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Bgosnell151

Fireboard FBX11 or ThermoWorks Signal

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19 hours ago, John Setzler said:

 

Yes... they told me last week that there was an update coming to address that issue so it should be fixed soon.

 

The update came out with Wednesday's firmware update so open lid detector is now in. It's been raining so I haven't tested how well it actually works though. I did leave it on at home when I went to work and did a bunch of testing. i.e. getting out of bluetooth range having it automatically reconnect, turn off my wifi, back on, saving graphs while it runs etc.. Software seems much more stable now.

 

I've used the billows several times and it's kept temperatures extremely stable. Did cooks in the 225 range and in the 350 range as well. Kept it rock steady within a few degrees and knocked temp up quite a few times. Longest cook was a low and slow chuck for about 10 hours. I screwed an alligator clip on the temp sensor and attach it to the end of the dome thermometer. temp reads the same as the dome.

 

The big problem I had was the software was real glitchy. If you saved a graph during a cook it would  cause problems. As well loosing wifi by going somewhere and coming back would sometimes confuse it. Worst situation was saving a graph and having the Signals freeze up at a lower temperature than the set temp so the fan just kept blowing. I was home so caught it fortunately but it would have kept going full bore. Called customer service for that and they exchanged my Signals even though I think it had nothing to do with the Signals and everything to do with the Software.

 

I found for low and slow just barely opening the top vent allowed it to keep the temps rock solid. Whenever I opened the lid I unplugged the fan (which is kind of goofy) but apparently that won't be needed anymore.

 

 

If this latest software update works this is a really nice unit. Solidly build. Rock steady temps. Doesn't have a web interface or a lot of fancy options for cooks but for simply keeping temps along with a very nice temp unit (Signals) I think it will be great.The software was most definitely not ready for prime time when I bought it. When I test it out with some long cooks I'll update if they seemed to work out the kinks but from fiddling with it for a day it definitely seems much better. I got it based on the build quality and company reputation figuring they'd fix any software issues.

 

We'll see

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, helliger said:

 

The update came out with Wednesday's firmware update so open lid detector is now in. It's been raining so I haven't tested how well it actually works though. I did leave it on at home when I went to work and did a bunch of testing. i.e. getting out of bluetooth range having it automatically reconnect, turn off my wifi, back on, saving graphs while it runs etc.. Software seems much more stable now.

 

I've used the billows several times and it's kept temperatures extremely stable. Did cooks in the 225 range and in the 350 range as well. Kept it rock steady within a few degrees and knocked temp up quite a few times. Longest cook was a low and slow chuck for about 10 hours. I screwed an alligator clip on the temp sensor and attach it to the end of the dome thermometer. temp reads the same as the dome.

 

The big problem I had was the software was real glitchy. If you saved a graph during a cook it would  cause problems. As well loosing wifi by going somewhere and coming back would sometimes confuse it. Worst situation was saving a graph and having the Signals freeze up at a lower temperature than the set temp so the fan just kept blowing. I was home so caught it fortunately but it would have kept going full bore. Called customer service for that and they exchanged my Signals even though I think it had nothing to do with the Signals and everything to do with the Software.

 

I found for low and slow just barely opening the top vent allowed it to keep the temps rock solid. Whenever I opened the lid I unplugged the fan (which is kind of goofy) but apparently that won't be needed anymore.

 

 

If this latest software update works this is a really nice unit. Solidly build. Rock steady temps. Doesn't have a web interface or a lot of fancy options for cooks but for simply keeping temps along with a very nice temp unit (Signals) I think it will be great.The software was most definitely not ready for prime time when I bought it. When I test it out with some long cooks I'll update if they seemed to work out the kinks but from fiddling with it for a day it definitely seems much better. I got it based on the build quality and company reputation figuring they'd fix any software issues.

 

We'll see

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Couple things here.....

Let me know how the lid open detection works.. I am not sure when I am gonna get around to testing it again... I have a full boat for the next bit.  

Quote

As well loosing wifi by going somewhere and coming back would sometimes confuse it.

 

THAT should not affect anything.  The Signals is connected to the server in the cloud and the app on your phone is gathering data from that server.  There should never really be a loss of 'connection' there...  

 

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On 12/8/2019 at 3:03 PM, John Setzler said:

 

Couple things here.....

Let me know how the lid open detection works.. I am not sure when I am gonna get around to testing it again... I have a full boat for the next bit.  

 

THAT should not affect anything.  The Signals is connected to the server in the cloud and the app on your phone is gathering data from that server.  There should never really be a loss of 'connection' there...  

 

 

 

I meant if I lose wifi connection with my phone. When it reconnects to wifi it should seamlessly reconnect to the current session on the cloud. Same with the Signals. If it loses wifi when it gets a connection again it should reconnect to my account on the cloud. Forcing the app to quit or logging out and back in on my phone would be needed. A few times had to restart the signals. Happened with Bluetooth as well. If I left the house sometimes I'd come back and bluetooth wouldn't reconnect without me restarting Signals. 

 

But with this latest update I haven't had those issues. It looks like it's able to properly sync up with the current cloud session as it should.

 

 

 

Just tested out the open lid functionality with a chicken last night and can confirm it's in place and works pretty well. They might want to tweak it a bit though but it's fine. When you open the lid the fan may turn on for a second until the temp gets low enough for the open lid algorithm to kick in (not an issue) since it turns off really quickly. When you close the lid it doesn't turn on again immediately but does after about a minute (maybe a bit less). Not full blown but billowing (hence the name). 

