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Rebuilding 1st Gen MES

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for advice on rebuilding my MES. I've had to solder connections to the heating element before, but now the element is toast. My Father In Law gave me his MES for parts, so I plan on using his element. I've read a couple of posts about PID's, and I'm wondering if anyone has used this


Thanks in advance

post #2 of 19

The unit in your link had a max temp setting of 210°F.


Will you be able to adapt you recipes to work at that temp?





post #3 of 19
I have a pid on a MES gen 1 40". Love it got mine from Aurbers.
post #4 of 19

I would love to see your hack...  Wiring, mounting, etc...  Look at this setup, too bad there aren't any details:

post #5 of 19




I just finished rewiring a MES 40 with a PID.   I looked at every pre wired controller I could find on Amazon, like the one you linked, and none were high enough amps and went to high enough temps.   I went with the MYPIN TA4, I think this is the link to a pdf of English manual.    note that you need the one with the last 3 letters SNR  -  which means it will send a signal to an SSR.    It comes with a k thermocouple


  I got this SSR and heat sink, which comes with the screws, but you will also want some paste to apply between the heat sink and the SSR


I also bought a power switch, and a fuse holder  ( I picked up the fuses from Home Depot ).    I made a box for the PID out of wood, and cut up a heavy duty extension cord to use as the plug and outlet, so the MES plugs into the female outlet, and the male end of the extension cord plugs into the wall.   All in all, it was not that hard, though I did not realize that the SSR is powered by DC, so you have to get the polarity from the PID to the SSR  right to make it work.  


The big LED is because I couldn't a smaller one that was cheaper.


I wanted to take the PID off the MES when I wasn't using it, so I took apart the original control box and reused that quick disconnect connector to wire to the PID and the wired the thermocouple to the other end of the quick disconnect, and thread it through the hole where the wire went through to get to the original controller. I attached a photo, not sure how clear it is.  


If you go this route,   I suggest you rewire the MES so the power goes through the thermal bypass switch, and not directly to the heating element, that way, if something goes wrong, it will shut off, not overheat.   If you have any questions, I had a million till I did searching on this site, let me know. 

Edited by barryvabeach - 5/5/16 at 6:17pm
post #6 of 19
With the aubers all I did was wire through the over heat senser and on one leg and direct to the heating element on the other one used a heavy S/O card the smoker plugs into the PID and the PID plugs into the outlet. So it can be removed from the smoker when not in use. Did away with all the MES wiring I looked into building a PID and found that getting one already built did not cost much more
post #7 of 19

Hello, thanks for the details.  Where did you find the thermal switch's leads and what did you wire them?  Is it on the element or control?  I'm a little confused because when I stripped the MES, I can see the wires to the element and of course the built in thermocouple.  I see the thermal switch physically inside the cabinet next to the thermocouple but don't know where it is is in the circuit.

post #8 of 19

I went from inside the control box under the MES .   You drill out the pop rivets.  The way it is wired from the factory, one white wire comes from the 120 volt plug, and goes into the control board, and one black wire as well.  There are two black wires that go out - one goes to the thermal switch, and from there to one end of the heating element, the other goes straight to the other end of the heating element.   the sixth picture down on this page shows the original wiring on the back of the MES, and you can see that one black wire comes from the control box, goes up to the thermal, then comes back to the element,    The last photo shows the control board where you would want to do the splicing.  Use a volt meter in Ohms settings, and find the black and white wires that  come from the 120 plug.  In that photo it is the two wires with a vinyl jacket, since he has replaced the others, you can't use the colors in that photo as a guide.  Then either using the tug and see method ( tug the wire from the heating element and try to ID in the control box), or use a VOM meter, splice the wire from the heating element to the white wire from the plug, and splice the black wire to the one that goes to the switch.  I cut off the existing connectors and used  butt splice connectors  , you could use wire nuts instead.  

post #9 of 19

Thanks for the details.  I also went through the page with the wiring upgrade instructions and looked at the pictures.  Mine has a different controller board.  It has comm. wires for the digital display and led light.  The connections to the hot and the relay are similar but as far as I can tell, they are straight runs to the element.  I can see a thermal pop switch inside the cabinet but it is right next to the thermocouple and I cant figure out how it interrupts the heating element.  The thermocouple connects to the lower board also.  Since I used the same two leads to the element, I have to think the thermal switch is still in the circuit.  I don't want to remove the back.  Anyway, I stripped out the bad controller board hard wired the element to an oven thermostat which turns out to be very much less expensive and easier to install as compared to a PID controller with an SSR relay (programming and such).  I am wondering why no one else has taken this approach?  I am getting great temp. control.  Anyway, thanks again.

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 

Geez, just noticed the temp limit after reading your post. Another bonus to joining this forum.

post #11 of 19

It seems like most of the prewired ones are for a totally different application, and the upper temp limit was a problem.  IIRC,  I found a bunch with an upper limit of around 90 F, which would take a really long time to smoke .:icon_lol:

post #12 of 19
you guys missed my point - oven thermostat. 30-110 celsius, I'm getting perfect 250 degrees and it cycles perfectly for max smoke. here is a picture, I even added a little indicator lamp to show me when the element is on.
post #13 of 19

Bklynboy,  I don't see a photo, but you might want to post a link to your thermostat.  Many thermostats allow a very wide cycle -   25 above and 25 below are not uncommon.  While many would argue that so long as the average is set, that amount of cycling won't matter for smoking, others want a narrow window, and thus go for a PID, since the cost of the controller is only about $20,  add in a SSR and heat sink for under $10, and it isn't much more than buying a thermostat.  The rest of the expense in wiring, switches, etc, should be about the same.

post #14 of 19
post #15 of 19
post #16 of 19

Sorry about the multiple posts, but to your point about temp control, the oven thermostat cycling is actually a bonus as it produces more smoke than the PID.  The tight control and fast cycling of the element may actually limit its ability to get the wood going...

Edited by Bklynboy88 - 5/14/16 at 6:22am
post #17 of 19
Originally Posted by Bklynboy88 View Post

Here is a link on ebay, or search oven thermostat 30-110.



110°C = 230°F is almost warm enough to suit me. But I want to be close to 300°F.


Please note there is a rule on this site rule against posting off site links. 



post #18 of 19
Originally Posted by Bklynboy88 View Post

but to your point about temp control, the oven thermostat cycling is actually a bonus as it produces more smoke than the PID.  The tight control and fast cycling of the element may actually limit its ability to get the wood going...

I agree when you control when the temperature is very tightly controlled there is a good chance the heating element will never be energized long to get hot enough to burn the wood chips.


Most PID will have settings for how tight the temp is controlled.



post #19 of 19

I saw others posting many links to Amazon, etc...  I was actually asked to post it.  ARE YOU THE MODERATOR?

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