AMNPS Problem in MES 30

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by tomzo, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. tomzo

    tomzo Fire Starter

    I am in my inaugural use of me new AMNPS pellet tray with my MES30 and I am having a problem.   I am able to get the AMNPS started fine using my torch and by following the great instructions found in this forum.   I placed the  tray on the bottom left on the two small bars just to the left of the chip tray.   The AMNPS fits here perfectly and it seems as if it was designed to go here.  I put the lit side next to the wall with the un-lit side near the chip tray.

    My issues is that the third, non-lit row starts smoking excessively from the right side after about 45 minutes in the smoker.   I am presuming that the heating elements are catching it on fire because the charred pellets are uniformly charred along the whole third row.   After the first time I thought I must have installed it incorrectly so I tried again, this time making sure I was right between the chip tray and the wall on top of the two small bars.   The exact same thing happened again.   Both times I had a foil tent above it to prevent drippings.  There was no fire, just charred pellets smoking like crazy - not TBS!

    I have refilled and relit it for a third time and this time I put it on the bottom rack with a foil pan above it to catch any drippings.   I am monitoring it now, but the whole reason I bought this device is so that I would not be here at 1:30 AM managing the system.   If I wanted to stay up all night I could have just fed chips using the manual system...

    I have scoured the forums and don't see a lot of pictures of where people actually put the tray.   There are a lot of descriptions but I am pretty confident that my interpretation of these descriptions has led me astray as I am sure my results are not what is intended.

    Does anyone have any advice?   Todd?   I think what would be really awesome if there was a thread that simply had pictures of how to place the device in various models of smokers.

    By the way, I am smoking pork shoulder at 225F and my smoke should take 12-16 hours as I have split a 13 lb shoulder in two pieces.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. I have an MES 30 myself & I would recommend the mailbox mod

    That will eliminate the premature burning of pellets you are experiencing now & allow you to sleep without worrying about tending anything. I did my own version of it & couldn't be happier  [​IMG]   It is easy to do & you don't have to alter your smoker - just pull out the chip loader & slide in the elbow  [​IMG]
  3. mike johnson

    mike johnson Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I would just use a small piece of aluminum foil as a heat shield. I have never noticed that being a problem. I have even placed my amnps right on top of the housing of the element as seen here.

  4. tomzo

    tomzo Fire Starter

    Wow - that is interesting.   I wonder why mine is getting so much hotter?   I was running the temp at 225 but that is my typical temperature.   
  5. That's the same problem I had with mine - I tried the foil heat shield & a bunch of other things before I did the mailbox mod & nothing worked very good  [​IMG]   Once I did that though I have never looked back...
  6. tomzo

    tomzo Fire Starter

    Thanks guys - looks like I have a little project coming up.   

  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would just drop a small sheet of aluminum or tin between the AMNPS and the chip burner (on the bars).

    That never happened to me when I had my MES 30, and at that time I was using an AMNS with sawdust, which was much easier to have that problem with.

    And Yes----The 5 X 8 AMNPS was designed specifically to fit on the bars to the left of the chip burner of the MES 30.

  8. tomzo

    tomzo Fire Starter

    Thanks Bear - do you think that the heat transfer is radiant and that an aluminum sheet will fix it?   I thought it might have been conductive although the appearance of the charring across the entire row tell me that you may be right.

    Perhaps rather than doing a full mailbox mod I should do an internal mod to the MES that would put a radiant heat shield followed by a small air gap and a second radiant heat shield between the heating elements and the AMNPS.   Has anyone done this?


  9. That may well work. I didn't try that with mine. I just went right to the mailbox mod. I really like it though & it has some side benefits for me - no worries about keeping stuff from dripping on my pellets, easy access to add more pellets on long smokes without opening the smoker & no heat added when smoking cheese in borderline temps.

    If you do the internal mod let us all know how it works out  [​IMG]
  10. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That internal mod would be a good thing to try. The Mailbox thingy has some advantages, like smoking B mentioned. I just like the simplicity, if it works without problems, like my MES 30 did, and my MES 40 does now.

  11. tomzo

    tomzo Fire Starter

    After sleeping on it I think that the external mod will be the way to go.   I think that there are fewer variables to control in the external mod than inside (drippings, humidity, combustion air control, etc).   


  12. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Lots of guys use the External Mailbox Mod

    Seems simple and cost effective

    A simple heat shield seems to work well, in combination with adjusting/limiting the intake air

  13. I recently purchased a MES30 and have found the smoker to work quite well. My question is what is the purpose of these modifications?   Is it so you dont have to load the chips every couple of hours? Or are you just trying to get more smoke?
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Most MES chip burners don't work worth a hoot. Put chips in---Too much smoke----Then just right for awhile----Then nothing.

    And that cycle isn't every couple hours---It's more like ever 20 minutes to a half an hour.

    The AMNPS on the other hand, once lit properly will give you up to 11 hours of perfect, constant, consistent smoke, without even touching it.

    Once people have one, they never look back.

  15. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Depends on what you're after.....

    I couldn't sit and watch my smoker all day, cuz I had to go to work.  That's how this whole thing got started almost 4 years ago.

    Who wants to throw chips in every 30-40 minutes for an 8 hour smoke?  What if your pork butts take 12 hours, who's gonna babysit the chip pan?

    The AMNPS puts out a steady stream of smoke for 8 hours +/- @ 225°.

    Let's say you want to smoke sausage at 180°, the element does not turn on enough to burn the chips in the chip pan

    What if you want to "Cold Smoke" Cheese?

    Can't do it in the MES with the burner on

    So, lots of uses for the little gadget!

  16. 10/4...

    I bought mine to smoke sausages .(.something I really couldnt do right in an off set wood fired pit.).. I am only putting 3 or 4 chips in at a time and running it at 165, keeping the vent completely closed, I can see smoke coming from the vent for about 30 to 40 minutes, but the chamber is still filled with I add 3 or four chips right at the hour mark and I'm very happy with the results.   I just assumed that If I loaded the chip holder completely, that the smoke would last for quite a while longer...but I guess Im wrong about that. Or maybe becouse Im not loading enough chips to start a burning fire, the chips dont burn away as fast and produce smoke longer....or its  the lower temp ......who knows....but I will say, I never thought I would buy an electric smoker, but for making sausages, you cant beat it, and The thing really is nice for the price and well designed!    Once again, thanks to this site and every one here, I was well informed before making a purchase and did not waste my money on something that did not work.
  17. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yup, a few chips performs much better than a large quantity of chips at the same time.

    Some people can make it work

    Others will dump a couple handfulls of chips in and walk away.  All you get is a lot of bad smoke at once, or you make charcoal in the pan


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