[Review] Inkbird ITC-1000 Digital Temperature Controller

This is a review for an Inkbird ITC-1000 digital temperature controller/thermostatic switch I bought from Amazon for $15.99 in December of 2019. Its primary job in this application is to control a portable oven for making yogurt and better steaks.

Let’s get the complaint out of the way: I really don’t understand how, according to reviews at Amazon, this thing has been shipping with two incorrect wiring diagrams for four years. I left one star off for that on my review there. The actual engineers on the controller must know how to make a diagram, so who is in charge of documentation?

That said, it’s pretty easy to use if you know what the terminals do and how the circuits are intended to operate. 1&2 are power for the controller itself, 3&4 are for your temperature probe, order doesn’t matter, 5&6 are for heating, 7&8 are for cooling. 1, 5, and 7 are wired to line hot. 2 gets tied to line neutral. 6&8 are switched-hot to the heating/cooling device loads. Here, white/black/red is heating and white/black/blue is cooling.

I originally hard-wired this to the portable oven but reconsidered and wired it up to an outlet (and put a new plug on the oven…). By breaking the tab between hot screws you can use one duplex outlet for both heating and cooling loads (the neutral can remain unbroken). These wires here aren’t pushed in, just placed loosely in the holes for illustration purposes – make sure your wires are stripped far enough for the back-stab spring clamp to grab on tightly.

If you’re hard-wiring, the heater/cooler neutrals get tied to line neutral. If you’re using a two-prong plug to line power then ground ought to be tied to neutral too. Remember, on a polarized plug the big one is neutral and on a two-wire cable the side with the extra plastic ridge is neutral.

The connections were soldered and covered with heat-shrink tubing.

Be careful – the frame of the controller melts easily with a decent heat gun.

Label everything and don’t exceed its maximum rating.

Finally, some imprecise hot glue was added around all the gaps for splash protection. This is just a box I had on hand, nothing ideal, so strain-relief still needs to be added.

I wondered how the control hysteresis worked so I experimented. With the temperature set to 115 and the hysteresis set to 1, the cooling side shut off and the heating side turned on at 114. The default is 3 which is probably better for compressors but fans and resistive heaters should be fine at 1.

Overall, I’m glad I got this and the price is amazing. I last priced something like this ten years ago at about 15x this price.