Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by jted, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. Hi, I am Jted. Last spring my MES30 died. I thought it was the snap disc. It is a heat activated switch that is normally closed. Its function is to open and cut the current flow to the element. If the box gets too hot it opens. Sort of like a breaker. Except it cannot be switched back on you replace it. It is inexpensive (.90 cents). A lot of appliances use a thermal breakers Toaster ovens, Irons, probably blow dryers.  You get my drift

    I decided that it might be a good time to convert the smoker over to a Auber controller.

    I am going to talk about the first phase of hooking up the Auber that Cue Biz explained. Basically I removed the element access plate disconnected the terminal connectors that most people have issues with. I taped them up with scotch #33 electrical tape. It's not special just good electrical tape. I tucked the wires out of the way.

    I had a nice 14AGW cord that had a all weather molded male end on it. I found a strain relief. That’s a simple bushing with a rubber grommet that keeps any strain from occurring on the terminals .

    I put the cord through the strain relief and slipped it through the access plate. The plate had a hole in it from where I used a hole saw to cut it open since I did not have a proper tool (knock out) The plate is thin so I attached it to a chunk of plywood to give it some strength. After running the cord through.

    I put new High temp wire connectors on. I reattached the wires and hooked up the ground. I did not have a high temp wire ring for the ground and you can see the discoloring and melting from just one summers smoking.

    Get a good high temp ground ring. Then I just put it all together and plugged it in and I was in business


    Being old and a ex electrician (I came from a what -if and why mentality) I decided I wanted a extra bit of a safety factor on the smoker in case of a malfunction of the controller. A runaway situation where the element does not shut off. The original had a Thermal safety switch on it that I thought was my original problem. I thought it would be prudent to replace the old one. I looked around for a aluminum or stainless box to install on the back but what I found were high price compared to a ¾ inch aluminum Lb. I used some reducer bushings to reduce the ends down to ½ inch. I already had my hole for the 1./2 inch bushing to attach it to the access plate and a strain relief. I wanted the size of the ¾ LB so I could make up the joints with high quality wire nuts.

    I disconnected the wires and removed the back plate. Have at least 2- 1/8 bits when you start the rivet drilling process, I quickly gave up on the battery drill and dug out a good electric drill. After removing the back I could see that the over heat switch(snap disc) was hooked up to the element with one wire that I replaced the connector on. The other wire went to the control box under the smoker. I was not going to open it up so I cut the wire. I then did a continuity test to see if the switch was bad. It had resistance so that means it was still closed and good . I replaced the female connector

    I made up some joints for the wire nuts and assembled the cord through the strain relief and cover.

    I moved the ground away from the element area and decided to use a wire nut to attach the ground to the original ground.  At about the ½ way point I lost light and My wife told me it was going to rain the next day So I could not leave any thing out. Cleanup was worse than the job.

    It is drizzling out side so I will work on the post. I could not take all of the pictures because the battery needed to be charged. Just a word about wire nuts, There are several different types and I don't profess to know all of them. Besides the simple ones like you sometimes get in a package that needs to be wired. A ceiling fan comes to mind. Those you just screw on and they hold pretty good. The other uses a brass insert that allows the wires to be mechanically tighten with a screw then inserted into the plastic protector

    I had several of the good ones laying around so I will use them.

    I am writing this prior to doing the work so this is what I will do. After assembling the cord in the proper order an re installing the rubber covers I will hook up the wires ground and make up any joints. The cord needs to be inserted into the back of the cover. I will install the back using the #8x1/2 inch stainless truss-head screws. (truss head screws have a slightly larger head. Sort of a built in washer).After I hooked up all of the wires, spliced the ground the final check of my work is to check the resistance.

    Resistance tell you that your joints are good and that the electricity will flow through the element. First I want to check the ground . I will use a multi meter. Set it to ohms if it only has symbols it's the upside down horse shoe. Most will have a audible beep if there is resistance. Check between the Box and the ground prong on the cord. Now check between the other 2 prongs the flat ones, If it beeps you are good to go. That check checks the entire circuit from the small blade through the cord then the thermal breaker (safety switch) back to the element and all the way to the white neutral wire on the other side of the element back to the big flat blade on the cord end. If it beeps button every thing up.

