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MES 20070410 help

Discussion in 'Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (MES) Owners' started by larrym, Oct 13, 2018.

  1. Hi all,
    Its been a long time since I have been on. We moved from suburbs in Indiana to the great smoky mountains in Tn a couple years ago. 10 acres for me to play around on :) If anyone has time, I am having an issue with my old 30" smoker. It has sat in shed for couple years and now when I try to fire it up, it trips the outdoor gfi breaker. If I run extension cord from inside outlet by washing machine, it runs fine. I have called in electrician that works on our type mobile home and he replaced cheap standard gfi but we still have issue. He also checked the temp control unit and it seems fine. I have cleaned all inside and pulled heating element, steel wooled it and still have issue. If I plug in temp control and hold, it works fine but as soon as I plug into heating element, it trips. I got smoker in 2007, hate to get rid of it, even if it is 11 years old. Wife doesnt like the extension cord idea and other than calling another electrician and getting a standalone outlet outside, not sure what to do. Hi again and thank you.
  2. pa42phigh

    pa42phigh Smoke Blower

    You could try heating the element up to get rid of the moisture on the non gfi outlet or like this guy did with a torch
    larrym likes this.
  3. okay, think I have a torch somewhere. Will give it a shot now. Thanks :)
  4. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Larry, Welcome back!
    GFI's (Or GFCI's) are standard now for outdoor receptacles do to the potential for getting shocked or electrocuted do to damp locations.
    So it is highly advised to look into why the smoker is tripping the GFI.

    First thought for me is the GFI you have may be sensitive do to newer requirements. It may be tripping at a much lower currant level than your smoker needs when it first turns on. Referred to as the inrush currant of the item.
    Many/all of the newer GFCI's have much lower ground fault settings, about half the previous standard.

    Second thought is maybe your smoker actually does have issues with spider or insect intrusion into the electrical system, plus/and/or moisture with the spider or insect intrusion. I get a lot of Sugar Ants tracking about my outdoor stuff. They apparently like BBQ as much as we do. They are interested in the food value of the smoker, but can get into the electrical boxes exploring for food.
    Spiders tend to build webs, which can get damp and cause enough fault currant to trip the hyper-sensitive GFCI's.

    You could carefully open the electrical boxes (unplugged of course) and look to see if you see moisture or bug evidence in them. One in on the back of mine, and one on the bottom. Blow these areas out with canned air, or compressed air at 30 PSI max.
    The only place full voltage is used it the heating circuit. The control circuit is all low voltage.

    Good luck and I hope you get it sorted out.
    As long as you use an extension cord rated for 15 amps, or more, you should be fine doing that.
    But due to the Outdoor Use Only of the MES, I advise you figure out the GFI problem.
    Atoparok and larrym like this.
  5. Didnt work with hair dryer or torch. Have it plugged into non gfi now, temp up to 350 with some nice thin blue smoke :) Going to get it up to 450 for a couple mins then will try gfi outlet again.
  6. Hi larrym,

    I like SonnyE's suggestion. I'm an electrical contractor in NM. I would remove and reinstall the heating element if you don't find insects or moisture issues. Also pay attention to the elements electrical contacts. If it's to close to the body, or cover, try adjusting it. If that doesn't work, I would guess the element itself may be failing.

    Best of luck to you...
    larrym likes this.
  7. I ran smoker up to around 400 for 30 mins on non gfi. Immediately after plugging into gfi, it tripped again. My smoker does not have electrical boxes, just a heating unit that plugs into the heating element. Its like the plug in element on an electric skillet. I guess that means I can not run it off the gfi. Do any new electric smokers work with new gfi's ? :)
  8. Sorry to hear...
    My MES is obviously newer than yours, but it works fine with a brand new GFCI receptacle. The newer GFI receptacles are less prone to false tripping.

    So there are no cover plates on the rear of your unit? ...not familiar with it. Also, what type of connector are you referring to? Personally, I would probably throw an new element at it...
    larrym likes this.
  9. Greetings from the other side of the Smoky's state line (Maggie Valley, NC).

    I am not an electrician. That said, the MES-30 (circa 2010) in my picture was on a GFI circuit. I've since replaced it with a MES-40 on the same circuit. Not sure that was great idea, but you didn't ask. So ...

    1. What amp value does the GFI circuit breaker have that gives you problems?
    2. Have you disconnected everything from the heating element, and measure the resistance of the heating element? If so, what resistance does it have?
    Atoparok likes this.
  10. Been to Maggie Valley many times :) Grand daughter got married over there 2 years ago.
    The temp control is 15 amp, gfi and breaker are 15 amp. The electrician I had over checked everything, all was good but put in a higher quality gfi for me anyway. I am leaning towards SonnyE's thought on the inrush current idea. It only takes about 3 seconds for the gfi to trip. I am also not an electrician. I see there is a thermo inrush current limiter that is supposed to slow the inrush current but not sure that is something I should tackle :)
  11. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    OK Larry, now things are getting simpler. You have the Analog type. Much simpler to figure out.
    Less stuff to go wrong.
    I'm now suspecting the new GFI is the more sensitive type, and that is likely the problem.

    If it were me, I'd run the thing however it needs to be run. But that is me.
    Mine is on a Non-GFCI circuit, and lives outside under a cover.

    Your type also has the 1500 watt heater element. Sucks down about 12 amps. Use at least a #14 Gage extension cord. #12 Gage would be even better.
    Enjoy some good smoked goodies! And don't get lost on that 10 acres... LOL!
    larrym likes this.
  12. Thank you all for your help. Not sure where I am going to go from here. Either try to get an outside outlet that doesnt void warranty on new trailer or get a new smoker :)
  13. Good point. I use a 12 gauge 3 wire extension cord. Failed to mention that.
    SonnyE and larrym like this.
  14. I realize I'm only a "newbie", but recommending one to operate an outdoor appliance without GFCI protection is bad practice. I'm certain Masterbuilt, or any other manufacturer, would agree. I couldn't agree with that advise...
  15. A gfi is not needed to operate the smoker. I did not have one when I used smoker in Indiana. If I was not concerned about warranty on new trailer, I would have swapped out the gfi. Deck is covered so electrics would not get wet. But as I also want to keep wife happy, I must find another way :)
  16. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Man, am I glad I own a WSM. No electrics [email protected] around with. Especially since I'm not very electrically inclined.

    SonnyE and larrym like this.
  17. lol. Dang, saw your list below. First month we had smoker, wife did the bacon weave on a fattie. Good eating there :) Gonna have to get something going now, been too long.
  18. Just had an interesting thought. We have an outside light. Wonder if one of those screw in outlets would work ?
  19. I'm not going to get into an argument on this or any forum. I'm only citing safety concerns based on the NEC. ...and if you go by that, a GFCI receptacle is required. It's required in your kitchen, your fridge, your dishwasher etc. But hey, do as you wish. There are no GFI police...
    larrym likes this.
  20. chef jimmyj

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

    I'm just being curious and not argumentative at all...Electronics school was 35 years ago but since when did a properly Grounded appliance in a properly Grounded outlet become so dangerous to operate that you need a GFI? Especially an Indoor appliance like a refer, dishwasher, drier or freezer. Thanks...JJ
    larrym and Atoparok like this.