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Stoker Temp Variations

I picked up a stoker about a month ago and have only had a couple of occasions to use it (and evidently learn some lessons).
I have a question for those of you with experience using these guys:

I set the target pit temp at 245 for todays rib cook (just so I can get more experience with the stoker) but it is jumping from 230 to the mid 250's... I would think a 25 degree window is a bit much for these guys. Anyone else have the same experience, and if so is there a remedy? I am hopeful it is that way I have mine set up. I currently have the top air vents at about an 1/8 of an inch or so (using the smokeware stack). The Q has been going for two and a half hours but the temp is not stabilizing.
The irony is I know the egg would have stabilized on its own a long time ago... but this gives me the opportunity to test it out some more.

Thanks for your thoughts.
XL BGE -  Med BGE - Mini BGE - Traeger Pellet Grills

 Hillsboro OR

Comments

  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 2,945
    Do you have software to track your temp via graph? Temp varies and then gets tighter over time. Rib isn't a long cook but plus/minus 25 is a bit much even at the beginning. How did you start your fire and when did you turn it over to your Stoker?
    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: http://www.nakedwhiz.com/ceramicfaq.htm and http://www.nibblemethis.com/  and http://playingwithfireandsmoke.blogspot.com/2006/02/recipes.html
    What am I drinking now?   Woodford....neat
  • NPHuskerFLNPHuskerFL Posts: 16,488
    I have the Stoker. As far as a 25° variation from target pit I haven't encountered this. Is the gasket etc tight? I too have the Smokeware and typically set at 1/8" also. If you continue to have issues call Rock's BBQ as they are very helpful.
    LBGE 2013 & MM 2014
    Die Hard HUSKER & BRONCO FAN
    Flying Low & Slow in "Da Burg" FL
  • mcmacmcmac Posts: 493
    @4Runner,  I have a mobile app that tracks via a graph, but the wide variances have never changed for the 2.5 hr period I am describing. I started the fire in 3 spots with cubes this time, and turned over to the stoker after it had been burning for an hour or so... the temp without food for the AR was at about 275. 

    @NPHuskerFL, The gasket could certainly be replaced, but I am not noticing any smoke seeping through the cracks. I may have to give them a call. They said it should have no problems maintaining a temp within 5 degrees or so... 

    Thanks for the input and thoughts guys.
    XL BGE -  Med BGE - Mini BGE - Traeger Pellet Grills

     Hillsboro OR
  • NPHuskerFLNPHuskerFL Posts: 16,488
    Lighting at top or bottom? And yes I typically see about a 5°-7° differential.
    LBGE 2013 & MM 2014
    Die Hard HUSKER & BRONCO FAN
    Flying Low & Slow in "Da Burg" FL
  • mcmacmcmac Posts: 493
    @NPHuskerFL,  Lighting from the top. I laid three cubes on the top layer of lump and lit that way.
    I just checked the graph again, and it is all over the board... it shows the temps going from the mid 260's down to 225. I'll give the boys at Rocks a call next week to discuss.
    XL BGE -  Med BGE - Mini BGE - Traeger Pellet Grills

