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Masterbuilt Tripping GFI Outlet

dr k

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If you have an A/C volt meter you can touch one probe to the body and the other to something metal and see how much voltage is shorting. Your shoes maybe insulating you enough not to shock you when opening the door/touching the smoker.
 

Steve H

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If you have an A/C volt meter you can touch one probe to the body and the other to something metal and see how much voltage is shorting. Your shoes maybe insulating you enough not to shock you when opening the door/touching the smoker.
Only if the other metal you are touching is grounded from another source. You can also pick this up with a low voltage non-contact detector.
 

Braz

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You mentioned that you took the Auber PID out of the loop as a test. Was this ending up with you plugging the element directly to your GFI outlet, totally bypassing any controllers?
Yes. That will put full power to the heat element and could result in a total meltdown if left on for a long time. I only did it long enough to see if it tripped the GFI. Took about four seconds.
 

Braz

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Braz Braz I just did mine in the 30 . This tip may or may not help . There's a ground wire that sits behind the mounting bracket . I've read some guys struggle a bit putting it back together . Used a seal pic to align the ground wire with the mounting screw . Put the gasket on the element . Slide the whole thing into place and attach the element bracket to the case and tighten . Pull the pic out and put the screw thru ground wire .
Makes it simple ...
Good info. That will save me some frustration. Thanks.
 

bill1

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I suggest these rules:
1. Anything electrical used outside should plug into a GFCI outlet that is occasionally checked with the test button.
2. As the clay-like insulation in most elements is thermally cycled, it develops cracks. Repeated thermal cycling can cause a small resistive path to develop along these cracks. Although most of your 10 amps or so is going through the nichrome ribbon element, a couple milliamps passes along these cracks to the metal sleeve of the element. This element sleeve is grounded to the smoker's case at the "feet" it rests on or at the feedthrough plate where the power wires connect.
3. When this leakage current reaches 5mA it will trip your GFCI. It seldom happens when you first turn on, things need to heat up and expand first.
4. This is Mother Nature's warning to you: Order a new element. If you ignore Her, the next warning could be not-so-friendly.
5. Now 5 mA is not dangerous. While you wait for that element to arrive, you can:
a) plug the unit into a non-GFCI outlet (extension cord into the house, etc.) Then you still have your case (which you frequently touch) grounded but you won't trip on 5mA.
b) Keep using the GFCI, but look for the places where the metal element's outer sleeve or it's mounting bulkhead is touching smoker case ground, and "lift" it by inserting mica, or some insulator suitable for the temperature at that spot.
6. The "cheats" given in step 6 are only for dry locations, with no rain in sight.
7. Install the new element as soon as it arrives. Mother Nature does not like to be cheated.
 
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Cajun Smokes

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This has happened to me 3 times. Each time, drippings had built up on the back of the element. Cleaned it off and was back to cooking without issues. If not plugged direct, the cord will need to be large enough to carry the voltage needed. I use a cord one step larger than recommended by manufacture and had no issues for 2 years now. Found that out the hard way with my Masterbuilt Turkey fryer. Melted the plug into the extension cord. Definitely a lesson learned lol. Dosent sound like your problem but may help someone else down the line. Good luck with the smoker.
 

Jonok

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To Masterbuilts credit, GFCI issues were the final failure mode on a couple of my previous 40s. Both were in either manufacturers or sams club extended warranty, and when they started blowing the Gfci, I was immediadately given a check for my purchase price, despite having used the damned things nearly to death, and having received excellent support for all the other stuff I wore out before I had the gfci issues.
 

bill1

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I'd be curious to hear if anyone has gotten over 10 years (or even 5 years) out of their electric smoker 1) who's used it more that 20x per year and 2) uses it on a GFCI outlet and 3) hasn't "cheated" by floating the element off the smoker case. (And PLEASE never use one of these!) I suspect the average 10yo electric kitchen oven has >5mA of ground leakage current, but of course they're not on GFCI.
 

chopsaw

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Mines 7 years old . Just changed the element last week . Been outside under a roof since I bought it , plugged into a GFCI . Added an Auber PID last year . I run mine on average twice a week year round . Even if I'm not cooking with it I run it for a couple hours to keep it dried out .
 

