WaterPan modification for Excel

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WaterPan modification for Excel

Post  awest74 on Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:33 pm

I have read through most of the forums here and have tried all the recommended resolutions for not being to get up to temp. I too have several thermometers and am in my second season using my Excel almost every weekend. I do agree that an empty pan allows me to get up to 225 or higher, but I dont think that is a consistent solution as it is difficult to predict when the water will run out and I do not want to use sand. In reading all the WSM forums it seems that airflow is the biggest issue. One solution is the ique 110 bbq controller sytem, but I dont want to be tethered to power or pay another $139.00.

So here is what I am planning on doing, I have a step bit that can create holes up to an Inch around. I am going to drill a few holes in outside perimiter of the water pan and then try a smoke. My plan is to start with just a few holes, see If I am able to hold the temps I want, if not I will add more holes until the airflow is enough. If this works I should be able have a FULL water pan and run a lot longer without tending, be able to run without the vents wide open all the time and in general have a more consistent temp in the pit, after all isnt that why we have vertical water smokers?

The reason for the post is, I wanted to see if anyone had tried this, or if anyone could come up with some reasons I shouldnt try.. Please let me know your thoughts, I will be attemping the mod on Friday. If it doesnt work, I will have an Excel up for sale, it will only need a new water pan Smile

Adam

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Re: WaterPan modification for Excel

Post  Loz on Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:11 pm

Hi Adam,
I currently use a 14" clay saucer (the type you put underneath plant pots). Foil both water pan and saucer then put a little water in the saucer which isn't ideal I know, but it gets some moisture in there. So just wondered how you got on with your water pan mod?
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Re: WaterPan modification for Excel

Post  awest74 on Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:48 pm

The pan mod, didnt seem to make too much of a difference, I drilled 3/4 in holes ( or about) all around the pan, with about 3/4 between. With a 2/3 full water pan I had the same issue, would start out at 225, water bubbling away and steadily drop over time to 160, with all the vents wide open using minion method. I found that if I cracked the very top level slightly (1/8 open) the temperature would climb back up. I am considering drilling extra vent holes in the lid, any one tried that yet? I figure I can always fully close the existing vent if its too much...

I did also order a PID, for 36.00 dollars and am scrounging for a 10CFM fan will probably try and build a bbq controller before drilling the lid, not sure. Overall I am wishing I just got a Weber 22, or built a UDS.

let you know how that goes...

For my second smoke last week, I got a ceramic base too, didnt add any water though, went ok, but used more fuel, had to fill the basket again for a 14 hour smoke...


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Re: WaterPan modification for Excel

Post  Loz on Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:58 pm

Hi Adam,
Shame the drilling didn't come off. This looks interesting though. http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/forum/thread/91522/qviews-of-my-1st-butt-s-in-proq-excel-20
Think I might try this if I can get hold of some lava rock, might help with the fuel consumption. Makes sense that they should hold heat, the only other thing I've heard of is sand in the pan. Although it still doesn't allow you to put much water in the pan, but I've never been able to anyway. I'd be interested to hear how the lid mod goes.
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Re: WaterPan modification for Excel

Post  awest74 on Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:34 am

Loz, Thanks for the heads up, I read through the post and it looks interesting, but did you see how much fluid he put in the pan, he must have to keep adding it, plus he has to use up a whole shelf of the smoker.

I hope to find a less hands on approach to modifying the smoker so I can run a mostly full pan, even if it takes longer to heat up, that way I can get some sleep and monitor my temps wirelessly from inside the house.

Will let you know how it goes, going to build the electronic controller first, if that doesnt do it, going to drill the cover...

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Re: WaterPan modification for Excel

Post  drsweetsmoke on Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:51 pm

Can we back up and talk about your set up?

Howare you lighting your coals, w=hat fuel are you using and where exactly are you reading your temps from?
I understand you don't want to use sand but I don't understand why that is. I haven't used water in the pans for years now because I done see the need, the water eats up energy keeping the temps low by design .

If you want to maintain higher temps then get a good amount of fuel going and leave the lid off until you gut the higher temps you desire then just maintain them from there.

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Re: WaterPan modification for Excel

Post  awest74 on Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:33 pm

I use minion method to start, with a full charcoal starter. I use regular charcoal, not lump, alot cheaper. I add different fist sized chuncks of wood to the ring of charcoal around the coffee can.

I dont want to use sand because I do believe the water helps keep the meat more moist. I know alot of people discredit this, but I have done several tests.

I also understand that water keeps the heat down by design, but I am only trying to get to 225.

So I built a 10 CFM stoker from a PID I got from auber instruments. It held the smoker at ~220f +/- 10f for 10 hours with a full water pan.

Problem solved, I may test with Lava rock or Sand also, but as I said, I like water and the ease of cleanup with it.

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Re: WaterPan modification for Excel

Post  drsweetsmoke on Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:22 pm

What brand of fuel are you using? I found the Weber stuff to not work out very well. One issue with briquets is that there is a lot of ash build up thus smothering the coals restricting the heat. Lump burns very clean with little ash. I think the price id 7.50 for 12Kilos of lump at cash and carry.

You could do a mixture of the water and sand by placing a large can in the bowl full of water and surrounding it with sand. Best of both worlds?

I know you don't want to use sand but if you try again line the pan with tin foil then place the sand in for easy clean up.

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