     Hillsboro OR
  • NPHuskerFLNPHuskerFL Posts: 16,488
    @mcmac‌ for sure that's seems like a large variation to me. Please report what they deem as a solution or possible cause.
    LBGE 2013 & MM 2014
    Die Hard HUSKER & BRONCO FAN
    Flying Low & Slow in "Da Burg" FL
  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 2,945
    @mcmac. A couple of comments. First, you are lighting too large of an area. Just light 1 spot. Next, after lighting, turn on the Stoker and let it get to work right away. Lastly, get the app for the PC or Stoker X for a Mac and either will graph out your cook from start to finish. That will give you a better idea so you can really see how it settles in. I never see 25 degree swings. Please post results.
    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: http://www.nakedwhiz.com/ceramicfaq.htm and http://www.nibblemethis.com/  and http://playingwithfireandsmoke.blogspot.com/2006/02/recipes.html
    What am I drinking now?   Woodford....neat
  • I do exactly as 4Runner.....I start mine in the middle top with Stoker on, when a few pieces of lump start to catch fire I put in platesetter and grill, attach pit probe then close the lid and wait for temp to reach target, then put in meat with meat probes inserted, close lid and wait for the meat to hit target temp.....could not be easier. My temp normally varies 1 or 2 degrees
  • bettysnephewbettysnephew Posts: 1,174
    edited August 2014
    Does the Stoker show the on/off time of the blower? This may be a better indication of what is happening. Since your fire goes too low before coming back toward set point I would check the following:  Is the fan mounted in the correct position for the little door to operate properly?  Is the little door gummed up or impeded in some way as to not allow free movement?  Is there something blocking the airflow from the fan to the Egg internal or external?  Is your blower the recommended size for your Egg?  Beyond these fairly obvious physical items I would call in for more info from Stoker.  It kind of reminds me of a problem with the PID loop settings in the base program of the controller.  I do not know if the Stoker can be adjusted by the user or must be returned for service in that area, but do check out the mechanical things first.
    A poor widows son.
    See der Rabbits, Iowa
  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 2,945
    Graphing software will show the blower turning on and off. Very helpful for situations like this.  I had my old Stoker kick off the fan and never shut it off due to some internal moisture isses.  Rock took care of me and replaced all the necessary insides.   Works like a champ now!
    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: http://www.nakedwhiz.com/ceramicfaq.htm and http://www.nibblemethis.com/  and http://playingwithfireandsmoke.blogspot.com/2006/02/recipes.html
    What am I drinking now?   Woodford....neat
  • mcmacmcmac Posts: 493
    I spoke with Kevin today at Rocks and he is going to review.

    Nothing appears out of the ordinary for the fan position or any other mechanical device that I can see.

    The egg was turned over to the stoker below the target temp so I'm not sure why the number of starter cubes would matter. However, depending on what Rocks has to say I can always try a single cube as a test.

    Thanks for the feedback... I will let you know what I find out.
    XL BGE -  Med BGE - Mini BGE - Traeger Pellet Grills

     Hillsboro OR
  • HotchHotch Posts: 3,150

    +1 on what 4Runner said. Light one spot in the middle for low and slow.

    Let the Stoker take it to temp and wait for the VOC's to clear.

    One other thing is with using the "Stoker Log" software you can set the lid detect to turn off blower for a set time once it detects a lid opening. If you open the Egg to mop, spray or flip the ribs it can fan the fire.



    image
    Large BGE, MiniMAX BGE, 2 Mini BGE's, R&V Fryer, 36" Blackstone Griddle, Camp Chef Dual Burner 40K BTU Stove
    BGE Chiminea
    Prosper, TX
  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 2,945
    @mcmac - think of your fire as a boat. The larger the boat the harder it is to turn. Essentially that is what you are doing your fire...turning it left and right. So, with your large fire it has a lot of mass. As the Stoker gets that bad boy fired up and heading to the target temp, it has no idea how large the fire is. So, when it reaches the target temp and the fan shuts off, your large fire keeps on going because it has so much momentum. Result is a large overshoot. This is not the case with a small concentrated Regardless, you will experience under and over at first but overtime, it will become more and more narrow
    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: http://www.nakedwhiz.com/ceramicfaq.htm and http://www.nibblemethis.com/  and http://playingwithfireandsmoke.blogspot.com/2006/02/recipes.html
    What am I drinking now?   Woodford....neat
  • mcmacmcmac Posts: 493
    @4Runner, Yes, I get the concept of a larger fire causing more momentum when coming up to temp and overshooting... my concern is not the overshoot its the fact that it allows the temp to drop up to 20 degree below temp prior to fanning the flames. Not just once but repeated the same behavior a few times, and it never showed signs of narrowing the gap. But, again, we will see what Rock has to say as well as what will happen the next time I run it with a single starter.
    I do appreciate your input.

