The Flame Boss units have a chirping beeper to let you know when things are happening. For example, if you turn on the Meat Alarm, it will chirp to let you know that the meat has reached the target temperature.
You may remember that the original BBQ Guru Competitor had a "Good Neighbor Feature" which allowed you to disable the alarm so as not to disturb your neighbors. The Flame Boss units have a meat alarm, and it can be disabled if you so desire.
There is an indication on the main screen of the percentage of time the blower is running, but you will have to listen for the sound of the blower if you want to know if it is actually blowing right now.
The Flame Boss units will remember your target cooker temperature and other settings when power is lost by virtue of its internal memory.
What is Ramp Mode? Ramp mode is a clever mode in which the controller will lower the cooker temperature once the meat gets close to being done. As the meat temperature rises closer and closer to the target meat temperature, the controller continues to lower the cooker temperature. Ultimately, when the meat temperature reaches the target temperature, the cooker will also be at the meat target temperature. As a result, you can hold your meat at your target temperature as long as the cooker has fuel left to burn. This is the version invented and patented by BBQ Guru.
However, Flame Boss uses a variation in which the controller senses the meat has reached its target temperature, and drops the pit target temp all at once to the meat temperature. This lets the cooker cool down as it sees fit until the cooker temperature is about equal to the meat temperature. No matter how it is implemented, the goal is to allow you to hold your meat at its final temperature should you not be available to immediately see to it.
Flame Boss calls their method of holding the pit at the meat temperature "Keep Warm". You will find it in the Meat Alarm section of the menu. When the meat reaches its target temperature, you have the option of having the unit sound the alarm, drop the pit temperature to a specified Keep Warm temperature, or both.
The Flame Boss can control your cooker down to 160°F. This is a bit high for truly cold smoking, but certainly is low enough for many low temperature smoking tasks.
The Flame Boss units use a PID control mode as the default. What's PID? Here's what is in Wikipedia:
"The PID controller calculation (algorithm) involves three separate parameters, and is accordingly sometimes called three-term control: the proportional, the integral and derivative values, denoted P, I, and D. [...]these values can be interpreted in terms of time: P depends on the present error, I on the accumulation of past errors, and D is a prediction of future errors, based on current rate of change. The weighted sum of these three actions is used to adjust the process via a control element such as the position of a control valve or the power supply of a heating element."A little more reading reveals that it is used in feedback loop method which turns out to be a pretty good method of controlling a process when you don't have good knowledge about the process itself.
We obtained a little more information about the learning process from the makers of the Flame Boss. The learning feature requires at least one oscillation above and below the Set temperature to learn a cooker. The time that it takes varies, but is not less than 10 minutes. Opening the lid will interrupt an oscillation and a new one will start the next time the cooker reaches the set point. Adjusting the Set temperature will also interrupt the learning. Therefore, you should avoid opening the lid and changing the pit set temperature as much as possible.
The Flame Boss controllers have open lid detect. It is always on, and there is no menu option to disable it. Essentially, it works by taking note of the large and fast temperature swing that occurs when you open the lid. Once it has determined the lid is open, it stops using the blower and doesn't try to raise the temperature of the cooker. Once it detects the temperature is stable, it returns to its normal blower operation.
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