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Mailbox Mod, AMNPS still going out. Ideas?

bennyshaik

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Joined May 22, 2013
I felt the need for some cold smoking this winter so it was time to do the mailbox mod on my MES. My first run a few weeks ago (salmon) had my AMNPS consistently not making it through the first row. This was OK because the salmon only needed 3-4 hours of smoke, but I had to relight the AMNPS two or three times.

IMG_0107.jpg

So, I did some research and increased air intake, drilling three 1/2" holes in the mailbox door, several more 1/4" holes in the floor (in addition to the mounting holes the mailbox came with), and adding 1" bolt "legs" to my AMNPS. And I bought fresh pellets straight from Amaze-n for the next go-round (I've had the ones I used for the salmon laying around for a few years).

IMG_0247.jpg

So after three weeks of about 15lbs of bellies curing in Pop's brine and drying, I endeavored yesterday to smoke bacon. I got everything going around noon, planning to reload at midnight and pull bacon this morning. My new air intake mods seemed to work like a charm. It smoked like a chimney. And yet, the damn thing went out half way through. Twice. In the middle of the middle row. I had to relight it around dinnertime and then the reload at midnight was out when I woke up around 6am. There are good reasons why AMNPS go out prematurely (bad airflow or lighting technique), or don't make turns (bad loading technique), but...in the middle of the middle row? I'm completely perplexed. I microwaved the pellets for the second go-round just to see and it still happened.
IMG_0248.jpg
The only reason I bought the MES is so I could fire it up before bed, not wake up to disaster, and have BBQ ready to eat for lunch. I feel like I'm so close! Help!

Bonus pic of bacon:
IMG_0243.jpg
 

tropics

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I don't think you had it filled enough from looking at the pic.
Here is a quick easy mod that has kept mine burning
Spring Binder clips raises it off the floor for better air.
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dr k

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When you flip the Amnps upside down the middle makes the X from the Amnps stock stainless support legs. It goes out there sometimes when you don't turn the tray 180* every five hours so the burn goes with the draft.
 

tallbm

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I don't think you had it filled enough from looking at the pic.
View attachment 351006
This would be my guess and is something that people have had issues with in the past and corrected by really compacting the pellets in there.

I slightly overfill my rows and then mash them down with my hand so they don't sit too far above the walls. You will notice you can cram quite a few more pellets in than what you may think. Doing this makes nice compact rows with no looseness and results in better burns.

I think if you give this a shot along with micro waving that you will find some success.
If not then try burning two rows at once and you will at least get your two rows worth of smoke. I burn two rows all the time on my short smokes and it works like a charm!
 

lovethemeats

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I had issues with mine not burning and going out. Biggest culprit- lack of air flow. Have you also increased the exhausts stack height. That helps to. Definitely add more pellets. I pop mine in the microwave at times to remove the moisture off of them. Seems to work better. More and more. By the pics. I say lack of air entering the box.
 

mosparky

Smoking Fanatic
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There is a possibility that your inlet holes are too high. I put mine as low as I could without going into the floor of the mailbox. You can test this by raising the tray a bit more so the bottom of it is higher than the top of the air holes.
 

bennyshaik

Newbie
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Joined May 22, 2013
There is a possibility that your inlet holes are too high. I put mine as low as I could without going into the floor of the mailbox. You can test this by raising the tray a bit more so the bottom of it is higher than the top of the air holes.
Thanks everyone. I'll try packing them in a lot more next time. I'll also zip a few holes lower down on the door. We'll see if it works the next time!
 

dr k

Master of the Pit
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Joined Mar 22, 2013
There is a possibility that your inlet holes are too high. I put mine as low as I could without going into the floor of the mailbox. You can test this by raising the tray a bit more so the bottom of it is higher than the top of the air holes.
I plugged all the holes in the bottom of the mailbox except the two pencil diameter sized holes closest to the door. I didn't drill holes anywhere. My Amnps is on a rack I made to elevate it in the mailbox in the pick below. Plenty of air comes in the bottom of the mailbox at the bottom hinge of the door and those two tiny holes up to the Amnps and up to the 3" hole at the top of the back of the mailbox. A straight line of air flow from the bottom. The hole that is lit on the the Amnps is is at/over the pencil holes. So the Amnps is set back inside the mailbox a couple inches. Nothing but great results.
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petehalsted

Smoking Fanatic
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Joined Jun 28, 2015
That rack is very cool. I have seen other solutions to raising the AMPS in the mailbox but that is the cleanest. If I ever do a mailbox I will have to remember that.
 

dr k

Master of the Pit
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Joined Mar 22, 2013
That rack is very cool. I have seen other solutions to raising the AMPS in the mailbox but that is the cleanest. If I ever do a mailbox I will have to remember that.
In the pic below when I originally made this rack out of heavy duty large paint stirrers I had the center support on end like the side rails but took it apart and laid it down so air could move freely underneath. I had the chrome plated rods laying around and used a dremel tool to make half circles in the wood so they stayed in place. I did put some high temp RTV silicone down in each half cicle for glue so to speak to keep things together.
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