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MES 30" GEN 2.5 running too cool... Need advice plz

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by goldwingnut54, Oct 29, 2017.

  1. This is my first post, so be nice.

    I'm new to the MES and am rigging one for my oldest son, who has worn out 2 of my FrankenBrinkmann Mods. I can't fix 'em anymore since the company is now Kaput. I went on Craigslist to find a used WSM but couldn't find one locally. But I ran across a MES 30 and built a Mailbox for the Expandable Tube Version of The A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker that I LOVE....and of course it works beautifully! 6 (SIX!) STEENKING hours of beautiful, effortless, reliable, billowing smoke! (Almost too much smoke even!)


    During my practice runs, I'm not getting enough heat to consistently do Chicken Thighs without cooking them far too long. I probe them with my ThermaPen and aim for 190, since The Queen is paranoid about pink ANYWHERE near the bone, especially on the actual meat. By the time I hit the target the skin is shoe leather. My Smokey Mountain can get them done much faster, perserving the skin, and much more of the juices.

    This rig is for payment for some pickup truck wrenching my son has scheduled for me, since he won't ever let me pay him $$$$$. (Turd) And my shakedown runs on it have hit this pretty significant heat snag. A setting of 275 oughta do it, but it won't get there, since the weather has cooled some. 240 indicated, was about where it sat yesterday, making a 24 PC Thigh Run go WAAAAAAY over 4 hours!

    Any help?

    (P.S. I'm handy. I don't mind hacks and such, and would consider a Kiln Controller or other solution.)
  2. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Are you using a remote digital therm to check the cook chamber temp?? Seems like the factory therms on all MES units are extremely inaccurate. Mine runs about 15 degrees off and the meat probe made the main therm look deadly accurate. If you have one use it to check the one on the MES and boil test the meat probe. Then you can use the digital and find the correct temp setting on the MES to get the desired cooking temp.
  3. Thanks Gary, no. I have a Maverick ET73 (I think a 73) but it is in a different location at the moment. But I'm pretty sure it isn't warm enough because I also like to Reverse Sear Ribeyes, which I have a done many many times on a WSM and FrankenBrinkmans. About an hour and a half WITH or without my Maverick ET73 and they are ready to pull at 130-135 internal, checked with my Thermapen. My remote probes confirm what my Bi-Metal add-ons say, 225 in the pit, for both my Charcoal Bullet Smokers on those cooks. I can get 275 easy on the FrankenBrinkmann, (Bigger Throttle Plate Holes) and with a bit more effort on the WSM, but Thighs are a breeze @ 275.

    My MES is too cold, Maverick or no.

    It'd probably be fine for a low and slow Butt, or a Chuckie. Sumpthin's up and I don't know where to look first. But I really REALLY like the concept. You'll have to pry my WSM out of my cold, dead fingers....but Ima gonna own one of these MES's myself, mark my words. The mailbox mod makes a good idea into a GREAT IDEA! I can see why they get complaints from certain types of people though. I just not one of them. Don't really mind monkeying with stuff, to make it "RIGHT"

    <edit> And I shouldn't need Rock Wool @ 50F degrees and Sunny, right?

    This is a good forum!

    Thanks again,

  4. So I am still considering all my options, and am leaning toward a PID controller. If there just isn't enough heat available, it won't help. Rock wool might.....

    But I suspect I am experiencing a different issue.. To test, I could just temporarily hardwire the heating element to 120VAC, and put in my Maverick and see if it'll top 275 degress on the right day. I have some high temp Stainless Spade Terminals somewhere.....

    I have time on my side, because I figured out a way to "fix" my son's worn out FrankenBrinkmann, and that'll get him going while I monkey with a PID. And ultimately, I'm not opposed to sourcing a bit of a higher wattage element, if that is the problem. I THINK I can find one might have similar physical size. That is....if a weak element turns out to be my issue. I can't feature it being other than either it works 100%, or its broke...but I could be wrong!

