MES displaying incorrect temps when first turned on

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by delvaris, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. delvaris

    delvaris Newbie

    I have a Masterbuilt electric smoker and when I first turn it on the temperature reads around 190 degrees. The temperature slowly falls while it heats up to temperature and I can't figure out how.

    I already replaced the high temperature limiter kit and the control board for another issue. Does anyone have any suggestions? Is it possible I installed the thermostat backwards or is it non polar?

    The model number is 20076515.
  2. smokinal

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

    I would call Masterbuilt.

    They have excellent customer service.

    I'm sure they could help you.

  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like there a cold break in the wiring somewhere...  as it heats up, the connection improves....    could be in the temperature sensor....
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    They should be able to help you, if you tell them exactly what it does.

  5. delvaris

    delvaris Newbie

    I went ahead and called Masterbuilt and they're sending me something she described as a "master control board" which is something that replaces a component in the heating element access panel. It is definitely not the display.

    Hopefully it fixes my issues, and despite not arriving in time, between my air thermometers and it's seeming ability to reasonably hold a temperature anyway, unlike where it starts, we'll be okay this coming Sunday.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's Great !![​IMG]

    Hoping you'll be Smoking away real soon!!!

  7. delvaris

    delvaris Newbie

    Oh man this is a disaster. I was going to attempt the smoke anyway using my maverick air probe to keep the temperature. It was working great for about the first hour and now it's shut down and won't restart. When I try to plug it in most of the time nothing happens, but sometimes it rapidly beeps before nothing happens.

    I haven't even got enough smoke on these butts to put them in the oven to salvage them. It's pretty cold outside and I'd read that could effect the display boards (Though I was obviously hoping that since it made it up to temperature that it wouldn't be an issue), so I have a heating pad on it right now to try to ressurect the smoker for at least the next couple of hours.

    Why couldn't this part have arrived in time! [​IMG]  


    Checked the connections in the heating element compartment and they're solid. Now the display is behaving. I set the temp, set the time, and then it turns off when the heating element is supposed to kick in. I hear an audible click, which I assume is some sort of relay. So if this part I'm being sent is different than the ones I replaced before it might fix my issue. However, I'm putting it in the day I get it and I'm immediately attempting a smoke to see how it goes. If it doesn't co-operate I'll be asking them to send me a new smoker, hopefully a gen 1 if they have it.

    Edit 2:

    And if anyone is wondering, I don't think they really got enough smoke (an hour, 2 hours generously), but I have the butts in the oven so we'll at least have something to eat for halftime dinner.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I hope you were able to salvage the meat you had in when this happened.

    Have you tried a different outlet?

    I don't know much about electric, but this story sounds familiar.

    Keep us updated.

  9. delvaris

    delvaris Newbie

    Yeah trying different outlets was the first thing I did. Unfortunately it's just not possible to not use an extension cord for me (I know they're not recommended) but I used the shortest, heaviest gauge, that I could find, and I didn't have any joy.

    I went to school for electrical engineering 10 years ago but never actually became an electrical engineer, so I would hardly call myself an authority but I'm still pretty handy with electricity. Which is why I am 90% sure the sound I'm hearing most recently when the heating element is supposed to kick on is a solenoid driven relay. It's a very distinctive sound. That's happening at the point of failure, though it may not be the failure itself.

    Anyway when whatever part they're sending me comes in we'll see if that fixes the issue (I'm pretty confident it won't at this point) so then I'll start pressing for a replacement.

    The worst part is the first smoke I ever did in this thing were butts and they came out flawlessly which is why I'm so invested in trying to get it to work - it works well when it works, and it's just a hell of a lot of more convenient than coals or propane.

    If they won't send me a replacement maybe I'll finally buy a pid (which I've been wanting for sous-vide for a while), and maybe I can find one I can get dual use out of (with separate elements and thermocouples of course).

    As far as salvage - the first time this failed (which led to the replacement of the limiter and the display) it failed on a brisket that I used my oven to finish and it came out great, but it had also gotten enough smoke. So we'll ultimately just have to wait and see, but my oven has saved my butt (pun intended) before.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
  10. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I agree----I would try the fix they're sending you, and if that doesn't fix it, I'd tell them I want another smoker----Either a Gen #1 or a Gen #2.5, but not the Gen #2.