    @Hotch, are you using the Stoker Log software on you mobile, pc, or both? I am using an iPhone right now but I didn't see that software available. Thanks for you contributions and input as well.
    XL BGE -  Med BGE - Mini BGE - Traeger Pellet Grills

     Hillsboro OR
  • HotchHotch Posts: 3,150
    @mcmac use it on my PC. I believe that when using the Stoker Log software it is intuitive. I looks at the rate of change in temp over time. This way it tends to calculate the run time of the fan based on the rate of temp increase to hit the target temp window. You could ask Amir questions about it. He is really a great guy.
    Large BGE, MiniMAX BGE, 2 Mini BGE's, R&V Fryer, 36" Blackstone Griddle, Camp Chef Dual Burner 40K BTU Stove
    BGE Chiminea
    Prosper, TX
  • HotchHotch Posts: 3,150

    @mcmac Thinking back, I believe I set up a cook with a 3 degree window. Something like 235 with 234 as low trigger and 236 as high trigger. It was absolutely amazing how it performed. I will look and see if I keep a copy of it and post.

    Large BGE, MiniMAX BGE, 2 Mini BGE's, R&V Fryer, 36" Blackstone Griddle, Camp Chef Dual Burner 40K BTU Stove
    BGE Chiminea
    Prosper, TX
  • NPHuskerFLNPHuskerFL Posts: 16,488
    Looked at my last 9.5# Butt cook on the Stoker Log. Had an average temp swing of 3℉. OBW I lit it w/ MAPP torch in 3 spots. Stabilized pit temp/cleared creosote and started log as I inserted product temp probe.
    LBGE 2013 & MM 2014
    Die Hard HUSKER & BRONCO FAN
    Flying Low & Slow in "Da Burg" FL
  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 2,945
    @mcmac - you could have a problem with your unit but in my experience, if my overshoot is high then my undershoot is nearly equaly as low.  I have always seen the fire graph start large (over and under) and then slowly get smaller and smaller like @Hotch posted.  So, it doesn't suprise me at all that temp dipped that low before the fan kicked back on.  I'd recommend a dry run starting with a small fire like we suggested.  I bet Rock will want you to send your unit in so you may want to perform some additional testing prior to sending it back. I know I would at least.   On the software, are you on a Mac?  If so, you will need the app called Stoker X as Stoker Log is PC only the last time I checked. Good luck.
    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: http://www.nakedwhiz.com/ceramicfaq.htm and http://www.nibblemethis.com/  and http://playingwithfireandsmoke.blogspot.com/2006/02/recipes.html
    What am I drinking now?   Woodford....neat
  • mcmacmcmac Posts: 493
    Ya, I'm on a Mac for home computer and currently using the iPhone. I will look into the Stoker X for gathering data.

    Thanks again to everyone for their input.
    XL BGE -  Med BGE - Mini BGE - Traeger Pellet Grills

     Hillsboro OR
  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 2,945
    @mcmachttp://www.stokerx.com   I use it all the time.  Just use the iPhone/iPad app when on the go.  Enjoy
    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: http://www.nakedwhiz.com/ceramicfaq.htm and http://www.nibblemethis.com/  and http://playingwithfireandsmoke.blogspot.com/2006/02/recipes.html
    What am I drinking now?   Woodford....neat
  • I noticed you have an XL and a med. Did you order the stoker blower for the XL? I am pretty sure you get a 10cfm blower when ordering for XL. If your trying to use this blower on the med it's to big and will cause the big swings in temp.
  • mcmacmcmac Posts: 493
    Yes, I'm using the stoker on the XL... I haven't looked into getting the blower for the medium just yet.

    XL BGE -  Med BGE - Mini BGE - Traeger Pellet Grills

     Hillsboro OR
  • I have had mine for several months and it's really consistent. On the graph the temp line is almost perfectly straight on a 14-16hr cook. I do light in one place and hook the stocker up right away.
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