Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Installed a new v.3 Savannah Stoker Controller on my Traeger

I have been wanting to get one of these controllers for over a year now. Billy Merrill sells them and is a member and sponsor of Lets Talk BBQ forum.

I would highly recommend this controller for a Traeger, it is plug and play. It will work with other pellet smokers too, for any questions you can e-mail Billy at Billy also has a facebook page if you want to check that out click here.

Feb 07 2015
I changed the date above the post so it stays in the front for a while. 

We had a nice day Saturday, 43 deg. F. The ice was all melted on my patio so I could get to my smoke deck and install my new Savannah Stoker v.3 controller on my Traeger 07E pellet smoker. The SS controller is a PID device to control pellet smokers. It is a type of controller that most all manufactures are going to now. It comes with the correct plugs for the Traeger so is a simple job to change out. It is just a matter of removing the old one unplugging it and installing the new one.

It comes with a new RTD, real temperature device, you need to install and that is a matter of removing the old one, one screw holding it. That is only about a 10 minute job. I got the old controller removed and the new RTD installed. I had just a little trouble getting the new controller installed; the one plug was too short to access through the opening.  I had to reach under the pellet bin and hold the plug with one hand and reach through the opening to plug the new one in. If the 4 plugs are long enough to access through the hole it is a snap to install.

I had cleaned out my smoker and when I got the new controller installed I was ready to try it out. I had a ½ pound of smoked sausage and a pound of jowl bacon from my butchers I want to do for some bean soup Sunday. I fired it up and let get to the set temp of 225 deg. F. I had my Maverick probe placed at grill level in the middle front of the grate to double check the temps.

I did the sausage for one hour at 225 deg. then removed. I let the bacon go another hour at 325 deg. F. It worked like a charm and most of the time was within 5 deg. of the set temperature. The lowest I saw at 225 deg. was 10 under and 11 over the set temperature over an hour. I was getting some nice smoke too. When I went to set temperature of 325 deg. it was there in 15 minutes. I was getting about the same fluctuation of +- 10 deg. whenever it went over or under it didn’t stay there long and quickly corrected.

I was amazed at how close the RTD and my Maverick probe, at grill level were. With my old Traeger 180 I always ran about 25 deg. hotter at grill level. With my Ortech I was 25 to 50 deg. hotter. After I went to 325 deg. with my SS controller I did see the grill level at 15 deg. hotter.

I don’t have a nice chart to show you like Savannah Smoker did but I recorded the different temps by taking photos and the times are in the photos metadata.

RTD = real temperature                                ST= set temperature          MPT= Maverick temp grill level

               RTD        ST         MPT
6:00        224         225         223
6:15        226         225         225
6:30        225         225         226
6:45        236         225         235
7:00        215         225         217
Wen to 325 deg.
7:15        328         325         338
7:50        328         325         343

After my first cook I am more than happy with the way this controller is running. Most of the time it is running about dead on set temp. I can live with the small +- swings I got and I think you need some ups and downs to get better smoke. I left the fan set on speed 3 for this cook. I plan on some ribs for my next cook and will try fan speed 2 for the 3 hours of smoke setting at 180 deg.

New controller

Removing the old

New RTD installed

Installing the new

Ready to cook

6:00 PM meat added


7:00 removed sausage



8:00 bacon done and shut down
took about 25 minutes to cool and shut down


  1. Do you feel it's worth the extra cost of the Savannah? I'm looking to upgrade to what you originally had. I currently have the 3 position controller.

  2. Do you feel it's worth the extra cost of the Savannah? I'm looking to upgrade to what you originally had. I currently have the 3 position controller.

  3. So far after 4 or 5 cooks with the Savannah I am more than happy with it. The Traeger 180 will work OK but I had to learn it's quirks and cooked by my Maverick temp probe at grill level. In my Traeger 07E the grill level temps ran 25 deg and more sometimes than the controller read.

    With the Savannah so far I am running about 10 deg. hotter at grill level so I would not be afraid to cook with the readings on the controller.

    I like the auto shutdown on the Savannah too.

    Cost wise I think the Treager 180 controller wilol run you about $100 vs. the Savannah at $160 US.

  4. How does it hold the heat when smoking? I did some jerky today on my Traeger and it ran about 190f on 'smoke'. Was really hoping it would hold about 160f but maybe that's unrealistic. I'm new to this so not sure what to expect.

    1. Dan if you have the Savannah Stoker then you need to direct questions to Billy Merril, I am new at this to and learning like you. Don

    2. Dan just another thought, 160 I think is rather low, at 150 you can get a flame out. Lately I have not run mine below 190 deg. for smoking. If you want to do some low heat smoking look into the Amazin tube smoker. You can use it in your Traeger. Don

    3. Dan and anyone else who has the Savannah Stoker you can always e-mail Billy Merrill at and explain your problem to him. I was having some issues with mine and he sent me parameters to try. I am happy now, from 80 to 225 deg it holds within 10 deg +- and this gives me good smoke . from 230 up it holds 5 deg. +-. My grill level temps run 25 to 30 deg. hotter and I cook by that. Don

    4. Correction on above statement, it should be 180 deg. to 225 deg. not 80. Don

  5. How is this better than the Igrill 2?

    1. Not sure what you are asking, the post was about the controller. I don't know much about the Igrill2 but looks like it is just a temperature viewing the device. I am using the Maverick here and can keep watch on meat and pit temps anywhere on my property. The Igrill2 looks like it is blue tooth and may have further range than my Maverick. Hope this helps you! Don

  6. can you please post the manual I've lost mine

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