Ambient Temp

Svan41

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Was just wondering if anyone has a similar issue. It seems my grill displays 220 degrees but my Meater Thermometer ambient temp is showing 190 degrees when I cook. Thats like a 30 degree difference. Meater claims they are accurate to with in +/-1 degree. I have the Ironwood 885 Grill.
 

BigOlDOg

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So maybe I don’t understand your question as I don’t believe you’re referring to the outside air temp but I’ll try to answer what I think you’re asking.
Internal temp on the traeger probe can be different than another thermometer. While your meater probe claims X have you verified it’s accuracy? I don’t say that as Traeger’s is but if you’re going to compare two you need to know which is right. That said you can calibrate the traegers through the menu on the grill with an ice bath that might get it a little more accurate.
Hope this helps
 
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Svan41

Svan41

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Thank for the reply. I was talking about the temp that’s displayed on the screen. I have a MEATER thermometer probe that also monitors ambient temp inside the grill and the screen on the treager states about a 30 degree difference. I have to run the treager at 270 to get the ambient temp on the MEATER brand probe to read 240.
the MEATER wireless probe is writhing 1 degree of accuracy. I have not tried the probe that came with the grill yet.
 

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Coug86

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Thank for the reply. I was talking about the temp that’s displayed on the screen. I have a MEATER thermometer probe that also monitors ambient temp inside the grill and the screen on the treager states about a 30 degree difference. I have to run the treager at 270 to get the ambient temp on the MEATER brand probe to read 240.
the MEATER wireless probe is writhing 1 degree of accuracy. I have not tried the probe that came with the grill yet.
I also experience the same thing with my Meater probe. (The actual in meat temperature readings of Meater though is within 3 degrees of all my other probe devices) Regularly in-grill ambient temps on the Meater probe average about 25 degrees lower than the temp on BOTH of my Traeger’s. I even had the original Meater probe I received replaced. Both were very similar in temp ranges. It’s to bad there is not a calibration tool for the Meater probe as I have done several tests with alternate probes (Thermopro, Maverick and 2 others) and all of my other temperature devices are within 2 to 3 degrees of each other. I bought the Meater probe to use on my old Traeger that did not have WiFire. Since I have acquired my IW 885 and now have access to the WiFire app, the Meater probe only leaves the drawer for long cooks where the Meater graphing app becomes usable. There are rumors that the Traeger app will soon add the graphing element, which for me will probably be the end of using the Meater probe. Traeger On!
 

dunawayfamily

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Thank for the reply. I was talking about the temp that’s displayed on the screen. I have a MEATER thermometer probe that also monitors ambient temp inside the grill and the screen on the treager states about a 30 degree difference. I have to run the treager at 270 to get the ambient temp on the MEATER brand probe to read 240.
the MEATER wireless probe is writhing 1 degree of accuracy. I have not tried the probe that came with the grill yet.

The in-barrel temp of the Traeger is going to vary front-to-back and left-to-right depending on airflow ... on the PRO 780, with the stack at the left, it runs hotter the closer you get to the stack (back left being the hottest) ...
 

magoo40

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My Ironwood barrel probe is always high in actual temp compared to my Fire board ambient probe which is always set up next to what I'm cooking, I unusually set it up just in front of the cook (Lid side). And drop the Traeger temp to compensate it's not a lot and to be honest I don't think it makes any real difference, it might add or decrease the cook time a bit maybe more on a long Brisket cook. The temp display on the Traeger flutates around the set point less than the Firebord ambient probe reports, I use to get concerned about it but now after many cooks I don't worry about it. Any fluctuations in the pellet grill are way less than I was dealing with in a stick burner.
 
