MES burner fail?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by low'n'slow, Jul 19, 2009.

  1. I've had the MES (actually, Centro, the Canadian version) for a few years now and today, for the first time, it did something strange. Although I had it set for 225F, it never got much past 120F -- and it dropped from there, down to just under 100F eventually. I thought at first it was the digital display acting up, but eventually the temperature on my internal meat thermometer (stuck inside the pork shoulder I was cooking) started dropping as well.

    I checked things over, there doesn't seem to be anything obviously wrong/disconnected. Any ideas? Has anyone had a similar experience? Can the element be easily replaced? It looks a little hard to get at...
  2. gnubee

    gnubee Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This happened to me once and I solved it simply by disconnecting the plug in and then plugging it back in again. But sometimes the fix is a lot more complicated.
    There are a couple of threads on how to fix the problem. You have to drill out the rivets on the back of the machine and fix the wiring connecters.
  3. I was afraid of that! :(
  4. gnubee

    gnubee Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  5. gnubee

    gnubee Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It took Me forever but I finally found one of the best threads on this repair. Some of the best posts on this repair were apparently lost in the 2008 post losses.

    Scroll down to near the bottom for some great qview of the repair.

    Heavy with Qrepairview. <----- New word for Wikipedia[​IMG]
  6. Thanks for finding that - I appreciate it!
  7. scubadoo97

    scubadoo97 Smoking Fanatic

    As you already how know the element might just be fine.

    You will first need to pop the rivets on the back cover and replace with screws

    2nd, you will need to get at the screws that hold the cover for the terminals to the element. To do that, you need to remove the chip loader, chip tray, chip tray cover/ "shroud" and chip pan. You can get to the left and right screws without having to drill any access holes. The center screw is for the ground wire. When you take off the chip tray cover/shroud there will still be the 3 sided metal plate that the chip tray slides into and that the cover/shroud connects to. You don't have to take this off. You can access the screws needed although it's a little tight quarters.

    I will bet that your female disconnect terminal has failed or the wire has burnt through. If this is the case then it's an easy repair to splice a new wire with new terminal on. Try to find high temp wires and high temp terminals.

    I would replace both wires while you're at it. The one that originates from the thermostat at the top and the one that comes from the power supply at the bottom. The latter one I had to splice and solder on a new longer wire and the one from the thermostat at the top can easily be replace in total. The wires on the MES are 14 awg if you want to match them.

    I did not secure the element terminal cover with the screws that held it in place since I wanted easy access to inspect the connections. I just pushed the cover back in place over the terminals. Now if I want to do a sight inspection I can just remove the back and take a quick look. Not a bad idea before a big smoke.

    On another post I got wires from a discarded electric range

    shows replacement wires in place

    eman who is an electrican gives his advice of replacing the wires with 12 awg wires and fork terminals. The male terminals on the element do have holes in them should you want to use fork terminals instead of the quick connect slide on type

    I must say that I have never had an electrical problem with my MES. I did the upgrade just to be proactive and to reduce my chances of failure.

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