MES30 Burned up

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by knothead, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. Hello all, I've been a longtime lurker on here and love all of the great info, recipes, etc.  I just wanted to take a minute to give a little warning for those of you who are using the AMNPS with their MES30.  I received my AMNPS in the mail a week ago and promptly used it in my grill with two rotisserie chickens and they came out very good.  Not as much smoke on them as I would have liked but it was about what I expected on the grill.  Today I cleaned up my MES30 to get it ready for a Boston Butt that I planned to do tomorrow.  I wanted to re-season the smoker after the good wipe down so it would be ready for tomorrow.  I turned the MES30 on (250 degrees) and then got my AMNPS loaded up, to see how it did, didn't want any surprises tomorrow. Got the AMNPS lit using the "let it burn for ten minutes" method, blew it out and then put it in the MES30 on the two bars, top vent all the way open and watched it go. After about ten minutes it seemed as though the smoke was fizzling out so I opened the chip chute and pulled it out about a half inch.  Checked it again after ten minutes to make sure that the pellets didn't flare up. (They had flared up on my grill last week until I moved the grill to block the wind that was blowing about 10 mph.) So anyway, after an hours worth of checking the pellets every ten minutes or so, I decided that all was going well and wandered off to get a few things done. An hour later I came back to check on things and my MES30 was beeping and the readout said something like "EAA1". Then I noticed the smell.  It was something like a cross between mothballs and magic marker.  Then I noticed the fluid that had run out the bottom. I soon realized that the fluid was an oily substance that had leaked out of the control head at the top and ran down the back. Not grease from food but an industrial type of oil. I opened the door and found the top plastic on the door just outside of the seal melted a bit.  The smell was terrible with soot all over the inside and all of the pellets were burned up. I figure that the pellets flared up after I took my eyes off them and ruined my smoker.  Nobody's fault but my own.  But for those of you who want to improve the quality of food that comes out of your electric smoker with the AMNPS, you might want to keep a real close eye on it the first few times you use it until you are sure of the results.  I do like the AMNPS very much and will use it tomorrow when I do a rotisserie Boston Butt on my grill.  I just wanted to let others know so that hopefully they won't lose their smoker or maybe other property if something goes wrong. I'm pretty bummed out about the smoker.  I guess if I want ribs I'll be getting them from a bbq joint for a while.  Hopefully my pulled pork will turn out good.

    Wish I had seen that "mail box" mod before today.  Probably would have saved my smoker.

  2. tjohnson

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

    Hey Russ,

    Sorry to hear about your loss!!!

    I've sold "Thousands" of smokers, and can honestly say this is a 1st for me

    There's a good chance the Hi Temp Limit Switch did not cut out, and your MES overheated on it's own

    This happened on (2) brand new MES 2nd Gen models I purchased within the past year and also to an older MES 40 I still own.

    My brand new MES 40 2nd Gen got up to 340° before I shut it down.  The replacement did the same thing, and I shut it down at 320°.  Both times the foam began to melt.  An older MES 40 actually melted down, and when I tore it apart, the foam had disintegrated all around the heating element, and then melted up to the top.

    If you were smoking ribs, what was the temp inside your smoker?

    Not your controller temp, the actual temp inside your smoker?

    How many rows did you fill with pellets?

    How old is your MES 30?

    Did you know Polyurethane foam is combustible?

    Look at the table below!

    Insulation Material

    Temperature Range







    Calcium Silicate





    Cellular Glass





    Elastomeric foam










    Mineral Wool, Ceramic fiber


    Mineral Wool, Glass





    Mineral Wool, Stone





    Phenolic foam



    Polyisocyanurate or polyiso















    A little more info would be appreciated

    There's a very good possibility your MES just failed on it's own

    Kinda like getting your oil changed, and your brakes go out on the way home....Coincidence?

  3. Thanks Todd, Yeah I don't blame the AMNPS at all.  It was my fault for leaving the smoker unattended.  It very well could have been the controller that broke.  The smoker is about three years old, I wasn't cooking anything - just seasoning it after a good wipe down, and I had the AMNPS loaded up about one and a half rows. I had the controller set to 250 degrees and it was fluctuating between 240 and 265 which I did think was a big swing but had forgotten about until you asked.  But once I quit watching it, who knows what happened.  You know, now that I think about it, It would have had to have been the controller fritzing out to have gotten as hot as it must have to melt whatever stuff is in the walls of that thing.  There was a fair amount of sticky/oily goo that had leaked out of it. I'd guess, based on the look of the driveway, about a cup worth of fluid that had leaked out.  Now that I think about it, I don't think that a row and a half of pellets could have gotten that hot for long enough to create as much heat as that thing had to have been throwing out to melt the insulation or whatever it was that run out of it. Yeah I think you are right about the controller.

    I don't think I will replace the MES with another though. I've been thinking about rebuilding the rusted out fire box of my old vertical offset smoker.  Or maybe building a brick smoker that I've been thinking about for a few years.

    But on the plus side, the pulled pork that I was going to smoke in the MES, that ended up on the rotisserie of my grill instead, came out VERY good.  I used the AMNPS on the grill after scrubbing it and running it through the dishwasher to get the funky burned MES smell off it.  And it worked flawlessly.  

    I bet you are right about the controller going out rather than a pellet flare up with the AMNPS. Thinking about it now I just don't see how two fist fulls of pellets, even if they all burned up at the same time, could get hot enough to melt the insulation.

    Thanks for the reply Todd.  I think you are right. It was just a coincidence.

    (Mod, you can delete this whole thread if you want. I don't want to malign the AMNPS. It works fine)

    Last edited: Sep 19, 2013
  4. I agree with you guys.  Their is NO way that chips caused that much heat.  The controller had to have stuck and you had a runaway heating element that caused all the damage.

    I haven't ever smoked overnight or without keeping an eye on my smoker, leaving it unattended with the possibility of a freak incident is always a danger.  Nothing mechanical or electrical is foolproof.  Glad you and your home is undamaged!

    Take care,

  5. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Admitt it, you are happy cause you really wanted that MES40 instead. This just gave you the opportunity to get one. The MES30 just can't hold a full packer which you will want to do probably more sooner than later.

    Sorry to hear about your smoker, glad you didn't burn up more. Hope Masterbuilt is compensating you for the unit. I hear they have a pretty good customer service.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2013

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