AMNPS won't stay stay "lit"

Discussion in 'Slicers, Grinders, Tools, Equipment' started by donstarr, Sep 13, 2014.

  1. I've browsed and searched, but haven't yet seen anything I haven't tried.
    Over the last few days, I've spent 12+ hours (and 3/4 of the 2# bag of pellets) trying to keep this thing lit. I've tried it inside the smoker and outside. In a breeze and sheltered from wind. Starting ("flame") for 10, 8, or 15 minutes. Blowing on it while "starting" (to keep flame going for 10, 8, or 15 minutes) or letting it go out on its own.

    After 10 minutes of "small flame", about 1 inch of the pellets have burned and there's a good-sized area of red/orange coals. When I blow it out, it's smoking like a champ. After that, though...

    It never burns for more than 60 minutes before I notice that the smoke coming from the MES vent has dropped to almost nothing (I have to watch for several seconds to see the slightest wisp of smoke); I open the door and there's no smoke from the AMNPS. Same result (60 minutes max. and it's dead) if the MES door is open, the AMNPS is sitting on a stump outside the MES, or any other configuration.

    So, how does one keep this thing burning? If it's going to go out after, at most, 60 minutes, it's no better than the MES's own built-in feed/smoke system.
  2. tsin

    tsin Smoke Blower

    I had that problem I live over 6000 ft. and  my 5x8 wouldn't stay lit I called Todd and he sent me the tube type and now no might pull your feed tube all the way out. Good luck..Tom
  3. Thanks for the reply. When you say "pull your feed tube all the way out"... do you mean completely remove it from the MES chassis? Because that's what I did (see "feed tube removed" above). I've also tried with the tube inserted all the way, pulled out 1/4", and pulled out 1/2".
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Being at 6,600' elevation, you probably need one of these "Tube Smokers":

    Talk to Todd about it.

  5. Huh.

    I wish I had seen the elevation concern at before I ordered the product from that web site. Or, maybe the proprietor would intervene before shipping to a state where the mean elevation is 6800 feet ASL (the highest of the 50 states).

    I don't know that the "tube" smoker solution meets my needs. My main reason for buying the AMNPS 5x8 was the 11-hour smoke time; the max time I see for the tube versions is 6 hours (and that's the 18" version - I don't think it will fit in my MES30).
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Send a PM to "TJohnson".

    Tell him your problem.

    He'll help you out.

  7. Thanks - I've sent a PM to Todd.
  8. Because of my high elevation, the tube burns (thankfully) slower.  After about 6 hours (and the 12 inch tube is down to about 1 inch of unburned pellets), I pull the tube, Gently shake out the ashes, make sure the far end is still lit, dump in some more pellets, and let it burn back towards the starting point. Like you, I could not keep the tray lit, even when it was sitting out in the breeze on the patio.  The tube has been the answer for me. 
  9. fuzzyb

    fuzzyb Newbie

    I get mine to light but it's hit or miss if it will stay smoking. Fusteratung. I live at 5300'. Never knew there was altitude concerns.
  10. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have had that same problem. I changed from a 80 proof to a 110 proof and I find I get lit a whole lot easier now. Try a higher proof.
  11. I am certain Todd put a lot of testing in his product.  For a device to smoke, as versus burn, the amount of supplied air through the holes, as well as the shape of the chamber has to be carefully sized.  Too much air, and at sea level you burn way too fast, and may flame up as versus smoke.  Where the problem comes in, is actual available oxygen and air pressure changes by altitude.  At 5000 feet of elevation, you have 2.5 pounds less of air pressure.  To further make it problematic, oxygen percentage per unit of air goes down by altitude as well.  This means any well designed and calibrated smoker, which is engineered near sea-level will have burn problems at higher altitudes.  Had Todd's business been started at Pike's Peak, lower altitude users would  be complaining about excessive burn rates or even flame-overs.  The tube was designed for faster burn and greater quantities of smoke (for sea level users).  The tube burns slower at altitude, but does keep producing smoke for higher altitude users, whereas the trays simply go out at altitude.  Typically I get 6 hours out of a 12 inch tube at my altitude.  I think they only claim about 4 hours on their web site.  At really high altitudes like the mountain in Argentina, we could not keep propane torches and propane powered catalytic soldering irons lit.  It would not hurt for him to add the disclaimer on the tray web page, which should read:

    "While our pellet tray is an excellent product and has an enthusiastic following, users whose altitude is over 5000 feet should consider the purchase or our tube products which have been proven to be more suitable for users at high elevations."
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2014
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds like altitude has a big effect:

    The AMNPS works perfectly (11 hours of perfect smoke) for me at my low altitude of 900', however when I tried numerous times to use my Tube smoker, I got too much smoke for my MES 40.

    So what's good for one is bad for the other.


    Note: I was composing this & posted it before I saw your last ( #12 ) post.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2014
  13. darwin101

    darwin101 Meat Mopper

    I have the MES 30 and the 5x8 amnps and it seems to work best when I place it right above the chip loading box near the right wall. (as close to the loader hole as I can get it)  

    An option might be the mailbox mod and an aquarium pump to add more air...  [​IMG]
  14. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I still have 3 grates to cook on, I use the 4th grate to rest the AMP's on.  This puts the AMP's directly inline between the suction and the discharge. You just don't get alot of suction, it all has to be drawn thru three little holes. Small holes in the reloader. Its ample for the chip tray but try to add the additional AMP's and ................

    In which case, I always leave the reloader slightly ajar as below. Only problem is if you are using very thin dry chips in the tray. They can flash causing a high pressure and blow the chip loader out of the smoker. It was pretty cool, I had to do it a couple of times to make sure it would work again, then one more time to show the neighbor! ROFLMAO

    I live at sea level, here's my suggestion. Take the AMP's out the smoker, load it and light it. See if its a box problem first. If it stays lite its the box, if not you know its either extremely dense pellets (it happens), too many pellets in the tray (that was my proble, leave a 1/4 gap to the top), etc etc..... Take the time to play with it out the box. I bet you are rewarded with a easier way to aux. smoke. Course like I said I am sea level and I wouldn't double the elevation has an effect.

    Bon Chance getting it to work for you.

    Oh, one more thing, make sure you put something above it so that the drippings of the meat can't saturate the pellets, then they dodn't like to burn.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2014

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