Another AMNPS-MES Question

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by travisb, May 23, 2013.

  1. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    You have the new gen 2 and the intake and exhaust are too small. Air flow is limited. You call pull out the chip loader all you like but if you don't give it somewhere to go it doesn't matter. You can dremel out another slot in the exhaust port to double your exhaust or pull out the vent completely and replace with a 5 dollar 3 inch adjustable elbow from lowes and put a rotating damper in. Pull your chip loader out so the opening of the holder extends beyond the smoke chamber opening. Helps get more air and flow and both the amazn tray or tube work fine. The air flow fix also helps with the tendency of the mes to overshoot the set temp. Along the same lines..... try using small chunks. They work great in the new gen mes. Longer lasting and great flavor.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013
  2. travisb

    travisb Smoke Blower

    Thanks I'll have to look into that and I may have to ask you some more questions sometimes.

    I just wish it didn't require so many mods to make it work. Sawdust works in it and I have gotten it to stay lit a few times but not anymore.
  3. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Ask any time. I've had the older model mes also which was a pretty good design. There have been controller issues with the new generation and that air flow restriction was really bad. I've simply used some experience to get comfortable with the new model and done some mods to make it better. When you get used to it it puts out some good food. Best of luck.
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If yours is the New Gen, have you tried removing that little water pan, and put the AMNPS on top of the square hole. Then put a foil pan on the floor under that hole, and another small foil pan above the AMNPS to keep drips off of it???

  5. sigmo

    sigmo Smoking Fanatic

    Wow. Sorry to hear about all of the trouble keeping the AMNPS lit.  I, too, initially had problems keeping mine lit.  The elevation here is 5300' more or less.  I figure, part of the issue is the lower air density at higher elevations.  You're in SLC, I gather, so your elevation should actually be somewhat lower than here, but still, it's worth thinking about.

    I got advice from Todd, as well, and got mine to work very well.  But I am running an earlier model, so the air flow is not going to be the same as your newer generation unit.

    However, I do think this boils down to air flow over the pellets, for the most part.  For whatever reason, you're not getting enough.

    I did find that:

    I cannot use a water pan.  The moisture gets absorbed by the pellets and puts them out.

    I do need to microwave the pellets to get them dry to start out.  However, I also found that with a high power microwave oven, going for too long, you CAN SET THEM ON FIRE WITH THE MICROWAVE OVEN!!!  And yes, months later, I still get a nice, pleasant aroma of "pitmaster's choice" whenever we use the microwave oven!  [​IMG]

    I also put the loaded AMNPS into the smoker while I'm preheating the smoker.  That cooks them for another half hour or so, making sure they're hot and dry.  It also means that the smoker is up to temperature before I light the pellets, and the air obviously draws through the smoker only when it's hot.  So if you're trying to light the pellets before the smoker is up to temperature, that could be an issue.

    I use a propane torch and burn on the end of the "Z" for quite some time, making sure I've got a LOT of the pellets really glowing.

    I take the chip loader all of the way out of the smoker if necessary.

    I pull the chip tray open an inch or two to let air flow past it easily.

    I open the vent on top all of the way.

    I put the AMNPS UP on the wire rack holder thingies that run over to the left side of my smoker.  That exposes the bottom of the AMNPS to virtually unlimited airflow up from the bottom.  Having the AMNPS sitting directly on a flat surface probably chokes off the airflow somewhat.  The drip pan you have the AMNPS sitting in also appears to have a lip around it, and that also probably restricts the airflow.  You really need to have the AMNPS up on a rack so it can get good airflow from below.

    BUT!  You've got a newer generation of smoker than mine.  So things will be a bit different regardless.

    I think someone talked above about taking the water pan out and putting the AMNPS on the rack that held the water pan.  I think that's equivalent to what I'm doing.

    I put a layer of aluminum foil on the bottom rack such that this acts as a shield to keep drippings from being able to fall down onto the AMNPS.  It also forces the smoke to go over to the right to start out, which I think gives me more uniform smoking. But this DOES prevent me from using that bottom rack for actual cooking.  But the 40 is large enough that I haven't run out of space yet.

