2nd gen Masterbuilt PID questions

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by johnnyb54, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Smoke Blower

    I have a 2nd generation 40" 1200W Masterbuilt smoker that I would like to connect to a Auber PID controller since I'm not happy with the wide temp swings I'm getting. I know that the PID needs to be connected per Auber instructions as shown here ()

    My two questions are:

    When rewiring the Masterbuilt do I keep the Masterbuilt temperature limit cutoff switch in or do I eliminate that also?

    I use my Masterbuilt for low temp smoking for making smoked sausage, snack sticks, jerky and bacon. I am not concerned with the Masterbuilt chip loader producing smoke as I use a AMNPS. The PID controllers I have been looking at for the Masterbuilt are:
    WS-1510ELPM (multi purpose)
    WS-1510DPMS (K type thermocouple)
    WS-1211GP (single sensor)
    WSD-1200GPH (dual probe).
    Is one better then the other for the application that I mentioned in the top of the paragraph?
    Thanks in advance for any help in the matter.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  2. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Well you are in luck my friend, I did this exact thing a little over a month ago so I have your answers!
    1. Yes keep the cutoff switch wired into the circuit.  This is a safety feature you want to have.
        -I personally would also recommend you switch the existing ONE TIME cutoff switch for one you can reset should it ever trip, Goodman Amana B1370154 Flame Rollout Switch 350° OEM is the one I went with so I actually knew the cut off limit and could reset it (oh and so I could do chicken at 325F for good skin, but 325F would be a rare exception to avoid burning up the insulation)
      -Ebay has the best prices you can find on the Goodman Amana B1370154 Flame Rollout Switch 350°, get at least 2 in case you mess one up when applying the spades to connect (like I did)
    2.  When it comes to the Plug and Play PID I saw the following mentioned with the WS-1211GPH that made me shy away from the 1200 series models and opt for a 1500 series model:

      " The power rating is 1200 watts for 120V, more than sufficient for the 500 watts required for Bradley smokers. If you are going to use it for other larger smokers, you can purchase our multi purpose controller WS-1500ELPM. "

      The 1500 series models can handle 15A which will easily cover the 1200Watt element for your MES and have a little room to spare.
      I purchased and would recommend the WS-1510ELPM over the 15010DPMS because the DPMS is meant for higher temp applications with a less accurate probe.  Neither of those features apply for smoking with the MES.
      I would also recommend you call them up and see if they will send it with the "Clip On" senser rather than the multi purpose sensor (u dont want the sou vide sensor).  I have fought with the little multi purpose sensor getting blocked by meat to where the airflow doesn't hit it well thereby giving a lower reading in the smoker than my Maverick bbq probe as a backup was reporting.  The clip will allow you to hang it on the bottom of the rack easily rather than fight with it like I do :)

      Finally there is the dual probe WSD-1501GPH for more money.  I seriously debated on it but having a dual probe maverick I and looking at the price difference I figured I could use the difference in savings to buy an additional dual probe maverick for 4 meat probes vs the 1 extra probe it provides that cannot even notify me when I'm inside my home lol.

