Major MES fail

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by tombigbee, Sep 7, 2015.

  1. Model 20070311, about 2 years old. Has been used 15-20 times. I'm pretty sure its a Gen 1.

    Started a smoke at about 6:00 PM yesterday, and at 11:00 it was still heating normally at 220 degrees. When I got up this morning at about 6:30 I immediately noticed the temp was down to 82, with both green and red lights on controller lit. I tried cycling on/off a few times and disconnected/reconnected power with no change. The element was simply not heating.

    I removed the cover on the back to access the wiring to the element, and the pictures above tell the story. Its been very hot in that wiring box. The small amount of wire that I can see appears OK, but the slide-on connectors are completely burned away, one of the rubber wire grommets melted, and the tabs on the two element ends are badly rusted.

    Of course I will be on the phone with MB in the morning, and I am assuming they will send a new element, but in the mean time:

    I saw some older references to the possibility of under-sized wiring having been used in some MB units. Could that have caused this?

    I'm curious as to why the connectors were totally burned, one of the wire grommets was heat damaged, and yet the wire I can see does not APPEAR to be burned.

    Could the element shorting have caused it? Visual inspection of it does not reveal any obvious defects.

    To change the element, the chip loading assembly must be removed. I use an AMNPS, so can I just leave the chip loader out permanently?

    Thanks for any and all advice or help.
  2. sb59

    sb59 Smoking Fanatic

    Can't say why it failed but from the amount of threads with Masterbuilts tripping GFI circuits from moisture getting in until running a while to dry them out, & the number of posts with similar burned units, I could take a guess that many models are not properly sealed from moisture & possibly shorting. The bigger question is why your home circuit breaker didn't trip? You may want to get that checked. Also why even though I use a GFI & a dedicated circuit I don't sleep or leave my smoker running unattended.

    At least from the reviews Masterbuilt stands behind their products!

    Maybe because if they stand in front they'll get their eyebrows burned off!
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2015
  3. Hi, I would say you have a classic example of a deteriorated connector. There have been many threads on this problem. The wiring will not be damaged but the connector is burned up. The answer and fix is that the factory connectors were not high heat type connectors. They break down when subjected to the heat of a normal element. The builder needed to use a higher grade of connector. The fix is a easy one since you have your access plate removed. The hard part is finding the appliances grade (high heat) connectors. Your big box stores will not have them. A appliance repair shop or Ace Hardware will. You need to get them from someone who sells appliance  repair parts. Some people replace the wire with a larger size but that is not necessary just get the right connector. If you find them for much less than .50 cents each they most likely not rated as a high heat connector.

    The most likely reason the breaker did not trip was that the burned up connector's wire did not ground itself out on the cabinet of the smoker.

    Look around and you will find several threads on the repairs. If you need personal help P/M me.     Jted
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2015
  4. Sounds like you have nailed it. That would explain the intact wiring.

    Any idea why the 2 tabs that the connectors slide on would be rusty? That have anything to do with it? Is my element likely good?

    The GFI outlet I'm using definitely works....I've tripped it before by using a hair dryer to light the AMNPS while the MES was heating. Like you, I had the thought that maybe one wire just dropped off without touching anything.

    And, would the lousy connectors be the reason for heat in the wiring box? I think there were plastic protectors over them, which were basically turned into ash laying in the bottom of the box. And, that wire grommet was partially melted.

    Thanks a million for your help.
  5. I don't know why the male tabs are rusty but some wet and dry (use it dry) sand paper about 220 grit or some steel wool will clean them up real easily. The burned insulators are most likely nylon. That is a sure sign of a low temp connector. The high heat normally are bare steel. During a conversation several months ago the composition of the connectors were in question and I think the answer was a nickle steel covering of brass. I think that the normal temptress of the element destroyed the cheep Chinese connectors. Don't get me wrong any low heat connector would be damaged.

    One word to the wise, when you strip the old wire be careful don't over strip or waste any wire. You don't have much extra.  Jted
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2015
  6. Thanks again for the help. Off to find high temp connectors in the morning.
  7. walta

    walta Smoke Blower

    I can’t tell from the photo was the low voltage cable with 4 small wires damaged?

    To my eye the defect was a poor connection from a heater or power cord wire where it attaches to the circuit board.

    To me it seems clear the number of failures is too high. Masterbuilt needs to redesign this connector.

    I for one have filed a complaint with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  I did so with mixed emotions I fear the redesigned product will come with a higher price tag. If Masterbuilt were going to change on its own it would have done so by now.

    If you have had a similar failure consider filing a complaint.

  8. Not sure to what you are referring. The pictures show the connection at the heating element. There is no low voltage wire involved, and there is no circuit board remotely close to this area.
  9. walta

    walta Smoke Blower

    Sorry for the confusion you smoker is made differently than mine. The only small hatch on mine covers the power board.