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Svan41

Svan41

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I guess I’ll just compensate the temp and cook times. Ran 4 racks of ribs today and adjusted to meet the temp in the MEATER and they tuned out great. Just wish when you set the temp on the treager, that’s gonna be the exact temp ( +\- 5).
 

splinervision

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A good ambient probe is always going to read different depending on where its placed. The probe for the Traeger is on the side, so others are right, the temp at different spots will always vary. I like to measure the temp at the grate level in the middle of the smoker. It's always going to read a bit lower than the Traeger reports. I do tend to adjust the temp up a bit if necessary,, however I've noticed less of a discrepancy at higher temps. But when the Traeger reports 225 my ambient probe will measure somewhere in the 200 ish range at the mid-grate level. If you're cooking by meat temps it's not going to be that big of a deal anyway. If, however, you're worried about meat being in the danger zone too long, adjust the temps up at least until you get out of the danger zone. I've done this on pork butts many times.
 

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I have the same problem. Two Wifi thermometers, including a Thermoworks Signal 4 channel WiFi probe show +25F over the built-in Traeger probe. I called Trager customer support they sent me a new RTD. I'll install this weekend and update here.
 

BigOlDOg

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In reading the replies I see a constant theme all vary from traegers readings. Which leads me to this question.

Has there been consideration of the draft that’s created by the fan impacting these probes? Since it’s a convection oven basically I wonder if those probes are so sensitive they’re picking up the draft creating the variation and regardless of where you put it that draft is going to be noticed...
 

TonyStark

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Mine is mounted on the left side of the barrel, against but not touching the wall. I don’t imagine the fan would effect it that much.

In reading the replies I see a constant theme all vary from traegers readings. Which leads me to this question.

Has there been consideration of the draft that’s created by the fan impacting these probes? Since it’s a convection oven basically I wonder if those probes are so sensitive they’re picking up the draft creating the variation and regardless of where you put it that draft is going to be noticed...
 

Steven Sedlmayr

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I have a Traeger classic which I purchased from Costco years ago. I had problems trying to keep temp and even getting it up to temp. So I changed controller and that helped, but it still wanders, and outside temp does not help. It is single sheet metal. So I looked at other grills and started incorporating their features into this one.
First, I drilled holes in the heat deflector and it helped tremendously. The temp would get hotter and stay more even. But I noticed that the temp sensor is not really in a prime location. So I put one onto the grill and noticed a 50-degree difference between where I was cooking and where their sensor is. Thus I turned the controller up to compensate for this and put the temp where I was cooking at the exact temperature. Boy did that help.

So now I am moving their sensor to be portable and attach to the grill where the food is cooked. Next, I am lining it with insulating lightweight refractory brick, like in the brick ovens. Over that, I will put a ceramic coating, and then a stainless steel inner shell. Thus I will have a totally insulated inner cooking chamber. On the swing top, I am putting some insulation with a stainless steel inner shell also.

Then I am making a stainless steel deflector plate for the firepot with placed holes. The fat collector plate is going to be made into three pieces, with the middle one replaceable. the outer two will have holes in them, but with a cover, that be put over them. Same with the middle, but the cover will be able to be removed. by doing this I can use it to sear also in the middle. The other two parts will act like infrared heaters and give off heat. I have played with this a little and I can get it up to over 500 degrees for searing without any problem.

And finally, I am drilling out the fire pothole and placing a sliding gate of stainless steel over the hole from underneath. Thus I can just pull the gate, dump out the ashes, and get ready for the next grilling without having to disassemble everything.

When I am done I will have a super Traeger like no other grill and have the same features that $8000 grills have. I will be so well insulated that I expect it to use about 1/4 to 1/8 of what it is using now for pellets. With the mods I have already made I noticed I am using much less, probably about 40% less already. And it can now get hotter than it did before.

And then finally, I am going to make an extension for my pellet feeder box. It is small, but by building a nice stainless steel extension I should be able to hold about 3 times the amount of pellets that I do now. I have to decide if I want to make a hole to change the pellets out or not, but I do not really cook with a lot of extra mixtures, I seem to stay with one kind most of the time.

I am hoping that in the dead of winter that I can cook easily, and maybe do to or three-day cooks without having to refill pellets. The outside of the cooker is painted and holding up really good, albeit it is not stainless steel.

But some small changes to their "design" should help most people. Drill holes in that deflector plate (not above the pot, but around the outside, and think about moving their sensor and putting another sensor at where you cook to check the accuracy of their sensor. Do not think you can really hold the temp with their single-wall design in many states because of the outside temp fluctuations. I guess one of their blankets would help. but they never made one for my model.