 

They could probably have it wait longer to do that since it takes longer than a minute for the kamado to naturally climb back up to temp. The result is it billows up to set temp (lets say 250) but there may be a 10 degree carry over so the fan shuts off at 250, it will climb to 260 or so and then gradually come back down to 250 in around 10 minutes. That's not really a big deal at all but seems like it wouldn't be hard to improve that a little bit.

 

 

 

Here's the data from the cook attached, pretty much tells the story. I started the fire at the front to try it out since it seems that when I light it in the center it burns towards the back when using billows. Lighting in the front seems like maybe the temp wasn't quite as stable but still plenty good. Probably go back to lighting in the center though.

 

Also played around with the temp a bit.

 

Set at 250, put in setup with deflector plates on the middle rack and let it settle in at 250

(opened lid) took out grates and added some sugar maple wood chunks then let it settle in and get a nice smoke going

(opened lid) Added chicken put probes in each breast (just because I could)

After a bit raised the temp to 325

After a bit raised the temp to 375

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

billows_chicken.xlsx

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Any updates to the effectiveness of the Signals/Bellows after the open lid improvements?  Thinking about pulling the trigger.  I would appreciate any new feedback.

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On 12/8/2019 at 3:03 PM, John Setzler said:

Let me know how the lid open detection works.

 

18 hours ago, GiffS said:

Any updates to the effectiveness of the Signals/Bellows after the open lid improvements? 

 

I'm only one cook in with mine, but the open lid detection worked fine.

 

Edit: you will need to run the firm ware update to get the feature.

Edited by SeaBrisket

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I got frustrated as HECK this week with the Signals.  I managed to lose my little adapter that you use to connect the USB cable to a power outlet to charge it.  Guess what?  It's a proprietary adapter that outputs 12v instead of the 5v output like every other one of the 50 million of those things you have laying around.  Yea.. I had to order another one or commit to using a USB battery to power the unit every time I want to use it. 

 

Strike 2 for me against the Signals.  

 

I know graphs are nothing more than shiny things for OCD people to look at when it comes to cooking, but the temperature graph was not working on mine today either... just a random observation.

 

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I remember reading this thread a few weeks ago whilst researching which controller to buy... The good advice / feedback turned me to the Fireboard, but my local shop only had the expensive ‘ultimate’ bbq pack ( 6 probes - I don’t need that many) and buying direct from website (with USD to CAD conversion and shipping) was going to cost me $531 CAD (without a fan!)

 

I rang around locally and found the ThermoWorks Signal and Billows pack in stock  for $449 CAD. - So went and picked that up!

 

Will post a thread under Broil King a keg section with full details of my first test... But John’s words are ringing in my head - The app and software are not ready for prime time!!!!
 

Once I managed to mount it on the keg and got the vents right, it was rock steady for hours... But a few things really bug me:

 

- Beeps!! Even on mute, the Signals unit beeps every time you push the buttons. And twice when I was playing with connection to my phone / iPad and firmware, it started beeping the alarm even though it was set to mute and alarm set to off.

- No fan output value displayed in app or on Signals - I really want to trend it against the temperature to make sure my vent settings were optimum and as early warning of issues with the coals... But they seem to want you to rely on alarms (set 25 degrees above/below set point and CANNOT be adjusted).

- No connection status displayed clearly... Couple of hours into my first test, it asked me to update firmware... no worries, updated and it seemed fine, but it actually lost wifi connection - I left the test overnight and went upstairs (which lost the Bluetooth signal).. got up in the morning and checked.. it was still within 15 degrees, but I had no trends to see how it controlled for the 7 hours... The website implies that if wifi strength is indicating in the settings then it is connected - Not true in my case (unless the firmware flash caused a glitch).

 

Another weird one: The app indicates above the temperature reading that it was ‘updated at xx day and XX time.. - I changed the update rate to 10 secs and saw this info updating regularly... But when I shutdown the signals this morning, the temperature display held at the last reading in the app... The only indication that the signals and bellows was off was the update message not changing - Thought I would get an message to say power had been lost??

 

I will do another test today and a cook tomorrow... I think a lot of the issues were caused by me playing / testing / updating firmware etc... but the alarm functions on the unit and info missing from the app have fizzled my excitement.

787E1805-5533-4F53-8F96-2AA8BC22FFED.jpeg

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15 hours ago, Lesta80 said:

No connection status displayed clearly... Couple of hours into my first test, it asked me to update firmware... no worries, updated and it seemed fine, but it actually lost wifi connection - I left the test overnight and went upstairs (which lost the Bluetooth signal).. got up in the morning and checked.. it was still within 15 degrees, but I had no trends to see how it controlled for the 7 hours... The website implies that if wifi strength is indicating in the settings then it is connected - Not true in my case (unless the firmware flash caused a glitch).


I had exactly the same, firmware flash seems to lose WiFi settings. But annoyingly it’s not obvious as Bluetooth carries on fine, so while you’re near the unit you get no notification. Happily, since that update the WiFi has been flawless so it’s only a small gripe. 
 

I’ve  used mine for four or five cooks now and, after getting the initial kinks sorted out, it has been great. Holds temperature perfectly, connects without fail to my WiFi, and the app (whilst very basic) has worked without crashes or data loss. I’d really like them to add a few features but for its main purpose it does a really good job. Like you I just couldn’t justify the extra that a fire board would have cost me (another £150 in the UK, more than 50% of the cost of the already fairly chunky £250 that the billows costs). 
 

The main thing is that it’s helped me make consistently better food. 

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Ok I absolutely love my fireboard. I bought the fan and had it in my Webber kettle. Always kept the cook within 5 degrees.  Because of this I felt comfortable finally pulling the trigger on the Kamado. I need to go this weekend and pick up the adapter for the lg24. But you couldn’t convince me to go with another controller. The software is spot on. 

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