Pellet Grill Won’t Get Up To Temp…. little help please

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robertwhite

Fire Starter
Original poster
Jul 3, 2012
71
14
TN
MAK 1 Star General, had it for years and have never had issues heating up.

Turn unit on, set to 400*, it igntes, gets up to around 250*, then kind of stalls. It then takes around 15 minutes to reach 400*, if it even gets that high. (yesterday it was set at 450* and took at least 30 minutes to get to temp)

I had recently started using the Kirkland Signature (Costco) branded pellets. Have used them for at least 4 months with no issues. This is a new batch I am currently using. When the issue was discovered, all pellets were pulled from hopper and auger.

Then put in Pit Boss pellets which I have used for a couple years, and pretty much the same thing happened.

Used to use Lumberjack, but RK no longer carries them.

I have ordered some Camp Chef pellets to further test.

MAK will replace controller if needed, but it makes no sense that the controller is causing the issue. Auger is running, thermocouple lasers at very close to the digital temp readout.

But in my mind, once the pellets are dumped into the firepot, it is the pellets burning that is creating the temp, no?

The whole thing just doesn't make sense and the folks at MAK are just as confused as I am.

Outside temp is in the 40’s, so not an issue. Pellets have always been stored in waterproof bin. Air vent are completely clear of debris.

Any thoughts or help would be helpful.
 
is your temp probe inside the grill clean? have you confirmed the temp you are getting with more than one thermometer?
 
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is your temp probe inside the grill clean? have you confirmed the temp you are getting with more than one thermometer?
Yes. Thermocouple sensor is bright and shiny. Temp has been laser checked and is very close to controller readout.
Is the fan coming on?
Yes, fan is blowing hard and is not obstructed.
 
most likely is, but are all the holes in the burn pot nice and clean? maybe that's what you meant by "all air vents are completely clear"
 
most likely is, but are all the holes in the burn pot nice and clean? maybe that's what you meant by "all air vents are completely clear"
No, side of grill houses the fan. There is a panel covering it that has holes. All holes are clear.

Fire pot holes are clear.

Rear of grill has slotted vents, all slots are clear.

Grill is definitely getting air.
 
puzzler for sure. other than bad pellets{which you tried different ones, and you would think all of them wouldn't be bad} any possibilities that the auger is slipping or not turning for as long as it's supposed to?
 
Running through the check list:
power, pellets, auger, blower, ignition. All of those are a DO or DO NOT. There is no maybe.

All the metal parts in place? no warped or damaged pieces?

MAK offered to replace the controller? Did they first suggest changing the RTD ?

SIL has a Cabelas rebranded Pit Boss. After the second controller they figured out the connectors weren't staying engaged. Perhaps check and clean all connectors
 
puzzler for sure. other than bad pellets{which you tried different ones, and you would think all of them wouldn't be bad} any possibilities that the auger is slipping or not turning for as long as it's supposed to?
Auger is turning normal. I can lock the readout screen to show temp and auger. Auger basically stays on full time.
Running through the check list:
power, pellets, auger, blower, ignition. All of those are a DO or DO NOT. There is no maybe.

All the metal parts in place? no warped or damaged pieces?

MAK offered to replace the controller? Did they first suggest changing the RTD ?

SIL has a Cabelas rebranded Pit Boss. After the second controller they figured out the connectors weren't staying engaged. Perhaps check and clean all connectors
RTD?

Connectors are in place, no issues with any interior parts. Nothing at all has changed except the way the grill is performing.

Trying to make sure all possible issues are addressed before MAK sends out new controller. At this point, I would imagine that is what has to happen.

Of course, all this happens over the holidays and the grill is pretty much unusable. :emoji_disappointed:
 
Any stores close by with different pellets you could try?
Access to a welders blanket that would help to maybe raise what temps you actually are getting?

Know you stated your temps are in the 40's, but it still might help?

It's to bad this is happening for you at the holidays!
 
