Problem keeping AMNPS lit in MES 30"

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by yankeejoe061472, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. Just looking for some tips here. I tried pulling out the chip drawer and that helped a little, but once one row is completely burned up, it goes out. Any advice from you ol' pros would be appreciated.
  2. bluebombersfan

    bluebombersfan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Ooops I typed out a big reply but noticed you have the pellet smoker............I have the dust smoker.  I am sure someone will be along shortly ro help you.  If not PM Todd he is always very helpful!  Or you could even call him his number should have came on a card with the smoker.

  3. I got the pellet smoker too and Todd gave me one that fits on the bars that support the smoker box inside the unit.  Other than that I always pull out the the chip tray inside the unit as well as the chip loader from the outside and that has always seemed to work for me.  make sure you have it in a place where air can flow into the chip loader hole as well.
  4. hardslicer

    hardslicer Smoking Fanatic

    I'm a dust man too.....never had any problem and I've got a pretty tight watt burner......Todd will set you right on this....  [​IMG]
  5. jak757

    jak757 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    The link posted above is a must read.  Like with any new device, there is a learning curve.  Two things I have learned is make sure you really get it started well.  Heat that sucker up, let the flame go for 5-10 minutes as Todd suggests.  I typically blow it out, start it up again, let it burn some more, blow it out and let it smoke a bit outside.  Blow on the pellets to get a nice glow going, then put it in.  Tinker with the chip tray and loader.  Need to make sure you get enough air.  Also, make sure your pellets are kept dry.  Don't give up -- you will get it, and you will love the AMNPS!
  6. tromaron

    tromaron Meat Mopper

    I've run into that same problem.  I'm in Western NY where it's been way humid most of the summer.  Last week I put one row of pellets in the microwave for 1 min.  That seemed to do too much.  I got nothing but heavy white smoke from them after that.  Yesterday I figured I'd just put them in the AMNPS without any micro time.  I repeatedly lit it & let it burn for a good 10+ min before blowing it out, and it kept going out just a few min after putting it in the MES.  This was with the loader pulled out 1/3 & the chip tray out 1.5".  Finally after about 2 hours they dried out just right & burned perfectly for the next 10 hours.  Perfect tbs the whole rest of the time. 

    I saw someone else post that they put their pellets in a pie pan in their MES while it pre-heats.  I think I'll give that a shot next time.
  7. tank

    tank Smoke Blower

    So does anyone else put their pellets in the microwave?  I thought that was a benefit of pellets is that they didn't collect moisture like the sawdust?  I have tried pellets once but didn't have good luck.  I only had a small butane lighter to get it going so I do not think I had them going well enough.  Since then I bought a propane torch so that should help out.  Also would it ever be to humid outside to get the pellets going?  I would think not.  Sorry to high jack this thread just found it interesting.
  8. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What smoker do you use MES 30" or 40"?

    Hot or Cold Smoking?

    Chip pan out 1 1/2"

    Chip loader out or in?

    Where did you place it inside your MES

    Couple things....

    If you're using water in the water pan, moisture builds up inside your smoker, and the pellets or sawdust will die out.

    Chip loader out all the way during hot smoking does not work,  You can pull it out 1/4 way MAX

    Chip loader out 1/4 - all the way during cold smoking.

    Exhaust vent 100% open

    On hot humid days with little wind, I will place on top the chip pan housing, during cold smoking

    Most of the time guys don't get the AMNPS started properly, but in your case, it seems to be running out of oxygen after a couple hours.

    You can always call me at (952)412-0484

  9. First of all, thanks for all the help, guys. Secondly, I actually pulled out the chip loader, not the chip tray when I was smoking

    some beef ribs last weekend. I will try pulling out the chip tray 1 1/2 " and the chip loader no more than a quarter of the way out

    during hot smokes. Humidity shouldn't be a problem here in Montana, so I won't worry about that. If these techniques fail this

    weekend, I'll give you a call, Todd. Thanks again, fellas!
  10. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Pull the chip pan out 1 1/2", but don't remove it.  The chip pan also acts as a heat shield for the door and bottom.

    I know it makes sense to remove the chip loader entirely for more air flow, but for some reason this does not work.  The heat from the element almost creates an air curtain right at the hole for the intake.  I'm not an engineer, but a couple customers who are engineers gave me a physics lesson as to what's going on.

    Another simple mod is to add a chimney to the exhaust vent.  This creates a slight negative pressure inside the box, and a slight draft thru the top.  Without it, a slight breeze can push air back into the MES, thru the exhaust, and it will actually back draft.  I found that stacking (2) Progresso Soup Cans or Bean Cans work perfectly.  They are 3" in diameter and fit perfectly on top the exhaust vent, without removing any parts.  I also had a 45° PVC Elbow handy, so I tried that too.  I would not suggest using the PVC Elbow at higher temps!

    [​IMG]     [​IMG]

  11. I've used the AMNPS in my 30" MES for probably 15 smokes (cold and hot) with dust and pellets. I've taken the chip tray out and the loader out every time with no problem of smoke extinguish before all the fuel was burned.  I do have a metal duct joint on my exhaust vent that could create the negative pressure Todd was talking about.  That being said, it seems as if the advice of guys way  more experienced than me (including the inventor of the product) is not to pull them all the way out and I will definitely be trying that out this weekend to see what kind of difference it makes. 

  12. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm tellin' ya, the chimney helps more than anything else!