    I also think the suggestion to improve the "draft" through your new-style unit is spot on.  With the vent in the side, supposedly the new units give better uniformity of smoke throughout the smoker, but it also doesn't draw as well.  Putting a steel vent pipe elbow into the existing vent opening, and then adding a tall extension of vent pipe to that will create a taller "stack" which should improve the draw of air through the unit.

    For me, the pellets going out seems to have been caused by two things:

    Moisture and lack of airflow.  Get and keep the pellets dry, and make sure you've got enough airflow to keep the pellets stoked, and hopefully, it'll work.

    Let us know how things go.
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    This is a very good post---Well written & informative.

    I have been thinking about altitude affecting the AMNPS for awhile too. It seems to me that with the AMNPS in the old generation MES, if it is lit right, and keeps going out, it may very well be the altitude, because I never have to do any of those things, such as Nuke my pellets, remove the chip dumper, or pull the chip drawer out part way. This could be because my altitude here is only about 1300'. I just light it properly, put it on the bars to the left5 of the chip burner assembly, and put a drip catcher above it. That's it, and it smokes perfectly for about 11 hours, non-stop.

    As for the new Generation MES, I'm still waiting to hear if removing the little water pan & setting then AMNPS on top nof the square hole works. Then you only need to put a foil pan under the hole, on the floor, to catch the drippings, and something above the AMNPS to protect it.

  7. travisb

    travisb Smoke Blower

    Great replies.

    Sigmo, that seems to be about the same process I do with the microwaving, cooking, etc. The only thing different is the placement of the AMNPS. I will try putting it in the place that holds the water pan as suggested by Bear. I'm not sure it will fit but I'll try. I'm not sure air on the bottom is the issue because I've tried it on the bottom rack, but who knows. I'll keep trying!
  8. tromaron

    tromaron Meat Mopper

    I had the same problems for a long time, with my MES 40.  I microwaved the pellets and went through all the same steps with mixed results.  Now all I do is load the AMNPS and put it in the smoker when I start pre-heating it.  I give it about an hour, take it out and light it with my butane torch.  After 10-15 min, I blow it out and put it in the MES.  No blowing on the cherry, or re-lighting it.  Works great every time.  The only change I'll make is to switch to a propane torch once I run out of butane.  I think the butane struggles to light the pellets deep enough.  
  9. I have the new generation MES 30 . Also had problems keeping the AMNPS going . What I did was the microwave pre dry . My micro is 1150 watts . I put them in a oven proof glass bowl  and put the micro on high for 2 minutes .That's all it needs .When you put the pellets in amnps make sure you don't go too high and keep them packed in there pretty good . Light it with a good torch preferably propane and let it burn for at least 15 minutes .After 15 minutes blow on to get it really going and put in MES .lower left is preferable and like others have said ,on rack above it put small drip pan to keep drippings from putting fire out . Pull out chip loader ,pull chip pan out about 2 inches and start smoking .

    NOW if you still don't have luck, try the Masterbuilt Electric Cold Smoker Kit . Sold at Bass Pro for 59.00$ and kicks a## . You can burn chips,broken up lump charcoal ,pellets and split up wood chunks .And it burns for hours,(6 fully filled) with a real nice smoke .What I do is layer a mix of charcoal ,chips ,pellets and split chunks. For what ever reason I get the best smoke that way . I know that it is not spoken of very highly on this web site but I'm telling you it works great for me and if you read the reviews on Bass pro you will see the same . It will raise temp in smoker by about 10 - 20 degrees ,but with some ice inside your smoker I think it would be as cool as the amnps . Hope this helps.
  10. tjohnson

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

    Good Advice Guys!

    The New 2nd Gen MES does have some air flow issues.  With the vent now on the side, a slight breeze will cause the smoker to "Back Draft".  Also, the very bottom of the unit is a "Dead Space".  There is not enough draft on the bottom of the 2nd Gen MES, to keep the AMNPS going.

    Remove the water pan and place it on the floor of the MES

    Place the AMNPS on the drip shield, on top the hole for the water pan

    Pull the chip loader out 2"

    Open the exhaust 100%

    I use an 8x8 disposable cake pan on the floor, instead of the small water pan, to catch anything that gets past the heat/drip shield

    I also use one directly above the burning AMNPS, on the lowest rack, to catch anything that may drip on the AMNPS.

