Any Electricians out there? MES Question

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by ptjd, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. ptjd

    ptjd Smoke Blower

    OK, so I go out to use my MES today, plug it in the usual outlet and turn it on. After I set the temps the electricity goes out, I reset the GFI and try again, same thing trips GFI. Now I have used this outlet exclusively for the MES for about 2 years.
    So I go and plug it into a non-GFI outlet and set the temp and time, the unit stays on but when I went to open it and touched the steel part of the door it shocked me! Looks like I have a short somewhere, unit worked fine 2 weeks ago. Any Idea where to look for the short?
    I would consider myself a novice when it comes to electrical repairs.
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Dude, don't plug that unit in again!!!!!!!!!

    I'm no pro but have alot of experience with sparky stuff. Yes, there's a short, but where? Most likely thing is a damaged power cord: look for sharp bends, cuts, frays, or spots that look flatened out (like it had something heavy parked on the cord).

    So start looking for the obvious easiest to find first, then go deeper. If the cord looks good, then something capable of conducting electricity could have dropped into your unit where wiring, switches and sensors terminate (are connected to each other). You may need a screw driver to remove a cover for access to this stuff, be careful not to break anything...take your time.

    Get back here if you are striking out. Maybe we can figure out where else to look once we know what you've got to start with.

    I'll be here for on SMF awhile, so don't be bashful.

  3. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The GFI is commonly referred to as a Ground Fault Circuit Interupter, or GFCI. It is doing it's job to keep you alive if you didn't get shocked or the unit would not operate when plugged into the GFCI. It is tripping itself because it senses a voltage on the grounding wire, a very bad thing... Some technology is actually pretty great, especially if it is for safety's sake.

  4. davenh

    davenh Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Hi..check the power cord going into the unit, maybe shorting to the outer case.

    You might also have a moisture problem, did any water get in the unit or is the ground wet around the MES?

    Another possibility, the element might be shorted the case.
  5. ptjd

    ptjd Smoke Blower

    Eric, thanks for the reply, you can bet I won't be plugging it in again till it's fixed. The jolt I got was not pleasant!!!
    I'll look at the cord first, now I am not great about cleaning the unit so your Idea about something crossing 2 points has great merit.
  6. ptjd

    ptjd Smoke Blower

    Dave, I store the unit where it does not get wet and was a beautiful day here today no rain for 13 days. My guess is the unit needs a good cleaning, I will check the cord first. Thanks guys.
  7. slickrat

    slickrat Smoke Blower

  8. ptjd

    ptjd Smoke Blower

    Srat, thanks!!
  9. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Might not quite be what happened here, but very good info to have, none the less.

    I see a few others here with some help coming from it so we'll (all help you) get to the bottom of it...(PTJD)

    Edited is in (...).

  10. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Call Masterbuilt in the am. Hell they may even send you a new unit. How long have you had it?
  11. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Any luck yet on that electrical issue? Just checking with you. I know you may be at work or something right now. I go back to work in the am, so I'll be around today yet.


  12. meatballtn

    meatballtn Fire Starter

    I'm an electrician , but I'd check with the maker first . They sometimes want to void warrentees <S> if you open up the controls. UNPLUG everything before working on it!!! Then i would check the cord , if it looks ok then i would check the heating element. Those are the most likely and problem spots.
  13. I think ronp has given you the best advice to start! Like ron said you might get a whole new unit! If it is shorting to ground you could get electrocuted! Don't touch it with both hands at the same time when it is plugged in or you might smoke yourself! I don't think I have to tell you this but I will anyway, Don't stand in water or on damp ground when touching it!!!

    I would start with the manufacturer first and if you can't get any help from them, then think about opening the thing up. There should be schematics somewhere on the inside of one of the panels or rolled up somewhere inside. If you have to work on it those will be very helpful! These units are very simple and you can usually start with the plug and work you way back from there with a multimeter and find the problem within a few minutes. If you have some idea of what you are looking at alot of times you can just see the problem right off the bat. If you are not comfortable with stuff like this then call an appliance company and see if they will look at it, they will probably charge you the price of a new unit just to look at it though. In any case be careful! You won't be able to post if you are toast![​IMG]
  14. Another thing, what you are describing does not sound like a bad power cord since you say that it happens after you set the temps. It sounds like it is happening when the unit tries to send power to the heating element, something in that circuit is shorting to ground. If you have to open check the wires going to the heater, one of them might have the high temp insulation melted and be touching the case or chassis. If you tell them it is shocking you they might be more willing to send you a new one! Tell them that it shocked you so bad that you bit a portion of your tongue off and now you can't eat the bbq you made. And don't forget to have a zapping electrical sound in the background when you are on the phone with them lol.

    [email protected]

    706.327.5622 (local for Columbus, Georgia)
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  15. ptjd

    ptjd Smoke Blower

    Thanks Guys, will call then in the morning, let you know what happened.
    I did buy it from Sams close to 2 years ago.

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