    Some additional things to consider:
    • Get your hands on some Steel High Temp Female spade connectors 14-16AWG 1/4 width.  You will want to replace the cheap non-high temp connectors on the element and the cuttoff switch as they corrode easily and will likely already be showing signs of corrosion.  I could only find these at Fry's in the store, nowhere online had them for a reasonable price or for numbers less than 100 when you only need like 10 max (in case you mess up)
    • I used one 14-16 AWG Steel High Temp butt connector in my wire job to leverage the existing and to splice the hot wire from the chord coming into the MES into the existing wire that goes to the cuttoff
    • Get some insulation shrink wrap to go over the high temp connectors, you can electrical tape them in place to hold and let the smoker heat shrink them, use a heat gun to shrink them if you have a heat gun, or go ghetto like me and use my butane bbq lighter and quickly wand over the shrink wrap to shrink it without burning it lol
    • Do not have loose connectors, I did on my cutt off switch and overheated it.  Had to replace it and the connector.  I then put the tough steel connectors on both terminals of the new cutt off switch I had to add and used a brass hammer to tap them firmly in place, then I wired to them.  Attaching those tough steel connectors on the cutt off when it is in place is hard to do without bending the cutt off all to hell.  Lesson learned here!
    • If you are going to pull your wiring out from under the foam insulation, consider replacing the insulation with some high temp overn/stove insulation like the following I got from ebay for a great price Guy Cuts Insulation and Sells Here on Ebay
    • The Gen 2 bsheet metal acking is a PAIN in the butt to remove and then add back again.  It will NOT come all the way off at the top (not for me) so be ready to roll it back as far as it will go and live with it as you work on the smoker.  The lip of the sheet metal backing will bend and kink up so be ready to do some hammering to get it somewhat straight and to hammer it back into the lip groove of the MES.  Do the best you can.
      Have some self tapping sheet metal screws and use them to help keep the back on and in place once you do the best you can to get the metal backing to fit into the lip groove.  This will keep the backing on and well secured after the hack job that will happen to get the sheet metal backing lip into the lip groove of the MES hahaha
    • In all the tear down, rewire, and reassembly took me about 4-5 hours and I had NEVER done it before and was learning plenty of things on the fly
    Tools and Parts to Make sure you have:
    • Electrical wire stripper and crimp tool that can do 14-16AWG wiring
    • (10 pack+) Hi Temp Stainless Steel 14-16AWG Female spade connectors (straight ones not right angle ones are easier to crimp and work with)
    • (5 pack+) Hi Temp Stainless Steel 14-16 AWG Butt Connector
    • 1/4 inch Shrink wrap tubing/tube sleeves rated at 300F or higher, MIGHT be able to get buy with high temp electric tape but wouldnt recommend since it can come undone.  Amazon sells packs for like $10-15
    • 3/4 inch Self Tapping Sheet Metal Screws for securing back sheet metal
    • 1/8 inch drill bit to drill out riviets or some screws with weird heads (my phillips driver bit actually unscrewed these star head screws)
    • Hi Temp stove/oven insulation to fill in for any removed foam insulation
    I hope this info helps out, please feel free to ask away if you have anymore questions!  Best of luck! :)
  3. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Smoke Blower

    TallBM, thanks for the helpful info! Just a couple of quick questions. Even after drilling all the rivets from the back panel you still had a tough time removing the panel? Any idea what it was hung up on or was there a couple of rivets/screws that you could not get to? The rollout switch you recommend does it fit where the current rollout switch is without any modification? Did you use the auto-tune feature and if you did, did you see any improvement in the temp holding? After installation what is temp swing you get if any! Thanks again for all the info. I'm currently in the planning stage but I will definitely let you know what I decide to do.
  4. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    1. After drilling out rivets the back is still hard to pull off as the foam insulation acts like an adhesive! 
      Actually I would need to double check but I may be confusing the Gen 2 and the Gen1 when it comes to the rivets.  The Gen 2 may not even have rivets!   It may only have the lip groove and the sheet metal lip along with the fact that the foam acts like an adhesive.  In any case u will need some self taping sheet metal screws to help reinforce the backing once you put it back on.  Just go slow and steady as you pry off the backing
    2. When you peel back the sheet metal backing and get to the top of the smoker it seems their are special screw holes used for fastening the big smoker handle to the smoker, and they seem like they cannot be removed or pried apart.  They hold the sheet metal backing to the smoker as well way up there at the top of the smoker.  At that point you can roll the backing up and over the smoker on that end and it should stay out of your way. You may want to use a long piece of duct tape to keep it peeled back so it wont flap back in your way while working on the wiring but if you lay the smoker on it's door (face down) the weight of the sheet metal kept it from flopping back.
    3. The rollout switch I mention fits perfectly with no need to modify it!  I was so thrilled about this.
      Word to the wise here:
      -DO NOT lose the screw and nut from the stock rollout, keep the safe after removing the old rollout! 
      -Put the steel electric connector spades on both sides of the roll out tabs as far as your hands can push them without forcing or bending the tabs 
      -Then with both connectors started hold the rollout resting the bottom connector on the floor or a board and gently start tapping the top connector with a hammer. This will cause both connectors to start wedging further on the tabs.  Stop when they both reach the set point and/or turn the rollout over and start tapping the bottom connector until it reaches it set point. 
      -After the connectors are set put the tubing on the wire
      -Crimp the wire to the connector
      -Slide the tubing over the connector and wire and apply heat to shrink the tubing over the connector to insulate it
      -Fasten the rollout to the smoker
      -FOLLOW these step exactly and in order and you will have no issues with the rollout like I did at first hahahaha
    4. I used the Auto-Tune feature, yeah.  It did wonderfully.  My temps held within 1 degree reliably!  Just be sure you let the auto tune do it's thing from a cold smoker and give it plenty of time, it may take an hour or more.
    5. I saw no temperature swing but there was a light overshoot as it got up to temp initially, after that it came down and stayed right one and I was super happy!!!  It holds right on the number 95% of the time and every now and again you might catch a 1 degree drop for maybe 10 seconds lol
    Keep in mind that after the autotune it will be set well BUT I had a few user caused issues with the little probe being able to correctly read the smoker temps. 

