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Losing Fire

rogerdunlaprogerdunlap Posts: 2
edited June 2012 in EggHead Forum

My fire is going out when I try to hold a temperature even as high as 300 degrees. What could be wrong? First, I am new at this, but my initial fire seems to be going well, with an area the size of my fist glowing bright red. When I first close the lid, the temp approaches 400. Then I close the top vent to about 3/8 inch open, and the bottom vent about1-1/2 inch open. This brings the temp down to the low 300's in a few minutes, but after cooking 1-1/2 hour, the fire is out. The grill is stillholding heat and cooking, but the temp continues to fall and opening all vents even 100% does not rekindle the fire. It is probably a rookie error, but what?

 

Thanks,

RD

Comments

  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,539
    Are you burning thru all the lump you put in?
  • gtk10583gtk10583 Posts: 77
    Lousy lump?
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 13,394
    edited June 2012

    BGE  fire volume (and thus temperature) is a function of the air-flow through the fuel (lump).  So, for this to work you have to have lump and air-flow (along with the initial heat source to get the lump burning).  Given you have the lump burning (and not residual fire starter), and enough lump loaded (which you should based on the short time til you have the problem), it must be air flow.  Make sure the fire box opening is aligned with the lower vent, your fire grate air holes are clear, your ash pit is empty and go from there.  BTW-something doesn't sound right for your dome temp to shoot to around 400*F when you initially close the dome with that small amount of lump burning.  You should also check the calibration of your dome thermo.

    And here's a great initial reference site:

    Best basic info site going- http://www.nakedwhiz.com/ceramic.htm <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.
  • joe@bgejoe@bge Posts: 394
    edited June 2012
    As stated its all about air flow through the lump.  Do as Lousubcap suggests.  Also - is the lump all small pieces in the fire box?  I have seen where a lot of small pieces can restrict air flow and cause temps to be hard to raise, but I have never had a fire go out.  Another tip - I always rake old lump around good to make sure the ash falls through the fire grate - ash restricts air flow too.

  • chad408chad408 Posts: 140
    Sounds like the lump might be wet. Is there anyway it might have gotten wet
  • stevesailsstevesails Posts: 990
    top vent closed too small.. if you want 300 or over, just control with the bottom vent. 
    XL   Walled Lake, MI

  • tazcrashtazcrash Posts: 1,851
    for 300 & greater, you can take the top daisy wheel off, and just control through the bottom.

    Bx - > NJ ->TX!!! 
    All to get cheaper brisket! 
  • AirwolfAirwolf Posts: 76
    Are you using natural lump or brickette style charcoal?    If using the brickette style, sound like you might be plugging it up with ash.
  • ShiffShiff Posts: 1,636
    How much charcoal did you put in?  I always fill mine up to at least the bottom of the fire ring and sometimes higher.  How many places did you light?  I always light in 3 or 4 places which usually prevents the charcoal from burning straight down and then going out.

    A wiggle rod can be purchased or made to help keep the fire grate from becoming clogged with small charcoal.. See http://thirdeyebbq.com/WiggleRods.aspx
    Large BGE
    Barry, Lancaster, PA
  • MrCookingNurseMrCookingNurse Posts: 4,592
    I've never used my daisy wheel. But I've never done anything less than 350.

    Your run up sounds just like mine. I'd clean your egg out. Remove all the innards and vacuum. Then make sure your lump is new, dry and good size.

    My biggest problem is choking it back to stay under 400 but im learning how to shut down burp and fine tune.


    _______________________________________________

    XLBGE 
  • Once the fire is lit, the only 2 variables are:  fuel + air. 

    If you have enough fuel, and it isn't damp or otherwise contaminated, then it has to be air.  An often overlooked area are the holes in the fire box.  They often get clogged up w/ ash.  Make sure they are not clogged. 

    Another thing is your grate - if you're using the stock CI grate, the holes in it can get clogged as well.  Make sure you stir your coals prior to lighting to shake the ash from the grate to the bottom of the Egg. 

