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Rocks BBQ, aka, Stoker Has Closed

HotchHotch Posts: 3,558

I have used the Stoker product for over 10 years. It's the only fan controller system I have ever used. 
It is a bit techie but the analytics in the software are second to none.
When Amir came out with the Stoker Log PC software, that was a game changer for me.
Rock, thanks for the Stoker.
From his Web Page:

Notice:

Due to health and financial reasons Rocks Barbque has closed its business. We will not be taking any more orders. I do not enjoy having to do this as it has been good to serve the barbecue community for the last 15 years. Thanks everyone for the support you have given us over the years. 

 

Rock


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
«1345

Comments

  • Damn, that doesn't sound good.  A bummer for sure.  
    "A generation of the unteachable is hanging upon us like a necklace of corpses." - George Orwell 

    "I've made a note never to piss you two off." - Stike

    Ruining the forum, one post at a time.  

    Living large in the 919
  • Does anyone have any idea where probes can be purchased?  Does anyone know what the communication protocol is for the probe connectors?
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 15,617
    That's some  rough news. The Stoker was a game changer for many. 

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • lkapigianlkapigian Posts: 8,139
    That's to bad, I have a Stoker ll works great, to high tech for me to get the remote monitoring to work....will be giving it away as soon as my Stumps Smoker gets here as it is coming with a controller as well 
    Visalia, Ca

    LGBE- Pit's by Klose Trailer -Stumps XL Stretch - Custom Santa Maria-Modified HD Offset Smoker Reverse Flow- FatStack Smoker FS120 coming soon Fat Stacks 500- Blackstone 36 Blackstone 22 - Custom Cold Smoke House and a lonely Brinkman Vertical Smoker
  • WeberWhoWeberWho Posts: 9,271
    I hate seeing a business close. Completely understandable though. I hope their health gets better and have less stress with not having to worry about a business. 
    "The pig is an amazing animal. You feed a pig an apple and it makes bacon. Let's see Michael Phelps do that" - Jim Gaffigan

    Minnesota
  • HotchHotch Posts: 3,558
    edited October 2019
    Does anyone have any idea where probes can be purchased?  Does anyone know what the communication protocol is for the probe connectors?
    If I remember correctly someone here on the forum had a solution on probe cable replacement. Maybe someone knows who it is. I'll check in my bookmarks and see if I have it.

    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: 3,558
    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
  • ToxarchToxarch Posts: 1,900
    edited October 2019
    Hotch said:
    Does anyone have any idea where probes can be purchased?  Does anyone know what the communication protocol is for the probe connectors?
    If I remember correctly someone here on the forum had a solution on probe cable replacement. Maybe someone knows who it is. I'll check in my bookmarks and see if I have it.

    You can make your own probes, but you still need their plugs with the chip inside. Without their plugs, you are SOL. 

    I wish him luck in his health. Might have to dig around for an archived copy of his website. Would be nice to have for reference in the future. 
    Aledo, Texas
    Large BGE
    KJ Jr.

    Exodus 12:9 KJV
    Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.

  • HeavyGHeavyG Posts: 7,956
    Toxarch said:
    Hotch said:
    Does anyone have any idea where probes can be purchased?  Does anyone know what the communication protocol is for the probe connectors?
    If I remember correctly someone here on the forum had a solution on probe cable replacement. Maybe someone knows who it is. I'll check in my bookmarks and see if I have it.

    You can make your own probes, but you still need their plugs with the chip inside. Without their plugs, you are SOL. 

    I wish him luck in his health. Might have to dig around for an archived copy of his website. Would be nice to have for reference in the future. 
    Here's a link to the documentation page from the Internet Archive - https://web.archive.org/web/20191001191710/https://rocksbarbque.com/Documents.html

    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” ― Philip K. Dik

    Camped out in the (757/948/804)




  • If I can collect some old stoker "¼ inch jack plugs" I am thinking of making up some K-type connectors so that you can use any k-type probes. 
  • brentmbrentm Posts: 422
    murwil said:
    If I can collect some old stoker "¼ inch jack plugs" I am thinking of making up some K-type connectors so that you can use any k-type probes. 
    I think I can reverse the PCB inside the 1/4" jack.  It looks like it's a 1-Wire temperature probe with LEDs.  It wouldn't be too much money to have a small run of these PCBs made up.
  • sancho65sancho65 Posts: 205
    @brentm Please keep us posted if you learn how to make one or know where we can get some for our Stokers!! 
    XL, Large, 2 Small's and Mini BGE Arlington Texas
  • WeberWhoWeberWho Posts: 9,271
    sancho65 said:
    @brentm Please keep us posted if you learn how to make one or know where we can get some for our Stokers!! 
    +1
    "The pig is an amazing animal. You feed a pig an apple and it makes bacon. Let's see Michael Phelps do that" - Jim Gaffigan

