.

 

9. Anything else you want to share Looks like the pit viper fan is the way to go.

 

10. And last but not least, share pictures of your cook

Butt.jpg.cf86d46a0dd99a34916f640e42b2509c.jpg

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3 hours ago, mtoddsolomon said:

1. What Kamado cooker you are using? Kamado Joe Classic 2

 

2. What temperature controller do you have? Fireboard with Fireboard fan

 

3. What are your vent and fan settings on your Kamado? (Pictures when available) No fan Controls, Top vent open about halfway to the first notch.

 

4. Where do you place your ambient probe for temperature control? (Pictures when available) I put my "grate temp" probe on the grate about an inch inside the heat deflectors.

 

5. At what point on your cook you let the controller to take over  I get the grill to cooking temp then put on the controller. I let that run for about 15 min before I add the meat.

 

6. Please share the graph from your temperature control with eventual fan output Fireboard.thumb.jpg.6639fd9f61dd0baec36fe42575b7c287.jpg

7. What do you love about your controller? I have all the faith in the world in my KJ, but I definitely sleep better at night knowing that when I get up that everything should be as I left it. I had a few occasions where the wind picked up a or started raining badly and my cooks were almost ruined. This little thing puts all that out of mind. Plus asking alexa the grill temp while I'm watching football or doing some things around the house is really nice.

 

8. What would you improve about your controller? I hate the fan. I have a really hard time getting the fan in place as well as making sure the damper closes tight to it. I'm looking for a better solution. When buying I wanted to keep it all "Fireboard" I love the controller but the fan sucks.

 

9. Anything else you want to share Looks like the pit viper fan is the way to go.

 

10. And last but not least, share pictures of your cook

Butt.jpg.cf86d46a0dd99a34916f640e42b2509c.jpg

Thanks for sharing your experience, it looks great!

I have the Pit Viper fan and I'm happy with it. I find it a better built quality than the native Fireboard. 

Referring to your plot, I'm curious to know what happened between 7am and 12pm with the temperature spike. Can you share the fan data as well?

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19 hours ago, dathzo said:

Thanks for sharing your experience, it looks great!

I have the Pit Viper fan and I'm happy with it. I find it a better built quality than the native Fireboard. 

Referring to your plot, I'm curious to know what happened between 7am and 12pm with the temperature spike. Can you share the fan data as well?

Well honestly, we had people coming over for some food and i was showing off for my buddy telling Alexa to adjust the temperature on fireboard and I had the grill open. As with most Kamados, its easier to heat up than cool down. Definitely nothing but me messing around with it. Here is the fan data

1966059937_Fandata.thumb.jpg.c9ec9560fd655b6c588ea0b638c544cc.jpg

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On 9/10/2019 at 5:03 PM, mtoddsolomon said:

Well honestly, we had people coming over for some food and i was showing off for my buddy telling Alexa to adjust the temperature on fireboard and I had the grill open. As with most Kamados, its easier to heat up than cool down. Definitely nothing but me messing around with it. Here is the fan data

1966059937_Fandata.thumb.jpg.c9ec9560fd655b6c588ea0b638c544cc.jpg

Thanks for the extra data. Interesting to see how the temperature does not drop when opening the dome. Good stuff the fireboard

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An update to this. I got in touch with fireboard and they recommended an adapter from a third party for their fan, I’m assuming it’s who actually makes the fan. Anyway after adding it to my fan and installing it in the grill this morning it works like a charm. So much easier than before. Happy customer here.

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So what I've been reading is that every fan/temperature management unit is fine.  I'm not seeing any distinct advantages of one over the other save for a few comments on the fans themselves and as Todd pointed out above, his issue has been resolved.

 

I'm stuck...and the good news is that it doesn't look like I'll make a bad decision but I'd like to make the best!  I'm at the Fireboard/pit viper combo or the Ikamand...

 

am I off base on the functionality of the units tested so far?

 

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I use a Fireboss 300 on my KJ Classic with ambient probe clipped to dome thermometer probe. Rock solid control.

117384171_Image3.thumb.jpg.7ba0ac054d59a7ca3202d40d03052740.jpg.3c1173c08d3fb3860ff5e05db29f2349.jpg.5c3fec5e2837a7c11b97c4beae51563c.jpg

 

Check the Amazon reviews for the iKamand as they are pretty dreadful. I think they opted for a hugely powerful 30cfm fan whilst the Flame Boss uses a 5.7cfm which is plenty big enough to moderate the temp. The powerful fan instantly sends the temps way up and then over compensates trying to maintain control causing a saw tooth pattern to the pit temp. Not good! You can see the FB fan (green)  is just gently blowing throughout the cook.

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16 hours ago, chickenwings said:

So what I've been reading is that every fan/temperature management unit is fine.  I'm not seeing any distinct advantages of one over the other save for a few comments on the fans themselves and as Todd pointed out above, his issue has been resolved.

 

I'm stuck...and the good news is that it doesn't look like I'll make a bad decision but I'd like to make the best!  I'm at the Fireboard/pit viper combo or the Ikamand...

 

am I off base on the functionality of the units tested so far?

