• Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

My MES140 controller dead!

Rusty Zipper

Newbie
24
3
Joined May 10, 2019
My controller box on top of the smoker went d.e.d. dead. It gave me trouble about three or four times but I "dried" it out with a hair drier. Then it worked. I wasn't comfortable with it but it was just part of the process. It didn't want to work last time so I brought the controller inside. The next day it worked. So I bought the new one and I anticipate no problems. But I decided to leave it inside and take it out to the smoker to plug it in as I need it. I'm tired of made in China crap. I didn't contact the company as I have heard they can be a pain. I've worked 23 years in corrections and have little of my youthful patience left. And yes, I lost my give-a-&^$*YRHBSCJN. Any one else with a similar problem on their smoker? Be Well, RustyZipper.
 

Electric88

Smoke Blower
88
49
Joined Jan 10, 2020
There was a forum post maybe a week ago where someone had a controller on their MES die. They opted to use a PID controller from amazon instead of replacing the MES controller. That may be cheaper, and would certainly be a bit better to use. Would recommend going that route.
 

hoity toit

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
1,708
334
Joined Nov 4, 2011
I would replace it with a PID. Did that on mine and actually works better at controlling the temp more accurately.

HT
 

Rusty Zipper

Newbie
24
3
Joined May 10, 2019
There was a forum post maybe a week ago where someone had a controller on their MES die. They opted to use a PID controller from amazon instead of replacing the MES controller. That may be cheaper, and would certainly be a bit better to use. Would recommend going that route.
 

Rusty Zipper

Newbie
24
3
Joined May 10, 2019
I replaced it with another one just like it but keep it in the house. Then I plug it in when I need it. I was wondering what other folks are doing. Now I know what some are doing. Thanks and Be Well, Rusty.
 

Electric88

Smoke Blower
88
49
Joined Jan 10, 2020
If I remember correctly, I think the PID that was linked to on amazon was about $50. If your controller dies again, would definitely recommend this instead. Even if it doesn't and you have some extra money I would recommend doing this eventually.
 

dr k

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
2,374
406
Joined Mar 22, 2013
My controller box on top of the smoker went d.e.d. dead. It gave me trouble about three or four times but I "dried" it out with a hair drier. Then it worked. I wasn't comfortable with it but it was just part of the process. It didn't want to work last time so I brought the controller inside. The next day it worked. So I bought the new one and I anticipate no problems. But I decided to leave it inside and take it out to the smoker to plug it in as I need it. I'm tired of made in China crap. I didn't contact the company as I have heard they can be a pain. I've worked 23 years in corrections and have little of my youthful patience left. And yes, I lost my give-a-&^$*YRHBSCJN. Any one else with a similar problem on their smoker? Be Well, RustyZipper.
I'd bring the controller inside when not using it, out of the humidity. MB doesn't have a conformal coating to protect the circuit board an its components from dust, humidity etc. The tiny pin connectors look fragile so the locking clips on the side may be bent outward so your not fighting them every disconnect and I'd mark one side of each pin connection with liquid paper etc so each connection is easy to hook up at a glance and not bend the tiny pins from connecting one pin half upside down.
 

PAS

Meat Mopper
181
53
Joined Feb 7, 2018
If I remember correctly, I think the PID that was linked to on amazon was about $50. If your controller dies again, would definitely recommend this instead. Even if it doesn't and you have some extra money I would recommend doing this eventually.
HOW ABOUT A LINK TO THAT UNIT.
 

normanaj

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
662
225
Joined Feb 2, 2014
There's no substitute for a quality cover.I know a lot of folks here don't use one but imo that's just asking for trouble.
 

Electric88

Smoke Blower
88
49
Joined Jan 10, 2020
Nope, you just set the temperature on the PID, and it controls the voltage to the heating element, turning it on and off as needed to maintain the set temperature.
 

Murray

Smoking Fanatic
303
113
Joined Dec 30, 2018
I replaced it with another one just like it but keep it in the house. Then I plug it in when I need it. I was wondering what other folks are doing. Now I know what some are doing. Thanks and Be Well, Rusty.
I put a 4” diameter by 6” long black ABS pipe over the vent as a chimney. It diverts the warm moist above the controller. In my case the exhaust was drifting between the controller and the cabinet resulting in erratic temperature reading on the controller. This was a sporadic issue but hasn’t happened since I put the chimney on.
 

chopsaw

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
5,849
2,574
Joined Dec 14, 2013
Thanks, I thought the PID has to be wired in so it over rides the factory controller. Still beyond my understanding.
If you have a digital stock controller , you do need to by pass it . I know it's hard to understand ,, but it's pretty easy to do . If you're interested in doing the upgrade start a thread and we'll get you the help you need .
 
