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Can anyone verify if Masterbuilt definitely has a new Manufacturer?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Have read the threads here about the wiring problems with the Masterbuilt 30".....I have the same problem with my 2 1/2 year old Masterbuilt. I called Tanya at Masterbuilt yesterday hoping to find a solution, here's what she told me:

She said that I could buy a new 'Body' for the smoker, for about $100....$70 plus about $30 shipping. She said the new 'Body' has new wiring and a new heating element. She said they've changed Manufacturers, but stopped far short of saying that the wiring was better, so I'm assuming it's probably not.....

I'm wondering if anyone has bought one of these new 'Bodies', and if anyone can verify if it has beefed up wiring? I don't want to spend $100 just to find out it's the same story.....

It's a little concerning that Masterbuilt is so confident about their product, that they will only offer a 90 day warranty....doesn't speak well for the product. Wal-Mart has new ones for about $219, but it seems to be one of the few products that they don't offer an extended warranty on...otherwise I would just get a new one from them. (Maybe they know better????) Sam's has the extended warranty available on theirs, but you're in for almost $400 by the time it's all said and done....

It stinks, I really like the 30" Masterbuilt (Along with the price!), but not too happy with the issues and the very short Warranty. Mine has been down a good part of the past year with wire burning up problems.

In defense of Masterbuilt, they did send me a new door (apparently another ongoing problem with their smoker!!), long after the Warranty had expired.....
post #2 of 16
Call Kim here. 706-256-3942 direct, tell her Ron sent ya.
Or email here @kruonavaara@masterbuilt.com

Slower response.
post #3 of 16
1st each of us are different with different skills and backgrounds.
So my reply may not apply to you. I have a few years of electronic and electrical background so I'm not concerned about the MES failing electrically.

2 1/2 years isn't very long for a product to operate then fail. Masterbuilt may not be the best vault smoker, but we all like the price and the design, and shelled out the bucks. Personally I decided if the MES failed I would at least have a great little smoker box and could easily mod it to work. BTW to get a similar Stainless Steel (I have the 40" from Sam's) cabinet double walled with insulation from a sheetmetal shop would cost over $400 thats just the cabinet.

For less than a new walmart MES 30" $219, do the following:

• Install all new wiring, heavier gauge, there is examples on this forum.
• Install new PID digital controller (far better than the MES controller)
• Install new heat element, your element is 650 whats, get the 800 watt element used in the stainless model, or find a 800 watt online.
*When my wiring or element goes I will replace the 800 watt with a 1000 watt, or possibly a 800 plus a 400 watt setup for 2 stage fast recovery, the 400 will drop out when set temp is reached, and only comes back in when more than 20 deg off.
• You can even add multiple sensors.
• Add smoke daddy.
You may have spent $150 so far...
You will have a serious good electric smoker.
post #4 of 16
JR.S, even without any background in electronics you can most likely fix your wiring problem for less than $10.

I picked up a lot of wires for free by visiting an appliance store who did repairs. They had a couple of electric ranges out back for disposal. I got a mess of high temp wires and terminals

I replaced the wires and terminals that are most vulnerable even though I didn't have a problem. Just took a proactive approach to the problem. I thought the wires on the MES were poor guage but I measured them with a micrometer and they are 14 guage which ain't bad. The termainals are an issue and the amount of slack is an issue. In a couple of hours, yeah I'm slow, I rewired the MES. Even before doing that I had poped those rivits off the back and replaced them with stainless screws so I would have easy access should I need it. It also allows you to do visual inspections on occasion. Not a bad thing to do every once in a while, just to be sure.


You can't beat the price of the MES for an electric vault smoker with digital controls but you get what you pay for. It's not a Cookshack which is built like a tank. With a little effort and very little money you should be able to reduce the chance of electircal failure.
post #5 of 16
I have also replaced my terminals with new ones. Pretty easy fix, I thought. Since then, I have not had any problems.
post #6 of 16

MES wiring

I am an electrician and if i have to open the back of my MES then i will replace all the wiring w/ at least 12 Ga. wiring and hi temp fork terminals. that way i should only have to do it once.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
I've actually decided to pick up the Masterbuilt with the glass window at Sam's Club this weekend, and purchase the extra warranty with it.

For future reference, anyone buying a Masterbuilt 30" at Lowe's or Wal Mart (Or any other retailer for that matter...), you can get a 3 year Warranty from SquareTrade for $40.00. The guy even said that because of the size of the Smoker, the Warranty is an 'In Home' repair. It would be well worth $40, because IT WILL break down within 3 years....

