MES DIED!!! need advice

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by jeeplj, May 31, 2010.

  1. jeeplj

    jeeplj Fire Starter

    My MES died in the middle of smoking 15 pounds of pork for the family memorial weekend. So now I have to decide if its worth trying to fix the smoker or just buy a new smoker. So far all I know is the heating element is not heating. I am guessing it's possibly the theromastat. I am thinking I may just upgrade to a better smoker.

    So here is where I need advice:

    Is this a common or easy fix on my MES?

    I like the electric smokers and the digital theromastat, so what is a good unit to go with?

    Am I making a mistake going with an electric smoker? I am not a pro and want the ease of the electric models.

    Thanks in advance
  2. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I would say draw your gun and shot it and then go buy a gasser myself. Now I have know Idea whats wrong with your smoke it could be a loose wire I just like gas smokers. I have a couple and they work great. Now a lang is a good smoker too. One of the best out there.
  3. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It is my understanding that it is an easy wiring fix, if it's the usual problem. I don't have time right now, but you can do a search on this forum for "MES wiring fix".

    How old is it & which model is it?

  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  5. I think that there is a sticky in the Electric Smoker forum describing the fix with photos.  Mine died a couple weeks ago and it was exactly the same as the others.  You had one of the wires going to your heating element rust out.  

    Look up the sticky post to see what I am talking about then drill out the rivets to remove the back of your smoker to confirm the problem.  You will spend very little to buy parts and it will take you a couple of hours, but it is pretty simple to fix.

    Good luck! 
  6. Hmmm.....

    Still getting used to this new format.

    Weren't there some "sticky's" here before???
  7. jeeplj

    jeeplj Fire Starter

    So has Masterbuilt fixed the issue or is this still happening? I will try to repair mine, but if it does not work I don't want a new MES with the same issue.
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'm not sure if they have fixed the issue. Someone else might be able to tell you. I know on the newer models there is an access box to the wiring, so you only have to remove that to get to the wiring, instead of drilling out all of the rivets on the back, and then replacing them with self-tapping screws. Hopefully someone can tell you more.

  9. jeeplj

    jeeplj Fire Starter

    I called masterbuilt and the would not confirm there was a problem with the wiring or the terminals. But they did say there was a redesign last year. So I am thinking I will just run over to Cabela's and spend $150 on a new MES. Then I will do some custom work in the old unit, I think I will make a cold smoker out of it.
  10. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Did they tell you about the problem with their newer designed MES30?

    The one with the new designed half-chip drawer can be a problem with the chips not getting hot enough to smoke. If you're gonna get another one, I'd get the MES40. It's well worth the extra bucks. You could get lucky with a new MES30, but I wouldn't chance it. Then if you have trouble with it, the same people who wouldn't admit to the electrical problem will say the reason it doesn't smoke the chips is because you didn't wet them, and the reason it doesn't smoke the chips at 250˚ is because you're using a #10 extension cord.

    Been There---Done that!

  11. jeeplj

    jeeplj Fire Starter

    I followed up on my plan. I purchased a new MES (confirmed it was the new design) then disassembled my old one. My terminals were burned up but it looks like an easy fix. I located a local store that carries high temp wiring and terminals (12 ga wire) So I have yet to pull the new smoker out of the box. Saturday I plan to buy the wire and reassemble the unit and see if it works. If it does I will return my new MES.
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's great,

    If you decide to keep the new one (with the smaller chip pan/drawer), test it to make sure it smokes good, before you get it too dirty, so you can take it back if it has the same problem my son's new model MES 30 had. Masterbuilt was no help, but Cabela's took it back without a hassle.

    I got my fingers crossed for you,

  13. scubadoo97

    scubadoo97 Smoking Fanatic

    It should fire up perfectly after you rewire it.  Such an easy fix.  Too bad the people at MB allow this poor design to be sold for so long.  They had to have known the failure rate was higher than it should have been.  
  14. jeeplj

    jeeplj Fire Starter

    I also forgot to mention I just recieved my Smoke Daddy in the mail this week. So if the old MES does not work and I end up keeping the new one, I have the non smoke issue covered.
  15. shtrdave

    shtrdave Smoking Fanatic

    I have one of the small cookshack units and love it, I was thinking about one of the MB smokers but everywhere I look people seem to have problems with them, guess that is why they are only 150.00
  16. jeeplj

    jeeplj Fire Starter

    So I did the re-wire with 12 ga Hi-Temp wire. My MES is back in business and the new one goes back to the store this week! I also drilled the hole for my smoke daddy and played with it a little bit. Looks like I'm back smoking agian!! Thanks for all the links and info on the MES fix.
  17. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm not sure it's fair to say or imply there is a high failure rate, or higher than it should be failure for the new MES models.  What facts do you have to support the statement? Just because a few members post when there is a failure, doesn't tell you how many units remain working just fine.  Many SMF / MES owners with units 2 years or older had to do the wiring fix too, but in spite of those reported failures,  sales increased with many SMF members purchasing the MES especially the newer models, but distribution also increased from 3 major outlets to many new outlets to handle the demand for MES.

    Personally my MES 40" SS, is one of the 2 year old models, and continues to work just fine, after about 100 smokes, no wiring issues yet.  However when I purchased the MES it was directly because of recommendations on SMF, recommendations have continued increasingly strong and positive to this day.  I knew of the potential for wiring failure too, and I planned then to do the appropriate fix when it eventually happens. In no way did that fore knowledge diminish the fact that 2 years ago the Sam's 40" all Stainless MES not only was  an excellent smoker, but a great investment too.  The SS cabinet if cared for, would last many many years, heating elements, wiring, control modules and sensors will all eventually fail, but those components are easily replaced from 3rd party suppliers, and are readily available via the internet.

    Personally I am very happy with the MES 40 performance, and reliability.
  18. scubadoo97

    scubadoo97 Smoking Fanatic

    I didn't say the failure rate was high but that it was higher than it should be for something that can be fixed so easily.  No question the MES is one of the best bangs for the buck but from the # of people on this one board that have had issues and failure rates I can easily say that the MES potential to fail is higher many other electric smokers.  Granted most of the better ones are much more expensive.  I know in their upgrade MB put an access panel to the element contacts.   Obviously they want you to have better access should failure occur.   Why not just change the contacts so the problem doesn't happen.  How much more would it cost?
  19. pantherfan83

    pantherfan83 Smoking Fanatic

    I believe they also added the access panel, because they sell a customer replaceable heating element for this model where they did not sell a replacement element for the previous models.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
  20. I knew my time would come to do this repair, turned out to be today. Thankfully the Smoking Gods waited till I was up to temp and got close to the amount of thin blue smoke I needed.  I wanted more, but I'm glad it didn't ruin my spiral sliced ham & 5lbs of smoked baked beans.

    Pack of 10 female connectors about $3.00 and change, only used 2.  Cut off the plastic leaving only the aluminum connector. Drilling out the rivets took only a minute, took longer to get the back cover of the electrical box off. I took the suggestion and drilled and extra hole in the heat shield to access the right screw. That step drill always comes in handy.  I did crimp and solder the new connectors on, then crimp to the heating element.  Had my son hold the box to help guide the screws back in. Since I'm in the don't wash the smoker club, I got plenty of smoky stuff all over me. After a quick test, temps came up nice, didn't run a full load to test, yet.  I'm sure I'll be good for a long time.  Was even easier than I had expected. 

    Still loving my MES.

    Have a great weekend,


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