The Flame Boss 500
BBQ Temperature Controller


The item(s) contained in this review were purchased by The Naked Whiz Publishing Empire directly from Flame Boss. No considerations, financial or otherwise, were solicited or received from Flame Boss.


Introduction

The Flame Boss 500 temperature controller is the latest top-of-the-line BBQ temperature controller from Flame Boss. The main upgrades are the new four-line display and the ability to monitor two additional meat probes without the use of the Y-cables that were required on the Flame Boss 300. Two other minor upgrades are the inclusion of two probe cord organizers and a versatile snap-on base that improves viewing of the display when the unit is sitting on a table top or mounted on a vertical surface. So let's get started with a list of features and specifications.


Features

Here is a list of features and specifications:

  • 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 resistance thermometer probes good to 475°F (steel braided).
  • Optional industrial duty platinum resistance probes with PTFE coating available. (Good to 400°F)
  • Automatic Learning PID Controller - Intelligently learns your smoker for quicker and smoother temperature control.
  • 4-line 16-character backlit LCD display
  • Variable Speed Blower - Runs at the best speed to reach and 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.
  • Meat Temperature Alarm - Receive text or notification on your smart device when your cook is finished.
  • Keep Warm - Keeps your food warm after it is cooked.
  • Pit Temperature Alarm - Receive text or notification on your smart device if your pit gets too hot or cool.
  • Optional rechargeable 12V Lithium battery pack available.
  • Display in degrees F or C.
  • 100° to 450°F pit control range.
  • 100° to 450°F meat alarm 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.
  • Firmware can be updated automatically. This will allow the addition of new features to existing units.
  • Controller dimensions (approximate): 4⅞" x 4¼ x 1⅞"
  • Display dimensions (approximate): 2½" x 1"
  • Controller weight: 7½ ounces
  • The control unit is plastic and is somewhat water resistant, but not waterproof.
  • Both App and web page interfaces.


Compared To Other BBQ Temperature Controllers

Like most other temperature control systems, the Flame Boss 500 system is blower-based, controlling airflow through the cooker by blowing air when needed. And like other top-of-the-line systems, the Flame Boss 500 has WiFi and Cloud capabilities that allow you to monitor your cook using a phone, tablet or desktop in addition to monitoring your cook locally on the controller's own display.


The Basic System

The basic Flame Boss 500 kamado package comes with the following items:

  • The control unit
  • The control unit stand
  • 12 volt power supply
  • 1 platinum resistance thermometer food probe
  • 1 platinum resistance thermometer pit probe with alligator clip
  • 1 blower
  • 2 probe cord organizers
  • 3 blower adapters in various sizes for kamado cookers
  • Printed materials

When you order a Flame Boss 500, 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. In this photo, we show the kamado option mounting plates. (We'll show you both options side by side later in the review.)


A Few Observations About The Components

The control unit feels solid and well built. Although it is moisture resistant, you should avoid getting it wet. The connections are shielded from water falling from above, but not necessarily from splashes. In general all the components appear to be up to the rigors of outdoor BBQ usage.


The System Unit

The control unit itself is approximately 4⅞" x 4¼" x 1⅜" 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 blower, a pit temperature probe and a three food temperature probes. Also notice in the photo on the right, that the control unit has a threaded socket that can by used to install an optional flexible mounting arm available from Flame Boss. It also happens to accomodate a standard ¼ inch tripod mount, if that were to be convenient.


The Flame Boss 500 comes with a base that snaps on to the control unit. Here you can see the base by itself. The photo on the left shows the base sitting on a horizontal surface, ready for the control unit to be attached. The photo on the right shows the underside of the base. The red surfaces are silicone, giving the base some grip when sitting on a counter top. The circle in the center contains a magnet so you can attach the base to metal surfaces. And finally, you can see the four holes, top and bottom, that can be used for fastening the base to a surface.

Here are some views of the control unit sitting on a flat surface with the base attached. Note that the base can be reversed so that it can be used to attach the control unit to a vertical surface.


Controls

All the controls are located on the front of the control unit. They consist of four buttons, "Back", "Next", up arrow and down arrow. The arrows move you up and down the items on a menu. They also change the values of a the current parameter. "Next" will select an item from the menu or set the value of the current parameter and move to the next parameter. Back will take you back to the menu or move you up to the previous parameter.


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