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Can anyone provide some tips and tricks for keeping the A-MAZE-N pellet tray lit in my electric smoker?

tallbm

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Seems all of the cheaper ones that I can find are constructed from galvanized steel
Hi there and welcome!
You are getting great info from the guys.
First off, yeah the MES30 doesn't like to have the tray inside. I've helped a number of guys with this issue involving the MES30 and the solution was to go to a mailbox mod and they never looked back.

Second, the mailboxes you find will likely be galvanized steel. Pellets burning will get no where close to being so hot that it causes gasses from the galvanized to be released.
HOWEVER, flame up situation on pellets could do so. SOLUTION... just do a burn out on your mailbox like people do with steel drum smokers.
Burn a fire in your mailbox so that the flame is burning against the top metal and releasing all the gasses you are concerned about. Once your box has been burned out with flame you won't ever have to worry about it again. Plus creosote will build up and cover your box internally with layer after layer so you will be good to go.

Here is my mailbox mod which is using a wall hanging mailbox and is super compact and modular, mine is much different from others so you get the idea you can go any which way that works :)
full?d=1507243376.jpg full?d=1507243376.jpg

To do it all over again I think I will just cut a 3.25" hole into the side of my mailbox (slightly larger hole than 3" chip feeder hole.
Then I would just slap my mailbox up against the side of my MES so the holes lined up and screw it directly to the side of my MES hahaha.

No need for a duct or anything. You see how little distance there is between my box and the MES and I have zero issues with creosote, etc. so I know I don't need a great amount of a gap between burning pellets and my MES. If I wanted more gap I would just mount a bigger box that provides more space/gap.

I hope this gives you some ideas. Thanks! :)
 
19
4
Joined Jul 4, 2021
Hi there and welcome!
You are getting great info from the guys.
First off, yeah the MES30 doesn't like to have the tray inside. I've helped a number of guys with this issue involving the MES30 and the solution was to go to a mailbox mod and they never looked back.

Second, the mailboxes you find will likely be galvanized steel. Pellets burning will get no where close to being so hot that it causes gasses from the galvanized to be released.
HOWEVER, flame up situation on pellets could do so. SOLUTION... just do a burn out on your mailbox like people do with steel drum smokers.
Burn a fire in your mailbox so that the flame is burning against the top metal and releasing all the gasses you are concerned about. Once your box has been burned out with flame you won't ever have to worry about it again. Plus creosote will build up and cover your box internally with layer after layer so you will be good to go.

Here is my mailbox mod which is using a wall hanging mailbox and is super compact and modular, mine is much different from others so you get the idea you can go any which way that works :)
View attachment 505651 View attachment 505652

To do it all over again I think I will just cut a 3.25" hole into the side of my mailbox (slightly larger hole than 3" chip feeder hole.
Then I would just slap my mailbox up against the side of my MES so the holes lined up and screw it directly to the side of my MES hahaha.

No need for a duct or anything. You see how little distance there is between my box and the MES and I have zero issues with creosote, etc. so I know I don't need a great amount of a gap between burning pellets and my MES. If I wanted more gap I would just mount a bigger box that provides more space/gap.

I hope this gives you some ideas. Thanks! :)
Thanks so much for the great info!

How would you recommend doing a burn off?
 

Bearcarver

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I can't get the pellets to stay lit consistently. I think I've had one smoke where it stayed lit the entire time, which was a short cook (about 3 hours), but other than that I've had the pellets die out after about an hour or so.

Yesterday, I had a bit of a different issue. I did only one row of pellets, which should have lasted about 4 hours and the entire row burnt out to ash in less than 2 hours.

Here's what I currently do:

Removed the wood chip tray where the ashes go and put the pellet tray next to the heating element. Not sure if this matters, but it's a very tight squeeze since my electric is 30", so the tray is touching the heating element, even pushing it a bit to fit in the space.

