Author Topic: Teach me why.  (Read 3790 times)

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Offline veryolddog

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Teach me why.
« Reply #-1 on: August 08, 2013, 09:35:57 AM »
I have read many forum articles about your product and people speak about it very favorably. What I do not understand is how it interfaces with an existing pellet smoker with a control board and why one should buy your product over a replacement of the manufacturer's product?

To put this in perspective, I have a Yoder 480 which, for me, is just fine. If something happens to this controller int he next two or three years, I would normally call Yoder and ask them to send me a replacement.

Here are some questions:

What are the compelling functional reasons for purchasing your controller or a replacement controller from the manufacturer? What does yours do, that for example that the Yoder controller does not do?

Is there a compelling financial reason for purchasing your unit verses the original manufacturer's controller?

Please do not look upon this as a challenge. I simply want to understand what your product does, how it is installed, and the major benefits of this purchase. This is purely educational to satisfy the curiosity of a very old man.

Thank you,

Ed
An empty grill or pan is a blank canvas on which you can create like an artist!
Yoder YS480 Pellet Smoker and Yoder Cheyenne Stick Burner
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Offline Savannah Stoker Controller

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Re: Teach me why.
« on: August 08, 2013, 10:59:52 AM »
Hi Ed,

Thanks for your questions.

First, the Savannah Stoker was not designed to replace the controllers on the Yoder, MAC, Woodmaster, Memphic, Fast Eddy, and several others. The respective manufactures have a quality product with a well designed controller.  The Savannah Stoker was originally designed to overcome the short comings of the stock controller on Traeger Wood Pellet Grills.

Traeger owners quickly learn the stock controller is the achilies heel of their grill: It has large temp swings (25+), no cool down cycle, and limited cooking temperatures:  Smoke, 180, 225, 250, 275, 300, 325, 350, 375 and high (450).
To some the stock controller meets their needs, but for others better temperature control was needed. If was from this need that drove the design of the Savannah Stoker.

So what is the Savannah Stoker II?
It is a PID based artificial intelligent temperature controller that allows you to control your wood pellet grill with “simplicity but infinite control”.

Some of the feaures of the Savannah Stoker II:
•  Set the desired cooking/smoking temperature from 160°- 550°F or the max temperature your grill can reach in 1° increments.
•  Typical temperature swings are 5-10°F when cooking above 250°F and 10-15°F when smoking below 225°F.
•  Movable Temperature Sensor. Know what the grate level cooking temperature is; place the sensor there.
•  Optional hardwired permanent installed temperature sensor.
•  Grill cool-down cycle. The fan runs for 20-25 minutes after the grill is turned off to cool the grill down.
•  2 Speed Fan selectable by the user. Low for Smoking; High for cooking. 
•  Auger Bypass. Press a button and the auger runs 100% to get to grilling temperatures faster.
•  All of the operational parameters can be changed by the end user.
•  Autotune function. The controller will determine the most optium P,I,D, parameter settings for your grill.


Through the efforts of many the Savannah Stoker has been installed/programmed to operate almost any pellet grill that uses the Traeger or Ortech Controller.

This included:
Traeger Wood Pellet Grills: Texas, Lil’ Tex, Lil’ Tex Elite, Select, BBQ Deluxe 100, XL, BBQ 100, BBQ 124, BBQ 125/126, COM 190/200 (with an option relay). Maybe compatible with other Traeger models; will not fit in the Traeger Junior or the PTG with out modifications.
All models of the Blaz’n Grills Works Wood Pellet Grills, Royall Wood Pellet Grills (except the tailgater), Smoke Daddy Pellet Pro, Pro Smoker ‘n Roaster BBQ 100, Dreamwerk Smokers.
One user has adapted the Savannah Stoker to control their Yoder.

Some of our users like myself own the STOKER® Power Draft System from Rocks Bar-B-Que. (Info on the features of the Stoker can be found here https://www.rocksbarbque.com/ .) The Stoker is an Automatic temperature control device for stick burners and charcoal smokers. Though many have tried, the Stoker was never adapted to operate a pellet grill.... until the Savannah Stoker come out. With an optional interface cable the STOKER® Power Draft System can control some of the abovementioned wood pellet grills.

With the Stoker connected the user gains wireless control including remote temperature control and monitoring from a computer or Smartphone and graphing of the cook with StokerLog 1 running on a PC. There are several phones apps available including StokeMaster and BBQ Monitor2

Thanks again for your questions.

