MES wiring upgrade mod

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by texacajun, Feb 27, 2010.

  1. texacajun

    texacajun Meat Mopper

    I know this has been addressed on the forum before. I decided to do a wiring upgrade on my MES 40". I am planing on doing a 1200 Watt heating element upgrade so this was a logical step in the process. This was done to handle the extra wattage and heat produced from the new element.

    A link to the Masterbuilt heating element upgrade

    Here is some links to on-line suppliers for high temp wire in 3 individual 5 foot cut lenght. The 12 AWG wire can be hard to find locally sometime.  

     or by the foot  

    pic of the side by side comparison of the factory 16 gauge high temp wire and the 12 gauge high temp wire.

    Notice the strand count on the different gauges.There is a big difference.

    Maybe using the 12 gauge is Little overkill but the again i only wanted to do this once.

    Here is the specs on the Ma 12 Guage wire 600 Max Volts, Max Temperature 400ºF to 200ºC. 12 gauge UL Style 3074, CSA Type SEW-2.

    pic of the Female flag push on high temp connectors i used.

    High temperature push-on terminals are constructed of steel plated nickel.

    Rated for continuous operating temperature of 482° C (900° F), intermittent rating of 649° C (1200° F).

    The rings for the ground wire are made up of the same high temp steel plated nickel.

    Side by side comparison completed wires with the new connectors crimped on and ready to install.

    Notice I made the new wire 2 inches longer to allow for more play.

    This is the factory 16 gauge wire. Their all black except the Green wire is used for the ground.

    This is the new 12 gauge wire.

    I used the white wire for the ground and the red wire for the connection from the heating element to the lower power control board.


    Pic of the back of the MES with the old wiring installed before I removed it.


    pic of the new wire installed on the back of the MES.

    I had to take the connection box covers off and remove the grommets in them to get the wire threw.

    I was able to do this with the new connectors installed on the 12 gauge wire.


    Close up of the new wire push on end connectors installed on the heating element before the connection box cover where installed.

    I used the white wire for ground wire.


     Close up of the new wire push on end connectors installed before the connection box cover where installed.

    This is the thermostat on the upper Right hand side of the MES (looking from the back of the unit)


    The new white ground wire installed on the lower bottom back side of the unit.

    The other side of this white ground wire goes to the ground in between the heating element leads.

    The green ground wire you see is from the power cord.


    This is the lower power control board.Located under the MES with all the new connections and wire installed.  

    Last edited: Sep 29, 2010
  2. tjohnson

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

    Great Pics!

  3. marty catka

    marty catka Meat Mopper

    [​IMG]Great job and now a great reference for others. Thanks for posting.
  4. scubadoo97

    scubadoo97 Smoking Fanatic

    Really nice job[​IMG]
  5. casualsmoker

    casualsmoker Newbie

    Can someone share where one can find this kind of thermally insulated wire?  I'm having trouble finding it locally as well as online.


  6. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    To get your back panel off, did you have to drill out rivets -- or was it screwed on?

    From the pictures, I assume that your MES40 was not a model with an access panel for the heating element connectors.
  7. CS...try and google "high temperature wire" you should be able to find it there in 25ft. or longer rolls or at your local electrical supply store!
  8. I just did the same thing to mine !!!

    Texacajun , GREAT pics on the wiring !!!

    Wish i had those pics before i rewired mine , on my unit the Ground "or center wire" on the burner is what melted .

    I had to go to Ace Hardware and pic up new wire,  those guys had it all and i got lucky the one guy i talked to has the same type of unit and told and showed me what he used , i did go with the 12 gauge wire "it can handle the heat " And i went with the solder-less connectors since it does get hot but the connectors i "double" crushed to make sure i have a good connection.

    as for the back of the smoker i had to drill out the rivets but that was no problem and then i replaced with a little bit bigger diameter screw but didn't need but a 1/2 inch long and that i think was still too long but it went right back together .

