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Project Help and Ideas » Smoker/Grill Monitor recommendations

October 06, 2010
by esc
esc's Avatar

I recently just got my nerdkit working and want to create a monitor that basically pulls the temperature from my smoker wirelessly sends it to my home PC (which then publishes it via HTTP). I have the whole PHP HTTP webserver side for the hard part (for me at least). Regarding using the nerdkit to transmit the temp looking for some tips/recommendations:

  • I would need a temp sensor that is ok to use from say 100F to 500F or more. Any one have any recommendations or seen one? The one that comes with the kit isn't good for that range.

  • In reading some posts on wireless I see some folks using RF (a kit from sure electronics one also from spark fun). What about bluetooth? And the kit from sure electronics..i guess that comes all the way from Hong Kong? How long that take to receive?

  • I will have to have a sender and a receiver for the wireless I assume I will need two for each?

  • Assuming I need a nerdkit on the receive side what is the best way to get the data from the receiver onto the PC (USB?).

Just trying to figure out the best approach...this is my first time trying something anywhere close to this. Thanks in advance!


October 06, 2010
by hevans
(NerdKits Staff)

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Hi esc,

It sounds like you have a very neat project in the works. Here are my thoughts.

You will definitely need two chips running if you want to send data back and forth wirelessly, and I would say a radio communication kit is is your best bet. There are a few projects on the forums that have done it before you can look to for guidance. You can pick up a build your own project pack from our store to put together second setup.

The most straightforward way to get data from the MCU to the computer is over the existing USB-Ser cable. We have several examples of this on our video tutorials including our weigh scale, and our meat thermometer. In both of these cases we use Python to read the data coming in over the serial port.

Temperature sensors very quickly go up in cost as you cross the 100 Celsius mark. Can I ask why you feel you need to go up that high? I am no expert smoker (although I have thought of building myself one), but I thought typical hot smoker temperatures were slightly below 100 degrees C.

Can't wait to see this project evolve!


October 06, 2010
by esc
esc's Avatar

Thank You Humberto for your suggestions....I will take a look.

212F (sorry I think in F :) ) is fine for Brisket. Chicken and say pork ribs I tend to go a little higher. The purpose of my project is that when I put on something to smoke I can watch the temperature while I am out for the day on my Droid and not worry if it has gotten to high. I guess I could risk burning out a bunch of temp readers and replacing as needed but I would much rather have one that goes a little higher...maybe even 300F would be ok. Let me know if you know of any.

Anyone else out there have any recommendations regarding the wireless...especially those who have been through it before? Much appreciated?


October 06, 2010
by esc
esc's Avatar

oh...I am watching the temperature of the smoking chamber....not the actual meat temp. The smoking chamber runs anywhere from 180 to 290F in a good setting. If you go higher than 300 (which it can) you are gonna have problems.

October 06, 2010
by Rick_S
Rick_S's Avatar

You might try using a K type thermocouple with a driver IC such as the MAX6675. These will read from 0C to 1024C thru that chip. Single 5V supply. Sparkfun sells the chip for about $12. The thermocouples can be purchased at places for under $20. That would be one solution for a relatively low cost high temp thermometer.


October 06, 2010
by Ralphxyz
Ralphxyz's Avatar

Probable the least expensive RF wireless modules come from sparkfun Transmitter Receiver

You could have two Nerdkits one for the transmitter and one for the receiver (you only need one communications).

You could even make the receiver for your pc using a serial port.

There are also bluetooth and ZigBee modules but they cost more and really would not add a advantage.


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