    I had to play around and figure out that the probe can be easily blocked by meat and not get a proper sense of the smoker temp if there is poor air flow to it.  I also learned that if it touches meat or gets dripped on then it can affect temperature readings as well.  I use one of my maverick probes as a back up.  My Maverick hybrid probes are much larger and seem much less sucseptable to being hindered by meat and drippings, etc when reading the smoker temp.  

    This is why I mention to try and get the alligator clip probe model TC-K6A from Auber if they will let you.  I think u can clip on the bottom of the rack and and as long as you avoid drips you will have less issues than I have had.  I always like to have one of my Maverick probes as a back up anyhow since I always had to with the stock MES controller... old habbits :)

    I hope this info helps and you can read about my whole PID autotune experience here http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/258173/my-first-mes-and-auber-pid-experience-plug-and-play

    I tried to give a lot of details.  If you have anymore questions please ask.  Thanks! :)
  5. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    You'd probably get better heat balance in that Gen #2, if you remove that Slanted Drip Plate, with the Little water pan hanging from it.

    Then put your bottom rack in, and place about a 9" X 12" Foil pan on the middle of that rack.

    Then if you use an AMNPS, put it on the right end of that rack & manipulate the Chip Dumper in & out to control Air Flow to your AMNPS.

    It should make it similar to the Gen #2.5.

  6. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Smoke Blower

    Bear, it's not the heat balance as I have no issue with that. The issue I'm not happy with is the wide temp swings. If I set the Masterbuilt temp for 150 I heat spike at 165-170 and it dips down to 145-140 before the element start to heat up the chamber. I'm used to smoking with lump coal so if I set my smoker at 225 it stays at 225. I know electrics are a different breed but if I can eliminate that swing that would make me a happy man.:yahoo:
  7. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Smoke Blower

    I checked the back of my smoker and you were right there are no screws except for the handle mounts and a couple of screws on the bottom. I can see getting the back panel is going to be a pain.
  8. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit


    The best way I found was to straighten the lip on the metal sheet backing and then hammer a little of one side in, then switch to the other side.  Work down a little on each side and hammer it in little bit by little bit.  Once it is all back on as best as possible use 3-4 sheet metal screws on each side where the lip goes in and it will be secured.

    The backing is by far the slowest and most annoying part but with a little time and methodical work you will get it back in place no prob :)
  9. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    I think Bear is right with putting in the bottom rack and a pan. The gen 2 allows heat up the door and back wall where the pan is open on all walls. The more metal between the sensor and element the more the metal radiates heat when the element shuts off, coasting past the set point and takes time to heat up and find a path to the sensor after it kicks on causing larger temp drops past the set point. Since I dont use the chip system. And use the amnps in a mailbox mod I got all unnecessary metal out between the heating element and sensor for shorter cycles in the pic below. The gen 1 40 I have had even more metal above and below the element than the gen 2 and 2.5. Just getting the slanted heat trap out should make a big difference on temp swings. I think that's why the gen 2.5 is more similar to the gen 1.

  10. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit


    Hey Dr K just brought up a good question in my Auber Pid post.

    He asked if there would be a way to avoid tearing off the back and being able to rewire the smoker where all the wires are situated at the bottom circuit board.

    It dawned on me that if take off the bottom panel, peal back the connector insulation on the black braided wires, turn on the smoker so that it is heating, and then use a multimeter on those connectors you can figure out which of the MES black braided wires is hot and which is neutral.

    See the image below for reference.

    Then you just butt splice or solder the black braided hot to the slick black hot wire from the power chord, and then butt splice/solder the black braided neutral to the white power chord neutral. 

    Then you just rewire the rollout switch through it's independent panel with no need to remove the smoker backing.  Just have some extra 14 AWG wire available because they don't leave you with much slack using the existing wiring!

    I will check into this further when I rewire my Gen1 for my Heatermeter PID setup soon [​IMG]

    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  11. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Smoke Blower

    That is definitely some food for thought. It didn't click that Bear was alluding to the water pan slant shelf acting as a heat sink. I will do some tests on this and get back to you. Thanks

    TALLBM, what independent panel are you referring to regarding rollout switch? Mine is just mounted to the back of the smoker with no access plate. I see no way to change the switch with out removing the back panel.
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Actually I wasn't really referring to the Heat Sink of the Slanted Drip Plate.

