MES controller moisture fix

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by gruelurks, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. gruelurks

    gruelurks Smoking Fanatic

    Some of you may have read that my MES died today again. Not being one to sit around and just wonder why it quit, I pulled it apart tonight to see what's up. Not much to my surprise, there was quite a bit of moisture built up inside of the control box and around the PCB. I took it out and dried it with a hair drier from all angles for a 15 minutes on low heat, then took it outside a bit ago to test it out. Lo and behold it fired up again for a few minutes before conking out again. The PCB is coated in a white silicon compound of some sort, moisture had creeped in between that and the switches too, so I power dried them direct on for another 5 minutes. This seemed to do the trick, it is now plugged in on my back deck going to work.

    Since I already ordered a new controller, I'm going to see one of my genius electrician friends next week at our pinball league and see what he thinks we can do to beef it up out of the box. I think we could easily get rid of the cheap controller casing and overlay and come up with a better moisture proof box and switches.

    Here's a pic of it nekkid inside a freezer bag at the moment. I'm seeing how it holds up for the next couple hours with a test smoke.
  2. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That's interesting. Since I live in a desert type low moisture enviroment I may never have that problem, but if I do at least there may be a solution.

  3. zjaybird

    zjaybird Meat Mopper


    Depending on how long the wires are or if you are willing to solder them together or splice then, I don't see why you couldn't move the board to another box. Hoffman and Saginaw make lots of boxes with clear windows in them. You might just get lucky and put some ductseal in the box you have now to keep the moisture out. Good luck...when water gets into electrical connections, it makes for some really fun troubleshooting...
  4. gruelurks

    gruelurks Smoking Fanatic

    Almost two hours later and it's at 230 degrees on the controller, and 227 inside the box. The temp set switch is still acting flaky but I think it might be salvaged enough that my buddy and I can come up with something more durable.
  5. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  6. gruelurks

    gruelurks Smoking Fanatic

    It looks like drying the controller unit out worked wonders. There really are no chips to fry out on the controller unit itself other than the LED display that I can tell. I used the smoker tonight for wings and everything worked normal again. Still a word of caution to MES owners, keep that sucker dry!
  7. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks, I appreciate the info.
  8. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Glad it all worked out...[​IMG]
  9. mnbike

    mnbike Fire Starter

    I'm an engineer by trade and the stuff we use to weather resist circuit boards is called conformal coating. It comes in either a silicone or acylic based liquid about the consistency of paint and is either brushed or dip coated There are several manufactures but the two most common are humiseal and dow corning. We purchase in bulk (read gallons) where you'll need only a few ounces. One of the tests I do is submersion of the board for 30 minutes in water, pull out and power up.

    As mentioned by others, a cheaper alternate would be a different enclosure or a method to cover your controller. I've heard Braly makes a cover for their product that works ok with MES.

    Personally, I used a gallon ice cream pail last weekend when I smoked in the rain. It covered both my controller and my Maverick. Had to move it tight to the controller so it wouldn't cover the vent. Next time I gonna search through my wife's tuberware assortment. A nice square container upside down over the controller would work well. Add a little weight so it doesn't take off to the neighbors during a wind gust and you got something to cover yoru controller for less then a buck![​IMG]

    MnBike out
  10. chainsaw

    chainsaw Smoking Fanatic

    The people at MES told me to detach the box and keep it inside to prevent moisture problems, which I have done. One argument against is the plug is not too robust to take too much unplugging. The problem I had was not from the box but the sensor inside the unit, and was under warranty. They replaced thewhole box except for the pan, racks, etc. & the unit works fine now. SInce I usually only smoke on weekends I don't anticipate a problem with the unplugging.
    Good luck!
  11. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What if you put it in a ziploc bag and screw it back on that way?
  12. chainsaw

    chainsaw Smoking Fanatic

    I would be afraid plastic would draw moisture. It is very easy to remove it, and take it inside. I don't have it attached to the smoker.

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