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MES 30 Gen1: Replace Control Panel and Heating Element

Danabw

Smoke Blower
91
70
Joined May 29, 2020
I've got a Masterbuilt 30 Gen 1 w/RF, and had issues recently w/the control panel flaking out (turning off on its own, LEDs dying on the display). Also had temperature issues - the MES would not heat up to the temperarture I set on the control panel. I set 275, it goes to 255 or maybe 260. Given it's an older model and MB will at some point just stop making parts for it, I decided to replace both the control panel and heating element while they are available. Mine aren't totally useless, but now I'll have a new working set, and the old ones for backup in the (hopefully) far future when new problems arise. Total cost shipped was about $56.23. The parts arrived today and it was a quick fix, and I ran the smoker for an hour and it was able to get all the way to 275 again.

Pairing the RF w/the new control panel was easy.
  1. Remote: Press On/Off on RF remote to turn it on
  2. Smoker: Press On/Off button to turn on smoker
  3. Smoker: Press and hold Set Temp until you hear a beep (not the first beep when you press it, but a second beep that occurs as you hold it)
  4. Remote: Press buttons: Meat Probe - Light - Meat Probe - Light (each button two times) and you will hear a confirming beep or set of beeps.
  5. Remote: Then press the On/Off button and it should turn the smoker on/off, and all other remote buttons should work.
If you have trouble syncing the remote, unplug the smoker, wait a few seconds, plug it in again, and repeat the sync process.

I did discover something interesting when I was disassembling the wood chip housing - there are supposed to be two screws holding it in place at the bottom left of the housing. See first pic below from the instructions, note the two screws illustrated at the bottom left on the wood chip housing in the image. In my case there were no screws, but there was a bolt and nut on the front mounting point. Note the second pic below - the rear mount screw/bolt hole is empty, and the front has a nut/bolt rather than the screw depicted in the replacement instructions. I know assembly configurations often change, but leaving out one of the bolts made me wonder if I actually received a returned unit rather than a new one. Hasn't affected the functionality, but is interesting.
1594847960612.png

1594847716314.png


Replacing the element and display was easy. In fact, the instructions included w/the heating element are some of the most detailed and clear instructions I've seen provided w/a replacement part, kudos to Masterbuilt for that quality. There were no instructions w/the display panel, but that is so easy it really isn't necessary. Enjoy the pics.

Ready to get started...heating element w/new gasket and connecting HW and instructions, and control panel w/mounting screws.
20200715_121535.jpg


20200715_130138.jpg


Begin inside the smoker, removing the wood chip housing. I was hoping this was an optional step (lazy me), but you definitely can't do the heating element replacment w/out removing the wood chip housing.
20200715_121733.jpg


Pic showing my missing mounting screw. Scandal!
20200715_121936.jpg


Just a four screws to remove the wood chip housing - or in my case, two screws and one bolt. ;-) Don't forget to remove the wood chip tube dispensor first. :)
20200715_141813.jpg


Wood chip assembly removed.
20200715_122444.jpg


That's it for now - time to move to the back of the smoker to disonnect the heating element wires.
20200715_122449.jpg


Kinda Fort Knox-like w/all the screws :) Note that the smoker's catch-tray below the work area makes a great place to put screws and other parts of the process while you're doing the replacement.
20200715_121543.jpg


Plate off, mysteries revealed.
20200715_122706.jpg


That's not blood on the metal, it's whatever sealant that MB put on it. However, it might as well be blood. I cut my fingers three times while working on the back of the smoker here...the inside edges of the metal are extremely thin/sharp, and can easily cut you if you brush up against them. Use caution...there be dragons w/nasty teeth. ;-)
20200715_122850.jpg


To get the original connectors off I had to use a razor to cut the rubber heat shrink on the connectors, and then pull off the piece left on the connector using small pliers.
20200715_123301.jpg


Then remove the gasket behind the connectors. There are two screws holding the heating element in place. I forgot to take pics of removing them, but it's dead simple (like most of this process) - just unscrew the two screws that you see when you remove the gasket. You'll be re-using the gasket so be nice to it. :)
20200715_123455.jpg


