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Cabela's Pellet Smoker 'Flame out' (Camp Chef DLX)

wklkjn

Smoke Blower
77
41
Joined Jun 29, 2016
HI. I've moved on from my Master Built propane smoker which had finally started to 'rot out' from rust - not the smoker's fault, I just didn't take good care of covering it when I should have.
So I really liked to options of the Camp Chef and found out that the Cabela's smoker for $549 is the exact same pellet smoker as the Camp Chef DLX for $699. Picked it up at Cabela's and I really like it - except for one thing. Flame outs!

I've done 7 smokes so far, using the 'Cookin Pellets' competetion blend. My first bag of pellets was a Camp Chef bag that I bought when I got the smoker, then I ordered the Cookin Pellets.
The ash cup is clean, the grill is literally brand new, and i haven't exposed the pellets or the grill to any kind of moisture. With that said, I've been using the 'high smoke' setting along with putting it up to maybe 275 to 300 for chicken.

I've had 4 flame outs already. After the first one, I called Camp Chef, and customr service only explained that it's something that happens "once in a while" with pellet smokers because apparently, the pellets can 'bridge' and create an air pocket around the hot probe, or in the auger itself. I don't know. I guess it made sense, but now after 3 more flame outs, I'm getting a little frustrated.

I was really looking forward to starting long smokes for briskets in the evening and let it run overnight - of course, in a safe area. There's no way I can do that and get up in the morning to find out the darn thing went out 6 hours ago!

So, I'm going to open it up and look at everything although I don't really know what I'm looking for. I've Googled this issue and it doesn't seem to be common because I haven't found much info on it.

Anyone have any advice?
No smart ass remarks about buying something else please. It's frustrating enough dropping $600+ and it doesn't work right. I don't need any salt rubbed in. I save that for the meat!
:)

Thanks everyone.
 

zerowin

Meat Mopper
231
95
Joined Jun 9, 2017
I have an STX and have cooked on mine almost every weekend since fathers day and only had one flame out warning. It did happen recently, and I noticed the temp was actually running lower than normal, and I found a few posts recommending to clean the temp probe down to shiny metal, removing any carbon build up, and that seemed to solve all the irregularities for me. That can cause flame outs if the probe isn't sensing temperature correctly and feeds too many pellets to attempt to reach the set temperature. If your's is fairly new though, a hot rod performing incorrectly, or any problems in the controller could also be the problem, so I'd call CC back and get them troubleshooting a little further. I've heard nothing but good things about their customer service, even though I've never needed them, but I've also seen a good number of people that had controller failures very early on after getting their grills. Good luck with it for sure!
 

bregent

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Joined Mar 1, 2014
Unfortunately, I had the same problem with my DLX and CC was never able to resolve. The flame-outs were always preceded by extreme temperature swings. I watched the hopper closely during these events and there was no pellet bridging. CC send me replacement parts for everything, and new bags of their pellets but nothing resolved the issue. In speaking with other CC owners, a few things came to mind. A leak anywhere the air channel between the fan and the firepot might cause this, so check if there are any cracks. And, unlikely as it sounds, one owner stated his problem started after he added a gasket around the lid. One other person suggested the same thing happened to him. I also added a gasket on my DLX, but don't recall whether the problem started before or after that. Did you seal the lid or make any other mods?

The DLX controller is a simple timer controller and easy to test - just measure the duty cycle. That is, measure the time the auger runs when the grill is above setpoint, and when it is below setpoint. I'll dig up the numbers and verify what they are. And check if the grill temp displayed matches a 3rd party thermometer. If those things check out, then it's unlikely that replacing the RTD and controller will help.

I highly doubt a dirty RTD can cause this issue. A few microns of residue will not substantially alter the way a RTD will sense temperature. I haven't cleaned the RTD on my new grill in over 2 years and never had a problem. And it's not the hot rod - that's only used during initially start up.

Good luck
 

wklkjn

Smoke Blower
77
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Joined Jun 29, 2016
Thanks for the reply. Very good information.
To answer your question, I have not added a gasket to the lid.
I've sent a request to CC, I'll post the results of that conversation.
I'll also check for leaks in the air chamber, but I did the same thing you did - that is, I took off the heat diffuser and the top grease tray and watched the burn cycle for half an hour. It did seem to me like the amount of pellets in the auger that were dropping were not consistent. Seemed like at times, it had a full amount of pellets drop and then at other times, there were only a few. Maybe I'll remove all the pellets and make sure everything is clean and open down in the hopper, although I can't imagine why it wouldn't be.

One thing I was surprised at. When I took off the heat diffuser plate and looked down at the bottom of the smoker, I was surprised at how much ash residue was all over the bottom of the smoker. It was a fingernail thick all along the rod that moves the bottom of the fire box container, and the full 22" length of the smoke chamber everywhere. I used the shop vac to vacuum it up, but I had no idea this would happen. Does that give some kind of clue that something's wrong if I have that much burned ash outside the main fire pot?