    You will see some black tape on the inspection box, The tape is just holding the rubber gasket in place.

    Hooking it up in reverse order so to speak and the final test run it up to 275 for awhile. When I put the cover on I found I needed to put two screws and washers where the controller once was installed. That's the brass screws at the top center.

    I hope this helps This and the other posts on wiring mods will help the weekend smoker keep his or her MES working well.

    If by chance the worst thing happens and you have a fire then insurance inspectors show up it is important that your work is clean and done in a good manner. Jted
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014
  2. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thank you for this instructional post although this is way beyond my capabilities. Did I miss a picture of the snap disc? I don't know what one looks like. How long did it this mod take and about how much did it cost you out of pocket?
  3. Hi Rick,
    The snap disc is the small disc in the first shot.I spent less than 25.00 for the wire upgrade plus the Auber 1200. That was about 145.00. The Auber was purchaed from Auber. It is a single probe model. The high temp wire and connectors came from a ACE hardware store that sells appliance parts and the aluminum conduit parts were from Home Depot. I had a few things in my tool bag so that helped.
    All in all I spent about 2 hours thaing the smoker a part and 3 putting it back together. Like most things It took several attemps to get the right order.
    I now have a smoker that I won't worry about and one that keeps temps within seversl degrees of the set point Jted
  4. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    So, the snap disc is another name for the high temp limit switch, that round thing with the holes on the back wall, right? I admire your ability to do the mod job. I just have to leave mine as it is until something needs to be repaired or replaced. For a job like you did, I'd have to hire an experienced electrician and watch him perform the mod so I might know what I'm doing the next time.
  5. Rick, Yes the small disk mounted on the far left side is the Thermal high limit switch. It has a lot of names depending on the industry that uses it. a snap disc is associated with pellet burner stoves and the like . All in all it is a thermal breaker.One time use all tho I read where Grainier sell one that is resettable. I am not sure how that one hooks up but for .90 I will change mine. 

    If your element ever quits and the connectors are good it might be it. If it does happen I will walk you through the test. 

      Going to go check some pork shoulder steaks (country style ribs),  just heard the alarm go off at 145 time to glaze and rerub to 170. I think I will cube some up and cook to 205, that sounds like a winner.      jted
  6. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Jted, I love using country style ribs when Chinese recipes call for pork shoulder to be cut up in smaller pieces. The ribs are much simpler to cut up then a shoulder. I haven't seen them called steaks but it's the same meat cut into steaks instead of wide strips. Your cooking method interests me. I'm surprised you glaze and rerub at 145 and then you cube it up at 170 instead of letting it cook up to 205 and then cubing the meat. Why do you do it this way?

    It was also interesting to see what the naked snap disc looks like but I should have recognized it. And thank you for making yourself available if I need assistance.
  7. I cooked 12 slices of pork shoulder (AKA country ribs). I use a glaze to act as a binder for the rub  rerubing at 145 is just  to help build a little crust .  It is not crust like a picnic might have it is thinner.  At 170 I remove the cuts I want to serve whole a country style ribs and the others are cleaned and cubed.  I once again glaze and re rub just to catch the bare sides. Then cook for several hours to 205, a burnt end so to speak. When I cube I try to remove any big pieces of fat . The fat in the meat will render down.

    The glaze

    4oz of apple juice 1/4 cup of brown sugar

    1 big teaspoon of rub

    1/4 stick of unsalted butter

    a squirt  or two of your favorite BBQ sauce

    Bring the ingredients to a boil to melt the sugar and it will start to thicken up. you want it sticky to catch the rub. I use this in the beginning to act as a binder for the rub. I store the left overs for the next cook in the fridge 
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014
  8. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This looks really cool and delicious. Cool as in "cool", not the temperature of the meat. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014
  9. Nice.
  10. pa42phigh

    pa42phigh Newbie

    Could you tell me where you got the snapdisc I'm have a hard time locating it on line
  11. pa42phigh

    pa42phigh Newbie

    Nevermind I found it
  12. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    That's an automatic resetable one so you will be in business if it trips.

    Don't tell anyone but I switched my snapdisk with a manual reset 350F one so I could push 325F on for an hour or so when I do chicken with skin on.  I'm living on the edge :p
    pa42phigh likes this.

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