MES 30 Gen 2.5 "mailbox mod"

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by parf, Mar 9, 2017.

  1. So.....I set my original MES 30 on fire the other day.

    I was getting it ready to smoke a couple of pork shoulders over night, so I got it warmed up to 275, and then took my full AMNPS out and lit it on my grill. I let it go for a while, about an inch and a half of burn, and then I loaded it onto the rails like I always do. I came back out in 10 minutes to check on it, and that poor old MES was making too much smoke. I opened the door, and the inside was engulfed in flames. It must have gotten too much air flow and re-lit, or some grease caught, but either way my MES was toast. Smells like turpentine and such from the melted door insulation.

    I had a lot of people counting on me for dinner the next night, so I ran out to Walmart and grabbed a MES 30 off the shelf. It turned out to be a gen 2.5, and my good old AMNPS doesn't have anywhere to live inside the smoker when it's full. All this has led me to the mailbox mod. I've picked out the box I'm going to use, a cheap Excel TB140 black steel toolbox.

    I'm going to mount it vertically like is pictured above. See how nice the AMNPS fits inside it? Around where that top hole is inside the toolbox, I'm going to use a 3" holesaw to drill the opening for the MES, and attach it directly to the side of the smoker and the Masterbuilt smoker cart. I'm pretty sure that's enough headroom to get a good draft through the chimney.

    Speaking of smoke stacks...

    Thats a 3" dual wall pellet stove pipe and a coupler I got from Home Depot, with a cheap rain cap I got off of Amazon. I unscrewed the round vent cover, and then used that 3" holesaw I mentioned above to drill through the remaining vent. With a little trimming, that coupler is a tight press fit into the top of the smoker. I am going to install the old vent cover in the toolbox and use it to regulate airflow into the smoker.

    I'm just waiting on the cart to show up to put it all together. I'll hit the chimney a can of BBQ paint and it should be done.

    Items list:

    Excel TB140-Black 20-Inch Portable Steel Tool Box, Black

    Speedi-Products EX-RCGU 03 3-Inch Diameter Galvanized Umbrella Roof Vent Cap

    Local Home Depot:

    095029400153 VENT PIPE <A>        10.97 
         3" X 2' B VENT PIPE
    095029111141 CONNECTOR <A>         8.49 
  2. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Hi there and welcome!

    I'll think you'll be in business. You may need to drill a few holes for airflow into the box to keep pellets going but you can add those as needed and very easily.

    I look forward to hearing about how it comes along :)
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    May I recommend 3 each 1" holes as shown below and legs on the AMNPS also..   better air flow to the pellets...  all my troubles left when the legs were installed.... 

  4. As far as a vent in the toolbox, I'm going to re-use the damper I took off the top of the MES. I'll drill holes that I can cover or expose with the wheel into the side of the box right next to the AMNPS. I wonder if mounting it under the AMNPS would work even better?

    That's a great idea about adding legs to the AMNPS. Airflow would be suboptimal with it nested inside the box as pictured above. I'll add four 2-3 inch bolts and nuts to lift it up a bit.
  5. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    My Amnps is elevated and found that plenty of air comes in at the bottom opening at the door hinge without drilling holes. I did plug the back bottom mounting holes and left the four bottom front open. Try it that way before drilling holes. You can alway add holes later if you find you need to. Elevating the Amnps is key. Never mind I just saw the toolbox. The mailbox title in this thread threw me off.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  6. Thanks Kurt! Yeah, I figured that any sort of random side fire box to hold an AMNPS fell under the category of "Mailbox mod."

    So the UPS guy dropped off my Masterbuilt #20101113 Digital Electric Smokehouse Stand for 30-inch smokers. Completely wrong stand for my GEN 2.5. None of the holes lined up with the bolts for the feet, and the bottom cut-out was the wrong size and shape. Ohh, well! That's what my hand drill, and Sawzall with "THE TORCH" blade are for. I made some new holes for the feet bolts and cut out more of the top so my MES would fit.

    Here it is, mostly all together.

    Another view:

    This where I mounted the old damper from the top of the MES to the toolbox to control intake air.

    This is the interior of the toolbox.

    I attached the toolbox with two self-tapping screws through the frame of the stand, and two more into the side of the smoker. I'm going to replace the two through the frame with 7/16 bolts with washers to clamp it down really hard. I still have to install some bolts for legs onto the AMNPS as well. I need a short piece of 3"duct to bridge the gap between the box and the smoker chip loader hole.

    I'm working tomorrow, but I'm going to try to swing past the home despot on the way home and pick up all the last little bits to finish this up. I'll run it empty overnight and go through a tray of pellets and see how it works. Hopefully Monday night we'll have some BBQ to eat!
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Think about adding the air inlet opposite the exhaust....  If you have straight, flow through air, there won't be any recirculated smoke in the MB mod...  recirculated smoke is low on oxygen...   not a good deal for getting the pellets to burn properly....
  8. Thanks for the warning about recirculated smoke, Dave! Did you see my last two pictures above? The air vent is installed on the side of the toolbox at the bottom, actually below the level of the AMNPS, and the exhaust is at the top of the box going into the MES. Don't you think that's opposite enough? There's about a 16 inch rise between inlet and exhaust inside the 20-inch toolbox.

    Edited to add:

    So, you got me a little worried so I screwed 4 drywall screws into the bottom of the AMNPS to lift it a few inches, and I lit it up for a test.

    With the MES heated up and without any sealing between the toolbox and the MES, all the smoke is being drawn out the chimney. It looks like it's working pretty good.I wonder if I should remove the chip tray that rests on the heating element? It's a lot more open down there inside this gen 2.5, but I'll probably try it like that as well.

    Sorry for the crappy picture, my phone battery died after taking this one.

    So maybe tomorrow night I'll be putting a pork butt in for Sunday nights dinner!
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  9. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I glanced at it thinking it was the original and didn't even notice the vents...    If you have trouble with the pellets burning up too fast, or catching on fire, raise the AMNPS to try and avoid the "direct" air flow on it... 

    It looks good...  heat rises... upper air inlet to the smoker body looks good....   I think it's a keeper.....    [​IMG]....

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