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What sensor is best to use to measure smoke density via Arduino? Answered

I have built a cold-smoker for smoking things like bacon, cheese and seafood. Smoke is produced by burning oak chips in an old fire extinguisher and (using the air supply from a compressor) blown into an old fridge in which the food hangs or is placed on racks. Excess smoke exhausts through a second pipe at the top of the fridge. I log temperatures inside the fridge using an arduino.

For the best results the smoke density needs to be low but steady over a period of several hours. I currently control this by hand using a valve on the feed from the compressor. I'm working on controlling this valve automatically using a stepper motor to adjust the increase and decrease the airflow to maintain the correct smoke density.

How can I sense the density of the smoke reliably? I need to sense levels of density rather than just its presence. The smoke carries tars so the sensor must be easily cleanable.

Any suggestions very welcome!

3 Replies

randofo (author)2018-03-29

After a quick search I came upon this:

Seems like it is exactly what you need.

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Henmarsh (author)randofo2018-03-30

Thanks for looking randofo. I did find that article but was concerned that the mesh would soon clog as the result of exposure to the sticky tar in the smoke (and there's a lot of it!). I was wondering if there might be a viable optical solution (reflected laser or IR perhaps?) that would be easier to clean/less vulnerable to degradation, even if it required more than a single packaged component.

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randofo (author)Henmarsh2018-03-30

You can get sockets for that type of sensor and just swap them out over time. They typically don't cost much.

Anyhow... I imagine you could get some sort LED, and put some sort of light sensor behind a translucent or semi-translucent cover. Then you can measure the decrease in light. It would take some trial and error to figure out which are the correct sensor readings.

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