Thanks!
 

zerowin

Meat Mopper
231
95
Joined Jun 9, 2017
Thanks for the reply. Very good information.
To answer your question, I have not added a gasket to the lid.
I've sent a request to CC, I'll post the results of that conversation.
I'll also check for leaks in the air chamber, but I did the same thing you did - that is, I took off the heat diffuser and the top grease tray and watched the burn cycle for half an hour. It did seem to me like the amount of pellets in the auger that were dropping were not consistent. Seemed like at times, it had a full amount of pellets drop and then at other times, there were only a few. Maybe I'll remove all the pellets and make sure everything is clean and open down in the hopper, although I can't imagine why it wouldn't be.

One thing I was surprised at. When I took off the heat diffuser plate and looked down at the bottom of the smoker, I was surprised at how much ash residue was all over the bottom of the smoker. It was a fingernail thick all along the rod that moves the bottom of the fire box container, and the full 22" length of the smoke chamber everywhere. I used the shop vac to vacuum it up, but I had no idea this would happen. Does that give some kind of clue that something's wrong if I have that much burned ash outside the main fire pot?

Thanks!
The ash is normal, I vacuum mine every three or four cooks, as the blower fan does spread it around the bottom of the cook chamber some. I never have a problem with it reaching food with the drip pan and diffuser in place. I've actually caught hell from the wife for ruining her furniture attachment on the grill, heh. I can't say much about how it performed if you watched it with the lid open and with the pan and plate off, as it would have been fighting to come up to temp in a closed grill with no way for it to do so. Did you have any problems with temp swings much more than the 12 or so degrees mentioned in the manual? CC should help you with testing to narrow down where the problem is when they get back to you.
 

wklkjn

Smoke Blower
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41
Joined Jun 29, 2016
Camp Chef talked to me yesterday. Customer service was very helpful. About the seal around the lid - she said not to do it. She said that smoke that leaks out around the lid actually helps to circulate the smoke through the smoking chamber, and if you seal it off too tight, you can get a 'blast' when the smoke gets too thick and actually can ignite.

Also, they are sending me a new controller and temperature probe to replace under warranty. Very nice.

I'll keep everyone updated on the progress.
I did a smoke last night for 3 hours at 225 with no problems.
Funny how that happens.
 

MNsmoke

Newbie
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Joined Jun 18, 2018
Camp Chef talked to me yesterday. Customer service was very helpful. About the seal around the lid - she said not to do it. She said that smoke that leaks out around the lid actually helps to circulate the smoke through the smoking chamber, and if you seal it off too tight, you can get a 'blast' when the smoke gets too thick and actually can ignite.

Also, they are sending me a new controller and temperature probe to replace under warranty. Very nice.

I'll keep everyone updated on the progress.
I did a smoke last night for 3 hours at 225 with no problems.
Funny how that happens.
Have you had any additional problems? I bought the same grill last fall and I'm having a lot of flame out issues especially at low smoke, 175, and 200 settings. Thought I'd see if the new parts worked before I take the same route. Did you need to contact cabela's or did you go straight to CC?
 

zerowin

Meat Mopper
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95
Joined Jun 9, 2017
Good luck to both of you. I'm sure CC will vet it sorted out for you.
 

Tony Guinn

Newbie
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0
Joined May 16, 2021
I have also added a gasket around my lid and it has worked fine for 3 years. Now having flame outs. I just cleaned all the black soot off the temp probe. Will let you know if it works. I have had two of these DLX’s and after the first few smokes, the meat probe quit working on both of them. Others than that, these flame outs are the first problems I have had
 

JWFokker

Smoking Fanatic
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142
Joined Mar 5, 2019
Do you start the cooker at 300F for 15 min before cycling down to lower temp? Frequently necessary with pellet burners. They need to warm up before you drop down to smoking temps.
 

Tony Guinn

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Joined May 16, 2021
Do you start the cooker at 300F for 15 min before cycling down to lower temp? Frequently necessary with pellet burners. They need to warm up before you drop down to smoking temps.
Most of the time now, it won’t get that hot before it flames out
 

sandyut

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im not familiar with this unit or controller, but is there a minimum feed rate setting or auger setting? my RT has a min setting and they say if its too low for the ambient temps outside it can flame out.
 

JWFokker

Smoking Fanatic
391
142
Joined Mar 5, 2019
Most of the time now, it won’t get that hot before it flames out
If it's going out during startup that's a problem with the cooker. The ignitor should stay hot for the first ten minutes and the fan should move enough air through to get a good sized fire going when set to 300F.

Do you keep the cooker lid open until the first cloud of your smoke billows and clears out? Helps the fire breath unrestricted. You can hear it when the fire gets going.
 

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