    HTH,
    Rob
    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    HH is right.  sounds like the dreadful "handful of lump" advice that is in the BGE manual or sales literature.
    fill that thing
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Thanks for the comments. For the record, I am using a good pile of charcoal - piled a couple of inches above the air holes in the center (added more after the first time this occured); charcoal is brand new BGE lump (no opportunity for it to get wet), the air holes are clear, there is no ash accumulation and the openings in the bottom are aligned. It seems I need more air, but that will make it hotter. What is the lowest temp you all can maintain and keep the fire going?

     

    RD

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited June 2012
    180-200, but most of us hover around 250

    if it is open, it shouldn't go out.  even a sliver.

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • ncbbqncbbq Posts: 257
    I can easily maintain 250. I have not tried to go lower.
  • joe@bgejoe@bge Posts: 394

    Sounds like you have all the right conditions for proper temps.  I frequently cook my chicken in the 300 - 350 range and I can maintain that temp with the bottom wide open and the daisy wheel on with all the petals 'open' and lined up.

    I have never had a fire go out yet...with fuel still left to burn. 


  • Hillbilly-HightechHillbilly-Hightech Posts: 966
    edited June 2012

    Thanks for the comments. For the record, I am using a good pile of charcoal - piled a couple of inches above the air holes in the center (added more after the first time this occured); charcoal is brand new BGE lump (no opportunity for it to get wet), the air holes are clear, there is no ash accumulation and the openings in the bottom are aligned. It seems I need more air, but that will make it hotter. What is the lowest temp you all can maintain and keep the fire going?

    Lowest temp I have done is 250-275, and have done that for 11 hrs, no problem.  After that cook was done, still had enough lump left over for a few more cooks (though, usually I "top off" just to be safe).

    Anyway, as far as your issues, maybe let's try to attack this from a different perspective - how do you light your lump, how many places, and do you stir your lump?

    For me, I start w/ the bottom vent completely open, & I use a torch & light in 3 places (picture 8:00, 4:00, and 12:00 on a clock).  I leave the dome open after I light, and then after a few minutes, I'll stir the lump to more evenly distribute the fire (some folks stir, some do not - I've found this works best for me).

    After I stir, then I'll start adding in any of the things needed to cook on (ie, plate setter, and/or cooking grid, and/or pizza stone, and/or any "raised setups" etc).

    Then after I add all my "setup" stuff, I close the dome, and put on the Daisy Wheel, and make my initial vent adjustments.  I'll close the bottom vent about half way, and maybe slide the top of the Daisy Wheel to where it's half-way closed.

    Then after several minutes I come back out to make sure that my temp is getting close to what I want.  Then I'll set my vents to the position they need to be to reach my desired temp.  Hopefully I haven't forgotten to come out & check on the Egg, so that I don't over-shoot my desired temp, and can allow the Egg to "creep up" on the temp (easier to hit the temp on the way up than it is to overshoot & have to try to bring the temp of the Egg back down).

    Keep in mind that if you add things like a plate setter and/or pizza stone, they are cold pieces of ceramic & will initially drop the temp of the Egg.  Don't - repeat - DON'T get in the bad habit of trying to "chase" the temp up & down by making wildly panicked adjustments to the vents - the temp will come back up in due time, as the fire heats up these pieces of ceramic which act as heat sinks.

    That's it... so within 15-20 minutes usually (barring any unforeseen issues), I can start the fire, and have the temp "dialed in" & be ready to cook. 

    This is how it works for me ~95% of the time - obviously, there are sometimes where I forget to check on the Egg, or maybe I didn't light the coals enough & maybe the fire is snuffing itself out, or maybe the vent settings I used the last time aren't quite "right" this time, due to humidity, wind, rain, etc. 

    But those "issues" are the "Egg-ceptions" and not the rule!!

    HTH,

    Rob

    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • Rob, I am lighting with a BGE electric starter, letting it run for 7-10".

    Thanks to everyone, I really appreciate the suggestions, and am confident it can be worked out.

    RD

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