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MES 40" heat element connection failures

rhaugle

Smoke Blower
108
13
Joined Apr 10, 2015
Has happened to me 3 times now, and of course, in the middle of a brisket cook.... The left and right connections to the heating element have been basically "cooked" from what I can imagine is just the heat from the element its self. I have been cooking around 270 degrees and it seems every 4th or 5th cook I have to replace the connection. This last one, it looks as though the fiberglass casing around the wire actually burned, and then the bare wire was left to fend for its self.

My question is - is there a fix for this? Will some high temp wire cover work? (I cant think of the name... the tubes you put over the wires and then shrink down with a heat gun).  Is there another solution? after a couple more of these failures, I wont have any wire left!

 

marctrees

Smoking Fanatic
561
23
Joined Oct 1, 2016
This is a very  common problem with MES, search this electric subforum.

It is not a "high enough  temp insulation" problem, it is a too high a current for the factory connection produced and executed  problem.

Insufficient connection tightness for the amperage demanded will result in a voltage drop at the connection point, hence energy expended there.

So the burning you are seeing originates at the point of connection, and the heat spreads, giving the impression the insulation is not adequate.

The connections need to be crimped solidly, AND pressed on to the Male  SOLIDLY, from day one.

It IS a manufacturing defect.

Masterbuilt IS doing something wrong, not sure what.

But they ARE, because this failure is very common.

Their  Engineering folks seems to be blind to it.

At this point, you need to replace the "Female  flag disconnect" wire ends, and at least wire brush, or replace the element (probably not necessary to replace element, just thoroughly clean connection).

DO NOT buy chinese ones from walmart automotive, in fact that is probably the original probllem.

Go to like an old school NAPA store, and get American made., such as T&B brand.

THEY fly on the Space Shuttle, not Jina ones.

And crimp them on PROPERLY.

If you are in warranty, TALK FIRMLY to Masterbuilt.

These are the facts here.

Regular people have NO clue about like the difference between T&B "Ty Raps" compared to the imported crap at home depot, etc.

NOWHERE in professional high reliability applications is the imported crap used.

It's not a nationalistic issue, it's a cheap shit metallurgy issue and engineering / manufacturing  tolerances issue.

But basically mandated by consumers that are very short sighted.

So, the market complies w crap.

Rant over.

Interesting techy scientific reading for the Engineering minded reader - (I liked it) .....

file:///C:/Users/Marc/Downloads/ENG_CS_82004_FASTON_TERMINALS_-_FULL_CATALOG_0914.pdf

Marc
 
Last edited:

daveomak

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
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Joined Nov 12, 2010
Solder the cleaned up wire ends to the heating element legs.. 
 

daveomak

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
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Solder the cleaned up wire ends to the heating element legs.. 
 

dr k

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
2,493
446
Joined Mar 22, 2013
This is a very  common problem with MES, search this electric subforum.


It is not a "high enough  temp insulation" problem, it is a too high a current for the factory connection produced and executed  problem.

Insufficient connection tightness for the amperage demanded will result in a voltage drop at the connection point, hence energy expended there.

So the burning you are seeing originates at the point of connection, and the heat spreads, giving the impression the insulation is not adequate.

The connections need to be crimped solidly, AND pressed on to the Male  SOLIDLY, from day one.

It IS a manufacturing defect.

Masterbuilt IS doing something wrong, not sure what.

But they ARE, because this failure is very common.

Their  Engineering folks seems to be blind to it.


At this point, you need to replace the "Female  flag disconnect" wire ends, and at least wire brush, or replace the element (probably not necessary to replace element, just thoroughly clean connection).

DO NOT buy chinese ones from walmart automotive, in fact that is probably the original probllem.

Go to like an old school NAPA store, and get American made., such as T&B brand.

THEY fly on the Space Shuttle, not Jina ones.

And crimp them on PROPERLY.

If you are in warranty, TALK FIRMLY to Masterbuilt.

These are the facts here.

Regular people have NO clue about like the difference between T&B "Ty Raps" compared to the imported crap at home depot, etc.

NOWHERE in professional high reliability applications is the imported crap used.

It's not a nationalistic issue, it's a cheap shit metallurgy issue and engineering / manufacturing  tolerances issue.

But basically mandated by consumers that are very short sighted.

So, the market complies w crap.

Rant over.


Interesting techy scientific reading for the Engineering minded reader - (I liked it) .....

file:///C:/Users/Marc/Downloads/ENG_CS_82004_FASTON_TERMINALS_-_FULL_CATALOG_0914.pdf

Marc
The nickel plated brass 900*F quick disconnect flag lugs in the pic above is not crimpable. It only can be soldered. I did mine last May.
New from MB

Failing

Had to make pigtails. Not enough lead wire.