  11. travisb

    travisb Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the suggestions!

    I did as you said Todd and it seemed to burn better. I'll do some more testing tomorrow to see how it goes.
  12. badbode

    badbode Fire Starter

    Im curious to see how this turned out for you.  I recently bought the 2nd gen MES-40 and just received my AMNPS about 10 minutes ago from the big brown truck.  I have the AMNPS in my smoker now doing as the instructions say and burning off the oils.  I plan to smoke a brisket for my family either Sunday or Monday and am wondering if im going to run into these same issues or if you figured out how to get it to work in the MES.


  13. tjohnson

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

    That's a pretty broad question........
    Do a "Test Run" before you smoke your brisket
    Work any kinks out first

    You can always call me on my cell at 952 412-0484

  14. badbode

    badbode Fire Starter


    I planned to do that...I have also been reading a lot of posts on what to do and where to put it.  I have seen too many posts and videos on Youtube to doubt the product.  I am just happy it arrived so quickly so I will be able to use it this weekend.  The stupid chip tray that came with the machine is a joke at best.  I think I have a good idea on what to do but obviously any info helps.  Now I just have to figure out where to get the propane for the torch so I can light this thing up.

  15. tjohnson

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

    Walmart has the short green tanks in the camping dept

    Call me Saturday
    We can get more done in a few minutes than posting on the thread
  16. milt2tle

    milt2tle Fire Starter

    I abso-frigging-lutely do NOT believe what I just read ... a vendor/manufacturer/distributor/owner posting his personal cell phone number and inviting a learning-stages-customer to call him and volunteering to take the time to answer for said customer questions about a product the customer has ALREADY bought ...???

    ... no 19-stage phone tree just to be disconnected by a person for whom English is not even a THIRD language ...???

    ... no directions to look for help at some "URL Not Found" web site ...???

    ... no insistence that a person call back during Normal Business Hours of 9:00 AM (Pacific) and Noon (Eastern) ...

    An ACTUAL person who ACTUALLY cares about helping a person from whom he ALREADY has his money learn how to use the product well!!!

    We are impressed, Brother Todd, we are truly impressed indeed!

    (Any chance you might be willing to buy the Masterbuilt company ... ???)

    badbode likes this.
  17. Hi what is your altitude, I'm over 6000 ft I take the chip tray out completely, put the amnps on the rods next to the heater box sometimes I take the chip loader out also. Good smoking
  18. nsolo

    nsolo Newbie

    Just brainstorming here, but what if you took some a charcoal chunk or briquet, smashed down to smaller sizes and took the same to lay out a starting path to light the pellets? Maybe this would help create a hotter and bigger coal to keep things going. Maybe not. Just brainstorming.

    Are all pellets the same? I've never used them, so maybe the success or lack of it can be attributed to brands?
  19. saigonjj

    saigonjj Fire Starter

    I'm sure you're way past this kind of simplistic suggestion, but when I was having trouble with my AMNPS in my MES30 I got the idea that I need to fill the pellets all the way up as high as possible without spilling over.  I also shake/massage a little to make sure there are no air gaps.  I had the idea that pellets not being close enough or plentiful enough were causing it to go out.

    Also, this has been mentioned, but elevate it a bit (I put mine on my charcoal chimney for the grill) and woof on it until it sounds like a roaring inferno.

    I've hardly had a problem since taking those steps.  Good luck.
  20. badbode

    badbode Fire Starter

    Sorry I couldn't call yesterday, I had to go out of town for a funeral and wasn't really too worried about the smoker.  I did fill a couple rows up with pellets and tested it out friday night in the smoker with it running (no meat).  I followed the instructions pretty much.  I made sure to not overfill the rows and mixed the pellets like suggested.  I used the propane torch I received with the AMNPS.  Once it had a good flame (approximately 1 minute) I turned off the torch and watched the flame for a few minutes.  I then used my heat gun and blew the heat straight in and down to the pellets until I thought a jet was taking off right over my head.  I blew the flame out again and placed it into the smoker.  I checked on it a few hours later and it was still going strong and had only burnt about 2 inches of pellets. 

    Today, I am smoking a brisket with the AMNPS.  This is my first cook with it so I can't wait to see how we do.

Share This Page