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MES heating element connection pics in new smoker

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I have no problems with my smokers.  I have an eight month old Gen 1 40 inch SS with window (20070311) I'm currently using (May 2015) and one seasoned and unused (June 2015.)  I've seen a lot of burned up/corroded heating element connections but never what they look like when you get a new smoker.  The pics below show the open access panel in the back of the smoker with the two element connections.  I thought a ground wire would be in with them but it must be elsewhere.   

 

This is the eight month old pic and the left shrink tubing is a little bubbled from heat but not sure if it's from originally being shrunk or from use.  Both shrink tubes are a little shiny and have a glass like hardness.

 

 

This is the new unused smoker pic.  The shrink tubing is very hard from being shrunk and as you can see the connections have been terminated opposite from the other pic(if that makes a difference, since I have seasoned it without a problem.)  I have filled the open areas at the top of the shrink tubing as well as the element going into the back of the smokers around the black rubber insulating gasket and the screw head behind the left connection with a battery terminal anti corrosion dielectric paste. 

 

 

I thought the connections were open so I could apply the paste directly to them but found they had shrink tubing over them.  This is an attempt to be proactive in prolonging the life of the connection.  My questions are:

-Do these pics differ from others that have accessed these connections and if so is it more substantial? 

-Is the bubbled glass like shrink tubing from standard tubing not being high heat tubing or conductive heat from the element or a

 potential problem or just normal life cycle? 

-The two smokers being terminated opposite from the other appears to not matter.  Any thoughts?

 

-Kurt

post #2 of 18

Though I really don't think it makes a difference, my MES40 was wired like your bottom pick, with the wire coming out of the right side connecting to the left side of the element.

 

You could simply slice through the heat shrink, remove it and work on the terminals.  Then apply new heat shrink and lightly hit with a torch to shrink it.

 

I can't believe how small the wires look in diameter for such a high heat application.     You might consider changing out the wire terminals themselves if the ones you have are not of steel.

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmayna View Post

Though I really don't think it makes a difference, my MES40 was wired like your bottom pick, with the wire coming out of the right side connecting to the left side of the element.

You could simply slice through the heat shrink, remove it and work on the terminals.  Then apply new heat shrink and lightly hit with a torch to shrink it.

I can't believe how small the wires look in diameter for such a high heat application.     You might consider changing out the wire terminals themselves if the ones you have are not of steel.
Did your OEM connections fail or the element (If so how long did it last?) or did you just replace before failure? Since there is no corrosion and with dielectric paste in the shrink tube and exposed areas of the connections not covered by shrink tubing I want to see if the lack of air/moisture will keep those joints from oxidation/corrosion. I'm not ready to tear into it. When it does fail then I'll get out the Ohm meter and see if the element is failing or failed to fry the connections. I'm just starting at what MB ships out new and periodically checking to see what's happening. After all it takes 20 seconds to remove the cover. When it fails might as well replace with a new heating element and more substantial wiring/connectors.
-Kurt
post #4 of 18

I changed my MES over to an Auber PID system.  Thus the OEM connectors are still there attached to their wires which now lay dormant.  When I rewired my element I used what connectors I had available.  This weekend, I'll remove the cover again and replace the connectors I installed with some steel high temp ones. New heat shrink and yes some electric grease.

post #5 of 18

Hi Kurt,

You asked for thoughts (opinions)  These are mine and carry no more than others. As a owner and operator of a MES 30  and a working background of electric wiring my opinion of the 2 smokers are that they are wired cleanly in a workman like manner.  As far as any thoughts on the wire size. It appears adequate  If I am right your MES40 uses a 1200 watt element rated for 10 amps. The wire looks the same as what is in a MES 30. That is AWG 16 It will carry the voltage with only a .40% drop. so in the 6' run of power cable it will supply 119.52 volts.  Not bad, it is adequate but not over kill by any means. The wire jacket is typical for high heat applications. It is the older but accepted fiberglass type rather than the newer silicone type. In looking at the picture you supplied the heat shrink is rated for 90c that is about 195 degrees F. That is not a high heat rating..  A high heat rating would be 150 and higher. Does it need to be in this application I don't know but one would think so. 

As far as the ground the series of MES 30 I have has the ground connected in at least 2 places. It is grounded to the chassis on the far right side near where the power cable comes in then it has a jumper to the element connections. That is were I found my connector starting  to fail   Thanks for posting the photos   Jted

 

post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr K View Post
 

I have no problems with my smokers.  I have an eight month old Gen 1 40 inch SS with window (20070311) I'm currently using (May 2015) and one seasoned and unused (June 2015.)  I've seen a lot of burned up/corroded heating element connections but never what they look like when you get a new smoker.  The pics below show the open access panel in the back of the smoker with the two element connections.  I thought a ground wire would be in with them but it must be elsewhere.   

 

This is the eight month old pic and the left shrink tubing is a little bubbled from heat but not sure if it's from originally being shrunk or from use.  Both shrink tubes are a little shiny and have a glass like hardness.