Pull out wood chip loader about 2-3 inches, making sure it's in dump position

Preheat pellets with smoker for about an hour

pack pellets in tray

Light for 45 seconds, let burn for 5-10 mins

Blow out flame

Put tray in with lit side against back wall - didn't work. Trying facing front next time

Top vent completely open, water pan still installed with no water or any liquid inside of it.

If anyone could provide help in any way, it'd be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

My first smoker was an MES 30. It smoked great with an AMNPS for a year, until I sold it for a bigger MES 40.
After reading your post, and all the Good comments since, I figured I'll give you my method, even though some of the things you are already doing:
Fill the tray with pellets up to about 3/8" from the top
Light one end with a torch until there is a flame. When it goes out, light it again. The next time it goes out, blow on the cherry until it flames up again by itself.
Then do the same thing, every time the flame goes out, and blow on it hard enough & deep enough to get a big thick red cherry in the bottom of the row. You don't have to be there all the time---Just make sure you get back there to do that same thing again & again for at least 20 minutes, before you put it in.

I'm not sure which Generation you have, but the best place for the AMNPS is on the bottom rack, on the right, just above the chip dumper hole. Pull the chip dumper out to about 2 to 3" & in the dumping position.
The top vent must be Fully opened.

That one that burned up too fast was p[robably too close to the Heating element.

BTW: You're in Jersey, so I'm figuring you aren't at a High Altitude.

If you do this a few times & it still doesn't light & stay lit, go with the Mailbox or similar.

Bear
 

bill1

Master of the Pit
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Joined Apr 25, 2015
DaveOmak made great points...it's hard to get consistent pellet burning inside a cooking chamber where you want to vary the temperature and where even the moisture level varies with the size of the meal inside. Best to just put the pellet smoke generator in its own separate box and pipe in the smoke. Your only variable then is airflow and there's enough examples here to get you going.

Walmart sells a nice cheap steel ammo box that could work well for a mailbox substitute as well and may fit better/prettier in some installations. But move fast; the days of metal ammo boxes are probably limited.
 
19
4
Joined Jul 4, 2021
I finally got around to doing the mailbox mod, and so far so good, with two minor issues that I need to figure out.

First, I noticed that my pellets lit up again in the middle of smoking and ended up burning out quicker than they should have. It was also windy that day, so I assume that's why, but does that mean they're getting too much oxygen?

Second, how do you guys clean up the ashes that fall out of the tray?
 

Bearcarver

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I finally got around to doing the mailbox mod, and so far so good, with two minor issues that I need to figure out.

First, I noticed that my pellets lit up again in the middle of smoking and ended up burning out quicker than they should have. It was also windy that day, so I assume that's why, but does that mean they're getting too much oxygen?

Second, how do you guys clean up the ashes that fall out of the tray?
If you're talking about the AMNPS (Tray),
The best way to make it jump across rows is to fill it too full, instead of only filling it to about 3/8" from the top. Being too close to the heating element can do it too, but I doubt you did that.

I never had much ash fall below the AMNPS (Tray)

Bear
 

tallbm

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
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Joined Dec 30, 2016
I finally got around to doing the mailbox mod, and so far so good, with two minor issues that I need to figure out.

First, I noticed that my pellets lit up again in the middle of smoking and ended up burning out quicker than they should have. It was also windy that day, so I assume that's why, but does that mean they're getting too much oxygen?

Second, how do you guys clean up the ashes that fall out of the tray?
Hi there and welcome!

Wind can do that if it stokes the pellets to flame up. I've also had it happen when I open the door to the smoker and cause a great amount of draft/suction to pull air through the mailbox hahaha.
You can use some duct tape and cover over any additional or excess holes you may have drilled if that helps. It's just more tweaking/tuning to get it right.

For ashes, well my mailbox mod is one whole modular piece I can add/remove at will using 1 hand. I built it with that in mind. I would assume if you did a big mailbox and a duct you just have to sweep it out.
I take mine and I remove the AMNPS tray and then I just knock it against the side of the house and all the stuff falls out, all clean :D

Keep tweaking on it and you will get these issues solved. Just like learning and tweaking a BBQ setup to get understand and get it work well for you :)
 

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