How easily should pellets burn in AMNPS?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by redoctobyr, Aug 17, 2017.

  1. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    That's why I'm glad I never needed a Mailbox & I don't recommend one until there's next to no other solution to the AMNPS smoking problem.

    The MES cover fits over my MES without having to undo a connection with a mailbox.

    I don't need the extra room for the MB & the ducting, etc, etc.

    To me adding a fan would be a PITA, but I like everything EASY !!!  Kinda like the "Lazy Bear" you might have seen in my Step by Step Index.

  2. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    I have always torched through the hole, underneath the hole and from the bottom.
  3. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    Have you tried moving the Amnps to the other end of the toolbox where you drilled holes. With the X support on the bottom of the Amnps it blocks air flow from underneath so elevating it which you may have done is a must and maybe covering holes except those infront of the row that is burning. Getting the Amnps in the diagonal air flow from your bottom intake holes to the elevated 3" hole at the back of the tool box. Or maybe there is enough leaking around the lid, slowing the draft where it's needed.
  4. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    Also, if filling the middle row after five hours of burning I flip the Amnps 180 degrees so the pellets burn with the draft because I have had the pellets go out at the middle of the middle row burning against the draft. That's the center of the X support on the bottom of the Amnps. That's probably the littlest air flow from the bottom of the Amnps.
  5. redoctobyr

    redoctobyr Smoke Blower

    I had a chance to use the smoker today. I was cooking at 275F, which of course provides more draft than the 180F I'd been using for the last tests. But I had better results, which is still encouraging.

    I microwaved the pellets longer this time, a total of 2.5 minutes at 50%. Lit them with a torch, and let them burn for 10 minutes. The flame had gone out by 10 minutes, but torched them again and blew on them to make sure they were nice and hot.

    Put it in the toolbox, and tried to optimize the airflow. I moved the tray closer to the holes, and propped the lid open using the box's latch. I taped up the open side of the box, except the gap near the area with the holes. Trying to allow more airflow, but while forcing it to flow by the tray.

    When I shut it down after about 5.5 hours, it was still smoking nicely. That's a welcome change. I realize that the higher temperature was helping a lot, of course. But maybe with more air holes, I can get enough airflow even at lower temps.

    I found that by closing the door multiple times, I can get smoke to puff out of the toolbox and ducting, showing me where I have air leaks. The elbows I'm using are adjustable, so they have about 4 rotating joints in each one. Each joint seems to leak a little air (admittedly, I don't know if they're leaking a meaningful amount). So if I decide their orientations are good as-is, I could wrap tape around those joints, to seal them, forcing more of the air to flow through my holes, and across the tray.
  6. chopsaw

    chopsaw Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    The joints should not leak if you have the " flow " .  It's about pressure .  The pressure in the tool box needs to be higher than the pressure in the smoke box .  I'm with  Dr K  , move the tray over to the holes .  Drill another hole up top  ( in the side ) of the tool box . 
  7. tromaron

    tromaron Meat Mopper

    I struggled for years to find the right way to keep mine burning. I finally dumped my bargain propane torch and bought a better one ($30). Since then I've had no problems with pellets going out. I give it aprox 60 seconds with the torch on them, then let it burn for 15 min before blowing the flame out and putting it in my MES. I have the chip loader pulled out and place the AMNPS on the right side of the bottom rack. I also place my AMNPS, loaded with pellets, in the smoker for about an hour while it warms up. 
  8. redoctobyr

    redoctobyr Smoke Blower

    A quick update, I made 2 more holes, for 7 total, 9/16". They are located higher than the previous holes. I microwaved the dried pellets, and got them lit nicely. After 10 minutes, I got them glowing by blowing on them, and with the smoker at 180F, I put them in the toolbox. I had the tray shifted near the end with the air holes.

    After 3 hours, it was still smoking, but the smoke was thinner than near the beginning. At 4.5 hours, the smoke had stopped, and the tray was out.

    My concern/theory is that the air is perhaps leaking in at the gaps where the box closes, and is able to bypass my holes, and the tray. So I tried sealing up those gaps, and I will try it again when I have a chance, to see if I can get better results.

