Thanks. I was just curious about the smoke ring. I thought about it once for about 15 seconds but never worried about it personally. I have heard a few folks say they get them with electrics,I was just curious is you had some method for producing one. Just curiosity.
As for wood, I have been using the AMNPS, but of late I have had some issues with keeping it lit. I find them to be very sensitive to humidity and we have it in spades here in the Houston area (just like everywhere else on the Gulf Coast). In fact if it is raining I don't even bother anymore. And yes I have tried everything suggested here and the only thing that works is to bake them for an hour or so. That is counter to what I am after with my Smokin-It electric since that means I have to add another step and as stated in my post above, I am an incredibly lazy smoker. I have gone back to using Fruitawood, which I highly recommend.
I have noticed a contributing factor also for the pellets is whether or not the meat has been rubbed the night before. When I rub the night before the salt draws out some excess moisture. If I don't rub the night before, I find the meat renders lots of water and causes a lot of steaming in the smoker contributing to the the pellets staying lit, or so I hypothesize. Sometimes it even inhibits the ability of the smoker get above the 225* mark for the first 60-90 minutes. I still get good bark but it is a tad better if the meat is purged of its excess moisture by rubbing and a refer nap overnight.
I have an AMNPS and an AMNTS and I only use them for cold smoking and they work great for this application. I don't see the point in using them for traditional smokes. For regular smokes, I use chunks, chips, pellets, or a combination in my standard smoke box. Using the combo method gives a nice long extended smoke with no worries about whether it will stay lit or not. For some smokers the A-MAZE-N smokers have a bigger place. But, my opinion is that they are best used for cold smoking with the Smokin-It / CookShack style smokers.