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No heat and temp display jumps around

BoilermakerKC

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Joined Oct 22, 2019
I have a Masterbuilt model 20075615 electric smoker. I've had it about a year and a half and the last time I used it, it wouldn't heat up. When I looked at the display, it would show the time, and then switch to temperature and the readings would jump around.

I called Masterbuilt and a very nice woman was unable to diagnose the issue, so gave me a discount on a bundle of all replacable parts - the display, the high temp sensor and the heating element. I've replace all three, including changing the plugs on the wire, and have the same symptoms.

Has anyone else encountered this issue? If so, were you able to identify the cause?

Thanks.
 

jcam222

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Keep checking back. I cannot answer your question but you will definitely get some replies on this.
 

daveomak

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If the temperature reading is not stable, I'm thinking the temp reading probe has a problem... faulty wiring or internally broken probe... That would also reflect in it not heating because it doesn't know what the temperature is to turn on the burner.....
Remove the back panel and check the probe and wiring...
 

Winterrider

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Wouldn't think the wire connections would be messed up yet, but kinda what it sounds like.
I think Dave has you off to a good start...
 

dernektambura

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first you need to check (as Dave mentioned) thermocouple... find thermocouple and submerge it in hot water... look at the display... if display holds at steady temp then TC is ok... next you need to check heater... shut the power off to the smoker...disconect heater and check with ohm meter... you should see some reading if heater ok.. if no reading displayed it means resistance is infinite and heater element is bad...
example: if heater rated @ 1500 watts you shoul see around 10 Ohm reading...
 

BoilermakerKC

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Thanks to all. I talked to Masterbuilt again yesterday and they recommended cleaning the area around the high heat sensor. From a wiring perspective, everything was clean on visual inspection and I changed the wire leads for the element. The old leads were fairly loose and the new ones are snug.

I'll try all of these this weekend and report back. Thanks again for the great support from the community! I love the smoker and don't want to replace it.
 

tallbm

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I have a Masterbuilt model 20075615 electric smoker. I've had it about a year and a half and the last time I used it, it wouldn't heat up. When I looked at the display, it would show the time, and then switch to temperature and the readings would jump around.

I called Masterbuilt and a very nice woman was unable to diagnose the issue, so gave me a discount on a bundle of all replacable parts - the display, the high temp sensor and the heating element. I've replace all three, including changing the plugs on the wire, and have the same symptoms.

Has anyone else encountered this issue? If so, were you able to identify the cause?

Thanks.
Hi there and welcome!

There are a couple of things that I can guess may be going wrong.

1. The smoker probe is failing on you. I haven't seen this situation happen BUT I have seen where a thermocouple (temp probe) had it's internal wires touching which lead to a reading of like 74F all the time no mater what. It could be that the probe wiring is wearing out anywhere along the wires or inside the actual thermocouple/smoker probe itself causing the funny readings. Too bad they didn't send you one of those to replace the existing one. Also replacing this will mean you have to pull off the back of the MES and dig out insulation and wiring so it is a little involved but not impossible :(

2. The circuit board on the bottom of the MES (not the top display controller) is having some sort if shorting issue or wiring issue resulting in bad or false signals being sent to the display/controller on to of the MES. If this is the case then that board would need to be replaced. This wouldn't be difficult to do if you had the part. You basically place the MES on it's back, open the panel on the under side of the MES, unhook all the wires on the board, replace the board, and hook all the wires back up PROPERLY and you would be back in business.

Honestly with this much troubleshooting, having to buy parts anyway, having to wait for the parts, and then praying that they fix the issue... I would seriously consider buying a PID controller and doing a simple rewire to use the PID. This would solve all your problems as long as the heating element is still good (seems so since the error doesn't seem element related).

You can read all about the simple rewire job for using PID controller here
https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/mes-rewire-simple-guide-no-back-removal-needed.267069/

In short you cut the ends off 4 wires and then splice/wire nut the the 4 ends properly to make 2 wires total. At that point when you plug in the MES electricity bypasses all the MES electronics goes directly to the heating element and heats up, but you never want to plug it into the wall like this because it is now dumb and will heat up until it melts down lol.
With the PID controller you instead would plug the MES into the PID and the PID controller into the wall and now the PID controller will cut power on/off to the MES chord/heating element and maintain a temp you set for the smoker to hit! The PID controller has a temp probe you place inside the MES so it can read the smoker temp and cut power on/off to maintain the smoker temp.

This PID controller setup is WAAAAAAAAY more precise then the MES controller. You can usually hold within 3 degrees of the set temp and eliminate temp swings with this rewire and PID controller setup.
You will have to use the A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker (AMNPS) tray or tube though to generate smoke with this setup BUT most of us MES guys already do that anyway and the AMNPS is heaven sent compared to the crappy chip loading approach hahaha.

Anyhow I've thrown a lot at you. If you can get the MES smoker probe and/or the bottom circuit board fast and for free or cheap then feel free to continue troubleshooting the issue. If you want to go the PID route, an Auber plug and play PID for the MES40 runs about $150 here https://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=14_28&products_id=110
Yeah $150 for a PID seems expensive when you can buy a new MES smoker BUT using a PID controller on your existing MES will honestly beat the crap out of any brand new MES you could ever buy. It is honestly a whole different smoker when using a PID and you can keep it running through anything short of a car running over the smoker :)

I hope this info helps!
 
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