After you buy it, just go to Squaretrade dot com and get the Warranty....very cool.
post #8 of 16
Hi, this is Kim that Ron refers to in an earlier post. Yes, all of the smokers are coming from a different factory. The original factory has gone out of business.... Which is why there is a hold time on some of the bodies. They had to ordered and built by the new factory and shipped over. The warranty is an longer than most industry standards which are 30 days. If you explain the situation or call right when the problem occurs they will usually extend the warranty up to a year. icon_mrgreen.gif
post #9 of 16
Thanks a lot for this info Kim....

Hopefully Masterbuilt made a few modification to improve the models coming from the new Mfg.

Whoever is telling people to take the digital control off and store in the house is one that needs to get fixed. Simple epoxy the module to seal from water and humidity. For sure the connector will be failing for those who are falling this advice, since that connector was designed for only a few disconnect/reconnects.

It would be better to have two sensors (upper mid/ lower rack) that averages temp than to have the glass door. The glass door is just another thing to fail, or lose seal after a couple of years of use.

Kim you are now on to better things, and listening to our MES rants isn't in your job description any more.... ....icon_wink.gif

I guess Masterbuilt must have drove a hard bargain. Or the US dollar faded while the chinese company was holding a ton of Masterbuilt IOUs waiting to get paid with a dollar that was worth 30% less, or slightly less than the margin of profit the chinese maker was suppose to earn.
post #10 of 16
As some of you from the chatroom already know my MES went out on me while trying to preheat Friday night.

I emailed them over the weekend and I had a response from Jennifer this morning. She asked that I call with model and serial number information.

I spoke with her about the issue, which she thought to be either the heating element and the wiring. She asked when and where I got the unit, which I was not quite sure of. I knew I got it from Cabela's about a year ago, that was it.

Long story short the new body is on the way and I will be back up and smoking in less than a week. I am in the IT industry and let me tell you I almost never deal with customer service that is as friendly or helpful as Masterbuilt. PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif I will definitely keep recommending it to friends and family.

Also, they said it would be best if I stored the heating unit indoors when not using the smoker. Although, if it breaks it's only $25 to fix it.
post #11 of 16

Masterbuilt Controller

My digital controller just failed for the second time. The first one was covered on warranty, no prob. The controller is still usable because it is the same display issue and readings are still possible with poking and nudging.

This time the new controller is on me. Are there any good after market upgrades? I like the digital one mentioned above (easy to read) but am somewhat handicapped on the electrical skills.

Don't get me wrong, not bashing the Masterbuilt. This is an awesome unit. It's amazing how much smoke you get from a few chips. Mostly Hickory and a little mesquite (some times apple or cherry) MMMmmmmmm.

post #12 of 16
Bogview the auberins unit for a smoker is a plug and play device. Insert the temp probe in your smoker and plug the smoker into the device. Set the temp and you back in business. The cost is the only issue since the device for a smoker runs $139

post #13 of 16
Thanks Scubadoo, This is an expensive fix. But if it is a final solution then it is probably worth it. Plug and play is the way to go for me.

On the 4 prong connector going to the original controller, Do the the red and black wires get soldered to make an "always on" condition for the new controller to take over?

post #14 of 16
Bogview are you asking about connecting the original conroller into the auberins? If so, it's even more simple than that. You by pass your original controller and plug your MES power cord in to the auberin device and plug the device into the wall socket. Just that simple. Now the auberins PID controller is controlling the temperature in you smoker.

Unlike your current controller which acts like an oven turning your element on and off the auberins will vary the power to the element so you have a constant temperature. No highs and lows.

This is the precision that is needed for sous vide cooking.

The device for the smoker model "has a 6-step programmable temperatures function. It can set each step of smoking to different temperatures and duration. The duration of each step can be set from 0.1 hour to 99.9 hour. This function is useful for recipes that need to start at low temperatures and finish at higher temperatures." This is a great feature and makes spending the extra dough on controller less painful.
post #15 of 16
Y'know, I'm seriously thinking that it might be time for a cookshack. By the time I get the new controller with shipping it's $165. Nice chunk towards the keeper and I think my wife is sufficiently addicted. After investing more into the masterbuilt, I'll still end up dealing with the element wiring at some point as well.

The question was about disabling and wiring around the old masterbuilt controller. What do you have to do to the four wires in the controller connecter to put it in direct drive and enable the new controller? I still have the other broken controller and could use the plug and wire from it.

post #16 of 16
Curtis, I hear you loud and clear. If I wasn't strapped for cash when I bought my MES I would have gone a head and picked up a Cookshack. They are built like a tank and very well made. I really wanted to also see how much I would use a smoker. I had an electric bullet smoker years ago but didn't use it. It was too hard to maintain temperature and it rusted out over a few years. I am finding that I am using the MES often. At least a couple of times a month.

The Shacks have gotten better. When I was first thinking about them they had 14" racks like the MES. Now they have widened them so you can do a full rack of ribs. I had to cut a large side of salmon last week to cold smoke it in the MES.
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