40"Masterbuilt-not smoking like it used too

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by tr22johnson, Jul 14, 2015.

  1. tr22johnson

    tr22johnson Newbie

    About 3 months ago I purchased the 40” digital SS smoker with remote. I originally loved the smoker for its low maintaince while cooking compared to a stick burner. At first the unit would put out a ton of smoke-so much smoke that you couldn’t see in the window and smoke leaking out the door seams-I loved it. But-the last 5-6 times I have used the unit, I have been getting hardly any smoke. I have cleaned out the tray after each use, which used to be ashes when done at first, but now is charred chips. The heating element appears to be working as the meat is cooking in the same time frame as on my stick burner at 225°. Has anyone else inquired with the same problem or do you have a solution to be able to produce more smoke, like when I first bought the unit?

    Have never soaked chips

    Have tried both pre-loading prior to turning the unit on as well as loading through the chute.

    Thank you in advance for any advice
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds like your chip tray has bent upward a little, causing the chip drawer to be a little too far from the heating element, or the heating element settled downward some, or both.

    I'm pretty sure since you got plenty of smoke before (almost too much), and now your chips are turning black instead of turning into gray dust, the heating element is too far from the bottom of the chip drawer.

    Many of us use the AMNPS for perfect, continuous, constant smoke for up to 11 hours without touching it.

    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
  3. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Do you know the model number of your smoker?
  4. tr22johnson

    tr22johnson Newbie

    Model #20070311

    I will look at the chip tray. What is the approximate spacing that it should be between tray and heating element?
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My MES 30 is approx. 1/32" from the element...
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's the same model as my smoker---Great Smoker!!!

    I would first see how far the tray bottom is from the element. Then if it's more than1/8" try to bent the tray down toward the element a little at a time until it gets close, but not touching. If the chips flame up, it's too close or touching.

    Don't try to bend the heating element---They are fragile----Only bend the other things above the element.

  7. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    That's the Gen 1 with rails.  It's riveted and screwed.  I don't know how it's adjustable since it has a fixed chip housing.  The Gen 2 and 2.5 are open where you can see the heating element and the chip tray is bendable I believe.  On my Gen 1 the element may be just above the rails or touching and the element is touching the bottom of the housing.

  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Mine is that same 311 as tr22----Gen #1.

    We aren't talking about having to move it much---Even 1/16" is a big deal. That's why I told him to see how far apart it is now. Many of us have made small moves on ours.

    When I used to use my Chip burner, all I had to do was put a small shim where needed.

    When I first got my 311, there was an extra piece of metal between the element & the Drawer, so the chips wouldn't smoke under 230°. They sent me a FREE "Retrofix". With the retro fix they were touching, and causing chips to flame up. I had to separate the chip drawer bottom from the element slightly. That fixed it, but I still went 100% Amazing Smokers.

    Last edited: Jul 17, 2015
  9. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    I got the new 40" Gen 1 from the cut cord you PM'ed me about a month ago.  I have assembled it but have to season it.  I did notice before I put in the chip tray that the element was touching the bottom of the housing with the chip tray out and maybe just off the rails below it.  I did try to see if I could lift the housing up but it's impossible.  As long as the element touching it doesn't harm the element. I haven't used anything in the chip tray just the AMNTS.  What do you think?  I did solder and shrink tube the electrical supply cord back on and it works fine but have not inspected the elemet to housing spacing on this one.

  10. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've got an older 30" version of your smoker but the basic inside design is the same. Kurt's right that the wood chip holder and the heating element housing are both fixed on the double rails that run across the lower part of the smoker interior. Therefore there should be no need to check or adjust the spacing between the two. Are you using a therm probe to verify the smoker temp is actually at 225°? Are there any mods you've done or any other changes you didn't tell us about? I've had my smoker for over 3 years and only use wood pellets in the AMNPS in it. About a year ago I used wood chips in addition to the wood pellets because at that time I didn't have apple wood pellets for a smoke I was doing. The wood chips burned fine. If you're not getting them to ignite and smoke but your meat is being cooked you need to do more research.

