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Old 05-09-2009, 12:49 AM   #1
maztec
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Default Wireless, Remote Thermometer - do they exist?

I am having a heck of a time finding something that I think SHOULD exist for cooking (and brewing). A wireless, remote thermometer. I can find them for pools, outdoor/indoor, and dozens of other things, but not for cooking or brewing. Anybody have any idea where to get one of these or what it would be called?

Description in my head:
Thermometer with a digital display with a temperature detector that can be dropped into a boiling, freezing, or other temperature fluid and left to check the temperature. Even better if it had some way to be hung from the side or was of a calibrated weight, so it would be somewhere in the middle, rather than near a wall of the container.

Why?
Well, I like to cook, some things require a particular temperature. For example, a mash. I would like something I can put inside and monitor the temperature of whatever I am cooking or mashing, without having to trail a wire out (melt if hot or let air/bacteria in). I know, this seems extravagant, but similar products exist that are reasonable prices so this theoretically should exist.

So, if anyone knows about something like this - please point me toward it, I want to check it out. If someone has actually used something like this, your experience warmly appreciated.

Thanks!

M

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Old 05-09-2009, 02:38 AM   #2
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This might be almost what you are looking for except it still has a probe with a wire leading to the transmitter:

Amazon.com: Oregon Scientific AW129 Wireless BBQ Thermometer with Probe Thermometer and Remote: Patio, Lawn & Garden

I haven't seen one with a submersible transmitter, but if they exist I would guess them to be beyond the budge of the typical homebrewer. I would suggest a thermowell and one of the more common non-wireless thermometers. This would permit keeping the lid on whatever the vessel you happen to be using, yet will yield a reading deep inside.

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Old 05-09-2009, 02:44 AM   #3
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I wouldn't trust anything like that to read correctly in a wet environment anyway. I finally gave up on crappy thermometers and bought a type k thermocouple.

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Old 05-09-2009, 02:50 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truckmann View Post
I wouldn't trust anything like that to read correctly in a wet environment anyway. I finally gave up on crappy thermometers and bought a type k thermocouple.
+1 Me too!
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Old 05-09-2009, 03:25 AM   #5
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I have a couple of different wireless meat thermometers, and they work great for BBQ and smoking. I've never used them for brewing, but I have thought about it.

The way I would use one would be to stick the probe through a piece of styrofoam insulation and let it float on top of the mash or liquor. Then run the lead out the top so that it stays out of the liquid.

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Old 05-09-2009, 06:11 AM   #6
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Why wouldn't they read correctly in a wet environment? Or do you mean an electronic meter in a steamy environment? My electric candy thermometer works great in any environment, it just requires a glove to put near anything hot and steaming.

And don't Type K Thermocouples have accuracy issues? I swear I remember them being +/-5C off.

I am going to have to think about this more ...

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Old 05-09-2009, 10:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maztec View Post
Why wouldn't they read correctly in a wet environment? Or do you mean an electronic meter in a steamy environment? My electric candy thermometer works great in any environment, it just requires a glove to put near anything hot and steaming.

And don't Type K Thermocouples have accuracy issues? I swear I remember them being +/-5C off.

I am going to have to think about this more ...
THe problem you will find is that where the probe part ends and the wire "begins", it's not sealed real well, and moisture gets inside the probe and causes havoc with the sensor. You can pop it in the over for a half hour or so and it's better, but it gets annoying. If you go that route, I'd suggest some narrow diameter tubing over the probe wire, and then some food grade epoxy to seal the end of the tubing onto the probe.

Also, as mentioned these types of thermometers are not terribly accurate. With barbecue you don't really care if it's 447 or 452, but that big of swing can make a huge difference in brewing.
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Old 05-09-2009, 10:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
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And don't Type K Thermocouples have accuracy issues?
Nope.

Thermocouples are very simple devices and durable temperature sensors. They are comprised of two different materials joined at one end and separated at the other. The separated ends are considered the output, and they generate voltage which is proportional to the heat they are measuring or monitoring. That is, the hotter the temperature, the higher the voltage. The fact that two metals generate voltage is known as the Seebeck effect.

Type K (chromel–alumel) thermocouples are the most common general purpose thermocouples. They are inexpensive and available in a wide variety of probes. They are available in the −200 °C to +1350 °C range. A potential problem arises in some situations since one of the constituent metals, nickel, is magnetic. A caveat of thermocouples made with magnetic material is that they undergo a step change when the magnetic material reaches its Curie point. This occurs for this thermocouple at 354 °C or 669 °F. I doubt you are making any temperature measurements that high when brewing.
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Old 05-09-2009, 09:51 PM   #9
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Jeff: Ahh, that makes sense. That is why I want a self contained unit I can dunk, no wire.

Sawdustguy: Hmmm, I thought Type K had a really low voltage and there were issues of calibration. Then again, I thought that was the general nature of thermocouples, but that other types were slightly more accurate due to the metals chosen. It has been a while since I used one, so I could totally be wrong.

Either way, I would think someone would have made a remote thermistor or RTD that was self contained, rather than wired. But, I'm just not finding it, so guess not.

Don't suppose we have any microelectrical engineers in the house up for an interesting challenge?

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