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Thermocouple - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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  • Thermocouple

    What is the best way to measure the temperature of a wood fired oven? I currently have a thermocouple and was interested in using it in the oven. Is it best to place it in the hearth or in the wall of the oven? Is this best mounted within the brick, or protruding from the brick and into the oven. If this is mounted within the brick on the side of the oven what is the best way to mount it for possible replacement?

  • #2
    Re: Thermocouple

    Second that! I just purchased 2 RTD probes - Short RTD Probe and have the same question.


    • #3
      Re: Thermocouple

      I am just in the research and planning stages, but I will offer what I believe to be true based on all I have studied.

      Thermocouples are not very expensive, at least compared to the electronics to read and display them. If you have those electronics or will get them, then you might as well put several thermocouples in your build. The number and locations depend on what data you actually want to collect.

      I think that the most usefull data would come from thermocouples mounted to read at about the middle of the firebricks (or regular bricks if you go that route) at a minimum. I would think that you would want one at the top of the dome and another in the center of the floor at a minimum.

      There is a lot written, and it makes sense, to put at each location you chose to measure, one near the outside and one near the inside of a particular spot (say the top of the dome for instance). If you do something like that, you can tell not only what the surface temperature is inside the dome, but also get an idea of how much heat has been absorbed by the bricks and will be available for extended cooking.

      If you are only concerned about cooking pizza, then an infrared surface measuring device is more than enough, given that you will have a fire going in the oven while you cook, and you are not concerned about how much heat will be available stored in the bricks for extended cooking, after you have raked out the fire.

      You can get by without any temperature measuring equipment after you gain some experience and experiment (trial and error and the associated learning) while cooking.

      Seems like most folks have at least invested in a surface temperature device like the infrared, if for not other reason than curiosity and the ability to measure the inside temperature while curing their domes, so I will get one of those.

      I will probably try to get an infrared thermometer that will also accept inputs from thermocouples, and install them in the top of the dome, and in the center of the floor at least, most likely in the center of the bricks.

      That's just were I am leaning at the moment, and my plans may change based on inputs here before I get to the point of actually having to make a decision



      • #4
        Re: Thermocouple

        Check out thermoworks.com...they make the thermopen which is worth every penny and you can get high temp thermocouples for about $12 and a hand held reader for about $40 to $50...great stuff
        Last edited by Dutchoven; 10-30-2008, 07:05 PM. Reason: fumble fingers
        "Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity. " Charles Mingus
        "Build at least two brick ovens...one to make all the mistakes on and the other to be just like you dreamed of!" Dutch


        • #5
          Re: Thermocouple

          Is an RTD sensor the same as a thermocouple? or is that something altogether different? I was told by an engineer friend to get a RTD sensor to measure temps as they last the longest. Anyways, how about some more input on where to place them?


          • #6
            Re: Thermocouple

            I put mine about 1/2 way up the dome as a compromise and drilled in a hole so the tip of the thermocouple is a few centimetres shy of protruding into the oven interior. It does tend to give a somewhat false reading because there seems to be quite a lag for the thermo couple to indicate oven temp. What I mean is that the oven will be REALLY hot, hot enough to burn the base of a pizza and cook them well in 2 mins, but the thermocouple only reads 320 C or so. I know it's hotter than this. This is after firing for 1 1/2 hrs. I think we get a bit obsessed with temp measurement. You don't really need it. You know when it's hot.
            Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.


            • #7
              Re: Thermocouple

              A couple of other sources are Omega Engineering and eBay (of all places) I use many TC's in a year and can get them pretty cheap either way. I have an Omega Multi-meter which reads plug in TC's. Currently, this is how I measure temps in my smoker and am considering where to place mt TC's in the oven that I am starting after too many years of waiting.

              Jen-Aire 5 burner propane grill/Char Broil Smoker

              Follow my build Chris' WFO


              • #8
                Re: Thermocouple

                I just called Omega support and talked to an engineer. He said that most people use their XCIB-K-1-5-3 model thermocouple in oven applications. The "3" is 3ft. and there is also a 10 ft. version.

                The cheaper readout is the DP7000. He orginally suggested a CN600 but that is very pricey.


                • #9
                  Re: Thermocouple

                  Here is a good read from the forum's past on the topic




                  • #10
                    Re: Thermocouple

                    Well I guess it was interesting but it didn't change my mind really. Omega is the worlds largest manufacturer of thermocouples so I think I'll be following their recommendations. From another thread I realized that my cheap Sears multimeter can read K thermocouples so I am modifying my order to have end no. 6 so they plug into a meter directly. Minimizes the up front investment.

                    My reasoning about thermocouples is that given the cost of the oven, burying 2 $40 thermocouples inside is not a bad idea since you can't do it later.

                    I had my first wood oven course from Dan Wing and I seem to remember his infamous portable oven had multiple thermocouples buried inside. He also had an infrared thermometer. My second teacher would only use the burnt flour method. Both of them had been baking in wood ovens for years.


                    • #11
                      Re: Thermocouple

                      Been dormant from the blogs but have been cooking awhile... I didn't add any thermo couples. My mother in law did buy the infared thermometer.

                      When the dome goes white it's hot enough to cook the pizzas - you really don't need anything fancy.

                      That said they might be useful if you plan to do a lot of baking or "oven" type cooking but you could still get buy with a thermometer or the old 1 Mississippi trick...

                      Good luck
                      Dick B


                      • #12
                        Re: Thermocouple

                        To follow up on my original posts. I ended up using an Omega XCIB-K-1-6-3 and a -10 (a 3 ft and 10 ft). The 3 ft was a bit short for the floor. The 10 ft was about right for the dome. The "6" is a mini male terminator which plugs directly into the front of a $30 Sears multimeter.

                        Everything is working fine. The mason didn't leave me much slack so I had to buy a coiled extension (also from Omega) but that works fine.

                        In my application the thermocouples are best for measuring the stored temp. Quite a difference between the thermocouples and the infrared surface as things are heating up but they tend to converge as the fire dies out and you're dealing with stored temp.


                        • #13
                          Re: Thermocouple

                          One final follow-up. After using the oven for some months I have to say that I rarely consult the thermocouples. I may use them to graph out the performance over time just to validate my ad-hoc impressions but I end up using the infrared once a week or so but mostly I go by experience.


                          • #14
                            Re: Thermocouple

                            Omega now has a pen sized data logger with USB output and PC software to track the thermocouple temps over time. Looks like my thermocouples will plug right in.

                            Thermocouple Data Logger with LCD Display and USB Interface