    The real problem with the slanted Drip Plate is that it traps the heat from rising. Then the heat stacks up under that slanted plate & moves up hill like heat does, which in this case is to the right. Then it goes around the Drip plate, but by then it's all on the right side, which causes the right side of the smoker to be hotter than the left. Removing that slanted plate, like I explained above causes the Gen #2 to act more like the Gen #2.5, which is Awesome.

  13. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That Temp swing problem is normal, unless you have a PID that they say can out-think the Smoker.

    The problem is the worst after a long run up or down, like from Ambient temp to 275°, which could cause it to over-run the setting after it shuts off, and can go as high as 310°.

    Also if you then set it for 230°, and it gets rolling down & passes the 230° setting, it could drop as far as 210° before beginning to rise again.

    The objective is to make the up & down moves as short as possible keep the momentum from building up.

    I explain my method of eliminating that problem in the following Thread at this Link:


  14. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Smoke Blower

    Thanks Bear, I'm currently testing my unit without the bottom slant shelf installed and with just the shroud over the heating element. The current temp here in Long Island NY is 29 but the smoker is protected from the wind. I'm heating the unit to 155 as per the post you shared. I'll let you know how this works out. Thanks
  15. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    [UPDATE: Edited to add image of the back of Gen2 panel that My mother sent, her phone camera sucks but it did the job.]

    The Gen 2 I worked on had a panel with screws where the rollout switch was.  I've already given the smoker to my mother for her Bday this weekend.  I will see if she can get me a pic to share with you guys. Unless someone with a Gen 2 wants to take a pic of the back of the smoker and post it.  

    The rollout switch panel is on the left hand side (when facing the back of the smoker) about 1/3 of the way up.

    It seems the Gen2 got this panel feature right, too bad they had so many other issues lol

    I can't find a pic online of the back of a Gen 2 smoker :(

    Tomorrow I can check the Gen 1 I have and see if it also has an independent panel for the rollout switch but from your feedback I'm guessing it does not so I will likely be cutting a panels for the rollout switch and the heating element should I need to do more work with it :)

    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  16. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Smoke Blower

    I just checked again on my smoker and there is no plate. There was a manufacture plate that was in the approximate area but there was not access plate underneath. If I go this route I may just use a hole cutter to get to the rollout switch.
  17. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    I guess I lucked out with the Gen2 model I had.  I guess there is just no telling what changes they might make between model numbers within the same Generation.  

    On my Gen1 I will pull the back.

    Cut large enough rectangles over the rollout switch and the heating element.

    Make my own rectangle panels out of sheet metal that are larger than the holes I cut. 

           I'm thinking of putting hinges on one side of the square panels I make and a few screws to fasten the other sides closed.  Then I could undo the screws and flap the panel open if I need to get back into the rollout switch or the heating element.

    A little flat flexible rubber under the panel should work as a gasket toor keeping water out.  That's what the Gen2 with the panels used for a water tight seal.
  18. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Smoke Blower

    I just finished running the test on the Masterbuilt. Like I mentioned in a previous post I removed the slant plate and only kept the shroud on the heater. I set the temp for 150 and monitored the heat. The results were similar with the plate in, in fact the results might be a little worse. With the temp set at 150 my high temp was 176 and the low was 146 (the Masterbuilt ran for 2 hrs). The swing is 30 deg. where before it was around 25. I realize that if I want the average to be 150 I would lower the set temp to 135 but when I'm trying to finish smoked sausage at 155 it's a real pain with the temp swing. I need to bump the temp up for the sausage to reach the required 155 but when I do that I risk melting the fat. If I was only doing brisket, pulled pork or chicken I don't think the swing would be any issue but I cook those on my charcoal smokers and only use the Masterbuilt for sausage, jerky and bacon.
  19. garyinmd

    garyinmd Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    JohnnyB54 here are some pictures that show what is under the covers of the pictures you posted

    You can see the element on the left and the safety on the right.  The smoker was laying on its side when I took these pictures


    Safety Switch

    This is the bottom of my Gen2 which is where the cord comes in and where the controller is located.

    Hope this helps

  20. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    That is a major reasoning for me to go PID as well.  I work too hard hunting and processing my meat to have my sausages ruined by a temp swing.
    Wow great pics Gary!

    Looks like you have rollout switch and heating element panels as well, you lucky dog!

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