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Masterbuilt 20070312 too hot and too cold

mesnewb

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My smoker seems to be fluctuating much more than what the instructions state (that it will fluctuate + or - 10 to 15 degrees as smoker cycles). I have a digital thermometer that I'm pretty sure is accurate and the temp went as high as 400F. What's weird is I'll set it to 190 and if it's not heating it'll stay in that range. But when I set it to example 195, then within 5 or 10 minutes it'll reach 400 (which is weird since the manual says the max setting is 275).

I didn't put the built in probe into the meet, could that be the problem?

Has anyone experienced this and what would you suggest?
 

mesnewb

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I just tried it again this weekend and set it to 115F. It showed Heating and then ran up to 270F and started to cool down. I then set it to a higher temperature but it wouldn't turn heating on again until it was above the internal temperature (which makes sense). So it seems like the temperature gauge sensing the temp correctly works, but it seems to keep oversooting the heating by 100+ degrees.

I also discovered meat probe has nothing to do with the smoker turning on the heating element. Any ideas would be appreciated.
 

tallbm

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My smoker seems to be fluctuating much more than what the instructions state (that it will fluctuate + or - 10 to 15 degrees as smoker cycles). I have a digital thermometer that I'm pretty sure is accurate and the temp went as high as 400F. What's weird is I'll set it to 190 and if it's not heating it'll stay in that range. But when I set it to example 195, then within 5 or 10 minutes it'll reach 400 (which is weird since the manual says the max setting is 275).

I didn't put the built in probe into the meet, could that be the problem?

Has anyone experienced this and what would you suggest?

Hi there and welcome!

Be sure to test your thermometer in boiling water to see how on/off it is. Just know they arent water proof so i wrap mine in a gallon ziplock bag and dont stab through it then u can test it easily. Water boils at 212F so should be close to that.

The Masterbuilt thermometers/probes (both) are notoriously just wrong all the time so the secondary thermometers are needed.

If you are lucky enough to swing high on temp then that may be a good thing as my experience and reading here, it is way more common that you never even hit 275F smoker temp.


Finally, upon initial heat up it will definitely hovershoot but if set to 115F it should not overshoot anywhere near 400F.

Keep an eye on it and see if you can figure out what it may be doing but also know that temp swings are going to be a norm and that the MES temp readings are going to be wrong so a good backup thermometer is the way to go.

I hope this info helps :)
 

mesnewb

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Thanks tnjake and tallbm. That does help because I may just try to live with it, but do you have any suggestions on how to cook with the wide fluctuations? I'll monitor and see if I can set it somewhere where I can get the lowest fluctuations. For example, if I can set it to 180F and it ranges from 180 to 320F, if I just keep it there would a 140 up/down range still give me enough smoke time with good results?

Also I did check the secondary thermometer and it appears accurate. How hard is it to replace the built in thermometer (or is that more trouble than it's worth)?
 

BrianGSDTexoma

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When you get tired of chasing temps you can add a PID Auber controller. Took me a while to come around but that thing holds temps perfectly. Easy to install but they do coat $160. tallbm can give you info to do if you decide to.
 

tallbm

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Thanks tnjake and tallbm. That does help because I may just try to live with it, but do you have any suggestions on how to cook with the wide fluctuations? I'll monitor and see if I can set it somewhere where I can get the lowest fluctuations. For example, if I can set it to 180F and it ranges from 180 to 320F, if I just keep it there would a 140 up/down range still give me enough smoke time with good results?

Also I did check the secondary thermometer and it appears accurate. How hard is it to replace the built in thermometer (or is that more trouble than it's worth)?
Yeah keep an eye on it. Fluctuations constant fluctuations from 180F to 320F would be too drastic for me to stomach. One initial fluctuation upon heat up is no big deal, but nonstop swings like that is bad..

I dont think constant big swings like that will help you cook food and would only lead to other problems.

To change the built in thermometer is not a cake walk. The biggest issue is that you must remove the back of the smoker. If the back is fastned in place with rivets then you drill them out and replace with sheet metal screws to put the back in place again.
If the back use the groove/lip and no rivets... it would be a nightmare to fasten the back in place again... I personally know.

Once the back is off you have to remove foam insulation to get to the smoker probe and wiring. Once that is done replacing is simple IF you can get the part from Masterbuilt or a supplier of theirs. You will then want to replace the missing foam insulation with real high temp oven/fireplace rated fiberglass insulation because off the shelf foam insulations don't have a high enough working temp that the smoker requires.