  • Like
Reactions: PAS

dr k

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
2,374
406
Joined Mar 22, 2013
I put a 4” diameter by 6” long black ABS pipe over the vent as a chimney. It diverts the warm moist above the controller. In my case the exhaust was drifting between the controller and the cabinet resulting in erratic temperature reading on the controller. This was a sporadic issue but hasn’t happened since I put the chimney on.
I found a white 6" PVC coupling and it sits where the handle attaches to the smoker around the top vent for the same reason. It's open at the bottom so no increase in smoker drafting and it's heavy enough the wind can't move it so it's a great wind deflector, keeping wind from drawing out heat and blowing into the smoker. It holds a baking sheet with food like an elevated pizza tray holder in restaurants to not take up table space. It's a temporary place to set something because the smoke can go out the bottom till I remove the tray. Great for windy days. 20171219_144542.jpg
20170320_143220.jpg
 

tallbm

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
4,041
1,324
Joined Dec 30, 2016
I replaced it with another one just like it but keep it in the house. Then I plug it in when I need it. I was wondering what other folks are doing. Now I know what some are doing. Thanks and Be Well, Rusty.
Hi there and welcome!

So you have a couple of options. You can try more of the Masterbuilt controllers and do what you are doing BUT the controller is 1 of the 2 most common failure points of the MES... as you are finding out.

The other option is to do a very simple rewire (cut ends of 4 wires and splice to become 2 wires) to your smoker and use an alternative controller like the one posted on Amazon or use a PID controller.

This controller from Amazon behaves in a very similar manner that the stock MES controller behaves in:
amazon" style="max-width:120px">You still MUST rewire the MES to use this controller.
After the rewire of the MES the cord of the MES will simply feed power to the heating element, it is now dumb and is either on (plugged in) or off (unplugged).

So after the rewire u plug the dumb MES' cord into this kind of controller and then plug this controller into the outlet and set a temperature. Next throw the temperature probe into the smoker and the controller will cut power on/off to the MES cord in order to hit and try and maintain the set temperature as it measures the temp in the smoker.
This kind of controller is pretty simple, it will swing up and down around your set temp like the original masterbuilt controller BUT will possibly be more precise and have lower temp swings... you wont know until you try it.


The PID controller option is MUCH MUCH more precise but costs more money.
If you don't already have the tools, supplies, extra parts, and the knowledge, then buying a plug and play PID controller is more cost effective and simply a better option than building one.

For $150 you can get a true PID controller here:

The PID controller will hook up the same way as described with the Amazon controller BUT the PID controller can hold within 1-3 degrees of the set temperature once the P-I-D parameters are tuned and set (u can run auto tune to get close or ask someone here for their parameter values).

The PID controller seriously turns your smoker into a completely different animal that is much much much better than the MES you bought brand new.
With such tight temperature control you can have your smoker operate from 1-275F degrees with ridiculous precision.
This means no temp swings to ruin sausage or bacon by accidentally swinging so hot the fat starts to render. This means doing cold smokes in cold areas of the country where you may want to set the smoker to 20F just to create draft to move the cold smoke to keep it form getting stale and leaving horrible stale flavor on your items.

Also if u get this exact PID controller you can move up to a MES40 and rewire the MES40 and be ready to rock and roll.
To me the BEST thing to do is to buy a used MES40 for like $40-50 on craigslist, rewire it and slap this $150 PID on it and you have a smoker that is less expensive and 50X better than a brand new MES40.

In all these rewire situations you lose the ability to put woodchips in the smoker and have them make smoke BUT 99.9% of MES users dont use that and instead use the A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker (AMNPS) tray or tube to produce perfect, no hassle, long running smoke for hours so it's not really an issue.

I've thrown a lot at you here so I'll stop rambling now hahaha. Let us know if this makes any sense and if you have any questions... oh and if u want to read about the rewire job you can here:
https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/mes-rewire-simple-guide-no-back-removal-needed.267069/
 

PAS

Meat Mopper
181
53
Joined Feb 7, 2018
Hi there and welcome!

