MES 40 not smoking

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by cobble, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. cobble

    cobble Smoke Blower

    I've had this MES 40 for a couple months. Model # 20070211. Used to smoke just fine, but now it wont even burn the chips in the tray. Doesnt even darken them. Just dries them out. It's probably the heating element itself. I have probe thermometers, but I'm not sure that they're accurate outside of meat. I've got a surface thermometer coming in the mail, and Masterbuilt is sending me a retro kit, but I'm not sure that the retro kit will be the solution.
  2. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Turn it on, open the door and remove the chip pan.

    Check to see if the element is heating up.  IT should glow "Red"

    There is an inspection cover on the back.  Take that off and inspect the terminals.  Are they Corroded?

  3. bobbygee

    bobbygee Smoke Blower

    You can use one of your external thermometer probes to determine if the smoker temp is accurate.  Did you try the boiling water & ice water test to verify your meat probes are accurate? If you get 212-ish/32-ish readings you know your meat probes are good.Once your sure your external probe is good, place inside your smoker near the temp sensor in the back to determine if the  smoker is reaching the desired temp. 
  4. cobble

    cobble Smoke Blower

    Todd, the element does glow red when it's heating, and there shouldn't be any corrosion, because the unit is less than 2 months old and I keep it in my shed so its out of the elements.

    Bobby,  the probes themselves are accurate. I have two different probes that both agree on the temp of boiling water, but I wasnt sure if meat probes could be relied on for accuracy outside of the meat. I think I read somewhere on the forums here that the temps would be off outside of meat.

    On a side note, where exactly is the temp sensor in the case?
  5. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The fact that it used to smoke, but now it doesn't confuses me.

    Maybe it used to smoke at higher temps than you're using now.

    The retro-kit will make it smoke at temps from 10˚ above ambient temp on up.

    The chip burner assemblies that need replacing usually won't smoke until you get to at least 180˚, with the heating element on constantly.

    Temp sensor is about a foot above the chip drawer, on the right of center.

  6. cobble

    cobble Smoke Blower

    I suspect that the element itself is going bad. When I noticed that it wasn't smoking, I turned the temp up to 250 from 225, and still got no smoke. When I first got it, it'd smoke in minutes at 225, no question.
  7. bobbygee

    bobbygee Smoke Blower

    Hmm... I hope they're mistaken,I've been using  a meat probe for my smoker temps...Anyway, the temp sensor is a little probe,It is located  around the second from bottom rack, in the back. It sticks out about an inch.
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This is why we like people to put where they're from in their profile.

    Two months ago, if you're from the North, it would work a lot better at high smoker temps, because it was cold out, causing the element to stay on longer, even making the bad chip burner assembly work, but now that it isn't fighting the cold, the element isn't on long enough to make it work. We don't know if you're from the North.

    I'm not saying your element isn't bad, but without knowing what your smoker temps are, we can't tell.

  9. cobble

    cobble Smoke Blower

    I'm from Boston. So yeah, it was still the tail end of winter here when I got the smoker. While I wouldn't call it cold, it was probably in the 40's for my first few smokes. I can tell you this though, I have tried using the probe to get the case temp, and I dismissed them as being accurate because they were reading too low. I dont recall exact numbers, but I want to put it somewhere between 20-30 degrees below what I smoke at, which is typically 225-230. I'm at work right now, otherwise I'd be firing the smoker up to verify
  10. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It's really hard to say without having a good working therm or two in there. The temp can vary in there as much as 60˚ from left to right (right being hotter), unless you have a heat baffle on the right side. Many put them in all the time. I only do it when it needs it. However I'd still like to know if your old chip burner was smoking consistently below 180˚, before. If it's the bad one---I doubt it.

    Get your new therm & your retro, and give us some temps, and let us know at what temp the smoke starts..

  11. joeschmoker

    joeschmoker Fire Starter

    Did you soak your wood chips?  I just got the MES 40 last week and I soaked the chips as suggested in the manual when seasoning and got very little smoke.  So, I took the chip tray out and dumped it and put dry in.  I got a little smoke, but definitely not enough.  When I was finished seasoning, there was hardly any ash and most of chips were not even black completely.  I ordered the new chip tray and the lady at customer service did tell me that the new tray does bring the chips a little closer to the heating element, so the new tray might help.

    Isn't there another modification you can do to the metal sheet between the element and the chip tray (drill holes)?
  12. cobble

    cobble Smoke Blower

    Bear, I'm reluctant to use the retro kit until I know if the element is good or not. From what I understand, the retro kit just removes the heat shield. If I then need to replace the element, my fear is that the chips will burn in seconds.
  13. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Cobble and JoeSchmoker

    There is a heat shield between the element and the chip pan.  The retro kit does have a larger pan, but Masterbuilt has also removed the heat shield.

    Remove the heat shield and all should be good.

    Just make sure the chi pas does not touch the element, or the chips can catch fire.


    The unit is so well insulated, that the 800 watt element does not run much, when it's warm out.

    The 40" MES has a 1200 watt element.  The smoker heats up and the element rarely kicks on.  This is probably why you're not getting smoke.  The only way to get smoke from a "Stock MES" is when the element is on.  Make Sense?

    This is EXACTLY why I created my little gadget.  I was so frustrated with inconsistent smoke, and figured there had to be a better way.

  14. cobble

    cobble Smoke Blower

    Joe, if you're not getting any smoke, you're likely in the same boat as I am. I've soaked my chips for hours, and when the heating element was working right, I got smoke in about 15 minutes, though I think my heating element had a problem from day 1, since most people seem to get smoke in just a few minutes.


       I'm still trying to find the right spot for my AMNS so that the dust doesnt ignite on me. It's a work in progress. I've got some tinkering to do this weekend.
  15. Well my first thought is is am sorry for you being from Boston. Just kidding. When driving truck for delivering for Mayflower i went into Boston in a city environment and early In the morning the people came out to move there cars. and they smiled when doing so.

    Gotta love Boston.

    I don't think i want to own a unit that one side is hotter then the other. I am making my own using some old water pressure tanks.

  16. X2 I have no problem in the winter getting smoke from my MES but now it is inconsistent at best....I ordered a A-Maze-N smoke generator from Todd and couldn't be happier!!! This product will cure your smoke problem forever in your Mes....Sweet thin smoke...the quality of your Que will Amaze you when you incorporate it with your MES.
  17. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  18. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You will have them both. They take 2 minutes to swap out. Once you figure out your heating element, use whichever one works best, but don't throw the other one away.

  19. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Everybody that owns one has found ways to solve that problem.

    You should go to the build forum---Lots of stuff there that will interest you more than this thread.

  20. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Once you guys get everything working properly, the best thing to do is get an AMNS.

    Then you can sit back and relax, while perfect smoke surrounds your goodies!


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