Some of you read my thanksgiving stories and how I modded my MES30 to hit 350*, and also how I feel the heating element in this unit is grossly underpowered for the size of the unit. So my thought was to add an additional heating element to this thing as well to help speed preheat and recovery time.
As luck would have it, I happened to find my long lost kill-a-watt meter as I was gathering pieces for the mod. I was curious how much power this thing actually pulled, so I tested it. Turns out my unit, even though it's supposed to be rated at 950Watts only pulled 800. So that's strange... The wiring in this thing while I won't say it's undersized, I think it could use an upgrade so I went ahead and replaced the element wiring with 14Guage High temp stuff I got at my local appliance repair shop. Unfortunately there was no change after this 'upgrade'.
So, I went ahead and took another couple wires off of the power relay for my second heating element. I purchased a replacement element for a bradley smoker (BTHEAT) and with a couple of brackets I had laying around from an Ikea project. I attached it to the rear wall of the MES30 just under the main element. The brackets I used were the ones from Ikea that hold kitchen cabinet uppers to the wall, and can also be found in many of their bookshelves/etc. I drilled a small hole through the smoker where the main element attaches to feed my wires through and wired it all up.
So now I have an additional 500W of heat as verified with the kill-a-watt showing 1300W.
An interesting note, when I tested everything, I noticed that the new 500W element is bright orange/red when on, but the orig element is very dim in comparison. I'm wondering if my orig element is giving up the ghost and that's why it only pulls 800W. HUMMM...
I also added in the bottom of the smoker 4 fire bricks. I think this is going to help even out heat and help recovery times as well.