So in all yeah its a bit of a pain to replace the existing thermometer and will cost you a bit of time and money.

There is another solution that BrianGSDTexoma BrianGSDTexoma mentioned.
You can do a simple rewire (cut the ends off 4 wires and splice to make 2 whole wires) and use an Auber PID controller. The Auber PID will hit and hold temps right on what you set or within 1-2 degrees of what you set. NO temp swings!

There a good number of us PID controller guys on here and we moved to PID controllers for reasons like yours as well as additional benefits of a PID.

The Auber PID is like $160 pre shipping but is good quality and just works. The initial programming can be a little ambiguous but the good thing is you only do that 1 time and then its smooth sailing from there.


Here is a super detailed post on the MES rewire to use with a PID controller like the Auber one"

I hope this info helps, ask any questions you may have :)
 

mesnewb

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Removing the back sounds like a pain and I do see rivets (some screws for a couple plates). So I won't go down that route. The controller sounds like a nice option. After this I also checked prices and it looks like I could get a new one in the sub $300 range so then I balance spending that vs. $160 and having the rest of it be old (maybe the electric coils conk out next year). Normally I'd be ok with buying another Masterbuilt but as Bear suggested, I did early on try to get ahold of Masterbuilt (it's out of warranty, but the response which is basically talk to the hand, we will not answer any questions for you) left a bad taste in my mouth. So I need to think on that too. I really appreciate all the help and input I will seriously consider the PID.
 

GaryHibbert

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tallbm has given you very good advice about the Auber-WS 1510ELPM. When I had problems with my MES 30 and decided to go the PID route, I followed tallbm's advice and instructions. Installing the PID is actually quite easy, and removing the back of the MES was not required--just the removal of one of the small plates that is screwed on. Then you simply bypass the controller, and the PID replaces it.
With his instructions, it was a simple job--and I'm extremely electrically challenged. Best mod I've done to my smoker. It works great now, with almost no fluctuations.
Gary
 

chopsaw

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I have a digital thermometer that I'm pretty sure is accurate and the temp went as high as 400F.
If you have an MES 30 that's actually 400 degrees you're close to flames .
You sure that's not a bad therm ?
It showed Heating and then ran up to 270F and started to cool down. I then set it to a higher temperature but it wouldn't turn heating on again until it was above the internal temperature (which makes sense). So it seems like the temperature gauge sensing the temp correctly works, but it seems to keep oversooting the heating by 100+ degrees.
It's possible that you're cycling on the high limit switch and the control thermostat in the MES is not working .

It ran to 270 ( and kept going ) and tripped the limit switch . That's why it stopped heating , and it didn't start again until the limit cooled down and reset .
That would be my guess .
 

tallbm

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Removing the back sounds like a pain and I do see rivets (some screws for a couple plates). So I won't go down that route. The controller sounds like a nice option. After this I also checked prices and it looks like I could get a new one in the sub $300 range so then I balance spending that vs. $160 and having the rest of it be old (maybe the electric coils conk out next year). Normally I'd be ok with buying another Masterbuilt but as Bear suggested, I did early on try to get ahold of Masterbuilt (it's out of warranty, but the response which is basically talk to the hand, we will not answer any questions for you) left a bad taste in my mouth. So I need to think on that too. I really appreciate all the help and input I will seriously consider the PID.

Yeah I kind of don't rely on Masterbuilt for anything. The strength of their digital smoker is the solid construction not the electronics.
I would not buy another new Masterbuilt ever.

With that said, I do think the best electric smoker you can get is a free or like $40-50 used MES. Haul off to the manual car wash and wash it out and let it dry. THEN do the rewire with a $160 PID.

When you compare the cost and quality of what you get this way, nothing new can beat it unless you are paying over $800 for a Smokin-IT 3D or something much more hardcore like that.

I throw this out there in case a little bit of a different perspective helps.
Buying a $160 PID controller and splicing 4 wires to become 2 wires turns your current MES into the best smoker you could imagine for far less than what a new unit of just about any electric smoker could give u :)
 

mesnewb

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Yeah I kind of don't rely on Masterbuilt for anything. The strength of their digital smoker is the solid construction not the electronics.
I would not buy another new Masterbuilt ever.

With that said, I do think the best electric smoker you can get is a free or like $40-50 used MES. Haul off to the manual car wash and wash it out and let it dry. THEN do the rewire with a $160 PID.

