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masterbuilt blames A-MAZE-N for dead unit.

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by $mok!ng, Apr 12, 2019.

  1. This is now my second MES30 both of which have died the same tragic death. They just turn themselves off. After my first smoker I really babied my second one. Always kept inside when not in use. I read that a possible culprit was damage to the heating element from removing the chip tray to empty it. So I removed the chip tray all together and purchased a-maze-n pellet tray. Now my second unit just died and masterbuilt has blamed the a-maze-n pellet tray, saying that pellets cant be used in their smokers! I tried to explain that the pellets go in this tray and the tray sits left of the heating element not on the heating element. The lady I spoke with didn't seem very knowledgeable about the product but she asked others and they agreed you cant put pellets into the smoker. So I guess I am in the market for another smoker but would prefer to purchase from another company if anyone has suggestions.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  2. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Hi there and welcome!

    Since it is already dead then it wouldn't hurt to check a few of the well known failure points on an MES.
    There could be any number of things going on but with what you describe I think that you may be grounding out somewhere.
    The wire connectors that Masterbuilt uses are crappy and in some cases not even fastened well. If you wanted to take the pull apart a few things on the smoker I don't think it would be too hard to find the issue.

    If the controller or the circuit board is simply failing then you could do a very very simple rewire job to bypass all that stuff and then buy what an Auber PID controller and you would be back in business with a BETTER performing smoker than anything Masterbuilt produces brand new!

    Read up here on the simple rewire job and using a PID controller to get an idea of what I am talking about

    I hope this info is helpful :emoji_smile:
    SGMan likes this.
  3. I saw the write-up on the rewire, great job. As I understand it that will make the unit similar to a lil-chief smoker. No temp control? Just plug the unit in and it heats up? What will it heat to? and how do you wire the PID? Do I just plug the smoker into the PID and plug the PID into the wall?
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  4. Additionally to clarify, I am not bashing the a-maze-n product. I just thought it odd that MES is blaming the use of it, when there is no shortage of complaints for the same issue that I have experience two times now.
  5. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    No temperature control if you do the rewire, it just plugs in and heats up. There is still a safety cut-off switched wired into the MES but that is a safety measure not a temp control measure.

    With the rewire the unit will heat up until the safety switch cuts off the power or until it catches fire and burns down hahaha.

    Once you do the MES rewire the smoker becomes dumb and just heats up when power is fed to it via the plug.
    With the Auber PID you plug the MES into the PID and then plug the PID into the wall. You throw the PID temperature probe into the MES so it can measure how hot the MES is getting.
    At that point the PID controls the power being cut on/off to the MES to hit and maintain the set temp entered into the PID.
    So in short MES plugs to PID, PID Plugs to Wall. Simple!

    With an Auber PID (or any good PID) and the rewire job to the MES you can get an MES that easily holds within 5F degrees of your set temp once you tune it in. That is WAY tighter control and performance than the out of the box MES smoker :)

    The only downside, but not really, is that you will only be able to produce smoke with pellets and an A-Mazen-Pellet Smoker tray (AMNPS). That thing rocks anyhow and almost all MES owners use it so its really a plus!

    Let me know if this all makes sense :)
    sigmo likes this.
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    On the back of the unit, remove the plate that covers the heating element wiring... check for burnt wires....
    chopsaw likes this.
  7. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    This is a pic I have stored of what Dave is talking about . Very common failure .
    Burnt wire and bare spade connection .
    B 20181104_140731.jpg
    Fixed ,
  8. The wires going into the heating element in the rear of the unit look fine. I may check the ground in the bottom of the unit but am waiting to hear back from mes. I am debating rewiring this with a pid. I would be happier if it was a 40” instead of a 30
  9. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I did it with my 30 and I love it , but yes the real only weakness to it now is the size . Remember ,,, the PID can be used on a future smoker .
  10. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Next wiring spot to check for burnt up failing connectors is the safety rollout limit switch. Depending on the model of your unit you may have a panel on the back that gives you access to it. If not you would have to pull the back off the MES to get the safety switch. It looks like this (though the panel can be on the right hand side sometimes):

    FYI, In the past I have found used MES 40's on craigslist.net for $40 and $50 and rewired them for PIDs and given them away as gifts. It's a heck of a deal and as long as the heating element works it doesn't matter if someone is trying to sell you a unit with a busted controller or circuit board :emoji_sunglasses::emoji_blush:
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
    indaswamp likes this.
  11. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wiggle the wire to make sure they are NOT corroded...
    tallbm likes this.
  12. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    First off, I'd be calling Masterbuilt again and talk to someone different. The woman you got stuck with is obviously not real high on the food chain.
    If you decide to rewire your MES and install a PID, then absolutely listen to what tallbm has to say. He explained it all to me and then (since I'm just a tad electrically challenged) he walked me through the process. With his help I got it done and haven't looked back. The MES runs better than new--MUCH BETTER. Thanks to tallbm.
    chopsaw likes this.
  13. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    @$mok!ng , don't overlook post 11 . Great point . The first pic in post 7 was after I peeled off the covering .
    tallbm likes this.
  14. HalfSmoked

    HalfSmoked Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sound information here I gave up on Master Built Electric a long time ago and went propane and have not looked back.

  15. Well I figured I would look at my smoker today. Plugged it in turned it on and it stayed on?! I tried multiple plugs yesterday including the plug that worked today. The weather was high humidity yesterday (tried cooking following a rain). Does humid weather effect electric smokers? I’ve never had an issue cooking in high humidity summer weather. Otherwise I must have a poor connection somewhere.
  16. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I went thru this with mine . Wire was burnt in two , but the covering would alow it to make connection and run . Then next time nothing . Re check the connections to make sure they are good .
  17. I’ve checked the bottom panel and the heating element panel. All of those wires are tight and look brand new? I have not checked the rollout limit switch because I will have to remove the whole back panel. I will likely remove that panel and install an access panel for the rollout limit switch.
    tallbm likes this.
  18. tiros

    tiros Newbie

    I used like a 2" hole saw, to expose the device without removing the entire back. Replaced, and then covered with a piece of foil tape.
  19. I finally heard back from masterbuilt. They will not support repairs on my unit because of the use of the pellets. Just an FYI!
  20. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yup. I cut out a square area on the back with a dremel cut off wheel to access the roll out switch when it fails so I can bypass it with a wire nut while waiting for a new one arrive. Everything looks perfect connection wise so I'll wait till something happens before changing to high heat lugs on that switch. The foil tape works great. I feel better now that I can quickly access componets in the Gen 1 40 that can fail without finishing in my kitchen oven.