View from the inside after removing the two screws from the back. The screw/bolt in the middle is connected to a ground that is behind the heating element back plate. Pull the heating element towards you and it will come off the wall a couple of inches. Then you have to reach behind the plate to hold the nut as you unscrew the bolt from the front - and be sure to catch the teeny-tiny lockwashers or they will likely fall to the bottom of the smoker and roll out through the drain hole at the bottom. Nope...I know what you're thinking but I got lucky (for once) and did not drop them! :D
2020-07-15 14_48_41-Photos.jpg


Tah-dah - element finally removed.
20200715_124049.jpg


Close-up showing the ground that the heating element was connected to via the last center bolt unscrewed.
20200715_124106.jpg


Re-assembled....just tons of fun (and no way to take pics while doing it) getting one finger behind the heating element back plate to hold the lock washers and nut in place while using a screwdriver to screw in the bolt to the nut from the front.
20200715_124341.jpg


Return to the back to re-assemble/reconnect things. First, screw in the two screws that hold the heating element in place.
20200715_124530.jpg


Put the gasket back in.
20200715_124720.jpg


They want you to replace the connectors, and who am I to argue since they took the time/expense to send replacments to me.
20200715_125033.jpg


Quick clip/wire nut and good to go.
20200715_125135.jpg


New connectors in place.
20200715_125220.jpg


Connected and ready to close up.
20200715_125326.jpg

Close and done w/heating element.
20200715_125526.jpg


New heating element, looking, all sparkly and fresh (sort-of). Don't mind the walls, that's just flavor. The element was a bit out of kilter, angled outward a bit, remedied by a little gentle but firm push on the element.
20200715_125557.jpg


Wood chip housing back in place.
20200715_130017.jpg


Now for the control panel, so easy that pics are amost irrelevant.
20200715_130202.jpg


20200715_130215.jpg


20200715_130434.jpg

Done.
20200715_130912.jpg


Easy to do, and appears to have fixed my problems. Onward to the next smoked delight.
 

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chopsaw

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Nice write up . I was going to use mine today , but , It's back to tripping the GFCI . So had to roll the WSM out from the corner . I think mines the element . Have to look into it .
 

dr k

Master of the Pit
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Joined Mar 22, 2013
Both my smokers only had one bolt and nut holding the housing to the bracket like yours so that's their setup. My back access plate to the element came with a couple stripped screw holes so I peeled the rubber off the plate and stretched the holes in the rubber over the screw heads and l lean a board against the back so I can pull open the rubber to inspect lugs periodically. If it were me I'd mount the new controller to a piece of 2×6 and disconnect the two pin connectors and bring it in out of the humidity inbetween smokes. Mark one side of each connector with a dot of whiteout or whatever for quick hook ups without booggering up those little guys. You can see the circuit board from underneath the controller. Now you have wire lead to get it away from the close top exhaust vent. No conformal coating as shown in the pic below to protect from condensing humidity, dust and smoke. My controller shorted on the circuit board so that the light button shut off my smoker.
20191112_143251.jpg
20191112_143243.jpg

Should be like this if MB wants it left outside
20191112_143805.jpg

I soldered on high heat lugs when mine failed in eight months and they have been fine for 4.5 years with the rubber cover.
20200520_111445.jpg
 
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dr k

Master of the Pit
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Joined Mar 22, 2013
You might as well check the older now back up element to see if it has 18 ohms.
 

cmayna

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I agree, nice write up indeed. But as Winterrider said, consider an Auber PID, to control the smoker, if you encounter any more controller issues.
 

Danabw

Smoke Blower
91
70
Joined May 29, 2020
Good deal you got operational again.
If any issues with controller again, I would suggest replacing with Auber PID. That is certainly the "cats meow".
Thanks! Yeah, I saw the info on the PID mod a day or so ago after things were already in motion, so I decided to let it ride for now. When things go south again (as I know they will) the PID approach will definitely be in my sights.

