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To rediscover real food, regain the habit
of cooking from scratch with locally sourced
ingredients, and free myself from the
banality of the supermarket.

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Traeger On!

May 17, 2015

My old Traeger pellet grill is working again!

Given the length of time it has been out of action – it failed in November – the fix seemed almost an anticlimax. But during that time, I have been thinking of exactly what to do, and I did have my new portable Davy Crockett to cook on in the meantime.

Anyway, I removed the controller completely from the front plate, and wired up the components directly as follows:

  • Fan: An improvement to the original design, I have bypassed the power switch, so that this is now ON for as long as the grill is powered. A feature of the more modern grills is a “fan only” mode at the end of a cook, to ensure that any remaining fuel is consumed, and the burn-pot is definitely out.

    I could fit a second switch, but I don’t see the point, as you do not leave this kind of kit switched on at the mains.

  • Auger: This is the helical screw that drives the pellets down into the burn-pot. With the original controlled removed, it is now ON whenever the grill is powered and the switch is turned to ON.

    However, there is still an electrical relay in the circuit, that I fitted a couple of years ago. This is optionally controlled by an Arduino, but without an Arduino connected, the Auger is simply full ON.

  • Igniter: This lights the pellets, and needs to be on for 3-4 minutes at the start of a cook. At the moment, it is wired to a momentary push-switch, connected to the ON switch of the grill. So you need to power the grill (fan then working), switch the grill on (auger then working), then hold the push switch until the burn-pot ignites.

    This is the one meh moment. The switch is made to be flush-fitted, but I decided today that the metal of the grill is too thick to drill a hole of the right size – at least with the drill bits I have, and my drilling skills. So for the moment it is (safely) mounted in a plastic pot hanging from the front.

    I also underestimated how long 3-4 minutes seems when you have a finger on a button. So I am considering swapping this out for a normal switch that I can surface mount.

But it is working. For the moment, until I write a new Arduino program, it is at full power – approximately 450-500° F; but that is great for straight high-temp grilling, or (with my pizza stone fitted) pizza and bread. Later I can work on getting it temperature controlled, for slow cooking, but because the relay has a flying lead with a jackplug, I won’t have to take the grill apart again.

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