Ok guys, here's my latest AMNPS experiment...
I took the entire chip loader, chip tray and chip box out like Cuebiz did. The water pan has also been removed but the slanted drip shield is still installed.
While I was lighting my AMNPS, I heated the smoker to 275 degrees like Foamheart suggested. After the smoker was up to temp and the AMNPS had a good bed of coals I put the AMNPS in the smoker on top of the hole in the drip shield where the water pan used to be. I then set the smoker to 230 degrees and walked away.
I checked it here and there over the first couple of hours. It was burning perfectly for the first 2 1/2 hours and then I noticed that the pellets were't burning completely. It looked the same as my previous attempts. Frustrated but not ready to give up, I pulled out the muffin fan again. I plugged it in and put it right up against the inlet and walked away to have a beer to ease my frustrations. I checked it out about a half hour later and it was burning great! I let it burn like that for a little while with no issues.
So it seems as though the fan pushing fresh air in the smoker and the fact that the air has a direct path to the AMNPS because of the chip box is removed may be the perfect combination.
I'm getting kinda tired so I turned the smoker off and separated the burning pellets from the fresh pellets and I'm heading to bed. I'm going to do some more experimenting on friday since I'm off work. I'm going to see if I can get a full tray of pellets to burn without interruption. The one thing I'd like to play around with is the distance between the fan and the smoker's inlet. I don't think having it right up against the smoker is the best option. It almost seemed to be moving the air in the smoker a bit too much.
I appreciate all of your help through all of this! This site is great and it's members are the best! Thanks again! I'll keep you guys posted when I play around some more.