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Which temperature controller do you like?
 
Greetings Man Cave Family and welcome to a new week... It's a holiday week so my personal intent is to be fairly lazy this week. The new FireBoard 2 Drive that I bought from Atlanta Grill Company arrived on Sunday so I have been playing around and experimenting with that a little yesterday and today. I have had the original FireBoard for a while and can see some significant improvements in this one compared to the original.
 
The two significant improvements I see right off the bat are the heft/durability of the control unit and the heft/durability of the fan. The main reason I didn't like the original FireBoard was because you needed to spend an extra $55 to get the weatherproof case that was NEEDED for more than just weatherproofing. The original FireBoard was just too small and lightweight to connect temperature probes and have it sit where you put it without having to deal with it falling, moving, and ending up somewhere else on its own. This new control unit is larger and heavier with a pseudo-rubberized case that will help it stay in place wherever you choose to set it.
 
The FireBoard is the 'my precious' for the OCD griller. I think out of all the controllers I have, THIS one has the most bells and whistles in terms of showing you the data. The FireBoard can monitor six different temperature probes at once. For those six probes, it can show you the current temp, peak high, peak low, and average via actual numbers or through a graph display. You also have the ability to set conditional temperature alarms on each probe. The alarms can be configured to sound on the device itself, through the app, email, or text messaging. The FireBoard also gives you the ability to set additional conditions on those alerts being sounded such as a wait period before sending the alert and how often to repeat the alert. You have the ability to put a name label on each probe so you can know what that probe is doing just by its name in the app. All of this data is accessible via the app or through a web browser. You also have full control of the device through either of those methods.
 
The FireBoard Drive 2 has an internal rechargeable battery that gets charged via a provided USB-C cable and AC adapter. This gives you the ability to run your device without having to drag a power cable to the grill. You can also power the device with a USB battery connected via that same USB-C port on the device. The USB-C cable that comes in the package has the standard male USB-C connector on both ends. That's gonna keep you from using that cable without an adapter to run the FireBoard from a battery. You will need a different cable or an adapter to make that process work unless you have a USB battery that has a USB-C output.
 
One of my favorite features with the FireBoard is the ability to set the maximum fan speed from the app. The FireBoard fan is a 20cfm fan. That's nice if you have a huge smoker. I'm mostly a Kamado grill guy. Even with the larger Kamado grills, you just never need 20cfm of fan output to get the job done. During my testing so far, I have used the app to set my fan to run no faster than 20% of it's maximum speed. So I'm really maxing my fan out at about 4cfm. It's working perfectly as you can see in the graph samples I have attached here. Making the controller stable on a Kamado is also dependent on having the top vent set properly, and that just comes from experience.
 
Every cook session you create with the FireBoard is saved in the cloud and accessible via the app or web browser. You can go back and review the data from those cooks very simply. You can also delete those sessions from the cloud on a one-by-one basis if you choose.
 
The DRIVE PROGRAMS in the FireBoard app are also quite useful. You can create multi-stage cooks where your cooking parameters change based on time or temperature readings. For example, You can create a program that will run your grill at a specific temperature and and then change the temperature after a specified amount of time OR when one of your meat probes reaches a certain temperature. I haven't played with these settings very much yet, but I have used similar programming on my pellet grill.
 
So, as you can see, I like a lot of things about the FireBoard. There are, however, two specific things I would love to see improved.
 
#1 - I want to be able to configure my set temps for the pit and the meat probes directly from the device itself without the use of the app. I personally believe that a touch-screen version of this device that included that functionality would be the holy grail of pit controllers.
 
#2 - This device, much like the original, needs a stand or holder with a magnetic mount that allows me to set the device upright so it can be seen from a distance. These screens on the FireBoard 2 Drive display some nice large numbers. Its unfortunate that you still have to be standing right by the device to see those. I am guessing that there will be another $50 case/stand/holder made available for this one in the near future.
 
Since I am running two Kamado grills regularly, I am going to use the FireBoard 2 Drive exclusively on one of those for the next few months. If I run into anything noteworthy that I haven't mentioned here, I will post about it again in the future.
 
I paid $249 for the FireBoard Drive 2. I paid $59 for the FireBoard Drive 20CFM fan. I recommend buying a few of the FireBoard probe wire managers for storing the probe wires. I haven't bought those yet but I intend to get some on the way immediately.
 