Nice write up . I was going to use mine today , but , It's back to tripping the GFCI . So had to roll the WSM out from the corner . I think mines the element . Have to look into it .
The order was easy at the Masterbuilt site, and shipping was relatively prompt. I don't have an ohmmeter so can't check mine to see where the resistance is on it, but it definitely wasn't heating up as it should have.

Both my smokers only had one bolt and nut holding the housing to the bracket like yours so that's their setup. My back access plate to the element came with a couple stripped screw holes so I peeled the rubber off the plate and stretched the holes in the rubber over the screw heads and l lean a board against the back so I can pull open the rubber to inspect lugs periodically. If it were me I'd mount the new controller to a piece of 2×6 and disconnect the two pin connectors and bring it in out of the humidity inbetween smokes. Mark one side of each connector with a dot of whiteout or whatever for quick hook ups without booggering up those little guys. You can see the circuit board from underneath the controller. Now you have wire lead to get it away from the close top exhaust vent. No conformal coating as shown in the pic below to protect from condensing humidity, dust and smoke. My controller shorted on the circuit board so that the light button shut off my smoker.

Should be like this if MB wants it left outside
View attachment 454258
Thanks for the info about the single bolt on the chip housing mount. Wonder if that's something that management is even aware of. Reminds me of years ago when there was issue on an assembly line at a friends business. Turns out the assemblers were leaving out several screws, resulting in customer issues. When he found out and asked them why they were leaving out some of the screws, and the assemblers said they were worried about the business (sales were down) and were trying to save the company some money by using fewer screws. :D The best of intentions w/the worst results...

You might as well check the older now back up element to see if it has 18 ohms.
I don't have an ohmmeter, but am going to ask a few friends if they have one around.

I agree, nice write up indeed. But as Winterrider said, consider an Auber PID, to control the smoker, if you encounter any more controller issues.
Yup, this will be the last Masterbuilt controller I purchase, definitely. :)
 

tallbm

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Great right up. I don't think I have seen anyone do a right up on replacing those parts in such good detail... if there is even a walk through write up. Great info to put out there!
 

Danabw

Smoke Blower
91
70
Joined May 29, 2020
Great right up. I don't think I have seen anyone do a right up on replacing those parts in such good detail... if there is even a walk through write up. Great info to put out there!
Thanks...my anal retentive nature requires that I document everything I do around the house in what my son and wife say is "exhausting detail." ;-) I always enjoy write-ups others post, even if I'm never going to use them, so posting mine is a little bit of payback.
That smoker is amazingly clean inside!
I know, it's embarrassingly clean. <eek!> :D It's like having a tool belt that looks too new, and then your neighbor makes fun of you for looking like a kid playing cowboy w/a toy holster. (Ask me how I know.) ;-) I need to get smoking regularly so my smoker gets properly stained and I don't look like a total newbie.

I actually did a big clean up on my MES 30 recently after I found out that I had been using the smoker completely incorrectly. I was running it w/a full pan of water, and also only opening the vent at the top a little bit, thinking I needed to keep as much of the smoke inside as possible. Bad combination. The upper part of the smoker was coated inside with a kind of sticky ick, so I cleaned it off down to the pan level. Now (thanks to corrections from folks like SmokinAl SmokinAl and Bearcarver Bearcarver ) I'm running it w/no water in the pan, and the vent wide open. There are some domains where I have expertise, but I'm definitely still at the novice level where smoking is concerned.
 

Intheleupp

Newbie
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0
Joined Jul 21, 2020
Hey y'all, I just had to replace the controller and heating element on my 2016 MB Smoker, but now, no matter what temperature I set it at, it heats up to over 300 degrees... then shuts off and presents error code EAA1 (which seems to indicate something about freezing temps... but it's summer right now).

