Amnps replica issues. Help and advice please.

Discussion in 'Slicers, Grinders, Tools, Equipment' started by jax13, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. After leaving clear instructions as to what to buy, some kind sole opted to get me a snailshell style amnps clone!

    It is relatively well made and I see no reason why it shouldn't do the job for cold smoking but I've hit a problem.

    In my minibar fridge conversion for cold smoking it will not burn for more than an hour or so before self extinguishing.

    The setup is as follows.

    40mm hole on bottom of left wall for air intake.
    40mm hole on top (back right corner) for exhaust
    Generator sits inside fridge where the salad drawer wow normally be found
    Food sitting on shelf above.

    I have used 40mm plastic drain pipe style tubing for the ports and each has an elbow to stop direct wind / rain from getting in.
    The smoker hasn't hit above 52 degrees f during the times its been burning.
    I am using cherry wood in the unit, in the quantities described in the booklet.

    I see the problem being one of 3 things.

    Ambient temp too low?
    Wood has 'issues' of some sort
    Not enough air coming into the unit for burning.

    Is there a clear way of knowing what the issue is? I will reload with some hickory tomorrow to rule out the wood issue but before I cut another inlet into the side of the mini fridge is there a best guess as to if air shortage is the problem or if it's something else?

    I've had a bunch of chillis and a few garlic bulbs in there and after about 3 hours of decent smoke some of the garlic is starting to take on a bit of colour and smell, the chili are still resisting it for now although there is a slight smell to them.
  2. Are you using cherry wood or cherry pellets? Cherry is the hardest to keep burning. You might mix it with oak.

    If that doesn't work you need more air.

    Could you post a pic of your setup?

    Happy smoken.

  3. It was cherry dust rather than pellets.

    I'll reload in the morning with some hickory and have another bash to see if it stays lit, if not I'll look at a second inlet / add an intake fan on the existing inlet to increase the fresh air supply.
  4. What is your ambient humidity?  That plays a pretty big role as to keeping things burning.

    I have no experience using the dust but the first thing I down when I'm setting up the smoker is to put my AMNPS with whatever choice of pellets into the toaster oven at 200 degree F for 20 minutes to eliminate any moisture in them.  I've tried the microwave but that didn't seem to work.

    Believe me, in south Louisiana we have more humidity than should be allowed by law.
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The inlet air should be very close to the smoke gen...... Black chips/dust/pellets is not enough air.... the ash should be grey/white...

  6. Ash is black with some unburnt flakes.

    I'll get the drill out and see if another inlet helps!

    Thanks for the advice
  7.   Issues with fire going out are usually either damp dust or pellets, or air flow. Sounds like Dave has you an the right track. Just make sure your fuel is completely dry and try some hickory or oak. If that burns well you have your answer. 

     You also might look into "mailbox mods" for ideas about putting the smoker in a separate box for better control of air flow.

  8. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Jax. If it is a spiral and you are using dust is it the ProQ generator that you have? 

    Last edited: Mar 2, 2014
  9. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Let's see some pics.
  10. Barbecook apparently! It's the same ish but circular rather than rectangular.

    Worryingly, Amazon have this thing I've got marked down £10 cheaper than the one you showed so I'm taking a stab that it isn't going to be the best out there!

    Has anyone got any experience of them? Good, bad or indifferent?

    After a few suggestions, I'm going to try the cherry dust again in a bigger, better ventilated location to see if it burns properly and try alternative fuel if it doesn't. (got some hickory dried out ready) and if that is all fine then it's time to start altering the intake on my smoker and try using forced air through a small fan before opening up a second inlet.

    I shall have a play and report back with what I discover!
  11. It would seem a change of wood has cured my problem.

    I filled the generator with hickory and for good measure, chucked it in the oven for 10 minutes to dry it out.

    Without modifying the intake size or location I am now burning with a better volume of smoke and burning completely.

    The cheddar has had just over 3 hours, took on some good colour and is smelling fantastic, the garlic is starting to take on a fantastic smell and a golden colour too so a full batch of cheddar will be going on later, along with the garlic going back in for another 5 hours before it gets vac packed and left to rest for a few weeks before chipping and drying.

    My only slight quibble now is the internal temp. It was reading between 70 and 85 f through the session today so I will be adding an ice pack or two to the smoker tonight to try and keep it between 60 and 70.

    Ultimately, this will be running a mailbox style generator but I need a bit more time to finish fabricating it.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
  12. ncsmoker95

    ncsmoker95 Newbie

    I'm thinking drying out the wood dust/pellets helped most...

    I store my pellets indoors inside ziplocks, and sometimes still get that 'won't burn' thing with the AMNPS and other weaponry I use pellets with.

    Seems to always be the pellets, or sometimes the airflow.

    I once was trying to build up one of those air-powered smoke injectors, and I have the air pump from HomeDepot still.

    I may well put a 5" piece of 1/4 copper tubing on the end of the plastic tube, and just stick that into the smoker

    so that it's pointing at the AMNPS and see if that improves the air flow.

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