 
Note:
 
I don't know how long the Fireboard 2 Drive will run on a single full battery charge. I'm not even sure that I'm personally concerned with that since I can run it with an external battery :)
 
The difference between the FireBoard 2 Thermometer and the FireBoard 2 Drive thermometer is the latter has the built-in ability to run the fan. If you buy the FireBoard 2 Thermometer, you can add fan capability to it by purchasing the $79 FireBoard Drive Fan Control Cable.
 
#MCMReallyRightStuff #FireBoard

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John,

 

Loki said on his thread that you can set the temp on the device, are you saying that you cannot do it?

 

I am also going to be watching this thread for updates. Im close to pulling the trigger on a temp control device. I am like you, i would want something that you can set on the device and in an app, that can also alert me when the temp is reached in the grill and when the food hits the right temp

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21 minutes ago, TrentR said:

John,

 

Loki said on his thread that you can set the temp on the device, are you saying that you cannot do it?

 

I am also going to be watching this thread for updates. Im close to pulling the trigger on a temp control device. I am like you, i would want something that you can set on the device and in an app, that can also alert me when the temp is reached in the grill and when the food hits the right temp

 

He said you can do it.  I just haven't figured out how yet.  How to do it is not in any of the printed or online documentation.

 

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Nice review, John.

 

There are three buttons on the side of the unit. When you hold one of the buttons, a menu will pop-up. With the fan connected to the unit, you'll see a "Drive" option as one of the menu items. If there is no fan connected, the "Drive" option will be missing.

 

If you press the button associated with the "Drive" menu item, you can bring up the options that includes the different modes (off, manual, automatic). And, in a similar fashion, you'd press the associated buttons changing the mode to "automatic" and then setting the temperature set-point and channel to monitor.

 

It is a bit clunky in this way and the buttons aren't always the easiest to manipulate but it should only take a couple of minutes to get things going once you get the menu system figured out. I've found that they have the button timeout too short such that the menu will disappear if you don't press the next menu item quickly enough. It takes a bit of practice.

 

While you can set the "Drive" temperature set-point on the device, I do not know if you can set individual alert temperatures for each of the channels. I haven't found that option on the physical device menus.

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I just ordered the FB2 Drive.

 

I'm going against the grain here though - I really don't care whether or not I can set the temperature on the device itself. I'm a techie and always have my phone with me anyway - and it's going to be easier to set things up using the phone or web rather than three push buttons.

 

If the wifi goes down, I can still use the Bluetooth, so no harm, no foul.

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I was between the flame boss 500 and FB2Drive.  Since the Fireboard 2 is brand new and Flame Boss has been out for a year+, I went with the fireboard. Comes today.

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1 hour ago, adm said:

I just ordered the FB2 Drive.

 

I'm going against the grain here though - I really don't care whether or not I can set the temperature on the device itself. I'm a techie and always have my phone with me anyway - and it's going to be easier to set things up using the phone or web rather than three push buttons.

 

If the wifi goes down, I can still use the Bluetooth, so no harm, no foul.

 

My wife and I had this conversation yesterday.  She was asking me what I thought about the Fireboard 2.  She doesn't really care but she seems to have an interest in what I think about the stuff I'm spending so much money on.. lol.  I was explaining to her my desire to have manual control options.  I told her I guess I'm getting old because I am not looking for tasks that can be accomplished with my phone.  To me, the phone is just an added layer of technology that sits between me and my task at hand.  I do like the ability to have a look at my temps remotely.   I am not downplaying that ability and functionality.  What I don't care for is having to pull out my phone to start my grill.  It's just more convenient and less 'steps' involved if I can do it from the device itself.  I love this about the Flame Boss 500.  The Flame Boss works the way I think.  It gives me the opportunity to do it whichever way I like.  I can run my grill completely independent of wifi, bluetooth, or smartphones if I want or need to.  

 

I come from a very technical background.  I used to be a computer programmer and database administrator.  I'm all about EFFICIENCY.  Using your phone to set this thing up is far from the most efficient way to do it.  If I was a 'techie' I would appreciate using the phone to accomplish these mundane tasks a little more I guess.  Another problem that plagues me is that i don't keep my phone on my body at all times.  I'd be wealthy if I had a buck for every time I had to go somewhere to get my phone because I wanted to change something about my grill settings.  This functionality just needs to exist side by side with the 'techie' options.  As I said in my initial review of the Fireboard 2, if it had a touch screen with manual controls as an option, this would be the holy grail of temp controllers.

 

 

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1 hour ago, adm said:

- and it's going to be easier to set things up using the phone or web rather than three push buttons.

