Since our review of the original Stoker, newer temperature probes (and blowers) have replaced the originals. (What has actually changed are the plugs used by the probes and blowers.) However, if you own any of the original temperature probes and blowers, you can use them on the new Stoker Wifi as it is backwards compatible. Here's some information about the original temperature probes:
There are two types of probes that you can use with The Stoker, fire probes and food probes. You will find a photo of both types of probes below. The pit probe is on the left while the food probe is on the right. As you can see, the food probe is a pointed straight stainless steel probe, while the fire probe, or pit probe, is a shorter stainless steel probe which is fixed into a clip so you can clip to the grid or to a thermometer stem.
In the closeup photo of the pit probe, below, you can see how the probe fits through a silicone sleve which is held in a hole in the clip. Also notice the heavy teflon-coated wires. They are quite substantial and feel as if they will stand up to the rigors of outdoor cooking.
Also below you can see the secret electronic innards of the plug on each probe. As we stated before, you can plug any probe into any socket. The way that The Stoker tells which probe is which is by storing a unique identifier in this chip which is a part of every probe and blower. When you plug a probe or blower into The Stoker, it reads the chip to determine which probe or blower you just plugged in. Also stored in the chip on each temperature probe is a "calibration factor" which is used to adjust the output of the probe to a real temperature.
Finally, we have a picture of a plug with its cover in place. As you can see, it is pretty well sealed. The cable appears to have more than adequate strain relief, so again, these probes and blowers should be able to stand up to the rigors of the outdoors.
As we stated earlier, since our original review of the Stoker, new probes have replaced the originals. Or rather, new plugs have replaced the originals, including the plugs on the blowers. As you can see in the first photo below, they now have a white transluscent plastic cover instead of a metal cover. Why? Look at the second photo below.
Yes, the new plugs light up! Here's the secret code:
So now you can tell which temperature probe is alarming without having to look at the unit, and you can tell how frequently each blower is operating. You can see a photo of the plug's innards below. The colored light is provided by a tiny LED which you can see in the photo. It's the left-most chip on the tiny circuit board.
We mentioned earlier that The Stoker temperature probes are calibrated at the factory and that they
contain calibration data on the small chip located in each plug.
It is important that the probes be reasonably accurate, both to measure the temperature of the food as well as the cooker. It is also important that multiple probes give similar results so you don't have to worry about which probe you are using, the one that reads 10 degrees high or the one that reads 5 degrees low. We compared the output of eight probes immersed in boiling water. So, how do The Stoker temperature probes measure up? The following table shows the results that we obtained when the boiling point of water at our location was 211.9°F:
As you can see, all the probes were within less than 4 degrees of each other, and all probes were within 2 degrees of the actual boiling point of water. This is extremely good and far greater accuracy that is needed.
The Stoker uses a 5 cubic-foot-per-minute blower which attaches to the lower vent of ceramic cookers and in appropriate locations on other cookers. Like the temperature sensors, the blower cable has a plug which contains a small chip. This chip is used to contain a unique identifier so that The Stoker can identify each blower uniquely.
The blowers also contain a unique built-in damper which automatically opens when the blower is on and closes when the blower is off. This serves to stop the natural flow of air through the cooker which could cause the fire to get hotter than desired. The damper works by gravity, so it is important that the blower be installed right side up with the cable on top.
Optional 10 CFM and 25 CFM blowers are also available.
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