Inexpensive PID Controller

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ACC
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Inexpensive PID Controller

Post by ACC » June 4th, 2017, 6:40 am

This little controller, for the most part, works pretty good and it cost less than $50. The brand name of the PID controller is WILLHI. They sell 2 similar models. One measures up to about 230°. The other model (this one) measures up to 572°. It is all integrated. That is, the controller, relay and power socket are all together in one box. It runs off 110v AC. It also comes with a temperature probe with a very long cable. I think I bought it from Amazon for $34. Of course, it’s made in China.


For the fan, I selected a computer fan that put out 26 CFM. I think it was $10. IIRC, I also had to buy the 110v/AC to 9v/USB adapter plug separately. It was under $10. I built a mount for the fan out of aluminum. The mount is basically a box which is inserted through the air intake. Stick welding aluminum (my first time) was not too bad. Just make certain you knock the flux off the end of the rod, otherwise, it is real hard to strike an arc. The box ain’t pretty but it works.
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Re: Inexpensive PID Controller

Post by mp4 » June 4th, 2017, 6:46 am

The cool factor is always higher when you build it yourself. Nice!



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Re: Inexpensive PID Controller

Post by ACC » June 4th, 2017, 6:49 am

Initially, the temperature would keep rising even though the fan cut off. The fire was sucking air past the fan blades. Perhaps a squirrel cage fan would be better at restricting air flow. I already had the computer fan so I built another mount with a flap that would close off most of the air when the fan quit running. The doors to the air intake closes tightly against the box to prevent air sneaking past the outside of the fan box. I was concern that ash buildup might block the airflow so I made the box extend until it was well underneath the charcoal basket.

The system works very well when there is a large bed of coals. However, there have been times when the system struggled to bring the temperature up. This occurred when the bed of coals got small and I was trying to refuel with pecan limbs. A stronger fan would have been handy. After a while, I snap to it and opened the FB door and the fire got all the air it needed. Fan size may not be a problem once I learn how to operate my smoker.
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Re: Inexpensive PID Controller

Post by Big T » June 4th, 2017, 9:36 am

Nice :kewl:


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Re: Inexpensive PID Controller

Post by Squiggle » June 5th, 2017, 7:24 am

Very cool dude, nice work! :kewl:


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Re: Inexpensive PID Controller

Post by Rodcrafter » June 5th, 2017, 11:13 am

I haven't tried an PID on my offsets, I have heard that the algorithm is not correct for that setup. By the time the thermo coupling get the temperature message to the PID the fire is already to high and back and forth it goes.


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