Perfect Dino Rips cook and then my MES died

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MiamiSmoker305

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May 18, 2020
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Quick synapsis: My perfect beef short rib cook was interrupted when my MES 30 died. What do I do? Fix it or replace it?

I have had my MES 30" (? Gen - Digital with window, no Wifi or RF) for 18 months. I have done dozens of cooks with it, all have come out spectacular. My only issue was with the chip tray, which was easily resolved with a $10 off-brand smoking tube from Amazon. I even built a rig with a u-shaped tent spike to angle the tube. My dino-ribs have become quite popular with my close friend group. Every few months, I buy a few slabs of 3 bone short rib plates and bless the crew with some yummy goodness.

IMG-20221113-WA0012.jpg



Last night, I was preparing for an overnight cook of three plates of ribs. Before the cook, I ran a 3 hour seasoning cycle. The unit lives outside and needed a little cleaning. A couple of hours later, I lit the smoker tube, set the temp to 250 (trying to achieve 225 ambient temp), racked my SPG covered ribs after 24 hours dry brine, monitored for an hour and then went to sleep. I woke up this morning to a cold smoker that stopped after six hours of cooking. I finished the ribs in the oven and the results were spectacular as always. I was impressed with the hard crust that I normally do not get when using the built-in chip tray.
Screenshot_20221113-235241.png


So, now I am at a crossroad. What should I do? Do I fix the MES 30 or buy something new? For you current/former MES 30 owners, If you had to do it all over again, what would you do? I feel the best option is to use this as an opportunity to upgrade the heating element and the controller with a PID. I was very happy with the unit as it met all of my needs, but I wonder if this is a time to upgrade to something better. What would YOU do? Assume that cost is no option. But, I have a limited amount of space (which is why I use a vertical smoker) and use a 3-burner infrared gas grill for every-day grilling. I am open to replacing both units with one that can do it all and well. My buddy is recommending a RecTek device.
 
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Brokenhandle

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I have an analog mes 30 that had 25 degree temp swings so I bought an auber pid for and have loved it ever since. Can keep temps within a couple degrees. Not sure what they cost now, roughly $150 I'm guessing. There are easy fixes to rewire your mes to work with a pid. tallbm tallbm is very knowledgeable about it.

Ryan
 
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mosparky

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I have little faith in All-In-One products. Seems most will in deed do all to some degree and if you are lucky they will do one of them well. At least that has been my experience.
I bought my MES 30 knowing the short comings with full plans to add PID later.
That would be my suggestion.
 
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tallbm

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Quick synapsis: My perfect beef short rib cook was interrupted when my MES 30 died. What do I do? Fix it or replace it?

I have had my MES 30" (? Gen - Digital with window, no Wifi or RF) for 18 months. I have done dozens of cooks with it, all have come out spectacular. My only issue was with the chip tray, which was easily resolved with a $10 off-brand smoking tube from Amazon. I even built a rig with a u-shaped tent spike to angle the tube. My dino-ribs have become quite popular with my close friend group. Every few months, I buy a few slabs of 3 bone short rib plates and bless the crew with some yummy goodness.

View attachment 648575


Last night, I was preparing for an overnight cook of three plates of ribs. Before the cook, I ran a 3 hour seasoning cycle. The unit lives outside and needed a little cleaning. A couple of hours later, I lit the smoker tube, set the temp to 250 (trying to achieve 225 ambient temp), racked my SPG covered ribs after 24 hours dry brine, monitored for an hour and then went to sleep. I woke up this morning to a cold smoker that stopped after six hours of cooking. I finished the ribs in the oven and the results were spectacular as always. I was impressed with the hard crust that I normally do not get when using the built-in chip tray.
View attachment 648576

So, now I am at a crossroad. What should I do? Do I fix the MES 30 or buy something new? For you current/former MES 30 owners, If you had to do it all over again, what would you do? I feel the best option is to use this as an opportunity to upgrade the heating element and the controller with a PID. I was very happy with the unit as it met all of my needs, but I wonder if this is a time to upgrade to something better. What would YOU do? Assume that cost is no option. But, I have a limited amount of space (which is why I use a vertical smoker) and use a 3-burner infrared gas grill for every-day grilling. I am open to replacing both units with one that can do it all and well. My buddy is recommending a RecTek device.
Hi there and welcome!

