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SmartFire Review

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This is my personal review on the SmartFire Pit Controller which was purchased form their Website

Current retail price of $244.90 AUD £139.20 with free International Shipping. This comes with out the Universal SmartFire Adaptor at $39.00 AUD £22.17. Please be aware of UK Import Duties that totaled £37.40 for me.

The Controller comes in a nice box, no instructions for set up, you have to download the App and follow the step by step on the screen.

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Inside the box is the Controller/Fan, one pit probe, four food probes and one USB power lead, but no plug in power supply.

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As previously mentioned I did not order the Adaptor as I thought it was expensive at £22.17, so I bought two fittings for £4.00 and turned one down in the lathe so it fitted inside the Controller, drilled and fitted Roll Pins to form the Bayonet.

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On the SmartFire adaptor there is no Bayonet fitting, and I have seen reports that the Controller falls off the adaptor?

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These are the groves in the Controller that the Bayonet fits into and secures it so it can not fall out.

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Initial thoughts on first handling the Controller, feels cheap like a Childs toy.

I took me several attempts to pair the Controller with my iPad, I have read reports that if you are low on memory on your device, it may keep on disconnecting.

The connecting procedure relies on a series of different Colour flashing LED’s to show its progress. The one problem I have with this is, the LED is not inline with the view hole.

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As you can see from the pictures it’s wayout.

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Set the Pit up for indirect cooking with two Charcoal Baskets.  Simple Spatchcock Chicken. 

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Plugged the Controller in, I am using a Power Bank rated at 300000mAh.

Controller connected first time with the Wi-fi.

Tapped on Pit and set temperature to 140’C

Tapped first Food Probe, selected Chicken, but there is no setting for whole Chicken. I chose Thighs at 77’C

App Shows set temperature at 140’C and 100% fan speed.

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This is the graph that you get with the App. If you hold your device in Portrait you get the above screen, hold it in Landscape and you get the graph.

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Spatchcock Chicken with a simple Tenerife Rub, Mojo Picon

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Conclusion.

Pros

Works On Wi-fi so you get a better range.

Once it’s set up on the Wi-fi it is easy to use on your device.

Nice graphics on screen.

Tap any point on the graph and it will show you exactly what’s  happening with fan speed etc.

On start up, the unit was set to 140’C, it showed ramp temperature of 136’C, as the Pit temperature approached ramp temperature the fan slowed. The Pit temperature never went over the set point.

The Controller learns the characteristic of the Pit. Once it has ramped, it will move the ramp point closer to the Set Point.

Senses when the lid is open (See Cons).

 

Cons

Build quality of the Controller is rather cheap.

LED’s do not line up with the view hole.

Some difficulty connecting to Wi-fi.

Lack of Bayonet fitting on Adaptor.

Lid Open sensor. This is a good feature, but once the lid is closed the fan remains Idle for 10 minuets, which allows the Pit temperature to drop.

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Good review Steve. A couple of follow up questions.

Once set up and connected, how well did it control and maintain the temperature inside the cooking chamber?

If someone without a lathe bought the Smartfire adaptor, is there an easy way that it could be held in place to stop it falling off? The lack of bayonet fitting seems quite an omission. Could some aluminium tape be used?

It looks as if you have had to drill a hole on the bottom of the kettle BBQ to fit it. Do they offer other fitting adaptors that do not requite a new hole?

Based upon its effectiveness and build quality do you think that it is worth buying?

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3 hours ago, Wade said:

Good review Steve. A couple of follow up questions.

Once set up and connected, how well did it control and maintain the temperature inside the cooking chamber?

If someone without a lathe bought the Smartfire adaptor, is there an easy way that it could be held in place to stop it falling off? The lack of bayonet fitting seems quite an omission. Could some aluminium tape be used?

It looks as if you have had to drill a hole on the bottom of the kettle BBQ to fit it. Do they offer other fitting adaptors that do not requite a new hole?

Based upon its effectiveness and build quality do you think that it is worth buying?

1. The temperature was good, not excellent, never actually reached the set temperature of 140’C was always below with in 1- 1.5’C.

2. Aluminum tape wrapped around the Adaptor to make a snug fit would work.

3. I did not have to drill the bottom of the Kettle BBQ. The used is a cheap alternative to a Weber from a well know DIY Store. It comes with 5 holes in the bottom, covered with an air vent for control. Simply removed the air vent control, plugged 4 holes and used the remaining one to fit the Adaptor.

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This set up will need to altered to run two Charcoal Baskets opposite each other, as the air only feeds the right hand basket. The elbow in the furthest right hole needs removing and a T fitting and a short length of tube fitting to direct air to the left hand basket.

