It's Alive! The Auber Masterbuilt hybrid. The Frankenbuilt

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by johnnyb54, Apr 8, 2017.

  1. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Smoke Blower

    First and foremost I need to give a big shout out to TallBM and Dr. K for their posts regarding wiring a Auber controller to the Masterbuilt smoker.

    Since I got my 40" 2nd gen Masterbuilt I have always been disappointed with the +-20 deg.temp swings that I always got when smoking sausage at low temps. Setting the Masterbuilt for 120 resulted in a temp swing of 105-135 but more importantly when finishing my sausage at 170 my temp swings would be 155-190. This swing resulted in some fat melting and extended cook time when trying to get my sausage to a finished temp of 155. Having read TallBM's adventures of rewireing his Masterbuilt with a Auber PID I decided to take to plunge.

    I purchased the Auber dual probe 1800W model WSD-1501GPH. Did I need a dual probe model probably not but I since this was going to be a one time purchase I didn't want buyers remorse later. I also changed the temp cutoff switch and bought the same one that TallBM used (Goodman Janitrol Furnace 350 Rollout Limit Switch B13701-54 B1370154). My 1st problem was the temp cutoff switch had no access from the rear panel. I did some measuring and used a dremel to make my own access panel. Once I made the opening I saw that the wires were frayed. Whoever wired my unit originally when they pulled the wires through the opening damaged the insulation. So I needed made a larger cut so I could follow the wires back to where there was no damage to the insulation and make the repairs.

    The damaged wires were replaced with the new wires soldered to the old and covered with shrink tubing.

    Before terminating the wires I ohmed out the wires so I would know which wire was the hot leg and which wire went to the heater element. I used high temp connectors to terminate the wires to the cutoff switch along with heat shrink tubing over the connectors.
    Once all the repairs were made I siliconed a plate over the opening.
    As I was looking for a clean looking installation I decided to use the Masterbuilt existing power cord. With the bottom panels opened I followed and ohmed all the wires marking the wires in the process.
    With all the wired identified and tagged I cutout all the existing Masterbuilt controls.
    The hot leg to the cutoff switch switch and the neutral to the heater element are now connected directly to the power cord. The wires were soldered and covered with heat shrink tubing.

    The connections at the heater element and the cutoff switch as everyone knows are notorious for failure. So in addition to changing the cutoff switch connectors the heater element connections were also changed to high temp connectors.
    After the connectors were changed heat shrink tubing was installed over them.
    With the wiring completed I also wanted to mod the side vent for better draft and control. I cutout the plate that held the small slider vent control.
    I picked up a couple of 3" adjustable vents and installed a manual draft door.
    Now all that was left was to plugin the Masterbuilt into the Auber controller and see how she works.
    The Auber controlled the heat perfectly. Once the temperature was stabilized the Auber maintained temp. within +/- 1 deg. I tested the unit for temperature stability using a Thermoworks smoke with 2 pit probes, 2 Maverick units and a Thermoworks ChefAlarm with a pit probe. The probes were placed at various positions and levels in the smoker. The difference in temperature between all the probes did not exceed 4 degrees. Naturally the hotter spot was right above the heater element.

    My 1st cook with the new Frankenbuilt smoker was jerky.
    The jerky came out perfect so now onto bigger and better things. When I ordered the parts for the mod I also ordered a AMPS so I decided to make Kielbasa.
    The Kielbasa was spot on. Needless to say I am more then happy with the result is this project.
    Thanks for looking
    smokinal, sky monkey, tallbm and 4 others like this.
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Nice job on the mod., & the sausage & jerky!

    Point to you my friend!

  3. barryvabeach

    barryvabeach Fire Starter

    Nice photos and write up.  
  4. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Smoke Blower


  5. halfsmoked

    halfsmoked Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Nice info and write up it is a shame that we buy something and have to do such a mod. Glad it worked out for you. [​IMG] for a great job.

  6. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Smoke Blower

    Thanks you!
  7. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Wow johnny, great write up and awesome job!!!  I'm glad my info managed to help out a some.

    The food looks great and all of your mods seem spot on.

    I'm glad you found that frayed wire issue and got a chance to fix it.  It would have sucked for that stuff to end up burning down your MES.

    As nerdy as it sounds, reading your post is exciting and a little thrilling.  Last night I believe I finished all cuts and holes in my controller project box and started wiring up my project box for my HeaterMeter PID controller for my gen1 MES40 rewire job. 

    I have checked the continuity of the installed on/off rocker switch on my project box, wired it to the power chord, and tested that it is getting power and not grounding out do to incorrect wiring.  Also checked the continuity of the SSR in both switch on/off positions according to the HeaterMeter PID probe temp and that seems to be working.

    Now I'm on to adding all remaining Hot/Load wiring, all Neutral wiring, and all Ground wiring. 

    Once all the wiring is added with terminals I just need to insert and connect Fan Controller (for smoker fan mod), SSR, and HeaterMeter PID controller and connect the devices to wiring terminals of the wiring that I am currently putting into the box!

    That will complete my controller and then on to:

    1. Rewire MES40 for PID just like you did, cutting panels and all! (Thanks for showing that you did it with relative ease)

    2. Add convection fan mod to MES for air stirring inside smoker.

    3. plug everything in to wall, controller box, and see if it anything explodes :p

    I'm super excited and hope to be following this post of yours some day soon... hopefully by mid May.  Best of luck with the smoking and I look forward to seeing what else you make with your new setup!
  8. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Smoke Blower

    TallBM, thanks for the all the info! I'm looking forward to seeing pics of your project. Good luck with it.
  9. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    The sausage looks great. I was going to do some Italian sausage today but it's going to rain. I'll have to wait till mid week.
  10. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The only thing I love better than Kielbasa is home smoked Kielbasa. 
  11. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Smoke Blower

    Kurt, why do you need to wait to make Italian sausage? Do you smoke them? When I make Italian I keep them fresh no smoke, no cure.
  12. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Smoke Blower

    Ain't that the truth👍
  13. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    Yes I like to smoke the sausage better so it doesn't render the fat out. I don't eat much sausage so I don't make it. Some casings are a little tougher than others. So far the Johnsonville brand has the best store bought casing with a pop and easy bite through hot or cold. I guess they all would when pulled before the IT hits 160*F. I like spiced/spicier sausage over just a brat. I'd like to find some Thuringer German sausage.
  14. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Smoke Blower

    I used to get tough casings when I finished my sausages in the smoker. Now I smoke my sausage for 1 1/2 - 2 hrs. in my smoker and then finish them in a water bath. I now get a casing that is not tough and has a real nice bite and snap.
  15. jlcnuke

    jlcnuke Fire Starter

    Looks good! I wonder how the "aftermarket" control systems people are building are going to hold up over time relative to Masterbuilt's controls. I'm guessing that most well designed/built ones will hold up better over time, but that will take a while to get any data on.
  16. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Smoke Blower

    Since I did this mod I've had about a dozen cooks. I've smoked bacon, sausages and jerky. All the cook went smooth as silk and the Auber controller worked flawlessly. Like you said time will tell but it is built very well.

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