 

 

 

I agree with that on this particular device.  The button control option is NOT intuitive.  Therefore it's not efficient either.  

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2 hours ago, John Setzler said:

As I said in my initial review of the Fireboard 2, if it had a touch screen with manual controls as an option, this would be the holy grail of temp controllers.

 

Agree. I find myself trying to use it as though it had a touch screen.

 

Would probably add another $100+ to the unit cost, though.

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5 minutes ago, loki said:

 

Agree. I find myself trying to use it as though it had a touch screen.

 

Would probably add another $100+ to the unit cost, though.

 

I'm sure it would add more than that.  The way I see it is that someone who would spend $300+ to automate their grill would just as easily spend $500.

 

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3 hours ago, John Setzler said:

 

My wife and I had this conversation yesterday.  She was asking me what I thought about the Fireboard 2.  She doesn't really care but she seems to have an interest in what I think about the stuff I'm spending so much money on.. lol.  I was explaining to her my desire to have manual control options.  I told her I guess I'm getting old because I am not looking for tasks that can be accomplished with my phone.  To me, the phone is just an added layer of technology that sits between me and my task at hand.  I do like the ability to have a look at my temps remotely.   I am not downplaying that ability and functionality.  What I don't care for is having to pull out my phone to start my grill.  It's just more convenient and less 'steps' involved if I can do it from the device itself.  I love this about the Flame Boss 500.  The Flame Boss works the way I think.  It gives me the opportunity to do it whichever way I like.  I can run my grill completely independent of wifi, bluetooth, or smartphones if I want or need to.  

 

I come from a very technical background.  I used to be a computer programmer and database administrator.  I'm all about EFFICIENCY.  Using your phone to set this thing up is far from the most efficient way to do it.  If I was a 'techie' I would appreciate using the phone to accomplish these mundane tasks a little more I guess.  Another problem that plagues me is that i don't keep my phone on my body at all times.  I'd be wealthy if I had a buck for every time I had to go somewhere to get my phone because I wanted to change something about my grill settings.  This functionality just needs to exist side by side with the 'techie' options.  As I said in my initial review of the Fireboard 2, if it had a touch screen with manual controls as an option, this would be the holy grail of temp controllers.

 

 

 

The thing is, even with a touchscreen (which would be nice) it's still not going to be any more intuitive than a 'phone. You still need to access the right option by touching parts of the screen (as you do with a phone), then setting options also by touching parts of a screen. Whether it's up or down arrows (which typically need a lot of button presses) or a pop up on-screen keyboard to directly enter numbers or alphanumeric characters for labels, it's still not any more efficient than doing the same on your phone. At least once it's connected to your wifi or paired via Bluetooth to the phone.

 

I get that it's nice not to need the phone, and from Loki's posts, I understand this functionality is there, but as mine hasn't arrived yet I cant really comment.

 

I come from a history of Maverick ET73s and setting low and high alarms was always a real pain in the ###. Any low button count device is the same (for example do you remember setting recording times on VHS video recorders?) - and I happen to carry the a nearly perfect interface device in my pocket most of the time anyway.

 

So basically, I am looking forward to proper app control via phone or web. Especially web with a full size keyboard and mouse. It should make setting up drive programs, alarms and labels really easy.

 

The last couple of weeks, I have been playing with the Inkbird IBBQ-4T and compared to the Mavericks, it's really nice to be able to check temps on the phone without having to have a dedicated remote unit sat on the desk or beside the bed for overnight cooks. Of course, the data displays are much better as well. History and graphing as well as just instantaneous temperatures.

 

 

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51 minutes ago, adm said:

 

So basically, I am looking forward to proper app control via phone or web. Especially web with a full size keyboard and mouse. It should make setting up drive programs, alarms and labels really easy.

 

 

 

 

 

I don't think the Drive Programs has found its way to the web interface yet but I hope that it does also.  I'd much rather set those up from my PC than the phone.. .lol.  

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I’m installing the fan on my classic. Is the vent supposed to close and be flush with the fan? Mine overlaps so I’m guessing to put the vent between the fan and Kamado. 

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53 minutes ago, JerkStore said:

I’m installing the fan on my classic. Is the vent supposed to close and be flush with the fan? Mine overlaps so I’m guessing to put the vent between the fan and Kamado. 

 

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You can do it like this if you want.. I have been doing it without the adapter plate attached... It's not a perfect fit no matter which way you choose but it works