  13. bluebombersfan

    bluebombersfan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I haven't tried the chimmeny yet!  Great idea, just started digging through my recycle bin but nothing that will fit!  I will have to get some soup from the store!!!!

  14. Is that "metal duct joint " attached to the MES or is it just sitting on top? If it is attached, how was it attached? I am thinking of doing the same thing.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  15. bamatmac

    bamatmac Newbie

    I'll have to try the chimney!  So far, I've used the AMNPS in my MES30 twice and each time, I ended up having to remove the chip tray, chip loader, AND put the AMNPS on top of the element housing (instead of the rails to the left of it).  I've even had to occasionally put a fan near the smoker to get airflow in thru where the chip loader normally is.

    I just didn't seem to get enough airflow without doing all those things.  I would get it smoking pretty good outside, but it would stop smoking after a few minutes once it was inside.  As soon as I would open the door and take it out (giving it oxygen), it would start smoking again.  Does that sound like an issue the chimney will fix?

    Thanks.  -Tracy
  16. Yes it is.  I believe it's a 3" joint and the beveled end fits snugly in the top of the mes so there's no attachment necessary.  Picked it up for a couple of bucks at home depot.  I originally put it on to direct smoke away from the control panel to keep it from getting all gunked up but apparently it helps my AMNPS burn as well. 
  17. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    The MES and many other electric smokers are starved for oxygen.  Most have less intake and exhaust than the MES.  The Analog Masterbuilt, only has the drain hole for the intake, and guys have used a cheap aquarium pump to add intake air with great success.  I'm not saying you have to do this with the MES, but there are a few tricks to keep the AMNPS smoking in the MES.

    The trick is to get a draft going thru your MES.

    Are you Cold Smoking or Hot Smoking?

    On hot days, with no wind, I've had to place the AMNPS on top the chip pan housing or even on the lowest shelf.

    Another trick is to start the MES and set it to 100°-125° to get a draft going thru the MES, then shut it off.  This does not work well for smoking cheese, unless you like "Melted Cheese"!

    Do Not Rush The Starting Procedure!

    The biggest mistake guys make, is not following the starting procedure.  Get a good flame burning on the pellets, and allow it to burn for at least 5 minutes, before you blow it out.  You really need to get a good bed of coals to keep the AMNPS burning.  If it's too windy to keep the flame going, place the AMNPS inside your smoker, but do not latch the door tight.  Some guys just light the AMNPS and it keeps going.  Once you get the hang of it, you be smoking up a storm!

    Adding the chimney helps create negative pressure in the MES.  Without a chimney, you'll notice the unit will "Back Draft" thru the exhaust, when the wind blows.  The chimney keeps the back draft from happening.

    If you're "Hot Smoking" with the AMNPS, DO NOT remove the Chip Loader.  Only pull it out 1/4 way MAX. 

    Cold Smoking

    Pull the chip pan out 1 ½”

    Remove the chip loader ¼ way to all the way out

    Place the AMNPS on the rails, or on top the chip pan housing

    Install Water Pan - Use as a heat deflector

    Hot Smoking

    Pull the chip pan out on 1 ½” - Do Not Remove!...Chip Pan Doubles as a "Heat Shield" for the door and bottom.

    Pull the chip loader up to ¼ way out MAX - Control Draft buy pushing in or pulling out

    Place AMNPS on the rails - Lighted side away from the element or flame

    Install Water Pan with No Water in the water pan - Excess moisture will keep the pellets or sawdust from burning.

    Happy Smoking!

  18. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Todd knows his Amazing products 1000 times better than I do.

    I will add that when I first started testing the AMNPS, I had a little problem keeping it going. I tried all of the pulling this out a little, and removing that, and all of that stuff.

    None of it helped. The sole thing that fixed all of my problems was "GETTING IT LIT RIGHT IN THE FIRST PLACE". I can't emphasize this enough.

    I go the extra mile when lighting it, and I can always use it on the bars to the left of my MES 40.

    This may seem like a PITA, but it's worth it to have it smoke perfectly for 9 to 12 hours without touching it:

    First I fill my AMNPS just about to the top.

    Then I light one end through the hole with my Propane torch, holding the torch there for awhile, even after the flame starts, to drive that heat in.

    Then I let it burn (must be out of the wind), until the flame goes out.

    Then I blow on the hot coals at the bottom, directly into the pellets, trying to get the hot coals to spread into the bottom of the pile.

    This causes it to flame up again, and I let it burn until the flame goes out again.

    I might do this again, to get the hot coals deep into the pile.

    Then I let the flame go out, and it will be smoking nicely.

    Time to put it on the bars.

    This takes about 15 or 20 minutes, but you aren't spending more than a minute or 2 with it, for about 5 times.

    Since I have been doing my lighting like this, I have never pulled anything out or removed everything, and I have always put it on the bars.

    I'm not saying this will work for all MES owners, but it sure works great for me. It never goes out when I use this method.

    My 2 Piasters,

  19. bamatmac

    bamatmac Newbie

    Thanks, Todd & Bear.  I'm purely a hot smoker, and here in Georgia, it's almost always hot and w/o wind so maybe that's my issue.  I'll try Bear's advice and spend some extra time getting it really hot.  I've been doing some of that, but not 15-20 minutes worth...closer to the 5-10 Todd recommended.  

    Todd, why do you say to NOT remove the chip loader?  That seems to help get more oxygen into the smoker (but I could be wrong).  Does it cause another problem (heat loss, etc)?  Just curious...

    Thanks again...maybe I'll give it another shot this weekend.

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