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AMNPS caught fire in my MES 30 and now it won't heat above 100 degrees. Can I repair or is it a gone

aggie06

Newbie
2
10
Joined Sep 18, 2015
Hey all,

My AMNPS caught fire (all of the pellets) and burned in my smoker for I'm not sure how long -- somewhere under 15 minutes. I pulled it out and then noticed that smoke was seeping out of the back panel near the edge (about 3/4 the way up) and it had a metallic/electric smell to it...

Once that stopped, I started it back up again and monitored it, waiting for it to get the temp back up, but it never got past around 100 degrees. It was in the 50s outside so the element was definitely heating, just not enough. Also, the red heating LED stayed lit, so I don't think it was the temp sensor malfunctioning and making it stop too soon. If the heating element was completely toast, would it be heating at all -- even to 100 deg?

I pulled off the small back panel w/6 screws and the wires didn't show any damage there, but I'm not sure how to check in the section where the smoke was coming from... is there anything up in there anyway? I'd like to find a picture of the unit with the back panel off or a diagram, but Google is failing me.

Not my original pic, but the red circle shows where the inside got pretty badly scorched by the fire. Towards the top of the circle on the back side is where the smoke was coming from.


I've found several threads in the forum with people discussing electrical issues, but I'm not sure how to diagnose mine and I'm not terribly handy when it comes to this sort of thing so I'd really need to see pictures with step-by-step on how to go about it.

Pretty bummed about the whole thing and would hate to have to completely replace it. Any help would be much appreciated.
 

dward51

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
2,864
530
Joined Nov 24, 2011
The MES should have a thermal limiter switch which is a safety device.  It trips when the temp gets over that devices set point, like in a grease fire, and shuts down the flow of electricity to the heating element.  Normally most limiters will auto-reset once the temp cools down, but there are some that are "one shot" and have to be replaced after tripping.  I'm not sure if the MES uses this type.  The "heat" light would be on as the controller is trying to heat the element, but the current would be blocked at the limiter if it is tripped, so what you describe fits.  Good news is, it can be replace if you have a little bit of electrical ability.

I know I've seen threads in SMF about replacing the limiter and other electric parts, but I'm not seeing them in a search today.  I suspect Bearcarver will chime in shortly as he has a lot of info on the MES smokers.

Edit---------

I found some photos of the back off of a MES, may not be the same generation as yours but it should give you an idea.

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/89886/mes-wiring-upgrade-mod

This is the back of the MES, limiter switch is the one at the top right.


This is the limiter with the cover removed.


If you have a multi-meter, you can test your limiter to see if it's bad.  WITH THE MES TOTALLY UNPLUGGED FROM ALL POWER, use a pair of pliers to wiggle one of the wires off of one of the terminals on the limiter.  Then place the multi-meter in continuity test mode (or Ohms if you don't have a "beep" for continuity option).  You should see continuity or "0" ohms across the two terminal of the limiter.  When the temp is below the limiter's set trip point, it acts like a piece of wire and lets the current flow through to the element, but when the temp goes over the set point, it opens stopping the flow of electricity to the element.  It could be stuck "open" or a "one shot" type of limiter.  If the multi-meter does not show continuity across this switch, it's bad and needs to be replaced. 
 
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