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4. Other Adaptors? Have not seen any available other that those pictured.

5. I have the QMaster Senior and QMaster Lite, which Control OK, but with no Bluetooth or Wi-fi connection. I also have the Weber iGrill, which is good  for Logging, but the Bluetooth connection is Very Limited! Mine is 6 meters in a straight line. On the Outside kitchen window sill it works fine, bring it in to the kitchen and place on the inside window sill, and it drops in and out of connection!

6. I will answer your last question, once I have done a long trial with my Gravity Feed Charcoal Oven, looking to run it for 24-36 hours. I will then update this thread with the results.

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When using a blower in a Kettle I had a similar problem with  uneven burns when I first started using my IQ-110 with the indirect charcoal baskets using a Minion in both. I found that once one basket had started to get hotter then it naturally drew/attracted more air to itself which provided even less air to the other basket. In the end, the weaker basket could remain almost unburned.

I found that a way of somewhat overcoming this was to place a full layer of burning coals at the bottom of each basket and then place unburned coals on top. The air blower then had more of an even effect on both sides.

Positioning of the baskets was also important.

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I had to ensure that the air input was precisely mid way between the two charcoal baskets and that the lid vent was central too on the opposite side.

A different method that worked well for me was to not use the charcoal baskets but move to a snake. I could still get up to 156-160 C in the cooking chamber. You may want to try this method as well.

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Great review Steve, I look forward to more info once you've done more testing.

I like the sound of the lid open sensor as that;s one thing that cause me a real headache with the Qmasterlite on my kettle. As soon as I open the lid the temp drops and the fan starts. Of course, the coals are still in a state whereby they're giving me the temperature I want  so it will get back up to temperature without a bother once the lid is back on. However because the controller has the fan going  the coals end up getting too hot and my temperature overshoots considerably, so much so that I've thought about creating a manual switch so when I open the lid I can manually switch the fan off for a few minutes to allow the temperature to get where it was before the lid was open.

Maybe the smartfire would be better if it was possible to adjust the length of time the fan was idle after a lid removal?

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Just doing a long test now with the SmartFire.

One idea with the Q Master, would be to unplug the fan, but you have to remember to lug I back in after replacing the lid!

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That's the issue I've been trying to think my way around. Was wondering it there was anything in the way of timed switches a bit like those light switches that some hotels have in the corridors which switch off after a couple of minutes...

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Smartfire Update.

24 Hour Test.

I am well pleased with the 24 Hour Test with the Smartfire.

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Pit temperature set @ 105’C, ignore the food probe at the bottom, left it in ambient air.

The Smartfire never missed a beat through the night. Ambient Outside Temperature feel below 0’C overnight, and this can be seen with the fan running at a higher percentage to keep Pit at required temperature.

 

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So that’s the test complete. 32 Hours running on 6kg of Restaurant Grade Charcoal, temperature just starting to drop away.

Really impressed with this bit of Kit.

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Hi Smokin

Thanks for a great review. I am looking for something like this later in the year. A make and model that has a ProQ adaptor though more likely.

Can you help me to understand the Powerbank more though. I have never used one. So hope you can answer me a few questions on them as my smoker is now 15 meters from the house, so I don't want to run cable from the house to the smoker, if possible (On a seperate note, I take it the wifi function would struggle at 15 meters from the router as well probably)?

1) Does yours use 18650 rechargeable batteries. (I vape and have loads of them already).Most in the 30-35A range and up to 3400 Mah and it would be cheaper in the long run than buying shop bought throwaway batteries, for me.

2) Will a fully charged bank of batteries last long enough for say up to a 10 hour cook, without recharging or replacing.

3) Hoping, There is no need for any form of electric cable attached to it, so long as the batteries are fully charged, before use.

4) Can you recharge them in the house within the powerbank, or do the batteries need recharging in a Battery charger, once the power is depleted

5) If it is an 18650 powerbank you use. Do you have a link for it please?

6) Anything else I need to know about them?

Thanks, sorry for the question, but never used a powerbank before.

 

Edited by sotv

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26 minutes ago, sotv said:

I am looking for something like this later in the year. A make and model that has a ProQ adaptor though more likely.

Most blowers will work with the curved body smokers/BBQs (ProQ, WSM, Weber Kettle). The adapter that came with my IQ-110 is designed for this and would be easy to make. The components are very simple...

  1. A steel dog/cat bowl
  2. A long threaded rod with a wing nut fixed to one end
  3. A spring loaded fixer (available as plasterboard fixer from B&Q

A hole is cut in the centre of the bowl that fits the barrel of the air blower
The bowl is pressed against the curved smoker body over one of the air vents
The spring clip is pressed through one of the air vent holes and open inside the smoker body
The wing nut is tightened until the bowl is clamped tight against the smoker body

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Close all of the other vents to seal them and/or cover them with aluminium tape.

