Heating element touching the casing

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by smokingdragon, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. I probably should have looked over my smoker better, but I am really new to this whole thing. I've been reading about how the MES element can be a point of ... stress ...

    After reading a few threads, I decided to take a closer look at the element and realized it is touching the casing... (notice on the right side). I just recently seasoned, so sorry for the ash in the pic.


    Should I be concerned? Returning this would bea  bit late since it is has been seasoned at least once already. I'm actually considering running another seasoning pass to get this thing really broken in (and teach me how to use it).
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    sd, morning....  That should not be a problem...  calrod elements are designed to touch metal.... 

    When smoking, put in a 1/4 cup of chips or less at a time until the smoke is gone... usually they will last  about an hour.... then add more... that will give you the thin blue smoke for great smoke flavor.... I would suggest starting with a mild flavored wood to start.... apple, alder, maple or even oak....  then try "stout" flavors like mesquite.... the stouts can be overpowering and a little should used mixed with milder woods....

  3. Thanks Dave. I'm starting with apple and am going to run a second season pass. I'll keep you updated!
  4. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Straight from Wikipedia.....  From the "Heating element" page:

    Tubular (sealed element, often known by the trademark "Calrod"): a fine coil of Nickel chrome wire in a ceramic insulating binder (MgO, alumina powder), sealed inside a tube made of stainless steel or brass. These can be a straight rod (as in toaster ovens) or curved to span an area to be heated (such as in electric stoves, ovens, and coffee makers).

    So the metal "element" is actually just the outer casing tube which is also electrically isolated from the actual element which is in the core.

    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
  5. My worry is conduction and overuse of the element. As the outer casing of the metal heats, it loses energy by the contact to the cooler steel of the casing.


    It sounds like this is not a worry though.
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    sd, morning....  Heat may be moving from the element to the chip support system but, the heat is still inside the smoker.....   no different than heat moving to a frying pan...  

    no worries mate....   Dave
  7. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The fact that the element is either touching the chip tray or extremely close, is the very reason the older MES units burned chips more efficiently.  The new units with higher wattage elements, added a 2nd piece of metal to separate the extra heat from the chip tray.  Thus lots of complaints about uneven smoke and chips not burning correctly, followed by the release of the chip tray mod from Masterbuilt.  Apparently the latest units have been coming out with the older style chip tray (no piece of metal between the element & chip tray.)  However that does present a problem, the higher heat elements can reach temp faster thus more cycling and maybe not good chips combustion.  There should be nothing but ash in the tray after hours of smoke.  I'm experimenting with larger chunks of wood, I used to use 1"x2" or 1"x1".  I now have a band saw so I can cut the chunks easily to any size I want. Last smoke I used 2"x3" and again all I had at the end of the smoke was ash.

    If it really bothers you, take off the whole housing and figure out which needs to be either bent slightly or screwed in slightly different to get a bit of a gap.  Is it worth the effort?  Probably not, that whole assembly gets real hot (touching or no touching the element), many of us use some kind of heat deflector on top of the chip tray housing.  ( I use a double sheet cookie trays with a little insulation inside.) 
  8. I wanted to follow up with the response I got from Masterbuilt:
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012

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