    NOTE : ONE mod i did do was on the back of my smoker unit the burner goes Thu the back and then there is a box that covers those wires i drilled three 1/8 " holes thru the back and thru that box so some of the heat that builds up in there can escape so i don't have to worry about it melting those wires again i did cover the holes with a fine mess screen that i glued on the back so no bugs or any small ants can get in there, After a couple dozen smokes and a bunch of all nighters i can say its still going strong and i am not worried about the wires burning in half again!!
  9. cassman

    cassman Fire Starter

    Great post Texacajun,

    MY 40" MES died on me it's same wiring problem, but after reading post your I called Masterbuilt and order the new 1200w element. The lady at Masterbuilt customer service (Jennifer) was really helpful of course she gave me the disclaimer that it was not compatible with my older MES. One nice thing was the price for new element was only $21 plus $9 shipping. I now have to get the high temp 12 ga wire which is turning out to be more of challenge in my area. Thanks for the great info.
  10. casualsmoker

    casualsmoker Newbie

    Thanks for the heads up wirenutt.

    I have just a few more questions from the incredibly capable folks at this forum.

    I have the high temp wire, I've drilled out all of the rivetts and have the back panel off.

    1)  I've cut the shrink wrap off the two terminal posts to remove the flash plugs.  Do I need to get more so that there is no exposed metal after the new wires are in?

    2)  I have a MES 30 with an 800W element.  There is no ground wire attached to the element.  It's just a screw post sticking outwards.  If I have the back open anyway, should I add one?

    3)  For whatever reason, there's some greasy reddish brown stuff slathered all over the lower connection box cover (the one that has 6 screws holding it on which covers the heating element terminals.  What is it?  Does it need to be there?  Should I worry if I got some on my skin?

    4)  What length type screw has everyone used to replace the drilled out rivets?

    5)  When I removed the flash plugs from the element, the left one was already rusting a little.  I've used this thing less than 20 times.  Is this normal / will having a heavier gage wire fix this problem.

    Many thanks in advance to all the help.
  11. cassman

    cassman Fire Starter

    I'm having the same trouble finding the high temp wire as wirenutt. If anybody has an online site please share. My local electrical supply stores do not stock this and would be a special order and i would have to buy the entire spool.
  12. Have you checkd with some appliance repair shops? They might have some that you can have/buy?
  13. cassman

    cassman Fire Starter

    Success i found the wire while i was at lunch today. A restaurant supply store had it. I'm good to go as soon as i get my new element.

    Thanks for the suggestion aeroforce100.
  14. texacajun

    texacajun Meat Mopper

    I can try and answer some of your questions if i can.

    1. I didn't use any shrink wrap for my terminals. As long as you make sure the connections dint touch any exposed metal you should be fine.

    2. Adding a ground is a good idea.

    3. As far as i can tell this is just a high heat sealant used by masterbuilt to help seal the smoker.

    4. I used blind rivet nuts or threaded inserts what every you want to call them.

    5. The high temp wire should not rust maybe your seeing some creosote from smoking on the wires.
  15. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    1/2 " pan head self drilling screws  are great for holding the back panel on.

     The big thing is to use a drill bit that is just large enough to drill out the rivet but not enlarge the hole.
  16. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Isn't it great reading this thread, people helping people.  Sort of like an old time barn raising, when all the neighbors pitch in and help.  The obvious thing, is the MES is repairable, and worth the effort, based on the testimony of those making these mods.
  17. texacajun

    texacajun Meat Mopper

    That's what Neighbors are suppose to do.

    I remember my grandfather worked hard his hole life. He raised 4 kids as a carpenter by exchanging his labor for anything they needed.

    You just don't see that in today world. People helping people.

    I do it for no more reason than it makes me feel good that i can share my knowledge or lessons learned.

    I am always willing to help. As are most people on this forum are.
  18. gratefuldude

    gratefuldude Newbie

    Alright, I got a question on this because I'm going freakin' crazy.  I changed out the 16 guage wire with 12, because the wire was pretty much corroded off at the heating element.  Now I've tried turning in on, and you can hear the unit kick on with you you put in the temperature and time but the element still wont get hot.  Before I turn on the unit, all the wires are hot when I check it with my voltage meter, but when I turn it on and I hear the unit kick on, then the wires will not show anything on the meter.  I changed the wires out exactly like I took them apart!! 

    Anyone have any suggestions??

    Thanks in advance!!
  19. sonnyhad

    sonnyhad Fire Starter

    have you got the thermostat wires crossed? Just a thought.
  20. mackdaddy

    mackdaddy Newbie

    Check the resistance of the heating element. It should be ohms not kilo or mega ohms. If the resistance is high you need a new heating element

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