BBQ Lab (v1.3) – Smoke Density

BBQ is about low, slow, and smoke. And while the temperature sensors in BBQ Lab have already take care of the low and slow part, none of the instrumentation really addresses the smoke part.  So the newest upgrade to BBQ Lab in v1.3 is the addition of a smoke sensor that measures the smoke in parts per million.  I’m not actually as concerned with the exact measurement of the smoke as I am within the ability to relatively measure it throughout the duration off a BBQ.

The sensor is relatively simple – a MQ-2 sensor that detects the presence of smoke in parts per million and outputs an analog voltage that corresponds to the measurement range of the sensor. A 0 voltage corresponds to the low range of the sensor and a 1023 voltage corresponds to the high range of the sensor. Everything else in between represents gradients between the ranges. I any case what matters to me is identifying a reading that corresponds what I consider “good smoke output” and displaying the measurements via the trending graphs and real time alerts so I can take action based on the information.
BBQ Lab Propane Sensor

MQ-2 Smoke Sensor

BBQ Lab Propane Sensor

Knob to Adjust Sensitivity

I also ordered a bunch of other gas sensors, including a MQ-6 sensor that detects the presence of propane gas, which I’m to use to detect when the smoker’s flame blows out – such as on windy days.  I’m also working on adding a automated propane control value that throttles the propane to achieve an ideal temperature – so the sensor can be used as part of a safety control system.
Hopefully I’ll be making a BBQed Brisket this week – so stay tuned for notes, pictures, and video.
Tagged , , , ,

2 thoughts on “BBQ Lab (v1.3) – Smoke Density

  1. Nick P says:

    Did you have any issues with having this sensor in your smoke box as far as temp goes? I am in the beginning stages of starting my smoker controller and I need to find components that will withstand the 225+ degrees inside the smoker.

    I am going down the PIC 18FXX route with a raspberry pi as the web server interface mainly as an exercise that forces me to learn pic assembly to put this together.

  2. Rich Naszcyniec says:

    Are you interested in making the hardware design open source? I am starting an open source project to offer hardware and software to monitor your BBQ and potentially other types of “cooks”. The software will used JBoss community software including the application server, business rules, complex events, and eventually the mobile user interface. You have pretty much completed the arduino based monitor I was starting to design. very cool!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.