Newby's First Message! Masterbuilt Electric Smoker not "throttling" the heat

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Bob R

Newbie
Original poster
Mar 13, 2021
9
1
Hello to all... and I am so happy to find this place.

The patient is an MES Model # 2007651540" vertical smoker. I have only had it since about November of 2017 and all of this time it has only been used maybe 8 - 10 times. So that you know all of the conditions... it lives outside, definitely under cover and with a full cover that is pretty heavy duty.... no holes in the cover.

The last time I turned it on and went through the startup procedure (punch in time and temp and hit "go") and came back about 15 minutes later..... it REALLY SMELLED HOT and while I had set the temp at about 225.... it was up at the top end of the range and climbing. I powered it off and did a little "functional troubleshooting". Opened the door and let it cool down....then started it up again. Temp to 225 and let her rip... THIS TIME carefully watching the little light on the controller. Of course....early on... it came on and stayed on. As the temp approached the set point.... I stuck to it like glue and when it HIT the set point the light went OUT. To me.... this suggests that the burner should have been switched off.

BUT... the temp kept climbing.... and climbing.... and climbing....even with the light OFF. I cracked the door.... the element was energized and red.... so even though the controller THOUGHT the element was off..... it was ON. With that, I left it on....but left the door cracked and, of course, the temp crashed quickly. When it came below the set point...... the heat ON lamp came on again!

So this leads me to think the following.....

1) The controller.....SEEMS to be t doing what it is SUPPOSED to be doing....to a POINT
2) The temp sensor seems to be working....because when it gets hot inside the smoker.... the digital temp display climbs up like it should and when I cracked the door, the temp started falling.
3) However..... when it is time to tell the burner to "turn off" ..... the little lamp on the controller goes off (which implies that it KNOWS it needs to shut the burner off and it IS trying) but.... the burner stays on.

What I wish I had.... was a wiring diagram of this thing.... just so I know what I am fighting. It is out of warranty... so I really don't mind tackling it (and am well equipped an dcapable of working with electricity!).....but there is not a LOT of help on the Masterbuilt site. I had hoped to find a schematic/wiring diagram.... but nope. Parts list? Nope. What I DID find was language indicating that, if you were "out of warranty" you HAD to choose your parts using their parts page...BUT....if it wasn't there..... then it was unavailable.... which makes me a little edgy.

Here is the thing.... if it turns out that it IS the controller.... that is fine. I think they sell that. But other than that... if it is something like a sensor or if there is a power control board with a relay or a "solid state relay" and supporting parts...... I could PROBABLY figure that out and have a shot at fixing it.

So if there is indeed someone who would not mind giving some advice....... a) DOES this symptom suggest that it IS the controller? b) are any kinds of wiring diagrams available for these things so that I know "who the players are" inside the cabinet?

Thanks very much in advance for any help that you might be able to offer!

Bob
 

Bob R

Newbie
Original poster
Thread starter
Mar 13, 2021
9
1
I came back to add an update!!! I ALWAYS DO IT BACKWARDS!!!!
I found this forum, registered, and submitted this posting to ask about my problem.

THEN I went out to the wild wild web on Google and searched....and it led me to an older post in here back in Oct 2013 made by a member "chuck41" who diagnosed it down to the power control board on the bottom and the relay that was involved. he even included the original part number. With his lead I should not have any problems at ALL tracking this down.... just KNOWING about that board.

I will let you know....
 

Winterrider

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Sep 29, 2018
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North Dakota
Sounds like its time for an upgrade . $150 will get you an Auber PID controller that will make you a very happy person. The temp probes and controllers have been a problem area in those smokers for a long time, mine included.
Do a search off home page for Masterbuilt rewire by tallbm tallbm
 
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tallbm

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Dec 30, 2016
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Texas
I came back to add an update!!! I ALWAYS DO IT BACKWARDS!!!!
I found this forum, registered, and submitted this posting to ask about my problem.

THEN I went out to the wild wild web on Google and searched....and it led me to an older post in here back in Oct 2013 made by a member "chuck41" who diagnosed it down to the power control board on the bottom and the relay that was involved. he even included the original part number. With his lead I should not have any problems at ALL tracking this down.... just KNOWING about that board.

I will let you know....

Hi there and welcome!

What you describe sounds like the circuit board at the bottom (underneath side) of the smoker is messing up. On that circuit bard there is something called a "Relay" which is a switch.
When the top controller reads the temp from the sensor and gets near the set temp the top controller will send a signal down to the relay on the circuit board to switch off power to the heating element.
When temp drops the top controller senses it and sends a signal to the circuit board to switch power on to the heating element.