When you compare the cost and quality of what you get this way, nothing new can beat it unless you are paying over $800 for a Smokin-IT 3D or something much more hardcore like that.

I throw this out there in case a little bit of a different perspective helps.
Buying a $160 PID controller and splicing 4 wires to become 2 wires turns your current MES into the best smoker you could imagine for far less than what a new unit of just about any electric smoker could give u :)
That sounds like great advice. If the actual smoker craps out, then I can reuse the PID potentially with a future smoker or something else.

One thing I don't get... When I first read about the PID, I thought that it somehow splices into the wiring. But now that I read the instructions a couple of times. I am not getting how the PID works with this setup. I get the rewiring instructions. But when you finish that, then the smoker just plugs into the PID and it turns the smoker on and off?

If that's what it does, how does the PID work with other devices (their page mentions regulating temp of a toaster etc.)? I saw it has on/off and PID mode, so I'm guessing it is using PID mode here but don't know how that work.

Really appreciate all the help.
 
Last edited:

tallbm

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That sounds like great advice. If the actual smoker craps out, then I can reuse the PID potentially with a future smoker or something else.

One thing I don't get... When I first read about the PID, I thought that it somehow splices into the wiring. But now that I read the instructions a couple of times. I am not getting how the PID works with this setup. I get the rewiring instructions. But when you finish that, then the smoker just plugs into the PID and it turns the smoker on and off?

If that's what it does, how does the PID work with other devices (their page mentions regulating temp of a toaster etc.)? I saw it has on/off and PID mode, so I'm guessing it is using PID mode here but don't know how that work.

Really appreciate all the help.
I got some answers for ya here :D
Here is the back of an Auber PID:
1500Ebackviewa.jpg

1. The cord you see coming out plugs into your home's outlet to get power from the wall to the PID

2. The socket labeled "Output" is where you plug your MES cord.
With the MES rewire the MES is altered so that it's cord will feed power directly to the heating element.
Now the PID can take power from your home and feed it to the MES via that socket where you plug the rewired MES cord.

3. The little round socket labeled "Sensor" is where you plug a temperature probe that will sense heat.
You will run the temp probe into your smoker/toaster/device and clip it somewhere so that it can measure the temperature inside the smoker/device.
When set a temperature you want to hit, like 275F, the PID will use that temp probe to read the heat.
The PID will then feed power from the wall to the smoker until it hits and holds the set temp.
The PID will cut power on/off to the smoker however it sees fit to hit and hold the set temp you entered.


That is all the magic. So in short everything is hooked up like :
Wall Socket-> PID->rewired MES (with PID reading temp inside MES) .

You never wire the PID directly into the device.
As you can see from the image everything can be unhooked so you can move the PID, take it inside, or use on a different device.
I drop my PID temp probe down my MES vent and clip it to the bottom of the lowest rack so I can move the temp probe if necessary. Super easy.

I hope this helps clear some things up. Ask all the questions you have and we will get it sorted out for ya :D
 

mesnewb

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I got some answers for ya here :D
Here is the back of an Auber PID:
View attachment 641570

1. The cord you see coming out plugs into your home's outlet to get power from the wall to the PID

2. The socket labeled "Output" is where you plug your MES cord.
With the MES rewire the MES is altered so that it's cord will feed power directly to the heating element.
Now the PID can take power from your home and feed it to the MES via that socket where you plug the rewired MES cord.

3. The little round socket labeled "Sensor" is where you plug a temperature probe that will sense heat.
You will run the temp probe into your smoker/toaster/device and clip it somewhere so that it can measure the temperature inside the smoker/device.
When set a temperature you want to hit, like 275F, the PID will use that temp probe to read the heat.
The PID will then feed power from the wall to the smoker until it hits and holds the set temp.
The PID will cut power on/off to the smoker however it sees fit to hit and hold the set temp you entered.


That is all the magic. So in short everything is hooked up like :
Wall Socket-> PID->rewired MES (with PID reading temp inside MES) .

You never wire the PID directly into the device.
As you can see from the image everything can be unhooked so you can move the PID, take it inside, or use on a different device.
I drop my PID temp probe down my MES vent and clip it to the bottom of the lowest rack so I can move the temp probe if necessary. Super easy.

I hope this helps clear some things up. Ask all the questions you have and we will get it sorted out for ya :D
That completely clears it up. Thank you very much for sharing all the details!
 

BrianGSDTexoma

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If you lived in north texas I have a MES30 would give. It was always ran pretty close to temp.
 

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