Is it too cold to use?
The problem is a low temperature as measured by the probe on the back INSIDE of the MES. When I start a smoke on a cold day, I light a can of sterno in the water pan to pre-heat the interior of the smoker.
I have a small metal heater for under the desk that I plug in and warm up the thermometer inside the box. It gets warm enough and then the heating element kicks in. I let it warm up good and that helps really get it going. Us northerners need to do this for about 5 months when we prepare to smoke a day away and it is cold and dark when we start.
This is great advice for anything electrical esp. tv's, cable boxes, etc. Learned this from my son that was taught it in electronic school.
Also I have read that some put hot or boiling water before trying to preheat.
Mine has been giving me trouble for some time. I decided to try removing the screws for the controller, unplugging and replugging it and then put the screws back in. It must have been a bit of corrosion in the connector, because after I did this, the MES has been working fine. How long that will last, I don't know. Before, I could see the temperature readings all over the place, going from verly low to very high and back. Now the temperature readings are stable again and I don't get the EAAF error code. When it gets cold, I'll have to see if it still works.
ERR1 Error Code is caused by the thermistor indicating too hot a temperature. The thermistor is inside the small metallic tube a few inches from the inside top of the cooking box.
I had a 10K ohm potentiometer on hand so I used it to collect some information about the control electronics. After removing the thermistor from the circuit and placing the potentiometer
in the circuit, I was able to capture data on the system. I would set the potentiometer and then record what temperature the system was seeing.
From the graph, the thermistor appears to be 33K at 25 degrees C with a Beta value of 4200. (Thermistors are speced at 25C with a known Beta.)
The thermistor that I pulled from the unit at one point showed a resistance of 110 ohms and at another time 4.9K. It was clearly defective.
By the way, with the original thermistor in the circuit, we could not get the heating element to come on. The ERR1 error code would also appear.
However, when we installed the potentiometer, we could dial in the temperature simulating a working thermistor. With the pot in place, we then could get the
heating element to turn on.
We have ordered a replacement thermistor from DigiKey, part number 541-1205-ND. This is a Vishay part, part number 04T3302JF.
It may not fit in the original tube so we may have to create a replacement tube for the device.
The Digikey replacement part has brought this smoker back to life. The ERR1 code is gone.
The following chart plots the reading from the control unit vs the actual temperature taken with an infrared thermometer.
There is a 30F offset but this is easily overcome: the control unit reads 30F higher than the actual. If you wish to smoke at 210, set the temperature to 240.