Billy
 

1StokerLog is a PC Application written by Amir Majidimehr that can be used as an alternate to the STOKER’s web browser interface. StokerLog adds many features: Learns the characteristics of your barbecue; Chart and save your cook data; Set alarms on your computer; Ramp temperatures up/down by time or food temperature; and more. The author posts on the Virtual Weber Bulletin Board http://tvwbb.com in the Automatic Temperature Control Systems area. Discussion and download information is found there.

2StokeMaster and BBQ Monitor are iPhone Apps used to monitor and make changes to the STOKER.

« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 11:03:33 AM by Savannah Stoker Controller »

Offline teesquare

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Re: Teach me why.
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2013, 11:04:12 AM »
I would really like to encourage the person that has installed a Savannah Stoker on his Yoder to join us here on LTBBQ. I am curious about the application on my YS-640, and would really like to have more information about how it works on the Yoder!

PLEASE drag him in here Billy! ;D
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Offline veryolddog

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Re: Teach me why.
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2013, 12:21:43 PM »
I would like to thank you very much for a very clear answer to my questions. I really appreciate that.

I just wondered about the product and what was the compelling functionality of the product that drew so many people to it.

You are very kind to do that for me.

with kind regards,

Ed
An empty grill or pan is a blank canvas on which you can create like an artist!
Yoder YS480 Pellet Smoker and Yoder Cheyenne Stick Burner
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Offline Hub

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Re: Teach me why.
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2013, 04:45:51 PM »
Fantastic answer, Billy  ;D

I'm no good at posting videos but I'll give a great description of why anyone who owns a Traeger and wants to cook seriously on it needs a Savannah Stoker.

My Traeger is an American made, new old stock purchase from a hardware store that went out of business.  It came with Traeger's infamous "three speed" controller which was DOA when I plugged it in.  At the same hardware store I got (free) Traegers still infamous "225 Out-Of-Controller" which I installed to replace the original.  This controller "works" if you understand what it is doing.  The "smoke" setting will create a good level of blue smoke at very low temperatures (around 160 average).  The rest of the clicks vary a great deal in both what they will do and how accurate they are.  It won't get hot enough to sear a steak or burgers, but it will do an adequate job of slow smoking a butt or some chickens.  Since all I ever use it for is smoke infusion (reverse sear on steaks often) and the occasional low/slow butt or chicken for home (not contest) use I just tolerate the poor control and, actually, am kind of entertained by it.

A Traeger with a Savanna Stoker is a serious competitor and a much, much more versatile cooking machine.  If I did not own a Memphis Advantage (comes with one of the best PID controllers on the market) and great insulation, I'd HAVE TO upgrade my Traeger to get any kind of cooking flexibility out of it. 

I share T's curiosity about the Yoder installation.  The Savannah Stoker offers much more flexibility than the standard Yoder controller so it might be a great idea!

Hub
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Offline Savannah Stoker Controller

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Re: Teach me why.
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2013, 08:37:01 AM »

Offline veryolddog

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Re: Teach me why.
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2013, 10:08:36 AM »
That is an interesting statement from Slaga. I was advised to put my temperature probe from my Maverick ET 732 in the center of the grill inside the Yoder. This makes good sense. However, that is usually where I put my food that I am cooking. So, the next best thing is to put it next to the food that is cooking. Not. The probe and wire get in the way. With my personal motor development declining on a daily basis, I need less things to get in my way.

So, what I do is place the probe next to Yoder probe and interpolate the difference which remains steady through the cook. However, in using an ET 732 in a wood smoker, by placing that device on the left hand side near the chimney, that temperature is almost identical to the analogue thermometer in the lid.

I would think that the best place for a temperature probe in a pellet smoker would be on the lid as heat rises. With the fan, you have a convection effect. Some clever jerry rigging would be required to get that cable out of the way so it would not be a problem. The only other place that might work is to place the probe underneath and attached to the grill itself. This probe would have to be disconnected however, so that grill could be removed and cleaned.

I am not sure that this would be correct and I would bow to your experience as I assume that you did a significant amount of testing to know where that probe should be attached.

