MES tripping GFCI recepticle

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by poolecw, Apr 25, 2016.

  1. poolecw

    poolecw Newbie

    I have a 30" MES that is around two years old. A few months back I started running into an issue where the smoker immediately trips out the outdoor GFCI receptacle I usually plug it into. In order to get it to work, I have to use a non GFCI receptacle.

    I have a buddy that has the same exact model smoker and he is experiencing the same issue.

    Have any of you guys ran into this issue? Any keen fixes?
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    If you get a stretch of wet weather, moisture can get in the coil and cause this. My oldest MES40 will act up in the Spring...JJ
  3. walta

    walta Smoke Blower

    You will find dozens of similar threads on this form.

    Sometimes if you dry it by running it on a non GFIC circuit after an hour or 2 it will work correctly.

    If not most likely you will find that masterbuilt is unable to work out a way to safe reliable way to connect wires to heaters.

    Please beware the GFIC is tripping because it has detected a life safety fault. You are unlikely to be harmed as long as your non GFIC circuit is properly grounded and all the cords have 3 wires and are in good condition.

    In my opinion Masterbuilt has no plan to fix the situation on its own. Please consider filing a complaint form with consumer products safety commission’s web site. Sooner or later a ungrounded MES will kill someone.

  4. Yes,

    As the Chef and Walta have  said, In my opinion they are both right. Here is a unconventional fix.

     Using the Chefs logic that I agree with. I did some testing and found that a hair drier, blower on high for about 10 minutes will dry out the element. A short extension cord of the right size is not always available. Finding  a convenient non GFI receptacle is not always around. You may just feel like you don't want to plug into the non GFI protected receptacle. I have used the hair dryer a dozen times since we have had a wet winter and I keep my MES 30 out side under a good cover. The element acts like a sponge and sucks up humidity.  Jted
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
  5. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit

    It would not hurt to ensure that the smoker is dry after using (leave the door open and air dry the interior) nor would it hurt to keep it covered when not in use. Anything to keep moisture out of the unit. As for Walta's comment that is a good idea as well and only takes a minute and might save a life if the problem is serious.
  6. poolecw

    poolecw Newbie

    Good info... thanks guys!
  7. barryvabeach

    barryvabeach Fire Starter

    I bought a used 40 MES Gen 1, and had a similar problem.  I drilled out the rivets to the back, and the control box underneath, and did the wiring upgrade recommended here, and still had the same problem.  I plugged it into a non gfci outlet and ran it for about 6 hours doing a cook, and it worked okay.  Tried the next day with a GFCI outlet and it tripped.  At that point, it got personal, so I tried it a a few more times and it tripped within 5 to 10 minutes each time.  So I direct wired to the element, plugged it in , and it ran up to 225 with no tripping, so I ruled out the element.  I let it cool off, then reran the wires to stock, but bypassed the high temp thermal cutout, just in case that was the problem,  and it tripped after a few minutes.  I guessed at that point that it must be something in the controller, so I just bought the parts to run a PID controller, and will be using that instead of the original controller.   
  8. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit

    Masterbuilt really should address this problem if it is widespread.
  9. donr

    donr Smoking Fanatic

    It may not be the smoker.  I have problems with GFCI outlets tripping if I use an extension cord with power tools and have it laying on the ground.  Try keeping your cords off the ground and putting the smoker up on electrically insulating blocks (rubber, wood)
  10. poolecw

    poolecw Newbie

    Well guys, I got up at 3 am to put on 2 butts for mothers day dinner. I bypassed the GFCI and used a regular receptacle in my garage. Well, soon after it started heating, the breaker in the breaker box tripped. After resetting,I found that the smoker would not heat. I think it's toast. So, I now have two butts in the oven 😠😠😭
  11. barryvabeach

    barryvabeach Fire Starter

    Sorry to hear about the problems with the smoker,  guess the element went bad. 
  12. a g k

    a g k Fire Starter

      I had a GFI problem with my Bradley. It would trip after several hours of use. Tried a number of things that didn't help. Then after examining the element I noticed there was a grease bridge built up over time from element to inside metal liner. Took some cleaner and scrubbed clean.  Problem solved. Mine may have be the only one that ever had that solution, but may be worth checking.

      My solution would not work if breaker tripped, but may for GFI issue.

      A G K 
  13. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    That sure does sound like a shorted coil to me. Call Masterbuilt, they sent me a new coil N/C on a 3 year out of warranty MES40. Their CS folks are great...JJ
  14. I had the same tripping GFI issue with my MES30, but it would work on a non GFI outlet!

      I tried a Smoking forum suggestion about cleaning the ground wire connection where it connects to Heating Element in the back of unit.

       There was a small amount of creosote build up on the small nut & bolt holding the ground wire to the Heating Element back plate.

    I removed and cleaned the ground wiring hook and nut and bolt, I used alcohol to clean all parts and surfaces.

    I reassembled the Unit using a longer bolt which I double nutted to Heating Element back plate, then I reattached the ground wire.

      During my testing it is currently raining but Unit is working fine!

      I am currently testing the unit at 275deg for 3hours, all is well for first hour at least!

    The MES30 Unit is used on a covered back porch but sits on a wooden stand with rubber wheels.

     I would like to thank the Smoking forum person that posted the Suggestion about cleaning the ground wire!

    Good Smokes to All,

  15. Well I had the grease build up occur again on my  MES30, starting tripping the GFI again.

     I used Same fix as last time, remove and clean the ground connection wire and nut / bolt assembly.

     This time after I cleaned the connecting nut and bolt I applied some high temp cooking grade RTV Silicone to the inside bolt face and the plate it connects to.

       I fired it up and all went well, I even put a digital smoke probe inside to get remote temp. readings, used a piece of wood to keep probe off of cooking grate.

      Set MES30 to max. temp of 275deg. but probe was showing 300-310 at times.

    We'll see if this helps in the long run!

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