New Element...not heating any at all now?!?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by notoriousgt350, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. New member, but I've been smoking on my MES 40" 20070311 for over 2 years.I have enjoyed it and enjoy looking through all the threads here for advice over the last couple of years. BUT, I need some help with a few things which I've searched and look through out the forums for information.

    Problem, element stop heating pass 190*. Call MB and got a new 1200W element kit yesterday. Replace my heating element and it does not even warm up anymore. Called MB and they want to sell me a "body kit" for $200+ dollars. I said NO and they are sending me a complementary control panel just incase that's the problem. SO, a couple things I've notice I lost my original grounding bolt and replaced it. But I can't tell where in relation to the heating element and housing where should I place the grounding spade at? I figure it's not grounding somewhere and tried different ways.Any suggestions?

    I didn't replace my crimps with the new ones as they look good. I'll see if I can post some pics shortly. Thank you!

  2. Some pics

    I don't know how many times in the last 5 hours I have tried to change the positioning of where to mount the ground wire, check the crimps, mount the ground bolt....where in relation to the heating element and unit do I put the ground wire. Before, my old element would only heat to 190*. Put this one in and nothing. Put my old one back in and nothing as well. 
  3. I am convinced now after receiving multiple parts from the manufacturer that these units aren't  worth the money and don't function consistently or at all.  Sad because the concept is really good.  
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
  4. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Hi there.  Here is an image I found online of the wiring.  The green one is the ground:

    Do you have a multimeter?  You can check for continuity see that there are no breaks in your wiring from the circuit board to the heating element.  

    If you are already fooling with your wiring, you dont fix the issue by checking the wiring, and the new controller doesn't fix the issue you have two options:

    1) Abandon this MES 

    2) Rewire the MES and use an after market (better than MES) controller

    The Physical construction of the MES seems to be great.  The controller/electronics seem to be the weak point.

    It may seem like a difficult idea to rewire but it is really much simpler than you might imagine.

    I hope this info helps :)
    daricksta likes this.
  5. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit

    Wish I had an answer to help you out. Might be time to dump the old and get a new smoker.  Since you won the smoker, tossing it out is not really a loss. For an electric I recommend the Smokin-it and the CookShack units, both of which I have owned and used.  I still use the Smokin-it and my son has the Cookshack which I use when visiting. Never a problem. SmokeHollow seems somewhat popular.  Then there are the pellet smokers. Shop around.  Lots of smokers in all price ranges available.  But hopefully someone with a lot of MasterBuilt knowledge will see your posts and lend a hand.  Good luck.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  6. TallBM, my ground is between the outside and inside housing.I do have a multimeter laying around somewhere, I may give that a try while I'm waiting on the control panel to arrive. If not works, I'll take off the rear panel and inspect to see if it's something minor. But, I may look into something else if I can't get it fixed.
  7. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    I just looked at your images again and you sure are right about the ground being between the two layers.  It is all frayed up, that is crazy.

    Just a word to the wise, if you pull off the back your MES you will find that the wires are all buried deep under heavy spray foam and MES decided to go with black insulation for both the hot and neutral wire once it comes out of the circuit board located at the bottom of the smoker.  This is why I mention the multimeter and the continuity setting.  If you use the multimeter you won't have to go digging up a bunch of foam insulation to track one end of a wire to the other (continuity).  Provided your multimeter probes are long enough to check you should be able to find out some good stuff.

    I'll be doing the same thing with my multimeter to rewire my MES40 Gen1 here soon.  I'm still building my new HeaterMeter PID controller and housing box so I will rewire the MES after the controller is completed.  I can only do this work on the weekends and they have all been booked up with other commitments so it's been slooooow going.

    A rewire job basically consists of cutting out the MES circuit board at the bottom and making the plug wiring and splicing/connecting the MES chord ground, hot, and neutral to the ground, hot, neutral wiring that goes to the element there in your image.  Actually simple once you can identify the wiring properly and splice it.  

    This rewiring means electricity will run to the heating element with no controller involved so you basically have ON and no OFF unless you unplug.

