Failed electrical connection at heating element. Any opinions on cause and/or use of dielectric grea

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by hkeiner, May 16, 2014.

  1. My MES40 stopped working last week after about 3 years of regular use. I found that one of the terminals on the heating element was totally corroded/failed. The other connector and the rest of the wiring all seemed OK.  I read all the forum posts I could find on this type failure and found that a good fix it is to (1) crimp a new female connector to the existing wire, (2) clean up the male stud on the heating element with sandpaper/wire brush, and then (3) slip the new female connector on to the cleaned up male stud. Seems simple enough. The thing I am not sure about is how I should cover up the repaired connection. Also, I find it curious that one of the connections totally failed while the other one looks just fine.

    1) Any opinions/knowledge on what causes this type of failure? I am guessing that perhaps the original connector was a bit loose on the stud causing arcing or the metals on the element and original connector were dissimilar causing galvanic corrosion.

    2) Any opinions/knowledge on how to prevent future failure? I am guessing that some dielectric grease and then some electrical tape (high temp vulcanizing type) over the connection would be a good idea.

    Last edited: May 16, 2014
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I'm in the same boat although mine is tripping the GFI as well. I will be watching this post. I don't wish to hijack but...If anyone knows if this problem or another issue is causing the GFI to trip, please just include the info/fix or shoot me a PM...JJ
  3. Not sure about the GFI, but the connector failure is due to overheating, either from the element or in my "guess" a lose wire connector.

    I have a MES 30 and have only had it a few months but I completely rewired it, not cause I had to but I felt better about it because they come with 16 gauge wire which I feel in barely adequate. When I rewired I used 14 gauge and high temp (appliance wire) and also you high temp connectors (they seem to be made from a much harder steel) so hopefully a better connection.

    The reason I started all the above is because I wired in a PID which made everything more user friendly but had NOTHING to do with the wiring!
  4. bowtech

    bowtech Newbie

    Over time, as electrical connections heat up and cool down, the connections can, and will become loose. Once they become loose, then it will cause a current increase on that circuit. Increased current results in more heat. This will cause an eventual failure of the connection, tripping of GFI circuits, and etc. 

    As far as covering the connection after you repair it, I would get some heat shrink tube at the local auto parts outlet, make the repair, slide the tube over the connection and use a hair dryer to heat the tube and it will shrink around the connection. Looking at the OP's photo, it appears that is what they did at factory on the other wire.

    I also recommend that you inspect those connections periodically. Cooking in cold weather can also produce condensation in that cover which will lead to corrosion and more failures.
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can clean the connections and solder them.... solder the crimp connector... no loose connections and no high amperage draw... they make a fiberglass electrical tape for high temp areas... don't worry about the element melting the solder... the ends of the element do not get hot.... unless you have a loose connection... typical electrical work from some 3rd world countries..... they teach the workers HOW, but not WHY.... 2000 years on the south end of a water buffalo heading north, does not make an electrician ....
    c farmer likes this.
  6. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good info, Thanks.

    I have repaired mine 3 times now.

    This is why I and building Electra.
  7. typical electrical work from some 3rd world countries..... they teach the workers HOW, but not WHY.... 2000 years on the south end of a water buffalo heading north, does not make an electrician ....

    Dave, you're funny! But yeah, you never know what you get from over there.

    I another subject, I sent you a PM.

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