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User review: Auber SYL 3615 Wifi BBQ Controller


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I've done several different cooks with this controller now, mostly slow, but also chicken.  So thought a summary of my experience might be in order.  

 

This was my first controller, so not familiar with a lot.  A bit of a learning curve, but not bad.  A lot of the issues I listed below were part of that learning curve.  They're included here to hopefully shorten someone else's learning curve.

 

The pit probe is the plug furthest away from the plugs for the power and fan, and is not labelled.  With 3 probes, not hard to figure out, but labels (in contrasting color, not just as raised plastic) would be nice.

 

App installed without issue, firmware updated without issue, following the directions in the manual.  The basic manual for the 3615 is available on the website, but there is a troubleshooting manual and other materials for the prior generation (2615) that are not posted for the newer model at this time.  

 

The Auber information says you can save up to 6 cooking profiles, with up to 6.steps per profile.  Well, not so on this version of the controller.  That may be true with some of the non-kamado versions of the controller, but not mine.  It has one profile, with up to 6 steps.  You can also set it up in the app to just run at a fixed set of parameters (single step) and then adjust the temp if you need to.  I use the steps to let me know when the meat hits an intermediate target temp, so I can know to check it, wrap it, or just for information if my phone is in my pocket.  

 

One cook, I didn't get push notification that step 2 started.  Had Auber app open on phone, and note appeared on app.  But wasn't looking at phone, and the screen was off.  Expected notice that didn't happen. Otherwise, that has worked as expected.

 

It does take a minute or so for the app to update with fresh info, especially if you're looking at the plot of temps.  There is a "refresh" icon, which is handy.  This post is already too long, so I won't get into the app, other than to say that there are a lot of controls available you may not need, and sometimes the one you're looking for isn't where you might expect it.  But it is simple enough, once you've done it a few times.

 

The unit is PID-controlled, and does a good job of maintaining temp, if everything else is working right.  I've had a few instances where that was not the case, but those were not the fault of the unit, but the setup.

 

I tried doing a chicken at 375, using a KJ electric starter to get the fire going.  Set the deflectors and set up the controller.  Fire never got to temp.  Finally pulled the meat and stirred the coals, and found the temp climbed after that.  

The last couple cooks, the fan didn't run for quite a while, and temps were not quite where they should be.  The issue was the setting of the fan in the lower vent.  If it's not set in well, there's enough leakage that you won't be able to hold temps at 250F or below.  A little care in setting the fan in place (and some tape if needed) can cure that.

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@Omogogo has provided some information on the earlier model running on an Akorn grill.  Their primary issue was that the temp would overshoot the target, then the fan would shut off.  The grill would take so long to get back to temp that they would lose the fire.  I had similar issues with the newer model, though I never lost the fire.  But in at least one cook, the fire didn't spread and heat very well.

 

In another cook, it overshot the set temp (set at 350, went above 400 for a few minutes).  Back to set temp in half hour (with some opening of some to set up food).  I'm ok with some initial overshoot, as you'll need to open the grill to put food on, and after that your grill will be pretty close to the temp target.  Once there, it holds it very well (if you've been careful about setting the fan to avoid leaks).

 

Earlier had issue with maintaining connection to wifi.  Turns out, you can't lay the unit on a metal table and get a wifi signal.  Once I stood it up a bit, that issue went away.

 

 Customer Service via email has been very responsive, my only experience.   

 

Each probe can be individually adjusted for offset, if they're off temperature.  That's a single offset per probe, but that should be adequate. 

 

The data is not curated on line.  Rather, it's held in the unit, and sent to your phone when you request it from the app menu.  That means that if you want to save the data, you need to do it at the end of the cook.  Also, only the last 10 hours of the cook is retained, so if you're doing a 14 hour cook, you'll need to download that in two batches - one sometime before the 10-hour mark and another one when you pull the meat.  It makes for one more thing to do when everything else is going on.

Screenshot_20221005-113408.thumb.png.1363c9efd642af8e5843ea935f3cfaa9.png

 

 Once the unit is unplugged, the data goes away.  Data is saved as a .csv file, so easy to import into a spreadsheet and graph if you wish.  You can also do screenshots of the app for documentation, if you want.  

There are no markup features on the app, so if you want to make notes on your cook, a separate means is needed (AFAIK), or they could be added later to the downloaded .csv file.  I use a separate small spreadsheet (a practice I started before getting the controller).  Useful, if you're trying something different, and want to remember details.  

The downloaded data file is a 10-column .csv file, with a header line and 101 lines of data.  The first 5 columns are for the last 2 hours of the cook, in 1-minute intervals.  The second set of columns is for the last 10 hours of the cook, at 6 minute intervals. 

 

Overall , I'm very satisfied with the product, but the real proof will be in the longevity of the unit and probes.  It was a fair bit less expensive than other units on the market (got mine for $210, just saw they're on sale for a bit less now).  That's the controller, fan, 1 pit probe, 2 meat probes.  For that, I can do without all the bells and whistles.

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