    You basically plug the MES plug into a controller (PID, or Dial Style controller like DaveOmak's example) and the controller will manage the juice on/off to the plug to maintain the temp.  Simple :)

    I hope all this info is helpful and gives you an idea of what your rewire options are if things aren't easily fixed.
    daricksta likes this.
  8. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Whatever the problem may be not allowing the element to heat up, it is not the ground wire.
  9. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Smoke Blower

    Notorious, like JP61 said a ground will not cause your element not to heat up, the ground is there for safety. If the hot leg should touch metal and there is no ground you will get shocked as your body can complete the circuit. Like TallBM mentioned all the wires are deep in a thick foam insulation. I recently rewired mine and found frayed wires. I used a dremel to just cut out the back panel where the wires were to make repairs. If you look at my post on the rewireing ( look at the 7th picture. My ground wire is yellow with a green stripe, its attached on the left side of the heater connections. The 1st & 2nd pics show the cuts I made with a dremel. Good luck
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Remove the heat shrink and check the terminals...
  11. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That's rather harsh and you didn't provide any specific details to support your criticism. I've owned a MES 30 Gen 1 for 5 years and it continues to work great. Only had to replace the controller. Its the best electric smoker out there at its price points. I've read that the new Bluetool models are excellent. 
  12. It will definitely give everything into consideration. I love this unit and it was worked great! The only other problem I had when I first got it til the last smoke, my control panel would go on a chirping sound and turn off. After multiple attempts it would finally turn on. Sometimes within 1 hour into smoking, I would have to always check the smoker, as the control panel would just shut off. Keep in mind, I always use the wireless remote and my remote would read like it's on, but the control panel would turn off. I hate electrical gremlins and I will do what I can to see if I can get it up and running. 

  13. So I used my multimeter for continuity to check the prongs connected to the heating element to the black braided wire on the pic located top-left corner and it beeped. Then I tried the other black braided wire with the clear cover removed from the female connector and nothing. The heating element tested good for continuity. What other wires and such can I check without taking the back panel off?
  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This is the panel I was thinking of to check the heating element...     I have no idea where the panel you are checking is located....

  15. I did check that panel and the element seems to be fine. Just don't know which other wires to check and where? And I did put new connectors for the heating element.
    Last edited: May 3, 2017
  16. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Smoke Blower

    NotoriousGT250, what was the reading you got on the heating element? If I'm not mistaken the ohmage should be around 18 OHMS. Hopefully someone will chime in with their element reading.
  17. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    For continuity checks you may want to do 3 of them:

    First unplug the wires from the heating element.

    Then wrap a piece of masking tape or mark at least one of the black braided wires in your picture and then take a picture or memorize where the marked wire is connected.  After unplug those two black braided wires from the circuit board in your picture.  Now on to the 3 checks:
    1. Check continuity by putting multimeter probes on both poles of your heating element, you should hear a beep.  Also as johnnyb54 mentions you can do an additional ohms check on the element to see what it reads to see if your element is problematic.  Do all of this with wires disconnected!
    2. Check continuity of a single black braided wire by touching a multimeter probe to the end of the wire in your picture and the other multimeter probe to the wire that was disconnected to the heating element.  You may have to probe both wire ends that are disconnected to the heating element to find the proper wire and hear the beep. Again do all of this with wires completely disconnected from heating element and circuit board
    3. Repeat step two for the 2nd braided wire until you hear it beep.  Again, again, do all of this with the wires completely disconnected from the heating element and circuit board
    If you fail to hear some beeps then you know it is the element or one of the wires that has a break in continuity.

    I repeatedly mention to check with the wires disconnected because if you don't you will simply be testing a complete continuous loop from one point to any other point.  When the wires are connected the circuit continuously goes:

    Black braided Circuitboard wire -> heating element pole1 -> heating element pole2 -> other black braided circuit board wire

    You have to disconnect to find the problem wire or if the heating element is the problem.  

    After these checks you will have enough info to know if that half of the MES wiring/continuity is good or not.  If that half is good then you have to continue to trouble shoot backwards.

    That would include testing the plug and if the plug is good then it looks like the MES electrics or electronics wiring are screwy.  

    Let me know if this helps :)
  18. Sounds good! I'll give it a try tomorrow with a little more light and see what happens.
  19. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If all else fails, disconnect all the control garbage and put this SCR in line of the heating element...   Then you can control the heat like it was a gas burner on your stove top....    I did that about 6 years ago to my MES 30....    the element never turns off when smoking...  I adjust the heat up and down with a dimmer...   These SCR's are cheaper and do the same thing....

  20. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    I've heard you mention it but never seen the pics.  That's an great and simple mod Dave!

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