The Signals thermometer is a great product all by itself with (4) probes, Wi-Fi and bluetooth capability, and so much more. ThermoWorks has now released their new temperature controller fan which works with the Signals, turning the thermometer into a temperature controller.
The temperature control fan is called “Billows” and with 46cfm, it is well suited for the Weber Smoky Mountain smokers, Kamado cookers such as the BGE, barrel smokers such as the Pit Barrel Cooker, and any other cookers that have similar intake vents.
The billows simply connects to your Signals thermometer via a USB-C cable and once you set the pit temperature, it will seek to maintain that by turning the fan on and off as needed to blow air onto the coals.
The Fan Unit
The fan is able to move 46cfm (cubic feet per minute) and is made of some sort of heavy duty molded plastic which is cool to the touch and able to handle high temperatures without melting.
Comes with a soft, compressible gasket on the mouth of the fan and a easy-to-use clip ready to mount to many different types of smoker vents with ease.
Fan is weatherproof and is designed with the fan intake and USB-C connection on the bottom so no water gets into the fan if it stars raining during use.
USB-C to USB-C cable
This is a common, easy to find cable so if you ever need a replacement, it's easy to get.
This cable connects the fan to the fan adapter.
Plugs into Signals on one end and the other end contains (2) connections. One is for the USB-C cable to the fan. The other is for the power supply.
Billows comes with a 4 to 5 inch piece of metallic, heat resistant flu tape so you can seal up any open areas around the fan to prevent air leaks.
If you need more tape, it is readily available at most hardware stores.
My first test was performed on my 22-inch Weber Smoky Mountain smoker.
Here's the bottom intake vent that I've decided to use (this smoker has (3) of these vents around the bottom of the smoker.
I attached the Billows fan unit to the lower left hole as that seemed to give me the best angle for the airflow into the charcoal area.
To attach, simply pinch the two ends of the clip together and push it through the hole. Once inside, release the clip and it holds the fan in place securely.
Here's what it looks like from the inside of the vent:
Now, just use the flu tape to cover the other holes.
Note: Be sure to remove the yellow plug from the bottom of the fan before use
Plug the long USB-C cable into the connection on the bottom of the fan. You may find it easier to do this before installing the fan.
Plug the fan adapter into the USB-C connection on Signals
Connect the long USB-C cable to the “Fan” side of the adapter and then plug the Signals power adapter into the “Power” side of the fan adapter.
Once you plug the Signals power adapter into a power outlet, the fan should immediately begin running.
Here's the overall setup:
Plug the ambient pit probe included with Signals into channel 4. This is the channel that Billows uses to control the temperature.
Clip the pit probe onto the food grate using the clip provided with your Signals or you can use a small potato to hold it slightly above the grate.
For the Weber Smoky Mountain, I recommend filling the charcoal ring with dry, unlit lump charcoal then pour about ½ to ¾ chimney of lit charcoal on top.
Place the lid on the smoker, set the exhaust vent at ¼ to ½ open and let it preheat for 30 minutes or so to come up to temperature and stabilize.
For my test, I placed a smaller amount of unlit charcoal and about ½ chimney of lit charcoal.
With my configuration, Billows held 225°F within just a degree or two for around 3.5 hours. With more unlit charcoal, it would be able to maintain this temperature for much longer.
Here's a graph to show the progress.. beginning at 1:38 PM to around 5 PM where it started dropping off.
I did not see anything during my initial test that annoyed me or that I felt like was designed badly or did not function as it could. As I continue to use it, we'll see how it goes.
Based on my research, certain plates and/or adapters will make it easier to connect to some smokers/cookers and hopefully these will be included in future purchases or very inexpensive to add on when you purchase the Billows for your particular smoker. According to ThermoWorks, some adapters will be available in early August.
For my particular smoker, it connected perfectly, worked exactly as advertised and I was able to do it without any complications so I have to give it major kudos for a very well designed tool.
As you already know, I only recommend products that I love and enjoy using.
Just to clarify a few things:
- Billows ONLY works with Signals by ThermoWorks.
- Signals must be plugged into power for Billows to work
If you do not have the Signals multi-probe thermometer, you can purchase it HERE.
If you have Signals and would like to purchase a Billows or check it out further, CLICK HERE.
Let me know in the comments below if you have further questions about this.