The Flame Boss 400/EGG Genius
BBQ Temperature Controllers


The items contained in this review were purchased by The Naked Whiz Publishing Empire on the open market. No condsiderationss, financial or otherwise, were solicited or received from Flame Boss or Big Green Egg.


Introduction

The Flame Boss 400 and EGG Genius temperature controllers are economy model temperature controllers. Both controllers are priced well over $100 less than the full-featured Flame Boss 500 model. The EGG Genius is a version of the Flame Boss 400, branded for Big Green Egg. Although they look very similar, there are some minor differences between the two. (Don't worry, we'll point out the differences between the two later.) Since they are only slightly different, we thought we'd combine the two into a single review.

What makes these controllers "economy" is that they have no display or keyboard. All interaction with the controller is done remotely via an App running on a smart device, taking the notion of a Cloud connected device to its limits. So let's see how these two units compare and how they perform.


Features

Here is a list of features and specifications common to the FB 400 and EGG Genius controller:

  • Automatically and constantly controls your grill cooking temperature with oven-like precision
  • Easy to Use - Turns on as soon as you plug it in. There is only one mode - automatic.
  • Temperature Probes (2 included) - Industrial duty platinum RTD probes good to 575°F (steel braided).
  • Optional industrial duty platinum RTD probes with PTFE coating available. (Good to 450°F)
  • Automatic Learning Controller - Intelligently learns your smoker for quicker and smoother temperature control.
  • Single LED indicator showing connection to the network
  • All-in-one combination blower and controller unit.
  • Variable Speed 12 CFM Blower - Runs at the best speed to maintain the desired temperature in the smoker.
  • Open Lid Detect - Detects the opening of the lid and turns the fan off temporarily to avoid over-stoking the fire.
  • Power Glitch Safe - Continues running at the saved set temperature when power returns.
  • Pit Temperature Alarm - Receive text or notification on your smart device if your pit gets too hot or cool.
  • Meat Temperature Alarm - Receive text or notification on your smart device when your food is done.
  • Optional rechargeable 12V Lithium battery pack available.
  • Display in degrees F or C.
  • 160° to 475°F control range.
  • 110° to 284°F meat range.
  • Online Dashboard - View graphs of your cooks.
  • Monitor pit and food temperature and change the temperature of your pit from your phone, tablet or computer.
  • Keep Warm mode automatically turns down the pit temperature when your desired meat temp is reached.
  • Firmware can be updated automatically. This will allow the addition of new features to existing units.
  • Controller dimensions (approximate): 4½" x 2" x 2⅞"
  • Controller weight: 7¼ ounces
  • The control unit is plastic and is somewhat water resistant, but not waterproof.
  • Use App or web page to monitor and control your cook.


Also, a features unique to the EGG Genius:

  • Use up to 3 meat probes at once with two optional Y-cables and meat probes. (Additional Y-cables and meat probes can be purchased separately.)


Compared To Other BBQ Temperature Controllers

Like most other temperature control systems, the Flame Boss 400/EGG Genius system is blower-based, controlling airflow through the cooker by blowing air when needed. Where they differ from other systems is that they are the only systems available which have no display or keypad. They totally depend on network availability so you can only monitor and control them using a smart device.


The Basic System

The basic Flame Boss 400/EGG Genius package comes with the following items:

  • The control unit
  • 12 volt power supply
  • 1 platinum resistance thermometer food probe
  • 1 platinum resistance thermometer pit probe with alligator clip
  • Printed materials

The EGG Genius comes with mounting plates for kamado-style cookers. When you order a Flame Boss 400, you must specify if you want the kamado cooker option, or if you want the universal cooker option. The difference is in the mounting materials you get with the controller. (We'll show you these options a bit later.)


A Few Observations About The Components

The blower and the control unit are integrated into a single entity for both the Flame Boss 400 and the EGG Genius. In general, they feel solidly built. However, the control unit cover snaps onto the unit and is not a terribly tight fit, so you will want to avoid exposing it to wet weather.


The System Unit

The two units are identical save for the color of the control unit cover and the logo molded on the cover of each unit. The plastic case houses the electronics, the single LED indicator and the connections for power and temperature probes. The case is firmly attached to the side of the blower forming one integrated unit. The round metal plate that covers the blower intake is there as a shield to prevent wind from entering your cooker and causing the temperature to rise above where the controller is trying to keep it.

The unit itself is approximately 4½" x 2" x 2⅞" and weighs 7¼ ounces There is no dedicated power switch, per se, as power is turned on and off simply by connecting and disconnecting its power source. The unit has connections for power, a pit temperature probe and a food temperature probe. (The EGG Genius can accomodate 3 food temperature probes with the use of Y-cables, but more about that later.)


Controls

There are no controls on either the Flame Boss 400 or the EGG Genius. The only "controlling" is done from either the Flame Boss App, the EGG Genius App or the My Flame Boss website. Note that there is a separate App for each controller, however, from our experience it appears you can use either App to monitor and control either controller.


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