But with the mods I am making for this one it will be a keeper for many many years, and even maybe a hand me down to my son or daughter.

The nice thing about stainless steel ( I will use 304) is that it does not allow heat to spread very readily and holds onto the heat. It does remit it as infrared heat. So it takes a while to heat up, but acts like this great heat sink and stabilizes the temperature inside. And the firebrick I am using is a very good insulator and also very light, so it does not add very much weight to the grill. The stainless is another story altogether. It does weigh and adds weight to the grill. I only need it thick though for the (12 gauge) for the heat deflector, and thinking about 16 gauge for the sidewalls and bottom, while the fat-grease tray might be 14 gauge.
 

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WOW, do you have any pictures of these mods? I'd love to adopt some for my smoker.

I have a Traeger classic which I purchased from Costco years ago. I had problems trying to keep temp and even getting it up to temp. So I changed controller and that helped, but it still wanders, and outside temp does not help. It is single sheet metal. So I looked at other grills and started incorporating their features into this one.
First, I drilled holes in the heat deflector and it helped tremendously. The temp would get hotter and stay more even. But I noticed that the temp sensor is not really in a prime location. So I put one onto the grill and noticed a 50-degree difference between where I was cooking and where their sensor is. Thus I turned the controller up to compensate for this and put the temp where I was cooking at the exact temperature. Boy did that help.

So now I am moving their sensor to be portable and attach to the grill where the food is cooked. Next, I am lining it with insulating lightweight refractory brick, like in the brick ovens. Over that, I will put a ceramic coating, and then a stainless steel inner shell. Thus I will have a totally insulated inner cooking chamber. On the swing top, I am putting some insulation with a stainless steel inner shell also.

Then I am making a stainless steel deflector plate for the firepot with placed holes. The fat collector plate is going to be made into three pieces, with the middle one replaceable. the outer two will have holes in them, but with a cover, that be put over them. Same with the middle, but the cover will be able to be removed. by doing this I can use it to sear also in the middle. The other two parts will act like infrared heaters and give off heat. I have played with this a little and I can get it up to over 500 degrees for searing without any problem.

And finally, I am drilling out the fire pothole and placing a sliding gate of stainless steel over the hole from underneath. Thus I can just pull the gate, dump out the ashes, and get ready for the next grilling without having to disassemble everything.

When I am done I will have a super Traeger like no other grill and have the same features that $8000 grills have. I will be so well insulated that I expect it to use about 1/4 to 1/8 of what it is using now for pellets. With the mods I have already made I noticed I am using much less, probably about 40% less already. And it can now get hotter than it did before.

And then finally, I am going to make an extension for my pellet feeder box. It is small, but by building a nice stainless steel extension I should be able to hold about 3 times the amount of pellets that I do now. I have to decide if I want to make a hole to change the pellets out or not, but I do not really cook with a lot of extra mixtures, I seem to stay with one kind most of the time.

I am hoping that in the dead of winter that I can cook easily, and maybe do to or three-day cooks without having to refill pellets. The outside of the cooker is painted and holding up really good, albeit it is not stainless steel.

But some small changes to their "design" should help most people. Drill holes in that deflector plate (not above the pot, but around the outside, and think about moving their sensor and putting another sensor at where you cook to check the accuracy of their sensor. Do not think you can really hold the temp with their single-wall design in many states because of the outside temp fluctuations. I guess one of their blankets would help. but they never made one for my model.

But with the mods I am making for this one it will be a keeper for many many years, and even maybe a hand me down to my son or daughter.

The nice thing about stainless steel ( I will use 304) is that it does not allow heat to spread very readily and holds onto the heat. It does remit it as infrared heat. So it takes a while to heat up, but acts like this great heat sink and stabilizes the temperature inside. And the firebrick I am using is a very good insulator and also very light, so it does not add very much weight to the grill. The stainless is another story altogether. It does weigh and adds weight to the grill. I only need it thick though for the (12 gauge) for the heat deflector, and thinking about 16 gauge for the sidewalls and bottom, while the fat-grease tray might be 14 gauge.
 

splinervision

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I would also love to see pics of those mods Steven. On any brand of grill they sound amazing.
 