Any help?
 

tallbm

Master of the Pit
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★ Lifetime Premier ★
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Joined Dec 30, 2016
Hey y'all, I just had to replace the controller and heating element on my 2016 MB Smoker, but now, no matter what temperature I set it at, it heats up to over 300 degrees... then shuts off and presents error code EAA1 (which seems to indicate something about freezing temps... but it's summer right now).

Any help?
Hi there and welcome! Sounds like a controller issue or a less likely issue where your circuit board relay is stuck in the On position no matter if the controller sends the signal to cut power Off hahaha.

I'm not sure what else to tell you because the heating element is dumb and just heats up and cant affect the control of when it heats up or not.

U may wanna contact Masterbuilt about your parts but with the current crises of the world they may not have any customer service staff left to respond if they let em all go :(

If they don't come through then we can talk about an Auber PID controller and doing a very very simple rewire and u having a better smoker than when it ever was even brand new :)
 

Danabw

Smoke Blower
91
70
Joined May 29, 2020
Hey y'all, I just had to replace the controller and heating element on my 2016 MB Smoker, but now, no matter what temperature I set it at, it heats up to over 300 degrees... then shuts off and presents error code EAA1 (which seems to indicate something about freezing temps... but it's summer right now).

Any help?
since you just put a new parts from Masterbuilt, I think you definitely need to call them and ask them what they're going to do about it. at a minimum I think they should give you an exchange on your control panel so you can try another one to see if there's something wrong with the one they sent you.
 

Intheleupp

Newbie
7
0
Joined Jul 21, 2020
Hi there and welcome! Sounds like a controller issue or a less likely issue where your circuit board relay is stuck in the On position no matter if the controller sends the signal to cut power Off hahaha.

I'm not sure what else to tell you because the heating element is dumb and just heats up and cant affect the control of when it heats up or not.

U may wanna contact Masterbuilt about your parts but with the current crises of the world they may not have any customer service staff left to respond if they let em all go :(

If they don't come through then we can talk about an Auber PID controller and doing a very very simple rewire and u having a better smoker than when it ever was even brand new :)
Ugh. Yeah, I already had to get the new controller from the outside company that deals with out of market parts for $50. I can't even look anything up for my smoker on Masterbuilt's website anymore. And, since it is a discontinued unit, they wont talk to me anymore.

So, if I was to purchase a PID Controller, which would you suggest for the electric smoker with a built-in meat thermometer?
 

tallbm

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Joined Dec 30, 2016
Ugh. Yeah, I already had to get the new controller from the outside company that deals with out of market parts for $50. I can't even look anything up for my smoker on Masterbuilt's website anymore. And, since it is a discontinued unit, they wont talk to me anymore.

So, if I was to purchase a PID Controller, which would you suggest for the electric smoker with a built-in meat thermometer?
I would recommend the Auber PID here:

You cant use the existing built in thermometer but the PID comes with one.
You would have to do a very very simple rewire (but 4 wire ends and splice to make 2 wires). Then the Auber Pid would be ready to rock and roll and your smoker would operate 10x better than it ever did brand new! :)
 

cmayna

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Yes for the Auber PID as noted above. This is the same unit I use on my MES40gen1 unit.
 

chopsaw

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I use the 1510 also . You mention a built in meat therm . Auber does make one with meat probes , but the 1510 only has a chamber temp probe .
 

Intheleupp

Newbie
7
0
Joined Jul 21, 2020
Ugh. Yeah, I already had to get the new controller from the outside company that deals with out of market parts for $50. I can't even look anything up for my smoker on Masterbuilt's website anymore. And, since it is a discontinued unit, they wont talk to me anymore.

So, if I was to purchase a PID Controller, which would you suggest for the electric smoker with a built-in meat thermometer?
Thank you.
 

Intheleupp

Newbie
7
0
Joined Jul 21, 2020
I would recommend the Auber PID here:

You cant use the existing built in thermometer but the PID comes with one.
You would have to do a very very simple rewire (but 4 wire ends and splice to make 2 wires). Then the Auber Pid would be ready to rock and roll and your smoker would operate 10x better than it ever did brand new! :)
Thank you!
 

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