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Brand new MES 30 .. should I go to the trouble to return it or just adjust my temps? - Page 2

post #21 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by atexanfan View Post
 

 

Atex,

I'll tell you the same thing I tell All Gen #2 owners:

All Electric smokers swing at the start & stop points. If you put your Maverick probe right next to the MES sensor it will be closer, but it's the temp where your meat is that is important, so I would put the Maverick probe close to your meat, but not close enough to measure the cold meat, and go entirely by that.

 

That being said, now I'll tell you exactly what I would do:

Since I can see you have a Gen #2, forget about replacing your control. Do whatever you have to do to get your money back for that Gen #2 POS. Then take the money & get a Gen #1.

I started with a MES 30 Gen #1, and it was Great, except a little too small, so I got an MES 40 Gen #1 with window, remote, etc, etc. It is an incredible piece of equipment for it's price (I paid $350 in 2010). The only thing else it needed was an AMNPS, so I can get consistent continuous perfect smoke for up to 11 straight hours without touching it. No mechanical mods added whatsoever.

If I put my Maverick Therm near the MES sensor, they are pretty close, but when I'm cooking, I put it near the meat, and do my adjustments from there, all but ignoring what the MES readout says the temp is to the right of center below the third rack, which is where the sensor is located.

 

I don't smoke as often as some on this forum, but my Gen #1 MES 40 certainly doesn't sit around idle collecting dust, and after 4 years of awesome tasting smokes, it still works Great !!!

 

 

Bear

post #22 of 31

I have a Gen 2 MES30 .I have had the temperature problems since day 1 of ownership .My issue has always been that MES display will say something like 275 and Maverick will read a real temp of 315 and sometimes higher .I have replaced control unit under warranty ,no change . Today I received from Masterbuilt under warranty the whole smoker less the door which I swapped out . First thing I did was stick my Maverick probe in it and turned it on .What I got and I will say it was empty except for racks and some ceramic briquets in the water pan that I use to try and stabilize temps ,is this. Set temp for 275,unit shut down element right at 275 ,Maverick read 306 .Then temp reading on MES display started to increase even though element was off and went up to 298 ,Maverick went to 311 .Unit stayed off until it hit 267 and came back on ,Maverick read 264 .When it came back on it cycled through the whole overshooting scenario again .It did that the whole afternoon . What is sad about this is that I get far better temperature control using my Big Green Egg burning charcoal . I called Masterbuilt today and they really don't have much of an answer for the fluctuations in temp .How they stay in business amazes me because they have no problem sending out warranty parts ,which is a good thing for the consumer but it still does not solve problem . In a way I guess I am lucky because my problem has always been temps that are too high as opposed to not being able to reach set temp . Oh yeah something I noticed that is different on this new unit is that you can get it to run temperatures like 65 degrees . It was cool here this morning and I set it for 65 and it came on .  

post #23 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by sctdg35 View Post
 

I have a Gen 2 MES30 .I have had the temperature problems since day 1 of ownership .My issue has always been that MES display will say something like 275 and Maverick will read a real temp of 315 and sometimes higher .I have replaced control unit under warranty ,no change . Today I received from Masterbuilt under warranty the whole smoker less the door which I swapped out . First thing I did was stick my Maverick probe in it and turned it on .What I got and I will say it was empty except for racks and some ceramic briquets in the water pan that I use to try and stabilize temps ,is this. Set temp for 275,unit shut down element right at 275 ,Maverick read 306 .Then temp reading on MES display started to increase even though element was off and went up to 298 ,Maverick went to 311 .Unit stayed off until it hit 267 and came back on ,Maverick read 264 .When it came back on it cycled through the whole overshooting scenario again .It did that the whole afternoon . What is sad about this is that I get far better temperature control using my Big Green Egg burning charcoal . I called Masterbuilt today and they really don't have much of an answer for the fluctuations in temp .How they stay in business amazes me because they have no problem sending out warranty parts ,which is a good thing for the consumer but it still does not solve problem . In a way I guess I am lucky because my problem has always been temps that are too high as opposed to not being able to reach set temp . Oh yeah something I noticed that is different on this new unit is that you can get it to run temperatures like 65 degrees . It was cool here this morning and I set it for 65 and it came on .  

 

They're living on their Happy Gen #1 owners, and their good Customer Service, but they can't do that forever. They should scrap the Gen #2, and make some slight changes to the Gen #1, like I told them to, and call it a Gen #3.