 

 

This is the new unused smoker pic.  The shrink tubing is very hard from being shrunk and as you can see the connections have been terminated opposite from the other pic(if that makes a difference, since I have seasoned it without a problem.)  I have filled the open areas at the top of the shrink tubing as well as the element going into the back of the smokers around the black rubber insulating gasket and the screw head behind the left connection with a battery terminal anti corrosion dielectric paste. 

 

 

I thought the connections were open so I could apply the paste directly to them but found they had shrink tubing over them.  This is an attempt to be proactive in prolonging the life of the connection.  My questions are:

-Do these pics differ from others that have accessed these connections and if so is it more substantial? 

-Is the bubbled glass like shrink tubing from standard tubing not being high heat tubing or conductive heat from the element or a

 potential problem or just normal life cycle? 

-The two smokers being terminated opposite from the other appears to not matter.  Any thoughts?

 

-Kurt


Thanks for this. When guys post about shrink tubing I could never picture what they were talking about. Now you gave me pictures to picture with. I'm now on the same page when reading those posts. My thought is I'm afraid to take the back panel off my MES 30 because I don't want to discover anything bad or yucky.

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by daRicksta View Post
 


Thanks for this. When guys post about shrink tubing I could never picture what they were talking about. Now you gave me pictures to picture with. I'm now on the same page when reading those posts. My thought is I'm afraid to take the back panel off my MES 30 because I don't want to discover anything bad or yucky.


Exactly!  We see horribly disfigured nubs that were once parts of the heating element/connection.  It's nice to see what MB sends us out of the box before it turns to dust.  It takes a few seconds to take off the back plate with a drill.  Just hand tighten afterwards because that sheet metal can be easily stripped (two of the six were sent to me stripped on the original before MB sent be the new one.)  I did post in the past when (there were two of us) we bought the Gen 1 40 inchers from the link you put up (LOL, JK) I plugged it in and the shattered light bulb from the UPS covered wagon delivery option I didn't select dead shorted my breaker.  I'm finding more cosmetic blemishes but this poor (abby normal) Frankensmoker that took the covered wagon ride to my home from Amazon has great guts.      

-Kurt

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jted View Post
 

Hi Kurt,

You asked for thoughts (opinions)  These are mine and carry no more than others. As a owner and operator of a MES 30  and a working background of electric wiring my opinion of the 2 smokers are that they are wired cleanly in a workman like manner.  As far as any thoughts on the wire size. It appears adequate  If I am right your MES40 uses a 1200 watt element rated for 10 amps. The wire looks the same as what is in a MES 30. That is AWG 16 It will carry the voltage with only a .40% drop. so in the 6' run of power cable it will supply 119.52 volts.  Not bad, it is adequate but not over kill by any means. The wire jacket is typical for high heat applications. It is the older but accepted fiberglass type rather than the newer silicone type. In looking at the picture you supplied the heat shrink is rated for 90c that is about 195 degrees F. That is not a high heat rating..  A high heat rating would be 150 and higher. Does it need to be in this application I don't know but one would think so. 

As far as the ground the series of MES 30 I have has the ground connected in at least 2 places. It is grounded to the chassis on the far right side near where the power cable comes in then it has a jumper to the element connections. That is were I found my connector starting  to fail   Thanks for posting the photos   Jted

 


I saw the ground connected to the chassis when I tucked the cord in the hole before cutting it.  I soldered it back on when the new one came.  I do have a1875 watt 10 ft. or so extension cord.  That'll drop the voltage a little but I have no problems.  I guess the bubbled shrink tubing will eventually fail.  Hopefully the dielectric paste will melt and spread throughout the inside of the shrink tubing.  I'll check it every six months or so.

-Kurt

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr K View Post
 


Exactly!  We see horribly disfigured nubs that were once parts of the heating element/connection.  It's nice to see what MB sends us out of the box before it turns to dust.  It takes a few seconds to take off the back plate with a drill.  Just hand tighten afterwards because that sheet metal can be easily stripped (two of the six were sent to me stripped on the original before MB sent be the new one.)  I did post in the past when (there were two of us) we bought the Gen 1 40 inchers from the link you put up (LOL, JK) I plugged it in and the shattered light bulb from the UPS covered wagon delivery option I didn't select dead shorted my breaker.  I'm finding more cosmetic blemishes but this poor (abby normal) Frankensmoker that took the covered wagon ride to my home from Amazon has great guts.      

-Kurt


That's it! Blame me for the blemished and defective MES 40 Gen 1 units you all ordered from the link I gave you. To demonstrate my loyalty to you and that I'm a man who can take it I've defaced my own MES 30. I even made one foot shorter to set it to rockin' when my pork ribs are knockin'. I just hope that satisfies you all.

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Two months after starting this thread the left bubbled shrink tubing connector in the first pic of this thread failed in my Mes 1 40". Just before my one year anniversary. Pretty disappointing. Thankfully I had a seasoned spare identical smoker I wheeled out within an hour of finding the controller on and no heat with temps dropping. Time to solder a new spade connector and wire on after shining up the leg of the element that failed. I'm glad the leg of the element wasn't wasted like the spade connector. Not quite one year on the original heating element connectors. Going to cover the new connection/joint in solder because the leg of the element may fail if I don't.
-Kurt
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmayna View Post
 

Though I really don't think it makes a difference, my MES40 was wired like your bottom pick, with the wire coming out of the right side connecting to the left side of the element.

