ChainsawHi, I am a fairly new member with the same smoker that you have. I have shared this information with many on this post. I got (bought myself) an MES smoker back in June for a Father's day gift. I looked at cheaper ones and more expensive ones. Anyway, it failed after 5-6 smokes. Lucky for me it was under warranty (90 day) so after they sent me a duplicate electrical box that did not fix the problem, I got another unit, sans door, pan, racks,etc. The one I have now seems to work fine, but bear in mind the MES is electrically weak. There are many posts on here of members that went to extrordinary lengths (in my opinion, for a $200 smoker) re-wiring, etc. The whole reason we got an electric smoker was less hassle and constant temps. Anyway, the MES people told me to detach the box control and keep it inside to prevent exposure to moisture. I have faithfully done that, comments on this post notwithstanding (they did not think it was necessary).
I would encourage you to do the same. Many other members have commented that the wires that plug the unit in are not robust enough to continually plug & unplug, however unless you are comercially using this unit I see no validity to that argument. We have fairly mild winters here in OK, so if the temp control is a weak point I will continue to bring it in the house. Several other members that own this unit reported doing this as well. I bought a Weber grill cover that works well for not too much. I am anxious to see how the unit comes up to temp in winter. It runs about 10-15 degrees hoter than it says, based on a digital temp probe I got at China Mart.