Avoid Temp Swings in MES (By Bear)
How I avoid much of the annoying heat over-running (Temp Swings):
A lot of MES owners complain about the wide cycling spreads they get for awhile at the beginning of a Smoke.
The following method I use should work with all MES units, and probably any other electric smoker without a PID set-up.
When you start an MES by preheating it to a set temp it will run all the way to that set temp before the heating element shuts off. This could take in the area of one half hour. Then the heat will continue to rise for a while. I call that “Coasting”. The longer the run either up or down, the farther it will Coast.
In other words, if you want your smoker to be at 230°, and you set it at 230°, it will shut off at 230°, but depending on things like Ambient Temp, Wind, etc, etc the heat in the smoker could Coast up to 240°, 250° or sometimes even more. Then once it stops Coasting, the temp will eventually begin to fall, and continue to fall until it hits one or two degrees below your temp setting, and then the element comes on. Then since it just had another relatively long run coming down from the over-run you just had above 230°, it will now continue to fall below the set point after the element comes on. It may fall down as low as 20° or more below your set point before the temp of the smoker begins to rise again.
This over-running can continue for a good number of heating & cooling cycles, before it settles down to only over-running a few degrees above and below your set point.
The best way I have found to avoid this annoying problem is as follows:
If you want your smoker to be 230° inside, set your control at 215°. Then let it run & shut off at 215°. Then watch how far it Coasts above 215° before it stops & begins to fall. If it runs to 230° or above, change your setting to 230°. Now that it won’t be dropping a long way before reaching the set point, it also won’t over-run much below the set point after the heating element comes on. Then since it won’t be making a long run to get back up to 230°, it won’t over-run much above that 230° shut-off point.
This will cut way down on the Over-running above & below your set point in a much shorter time than it would without playing this little game.
Also if on that first run up, it only Coasts to 225° instead of 230°, just slide your heat setting up to 223° or 224°, and catch it at 230° on the next cycle.
Once you do this for a few smokes you’ll be able to fine tune it. I have it more fine tuned than the above, but it would take too long to explain it in type.
Note: For those of us who live in the North, you will learn that the heating tends to over-run in the Upward direction more in the Summer than in the Winter, and it will Over-run more in the Downward direction in the Winter than in the Summer.
I hope this helps some of those who don’t like seeing the big Temp Swings in their Electric Smokers.