Ed
An empty grill or pan is a blank canvas on which you can create like an artist!
Yoder YS480 Pellet Smoker and Yoder Cheyenne Stick Burner
Weber 22.5 OTG and Kettlepizza
Just an old Marine who remembers.

Offline Savannah Stoker Controller

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Re: Teach me why.
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2013, 10:45:20 AM »
I could write a book about  cooking temperatures and how to measure or the best place there of.
The temperature inside the grill will/can vary as much as 20 - 30 degrees from front to back/ side to side/ top down to the grate.
The sensor, regardless of where placed, is measuring the air temperature at its location.
Sensors that measure air temperature are slow to react to changes, so the temperature reading is always lagging behind the actual.
The more stable the temperature can be maintined in the cooker the more accurate the sensor reading.
Most smokers, but not all, will maintain a temperture closer than a typical kitchen oven which have temperature swings of 20-30 degrees.

With all of this said, the temperature I want to know is just above the grate by a few inches because this is where the food is cooking.
 

Offline muebe

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Re: Teach me why.
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2013, 11:03:56 AM »
If I remember correctly I believe Slaga had changed the inside of the Yoder so it had a dedicated flame zone grill with flame tamers on the left side above the firepot and made the vent pipe exit low inside the chamber for a down flow design like on a FE pellet grill. The Yoder factory controller was not designed/calibrated for this change in air flow design so the SSII makes perfect sense because it can re-learn any modifications to your grill with a simple auto-tune.

IMHO my experience is that having the temp sensor for the controller at grill level is the best option when available. It does not need to be next to the food but at grill level because that is where your cooking at. And there is less temp fluctuation at grill level due to being closer to the heat source(firepot) and the drip pan will hold the heat to help keep drastic temp fluctuations from being detected by the PID controller. There is so much air movement in the chamber of a pellet grill that air temps can swing up and down due to how unpredictable a pellet fire can be. This can cause a PID controller to scramble trying to figure out how to stabilize the temps. A PID controller is always thinking and analyzing it's next move. So by measuring air temps a lower temps(250F and under) this might cause the controller to over think the situation and make changes that are not needed.

My PTG for example has a spot on the left side for placement of the RTD like all Traegers. That spot causes problems with the controller on that unit IMHO. It measures temp at the tip of the probe way above the grill and to the left. That little cooker has the same air movement as it's larger brothers. I found I get stability with the PTG all the way down to 200F(in automatic mode) when the temp probe for the controller is placed at grill level. I was thinking about how Smoker Pete was having issues with his PID controller on his PTG and noticed that he placed his temp sensor in the factory location. I think that is why he had stability issues at lower temperatures. And the reason the factory digital controllers due not work well on that unit for lower temps.

You also want to be careful of the food or grease making contact with the temp probe. Obliviously this can cause the controller to get the wrong readings and cause flameouts or overshooting temps.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2013, 11:07:26 AM by muebe »
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Offline teesquare

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Re: Teach me why.
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2013, 12:58:04 PM »
Think we could get Slaga to give us an up-date on his SSII controlled Yoder now that he has had some time to tinker with it Billy? Sure would be good info!
T
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Offline slaga

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Re: Teach me why.
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2013, 08:03:51 PM »
I may not post often but I do read here a handful of times a day on most days. If you have any specific questions about my Yoder I would be happy answer them. I did make an update about my grill here:

http://www.letstalkbbq.com/index.php?topic=3381.msg74303#msg74303

Offline veryolddog

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Re: Teach me why.
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2013, 08:57:39 PM »
I read your post with great interest. And, it is obvious to see that you are very inquisitive and love to experiment to make things better.

Right now, my Yoder is 4 months old, still under warrantee, and operating very well for me, and I am hesitant to violate the warrantee. I believe that the first thing to fail will be the igniter as I was informed that this is usually the case with pellet smoker products. However, down the line, I would be interested in examining this further.

What you are doing is more advanced than the controller of the current product and seems to provide a more steady state of employment. I ask myself, why all pellet manufacturers have not incorporated some of capability as you have demonstrated.

In any event, I think that you are on leading edge with your thinking. If you could combine the technology with pit design, who knows, we may all be purchasing your product down the road.

Ed
An empty grill or pan is a blank canvas on which you can create like an artist!
Yoder YS480 Pellet Smoker and Yoder Cheyenne Stick Burner
Weber 22.5 OTG and Kettlepizza
Just an old Marine who remembers.