Steven Sedlmayr

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Okay, here are the beginning of the mods. Fire bricks on the inside. I am not done obviously, but it is a start. I did fire it up as it, and the flame leaped up as high as the grill itself. I closed the lid and in about 10 minutes it was about 500 degrees, so I turned it off. There was hardly any ash. I could touch the brick inside and they were probably about 95 degrees. The outside was dead cold except for the lid which I could not touch. After the mods I will be able to put my hand on it.


So I will put a layer of stainless steel over this. The stainless will act like an infrared heater also. And the heater deflector will be stainless, but have a slightly different design than theirs. Also, the drip plate will have indents and holes in it, with covers for the holes that I can remove so that I can also grill on the grate above. I expect to reach about 700 to 800 degrees inside. And an area to grill on with direct access to the heat of the fire pot below trough the drip plate and the heat deflector.

I will also have to modify the cover with an insulator inside and a stainless steel shell inside also.

If I were designing from the beginning, I would have a pellet chute that did not touch the fire pot but dropped pellets into it. It would also have a sliding lid so that the ash would dump out the bottom into a drawer that I could remove and dump.
And have dual feeds and dual fire pots on each side. With the middle section being the cooler section so that I can slow cook on any of the sides, but when grilling, move the meat to the cooler middle for storage. That way I could get three cooking areas out of it, with three independent temps.

I think I will have all the mods done in about three weeks. Then it should be good for a very long time and last longer than what they designed it for in years. I expect to get over 15 years or more out of it, however being 71, it might very well outlast me. And now I can use it in the dead of winter at the coldest temps.

I will keep posting the mods as I go on. I would expect that there is probably a wifi contoller that I can replace by a third party controller within a short period of time.

I am taking it slow and only working on weekends on it right now.
 

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Steven Sedlmayr

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Okay, will post more pictures, But on startup, the smoke was insane at 80F. And it held it there for about 5 minutes when I decided I wanted to up the temp. So I put it at max and the thing rose in temps at over 1 degree per second. I had the heat deflector plate on with the mod, but only my fire bricks inside. I am trying to burn them out. However, the new location for the probe indicated that it goes to over 585 degrees within 1.5 minutes. Insane. And the smoke at low temp was insane. The only part that got hot was lid. I am going to put insulation on lid of it then build another stainless steel cover for the top that goes over it. So it will be double insulated. I expect to be able to use this at 0 degrees outside and get it to over 500F easily.

So I am next putting a ceramic coating on top of the fire bricks, then the stainless steel shell for inside. Then I will change the drip plate so that it works both as a flame router and drip plate, and be able to have a direct flame on the grill portions.

I will also build a better hopper that holds three times as much pellets and be able to gravity feed better.

This will be like no other grill, smoker. And I expect that it would last for a very very long time.

Thanks, Traeger for a shell to build into a real smoker, and thanks for the pellet feed. Other than that, I had the same complaints that everyone else had. Not enough smoke, not enough heat, could not use during the wintertime. Now that is all changed do to some engineering.
 
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Steven Sedlmayr

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Here is where I tested it out. Look at the smoke at 80F.

So far I probably have about $300 worth of materials into it, and about 6 hours. I expect the stainless steel I need to cost about $500.
That will be about $800 that I put into it. My other options were to buy a smaller stainless steel double air insulated one at $5000, or one that would do what this will at $9000. And my hopper with hold 3 times what their's does, burn at least at half of what their's does (probably about 1/8 of what Traeger does). And boy can I cold smoke now, where I could never do that before on a Traeger.
 

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RemE

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Amazing project Steven! I was thinking, if the grill does in fact get well over 500F it may destroy the Traeger's temp sensor. A lot of the thermistor type sensor probes are only good to about 550F before they fail. I love the idea of an efficient, well insulated grill.

Edit, I found that my stock Timberline actually uses a K Type thermocouple, so no problem with high temps.
 
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