 

-Fireboard/Pit Viper is an excellent combo. It will definitely get you in control. The Fireboard is probably the app that has most potential to be developed, and the updates so far have been substantial. 

-It is true the iKamand started plagued with issues, but most of them seem resolved now with firmware upgrades. Probably it is smart to wait for the next hardware upgrade as it should be more reliable

-Flame Boss is sturdy, basic and reliable. Options in the app are less than the Fireboard

-Smobot is probably the most differentiating controller of these four as it does not have a blower. Works well, gets you quickly to temperature, and uses little coal. The app, on the other hand, is rather basic and could use some upgrade

 

Between Fireboard and iKamand, I personally would go for the former

 

I hope this helps

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I looked at the Fireboard but I found it to be expensive ($500+) and the additional 'gadgets' make for a very cluttered installation. You need the Fireboard, charger, drive control cable, 20cfm fan (too large for a Kamado IMHO) and PSU plus an (optional) weatherproof case. It does allow two pit probes and four food probes, so six channels, but I am not sure many users outside of a competition would require such flexibility. You do have a wide choice of probes though - food, ambient, ambient threaded, sous-vide, competition, smoker, smoker threaded, cold storage ambient, competition short, competition long probes and a $50 Calibration Certificate.

 

In terms of the apps I downloaded most of them but found all to be much the same so don't expect that paying a premium will get you more. All allow on the fly temp settings, alarms, recording of your cooks and you can add notes. Whatever else they offer I put down as marketing bloat!

 

One feature I do use with the Flame Boss (not sure if the others have it) is Alexa/Google voice control rather than having to stickily reach for my mobile in the middle of food preparation. The FB also offers three connection modes - cloud, local or direct - so if you have no internet connection or no wif-fi for some reason you can still keep on cooking. I don't like relying on the cloud and the vendor's server during a long cook. This is borne out by experience as the Flame Boss server's crashed on the 4th July 2018 due to demand! Roger Collins, who owns Flame Boss, was mortified and not only immediately added more server capacity but quickly released new firmware to allow a choice of connection modes. As his own cook was affected he was on the case within minutes. 

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I agree with Heuer on the 20cfm being a bit large for a kamado. However Fireboard lets you control fan output to a degree. The fireboard fan is made by auber instruments. Fireboard does not mark up the price that Auber offers the 20cfm fan at. Additionally Auber offers a 10cfm fan or a 6.5cfm fan. So you have choices.

Additionally I know the original poster of this thread (Dathzo) utilizes the pit viper along with the fireboard as well as I do with great results.

I also have the Flameboss 200 and utilize that fan with the Fireboard and have no issues at all. Totally agree with Heuer concerning Mr Collins. He totally stands behind his product and flamebosses help desk work wonders when your in extremis.

Alexa works with fireboard if so inclined. Built in battery power is a plus if you lose power. Since fireboard got in bed with yoder the fireboard now offers cooking programs like my MAK 2 Star or other members of this forums Timberlines.

With all that said as of late my go to controller has been the Smobot. Like Dathzo said above the data logging isnt the best out there but that devices temp control is tough to beat. Like that it allows my BGE's or Primo to pretty much operate as intended sans fan.

 

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I was initially tempted by the Smobot but three issues concerned me. Firstly it will allow rain to pour in so is a step back from the KJ iKontrol tower or BGE rEGGulator rain cap. Secondly, and more importantly, I surmise the entire mechanism is going to get choked up with grease. We already see problems with the stock daisy wheel's, the Smokeware stainless steel chimney cap and the iKontrol getting stiff and difficult to use because of grease build up so what are the chances the Smobot is liable to jam (and possibly burn out the activator). Not good if you are doing an overnight cook. Final it relies on a cloud server for control.

 

So we have three points of failure with the Smobot when ideally we want none. Not sure how difficult it is to dismantle the vent but I reckon it is a high maintenance product.

 

 

 

 

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Understand your concerns.

Regarding the rain its been a non issue here in Va Beach for me, knock on wood. I did buy the gen 2 damper arm and rain cap for extra protection.

After approx 70 cooks I have yet to have the robotic damper arm stick. I give it a quick wipe at conclusion of cook. I normally run this on a battery pack and its a mizer on juice. Anything is possible but dont see how it could stick while cooking. If you run it in Access Point mode juice consumption will go up.

Concerning cloud requirement its not needed you can put your Smobot in the Access Point mode.

 

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I second Vanole's comments:

 

1. Newest generation of Smobot does have a rain protector. I live in the Netherlands and rain is our bread and butter. No issues whatsoever with the Smobot. In that sense, fans can be more sensitive towards heavy rain (e.g., Pit Viper). Having said that, you will get some rain in the pit when long periods of rain occur, not a big deal.

 

2. I would also be tempted to wipe off the soot, but the best is to use a torch (heat) if stucked. This can happen when cold, but unlikely to happen during a cook. 

 

3. As Vanole pointed out, direct mode is available

 

I own both Fireboard/Pit Viper combo and Smobot. As Vanole, I use the latter with more frequency (less wiring/less messy around the grill), but both systems give you great temperature control and most importantly, help you cook great food. 

 

Cheers

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