AMNPS driving me nuts. Tube version better?

Discussion in 'Slicers, Grinders, Tools, Equipment' started by rtpassini, Mar 5, 2015.

  1. rtpassini

    rtpassini Newbie

    Alright, im done with this thing. Ive posted up many times regarding issues. Its been about 10 struggling smokes with this thing.

    I have an mes with mailbox mod. Everything works great. Airflow, burn, etc. But now it goes out about an inch after the first bend.

    Its gonna hit the trash soon. I thought I read the tube version solved a lot of frustrations and problems people had.

    Is this true?
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It would be easier to help if people would give us an idea approximately where they live----Altitude, Humidity, and such.

    If you tell where you live in your profile, it will show it on your post at the top right. (Like where mine says "Macungie, PA")

    The Tube smoker is better for high altitudes. If you're using an MES, and you aren't at a high altitude, I'd stick with the AMNPS---Not the Tube!!

    So if humidity or altitude aren't problems, the biggest thing is to get it lit properly.

    I would estimate that about 90% of people who have trouble keeping there AMNPS lit never get it lit properly to begin with.

    Here is a good thread on lighting your AMNPS.

  3. rtpassini

    rtpassini Newbie

    Sorry! I thought I had my location there. I live in Wisconsin. I am positive its not a lighting issue. I've been over all that.

    What I do, is take the pellets, put them in the smoker for about an hour to dry them out  as it heats up. (or the microwave)

    Then I light them with a torch. I let that burn for about 2 minutes (not the 45 seconds they recommend) with the torch on them
    At this point theres about an inch or more of pellets that are flamed up. I blow that out after about 15 minutes (instead of the 10 minutes) and they are all glowing/burnt, etc. (probably about 1 1/2")

    I put that in the mailbox and crack open the cover to draw air (which works great)

    But after that, it goes out. Same point each time. The pellets are filled up even with the top. I dont want to mound them anymore incase it jumps rows.

    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
  4. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Just curious, what flavor of pellets?

    I use the tube smoker as it was recommended for my propane smoker. It's it in all my smokers and I have zero problems keeping it lit no matter what kind of pellets I'm burning. I have the 6". 12", 18" tubes. Yes I do have a mailbox too for cold smoking or adding smoke into the other smokers during hot smoking. Todd has really good customer service and I bet he'll make things right unlike some companies that dish out LEMons. Not that the AMNPS is a lemon it may just not work for you.
  5. rtpassini

    rtpassini Newbie

    Right, im not saying its the companies fault or anything, its just a metal basket for the most part. haha. I dont blame him.

    I had heard theres problems with some woods like maple and cherry.

    So I have been using 70% oak with a layer of maple or cherry on top
  6. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Try a tray of just oak.
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    :yeahthat: .. and you can't dry pellets UNTIL the oven temp is at least 250 deg. F and at least for an hour.... I would give it 2 hours at 275... and hopefully you live below 4,000 altitude....
  8. rtpassini

    rtpassini Newbie

    well, my altitude is 839 ft. So yeah, im good. but yeah I set my smoker for 250 and they sit in there for at least an hour (along with the microwave, which i was told by others and todd that it should only take a few minutes in there)
  9. bregent

    bregent Smoking Fanatic

    Seems like all that's left is an airflow problem. Can you post a picture of your rig and mailbox mod ?
  10. Just in case this helps. Note I'm at high altitude but if I can get it to work up here I have faith you can as well. I've been having the same issues as you stated and I was at my breaking point with it. I had made the mailbox mod with no reliable luck either. I could get it to work for a couple hours but always went out. Decided to give it once last shot with two more ideas:
    Idea #1- I thought it could still be airflow so I was going to use a fish tank pump to add oxygen to the mailbox(already using a extension cord for the smoker so power is no issue)
    Idea #2- one more try at placing it in the smoker. This time I did all the same steps (microwave, torch, blow out, blow to get fire, blow out). I also completely removed the chip tray, and took the drip pan(located in the bottom left) out of the slots and placed it on the floor under the opening. I placed the now smoking AMNPS on the lowest rack and directly over the drip pan opening in hopes to increase airflow. I make a little TP over the pellets so they don't get put out by drippings.
    Results- never had to try option #1 because option #2 has worked like a champ, I've had three successful 10+ hour smokes since trying this. I was worried about the chip tray being completely out and losing heat, but it's been average of 20 degrees my last three smokes and no issues with temp. Its currently in use so I only snapped a quick picture of what I'm talking about but I'll look and see if I have anything better.

    Hope this helps, it's easy to get so dang frustrated but there's always something new to try, and the smoke it produces is hard to beat in a MES!
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
    welshrarebit likes this.
  11. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    Points for idea #2! Never heard that one...
  12. smokinadam

    smokinadam Smoking Fanatic

    I'm in WI as well and used mine a couple times with one time it burnt up in a hour in my propane other time I wanted to add different smoke flavor to my pellet grill from what I had in hopper and that didn't work at all. Might just use mine for cold smoke but not a fan so the idea so much I got my brother a tube style to add smoke flavor to his spirit since he loves ribs but don't have a smoker.

    Mines on the shelf collecting dust also (probably user error)

    You can get the other ones at fleet.
    rtpassini likes this.
  13. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  14. I"ve had mine so long that I don't still have the instructions  But my memory is to let it burn for 10min not 45secs.
  15. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Something you could try would be to set the AMNPS in the mail box the other direction. You probably set in so the lit end is out where you can see it better and or blow on it. It sounds like you might have a draft. If it burns one row it is normally lit. If it burns down the first row and goes out on the bend there might be a draft blowing the heat from the pellets and then the fire goes out. If you try lighting it and then turning it around you might find that it won't burn when it is heading to the door.

    I have an out door wood boiler that I load with 2 rows of wood. If the first row by the door is not going very well the back row will burn completely and go out and the first row won't start. If the front row is burning it will always light the back row which is the direction of the draft.

    Just an idea.
  16. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    i don't have the mailbox but the tube is more reliable here at 4100'. it always works in my mes.

    the maze sometimes works but sometimes dies after one leg has burned.

    obviously not a lighting problem since it works for 3 hours or so,

    gonna try bomb's idea since i like longer smokes than the tube supplies.
  17. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Glad you got it going!!

    Your #2 "Idea" is just about what we've been recommending to do with a Gen #2 MES since they came out, a couple years ago.

    It went like this:

    Remove the little water pan from the slanted drip plate.

    Put a properly lit AMNPS over the hole left by removal of the water pan.

    Put a foil pan under the hole left by removing the water pan.

    Put something above the AMNPS to protect it from drippings, but not to close to the AMNPS.

  18. Well darn, I wish I would have seen that before six months of pulling my hair out. I searched and searched on here and all I found was mailbox mods, not that it's a bad thing, I really like the idea of it and hopefully the application of it for cold smoking during the warmer months.
  19. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yeah----There's so many posts on here, it's not easy to run into the right one.

    However I've told how to do that dozens of times, so I did a quick search, and came up with a couple short ones from nearly 2 years ago.

    Check my post #24 on the following link:

    Here's another one:

    See Post # 214:

    The important thing is you got it now!!

    Smoke on & enjoy!!

    Last edited: Mar 8, 2015
  20. I guess I'm stumped, why would you not get the tube?  I've been using it for about 8 months and have not had one single problem with it lighting or burning completely and I don't go through nearly the ritual Bear described in his post early on.  I do not microwave or preheat the pellets and only have the torch on them for 2 - 3 minutes then let it burn for about 1 minute blow it out and stuff it into the smoker and watch the smoke roll out.

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