For the longest time I had debated between the AMPS and the accessory Masterbuilt offers to provide continuous smoke to my hot smokes. I love my MES 40" (second gen), I've made some amazing meals in this thing and have had rave reviews on the outcomes. However, the loading of the wood tray every 40 minutes or so had become cumbersome. Especially since I like to take this camping to prepare meals for a group of people. Again, tending to the smoker so often to load the chip box became a hassle.
Based upon the reviews on Amazon, people raving about it on this forum, and my need for portability, I decided to purchase the AMPS 5x8 over the Masterbuilt accessory. I heavily researched the best means of lighting and keeping the AMPS lit on this forum. I followed them to a T. I wont lie, it initially worked great. It had some of the best TBS I've ever gotten from my MES. Having maintained nice smoke for two hours, I joined some friends for a couple of hours of some pool time, thinking it was going well and it would continue to do so. I was mistaken. Despite following the lighting and venting recommendations, not to mention how well it was going for the first couple of hours, I had the false hope I was golden.
I came home and the thing was completely out. Yes, I microwaved the pellets, took a propane torch tp it for 1 minute, let it burn for 20 minutes, even used a hair dryer to fan the flames, had the cigar-like cherry on it, removed the water tray placing the AMPS on top of the hole, pulled out the drop tube for the wood as well as the chip holder as recommended, made sure it was covered to avoid getting drippings on the pellets. Still, it went out.
I will say, while it is lit, it produces beautiful TBS. But again, like using the chip tray, you stil have to babysit it.
Since I've spent money on this thing, I will continue to use it since it buys a little more time than feeding the chip tray. HOWEVER, for anyone wondering what to do, and considring the mods, and the cost of the mods, that have to be performed just to get this to perform at a reasonable level (mailbox mods are cool, btw, but still limits portability), you would be better off spending the extra $15-20 for the Masterbuilt accessory.
Maybe my opinion will change as I use this, but so far, I have the impression I just bought into hype rather than actual performance. If I end up getting better results, I'll be happy to change my opinion. However, even as I type this, I can tell it's starting to go out again.
So, my official review of the AMPS 5x8 is a resounding MEH.