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Barely avoided disaster?

noggin

Fire Starter
58
11
Joined Dec 27, 2013
I went out to smoke some ribs today and found a hole burned up through my hopper. I imagine that this wasn't a flame, just a smoldering, else it would have completely burned up. The paint on top of the hopper lid is damaged as well as much of the paint inside the hopper. I contacted the MFR back in February because I found charred pellets in the auger at the bottom of the hopper and there was large amounts of smoke coming from the hopper during the cook. I checked everything they asked me to check and it was fine. We couldn't figure out what was happening, but I eventually settled on it being wind blowing in through the chimney. I was never quite satisfied about the wind being the cause of the charred pellets in the bottom of the hopper though.

Today, I found the attached picture. Any thoughts on what can cause this?
 

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noggin

Fire Starter
58
11
Joined Dec 27, 2013
That was intentional. If the response is overwhelmingly that I am a moron because I should empty the hopper immediately after every use, then I wouldn't want to name shame them.
 

bigfurmn

Meat Mopper
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Joined Feb 25, 2016
I have had a back burn in my auger tube but not that far. I'd imagine the wind might have calmed and the fire went out on its own. As far as emptying the hopper... Might stop the fire from growing but the back burn in the tube would still be there.
 

Fueling Around

Smoking Fanatic
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Not a moron in my eyes of what you related.
Your pooper manufacturer is not stepping up and offering better user instructions or admitting they have a defective product.

I don't empty my hopper after a cook nor should you with proper use.

I follow rules and shut off the pellet feed (turn heat knob to off) and let it go through the shutdown fan cycle to burn out the pellets in the cup.

Son in law had a burn up the tube on his Cabela's (Pit Boss). They sent him a new auger motor.

Burning up the tube into the hopper is either a fan failure or an auger motor failure.

Screw blaming it on the "wind".
The forced induction fan in the pooper should be more than most nature made winds.
 

forktender

Master of the Pit
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noggin noggin
After their response I'd be posting up their brand name along with the picture that you posted on every BBQ and Smoking forum that I could think of. That could've been horrible if you were inside taking a nap, watching a game or making up some salads. Send them a link to this thread, so they can see how their response sits with people that likely have many more years standing over a cooker than they will likely ever have. I don't have any room in my life for B.S. and that is exactly what they are feeding you, a line of B.S. There is no way in hell that the wind could do that unless it was blowing 50 mph straight down the exhaust stack.

How windy was it?

How do you have your stack hood adjusted ?

1/4" to 1/2'' gap between the bottom of the wind/rain cap cone and the stack pipe?

Or is/was the bottom of stack cap cone 100% above the stack pipe?

If so by how much?

Let me know the answers to my questions and I might have a simple fix for you.

I hope they resolve the problems for you having a pit that you can't trust really sucks Bore's balls.

Best of luck to you.
Dan
 

noggin

Fire Starter
58
11
Joined Dec 27, 2013
Send them a link to this thread, so they can see how their response sits with people that likely have many more years standing over a cooker than they will likely ever have.
Emphasis mine.

They didn't blow me off by simply saying, "It's the wind." We went back and forth through several emails with them asking me to check to ensure a couple of things were working. We ultimately couldn't determine the issue. During the troubleshooting process, I recorded several videos. Here are two of them:

After 240 views of this thread, no one has pointed out anything totally obvious to this being caused by me. So, the MFR is GMG. During my troubleshooting process with them, I took some videos (linked above). A week or so after taking those videos, I checked the weather for that day. Wind was gusting up to 20 MPH. The smoke wasn't always blowing back through the hopper, just sometimes. I thought that maybe it was the wind, offered that as a solution to them. They didn't tell me I was wrong.

Here's something they told me in an email:
Chimney Cap: If I see any air flow troubles, I always raise the chimney cap all the way up.

Hopper Lid: If your hopper lid doesn't sit totally flush on top of the hopper box, the pressure from the hopper fan can be lost. An easy test for this is running two sheets of tin foil over your hopper to make a temporary air tight seal, closing your lid over that, and running the grill to see if you have smoke that comes out of your hopper.

Combustion Fan: If pellets or debris fall through the burn pot and damage your combustion fan, or if your combustion fan just doesn't spin freely inside of the housing, the lack of oxygen will let the fire travel into your auger.

Hopper Fan: While the fans are running, you can open your hopper lid and put your hands over the vents that the hopper fan blows through. You should feel air flow into the hopper from those vents.

Burn Pot: Must be clear

Pellet Dump Door: (if you have one) must be securely closed down. Often it doesn't get pushed all the way down and leaves a gap which lets out pressure from the hopper fan. if not slid down all the way it can have the same effect as an open hopper lid not being shut.
My chimney cap is all the way up. Honestly, I'd figure that you'd want it down to keep wind out. Better yet, I'm thinking an angled piece of metal would be better. Something you can rotate so that wind can't blow into it. Better than that would be a cap on a bearing that rotates with the wind automatically. These auto-rotating caps are available for vent tubes from house attics, wish we had one for smokers.

Hopper lid is closed.

Hopper fan is working. I watched it from under the hopper.

Combustion fan runs.

Burn pot was vacuumed out before taking those videos above. I vacuum it typically every other time I use the smoker for short cooks, like ribs. For butts and briskets, I'll vacuum it every time I use it.

Maybe there's a partial blockage in the auger tube? Like some wood dust stuck to the auger? Maybe some pellet dust was in the tube and acted like a fuse and burned back up to the hopper? From the videos, it seems like the combustion fan blows far more strongly than the hopper fan, like it is forcing backflow. I do have a crappy homemade downdraft in the smoker. It's just a 3" pipe with a 90 degree bend that goes down to the grill grate. I've been considering removing it. I'll toss it now.
 

bdskelly

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Very interesting read Gents. Ive not experienced this with my RT700... But could certainly see how it might happen. Heck given enough fire and Jack Danials ANYTHING could happen in my backyard. By design these poopers do not seal very well. Enough wind and enough smoldering pellets could cause problems. After use and some cool down I typically roll mine under a covered patio next to the black door. I’ll think twice about that now! B
 

texomakid

Smoking Fanatic
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Joined Aug 6, 2017
I've run a ton of pellets though my rig and I NEVER clean the hopper out after cooking. I've left basically everything from over 10# of pellets to darn near empty and this has never happened (yet). I do have a question regarding your grill. My Yoder 640 has a for sure positive pressure with the door closed - it blows a pretty strong amount of air out of the exhaust. In my case, I can't see how wind would every affect the pellets in the auger on my unit. I know there are a lot of variable to consider but does your cooker "blow"? Don't most all pellet cookers have fans and work off this same concept that creates positive pressure? It would take a LOT of wind to blow back through my cooker.
 

noggin

Fire Starter
58
11
Joined Dec 27, 2013
There are two fans that affect air flow in the GMG. One is underneath the fire box and blows pretty strongly right into the bottom of the smoker. The other is in the hopper and also blows from under the hopper, through the hopper, into the firebox, and into the smoker. Those fans run simultaneously.

I had a homemade downdraft pipe that I've removed. I haven't done another smoke yet to see if this resolved the issue since removing the downdraft, but will report back when I do.
 

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