MES and cold weather

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by smokingtom, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. smokingtom

    smokingtom Newbie

    I love my MES but it sucks when it is cold. Went to turn it on the other night to smoke two briskets and got the clicking noise. Brought the controller inside to warm it up. Took it back out after a while and the LED lit up but after being on for two hours - the only thing that the temp would read was 32. Outside temperature was about 18. Ended up putting the shoulders in the oven. Hooked it back up today. It was slightly warmer - in the 20's and same thing. Why is the element not heating up?
  2. jlb

    jlb Newbie

    It was 4 degrees here this morning, it was 21 degrees when I fired the MES smoker up.

    I have never had that problem.

    On cold mornings, I always fill my water pan with boiling water, wait 10 minutes, and fire up the MES. Learned that from reading posts on this site.

    Other than that, I have no idea, I am sure someone with way more smarts on the MES will come along with some solutions.
  3. tjohnson

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

    Currently 7 degrees outside and I'm smoking up a storm in Minnesota.

    The element runs so much, that I have to keep adding chips about every 20 minutes.

    I keep my MES inside a heated(40 degree) garage when not using it.

    I don't know if it's the controller or the probe/temp sensor in the box. I'd try the hot water trick or a trouble light to warm it up. I'll bet the sensor needs to be warmed up.

  4. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Try doing a hard reset by unpluging the plug. If that doesn't work call Masterbuilt tomorrow.
  5. tjohnson

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

    A couple years ago, the display on my dishwasher showed a "Error Code", so I called LG for repair.

    The guy came out, unplugged the DW and plugged it back in.....No More Error Code!

    This little stunt cost me $100 for the service call!

    I now unplug/plug-in everything BEFORE I call for support!!!

  6. got14u

    got14u Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    also for a heat sink try putting 2 red bricks in the bttm left corner wrapped in foil. But I would do the water pan first and wait 10 minutes.
  7. kevin13

    kevin13 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    What temps are you smoking at? I tried smoking some chicken a few days ago and ended up getting a nice creosote taste. It was 19* outside and the smoker was set at 250*. I had to keep the vent halfway closed, which probably caused the creosote, in order to even remotely keep the temp. up and after adding food, I still couldn't recover to 250* in a reasonable time.
  8. tjohnson

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


    Smoking at 195* for 3 hours and then finishing off at 215* w/outside temps @ 7*. I've had my MES up to 250* at 10* outside temp.

    Vent open about 1/4 most of the time. Had to open up to full throttle for the chips to get going and then close up to 1/4.

    Hickory and/or apple chips no mesquite for me.

    Do you have the new MES with the 1200 watt heating element, or is it the older model?

    I also placed a 12"x12' granite tile(Per Ron) over the chip box and the temps in the box evened out.

    When I open the door for temp checks, the recovery is about 15 minutes.

  9. rstr hunter

    rstr hunter Smoking Fanatic

    The wife and I did some ribs on Sun here with temps in the low teens on our MES 40". Did it inside of our uninsulated garage. Turned out well, you must have been using an older model with the 800 watt. I know, no qview didn't happen, wife started it before I got back from spearing. Will do better next time.
  10. kevin13

    kevin13 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I have the older 30" model with the 750 watt heater. I burning hickory in my Smoke Daddy. Keeping the vent full open, which I normally do, wouldn't allow the smoker to keep temp or recover as good as it does during "normal" weather.
  11. reichl

    reichl Meat Mopper

    This is exactly what happened to me. You are going to have to replace the connections on the back of the unit. When I opened the back of mine up, one of the wires wasnt connected at all to the element. This thread shows you exactly what you need to do (hence it's a sticky). I found that you don't have to replace any of the wiring, you just have to replace the connections (costing a total of 3 dollars).

    Once you replace the connections in the back of the unit, it will come to temp easily, even in cold weather. If you have any questions you can pm me, considering I just did this not too long ago.
  12. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    Note, the reset procedure is the same even if you don't have an error message.
    It is sort of like the correct way to reboot your computer.
  13. smokingtom

    smokingtom Newbie

    They told me I need to trick the sensor inside the unit into thinking it isnt that cold. Sensor is on the lower left - told me to use a warm washcloth for a couple of minutes then it should heat up. Hope that will do it before I have to take the back of to fix the connections.
  14. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The sensor in the back corner on monitors the temps it doesn't have anything to do with shutting off the system if it gets too cold. But hey its always worth a try. I do wipe the sensor off with a damp warm paper towel and then immediately dry it.

  15. smokingtom

    smokingtom Newbie

    Finally got around to looking at why the smoker wasnt heating. Drilled all the rivets off - thought the electric box cover just popped on so I kind of mangled it getting it off. Think I can make it work. The wire on the left connector was burned off.

    Where do you get high temp electrical connectors and wire in order to fix it
  16. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Any supply house or shop that sells parts to repair electric stoves and ovens should have what you need. Or if you can find a stove to canalbalize you xcan get alot of stuff you need.
  17. It's 18F here in the Badger state. I got the error code some have mentioned. Tried the unplug for 10 seconds cure and that didn't solve it so I took the apple cider I was going to use in the waterpan and got that boiling on the stove, poured it into the pan, closed the door and within a minute the interior was up to 65F and more. The MES control was functioning and the heating element came on and is still on smoking my cornish hens and chicken breasts. My guess is that there is a power relay in the back wall that cycles the heating element ON and OFF and at 18F ambient, that is outside the operating range of that component.
  18. vernski

    vernski Fire Starter

    Dhregge your not the only one with this problem, is yours the 30"MES I have the same problem, I noticed at 30* or less it will show and error message on the control display. I called Masterbuilt and thier fix was to use a hair-dryer to warm the box up, I guess whatever the reason was a sensor or somthing, warming up the box worked and is back to normal again. It works fine until the ambient temp drops below 20*-30*. I feel Masterbuilt should work up a fix for this problem but probably won't until enough people complain....Vernski
  19. vernski

    vernski Fire Starter

    I am pleased to note that Darryl the MES Tech guy is taking care of the problems with my smoker...Vernski

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