Why do I keep ruining probes

Discussion in 'Meat Thermometers' started by hdbrs, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. hdbrs

    hdbrs Smoke Blower

    Ok I keep buying the cheap white probe battery thermometers. I'm sure you all know the 14.99 jobs at any walmart/ hardware store. I've about had it with them and am getting ready to buy a more expensive hopefully better lasting/ working one. Before I buy one though my question is am I ruining these cheapos somehow by washing them or are they just junk. I also got a thermopen for xmas I'm afraid to use. Its ok to wash the probes gently with soapy water isn't it? I think I made the mistake of ruining one by scrubbing the probe too hard but it's ok to get them wet right? Or should I just use alcohol pads? Thanks Guys ben
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016
  2. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Don't wash them, just use the alcohol wipes. Water wrecks the electric bits.
  3. hdbrs

    hdbrs Smoke Blower

    Same for the thermopen then too? Perfectly safe to if the probe has been used in a longer cook, just use a pad or 2 then put away? Last question, which temp probes should I be looking into?
  4. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You got it.
  5. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    As long as you don't get the junction where the wire enters the probe wet, you should be fine. I use my Thermapen every day, and alcohol swabs aren't free. I just wipe it with a soapy sponge and then rinse under the tap. Again, JUST the probe. My Maverick gets the same treatment.
  6. I use the Walmart cheepos on occasion, wash the probes with soap and water, dry thoroughly and have had no problems with them...Just be gentle and they should function fine.

    Good Luck,

  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Same here. The probe on my MAV 732 only goes in the meat to the bend, so that is as far as water ever touches the probe. Nowhere near where the wires enters the probe jacket...JJ
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I scrub mine with Mrs Bear's scrub sponges & rinse them off.

    Just NEVER get water in the junction of the cable & the probe.

    Then I only wipe the meat probe with an alcohol wipe just before inserting it into any meat.

  9. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just plain rubbing alcohol on a paper towel, or in some cases a scrubbie is needed. Like the others said the critical point is where the wire goes into the probe. That can't get wet.
  10. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I only wash with a soapy sponge and warm water the probe part that go into the meat. I stay away from where the wire connects. I also wash the probe I use to monitor the smoker temp since that gets covered with smoke soot. I own a Maverick ET-733 and have been using its original probes for about 2 years.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016
  11. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Should I say it again?  No water near the wire?

    I have a bad habit of leaving my Maverick smoke pit temp probe out with the smoker.  This time of year, IF we get any rain, we have humid and foggy weather.  I might have to bring the pit temp probe and in for an hour or so in a 200 degree oven to dry it out.  Also, for those that don't?  It is a good idea to clean the pit temp probe occasionally to avoid faulty temp readings. A good cleaning of the jack that enters the control unit is also helpful. My Maverick is very finicky about the jack being inserted fully as there is no familiar "snap" feel that I am accustomed to.

    I should add that in my years of using Mavericks, I have only had one faulty meat temp probe.  I have also had cheapie Acu-Rite therms for years, and have never had a probe problem with them.

    Good luck and good smoking.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016
  12. bill1

    bill1 Smoke Blower

    The probe tip sits in the water of the meat without harm, but it's where the leads go into the probe I'd worry about getting moisture into.  (And mechanical stresses too.)  The metal braiding gives some strength and thermal insulation to the leads inside but it's not water-proof.  

    And I've had some appear toast (read way too low or too high) and then have them come back into calibration after a couple more uses or thermal cycles.  So I don't just throw the bad ones away like I used to but give them a few extra chances and just label the read-out as NG until I trust them again.  

    And the $8 Ikea ones seem to be just as reliable as anything else, and they have a F/C switch which most of the cheap ebay ones don't.  

    Hopefully that last statement won't hi-jack the thread too much.    
  13. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can add about a 1 1/2" of shrink wrap at the joint to help protect it from incidental water contact. But do make every effort to keep them dry.

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