Tit sounds like your Relay is stuck in the "on" position.
You have 2 options.
1. Get lucky and find a circuit board that will work for your smoker and replace it.
2. Do the simple rewire (cut 4 wire ends and splice/wire nut to make 2 wires), buy and use a PID controller.
-Once rewired your MES will be dumb and always send power to the heating element.
-You plug the dumb MES into the PID controller and the PID controller into the wall.
-You put the PID temp probe in the smoker and punch in a set temp.
-The PID will cut power on/off to the MES plug until it hits the set temp and will hold the set temp within 1-3 degrees!

Option 2 will give you a superiors functioning smoker to anything Masterbuilt makes brand new. An Auber PID controller will run you about $150 which cost some $$$ but is less than a new smoker BUT hands down, will make your MES better than anything out there :)

All of us PID smoker guys have been apprehensive at first about the idea but after seeing it work we all ask "why did I wait so long?!?!?" hahaha.

I hope this info helps :)
 
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Bob R

Newbie
Original poster
Thread starter
Mar 13, 2021
9
1
Thank you ! I have already seen a number of PID based solutions.....but I have a question about that!

I wish I had saved links....but I have seen SOME PEOPLE say that this "PID" solution has trouble in some way with manageing the temp required to make the wood smoke properly. Electronics... and the parts involved here.... I know plenty about BUT they seemed to be suggesting that there is some kind of magic built in to the "Masterbuilt controller" that "knows how to manage the temp in a way that helps the wood smoke. It SEEMED to revolve around keeping a "cycling effect" going on the temp. IN other words it was like THEY were saying that the Masterbuilt controller keeps the temp CLOSE but not EXACTLY regulated.... so that it was constantly going "up and down" a little bit to keep the wood smoking.

Again.. that is not ME.... that is what I read them saying. Can you comment on that?

Thanks a bunch for your response.
Bob

Option 2 will give you a superiors functioning smoker to anything Masterbuilt makes brand new. An Auber PID controller will run you about $150 which cost some $$$ but is less than a new smoker BUT hands down, will make your MES better than anything out there :)

All of us PID smoker guys have been apprehensive at first about the idea but after seeing it work we all ask "why did I wait so long?!?!?" hahaha.

I hope this info helps :)
 

tallbm

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Dec 30, 2016
6,800
3,807
Texas
Thank you ! I have already seen a number of PID based solutions.....but I have a question about that!

I wish I had saved links....but I have seen SOME PEOPLE say that this "PID" solution has trouble in some way with manageing the temp required to make the wood smoke properly. Electronics... and the parts involved here.... I know plenty about BUT they seemed to be suggesting that there is some kind of magic built in to the "Masterbuilt controller" that "knows how to manage the temp in a way that helps the wood smoke. It SEEMED to revolve around keeping a "cycling effect" going on the temp. IN other words it was like THEY were saying that the Masterbuilt controller keeps the temp CLOSE but not EXACTLY regulated.... so that it was constantly going "up and down" a little bit to keep the wood smoking.

Again.. that is not ME.... that is what I read them saying. Can you comment on that?

Thanks a bunch for your response.
Bob

Yeah I know exactly what you are talking about, you remember it correctly.

So the Masterbuilt controller seems to intentionally cause big swings so that it can ensure wood chips continue to smoke since you have to add them ever 30-45min or so.
Good for keeping chips smoldering but bad for tight temp control when a 30F degree swing can ruin your sausage or your bacon smokes :(

When going to a PID controller there will be no swings beyond the ramp up from being turned off to then heating to your set temp. After that it will pulse to hold within 1-3 degrees of your set temp. So once it starts holding you don't have this prolonged heat up of the heating element to start smoldering fresh wood chips. Someone reported that their PID setup had no issues burning wood chips so you would just have to test it out and see how it works for you.

HOWEVER, this is really a moot point for like 99% of us electric smoker guys because we don't use the wood chip feeder mechanism. We instead use the A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker (AMNPS) tray or tube to burn wood pellets independently.
The AMNPS tray will burn like a cup and a half of wood pellets producing PERFECT smoke for 12 hours with no babysitting!!!!
If you want 2 hours just put enough pellets for 2 hours, if you want hours then put pellets for 6 hours, you want 12 hours fill it up. You get the idea.

So since all of us electric guys use the AMNPS and burn pellets we don't care that we may or may not lose the wood chip burning ability when we move to a PID controller. Moot point :)

So....

1. PID controller = tight temp control so you don't risk melting fat out of sausage or bacon AND you actually hit the set temps you punch in. No putting in 275F and only getting to 260F.

2. Using the AMNPS you get perfect Thin Blue Smoke (TBS) production for up to 12 hours with no fuss.

You put 1 & 2 together and you have the most precise, accurate, set and forget performance you could imagine!!! Get a good wireless thermometer with 4-6 probes and alarms you can set. Then you have a setup where you can do 15+ hour smokes while sleeping comfortably overnight and if anything goes wrong your thermometer alerts you and you wake up refreshed ready to eat some good BBQ :D
 

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