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yet another broken MES

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by frieza79, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. If you're looking for a new smoker, make sure a 30" MES isn't one of them

    I've had mine for about 6 months, but only used it 3-4 times and the digital control panel no longer displays correctly.

    Its almost like the connection to the LED panel is loose, if i press on the screen really hard i can see the numbers, let go and it goes black again.

    I emailed Masterbuilt Customer Service which didn't really help me, except to say I can buy a replacement part from them.

    $60 for 3-4 smokes?  thats more than I paid for my ECB 4 years ago, and that thing is still going strong after probably 40 smokes.

    So much for my 'upgrade' [​IMG]
  2. marty catka

    marty catka Meat Mopper

    Call customer service at this number 1-706-256-3942. I got this number from RonP and had great success dealing with them.  Tell them also that you are on the SMF and it does seem to help. I had an issue with my temp controller and they sent me out a new digital controller.
  3. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It is unfortunate you have had a negative experience with your MES and Masterbuilt's customer service.

    There isn't a product made EVER that has a 100% every unit, every customer reliability, even if only one unit failed that unlucky customer will not be happy.  Regarding your MES, the fact that your unit failed after 6 months and a few smokes doesn't indicate anything, except your personal experience.  Your experience certainly isn't the general SMF consensus, in fact your sentiments are the exact opposite of SMF owners experience and opinions expressed on SMF, or any other smoking / bbq forum who mostly favor and praise the MES.  Your experience has been bad, well mine has been good, after 2.5 years and approx. 100 smokes my MES is still working fine, and I would highly recommend the MES to anyone.  In addition your dealings with Masterbuilt is also contrary to what other MES owners have posted here at SMF, which again has been generally excellent customer service. 

    So why am I waving the MES flag?  On SMF the MES has lots of owner support, and has earned a respected rating as a excellent, reliable, top performance and designed electric smoker.  Masterbuilt customer service also receives generally similar high marks .  Thus your blanket statement implying that the MES 30" is worse than the much cheaper ECB smoker and not worth the extra money, based solely on your experience, is accurate only for you, and not representative of the MES product in general, I thought I would post a comment that is representative of the general MES owner's experience, as a reply.

    On to positive things, one benefit with the MES is the ease which components can be replace with aftermarket types which not only extend the MES service life but in some cases improve performance.  If your MES failed after 2 years (instead of 6 months) you would be looking for a digital controller replacement.  Since you are outside of the 90day warranty period (some of us purchased 1 year and 3 year extended warranties), consider buying and installing a PID controller as a replacement for the OEM digital control.  It will cost you about the same money, and a little sweat.  The result will be a state of the art electric smoker with intelligent controller allowing you to precisely control the MES.  There are several threads on PID upgrades for the MES in the Electric Smoker Forum.
  4. I'm glad that you have had a good experience with yours.

    But in your reply you basically say that the MES is great, but then tell me that i should consider buying aftermarket components.

    All I see on this forum is Mods and upgrades to get the MES to work.  Burned up wires, chip holder mods, broken door seals.

    Looking at the reviews from http://www0.epinions.com/reviews/Masterbuilt_ESQ30B

    it looks like the best "feature" is that its easy to use and clean, and the Cons are all about things that break easy.

    Thanks for the suggestions about calling their support line.  I'll give it a shot, but I just wanted others considering buying this to not have some unrealistic expectation that a $200 smoker is top notch.
  5. scubadoo97

    scubadoo97 Smoking Fanatic

    IMO the MES is the best of the cheap electric smokers.  There is a chance you will have an electrical problem over time.  Just look at the number of people that have reported an issue on this forum alone.  Yes and I know that there are many  more that have not had any problems but you can't ignore the number of problems reported compared to the number of complaints of failures with other higher end electrics. You want a high quality electric, think Cookshack but be prepared to pay for that quality.  If you look at their forum you will see some issues with condensation and temperature control, smoking at low temps and other minor issues but you will not see many reports of failure to operate.  I have a 30 inch MES and I like it a lot but my expectations are realistic.  You get what you pay for.
  6. deannc

    deannc Master of the Pit

    frieza 79, you got these electric folks all flared up....come on over to the darkside, get ya a gasser! haha  On a serious note, sorry to hear you're having trouble.  Let us know how you make out with there customer service after you call them. 
  7. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Your quick review check was limited I compiled the following a couple of months ago when another new SMF member was trying to understand why there was strong loyalty for the MES when he read about mods/fixes/upgrades.  The following is very representative of SMF members experience.  Mostly favorable or excellent.


    As you can see 85% gave the MES a favorable review and 15% did not. 80% gave the MES a very good or excellent review.  This is very far from being junk.   SMF members who own the MES are pretty honest and decent folks, not afraid to tell it like it is, we pride ourselves on making great tasting Q, bottom line with only a few exceptions most MES owners here really like their MES and use it frequently.  Further if you take the time to read through the electric forum, you will find many experience meat smokers who use one or several other types of smokers that went and purchased a MES and they are extremely happy with the product.  That is HUGE when those who know what they are doing, already own a smoker and then buy the MES.  You will even find a couple SMF members who have used both wood and charcoal and believe the MES produces a better product.

    Why are there mods, because the MES is an adaptable product, some want to have longer smoke so they don't have to babysit and add wood every 30 -40 minutes, thus a mod.  Some want better control of temps so they upgraded their controller system to a PID.  Those that had failures due to wiring, found that replacing the wiring in the back of the MES was a simple, and effective fix, making their MES an even better smoker.  Personally I purchased the MES because it was a great platform to start smoking but I knew I would eventually have to replace the wiring, and didn't see that as a deal breaker.  New modes may not even need the wire change.  The answer about buying aftermarket parts has nothing to do with reliability, it was simply if you unit failed after 2 years due to the controller, you would be shopping for a controller wither OEM or aftermarket.  Instead you claim your controller failed in 1st 6 months and your warranty has expired, so your in the same boat as if it had failed 2 yrs, looking for replacement parts either OEM or aftermarket.  I could care less what you do with the smoker, junk it, repair it, try to get a replacement from MES, that is your choice.  I protected my investment with an extended warranty, and have had the good fortune of the MES performing like a champ for 2 years (btw many other MES owners have had the same good fortune)