BBQ Command Center
The BBQ Command Center is an application that runs on a Windows based computer, with the purpose of controlling and maintaining all aspects of barbeque and smoking equipment. It started as a simple data logger, to read and store the cooking temperatures into a database. It later turned into a temperature control system and more.
Question: "Are you trying to sell this thing?"
Answer: I sure thought so when I started using it. The first dry run worked like a champ. I very much expected to destroy that cheap pork roast, but it cooked it just like it was in my oven....only with smoke. I thought, surely someone would buy this. But the more I use it the more I realize that for me to turn a profit, I would have to invest in it more than I really want. For this reason, I'm really thinking about going mostly freeware. I don't need to turn a profit, but I want it to be self sustaining. If I get enough interest, that's exactly what I'll do. This thing has really helped me make the, sometimes, painful process of controlling a smoker, fun. I smoke about every weekend, sometimes a few times a week. I use this thing every time. It's shamefull to say, I don't think I could cook without it! A tinkerer by nature, I'm always finding new methods to control the process and make it easy and repeatable, with the one rule in mind: Never take away from the end result: "Never sacrifice the quality of the cooking process to make something easier".
For now, the feature list below will show you what I've done so far. Come back often and see what's new!
Current Feature List
- Reads temperatures from both Thermocouple (Type K) and inexpensive Thermistor type probes.
- Utilizes a PID loop algorith to maintain desired temperature.
- Controls one or more BBQ pits at the same time
- Controls the temperature by one or more type of control method: Servo actuated mechanical damper and/or electronic controlled blower fan.
- Controls electric smokers by a relay type "Bang-Bang" control (just like your oven)
- Can operate an electronically controlled spritzer (Experimental.....come back soon for more!)
Current Program Screenshots
Updated program #2 view. Version #2 is in the works.
I've been spending some time lately retooling the original command center program. I'm trying to make the interface much easier to use; namely when multiple Pits are being used. This new version will allow for an unlimited number of Pits and temperature probes, and still be easily operated from a small laptop. It works especially well in a touch screen environment. Here's a quick screenshot (Sorry, I didn't have the probes hooked up when I took the screenshot. The -E- would ordinarily show temperature. The percentage relates to the amount of servo damper or fan needed to maintain the desired temperature.):
Basic program #1 view. This shows the operation of multiple control methods on a single smoker.
Results of a Data log.