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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!

Discussions

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.

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.