The ThermoWorks ThermaQ Blue Kit is a complete package that includes the control unit, a small tripod, a food probe, a cooker probe, a grate clip and free software for your smartphone. Using Bluetooth LE, the device corresponds with the phone app to set alarm thresholds and track the temperature progression of a cook. Data can be downloaded or viewed in the app, and temperature alerts keep the pit master apprised of the food’s status.
The control unit is powered by a single AA battery that is claimed to last 4000 hours. It accepts two type K thermocouple temperature probes. (ThermoWorks has a wide variety of compatible probes should you need additional hardware. The operating temperature range of the unit is determined by the probes themselves; the ones that come with the kit are appropriate for food measurements.) The kit comes with a food probe and a shorter, stubby probe intended for monitoring the cooker temperature. Each has an 80″ (2m) cable, a plus when working with an outdoor cooker. You can also purchase additional probes and monitor two pieces of meat if you prefer.
There is an Apple app and an Android app that work with the control unit. Turn on Bluetooth on your smart device, and turn on the control unit. Launch the app, and connection is more or less automatic. No pairing is necessary. The app lets you set temperature thresholds, both upper and lower, for each probe. It also captures minimum and maximum temps for reference. You can customize the name of each device (four can be connected at the same time) and each probe. Data is collected while the app is running, generating a temp vs. time graph, the data for which is exportable. (At this writing, there are some glitches with the exported data format; ThermoWorks is aware of the problem (I griped!) and I expect that they’ll fix it quickly.)
You can also use the controller without the app, reading the temps directly from its LCD display. However, data is not stored while operating in this mode, and you cannot change alarm settings without the app. The controller will shut itself off after a user-configurable time period if there is no Bluetooth connection. You must be within Bluetooth LE range to control the device and get its data.
(If you’ve used an older BlueTherm Duo with the Windows application on a PC, be advised that this new unit will NOT work with the old software – you’ll have to use a smart device.)
The app is intuitive enough. The instruction sheet that comes with the controller is minimal, although probably adequate for the type of user who will purchase something like this. There will be another version of the hardware, to be released later, that will talk to your Wi-Fi router and allow you access to the device from anywhere an Internet connection is available. Consider your needs when selecting the right hardware for your application.
The manufacturer provides contact information with a phone number and a website, as well as an e-mail address for tech support. A calibration sheet comes with the unit, as well. Warranty is two years.
Like all ThermoWorks products, this one is industrial-grade. It’s built like the proverbial brick house. The probes are similarly well-constructed. The price reflects the build quality; you get what you pay for. There are certainly cheaper products that do the same job, but some folks prefer a Mercedes and others buy a Yugo. You pays your money and you takes your choice!
This is an elite unit for the discerning buyer. It works like a charm. The new Bluetooth technology, LE, has a longer range than earlier implementations. If you don’t mind spending the money, you’ll have a solid, dependable instrument to monitor your cooking. Gold Medal, of course!
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