 

You could simply slice through the heat shrink, remove it and work on the terminals.  Then apply new heat shrink and lightly hit with a torch to shrink it.

 

I can't believe how small the wires look in diameter for such a high heat application.     You might consider changing out the wire terminals themselves if the ones you have are not of steel.


Wires are small because they are nickel hi temp wire.

 

HT

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr K View Post

Two months after starting this thread the left bubbled shrink tubing connector in the first pic of this thread failed in my Mes 1 40". Just before my one year anniversary. Pretty disappointing. Thankfully I had a seasoned spare identical smoker I wheeled out within an hour of finding the controller on and no heat with temps dropping. Time to solder a new spade connector and wire on after shining up the leg of the element that failed. I'm glad the leg of the element wasn't wasted like the spade connector. Not quite one year on the original heating element connectors. Going to cover the new connection/joint in solder because the leg of the element may fail if I don't.
-Kurt

As you know a poor joint will cause a hot spot and cause the joint to fail. Since you soldered the joints that was not the problem That leads me to wonder if the heat shrink is of the low heat variety. There is a type that will work in hot environments. It is expensive but we would only use several inches at a time. Since MB used a cheap connector why would  we think they use a good or proper quality heat shrink. Just thinking.  Jted

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jted View Post

As you know a poor joint will cause a hot spot and cause the joint to fail. Since you soldered the joints that was not the problem That leads me to wonder if the heat shrink is of the low heat variety. There is a type that will work in hot environments. It is expensive but we would only use several inches at a time. Since MB used a cheap connector why would  we think they use a good or proper quality heat shrink. Just thinking.  Jted
I have never fixed anything on my Mes before. I've been researching heating element connection failures and have ordered 14 gauge Supco T1113 high heat flag connectors from Amazon. I will tin the wire and solder it to the flag but was wondering if then I should flux the entire joint (tab, flag exposed metal) and solder then coat with anti corrosion paste and shrink tube. Or just solder the tinned wire to the flag connect it to the tab, coat with anti corrosion paste and shrink tube.
-Kurt
post #14 of 18

Dr.K I suppose you could do either. But soldering the connector to the flag is somewhat permanent. I know you hope this is a permanent fix but one Never knows. When I did mine I didn't solder the connector to the flag. You will find the connector is a tight fit. That is a good thing.  Jted

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr K View Post


I have never fixed anything on my Mes before. I've been researching heating element connection failures and have ordered 14 gauge Supco T1113 high heat flag connectors from Amazon. I will tin the wire and solder it to the flag but was wondering if then I should flux the entire joint (tab, flag exposed metal) and solder then coat with anti corrosion paste and shrink tube. Or just solder the tinned wire to the flag connect it to the tab, coat with anti corrosion paste and shrink tube.
-Kurt
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jted View Post

Dr.K I suppose you could do either. But soldering the connector to the flag is somewhat permanent. I know you hope this is a permanent fix but one Never knows. When I did mine I didn't solder the connector to the flag. You will find the connector is a tight fit. That is a good thing.  Jted
Ok. These high temp flags that are coming from Amazon are 20 in a bag. I'll just tin the wire and solder to only the flag. Hopefully the element fails before the tag the flag attaches to does. These flags are open not a barrel to slide the wire into. So I guess you fold the tab over the wire and crimp to terminate (Supco T1113.) Thanks for your help.
-Kurt
post #16 of 18

Kurt,  I think you bought the same flag connectors as I did.   I tried to crimp the open end on the wire, but didn't get satisfactory grip on the wire, so went back and fluxed and soldered the wire to the connectors, then pushed the connectors on the heating element lugs. 

post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by barryvabeach View Post

Kurt,  I think you bought the same flag connectors as I did.   I tried to crimp the open end on the wire, but didn't get satisfactory grip on the wire, so went back and fluxed and soldered the wire to the connectors, then pushed the connectors on the heating element lugs. 
Thanks for the heads up. The hot wire lug is what burnt up and the neutral controls the circuit off of the other leg. When we checked the burnt exposed wire with just the unit plugged in but not calling for heat the volt meter was giving 120 to ground at the chassis. And nothing to the other neutral lug. My electrical engineer buddy was wanting to open the hole on the tab on the heating element to bolt on a barrel connection but I want to try the high heat connectors coming Friday. How long have you had your soldered fold over connector on your smoker? My other smoker heating element is wired opposite from this one. Same model. So much for consistency. My other one has a lot more lead wire to work with. I'm disappointed in my side by side comparison of identical smokers after exactly one year of use.
-Kurt
post #18 of 18

Kurt,  I have the original gen 1, with no access panel for the heating element, you have to drill out all the rivets,  but I bought it used just a short time ago.  I rewired it maybe 3 or 4 weeks ago as a precaution.

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