MJB05615

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My first MES 30 lasted 8 years with no issues until that last time when it stopped working completely, used it about 2-3 times per month year round, ran off GFI and kept in garage when not using. Currently using MES 40 Gen 1, about 7 years, no issues. Keep it under a Canvas covered gazebo, with it's own cover. Added Auber PID last year only to help stabilize temps. Using it 4-6 times per month year round, running off outside GFI 10 amp outlet.
 

dr k

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I'd be curious to hear if anyone has gotten over 10 years (or even 5 years) out of their electric smoker 1) who's used it more that 20x per year and 2) uses it on a GFCI outlet and 3) hasn't "cheated" by floating the element off the smoker case. (And PLEASE never use one of these!) I suspect the average 10yo electric kitchen oven has >5mA of ground leakage current, but of course they're not on GFCI.
Mines floating but if the resistance wire is shorting to the outer element jacket to the press fitted aluminum mounting bracket at the legs of the element where the ground wire attaches, I figure that a floating element wouldn't help anything.
 

MJB05615

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I am surprised you can run it off a 10 amp circuit.
I'm gonna recheck the amps, but I'm pretty sure it's 10amps. I'll let you know, it does seem odd that I'm running off 10 amps, and also running my shed (tv, small fan, etc off the same outlet) the last 3 years with no issues. Maybe it's a 15 amp. LEt me check and let you know, I'm curious. LOL.
 

bill1

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...Mines floating but if the resistance wire is shorting to the outer element jacket to the press fitted aluminum mounting bracket at the legs of the element where the ground wire attaches, I figure that a floating element wouldn't help anything.
Ah, so you're saying your element includes a green ground wire connection to the support leg(s). Yeah, my Rule 5b is kinda' saying it's ok you temporarily disconnect it (and slide something under the leg) as long as you have a replacement element on order and you can't get your cooker to work otherwise.

This is not exactly good electrical practice, but you still have an active case ground. If anything else breaks, falls, shorts, wears out, etc you still have protection against your body being the path to ground. The exception is from touching an electrically hot element that has severely eroded away its internal insulation. (Remember at this point all that's happened is you have a 5mA nuisance short to ground.) But the only way the element gets electrically hot is if it's also getting thermally hot and most people know better than to touch red hot things so I'd argue you still have an "engineered control" in place with my step 5b cheat.
 

raselkirk

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I'd be curious to hear if anyone has gotten over 10 years (or even 5 years) out of their electric smoker 1) who's used it more that 20x per year and 2) uses it on a GFCI outlet and 3) hasn't "cheated" by floating the element off the smoker case. (And PLEASE never use one of these!) I suspect the average 10yo electric kitchen oven has >5mA of ground leakage current, but of course they're not on GFCI.
I've had mine right at 10 years, started out using it maybe once a month but for the past couple years, maybe 3x's a month. Cleaned the insides once a year until it got old, maaybe 3x's total. Outside on a covered patio since new, and finally started tripping my GFI circuit. My plan is to try pressure washing the guts and changing the element.

Braz Braz I just did mine in the 30 . This tip may or may not help . There's a ground wire that sits behind the mounting bracket . I've read some guys struggle a bit putting it back together . Used a seal pic to align the ground wire with the mounting screw . Put the gasket on the element . Slide the whole thing into place and attach the element bracket to the case and tighten . Pull the pic out and put the screw thru ground wire .
Makes it simple . I think some try to hook the ground wire first . I used an alignment tool , and did it last .

View attachment 457194
Hey Chop, what are the two lug looking items up and outside of the element legs? I couldn't tell from your other two pix...

Thanks!

Russ
 

chopsaw

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Hey Chop, what are the two lug looking items up and outside of the element legs? I couldn't tell from your other two pix...
Russ I'm not sure what you're talking about . The element connections ? The connections are turned up at 90 degrees .

I wouldn't power wash the inside . I would remove the element and look for a worn or burnt spot .
Check the ground wire behind the element bracket .
 

hoity toit

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plug it in to a non gfi outlet till it gets warmed up, then put it back on the gfi. mine does the same thing..,


HT
 

raselkirk

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Russ I'm not sure what you're talking about . The element connections ? The connections are turned up at 90 degrees .

I wouldn't power wash the inside . I would remove the element and look for a worn or burnt spot .
Check the ground wire behind the element bracket .
The two thing-a-ma-bobs circled in red. My (old & tired) element looks bereft of them. Prolly burnt or worn off. Are they part of the new element? Looks like they might be studs that pass thru the wall and get nutted on the backside...

Too late, I PW'ed the be-hay-sus out it this morning. After a 4 hr dryout in the sun, it's plugged in and humming right along. Will try later back on the GFI circuit. Mixed bag on the powerclean, it got of all the loose stuff but left the "char". OTOH, judging by the pile of loose stuff, it was dirtier than I thought!

Russ
 

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chopsaw

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The two thing-a-ma-bobs circled in red.
Those are the mounting screws .
I power washed mine before . The second time I almost didn't get it back . Lol .
 

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