MAK has very good customer support. Dennis Ogg has always been my goto person. 40º definitely is not the issue but wondering about the wind. Depending on how strong & the angle hitting the MAK it can have a negative effect. If you go the welding blanket route be aware of the venting on the back side and keep them unblocked.
 
Any stores close by with different pellets you could try?
Access to a welders blanket that would help to maybe raise what temps you actually are getting?

Know you stated your temps are in the 40's, but it still might help?

It's to bad this is happening for you at the holidays!
Have Camp Chef coming next week. Should be able to get Bear Mtn also. Everything else around here is store brand or Traeger.
 
MAK has very good customer support. Dennis Ogg has always been my goto person. 40º definitely is not the issue but wondering about the wind. Depending on how strong & the angle hitting the MAK it can have a negative effect. If you go the welding blanket route be aware of the venting on the back side and keep them unblocked.
No wind and yes, Dennis is great to work with, both now and in years past.
 
Auger is turning normal. I can lock the readout screen to show temp and auger. Auger basically stays on full time.

RTD?


Connectors are in place, no issues with any interior parts. Nothing at all has changed except the way the grill is performing.

Trying to make sure all possible issues are addressed before MAK sends out new controller. At this point, I would imagine that is what has to happen.

Of course, all this happens over the holidays and the grill is pretty much unusable. :emoji_disappointed:
Sorry, should have called it the chamber temp sensor.
I see you did verify it is functioning

If the auger appears to be running continually, are you finding unburned or partially burned pellets?

I think all the ear scratching does point to a new controller.
 
If the auger appears to be running continually, are you finding unburned or partially burned pellets?

I think all the ear scratching does point to a new controller.
Very good question. Pellets are fully burned and very little ash.
 
What did Dennis say regarding the controller and temp sensor? Could a faulty temp sensor cause this condition?
 
What did Dennis say regarding the controller and temp sensor? Could a faulty temp sensor cause this condition?
He’s just as confused as I am.
I am going to hunt down some different brands this week and sample test. If they all do the same thing, then it will certainly point to the controller having something to do with the issue.
 
So, did a controlled burn of two different brands.

Completely emptied hopper, auger tube and fire pot.

Both tests were done with setting at 400*.

First up was Bear Mountain. After ignition, temp rapidly raised up to 400* and when that temp was reached, I then set to 450* to see how long it took the grill to get from 400*-450*.

Grill was allowed to cool off, completely cleaned again, and then retested with B&B.

Pretty much the same results, although the Bear Mountain got to initial temp about 2 1/2 minutes before the B&B. (Interesting how much hotter the Bear Mtn burned)

Then in a hunch, I once again cleaned out the grill, and then retested using the Kirkland brand. Much to my surprise, it ran up to temp in a very similar time as the B&B.

* I do have all times written down, just too lazy to get the notes right now!

It would appear that through the magic of mother nature, the stored bags of Kirkland and Pit Boss somehow absorbed enough cold moisture from recent rains (month of Dec. was very rainy and cold) that is somehow raised the moisture content by probably a few percent, which was enough to make the pellets underperform greatly.

I have stored unopened pellet bags in either a heavy duty deck bin (watertight) or a well house for going on 10 years. Never, ever had these issues before, regardless of brand. I imagine by some fluke of nature, the perfect mix of pellets and cold damp air caused the issue.

It appears that in just a very short time frame, the pellets air dried enough moisture out, in order to burn correctly. I will run a hopper full and observe what happens.

Talked to the ever gracious Dennis Ogg at MAK and we went over the results. Hoping that it was just a pellet moisture issue and the controller is not the cause.

Time will tell.

And Dennis, if you are reading, thanks again for your time and patience.
 
Good to hear that your grill is working like it should and that it's a pellet problem. If your not storing a ton of pellets, I have used 2 gallon size heavy duty zip lock bags to store pellets. squeezing out as much air as you can will keep the pellets nice and dry.
 
May have spoke too soon, at least about the Kirkland pellets. Just took 25 minutes to get up to 425*. I will be throwing what is in the hopper away and trying the Bear Mountain as another test. Hopefully it goes good. Starting to get frustrating.
 
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