 

 

Bear

post #24 of 31

Today I decided I will use the MES in the role that works ,cold smoking . Outside temps were between 65 and 70 today .Had a couple blocks of Gouda and figured what the heck ,good cheese day .Used the Masterbuilt cold smoke attachment .Fired up attachment got it smoking then shut off power .Removed ash drawer from attachment , installed it in side of smoker and put small fan facing ash tray opening to give burning pellets and chips some extra o2 .With cheese in smoker added a tray of ice .Let it go for a few hours and internal smoker temp never went over 66 .Was on from 11:45 to 3:30 and had a lot of pellet, chip mix left in smoke attachment .Cheese came out perfect .At least I know it works really well for something . 

post #25 of 31

Yesterday I put on a meat loaf at 225 for 2 or 3 hours. It was a nice day so I hung with the smoker a lot I watched my temps and it  stayed with in the 2 degree range that Auber claimes. At a Internal temp of 145 I opened the door and put some sauce and rub on both sides. The temp dropped 50 degrees and when I closed the door I reset the control to 266 to finish up and try to crisp up the bacon. I did see a spike of 3 degrees to 269 but that was only momentarily.  The loaf was very good and all except my wife liked it. She said it was too spicy. Next time I will skip the bacon weave and just pin some bacon on the top and bottom. I will  also be easy with the cyan.

post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by sctdg35 View Post
 

Today I decided I will use the MES in the role that works ,cold smoking . Outside temps were between 65 and 70 today .Had a couple blocks of Gouda and figured what the heck ,good cheese day .Used the Masterbuilt cold smoke attachment .Fired up attachment got it smoking then shut off power .Removed ash drawer from attachment , installed it in side of smoker and put small fan facing ash tray opening to give burning pellets and chips some extra o2 .With cheese in smoker added a tray of ice .Let it go for a few hours and internal smoker temp never went over 66 .Was on from 11:45 to 3:30 and had a lot of pellet, chip mix left in smoke attachment .Cheese came out perfect .At least I know it works really well for something . 

 

With your cold smoking attachment it sounds like you are well on your way to having some great cooks.    jted

post #27 of 31
Ok folks here is what has been going on between me and master built
After 7 months they finally released what is the last revision for the mes 30 gen2 ,here is what I found. I checked my old controller before pulling it out against a Taylor digital thermometer, master built read 227 and Taylor digital read 195 , now that was the meat probe, as materbuilt has told me that the case thermistor and the eat probe thermistors are the same.. After I changed the controller here is the result, materbuilt 195 Taylor digital 195 dead on checked at 165, 180, and 200 all were dead on, I guess it was worth the wait to get a controller that was accurate, my hat is off to master built.
post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by avfordguy View Post

Ok folks here is what has been going on between me and master built
After 7 months they finally released what is the last revision for the mes 30 gen2 ,here is what I found. I checked my old controller before pulling it out against a Taylor digital thermometer, master built read 227 and Taylor digital read 195 , now that was the meat probe, as materbuilt has told me that the case thermistor and the eat probe thermistors are the same.. After I changed the controller here is the result, materbuilt 195 Taylor digital 195 dead on checked at 165, 180, and 200 all were dead on, I guess it was worth the wait to get a controller that was accurate, my hat is off to master built.

 

Where are you putting your Taylor digital probe to get the same temp as the MES reads??

 

 

Bear

post #29 of 31

As said (and posted in separate articles) by other users.  The internal temperature in most smokers varies by rack and location.  On a Gen II you will get a reading which most closely matches the MES display near the button sensor on the back wall (on Gen II, it is near lower right quarter of the unit).  Because the unit is full power on, or entirely off (as versus a PID solution), they typically show a 30 degree swing between the lowest and highest temperature (depending on when in the heat-up/cool-down cycle you measure it).  This is a well-known characteristic of these smokers.

Previously posted Content regarding temperature stability:

 

Observations from a geek:

 

Test conditions:

MES 40 "windowless" second generation, model 20070613 available at Lowes for about $279.00 before discounts.

The unit has already been "smoked in" and used about 4 times since new.

Test temperature the unit is set for is 225 F.

Outside temperature is 78 F (early Arizona morning with cloud coverage).

It has the smaller chip tray, and chip loader from the factory.

No chips in tray, heating element only.

No liquids in water tray, wanting to see the unit's inherent temperature characteristics without other "stabilizing" factors (such as water or large hunks of meat).

Chip tray and loader fully inserted.

The "second probe" mention below is actually the built in meat probe, plus a chefmate remote probe both near the middle of the unit, set slightly left of center.

Both probes have been boil calibrated, and read within 2 degrees during calibration and this test event (once you allow for variations in display refresh rates).

 

The "button" sensor, which is read by the circuit board to determine when the heating unit is switched on and off is:

1. located on the same side, and near the heating element.

2. is bolted to the rear bulkhead.

Effects:

1a. on all heating cycles (except the initial heating cycle), it gets up to your set temperature faster than a second probe which is set on one of the middle racks.  This results the heating element switching off before the second mid-rack probe reaching the "set temperature" by about 6 degrees.

2a. on the initial heating cycle, the thermal mass of the back bulkhead actually lowers the "button" sensor by several degrees (relative to the second probe), which causes an initial overshoot of temperature.  I experienced about a 30 degree initial overshoot of internal temperature due to this characteristic. 

 

Data:

Initial heat cycle, second probe temperatures hit 255, before the button probe registered 225 and switch off the heating element.