    Have you tried running your smoker without any meat inside it and removing the wood chip holder and verifying that the heating element is lit and working properly? Have you changed the wood chip type or the brand? Did you ever remove the wood chip loader 5-6 smokes ago and didn't replace it properly so that the wood chips are too far from the heating element?

    In any case, don't soak the wood chips first. MB doesn't advise it anyway. I tried soaking them for one smoke and it made absolutely no difference in the smoke produced. All that happened was that wet wood chips stuck to the inside of the wood chip loader.

    I don't own the model you've got but from what I've read it's a great one just like Bearcarver said.
  11. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Wouldn't it come standard with the "retrofix" on the models currently for sale, Bear? Unless MB still finds it more cost efficient to send out the retrofix parts on demand instead of retooling the smoker production lines.
  12. tr22johnson

    tr22johnson Newbie

    Thank you for the responses-I am out of town until Sunday but am very anxious to check all this out. I for one did not know about using AMNP's-I thought chips only....
    The chips I have been buying are the small bagged chips from Academy.
    I will have to search and look into trying the AMNP's as well
  13. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'll repeat what I said above----The Retro-fix was to replace the Chip Burner Assembly that had the extra piece of metal between the bottom of the chip drawer & the Heating element. Some guys didn't call for it, and just took a tin snips & cut the extra piece of metal out. I got the Retro-fix. The Retro-fix I got had the drawer bottom against the heating element & was flaming chips, until I shimmed the drawer bottom away from the heating element. This is why nobody can tell me you can't fix it if it's at the wrong spacing----I DID IT TO my 311 to stop the flaming of chips !!!

    There is no retro-fix for the spacing between the Heating element & the bottom of the Chip drawer. It could be only very slightly off, but enough to make it not work right.

  15. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Read my Post #14.

    Also----If all you are going to do is use your AMNTS or AMNPS, it shouldn't matter what the spacing between the Element & the chip drawer is, or if it's against.

  16. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Like I've been saying, contrary to what others say, you can make slight adjustments in the spacing between the bottom of the chip drawer & the heating element, to make your MES chip burner work better.

    However, no matter how good you can get it to work, it will never compare to the way the AMNPS can give you up to 11 hours of perfect, constant, continuous smoke without having to bother with it, after getting it smoking properly.

  17. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Bear, your reply in print came off kind of testy, like you felt I was contradicting you. I was just giving my own opinion. When I look at my smoker I don't see a way to change the distance between the heating element and the wood chip holder. I didn't see any metal to bend. But why would you even feel the need to write I'm not joking about that, and I don't BS. You're way too overly sensitive here. you can't take this stuff personally. That's how arguments and ugliness start in forums. Besides, I've made it clear I generally respect the info you give in your posts so why would you think I'd be out to diss you? Please lighten up. Again, it was just my opinion based on my smoker. You've got the same one TR22 has so most likely he'll lend more credence to your opinion.
  18. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've no personal experience with this. My MES 30 Gen 1 worked well right out of the box. If there was an extra piece of metal that was part of the design of the 311 smoker. I looked at a video of that smoker and I didn't see it. You've got that model so your advice has factual credibility. I can only go by what I see inside my smoker.
  19. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Not sure of my model, but here's a picture or 2......

    .. ..
  20. brickguy221

    brickguy221 Smoking Fanatic

    I agree with Bear that with the AMPS, you can't beat getting up to 11 hrs of perfect, constant continuous smoke without having to bother with it, after getting it smoking properly. That is the benefit of the AMNPS that is #1 and second to none.

    However, my problem with it to date is that it is weak on smoke taste to my liking on shorter smokes like 1-2-3 hr smokes. I haven't done any 8-10 hr smokes, so I can't comment there as it may give plenty of smoke taste on long smokes, I don't know.

    I am new to this AMNPS smoking thing and still learning. I have used it on Pecan, Pitmasters Choice and Jack Daniels pellets so far, but haven't used it on what is supposed to be stronger pellets like Mesquite and Hickory, so they might satisify my taste for smoke better, especially on shorter smokes.

    I do however love the "not having to bother with it once properly lit" part and not having to bother with wood chips every 20 minutes or so. It may take me a bit, but I WILL figure out somehow, how to get the smoke taste I desire from the AMNPS on shorter smokes as I do love the benefit it gives over wood chips.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015

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