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Drunk_J

Guru Hints & Tips!

37 posts in this topic

Since some of these questions have popped up quite often, I decided to make an info post for it. Most of this info should also apply to the Stoker even though I am not familiar with its setting or controls (the principles of operation are the same). Some of this info also applies to low and slow non assisted cooks also.

-Number one thing, let the controller do the work. Close off the bottom dampers. Then close the top damper all the way and crack it back open till you can feel the heat coming out when the Guru fan is blowing. It is normal for smoke to seek every path it can to come out; so don't be concerned if you see smoke pouring out everywhere as the Guru is pressurizing the grill. This setting is usually good for up to 250 or better. But is is sometimes necessary to crack the top more for higher temps. Just experiment, but always remember to make adjustments slowly. Never chase the Dragon - hehe.

-Only start a few coals as it is much easier to bring the grill up to temp than it is to bring it down. If using the gas attachment or torch, about two minutes should do it.

-There is a damper on the fan (it is a proportional band adjustment); the more you open it, the faster it will respond. But then it will tend to overshoot your setpoint and have a larger temp swing. The closer to shut you place the door, the slower it will respond. But this will be more stable and have less overshoot and fluctuations. So you have to find a good middle ground for your grill and preference. If you have a ProCom, there is a an additional PB adjustment in the advance settings menu which gives you even more control. I have a 10 cfm fan which I set at 3/4 open and set the digital PB in the advanced settings to 20. This gives me the best response times still keeping it tight with the setpoint. More info on this subject ( http://www.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=248252 )

-If you think you have started too large of a fire or still learning the controls, place the setpoint at a temp way below where you wish to be. Then you can let the grill overshoot the lower setpoint, equalize for a few minutes, then up the guru setpoint to where you want it. That will help you from grossly overshooting your desired setpoint.

-Try not to open the lid very often. If you do, unplug the fan from the Guru control unit (that way you still have temp readings, as if you unplugged power, you would loose temp readings). Wait a few minutes after you close the lid back for the temps to stabilize, then plug the fan back in. Or you could build this - viewtopic.php?t=651 .

-It is a good idea to protect you Guru probe wires. While they are rated up to approximately 500 degrees (the guru website says 400, but Teflon insulation is rated at 500 and they are being wisely cautious), they cannot take direct flame at all. Personally, I only use the guru for low and slow cooks. While your grill is coming up to temp, there will be flames shooting up on the probe wires. Unless you want to pay the $50 bucks for a new set up probes, tinfoil or foil tape works well at protecting. I am in the process of finding a good stainless steel mesh wire cover to serve this purpose and will post when I find a source (if anyone knows of one please let me know).

-You can use the blower only for helping with high temp cooks. Just leave off the temp probes or let them hang outside. Open the blower fan damper all the way and start up the fire. It even helps more than just starting with gas. The faster you get you grill up to temp and cooking, the less heat soaking you will get on your grill and less charcoal you will use.

If anyone needs any specific feature help with a ProCom, just drop me a PM or email and I will be glad to do what I can.

-=Jasen=-

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Shotgun Fred (Mr. BBQ Guru) advises against wrapping probe wires in foil. He says to lay a piece of foil underneath them if you need to shield them from heat. Wrapping in foil seems to make matters worse.

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Shotgun Fred (Mr. BBQ Guru) advises against wrapping probe wires in foil. He says to lay a piece of foil underneath them if you need to shield them from heat. Wrapping in foil seems to make matters worse.

I am sure he knows best, but I have had no issues wrapping them in heat reflective tape (not for greater heat tolerance - only for the occasional flame lapping at them). But I bow to the greater Guru and subtract my recommendation of wrapping them. I still hate the foil bridge as it is damned inconvenient.

Also for info, I have found a ceramic over-braid that would do great at protecting these suckers, but it is freakn $76 dollars for 25 feet - ouch.

-=Jasen=-

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sounds like a group purchase might be order...Whats it take to do a set 3-4 ft?

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sounds like a group purchase might be order...Whats it take to do a set 3-4 ft?

Yeah, but that is per probe. The proCom has 4 probes, so I still need 12-16 ft (might could go half with someone). The stuff I found is pretty damn extreme (direct flame and 2600 F for forges and ovens). I am hoping I can find something a little more moderate for a cheaper price. That was just one example. Here is a link to the extreme stuff (only the 2600 F material on this web site had a suitable size sleeving) - http://www.cotronics.com/vo/cotr/fc_sleeving.htm .

-=Jasen=-

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I was thinking that only the portions of the probes which would be inside the cooker needed to be shielded?

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I was thinking that only the portions of the probes which would be inside the cooker needed to be shielded?

I was thinking about 3 foot per probe? I really have no idea, but you would need enough to go from one side of the grill to the other (so it could reach all areas of the upper grill from the polder port too) just to account for all situations. I suppose you could use less. Just for info, I am not 100% positive the material will expand large enough to slip over the probe tip. My plan if it did not was simply unsolder from the connector, slip it over then re-solder; but some folks are not into that. While they do sell larger sizes, I wanted it as small of a diameter as possible so up to 4 could fit through the polder port (and it needs to be tight to stay in place).

-=Jasen=-

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Okay DJ you've got me interested in the sleeves. What diameter, type, and length are you going to order?

John

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Okay DJ you've got me interested in the sleeves. What diameter, type, and length are you going to order?

John

I am still trying to decide. If you go with the 1/16, they will fit nice and snug, but will have to unsolder from connector (not a huge deal but a pain in the ass due to the silicone inside). The 1/8 would most likely slip over the probe and not have to unsolder wire, but then it would not be nice and slug on the wire which could lead to slipping around. Though as cheap as the fiberglass insulation is, I might get both and try (being I have no KK yet, either is kinda useless - hehe - I could break out the pimped out smokey joe or R2D2 smoker though).