    I've only snooped the forum lightly for a PID mod for Electric Smokers, but I've already found a little. Anybody got a great thread, or other information? I've never built one, but I've considered it for a long time with the Lead Pot I use for Bullet Casting.

  5. Larance, that sounds like a fun project! I haven't looked at many elements on the web yet, but I may go that way, depending on what I discover. I made some heating boxes for my screenprinting needs, and wound up my own low wattage elements out of 30 feet of 20 gauge Nichrome wire. I spun the wire in a close coil around welding rods, spinning in a drill motor. I stretched them out to about 10 feet, and ran them in a serpentine manner on 16x20 inch pieces of cement board, for fire resistance. I direct drive them with a Kiln Controller @ 120 volts, but only 1.1 amps. They keep my substrate papers dry for when I print plastisol transfers. It works flawlessly, but was a labor of love to get it just "RIGHT" and I learned some valuable resistance heating element lessons along the way.

    I'm waaaay interested in a PID, but I've never done it before. There is a learning curve, I'm sure. ;)
  6. I've decided after several test runs with direct, analog wiring through an infinite switch...that my MES 30 Gen 2.5 is underpowered for my purposes. I have this piece arriving tomorrow.

    Still, I want a PID at some point, and am a fairly handy feller. But I NEED someone who is handy and ALSO PID savvy to recommend some goodies for me, maybe links if allowed by this forum rules, so I don't have to do a bunch of trial and error sourcing. Someone with the requisite experience to minimize my $illy mi$takes ju$t a bit....if you catch my meaning. I've made some good Q with this rig and will own one for my own purposes, soon enough. But I want 300 for yardbird and I'm not getting it, unless the conditions are just right. 1200 watts oughta be enough with a PID, or even my cheapo Infinite Switch at nearly any ambient conditions I wanna have a session.

    This one will go to my oldest son, but not before it works like I WANT IT TO WORK, .... within the basic design parameters. I'm not afraid of 300, but that's about the max I want. Maybe 310.

  7. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Stan - Here is a link for you to look over. Lots of controllers, analog and digital/PID. The second link covers a variety of heating elements. The last link covers PIDs for electric smokers. Regarding insulation: It is not just for smoking in cold weather. It helps a smoker reach your set temp and hold it, provided the smoker is capable of reaching your chosen temperature. Dave



    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
  8. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Hi there and welcome goldwingnut54!

    You are about to go on the journey I have gone on and I have to say you will be pleased if you do it all correctly :)

    A few things:

    • Edible (may not always be crispy but will be edible) chicken skin seems to occur with a smoker temp of 325F or so
    • The MES will never get hot enough to sear your meat with the grates so if you plan on being able to do that you are out of luck even with a rewire :(

    • Also you will need to do a rewire job to the MES and I just so happen to have a rewire guide for you that should work :)

    • Know that there is a safety cut-off switch wired into the MES that trips at 301F. You will want to replace this with a switch that has a higher limit. I use the "Goodman Amana B1370154 Flame Rollout Switch 350". I recommend you buy at least 3. The tabs are a little fragile so if you damage or even loosen one then it can go bad quickly and will need to be replaced.

    • The Gen 1 MES does not have a panel to access the safety Rollout limit switch. You will need a rotary tool (like a dremel) and a cutting wheel and you will want to cut a panel into the back of the smoker if you don't already have a panel in your version. Trust me you will want to do this since this is a Manual Reset switch :)

    • Make sure the PID Controller you get can handle 1200Watts which is what your MES will be using. Here is the Auber PID that will do the job http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8&products_id=110
    • Finally, it is my understanding that the foam insulation of the MES is not really rated to go too high over 300F. I believe that it begins to burn up (not necessarily flame) and gas out with some unwanted fumes. I personally go to 325F in my smoker but ONLY for chicken and turkey smokes since they are quick. Other than that I don't go over the 275F limit.

    Once you get the rewire done and the Auber PID Controller on it you will be producing some serious bbq that is 100% set and forget with your AMNPS and mailbox mod!!!!
    Just be sure to really absorb the info in that rewire post of mine and feel free to ask any questions. Best of luck!