Temperature dipped to 189-192 on the second probe, before the temperature dipped below 225 on the button probe (bulkhead thermal mass), and switched on the heating element.

On subsequent cycles, the button sensor hit 225 (and switched off the heating element) when the second probes were at 216; with the element "off" it was still radiating heat and the second probes eventually reached 219. Statistical "average" second probe temperature observed, after two hours, was 205.5 degrees (against a set point of 225).

 

Geekspeak:

On the initial heating cycle, second probe temperature phase leads button probe significantly (due to bulkhead thermal mass, which is conducted into the button sensor).

On subsequent cycles, the proximity of the button probe to the heating element, and the heated bulkhead causes the temperature phase to lead the second probes "slightly".

 

Suggested engineering change:

Move the button sensor up about 10 inches (and center it from left to right), provide better thermal insulations from the bulkhead, so it reads actual free-air temperature more accurately.

 

Devil's advocate:

Exaggerated temperature swings encourage the heating element to stay on longer, which helps increase the peak temperature seen by the chip holder.  This encourages more complete combustion of the chips.  The large swings also allow for the chips to start smoking at a lower "set" temperature.  The large temperature swings may very well be an intentional design feature.

For those who are using products like the AMNPS, the large swings are not a benefit.  The typical swing temperature seen, after the unit had been running over 2 hours, was roughly 27 to 30 degrees.  In the grand scheme of things, not bad, but not great. Adding meat and water will improve the stability, but the high to low swing range will likely remain similar, as will the average cabinet free air temperature. More data is needed with a loaded cabinet to be sure.

 

Testing Sub note:

After four hours of testing, the MES's meat probe started reading 20 degrees higher than actual.  Could be a bad crimp in the probe. 

Opening the front door for ten seconds (dropped chefmate second probe temperature to 170), only caused a 3 degree overshoot (228 vs. 225 set temperature), upon recovery; quite good

post #30 of 31
Same way I used to check thermocouples in the lab, one quart insulated container( bubba jug ) fill with boiling water let stand until water stabilizes then insert both probes tied together with a zip tie, then take readings as your stirring the water. With the probes.[/B]
post #31 of 31

Update:

 

I finally had a chance to get my smoker back out and test some things out.

 

My Model:  Masterbuilt 30" Gen II Electric

Model #: 20070213

 

So after playing with my unit for several hours there appears to be two different issues here.  I believe both have been highlighted elsewhere on this forum but i thought i would summarize my experiences since i bumped this thread back up.  

 

TLDR: The units temp probe measures metal temp not air temp causing extremely slow response relative to the air temperature and the controller is not tuned since its only on/off control.  This is a design issue not a hardware issue.  

 

Full Version:

 

Issue 1- Temp Disparity: The main issue that i had with my unit was the disparity between my temp probe and the reading of my unit.  It appears that on my unit the temp probe located on the back of the unit just below the bottom shelf is accurately reading temperature.  However, this probe is not measuring air temperature, it is measuring the temp of the metal of the unit.  This obviously causes several issues when trying to hit a target temp.

 

If I co-locate my temperature probe with this location they are spot on as the unit heats up, however if open the door and drop the air temperature the reading begin to to diverge.  This is what leads me to believe its measuring metal temp of the back wall and not air temp.  The metal obviously holds the temperature longer than the air and you can see that in the response of the built in probe since its temp drop is much slower than the measured air temp drop.  My unit holds heat extremely well, so when you combine this with the fact that probe is measuring the body temp, a drop in air temperature takes a long time to recover since its not registered by the probe and therefore the heating element is not triggers and the air is not heating back up.  

 

Issue 2 - Controller Tuning:  This issues is really just a side effect of the temperature probe issues.  Since the metal holds its temp longer the controller is not triggering the heating element to come on with an air temp drop and the unit is not bringing the air temp back up to temp when there is a disturbance.  There also appears to be some strange delays as far a turning on/off.  This might be a cycling issue to prevent overheat but the delays seems abnormally long.  Since the probe is measuring metal temp, i'm also convinced that i can never hit the high end air temperature of 275.  

 

Solutions: Well at the end of the day, the solutions people have already offered on this forum ring true :)  You obviously want to make sure you are measuring air temp using an external thermometer when using this model co-located with your cooking location.  Second, i've found that the best way to get the air temperature back up is to up the temp anytime after opening the door is to crank the temp up 10-15 degrees solely to force the heating element to kick on.  Once the air temp comes up a little, then drop your set point back down to your previous temp.  

 

I will eventually add my own PID controller to my unit.  I'm convinced now that its not a controller or hardware issue but a design issue.  If you want accurate temp inside of your unit you have to be measuring Air temp and controlling to that.  I will post more info once i go that route, but i'm sure the suggestions on this forums will help.  The unit will function as is, but takes a little more work effort to get good temps.  

 

I also added a mailbox mod and i'll make a separate forum post describing my observations with that.  

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