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2 hours ago, sotv said:

Hi Smokin

Thanks for a great review. I am looking for something like this later in the year. A make and model that has a ProQ adaptor though more likely.

Can you help me to understand the Powerbank more though. I have never used one. So hope you can answer me a few questions on them as my smoker is now 15 meters from the house, so I don't want to run cable from the house to the smoker, if possible (On a seperate note, I take it the wifi function would struggle at 15 meters from the router as well probably)?

1) Does yours use 18650 rechargeable batteries. (I vape and have loads of them already).Most in the 30-35A range and up to 3400 Mah and it would be cheaper in the long run than buying shop bought throwaway batteries, for me.

2) Will a fully charged bank of batteries last long enough for say up to a 10 hour cook, without recharging or replacing.

3) Hoping, There is no need for any form of electric cable attached to it, so long as the batteries are fully charged, before use.

4) Can you recharge them in the house within the powerbank, or do the batteries need recharging in a Battery charger, once the power is depleted

5) If it is an 18650 powerbank you use. Do you have a link for it please?

6) Anything else I need to know about them?

Thanks, sorry for the question, but never used a powerbank before.

 

This is the Powerbank I used. Two reasons for using this, 1, I all ready had it, as I run my iPad from it when on site. 2. It has the USB connection for the Smartfire Controller. So it’s a 5volt output.

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The Pen is to give you a idea of size.

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Link to Power Pack

Not sure what power supply is needed for ProQ? I have a QMaster Senior and Lite, which both run on 12 volts, so I have a battery from a Burglary Alarm to run these.

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Posted (edited)

Which do you think will be the best adapter for the ProQ Frontier. There are 2 options available to me both suitable for Bullet Smokers

The threaded adapter (requires some drilling) I assume drilling out the rivet in the daisy wheel

The Adapter looks like the dog bowl stuck over the daisy wheel I assume (requires no drilling)

There is no difference in price between the 2 options

@Phlashster @Smokin Monkey

 

 

Edited by sotv

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Posted (edited)

Hi Sotv,

I got the cake tin adaptor. I didn't want to have to drill my nice new smoker. Installation takes all of 3 minutes tops. It can easily be removed with no sign it was ever there. In addition, I believe it gives the additional benefit of moving the Smartfire further away from the charcoal thus reducing the temperature it could be exposed to.

The new model of the pro qs have one of the wheels removable with a nut and bolt. The other two are still riveted. 

Phil. 

Edited by Phlashster
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Thanks for that Phil. I have the old style vents that are riveted, Am I right the cake tin one has a nut and bolt that goes through the vent hole and is secured that way. Don't suppose you know if the ProQ cover, covers the cake tin as well as mine is left outside all weathers.

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Posted (edited)

Yes, exactly Sotv. It doesn't have the wing bit as shown on Smokin Monkeys picture, but a long bolt with washer and nut for the outside end. I am still way at the moment, or I would take a picture for you. 

The pro q cover just covers the Smartfire adaptor. I had considered messaging Pro Q to suggest they add an inch or two to the next batches to be made. It does cover it, but i think they are made of stainless steel, so doubt much harm will come to it .

With the cake tin adaptor, the ability to remove the wheel on the newer models becomes irrelevant.

Phil

Edited by Phlashster
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Thanks all ordered and this Powerbank to go with it.

Be a couple of weeks till i use it but will be picking your brains how to best fill the charcoal basket with lit and unlit coals to get the best from it. 😁

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Watching and reading with interest,  who knows I may get one as my next chrimbo prezzie???  🤞 

 

Ice.

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Hi all,

I am back from my travels. I have taken some photos.

The first shows the inside once the caketin adaptor is fitted. 

The second is the adaptor in situ. Note : The foil is a predrilled probe hole. I don't need it, so i plugged it with foil. 

Third shows the bottom of the Pro Q  cover and how it relates to the adaptor. 

The fourth shows that if you pull the cover fully down everywhere, it just covers the end of the adaptor. 

Thanks, Phil.

 

 

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Thanks for that, it arrived about 30 minutes ago. I wont be fitting it for a couple of weeks, but looks easy enough to install from your pictures and  contents, I have seen. 

I may look at buying an Excel cover once I can see how my 2 year old cover fits as it may have shrunk a bit since buying it a couple of years ago.

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3 hours ago, sotv said:

it arrived about 30 minutes ago.

You lucky bugger.....t1964.gif

 

Ice

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