    I could also try adding a chimney, or a fan, but I want to make sure I've exhausted the simpler solutions first. I hope people will forgive my ongoing posts about this. My hope is that, if I can figure this out, it may be able to also help someone else.
  9. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    keep at it.  youll get it sorted out :)
  10. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Red here is a simple fix that I did. Raise the AMNPS up off the floor it will get more air that way


    Staples  Large Binder Clips

  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Definitely keep this coming until you get it nailed down.

    One like this can help when another one comes along with the same problem late in the smoke.

    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
  12. redoctobyr

    redoctobyr Smoke Blower

    Thank you. I'm actually using 4-40 SCHS screws, 1.25" long, to raise it up off the ground. Those fit through the AMNPS holes, so you don't have to drill anything. Just stick the screws through the tray, and secure them with a nut from below, and you have legs, with no modifications. I had tried binder clips as well, but I had screws available, so decided to use them instead. They don't wiggle, which is nice. 

    The only thing is that I may go back to shorter screws. These are long enough that it's tough to slide the tray into the normal position in my Gen1 MES, to the left of the heater. The screws get caught on the rails, I'd probably have to slide the water tray out of the way or something to slide the tray in. But when I was using shorter screws originally, maybe 3/4" long, it was able to fit into its normal spot easily, so a little shorter would avoid that problem. 
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
  13. Red I checked out your post and pictures after you commented on mine and I noticed that you don't have any holes drilled on the side where the vent tube is. I suggest putting a couple small ones on that side to increase the draft in the box. I have 4 about the diameter of a pen on each side of mine and it seems to burn fine and I don't notice much smoke loss.. Hopefully that will help.

    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
  14. redoctobyr

    redoctobyr Smoke Blower

    Thanks, I appreciate all feedback and suggestions.

    I will admit that this does seem a bit counter-intuitive to me at the moment. Draft is definitely needed. But it seems to me like I'd want all the fresh air flow to be coming across the pellets & tray, rather than providing another hole location that could contribute to the flow through the smoker, while bypassing the pellets. 

    But I may simply be thinking about that wrong. I'll see how things go in my next test, and keep this idea in mind. 
  15. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    I plugged all the pencil diameter size mounting holes on the bottom of the mailbox except the two closest to the door. The air at the bottom of the door where it hinges and the two pencil holes are all I need so no drilling was needed and I keep the top vent half closed or fully open with no difference in how the pellets burn or concerns for stale smoke. The elevated Amnps and air coming in from the floor and door hinge is the key. I may have more air going under the Amnps up through the pellets rather that over them. Plus it's higher pressure in the mailbox with fewer air openings you can tell by the volume of air/smoke coming out of the top vent being more open than the mailbox air inlet even with the vent half open.

    Maybe raising the Amnps so the top edge is even with the top edge of the tool box when the lid is open. It may force more air through the perforated steel of the Amnps being in that draft from the inlet hole(s) to the 3" exit hole of the toolbox. If you have fridge magnets you can seal holes and leaks so the air in the mailbox is faster than air in the smoker. The longer the distance between the toolbox and smoker gives greater opportunity for leaks. Maybe doing something like this pick will eliminate making any changes just getting it closer to the smoker because it has a lid air is getting in through.

  16. Clenko

    Clenko Newbie

    I see Amazen recommends no water in the pan...I also notice many recipes call for water, or another liquid, in the pan...What do you guys think?
  17. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    With the MES many have reported there is no need to use water. I have never used water in my MES and never had an issue.
  18. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    In an MES, water in the pan does more harm than good.
    The box is so well sealed & insulated that it already holds too much moisture without adding any.
    If you have a window in your door, you will see that when the condensation forms on the inside of the glass & runs down the door. Why add to that Mess. I haven't put water in my pan for over 7 years.

  19. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    From chopsaw the other day.....
    Looks good . I drilled 3 holes in my mailbox door ( after talking to you ) works awesome . Nice and clean .
    Nice job on the bird .

    Thanks for the compliment... Yeah, about the 3 holes.. I've tried blocking them one at a time and I think that screws up the clean smoke... 3 holes seem to do a nice job.... for me anyway....

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