    Minnesota
  • brentmbrentm Posts: 422
    Will do - it would certainly be easier if he left the eagle CAD files.  One thing is for sure.  Rock did a great job assembling and soldering these surface mount components.  The boards all look to be hand stuffed.  And he got it to fit inside a 1/4" plug... pretty amazing.

    I sent Rock an email on acquiring portions of his business and inventory.  I'd be interested in assisting him on servicing and supporting his existing customers.  I know there are other power draft options out there now that are difficult to compete with, but I really love my Stoker.  And referred several friends there now (who are now no longer supported).

    I have some parts ordered...  these, if they work, will have an inline package in the cable (like a snake ate a mouse).  And no LEDs.  And if they work, I'll post a tutorial on how to make your own. 


  • WeberWhoWeberWho Posts: 9,271
    brentm said:
    Will do - it would certainly be easier if he left the eagle CAD files.  One thing is for sure.  Rock did a great job assembling and soldering these surface mount components.  The boards all look to be hand stuffed.  And he got it to fit inside a 1/4" plug... pretty amazing.

    I sent Rock an email on acquiring portions of his business and inventory.  I'd be interested in assisting him on servicing and supporting his existing customers.  I know there are other power draft options out there now that are difficult to compete with, but I really love my Stoker.  And referred several friends there now (who are now no longer supported).

    I have some parts ordered...  these, if they work, will have an inline package in the cable (like a snake ate a mouse).  And no LEDs.  And if they work, I'll post a tutorial on how to make your own. 


    Thanks!
    "The pig is an amazing animal. You feed a pig an apple and it makes bacon. Let's see Michael Phelps do that" - Jim Gaffigan

    Minnesota
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 3,690
    I don’t own one but I can help you reverse engineer it if you need help.

    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 3,690
    edited December 2019
    I reverse engineered the wireless protocol on this one to build a wifi gateway to be able to use my phone instead of the receiver.  One day I might get a 3D printer to make a nice case for it.



    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • brentmbrentm Posts: 422
    That's pretty intense paqman.  I'd love the help.  Here's an image inside the 1/4" jack.  


    I believe a Dallas 1-Wire chip is underneath.  The readable text in the stoker firmware references Dallas Semiconductor 1-Wire DS2760, DS2408, DS2413
    DS2405.

    Researching 1-Wire, it looks like there may be some compatibility over the life of the line... as the ones referenced above are all obsolete.  

    Without physically owning a Stoker, it'd be pretty tough to RE the connector plugs.  I have a feeling something is written to each plug to identify it as either a sensor or blower.  I haven't wanted to remove the adhesive-lined heat shrink for fear of damaging it. 

    But there's plenty of bits on the web to reference.  kaytat dot com is the author of the controller software.  And on his blog are some hints (github, etc).  I believe the insides are a RPI.  

    Right now, I'm just going to take a shot in the dark and try one of these... https://www.seeedstudio.com/Grove-1-Wire-Thermocouple-Amplifier-MAX31850K.html - stick a 1/4" on one end and a k-type thermometer on the other.
  • I think what most stoker owners need is that ability to replace their expired temperature probes, usually due to the wire getting toasted and failing. All they really need is a cable from the ¼ inch jack to a standard K-type connector. Then they can just order k-type probes very inexpensively. The pc board in the jack simply acts as a network device and I have never had one fail. 
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 3,690
    1-wire is a data transport level protocol, think USB port for micro controllers.  What needs to be figured out here is the format of the data sent over that pipe.  I have a few 1-wire temperature probes but I think that they are all thermistor based.  Many of those share the same protocol and are interchangeable so there is a good chance that he is using a standard that already exists.

