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Hello ... and MES 30 - electrical problem

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hello all ... I'm new to smoking and honestly am only getting involved because my brother is coming for a pig hunt and staying with me next month so I want to make a thing of it.  I posted a long message in the equipment forum earlier but it seems to have disappeared ... so if there ends up being a duplicate I apologize.


I live in Texas and am planning to do some simple Electric Smoking to start.  So ... I bought a brand new MES 30 (control panel mounted on back of top panel, Black with no window) ... FROM CRAIGSLIST ... yeah ... maybe not the best plan at this point but I'd rather not debate that yet ... :)


So the shorter version than my long post earlier ... I have this smoker .... I plugged it in and the controller came on.  I set it for 275 degrees and 3 hours for preseason.  I checked on it after a while and the heating element never came on.  So there is a problem.  Called the guy and got no response so my first thought was to take it apart ... (lol ... crazy i know.) .. I drilled the rivets and got into the back and bottom compartments and took a bunch of measurements that just confused me more.  Below is the measurements I took.  I'm hoping someone can lead me to some next steps in troubleshooting.  Also the Controller seems to work and the Red Heat Light is lit when it should be heating.  Also the relay clicks when the controller turns on(Not exactly a scientific measurement but gives some insight).


****Note ... Not going into all the details but after I took it apart without any changes ... I got the smoker to heat up to 275 one time.  It didn't stay there long and I have not been able to replicate that.  I tried several different outlets at my house.  :S


#1) I measured the resistance across the 2 Heating element leads.  I got ~17 ohms which is perfect for a 800-850 watt resistive heating element ... Also it is brand new ... not surprised


#2) Measured AC and DC voltages across the Terminals of heating element.  Got no results for DC so I'll ignore that for now.  For AC I read zero as well.  I then took a reading from the left terminal of the heating element and the ground(Smoker Chassis) and got 120 volts AC.  Same on the right terminal.  What the heck ... I have voltage on both sides but not current ... Where is it stuck ??? .... AHHHH .... Any thoughts? 


#3) The other thing I was curious about ... due to it heating up the one time was the thermal cut-off switch.  I thought maybe it was broken or had tripped the first time it heated up.  I did three things to verify.  a) Measured resistance across two terminals and it measured .2 ohms ... so that seems good.  b) Measured amperage to the cut-off ... not surprisingly it was zero.  c) I removed the leads from the cut-off and connected them directly, removing cut-off from circuit.  No results ... No heat to heating element.


I have access to the bottom panel with the relay etc ... but obviously can only measure certain things since it is coated in the white goo .. .


Anybody know what else I can try to troubleshoot?

post #2 of 24

Ok when the element is energized the circuit through it is complete and you should read zero volts, but as this is a load you will read a voltage of the difference due to resistance. When you test line to ground you read a voltage and that is potential energy.


Now you have potential energy on both element leads on an a/c circuit so the circuit is broken but not in the element. Bad wire or relay or safety.

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the quick response ... Agreed ...

Next question ... How do I test the relay? I only have access to the COM and N/O terminals ... Will those connect when the relay is triggered?

Any other suggestion on things that are in that same circuit to test? Already tested the thermal cutoff...
post #4 of 24

Your original thread......





Below is an old MES 30 electrical diagram....

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Yeah ... I found it ... Not sure if I should try to close that thread or how you guys want me to handle it. 😥

Another update here ... I called Master built this morning. They suggested it would need a new element ... They are sending on out to me ASAP.

I'll be replacing that once I get it and will provide an update here ...

Side note ... If I understand correctly that schematic you provided was actually drawn by a guy who modified his MES and that is the schematic for the changes he made. I read that thread ... I assume that it is very similar to the stock parts BUT ... I obviously don't have access to all of those connection points for testing ...

Crossing my fingers on the new heating element.
post #6 of 24
Originally Posted by beolson25 View Post

Yeah ... I found it ... 
What was it.....   can you share......

If I understand correctly that schematic you provided was actually drawn by a guy who modified his MES  ..  
Sorry...  I did not know that....  the schematic was provided to be by a fellow member about 5 years ago....    The remaining connections are under the floor of the MES on the lower left bottom... 
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks again for the reply.


