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Help for novice wiring MES to PID

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

 I had the usual problem a lot of other people have had, after a few great years with my MES 40, it finally burnt the connection off the end of the heating element.  


I figured this was a good time to pick up an Auber PID.  My thought was to run a power cord straight from the heating element to the PID, then from the PID to the electrical outlet.  Since I know pretty much nothing about what I'm doing, I was hoping someone could tell me if this makes sense?  I just tried hooking up power to the heating element, but apparantly I must have it grounded wrong because I got a mild shock out when I touched the chip box.  Any ideas?  Has someone tried something similar? 

post #2 of 16

You need to do more research on PID's. 


You do not wire the power from the wall to the PID and then to the element.  The PID is a device that only switches another device called a SSR (solid state relay).  The PID does *NOT* output power to the element, it only sends a triggering signal to switch the SSR.  The SSR is wired to the wall power and then to the heating element.  The SSR acts like a switch but it is "flipped" on or off by the PID.  The PID should *NEVER* be wired directly to the controlled load (the heating element).


There is a ton of info, drawing and photographs in this forum for you to look at. Just do a search

post #3 of 16

Hello TromaRon           I'm not sure what PID you purchased they aren't usually directly connected to whatever they are controlling. The purpose of a ground is to direct the current safety to a ground rod so as not to get shocked.  This probably means you have wired it incorrectly as you have already guessed.  Auber has pretty detailed instructions on their site for these type installs. I'd love to help but electricity is a funny thing that can kill you if not careful.  You should get an electrician to wire the device. If your still set on doing it yourself read the instructions at the website. Also look at the SSR"s.  BE safe!! 

post #4 of 16

To me it seems clear the number of failures is too high. Masterbuilt needs to redesign this smoker.


I for one have filed a complaint with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  If Masterbuilt were going to change on its own it would have done so by now.


If you have had a similar failure consider filing a complaint.




Not everyone has GFCI outlet that will detect bring this problem to your attention. It is only a matter of time before a MES a failed is operated without a GFCI and no ground and somebody get hurt.


If the heating element in your smoker has failed it will need to be replaced. Installing a PID controller will not change the fact the element is bad.


If you wish to wire the new heating element to work with your PID. Connect the white wire from your new cord to one of the elements terminals. Connect the black wire from the new AC cord to one of the terminals of the safety thermostat. Install a wire from the other terminal of the heater to the empty terminal of the safety thermostat. Please be sure to connect the green wire from the AC cord to the steel case of the smoker.


If you value the life of anyone that may get close enough touch any MES smoker be certain that smoker is only operated from an outlet protected by a GFIC Ground Fault Interrupter Circuit that you have tested.   



post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input so far.  I should have mentioned that I'm using an Auber WS-1500ELPM.  It's designed to have a heater plugged into it directly.  I'm guessing my main problem at this point is my ground.  I ran my green wire to the stainless body of my MES.  Is stainless not a good ground, or am I doing something else wrong?  (I had to wrap the black wire around what was left of the burned off terminal) 

post #6 of 16

Is your black wire just twisted around the contact?  That is the way it looks in the photo. You need to fix that black wire connection.  It will arc and over heat with it twisted like it is.  That is not a secure connection and is also dangerous if it pulls loose.

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

Dward51 - Yes it is, but that's just a temp job to see if it would work.  Once I can get it to work without shocking me (properly grounded), I'll come up with a permanent attachment to that post and seal all the connections.  But first I need to find a place to ground it right so it doesn't shock me anymore.  But thanks for the pointers.  That's why I'm posting here.  I'm sure most of you know a lot more about these things than I do, so your input is always welcome.

post #8 of 16

TromaRon I think your missing the point here.  You should never get shocked from the ground never never etc. I don't care what you attach your ground to if you get shocked it has nothing to do with the ground. Something is wrong. The ground is a safety measure to keep you from dying.  If you don't care about your safety read what walta stated above. Get your head out of your pork butt:icon_smile:. Couldn't help myself with that one.  Please be concerned about safety!!!!!!!!!!!

post #9 of 16

The way I see it you have 3 problems


1 All that black gook all over everything around the terminals of the element is carbon. Carbon conducts electricity from the terminals to the case of the smoker that you touched.


2 If the ground wire was connected as shown in the photo it should not have been shocked. The only conclusion I can draw is outlet or extension cord you were using were not working as they should.


3 You are not using a GFIC device on this circuit.


Please get something like this


or this



Then test it with something like this.




post #10 of 16

If you are getting shocked from the ground, you need to check the polarity of the outlet.  It may have the ground and neutral switched somewhere, or the ground is not a complete circuit back to the bonding bar in the breaker box or to actual ground from the box.  You can get a plug in device with 3 lights on it for under $10 at Home Depot/Lowes that will tell you if an outlet is wired correctly. 


Basically you look at the lights that are "on" and then at the chart on the tester.  It will tell you if all is well or what is wrong.  They all work the same way, but there are several models.



post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 

Ok, cool.  Those last few posts give me somewhere to start working.  I'm going into a GFIC outlet on my deck, but I'll have it checked to make sure it's wired right.  I'll try to get that carbon & other gunk cleaned up and reattach the wires better next. Thanks!

post #12 of 16
Originally Posted by TromaRon View Post

Ok, cool.  Those last few posts give me somewhere to start working.  I'm going into a GFIC outlet on my deck, but I'll have it checked to make sure it's wired right.  I'll try to get that carbon & other gunk cleaned up and reattach the wires better next. Thanks!

Ron, so far you have been given good info. I would like to add that your ground looks ok. I would simply start over with the total repair. 

As you know it won't be hard but thee are a couple of things you need to make sure you do the right way. If you think you have a problem with your outlet here is another testing group to think about. for 14.00 you get good tools that will always help you.




Now lets talk about the female connector that burned off.  Get a small piece of sand paper of fine grit something like 220 will do or some steel wool or even a fine file to remove the carbon that was recommended. You will also need High temp connectors for the ends of the wire. You won't be able to buy them at a BOX store. They will only have what already burned off. The connector you need can be found at a appliance repair shop or somewhere that sells appliance heating elements. I found mine at ACE.


Install the connectors and while you are at it use some of that sand paper on the ground area to make sure the metal is clean and bare.


I am including a link to my PID rewire since a picture is quicker than 10,000 words.




That is just something to think about.  


If you get into this and need some additional help you can P/M me.    Jted

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

jted - Thanks!  Those pics are a big help!  When the rain finally stops here I'll get back out there and get to work on it again.  Thanks for the advice!

post #14 of 16

Ron, , here in VA the rain has stopped. Tomorrow (wed.) is suppose to be the best day of the week. So tomorrow is RIB day. I have a small to average rack in the fridge to smoke tomorrow. 

I like smoking with my PID since it performs temperature wise better than the inside oven. That bothers the hell out of my wife. Just the fact that the black box outside holds temps better than the fancy one in the kitchen.    Jted 

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

I thank you all for the expert help.  I thought I had this all dialed in this last time, but it still threw the breaker on the gfi outlet.  While I was trying to figure out where my mistake was, my wife got sick of me shocking myself and went out and got me a new Masterbuilt v.2.5.  So if anyone is interested, I have 2 non-working 40" cabinets free to anyone who wants to take them off my hands.  Just PM me and pick them up.

post #16 of 16
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