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MES control panel problems

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by voldaddy, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. voldaddy

    voldaddy Meat Mopper

    My MES control panel is acting weird. It will beep about 5 times, and looks like "FAAF" on the screen. When I push the temp button, it just beeps.

    I looked in the manual, and it says if there is an error with the control panel to unplug it for 10 seconds and plug it back in to reset the panel. I did, no luck.

    I called MES customer service on Monday and was asked if I left it outside. I told her it's a smoker, of course I leave it outside, but it's covered.

    She then asked if I brought the control panel in when it's cold. I told her no, I don't take the control panel off and bring it in when it's cold. She said I needed to take it off, bring it inside to get it to room temperature, then plug it back up and see what happens. She said I needed to unplug the control panel, not the power cord.

    I'm going to take it off tomorrow and bring it inside, then plug it back up and see what happens.

  2. kurtsara

    kurtsara Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    That should do it, I set the whole smoker in the entry way overnight if it's cold out and I'm going to smoke in the morning.
  3. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    How cold is it? I wonder if a hair drier would do it in place if done carefully, being careful of the display? That might be a quick fix. I never take mine in, but the coldest it was, was in the 20's.

    Good luck!
  4. voldaddy

    voldaddy Meat Mopper

    Thanks for the replies.

    It's supposed to be 75 here today, so I don't see much need in bringing it inside.

    We did have some pretty cold nights in N GA this year, in single digits.

    I'm hoping this fixes it.

    I had 2 butts last weekend rubbed and rested, and no smoker.

    I ended up cooking them for 12 hours in a crock pot. Not bad, but definitely would have been better smoked.
  5. voldaddy

    voldaddy Meat Mopper

    Well, I took the control panel off, unplugged it for a minute or so, plugged it back up, and turned the power on.

    It seems to be working properly, but some of the LCD display is still not showing up. Looks like I'll be calling MES customer service Monday.

    I hope they are easy to work with and will just send me another one. My smoker isn't even a year old yet.
  6. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    They are very good, however I read somewhere that the sun may damage the control panel. A new panel is only 30+ dollars at worst. They have a 90 day warrantee unles you bought it a Sam's with their warrantee. Good luck!
  7. I imagine that one of the issues you face leaving it outside has to do with it going from cold to hot frequently. As the air inside the unit reaches dew-point it drops its moisture inside the control panel. Do that often enough your going to damage an LCD for sure.
  8. vernski

    vernski Fire Starter

    I bought  MES 30" and it worked flawlessly I smoked two sides of salmon it was great set it and forget it. Well next I thought I would try a small turkey. went to set the temp and then the time and all I got was a EAAF message and it don't heat. I called Masterbuilt's 800# had to wait an extremely long time. When I finally get to talk to someone they gave me the same song&dance about taking the control unit off bringing it in the house to warm it up so I did as they instructed I waited overnight then put it back on and got the same error message and it still won't heat WTF??? Well then Masterbuilt is off for the holidays so I will have to wait to talk to them again. I just wonder what part of sub tropic part of China these controls were built that won't work in 30-40 degree's outside.

    We will see how good there customer service is this coming week. This is another time I should looked where it was mfg at....Vernski
  9. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    My control unit went bonkers -- but after four years of sitting outside.  I do keep it covered when not in use, but the cover I had started leaking.  I suspect it let water get in and mess things up.  It was not acting like you describe, but would shut itself off at the slightest whim.

    Since it was four years old, no question of warranty.  The new one cost about $35 including shipping.

    Given that yours is much newer -- you may get some warranty replacement or credit.
  10. vernski

    vernski Fire Starter

    I called Masterbuilt today this time the tell me that I need to heat a little dime size round thing inside on the left near the top I did and now it will heat. But it just seems to me they need to fix this malady in future units.  I can live with grabbing the hair dryer to heat it up it's just that I shouldn't have to. These units should work at any temp, it's just so WTF "dumb"....Vernski
  11. tjohnson

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

    My MES sits outside, and on Thanksgiving the temp was 5°.  I hit the power and it fired up.

    I wonder if it's an issue with the 30" MES.

  12. texacajun

    texacajun Meat Mopper

    This is the first time i have heard of the internal thermostat being the issue. I have never had this a problem with the internal thermostat. I know that It can be replaced.
  13. vernski

    vernski Fire Starter

    Texascajun witch MES do you have I have the 30" black one. When I called Masterbuilt the lady there said that they have been having trouble with them the 30" one's so there are others having the same problem with there's. So anyway I am sure having problems getting mine to heat when it's cold 20*- 30* and the only way it will work is to preheat it with a hair-dryer.I don't think Masterbuilt wants to replace them at least not free of charge like they should be doing and making things right.  If yours works that's great but mine and others don't, the hair-dryer is a cheap fix for them cause they don't want to send a fix free of charge. Back at you....Vernski
  14. texacajun

    texacajun Meat Mopper


    I have the 40'' MES. All the thermostats and control panels are the same most of the electrical parts are to. What is your model number?

    Here is a picture of the back of the thermostat you where talking about heating with a hair dryer. You can replace it.

  15. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    I'm not sure, but I think that dime sized thing, near the top is a safety shut-off sensor. I believe the thing down lower, that looks like a toggle switch is the sensor for the on/off control.

    Maybe that top one is faulty. 

    There are guys who know a whole lot more than I do, that can probably tell you more.

    I would PM "MBtechguy" --- He's the man to help you.

    Good luck,

  16. vernski

    vernski Fire Starter

    The model # is 20070910 the manual says ; This product is for outdoor use only ha-ha not Idaho winters. Yeah Jake I'm not sure what thing is witch cause I just put in the hair-dryer and aimed it at the dime sized thing they said to heat up and closed the door for five and the box was over 60* then it worked fine. But it won't work at 20*-30* anyway it warmed up something inside there. you would think Masterbuilt would send the part whatever it is to fix it at no charge to make this right.  Thanks Jake and Bear....Vernski
  17. mbeden

    mbeden Newbie

    Reply to Voldaddy:

    I'm having the same problems with my control panel.  I live in Maine, and also keep in outside, but covered.  I would have never considered that I would have to bring in the control panel during cold or adverse weather since it is a smoker.  But then after I read your post, and the response you received from Masterbuilt customer service I guess I can see the problem with having a digital control panel and cold or rainy weather.  However, as much money as I spent on this smoker I would expect the control panel to be more weatherproof.  If this is truly the case with the control panel I feel this is a complete fail on Masterbuilt's part for making a product that would not be able to withstand outside temperature/weather conditions.

    So, my question to you is...Did taking the control panel indoors make a difference?  And if so do you have to remove it each time you use it?

    Thanks for your input.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2014
  18. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    It gets pretty cold & damp in PA too, and my Control box has never left the top of my MES 40 in over 4 years.

    I would think taking it on & off all the time would be a bad thing to do.

    I keep mine on the front porch with a cloth cover on it.

    If I had trouble & knew it was the control box, I would put a plastic bag over the box.

  19. The winter time fix is to heat it up if it is not working right in the cold. I heat a dish towel and put it on the controller and put a bowel over it for a few Minn and it resets itself.

    You are absolutely right about B putting on a better controller. They could put a PID controller and high heat connectors for a few bucks and have a true Cadillac smoker. At least one that does not regularly break down.

    But then what would I have to cry about.     Jted

  20. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    I doubt they would want to upgrade & raise their prices, just because of a very few smokers having these problems.

    I think they'd do better to help get the ones that aren't working properly fixed.

    Todd's works fine in MN, as does mine in PA.