Help with modding a MES 40" 20070408

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by anderwm, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. anderwm

    anderwm Newbie

    I have obtained a MES 40" model # 20070408 with a bad element...which I have now completely disassembled.  Since the replacement element is not available from Masterbuilt I was hoping to attempt to put in a 1200 Watt element like I saw talked about here:

    However, when I took off the back panel there were some differences between my model and Texacajun's.  Worse, when I took a look at the pcb board that generates the DC for the controller and has the solid state relay I found that they were different as well.  Here is a pic of my pcb board


    and his for reference


    From the looks of it, on his (older model I assume) the controller activates a smaller relay which sends mains(115AC) to this big daddy 30 A relay which runs the element.  That is why he can put in the larger element without issue.  However, on my pcb board there is only one relay, it takes it's dc signal from the controller(through a transistor) and appears to power the element itself.  It is rated for 10 Amps, which is fine for the original 800 watt element(800/115=6.9) but a little low for the 1200 watt one(1200/115=10.43).

    So I guess my questions are

    1.  Has anyone done this mod on a model 20070408?

    2.  If so, am I missing something or did others just do it without knowing the circuit differences and the relay hasn't burned yet(it is only a slight overload)?

    3.  Any other thoughts?
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    anderwm, morning and welcome to the forum..... 

    If the unit was originally 800 watt, find an 800 watt element...  It will work fine....  In Alabama, smoking in 0 degree temps should not happen...

    My MES 30 smokes at any temp and it is an 800 watt element... Dave
  3. anderwm

    anderwm Newbie

    I wasn't worried much about the extra watts...I just knew that the 1200 watt element was the exact same dimensions with the same mount holes and everything.  But I guess your right, I might could find and element somewhere that is close and drill some holes to make it fit.  Masterbuilt claims they don't have any 800 watt elements like the original one in my smoker.  So unless somebody around here has one they want to sell me...

    Thanks for the reply,

  4.  I would be tempted to try the 1200 W element since it is barely beyond the 10 A relay spec. These devices are designed with a reasonable safety factor to operate for hundreds of thousands of cycles without failure generally. If it eventually fails just find a 20 A relay with the same footprint or bring out the wires if need be and use whatever relay you need to. With the understanding of the circuit that you have shown, I can't see that as being a big step for you.

  5. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    anderwm, I think this is the thread that you might be looking for:

    MES heating element MOD

    You can find the above mod and other MES mods in the MES HOT MODS thread.

    Also it would be helpful to all MES owners if you post how you solve your problem.

    Please list parts, sources, price, and above all pics.

    Thanks so much
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012
  6. anderwm

    anderwm Newbie


    I figured that some people might have done that, and probably it could work for a while with no problems.  However, I was having a hard time pulling the trigger because

    1.  I know it is overrated, so when if failed with $100 worth of meat in the smoker I would have nobody to blame but me.

    2.  I've went to a bit of trouble taking everything apart, and if I half ass fix it there is a chance I could have to listen to my wife say "I thought you fixed it"...that is a risk I cannot bear

    So I had already looked for a suitable replacement relay and hadn't found one, but after I read your message I looked again.  I can't see how I missed it, a 15 A with the same footprint and coil current.

    I ordered a couple and will order the 1200 watt element tomorrow.  I'll let you know how it turns out, I think the wire is probably underrated as well so I may replace it while I'm at it.


    That is the thread I was talking about where his board and mine are different, I suppose because of the different models.


    I know a lot about electronics, less about smokers...anybody know what this is?


    It is a straight short across it, and the side in the smoker is all metal.  I am guessing it is some sort of thermal fuse (blows if the temp gets to high in the smoker), but I didn't know for sure.
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think that is a "snap switch"....  High temp cut off maybe....  hard to tell....  or maybe it is the "low temp" cut off.... that may be why MES's don't work when it is cold out...

    When you figure it out, let us know.....    Dave
  8. anderwm

    anderwm Newbie


    I believe you are could call it a thermostat too I guess.  Probably has a low and a high temp that it opens at.  If it is cold and the MES isn't working, you could hit it with a hair dryer and see if that is the cause.  I guess I could put it in my fridge and then test it also.

    I'm putting this here in case somebody else needs it, it is a partial schematic of the pcb board on my smoker...I left out the rectifier circuit (the part that makes dc from the ac of your house) but did most of the interface to the controller.  It may not be of use to anybody else, but you never know.

    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  9. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice job on the diagram, anderwm!

    Nice of you to post it for others, too!

    Well done!
  10. badbob

    badbob Smoke Blower

    It looks like you have the "Smoker" issue taken care of. As for the wife I have had the same problem. Solution----turn off the water to your house and when you find the problem and fix it she will  be so happy to be able to flush the commode and take a shower that she will appreciate you so much that she won't care about the smoker. Just a thought.               
  11.  Anderwm, glad you found the relay and thanks for the work on the schematic. I will keep watch for the outcome of your project. I imagine that device is a high-limit safety thermo like others have suggested. Pretty common part in electric heating devices. Sometimes those have numbers that will give their temp away.

     I like BadBob's way of thinking about   other problems.

  12. anderwm

    anderwm Newbie

    Unfortunately, the element is back ordered for a month and there is not a lot remaining to do until it arrives.  Possibly in the mean time I should give BadBob's project a shot
  13. anderwm

    anderwm Newbie

    I got the element in and put everything back together today.  It is burning well now...just have to wait and see how well it regulates temp with the higher wattage element.
  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    So you are back in business, so to speak.... That's cool..... I'm ready for the results......  [​IMG].....  [​IMG].....   Dave
  15. Smoke on!
  16. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  17. anderwm

    anderwm Newbie

    I did some ribs yesterday to test out my work.  Although they turned out really good I think there is a pretty large temperature gradient between the top and the bottom of my smoker.  Especially when that element kicks on, the bottom gets pretty hot before the top gets warm enough to trip the element back off.  So, I might not be done yet...but I will consider this a success.

    Thanks guys


    Ribs in the smoker


    Ribs ready to eat
  18. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member



    I don't know if you've done this yet, but placing a 12"x12" ceramic tile above the heating element helps diffuse the heat more evenly (thank you DaveOmak!). Cover it in foil to keep it from getting too messy. Local Lowe's currently has tiles for $0.67 apiece. They often have such deals and its cheap enough to buy several spares.

  19. anderwm

    anderwm Newbie

    I was thinking of something like that, the inside right now is completely factory.  Thanks for the advice
  20.  Good work. Thanks for the update on the outcome of your project.


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