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It was perfect 3 years to the day...Then something went wrong!

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by chef jimmyj, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My old gen MES40 was delivered 3 years ago today. It has performed flawlessly until today. I went to smoke 17Lbs of Kielbasa and turned it on set to 100°. 5 minutes in I here a loud click. The Ground Fault Circuit Interupter tripped. I reset and 3 minutes later it trips again. Reset and as soon as I plug the MES in the GFCI trips. I tested the outlet with a fan and the outlet is fine. So what causes the MES to start tripping a GFCI out of the blue? Thanks guys...JJ
  2. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    First guess would be corrosion at the ground connection where the burner connects to the wires, this is located behind the rear panel at burner height. Some have screws holding the panel on older models, yours probably has rivets which will need to be drilled out to remove.

    An easier thing to check is the MES control boards don't like to operate well in cold temperatures. To check this warm the MES up and try it in a warmer atmosphere. If it works fine then just lay a couple folded towels over the control board to keep it out of the direct cold and let the heat of the cook chamber below keep the control board warm enough to operate correctly.
  3. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Corroded and / or burned connections at the element are the most common cause for the gen 1, chef. If you have a replaceable element then its easy to get at otherwise you havve to remove the wjole back panel. There is someone who has the whole pictorial on how to fix this on the forum. I'll look.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2013
  4. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Yeah chef there's a few threads about element replacement / repair or other general fixes.
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks guys, I will have to dig in to the panel and element connection and see where I am at. I figured this would happen some day I guess 3 years is pretty good...JJ
  6. most GFIs instaledl in homes are 15AMP.  Also, you may just have a faulty GFI(that's my bet).  Try plugging into a true dedicated 20amp circuit without the GFI.

    Remember that the longer the run the lower the voltage which cause higher current draw(amps), specially with the use of extension cords.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2013
  7. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I agree with trying it in a non gfi outlet, If your weather is like ours today then the moister in the air could be setting it off.
  8. I started having GFCI trips after about a year of running my MES40. The trips always happen during startup from cold (which here means upper 30's to low 50's), but seemingly only after the box hasn't been used for a few weeks (I store it indoors under a big plastic bag with the door ajar so as not to compress the rubber seal). The tripoff occurs after a few minutes, when the box reads maybe 60F.

    If I can get it past about 80-1000F, it stays on. A few weeks ago it kept tripping off, so I heated the inside of the box around the element with a 1200W hairdryer for about 5 minutes. It stayed on after that, and I was able to do my ribs. After finishing the smoke and cleaning up, I tested it every AM for about a week; it never tripped. Yesterday after about 2 weeks non-operation, it tripped once, and the worked tne 2nd time. Today it fired up OK.

    I think there is some sort of conductive electrical path that develops over time, between the switched AC (the element drive) and the case. I'm guessing it's due to moisture absorption from the air and greasy surfaces in the box. When the box gets hot enough, the path gets burned off. I wipe my box down with alcohol after a smoke, but it's still pretty greasy.

  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Mike. It just happened to be 50° that day, normal 20-30, but I had hung a large load of Sausage in there the night before to dry and it was pouring rain all morning when I went to fire it up. Moisture may very well have been the issue. I will try the Blow Dryer and see what happens...Finger's Crossed...JJ
  10. bobbygee

    bobbygee Smoke Blower

    As the other guys stated... corroded electric connectors in the rear panel.I had a similar issue last month. My 1st gen 40" wouldn't heat. I Unscrewed the rear access panel and one of the leads was all but gone. I stripped the wire and resoldered to the element. Good as new. Perhaps yours are corroded to the point a short is created. Good Luck.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013