Thanks for the details. I would almost bet money that your safety rollout limit switch has failed you. It is likely it simply died or a wire connector to it has corroded, failed, and killed the connector and the switch.

I say this because in your graph you have 1 big dip that it recovered from before it dipped and died out completely.
The safety rollout limit switch is there to cut power when your smoker gets too hot and as it cools down will allow power back through. That is kind of what your graph showed it doing until it finally died.

How could the switch think it got too hot? Simple. If the connector to the switch is corroded and loose that will cause a build up of heat. The switch itself heats up and thinks the smoker is too hot and cuts the power.
Once the smoker cools down it may read a lower temp and cut power back on.
I think that at some point in the end the switch heated up so much that it simply melted down and is done. Hence it finally dying at the end.

Options:

Option 1. You can check the failure points like the connectors at the heating element to see if they are good and intact. If not replace with the following ones.
Also check the safety rollout limit switch and the connectors and replace as needed. If the switch doesn't show obvious signs of wearing you you can simply disconnect the 2 wires that connect to it and then wire nut them together and see if the smoker heats up.
If so then you know the switch is busted because it isn't allowing current through it.
In that case you can replace the switch or keep the wires connected but understand that you no longer have a safety overheat switch. So any burn down of your smoker is on you :)

You may not have a panel to get to your safety rollout limit switch so you would have to cut one in the back of your smoker. It is a round flat coin shape device. This picture shows you where it could be:
1637285907597-png-png.png
full-d-1507244320-jpg-jpg.jpg
upload_2019-4-12_21-26-45-jpeg-jpg-jpg.jpg

Again, you may not have a panel and I would highly suggest cutting on as you WILL have to get back in there in the future as these switches and connectors fail you years down the road.


Connectors:

Replacement Safety Rollout Limit Switch (GET THIS EXACT ONE! Others may seem like the correct one but they are not, so stick with this one):

This could save your smoker as is.


Option 2. Get a free or cheap used MES 40, rewire and slap an Auber PID on it (Auber WS-1510 elpm).
This would upgrade your heating element to a 1200watt one, upgrade the vertical size of your smoker without too much more of a footprint, and finally upgrade its behavior to be like a completely different way way way way way better performing smoker with the Auber PID.
I would still get the connectors above and replace the heating element and safety rollout limit switch connectors on the MES because the ones that come with an MES are trash and corrode away fast, often within months.

Option 3. Get a new smoker. I personally cannot think of a smoker that is as set and forget, inexpensive, or as performant as a cheap or free used MES rewired with a PID controller on it along with a pellet tray or pellet tube setup.
You have an MES30 with a pellet setup already so you can easily cycle through Option 1 and Option 2 before you go to Option 3 of buying a new smoker.
Personally, I have no issue with pellet smokers. I just prefer to have less babysitting (pellet refills, auger jamming, etc), less cost (pellets vs only electricity) .


I hope this info helps. I've thrown a lot at you so ask any/every question you have! :D
 
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MiamiSmoker305

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May 18, 2020
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Hi there and welcome!

Thanks for the details. I would almost bet money that your safety rollout limit switch has failed you. It is likely it simply died or a wire connector to it has corroded, failed, and killed the connector and the switch.

I say this because in your graph you have 1 big dip that it recovered from before it dipped and died out completely.
The safety rollout limit switch is there to cut power when your smoker gets too hot and as it cools down will allow power back through. That is kind of what your graph showed it doing until it finally died.

How could the switch think it got too hot? Simple. If the connector to the switch is corroded and loose that will cause a build up of heat. The switch itself heats up and thinks the smoker is too hot and cuts the power.
Once the smoker cools down it may read a lower temp and cut power back on.
I think that at some point in the end the switch heated up so much that it simply melted down and is done. Hence it finally dying at the end.

