1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

How much air for the mailbox mod?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by tomzo, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. tomzo

    tomzo Fire Starter


    After several failed attempts at using the AMNPS in my MES 30 I did the mailbox mod (Pictures attached).  On my first attempt the AMNPS kept going out.   On my second I drilled more holes (6 1/2" holes total) and it still would not stay lit (picture of where it stopped attached).   I had to go to work today so I did not get a chance to re-light it.   The pork could have used a bit more smoke on it...

    I am using a plumbing torch to get it lit and there is a big cherry when I get it started so I don't think that is what is going on.

    Anyway, after I got home I took the AMNPS out, re-lit it, and set it on my grill where it has been merrily smoking away for several hours now.   By the way, I microwaved the pellets in a pyrex pie dish for 90 seconds before loading the AMNPS.

    This all tells me that I either do not have enough air holes in my mailbox OR it is not getting a draw to pull new air into the mailbox.

    The question for those of you with the mailbox mod is:   how large are the air openings you are using?   

    I have been considering putting a laptop fan on the top vent of the MES to create a draw through the mailbox - or conversely pushing from the mailbox into the smoker - has anyone tried that?

    I really want this to work and I have been trying to do it right but just can't get there.

    Your suggestions are welcome.



  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Drill two one inch holes in the door of the mail box. Place the fire end if the AMNPs an inch back from the door. That should give you the draft needed. Plug the holes on the sides.

    One more thing make sure the exhaust vent on your smoker is wide open.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013
  3. tomzo

    tomzo Fire Starter

    Thanks - I have 6 smaller holes so I will enlarge them a bit to see how that goes.   6 half inch holes adds up to about 1.17 square inches and two 1 inch holes is about 1.57 square inches.   I will get myself to that level or perhaps 2 square inches and see how it goes.

  4. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you are using cherry pellets, they need something like hickory, alder, etc. added to them to smolder...  They don't burn well on their own...

    Also, try removing the chip tray, from the smoker, for improved air flow...

    When nuking the pellets, if you still see moisture on the container, nuke some more....   I dry my pellets in the MES at 275 for several hours, on an aluminum pie tin, before a smoke.......

  5. tomzo

    tomzo Fire Starter

    Thanks Dave - the chip tray is out when I smoke with the mailbox.  

    I think your thoughts about the relative "dryness" of the pellets may be a clue.  I am using Todd's Pitmaster's Choice blend and I just checked the AMNPS that I left out in open air last night and it looks like it burned for about an hour after my last check and went out.   This tells me that air may not be my problem and that the pellets may not be able to burn on their own.

    Time for more experiments!