-=Jasen=-

Oh yeah, forgot the rest of the questions. For the price, I am thinking the 1000f fiberglass is worth a shot (not gonna be great as the ceramic - but I use it all the time with welding fingers to prevent burns and it works great). As for length, I want at least 3 ft of coverage, but I am thinking if this stuff is flexible and cheap enough, I might cover the full length for consistency.

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I think there is a misconception here..Just because the sleeve can resist the temperature without burning.. that does not mean it will insulate the wires inside from prolonged high temperatures. For example, the tile and refractory on the KK itself can withstand the temperature but that doesn't mean that they do not transmit heat.

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I think there is a misconception here..Just because the sleeve can resist the temperature without burning.. that does not mean it will insulate the wires inside from prolonged high temperatures. For example' date=' the tile and refractory on the KK itself can withstand the temperature but that doesn't mean that they do not transmit heat.[/quote']

No, no, that is not my intentions here to begin with. This experiment was never to increase the continuous use temp of the Guru probes. Only to provide a very short term buffer (insulation) for the occasional flame. If you expose the 500f rated Teflon insulation on the Guru probe to 1000f continuous, even with this added insulation, of course it is still gonna melt. But it should give it added protection from the occasional flame up. So if anyone got the wrong idea here, sorry for the confusion.

-=Jasen=-

Added edit - The KK has two layers, the outer most being an insulating material to prevent thermal conduction ( http://www.komodokamado.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=728 ) and the interior being one to withstand the searing temps. This allows the outside not to be the 1000F plus temps just inches inside.

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Quick update. I purchased the 1/16 (8819k41) & 1/8 (8819k42) fiberglass sleeving from the above McMaster-Carr link and will let you know what size works out the best. Ended up going with the fiberglass as it is very cheap (25 ft of each size including shipping for $13.75) and was able to test a small piece I had on hand (finger protector for TIG welding). Using a small propane torch and passing it across the surface, it held up amazingly well - only melted slightly on the exposed fibrous ends. I hardly think we will be using them anywhere near those conditions so this material should hold up well. Hopefully it will be in by next week so I can test it and see. More info then.

-=Jasen=-

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Guru Probe Sleeve Info!!!

Lets get the legal matters out of the way here; I am not saying these test results or my methods will increase your Guru probe wires beyond the manufacturers recommended temps, nor do I guarantee your results will correspond to mine. So take it for what it is; my opinion and experiences. I believe I have increased the Guru probe wires flame retardancy from zero to approximately 30 secs without doing major harm to the probes.

I ordered both the 1/8 and 1/16 sizes of fiberglass sleeving mentioned in the above post. After receiving the material, it appeared they sent me two of the same size (1/8). After correspondence, they sent me out a second shipment of what they called 1/16. Now I have 3 sections of sleeving that all look the same to me, so I cannot definitively say what size they have sent. I would suggest ordering the 1/16 sleeve.

Ok, using a standard butane lighter and holding the flame approximately between 1/2 (on original probe wire) to 1/4 (on insulated) from surface, the original probe wires melted into a nice black blob in about 5 secs. After adding the fiberglass sleeving mentioned in the above post, at 30 secs I observed only mild surface deformity on the probe wire with no degradation on the TC wires located inside the teflon insulation. At around 45 secs, the outside insulation was soft and after examining the inner wires noticed the inner insulation had begun to fuse with the outer probe insulation but had not shorted the leads. I would certainly not ever want to use a good probe past 30 secs of continuous flame; realistically you want zero flame on the probe and this additional insulation is simply meant for accident protection.

The sleeving was white (which is not big deal) and since it is going to get smokey, I decided to attempt dying it black. Well I did not have too much confidence normal dye would penetrate fiberglass - that turned out to be mostly correct. As you can see from the pics below it did darken, though I contribute that to residual dye left in the weave which was not washed out thoroughly.

To prevent the cut ends of the sleeving from unraveling, I suggest tucking the strands back inside the sleeving. This seems to work well and is also a technique I have used for years on my welding fingers (fiberglass sleeves used to protect your fingers from hot surfaces in addition to welding gloves). I used small hemostats to hold the strand, push it in and release which worked well (and before the comments fly, they are for soldering purposes only - hehe). Someone who has a wife that knits or knits themselves (Gerard??) may find some tool involved with that could work well - no idea - just a guess.

Yes, the sleeving does add considerable thickness to the wire size. This should be no issue to the KK as the polder port is large enough to accommodate the increased size. Two is no issue, three not a problem, four will fit (no guarantees - but should based on measurements) but no smoke is gonna leak by - hehe. I hope this info helps anyone whom has had a probe ruin on them resulting from flame up.

-=Jasen=-

I forgot to add that whatever size this ended up being (I am calling it 1/16), it fit perfectly over the probe tips without desoldering any of the connectors. Thought I would mention that since my earlier post indicated it might be necessary.

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Just posting a little update on the probe wire covers - they are working great. I am using them on the little R2d2 looking smoker with temp close to 400 and no issues. I should also point out how much closer to the charcoal the probes are in this stubby little grill so that truely is an improvement in my book.

-=Jasen=-

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Question

On the right side of my cooker (as you look at it) toward the top of the base, is a hole which appears to have a plug in it. What is it used for?

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How big is the hole?

It sounds like the hole where you put your temperature probes through?

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Its diameter is about 5/8 in. with a SS sleeve through it. The lady at BBQ Guru told me you put the probes between the lid and base, which I did. If it is for the probes, that would make sense. But if you knock the plug out, wouldn't you have a permanent leak when you are not using the Guru? :smt102

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It is indeed a port for you to insert temp probes. The hole is so small it will be of no consequence when you are not using a guru or wireless thermometer.

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