  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The element is still good..... it was still working right up to the point the connection failed.... Clean the element ends until they shine... new connectors on the wire ends... then I would put some no-corrode electrical paste on the connectors... element and wires.... assemble... then crimp the connector, on the wire, to the end on the element... I did that task with side cutting pliers to insure a positive connection.... I fixed my MES using that method in April 2011 and it's still working perfect.... KNOCK-ON-WOOD.....
    tumbleweed1 likes this.
  11. Thanks, Dave. Called MB this morning and sent them the same pics as above. They're sending new element, connectors, and wire. I will be interested to see if the connectors are in line with what jted posted above. If not, I will go find them myself. Don't really think I need any wire, and the element will be a spare.

    Very nice to have a place like this where one can always get help from nice folks.

  12. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    With everything apart you might as well hook up the Ohm meter to the blades/spades whatever on the element to see what the ohm reading is.  I have the same model number Gen 1 40" SS w/ window and RF controller.  A few electrical engineers/electricians gave the 120vX120v=14400/1200w=12ohms.  Any deviation from that can be explained by the technical guys.  MB sent me a new 20070311 but I will use this one till it fails so I have an identical Frankenstein. 

  13. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The 800 watt element in my MES 30 had 21 OHMS resistance... FWIW.....
  14. garyinmd

    garyinmd Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    My MES was tripping a GFI outlet since new but I never got around to calling Masterbuilt because I had other outlets to use.  Finally took all the covers off the back and bottom off to see if I could find anything that did not look right, which I did not.  While I had it apart I could tell the terminals you are referring too were starting to melt the protective coating.  I sent a email to Masterbuilt about the problem and they said the element needed to be replaced even though it still heated fine.  Did not really believe them but the cost of a new element with shipping was a little over twenty dollars so I ordered one.  I replaced the element and I will be damned if so far it has not tripped the GFI, however I have only ran it for around 8-10 minutes to verify.  

    This is a picture of what I got with the replacement kit.  I found some hi-temp connectors online not knowing the kit came with wires and I could have spliced them.  Some of the items in the picture will not be needed according to Masterbuilt, I did not need what looks like the shrink tubing.

    These are the spade terminals I got from Amazon, they are not insulated but are rated hi-temp and I used the new rubber protective cover that came in the kit.

    Supco T1104 Quick Disconnect, Non Insulated, 16-14 Gauge, 1/4" Flag (Pack of 20)

    Will not have time to use the MES till maybe sometime next week so will see if the GFI tripped after a longer run.

  15. Hi, The recommendation Dr. K gave you is a good one. Before I went to the trouble of removing the old element I would check the resistance of the old element.

    The doctors formula works. The OHMS law formula I learned was R=V/ I or Resistance =Voltage divided by Amperage.Your  20070311 is a 1200 watt element. Your element pulls 10 amps wide open

    If you look at a PIE chart of OHMS law you will see many formulas for each task of determining Resistance  and Amperage.  There are a lot of roads that take you to the same place. Use the one that is the easiest to work with and understand.  Jted
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015
  16. sb59

    sb59 Smoking Fanatic

    You guys are makin my head hurt! Just kidding! This is why I wish Costco carried MasterBuilt. No matter how long you got it, no questions, no repairs, they just say" glad we didn't burn down the house",would you like a replacement or refund?
  17. Thanks to all for your replies.

    Even with the knowledge that likely all I needed was high temp connectors, I called MB anyway and sent them the pics. They, of course, said my problem was a bad element, and volunteered to replace it, along with connectors and wire.

     I am almost positive the connectors are aluminum, and have clear plastic boots over them. So, I still need high-temp connectors, right?  
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2015
  18. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Right... if they are aluminum, dissimilar metals like aluminum and brass corrode... You can always solder the wires on the element connectors.... clean the connectors well with wire brush and sandpaper... tin the connectors and wire with solder.... then solder them together.... slide shrink tubing on the wire FIRST.... then shrink the tube over the connector/wire joint... it will never corrode if you follow that procedure....
  19. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    How did this new element turn out.  I thought the 20070311 gen 1 didn't have replaceable parts.  Unless the element is the only thing replaceable.

  20. Mine is definitely a 20070311, and the element is replaceable. A pain in the rear, but replaceable.
    My issue (see above) was the connectors which slide over the element tabs having crumbled, so I really had not planned to replace the element. When Masterbuilt included a new one with the other wiring parts, I decided to go ahead and replace everything.

    It's a darn good thing I did that, because while removing the old element, BOTH tabs broke off. They were as rotten as the connectors and would not have lasted much longer. All well now, heats like a champ.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2016

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