    The Gen #1 or the Gen #2.5 will be Great, as long as they have nothing wrong with them.

    The Gen #2 has problems even when everything works the way it was designed.

    Best of luck on your arriving Fix.

  11. delvaris

    delvaris Newbie

    You wouldn't happen to know any model numbers I could specifically ask for when discussing it with them would you?

  12. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    The Gen 1 40" Stainless Steel with window is 20070311.

  13. delvaris

    delvaris Newbie

    The fix arrived exactly one day too late to save my super bowl fiasco. The pulled pork was- okay. My family being the supportive loving people they are all raved about it, but I know the real score.

    They neglected to send instructions so I'm staring at this power control board with no clue where it goes. Unlike the display or hi-temp kit which are easy to figure out it's a complete mystery. Leading to another call to masterbuilt, but they emailed me the instructions and I got on with it. 

    I am a bit more confident that this might actually fix the issue now; as when I opened up the bottom access point what greeted me was significant water infiltration and some rust. When I had first gotten the smoker, maybe two weeks later, we had torrential rains that were so bad that my garage (where I kept the smoker) ended up with about two inches of water in it, it was a disaster for other reasons, but I didn't really give the smoker a second thought figuring it was an outdoor appliance. Given how stagnant the water was, I am pretty sure this was when this water infiltration happened into this compartment. Truthfully it's a bit of a miracle it lasted this long if that's the case. 

    Now I have a sturdy stand it sits on that my brother-in-law welded together from bed frame that sits it up about 2-2.5 feet off the ground so I didn't have to bend over so much when working with it. I didn't realize it also has the bonus that it's pretty much impossible for water to get into this compartment again (or, at least, if there's enough water to reach it we better give Noah a call, I live in a damn desert). We're also in the process of putting a "roof" on it so it can be left outside on the stand all the time- we're going to make it with a slope toward one side so rain rolls off and use a roof cap to give the smoke from the vent a way out.

    So right now I'm letting the compartment dry out as much as possible before replacing the part later this afternoon and I'll let you how it goes. 

    Thanks for all your help and support Bearcarver. I figured you'd be interested to know the situation.



    The part has a solenoid driven relay inside it. So I'm pretty proud of my ears for correctly identifying that sound.
  14. delvaris

    delvaris Newbie

    Whelp that seems to have fixed it. The part seems to be a bit bigger or I didn't pack the cables back in well enough so there's a bit of a gap around the plate so I may run a bead of high temp silicone around it just to be safe. Again it's up on a stand so I'm not worried about water from below just the sides.

    The temperatures from the meat probe and the display agree and they both agree with my maverick air temp probe. It's heating and burning chips.

    I'm going to run it for the next 10 hours or so just to make sure it doesn't turn off on me or anything and to make sure it'll maintain temperature.

    So this saga may just be over.
  15. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds good, Delvaris!!!

    Hoping that takes care of everything for you!  Getting water down there is also one of the reasons I tell these guys not to wash the inside of an electric smoker with water.

    Thanks for the Update!

    BTW: I never set my MES to go off on a setting, so the first thing I always do when I start mine up is set it for 20 hours. Then I don't have to worry about it going off, and it's also easy for me to calculate the timing of various things I do throughout the Smoke.

  16. delvaris

    delvaris Newbie

    I do the same thing, I cook to a temperature of the meat not time wise. I'm just not actually smoking anything right now and I figure that 10 hours is enough to see if it's just going to outright fail. So far so good, it's holding temperature reasonably well.

    This is the bottom of the PCB I took out, you can really see the rust on it from that water infiltration. This is actually a little better than it was, because I wiped a little off with my thumb to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  17. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I keep mine on my front porch, on top of two Pressure Treated boxes I made for Chainsaw Carving. The boxes are each 1' high, X 2' X 2'. I have a roof over it, and a cover on it, so the only time any rain or snow gets to the cover is the rare wind blown snow. So far, in 6 years, none of my MES units have gotten wet.

  18. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Excellent.....  You can be our go to guy for fixing these things....    Glad you got  some help from Masterbuilt....   Hope we can see some delicious products from your smoker soon...   

    Congrats on the trouble shooting and repairs.... Dave

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