Peeled metal plate coverl off of the rubber insulation. I just stretch the rubber over screw heads. The smoker screw holes ate getting stripped. When the smoker is unplugged I just rip the rubber off for a quick inspection.
-Kurt
 

rhaugle

Smoke Blower
108
13
Joined Apr 10, 2015
 
Solder the cleaned up wire ends to the heating element legs.. 
DAVE - Will I need to replace the current wire? I had read another post on here that people took the entire back plate off the unit used some high temp wires through out the entire smoker.... Or will a solder with the original wire be ok?
The nickel plated brass 900*F quick disconnect flag lugs in the pic above is not crimpable. It only can be soldered. I did mine last May.
New from MB

Failing

Had to make pigtails. Not enough lead wire.

Peeled metal plate coverl off of the rubber insulation. I just stretch the rubber over screw heads. The smoker screw holes ate getting stripped. When the smoker is unplugged I just rip the rubber off for a quick inspection.
-Kurt
KURT - Any problems since you did you fix? If you read the reply to Dave that I posted above, I have seen other people remove the back, and replace all the element wires with high temp ones... It looks like you still have the stock wires but just the new connectors. 
 

daveomak

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Solder the cleaned up wire ends to the heating element legs.. 
DAVE - Will I need to replace the current wire? I had read another post on here that people took the entire back plate off the unit used some high temp wires through out the entire smoker.... Or will a solder with the original wire be ok?
The original wires are fine...  They support the current load...  It's the crappy connectors that cause the"overheating" condition....    Strip the wires back to clean looking wire...  Pre tin with solder.....  clean the conductor on the  heating element with sand paper or something abrasive to get to clean conductor.... the pre tin the conductor with solder...  then solder the two together....  You can slide shrink tube onto the wire pre soldering or what I did was wrap the soldered connection with fiberglass electrical tape then shrink tube...  You do not have to worry about heat on the connection...   heat is generated in the resistance wire ...   the heat doesn't start until it is down the wire a few inches... it is the "total resistance" in the total length of the wire that creates the heat...    One or two inches, of the heating element, won't create enough heat to worry about....   there is a fine example of this situation...   turn on an electric heating element on your stove... notice the portion closest to the wiring undert the top of the stove...  the element does not glow red...   It is the collective resistance of the total length of the element that "causes" the heat.....
 
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stainless

Fire Starter
62
19
Joined Nov 19, 2007
This same thing happened to mine during a pork butt smoke earlier this past summer.  I crimped it back together the best I could to get me through the cook and it's worked since.  I never could get it to solder.  I couldn't get the wire hot enough.  These units are very popular but very cheaply made in my opinion.  Not sure there is anything better out there for the price.  
 

daveomak

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
25,726
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Joined Nov 12, 2010
 
This same thing happened to mine during a pork butt smoke earlier this past summer.  I crimped it back together the best I could to get me through the cook and it's worked since.  I never could get it to solder.  I couldn't get the wire hot enough.  These units are very popular but very cheaply made in my opinion.  Not sure there is anything better out there for the price.  
Stainless morning....   getting old wire to solder can be a real problem....  you must get back under the insulation to a "clean" part of the wire then apply solder to the wire, called "tinning" before you try to solder the heating element to the wire....  Use a "clean" roll of electrical solder...   dirty old oily electrical solder will not solder electrical wires..   electrical solder has a flux core that melts and cleans the wires...   If the solder is dirty, the dirt flows to the wiring and you are stuck between a rock and a hard place..    wiping down the solder wire with acetone and a paper towel will provide the oil cleaning acetone and the paper towel "should" be abrasive enough to clean the solder of any oxidation....  hopefully... 

Now, if the wire won't tin, it's corroded or something...  solder won't stick to corrosion...   corrosion will not conduct electricity..  

If MES would have only used quality connectors and spent about 10 more seconds to inspect this stuff.....  we wouldn't be in a position to learn...   If everything is perfect and there are no mistakes....  where are we going to get these valuable learning experiences....
 

rhaugle

Smoke Blower
108
13
Joined Apr 10, 2015
 
Solder the cleaned up wire ends to the heating element legs.. 
Hey Dave, another question... The original wire is running pretty short now... I need to add a few inches of new wire onto the existing stuff... does the new wire have to be high temp as well? I hope not, because I went to 3 places today and couldn't find any... I was thinking If i just got some "regular" wire, and then put some shrink wrap all over it... would that do the trick? What size wire would I need? Braided or solid? Gauge? 
 

dr k

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
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Joined Mar 22, 2013
Hey Dave, another question... The original wire is running pretty short now... I need to add a few inches of new wire onto the existing stuff... does the new wire have to be high temp as well? I hope not, because I went to 3 places today and couldn't find any... I was thinking If i just got some "regular" wire, and then put some shrink wrap all over it... would that do the trick? What size wire would I need? Braided or solid? Gauge? 
I used standard 14 guage stranded wire double shrink tubed in the pics in post 5. The red insulation is the third layer including the insulation originally on the wire. I forgot to mention that the pic with the two connectors has the old connector on the right that is đark in color. All the connections in the pic are soldered and shrink tubed.
-Kurt
 

daveomak

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Joined Nov 12, 2010
DR. K's got you covered....   I keep a roll of this glass cloth electrical tape around for protecting wiring from abrasion, heat or what ever...    It should be available at your home center store...   They also make glass cloth tube...  it slides over the wire...

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