I received an early birthday present yesterday - a Stoker. It arrived in Ontario after being shipped from Calif. on Friday.
I wanted to get a draft controller in the hope that it will make using the Egg easier throughout the winter. With the cold, wet, dark, and snow, I'm hoping the Stoker will allow me to make fewer trips out to the Egg (since I will have fire and food temperature monitoring in the house) - and fewer cold blasts from the door, and fewer wet footprints in the house...
Another reason for wanting a draft controller is that my sleep is too valuable to me to go outside in the middle of the night to check temps. We get lots of rain and snow in the winter, so I want to be able to protect the control unit in a plastic case when in use. That rules out being able to look out the window to see the readout, so having a monitor indoors is ideal. With the Stoker, I can view the readout on my iphone, so all I have to do in the middle of the night is roll over and open up the Stoker page on the iphone.
Finally, my family likes to go for a walk, or to a park, or do some activity just before dinner. I like to put some chicken on the Egg at around 250-275, and aim for a 1.5hr walk. However, sometimes I don't have the tiime to get the Egg good and stable before going for a walk, and sometimes we either want to come home early or stay out longer. Now with the Stoker, I set it up, and on the walk I get actually control it from my iphone. Coming home early? Set the Stoker to increase the temp - staying out later? Drop the temp on the Stoker to keep the food from getting overdone, all from the park.
I was worried about the hi-tech nature of getting all this web functionality from my Stoker. My computers are mostly Mac, too, so I was not sure how compatible it would all be. Well, to all you other Mac users out there, you DO NOT need to know your DNS from your DHCP, or your NAT protocols from Miss Manners to make this work. Here's what needs to be done to get set up in a home network:
You need a router like an Airport Extreme, and what they call a wireless bridge, which is just an Airport Express. I used the Airport Express that I was currently using to stream itunes to my stereo. However, I had to go through the Airport Express setup again (open the Airport Utility in Applications to do this). This setup is to put your Express into WDS mode, which in the setup process is just "connecting to an existing network". Apple does the rest. Then you use an ethernet cable to plug your Stoker in to the Airport Express, turn on the Stoker to read the ip address it got, and go enter that ip address into your computer or whatever on your home network. You now have wireless control and monitoring of the Stoker! The next step is to be able to access your Stoker from anywhere using the internet:
For this, you need to go into your router - the Airport Extreme (also using the Airport Utility on your computer in Applications). Click on the 'manual setup' button, and go into the 'advanced' tab. Click 'port mapping' and fill out the form to look like what in this post (by the way, the form fills itself out except for the ip address of your Airport Express) http://www.eggheadforum.com/index.php?option=com_simpleboard&Itemid=55&func=view&catid=1&id=736494
Now you wait for the Airport Extreme to reboot - write down the ip address of the Airport Extreme (yes the router), and now open an internet window, enter the ip address of the Extreme into the url bar, and bob's your uncle! You can now control/monitor your Stoker from any device that has internet access, anywhere. Now all I need to do is connect it to the Egg and cook something!