I hope I don't come off as arrogant ... I just did my best to figure it out without bothering others first ... :) ... Obviously that didn't work out ... 


I did already access the small panel on the bottom but am currently avoiding removing the entire bottom panel(not sure why that is where I draw the line).  The small panel holding the circuit board is filled with that white insulation goo ... I guess if the heating element they send doesn't work that might be my next step...


I was thrilled to have that schematic ... It helped me with the troubleshooting I did do.

post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 

Oh ... ooops ... Didn't see your first question ... 



When I said "I found it" ... I was referring to the other open thread.  I had originally submitted one under the Electric Smoker Parts section of the forum.  I'll head over there now and see if I can delete that one since I'm getting responses here.

post #9 of 24

I think the element is good....   Same OHM reading as my element..     Below is a boat load of wiring diagrams...



post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 


I agree ... I think the element is good.  I'm happy about the conversation with Masterbuilt for several reasons.  


1) They are assisting even though I do not have a receipt.  

2) Worst that happens with the element is I have an extra ... :)

3) My hope is that if the element doesn't fix it that they will get me the parts that will fix it ... or offer me a REALLY good deal on a new one.  


I saw a lot of those diagrams but if you actually look at the links and pictures they end up not being for a smoker at all ... let alone being for my specific model.  I haven't found a good one for the model I have yet ... 

post #11 of 24

As far as looking at the schematics......  I'm pretty much illiterate when it come to electrical stuff....  Household 110 and 220....  OK....  anything else and I'm in trouble....

post #12 of 24

Now have you tested the leads while disconnected from the element. Test each lead to ground, one should show no potential if we are determining the element is not the problem.

Once you determine which lead has no potential you can hop to the next device in series.


Also try straight wiring the element. What can it hurt. Murder an extension cord connect to the element then plug into the wall. I only recommend this because you seem to have some electrical troubleshooting knowledge. I do think you are over thinking this as its going to be a fault with the controller or one of its controlling safeties. So take a step back have you a nice adult beverage... then kick the cat... take a nap.. then kick the cat again, and take another look at it.

post #13 of 24
Since you have measured 120 to ground on both sides of the element, bypassed the hi temp safety, the only thing left is the relay. It could be bad, relay contacts bad, or the circuit activating the relay bad.


post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 

I have some Romex(Standard in wall wiring) at home.  I was worried about doing that because I didn't want to break anything else.  Maybe I'll give that a try today.  





"So take a step back have you a nice adult beverage... then kick the cat... take a nap.. then kick the cat again, and take another look at it."     ---  LOL ... Awesome! 


I'm also making comments on the relay below ... Feel free to take a look since it also relates to your comment.



Thanks for the feedback.  It is certainly worth a try.

post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 

Yeah ... The Relay ... I'm worried that the relay might be bad because fixing it would be difficult due to the "White insulation" on the board.  :(


One thing I can say which I mentioned earlier in the original thread is that the relay does "CLICK" when the controller turns on.  That is usually a good sign but is very far away from a scientific measurement.


I don't know how I would fix this if it is truly a relay.



Do you or anyone know how to test the relay (Scientifically) with access only to the Com(Neutral/White wire from 120 Plug) and the N/O(Normally Open) contact on the relay?  Should there be a connection between those terminals when on/off?  If so I could do an Ohm test across.  I thought I did that but don't remember the results so I might be making it up in my head.




post #16 of 24

unplug the element completely. connect one of the element wires to your meter and the other element wire to you other meter lead. if you get 120 v the element circuit would be complete which would show the relay to be fine.


I edited this because my brain farted earlier.

Edited by Four20 - 2/22/16 at 2:57pm
post #17 of 24

If you are getting 110 to the element, then the problem is not in the relay, temp switch etc.  You should have 110 on both, it is AC current.

post #18 of 24
If you read 120 to ground on both sides of the element, there is no return path for the current flow. By the schematic, voltage is arriving at the element, passing trough it, and returns by way of the relay. If the relay is not closed, there is no way current can flow.

post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 


I'm hoping to test the relay tonight ... a bit busy during the week with 2 kids under 3 ... Will report results...


Thanks for all the support ... It's pretty amazing ...

post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 

Small update ... 


I don't think I'm going to get time to do these tests until the weekend.  I'll provide my feedback as soon as I get a chance.

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