We have previously reviewed the Flame Boss 100, 200 and 300 temperature controllers, and while we love the controllers, we felt at the time of the reviews that the blower used by Flame Boss was a bit of a letdown. What with no damper and an air intake that was oriented to the side, it was possible for a relatively light breeze to make holding low temperatures impossible. Well, now Flame Boss has upgraded their blower to address the issue of wind forcing its way into the blower and raising the temperature of your cooker.
Here are photos of the original blower:
As you can see, when the blower is mounted on your cooker, the air intake is oriented such that wind blowing from the side can enter the blower and therefore your cooker. As we pointed out earlier, the Flame Boss blower does not have any type of damper to stop this extra airflow.
How much effect does this have on the Flame Boss's ability to control the temperature? When testing on a large Big Green Egg cooker, we found that a relatively gentle breeze blowing at the intake kept the cooker at 318°F when the unit was trying keep it at 300°F. To solve this problem, we fashioned a crude shield from aluminum foil (see the photo above) and the temperature dropped to 300°F relatively quickly.
Flame Boss has now come out with a modified blower that integrates a wind shield over the air intake to minimize the effect of wind. So let's determine what effect the wind shield has on the controller's ability to hold low temperatures by comparing the old blower to the new blower.
And finally a side by side view of the old and upgraded blowers:
To test the effect of different wind speeds, we set up a Flame Boss 300 unit on a large Big Green Egg and set it to keep the temperature of the cooker at 300°F. To simulate varying windspeeds, we used a multispeed window fan with the output directed straight at the blower intake. Finally, in order to measure the wind speed, we used a handheld anemometer. Here is a graph of cooker temperature as the Flame Boss was exposed to increasing wind speeds:
Figure 1. The old blower.
As you can see, once the windspeed rose to 8.5 mph, the temperature of the cooker started climbing. Once it reache 350°F, we placed the fan so that it was blowing from the opposite direction and the temperature quickly dropped back to 300°F.
We then reran the test with the new upgraded blower.
Figure 2. The new blower.
The cooker temperature remained stable at 8.7 mpg and even at 10.0 mph. At that point we had reached the limit of what the window fan could produce, so we brought out a hair blower. At 22.0 mph, the cooker temperature began to rise. Once it hit 335°F, we removed the hair dryer and the temperature again quickly dropped back to 300°:F
So, it's pretty clear that the new wind guard on the upgraded blower does a pretty good job of allowing the Flame Boss to maintain temperatures even in fairly stiff breezes. The new blower is now shipping with all new Flame Boss units, and can also be purchased separately at the Flame Boss website.
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