more heat for 40" mes

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by buffarilla, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. Hi guys. i have a 40" mes that is having trouble getting to 225 degrees and recovering if i open door. was wondering about getting a 2nd element and installing, but need to know if i can use original controls or do i need to upgrade to pid. thnx
  2. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member


    I have a MES 40 and here in New England during colder spells I break up a few pieces of lump charcoal and put it in one side of the chip tray and get it going with a propane torch.  Slide it in at the beginning of a smoke and it helps it get up to temp quick and helps it stay also.  You can still drop in the chips in the side of the tray that you didn't use for lump (BTW -  I take chunks and take a hatchet to them to get  small pieces that are bigger and more flavorful and long lasting that chips).  Added benefit is a little hint of that true wood flavor to the meat.

    One thing I learned is that you should get a system for yourself that allows you to open and close that door as fast as possible.  And forget spritzing or mopping, let the water pan keep it moist.  And pre-heat even if the book says not to.  Run it up 30 to 40 degrees over the smoke temp and then reset when you add the meat.  And one last thing, let the meat sit out for a bit instead of putting it in directly from the fridge.

    Hope this all helps.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  3. As Geerock says using the lump charcoal, I too use it in my MES 40. I also found that if I keep the temp thingy clean I have quicker heating and my temps only deviate a degree or two. It's located midway down the inside back and sticks out like a little probe. Hope this helps
  4. thnx guys and geerock you may be onto something as mine has baked up stuff on it from a spill i guess. gonna clean it up and see what happens next time. and i thought about a small pan of charcoal in the bottom too

    sorry meant smokin husker
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Are you using a digital therm to measure the temp with, because the MES controllers & meat probes can be way off. Also are you using an extension cord? This is a no no. Do you have the 1200 watt element? If so it should recover very quickly.
  6. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

     buffarilla, which 40 MES do you have the 1200 watt or older 800 watt?  If you do a heat calc on the cabinet you will find that both 800 watt & 1200 watts produce way more than enough btus of heat to efficiently heat the space in your MES.  You DO NOT need addition heat!  You may have faulty equipment or you might be using an extension cord that is light gauge.  12 gauge works fine on my 800 watt and mine is 50' long.  When I first bought my 800 watt MES I tried a 14ga 50' cord and the MES would take forever coming up to heat, so I quickly moved the MES so I could plug the cord directly into an outlet and bingo I had good heat and my MES started performing as it should.

    Over the years there has been a lot of posts regarding wiring issue and extension cords that were inadequate making it appear that the MES was the problem but actually it was working fine.

    Also there is the famous wiring issues that have plagued the MES since the early days, not so much in the last 2 years but it still happens.  You can search the electric forum for the fix.  But one of the symptoms is the MES either quits working or can not come up to temp.

    Lets make some basic assumptions.  There have been thousands and thousands of MES either 30 or 40" sold, and in several configurations but basically the current 30 or 40 is a 4th generation unit.  First generation were the faulty units that were recalled, post recall is the model I own with the lower wattage, 3rd generation game out with the higher wattage and glass doors  (some models didn't have glass doors), finally the current models with built in probes and other newer features.  The assumption is, the MES is a well designed smoker that has improved over time, yet there are some issues like the small chip tray with the extra piece of metal which inhibits chip burn (but they are aware and provide a fix).  The MES is sold all over the USA and Canada to owners using the MES in climate from extreme cold to normal, and the MES keeps selling.  The MES sells because of word of mouth not good advertising, which means the MES is a solid design and it works, extra heat is not required.

    BTW I live in a mild climate Sacramento area, but I have used my smoker when the outdoor ambient was below freezing, and had no problem, provided I follow my own advice, which you can read here.

    Bottom line we need to figure out your problem.

    One thing I have been doing the last couple of years, is I take notes.  When I start the smoke I jot down the time, outdoor ambient, the MES temp before I loaded the meat, then the temp after I loaded the meat, plus the meat probe temp.  (BTW I use two digital probe, one for meat temp one for inside cabinet temp, I also keep a oven thermometer inside where I could crack the door and peak at the temp on the oven therm. (over kill).  First 90 minutes I jot down temps every 15 minutes, after 90 minutes I switch to jotting down temps in 30 minute intervals, I try to do this during the first 3 hours of a smoke.   Taking notes allows me to know the progress of a smoke especially at the beginning, I tend to multitask and do other stuff while a smoke is going so the note taking helps me know when things are working or not.  Regarding opening the MES, one old rule is "DO NOT PEEK".   

    Ok eliminate the extension cord if you are using one, or upgrade to 12 ga or heavier.

    Use a separate remote probe to monitor cabinet temp & verify how on/off the MES thermometer is.

    If you have a amp meter then plug in your MES set it so the heat element is on, and take the A/C AMP reading.  (IF you don't know how there are plenty of online help.)  Your amp draw should be +/- 90% of what the plate on the back of your MES says, (your amp meter may have 5-10% error depending on the quality of the meter).

    Test the MES, does it preheat properly, coming up to 270º in 30 minutes or less, should be much less if you have a 1200 watt?  If it is cold you allow it to preheat longer.  If you have been opening the hatch a lot, recovery to your set temp is a bitch, rem I have an 800 watt if you have a 1200 watt it should be faster.  However I can tell you that if I preheat my MES longer, especially when it is cold, recovery is faster.

    If your amp draw is low, or you can't get your MES up to 270º in less than 30 minutes, then there is a problem.  If you MES is under warranty call Masterbuilt, if not under warranty still call and ask for tech support.  You might open up the back and check the wiring and terminals. 

    Let us know what happens...
  7. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sounds like Delta gave ya some great advice there. If you need help with the amp draw shoot me a pm and ill go over it with ya. Here is a tip if you need and extension cord. go to Lowe's home depot or some where like that that sells wire in bulk. Buy yourself a piece of #10 or #12 romex that is left over. also buy a set of cord ends and make yourself a heavy extension cord. You could also buy #10 or #12 SOJ cord and make 1.  The SOJ is better then romex as it is much tougher, romex has a tendency to get beat up fairly fast.

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