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Grate temp, Dome temp, and the Stoker

BBQEdBBQEd Posts: 63
edited 4:20AM in EggHead Forum
I received my Stoker in the mail on Friday, spent Saturday playing with it and learning how to set it up. Sunday, cold and snowy, I decided to put the Stoker to the test. I moved the egg close to my sliding glass door and ran the leads to the stoker through the door and to the egg. The stoker brought the grill up to 250 deg grate temp very fast. Just for fun I placed my remote maverick into the dome hole and monitored the temp while preparing the ribs. I noticed that dome temp was around 20 deg higher than grill temp, kind of made sense. When everything was ready I placed a water filled drip pan on the bottom grate and then placed the ribs on the top grate, this is when things began to get strange. Dome temps started fluctuating up and down around 20 degrees with each stoker cycle, a whopping 40 degree swing. The stoker was not reporting the wild swings. I pulled out the BGE supplied temperature gage and replaced the maverick with that, then placed the thermocouple for the maverick next to the Stoker's thermocouple, I also took a moist paper towel and cleaned off the Stoker's thermocouple. At this point my wife wanted me to go to the store with her. I started to tell her that I needed to make sure my temps were right but before I could finish I got the "I thought that thing was supposed to take care of that for you" line. I wasn't about to let her think I just threw away >$250 on "another useless gadget" so I went with her and hoped for the best.[p]We got home 3 hours later and I saw that the BGE thermometer was reading a dome temp of around 215, the Maverick that was sitting right next to the Stoker thermocouple was reading 198 and the Stoker was reading 280 degrees. I looked at the fan mount to the egg and saw an air gap so I figure that is what kept the fire alive. I then disconnected the stoker and finished the cook manually thinking the Stoker's thermocouple must be bad. After the cook I boiled water and the Maverick, Stoker, and BGE gauge were all withing a couple of degrees of each other.[p]Can anyone give me any insights on what went wrong? I placed the Stoker lead and the Maverick lead very close to the edge of the grate and both were within an inch of each other. It was around 25 degrees outside and snowy. Also, the Maverick's thermocouple is around twice the length of the stoker's thermocouple so it was probably a little farther into the grill than the Stoker lead, assuming temperature is primarily measured at the tip of the thermocouple.[p]Thanks


  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    BBQEd,[p] Try repeating the experiment without the water in the drip pan. Your Egg will maintain moisture without the added water.[p] The dome will be higher because heat rises. Did you place the Maverick probe right on the grate or did you use the little clip. Not using that clip will throw the Maverick or the Stoker off. [p]
  • BBQEdBBQEd Posts: 63
    Celtic Wolf,[p]The Maverick was laying on the grid as I don't have a clip mount for it. [p]I'm pretty sure this is a severe case of operator malfunction. I did think that at some point the temperatures inside the egg would approach equilibrium though. I will try a dry run this weekend to make sure all is well. The only reason I cook with a water pan to keep the rib drippings from smoking too much.[p]Thanks for the input,[p]Ed
  • ronbeauxronbeaux Posts: 988
    Put sand in the drip pan.

  • BBQEd,
    You might try taking the stoker indoors and checking the probes in boiling water. Make sure that all the plugs that you have plugged into the stoker are all the way in, also.[p]TNW

    The Naked Whiz
  • BBQEdBBQEd Posts: 63
    The Naked Whiz,[p]Thanks, My plan is to get a wireless game adapter and headphone extension cables and get on line, then, if I can find it, use the program that will dump the information into an excel spreadsheet and try to see what is going on.[p]On a side note how long often does the Stoker refresh. I notice that when I have it hooked to my router it takes several seconds for the web page to update after I refresh.
  • BBQEdBBQEd Posts: 63
    ronbeaux,[p]Thanks!! I never thought of that, will definitely give it a try on my next cook.

  • BBQEd,
    I just bought the BBQGURU and was reading your comments about your wife. Based on what you said I wonder if your wife and my wife have been drinking from the same water fountain. I can invision the exact senario you described with my wife.

  • chucklschuckls Posts: 399
    BBQEd,[p]Another trick it took me over a year to figure out is to put my drip pan on another grid - so it's not sitting right on my plate setter.[p]Doesn't get hot enough to smoke, now![p]Chuck
  • BBQEdBBQEd Posts: 63
    I was searching for the link to the program that records data to an Excel spreadsheet and found someone on Stumps Smoker forum that had a very similar problem to mine. Only my unit was right at the sliding glass door so it shouldn't have been too cold. Hmmmm, I didn't know the unit was susceptible to the cold.

