Our FAQ probably answers most of your questions about the why and how of Turkey Tracker, but I wanted to share a bit about our temperature tracking system. From the FAQ:
Our ambient and smoker temperature sensors are bolt-on thermocouples with glass-insulated wire rated to 480degC (900degF). The probe for the turkey itself is a custom ordered probe that has a advanced ceramic insulation made by 3M that’s rated to 1200degC (2200degF). The thermocouples generate a current proportional to the temperature, which we amplify with an Analog Devices AD595 chip. The AD595 is then connected to an Arduino microcontroller board that is programmed to output the temperature, in Celsius, over USB. We have a ruby script that collects the data on the serial line and converts it to Fahrenheit. For graphing, we use RRDTool. The data is polled every minute. The steps you see in the graph also depict minute intervals.
Here’s a picture of the finished product:
Completed Wirebird 2.0 Rig
Last year, we didn’t have the high temperature wires, and we lost our sensors when they touched the shell of the smoker. We track the bird temperature (looking for 160° in the breast), the air in the smoker (we want to keep it between 200° and 225°) and the ambient temperature (we can expect about 50° to 55°). We will probably move the bird to the oven for finishing, so that we can eat at a reasonable hour, when it hits about 140°.
In addition to graphing the temperature, the data collection script also sends updates for major events and warnings if one of the temperatures veers outside the norm so that we can quickly address the situation. Standing in 50° weather with smoke billowing out into your face is tough to keep up, even when it’s sunny out.