So you have a couple of options. You can try more of the Masterbuilt controllers and do what you are doing BUT the controller is 1 of the 2 most common failure points of the MES... as you are finding out.

The other option is to do a very simple rewire (cut ends of 4 wires and splice to become 2 wires) to your smoker and use an alternative controller like the one posted on Amazon or use a PID controller.

This controller from Amazon behaves in a very similar manner that the stock MES controller behaves in:
amazon" style="max-width:120px">You still MUST rewire the MES to use this controller.
After the rewire of the MES the cord of the MES will simply feed power to the heating element, it is now dumb and is either on (plugged in) or off (unplugged).

So after the rewire u plug the dumb MES' cord into this kind of controller and then plug this controller into the outlet and set a temperature. Next throw the temperature probe into the smoker and the controller will cut power on/off to the MES cord in order to hit and try and maintain the set temperature as it measures the temp in the smoker.
This kind of controller is pretty simple, it will swing up and down around your set temp like the original masterbuilt controller BUT will possibly be more precise and have lower temp swings... you wont know until you try it.


The PID controller option is MUCH MUCH more precise but costs more money.
If you don't already have the tools, supplies, extra parts, and the knowledge, then buying a plug and play PID controller is more cost effective and simply a better option than building one.

For $150 you can get a true PID controller here:

The PID controller will hook up the same way as described with the Amazon controller BUT the PID controller can hold within 1-3 degrees of the set temperature once the P-I-D parameters are tuned and set (u can run auto tune to get close or ask someone here for their parameter values).

The PID controller seriously turns your smoker into a completely different animal that is much much much better than the MES you bought brand new.
With such tight temperature control you can have your smoker operate from 1-275F degrees with ridiculous precision.
This means no temp swings to ruin sausage or bacon by accidentally swinging so hot the fat starts to render. This means doing cold smokes in cold areas of the country where you may want to set the smoker to 20F just to create draft to move the cold smoke to keep it form getting stale and leaving horrible stale flavor on your items.

Also if u get this exact PID controller you can move up to a MES40 and rewire the MES40 and be ready to rock and roll.
To me the BEST thing to do is to buy a used MES40 for like $40-50 on craigslist, rewire it and slap this $150 PID on it and you have a smoker that is less expensive and 50X better than a brand new MES40.

In all these rewire situations you lose the ability to put woodchips in the smoker and have them make smoke BUT 99.9% of MES users dont use that and instead use the A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker (AMNPS) tray or tube to produce perfect, no hassle, long running smoke for hours so it's not really an issue.

I've thrown a lot at you here so I'll stop rambling now hahaha. Let us know if this makes any sense and if you have any questions... oh and if u want to read about the rewire job you can here:
https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/mes-rewire-simple-guide-no-back-removal-needed.267069/
Can you tell us how the $50. plug in unit works if you DONT rewire the MES. Just what is happening. Thank you!
 

cmayna

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
3,018
734
Joined Jun 23, 2012
My MES40 Gen1 was dead when given to me. I went straight for the above Auber PID controller. I attached a power cord to the ends of the heating element which now plugs directly to the Auber PID unit, bypassing the MES controller all together. So simple, so perfect. Oh and while I was at it, I flipped the heating element over so now it is more centered in the smoker.
 

Bearcarver

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
35,737
8,979
Joined Sep 12, 2009
I replaced it with another one just like it but keep it in the house. Then I plug it in when I need it. I was wondering what other folks are doing. Now I know what some are doing. Thanks and Be Well, Rusty.

What are others doing???
Well Some guys fix there own, or get help from one of the electronic geniuses on this form.
One is " tallbm tallbm ".
Some have had Great success getting help from Masterbuilt.
Some have switched to a PID in their unit, and seems they're all very happy.

As for me, I've just been plugging mine in whenever I want to use it for the last 10 years, without problems. I do keep a cover on it, on my front "Covered" Porch, but I have never brought a controller inside my house, to stay warm.

Bear
 

Braz

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
1,031
470
Joined Jun 25, 2017
I followed Tallbm's advice and went with the Auber unit and his rewire instructions a year ago and am very happy with the results. My MES smoker is now a GREAT smoker.
 

Latest posts

Hot Threads

Top Bottom
  AdBlock Detected

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.