    [ul][li]similar problem from Stumps Smoker forum[/ul]
  • BBQEd,
    I use a BBQ Guru and the water pan will effect the readings. I think my Guru even came with a warning note about why not to use a water pan. I do not even use a drip pan,the plate setter works fine. Dan

  • ronbeauxronbeaux Posts: 988
    Here is another tip. Wad up some foil and place on the platesetter, like little balls the size of marbles, then place your drip pan on that. Gives and air space and it's cheap.

  • Congrats on your new Stoker, I love mine. Here are some suggestions:[p]1. Make sure your fan is mounted right side up. The metal flapper should drop down and cut off airflow when the blower is not blowing.[p]2. Be sure to close the lower damper all the way so it overlaps the blower adaptor. There should be no space for airflow other than when the blower is on (see #1 above.)[p]3. Be sure the pit probe is not too close to, or touching anything that can affect the reading (the meat, water pan, metal grate, etc.)
    This includes keeping it out of direct heat if you are doing an indirect cook with the platesetter.[p]I really like the guru's silicone accesory tree for holding my pit probe instead of the alligator clip. I only use the clip to clip on the the BGE dome thermometer probe if I want to monitor both grate and dome temps. It is interesting to watch the difference and 20 is pretty normal between the two.[p]4. Go to Radio Shack and get a 20 foot 1/4 inch stereo headphone extension cable and three of these adapters:[p][p]This will give you four jacks at the cooker for probes & blower and then you can keep the Controller inside the house where you can relax in the warm kitchen with your favorite beverage and no need to go outside. Just cover the adapter and plugs with some foil to rain proof. I also like to duct tape a foil hat over the blower in case of rain. Ice from rain or condensation could impede a blower fan from spinning in extreme cold.[p]5. Resist the urge to keep tweaking the temp settings and to peek under the hood of the egg. Just let the temp settle down to target and let the stoker and egg do thier things. Opening the egg will just cause the temp to drop, blower to blow, temp to spike, then settle down again.[p]Here is the link to the logging program over at the Webber forum.[p][p]Also, I just hit F5 (or the refresh button on the web browser) to get more frequent screen updates. There must be a setting for internet explorer to refresh more often but I have not really looked for it yet.[p]- Barry
    (my 7yr old says my large eggs look like avocados . . )

  • BBQEdBBQEd Posts: 63
    Avocados,[p]Thanks for all of the great information. I had the fan setup fine but I did notice that I initially had an air gap between the top of the adapter plate and the top of the door slide on the egg. I guess you have to tweak the fan after it is installed to ensure there isn't an air gap. I just downloaded the logging application and a trip to Radio Shack is definitely on my to do list. I dug up an old Asus router and have set it up as a bridge to my primary router, now I can hook the Stoker to my network. I think I can even set a webcam up on this router too because it has a USB connection and a webcam setup menu in the control panel. I also set up an account at but I'm not having any luck in hitting the Stoker from the internet, I'm hoping the IT guy at work can give me some guidance on this one because I've gone as far as I can go with my limited networking knowledge. [p]I will definitely have better wiring in place the next time I cook with the Stoker. Also, I work for a boiler shop so I am thinking of a more water resistant fan housing now but unfortunately the thinest material we work with is 10 Ga. so it might be a little on the heavy side when complete. At this point I am thinking I will mount the enclosure to the "nest" but I've not quite figured that one out yet.[p]Again, thanks to all for the advice
  • Hmmm,[p]Having to hop thru two different routers (and two different subnets) could be causing problems getting access from the internet to your egg's web interface.[p]The Dynamic DNS will point your Domain Name to the external (WAN) interface on the first router that is connected to your dsl or cable modem. This router will then need to forward TCP port 80 (http web requests) to the input(WAN) port on the second router.[p]The second router will then need to forward TCP port 80 on to the IP address that is assigned to the Stoker controller which is assigned automatically by the DHCP server in the second router.[p]You also need to be sure that the IP Subnet that each router is using for the trusted network are in a different range. If the first router is using something like (subnet mask of then change the second router to use something like (subnet the Trusted LAN side. Router get kind of confused when they see the same network address on both the inside and outside ports . . . .[p]On the Stoker, go into the "system info" menu, and select "IP address", and it will show you what it address the router's DHCP service assigned to it.[p]Disclaimer - This assumes that you are passing thru the second router's WAN port and not just using the hub on the back of it. In that case, you would want to use the same subnet address range, but be sure to disable the DHCP service on it so there will be no conflict with the first router.[p]Clear as Mud???[p]Hope this helps!
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