    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • brentmbrentm Posts: 422
    murwil said:
    I think what most stoker owners need is that ability to replace their expired temperature probes, usually due to the wire getting toasted and failing. All they really need is a cable from the ¼ inch jack to a standard K-type connector. Then they can just order k-type probes very inexpensively. The pc board in the jack simply acts as a network device and I have never had one fail. 
    You're probably right on the "demand".  I had temperature sensor go a little flakey on me, which started me thinking.
    paqman said:
    1-wire is a data transport level protocol, think USB port for micro controllers.  What needs to be figured out here is the format of the data sent over that pipe.  I have a few 1-wire temperature probes but I think that they are all thermistor based.  Many of those share the same protocol and are interchangeable so there is a good chance that he is using a standard that already exists.
    Yeah, it sounds like you know exactly what needs to be done!  It'd be nice to be able to offer probes and blowers to folks who have existing units.  These things are subject to elements and fail....  and the ability to control multiple smokers from one unit is nice too.

    Stokerlog is the PC app that sold me on the Stoker initially.  And that's on life support unless it miraculously survives the next Windows upgrade cycle without some fatal flaw.  

    Then the realist in me says, go spend 1/2 of what you have into your Stoker on the latest whizmo online (bbq guru) and be done with it.  Burt the draw to spend good money after bad (and time) is strong with me...


  • If your time is cheap (or you are retired like me), you could engineer a work around.  Otherwise, it might be easier to throw it in the scrap bin and buy a Flameboss with new warranty and an app that works with any phone, and updates automatically.

    BGE XL++Flameboss 300 WiFi++Blackstone 36"++Weber 26" kettle

  • lkapigianlkapigian Posts: 8,139
    If your time is cheap (or you are retired like me), you could engineer a work around.  Otherwise, it might be easier to throw it in the scrap bin and buy a Flameboss with new warranty and an app that works with any phone, and updates automatically.
    Yup, just gave my Stoker 2 away this week once I got my FB500 ...Stoker is a much more robust unit, so I gave it to someone much younger than me that will likely sort out the WFi
    Visalia, Ca

    LGBE- Pit's by Klose Trailer -Stumps XL Stretch - Custom Santa Maria-Modified HD Offset Smoker Reverse Flow- FatStack Smoker FS120 coming soon Fat Stacks 500- Blackstone 36 Blackstone 22 - Custom Cold Smoke House and a lonely Brinkman Vertical Smoker
  • brentmbrentm Posts: 422


    Here's a blower plug for reference.  It appears to be a multi-layer board here.

    @paqman - is there something I can put inline that you would recommend to capture the traffic over the wire?
  • Some resources here. http://www.friday.com/bbum/2006/12/09/the-stoker-in-detail/ Kaytat did the software for Rocks and K6JQ did the Wifi package. 
  • brentmbrentm Posts: 422
    @murwil - thanks!  it'd be great to get a shell prompt on this box.  So far, SSH is open but the default tini user/pass won't get you through.  It's probably secured with ssh keys.  Telnet doesn't seem to respond to input on newer versions but it does provide output.

    They put a lot of work into the stoker.  I'd assumed it was something off-the-shelf under the hood and they'd extended all the connections (like some guitar pedals).  But it's completely custom...  Hope I didn't void my warranty.  :pensive:

    Pretty impressive... and the powder-coated case with the tilt base and the sun visor.  This thing is just a unit!

    Too bad they just vaporized.  One of my friends was working with Ken last summer on a custom smoker in his back yard using a Stoker II.

    I'd imagine a Flame Boss would do many of the same things... 


  • I have experienced a few different ATC systems and I think the way stoker handles the hysteresis as things get close to temp is exceptionally good. I have a series 1 an early WiFi one and the last version. 
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 3,690
    edited December 2019
    brentm said:


    Here's a blower plug for reference.  It appears to be a multi-layer board here.

    @paqman - is there something I can put inline that you would recommend to capture the traffic over the wire?
    I use a Saleae logic analyzer but that’s not cheap so unless you plan to use it for something else...

    Bus pirate is another option but if I remember correctly it is fairly restrictive in terms of supported logic voltage and you will burn it if the voltage is too high.  

    I think my local dealer might have one of them left in stock, if I can get my hands on one of them for cheap $$$ I’ll figure it out.

    I think that what would make sense here is build a « receiver » to connect k-type thermocouples or standard thermistors.  The caveat with thermistors is that you have to calibrate them so thermocouple is probably a better option. Building the receiver is fairly simple but making it talk the same language as the controller will be the challenge.

    Adafruit has a few good options for thermocouple interface modules.

    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 3,690
    You might be able to get the SSH keys from the software 

    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
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