My Mods to a Masterbuilt Analog

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PolishDeli

Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
Oct 9, 2018
382
538
I got a new smoker recently. The MES30 analog (it was a bday present) It's a step down from my previous unit (MES30 digital). However, with these mods, I expect it'll be a better performer.
The ramblings that follow are my thoughts about this smoker and the mods I made to it. A shopping list is at the bottom of the post.

Out-of-the-box, there are a lot of problems with the analog. If this had been my first smoker, I probably would have found it extremely frustrating. The digital version was far from perfect, but it is definitely a better starter unit than the analog.

The problems boil down to two distinct but related issues: temperature control and air flow.

1 - Temperature control.
The unit has a 1500W heating element, which is controlled with a potentiometer. That same heating element is what burns wood chips for smoke generation. To add more wood chips, you have to open up the chamber. These will all result in huge temperature swings and inconsistent smoke levels.
The fix: Connect a PID temperature controller to the smoker and do not use the heating element for wood burning. I have an MB slow smoker attachment, but mailbox mod would also be great.
(There is also a complete lack of insulation, but I'm not addressing that yet, if ever.)

2 - Air flow
There is no air intake on this unit, and the exhaust is a 0.5 inch hole in the top back corner. The door seel is non-existent, so perhaps that is also supposed to serve as a point of air exchange. I don't know, but I don't like it.
The fix: (a) Open up an intake and attach the mail box mod/slow smoker to it. (b) Open up an exhaust and attach a smoke stack

For temperature control, I got an Auber PID. I expect to get much more stable temperatures with this setup than I had with MES30 digital. I also hope to get a larger range of temperatures. The MES30 digital goes from 100°F to 275°F. With analog+Auber I'm hoping to go from 65° to 350°F (depending on weather and amount of stuff in the smoker).

Having the PID and the inkbird IBT-4XP, there are a lot of temperature probes and wires flying around. Pinching the probe wires in the door works, but I wanted something cleaner. To that end, I installed silicone grommets and a cable gland. The smoker is double walled, and therefore corresponding probe ports were installed both inside and outside the chamber.

The PID probe port was drilled into the center of the back wall. The probe is passed through a cable gland from the outside of the chamber
20220325_183533.jpg


.....and a silicone grommet to the inside of the chamber.
20220325_183513.jpg


Silicone ports were installed for the thermometer probes. I was going to install these on the side walls of the smoker but decided to use them for the secondary purpose of covering up the original exhaust. I had to make the hole a bit bigger using a dremmel.

Original exhaust:
20220319_174335.jpg


Converted to probe port, outside the chamber:
20220325_183125.jpg


Inside the chamber:
20220325_183014.jpg



Here is the smoke stack. It's from GHP. Opted for this one because it was a good size, good price ($13 for stainless), and good look. I think it is sold as a replacement stack for a Dyna Glow grill. A 3 inch hole saw, RTV silicone, and nuts-n-bolts to attach it.
20220327_113707.jpg


Again, the walls are 2-ply. In order to seal the open gap between the roof and ceiling, I cut off a 2cm length of steel duct and inserted it through the exhaust hole and RTVed it in place.

Exhaust as-cut
20220324_193117.jpg

Exhaust. Gap sealed.
20220324_194433.jpg


Intake. Drilled a 3in hole, bottom center of the chamber. The bottom is sinlge ply. Inserted an aluminum duct elbow. This will connect to a 3ft duct, which then connects to the slow smoker attachment.
20220325_184119.jpg


Nomex gasket around the door
20220326_082633.jpg


Caster wheels
20220325_183554.jpg


I'll install smoke stick hangers at some point. Other mods I'm sure will come to mind I as use this.

Done for now.
20220328_101703.jpg
 
This is like like the set up I came up with for the analog a few years ago with a T vs elbow in the bottom to dbl as a grease drain catch as well with a vent cap or soup can with water to air seal so all air comes through the intake pipe, no leaks. Foil the bottom of the smoker with a 2.75" hole over the three inch cut out, then just push foil into 3" hole. Make 16 tabs in the elbow/T with tin snips to hold fitting and flat for the foil to lay over the bottom. Dave Omak did this for his mailbox mod and alternately bent 8 at 90° inserted the other 8 then bent them 90° I have a Mes 30 and 40 so the 3" chip loader hole is my intake for the mailbox mod. The Auber PID is on top of a piece of 2x6 wood to keep it cooler.
20181217_111149.jpg
 
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Great mods!

(There is also a complete lack of insulation, but I'm not addressing that yet, if ever.)

A quick fix for that is to wrap it in a welders blanket.These can be had pretty cheap at places like Harbor Freight.Not very stylish but it does work.
 
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Thanks dr k dr k
I saw that sketch in a previous post. It certainly helpd me with planning. I was debating drilling through the side vs the bottom. Im use to the side port from the chip loader on the mes digital. In the end, it was a bit of coin toss.
I opted for an elbow instead if a tee since drip pan and /or foil keep the floor of my smokers mostly great free
Thanks again

normanaj normanaj
Thanks! I've seen welders blankets be used. Ill likely pick one up. Thank you for the suggestion. I've also seen things like wood paneling be permanently attached or insulation be stuffed into the door. I'm kinda tempted to inject some Fireblock Greatstuff into the wall cavity.
 
Nice job on that! You pretty much nailed all the issues on it. Was my 1st smoker as well, but hard to beat at $90. Love the auber with mine too.
Did I miss it, or you said something about a shopping list...really like the grommet you used for auber sensor.

Ryan
 
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Shopping list:

Masterbuilt MB20070210 Analog Electric Smoker

Auber PID (WS-1510ELPM)

LavaLock Silicon Temp Grommet
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0797JCG99/?tag=smokingmeatforums-20

PG7 cable gland
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RZXW4L2/?tag=smokingmeatforums-20

Silicon grommets for passing for passing probes into the chamber.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BC4TYQ5/?tag=smokingmeatforums-20

Smoke stack

3inch aluminum duct elbow
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000H5WXNK/?tag=smokingmeatforums-20

Nomex gasket
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JO00S04/?tag=smokingmeatforums-20
 
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