1st Gen MES - Wonky Controller

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by arcfiend602, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. Hey everyone,

    During the last two cooks in my MES model 20071011, the controller has begun acting strangely. I bought this smoker 6 months ago from home depot. Worked fine until 2 weeks ago on a 5 hour rib cook.

    I was holding the remote and bumped the temp up from 225 to 235 about halfway through the cook. Looked outside shortly after and saw that the unit was off. Thought maybe I had bumped the on/off switch accidentally, so I hit the on/off switch on the remote (which turns the remote off if the smoker is off) and then went outside to turn the unit back on via the panel. Unit powered up but when I went to set the temperature I heard a rapid series of beeps. This didn't seem normal so I unplugged the unit to reset the electronics and tried it again after plugging it back in. Seemed to work normally after that for a few minutes but it turned completely off when I hit the meat temp button on the remote. Ended up finishing the ribs in the oven.

    Fast forward to last night when I was doing a 10 lb pork shoulder. Had been smoking for 9 hours at 235 and was about to open the door to add water to the pan when the unit shut off by itself. Turned off the remote, unplugged the unit and plugged it back in, got the same rapid succession of beeps when I attempted to set the temperature. Unplugged again and was able to get it working, but I ended up putting the shoulder in the oven overnight to finish it since I didn't want my smoker shutting off or doing something else weird or dangerous while I was sleeping.

    Clearly this is some kind of controller issue, which may or may not be related to cold weather. I have kept my smoker outside since buying it but have it covered when not in use. Also I set up a little tent over it if it's raining or snowing when in use.

    I guess I could get a new controller from Masterbuilt but I'm leaning more towards an upgrade that will be more reliable, like the Auber PID. I figure also that I can remove the upgraded controller and keep it indoors when not in use to prevent any possible moisture problems.

    Anyone have any feedback on the Auber controller or other similar units as far as long term reliability or other good/bad feedback?

  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't know about the Beeping, but I should mention a couple things, other than you might need a new controller (Give Masterbuilt a call).

    If you want to use the Remote, you have to start the unit with the remote & keep using the remote. If you turn the unit on at the panel, and then you turn your remote on, that will turn the smoker off.

    I always set my timer to 20 hours, so I don't have to worry about it shutting off before I want it to.

  3. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    In addition to what Bear advised, I also suggest you not fill the water pan with water. The pan is too big for the interior space of the MES 30 and just serves to steam the food as opposed to keeping it moist. The MES 30 is so well-insulated that meat turning out dry isn't an issue unless you cook it way too long. I foil over the water pan and use it as an another drip catcher in addition to its other use of helping to disburse heat throughout the smoker. Other guys like to fill the water pan with playground sand and then foil that over to act as a heat sink. I tried that and found it didn't really do anything inside my smoker. That's why I leave the water pan empty.

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