Options:

Option 1. You can check the failure points like the connectors at the heating element to see if they are good and intact. If not replace with the following ones.
Also check the safety rollout limit switch and the connectors and replace as needed. If the switch doesn't show obvious signs of wearing you you can simply disconnect the 2 wires that connect to it and then wire nut them together and see if the smoker heats up.
If so then you know the switch is busted because it isn't allowing current through it.
In that case you can replace the switch or keep the wires connected but understand that you no longer have a safety overheat switch. So any burn down of your smoker is on you :)

You may not have a panel to get to your safety rollout limit switch so you would have to cut one in the back of your smoker. It is a round flat coin shape device. This picture shows you where it could be:
View attachment 648606
View attachment 648607
View attachment 648608

Again, you may not have a panel and I would highly suggest cutting on as you WILL have to get back in there in the future as these switches and connectors fail you years down the road.


Connectors:

Replacement Safety Rollout Limit Switch (GET THIS EXACT ONE! Others may seem like the correct one but they are not, so stick with this one):

This could save your smoker as is.


Option 2. Get a free or cheap used MES 40, rewire and slap an Auber PID on it (Auber WS-1510 elpm).
This would upgrade your heating element to a 1200watt one, upgrade the vertical size of your smoker without too much more of a footprint, and finally upgrade its behavior to be like a completely different way way way way way better performing smoker with the Auber PID.
I would still get the connectors above and replace the heating element and safety rollout limit switch connectors on the MES because the ones that come with an MES are trash and corrode away fast, often within months.

Option 3. Get a new smoker. I personally cannot think of a smoker that is as set and forget, inexpensive, or as performant as a cheap or free used MES rewired with a PID controller on it along with a pellet tray or pellet tube setup.
You have an MES30 with a pellet setup already so you can easily cycle through Option 1 and Option 2 before you go to Option 3 of buying a new smoker.
Personally, I have no issue with pellet smokers. I just prefer to have less babysitting (pellet refills, auger jamming, etc), less cost (pellets vs only electricity) .


I hope this info helps. I've thrown a lot at you so ask any/every question you have! :D
Amazing reply. Thank you very much. I'm thinking of moving to a Masterbuilt Gravity 800.
 

cmayna

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Put your MES30 in our classified as a freebie. Hopefully we have a member who lives close by that would love to bring it back to life.
 

clifish

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Amazing reply. Thank you very much. I'm thinking of moving to a Masterbuilt Gravity 800.
I bought the 800 on clearance from Walmart in August for $347. Even with it's wifi issues I love it, holds temps great. My wifi issue is probably due to it being 200+ feet from the house. Also spray the switches with electronic contact cleaner every once in a while.

There are people who hate it for the issues and plenty of them figured work arounds and love it.


there are several threads here on the good, bad for the MB gravity series.
 
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MiamiSmoker305

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May 18, 2020
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Cool. If you ever feel like resurrecting your MES30 let us know. It's not useless but just needs a few tweaks and would be ready to rock again :)
So tallbm tallbm , The original problem (it will not power on) persists after replacing the safety switch and the control box on top (was looking for a cheap/quick fix). An Auber PID was delivered today, but I'm having doubts that it will work. What should I do next?

Edit:
1. The Auber PID is a AW-1520H
2. I bought a MB Gravity 1050, so I am covered for Christmas dinner
 
Last edited:
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tallbm

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So tallbm tallbm , The original problem (it will not power on) persists after replacing the safety switch and the control box on top (was looking for a cheap/quick fix). An Auber PID was delivered today, but I'm having doubts that it will work. What should I do next?

Edit:
1. The Auber PID is a AW-1520H
2. I bought a MB Gravity 1050, so I am covered for Christmas dinner

Did you happen to check the connections at the heating element? If not this is an easy check and if the connectors are corroded and worn away you will know with a little tug on the wires or you will visually see they are burning away.

After that the issue is likely that the lower controller board has died on you.
Now that you have the Auber PID all you have to do is the simple rewire down there at the controller board and that should cut out all the failing electronics it came with.

The rewire is simple. You cut the ends off 4 wires and then wire nut together to make 2 whole wires.
The MES plug will now feed power to the heating element (keeping the safety switch in the mix).

Here is a super detailed write up on the rewire with pictures. Let me know if this makes sense and ask all the questions you have.
I have COMPLETE confidence that we can get this smoker up and running and that with the PID it will be 1000x better than anything you could buy new... unless u spend about $1k lol.

 

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