Bob's MES 30 Analog build

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by hondo, Sep 20, 2017.

  1. hondo

    hondo Fire Starter

    I made a mistake when I bought my MES 30. I thought all MES 30 smokers could work with the external "Cold Smoker" but I was incorrect. So I am starting off with a MES 30 Analog and a Cold Smoker that will not attache to my smoker. Rather than send the smoker or the Cold Smoker back I just decide to make it all work. This is the build as it happens. Since my divorce I live in a small apartment and don't have easy access to my two workshops at my old house. I will do what I can here and go to the welding and Knife making shops only if I can't do something here. Should be a good reference for anyone else in an apartment without ready access to lots of tools and welders.

    So, here we go.

    Here is what I wanted, the Cold Smoker (Smoke Generator) to be able to mount to the analog MES 30.


    So now we begin with INSTALLMENT #1

    I did not take a photo but I cut a hole in the side of the smoker to accomodate the Cold Smoker pipe.Then I put high temp RTV around the pipe and inserted it into the MES 30.



    I mounted the Cold Smoker permanently to the MES 30 by attaching with screws at the top of the Cold Smoker into the side of the MES 30.


    Then I used a bracket from Lowe's, you can find it where the brackets are for hanging trusses and other methods of attaching wood together. I just got a 1" wide X 8" long flat strap for under $2 and modified it by bending it until it broke and filing the edges. It had two large holes and these were perfect for mounting to the foot locations on the Cold Smoker. Then I drilled and screwed the other side to the lip on the bottom of the smoker.


    On the inside of the smoker I sealed the pipe with the high temp RTV.


    Now the "Smoke Generator is permanently installed and sealed.

    That is it for INSTALLMENT #1

    Stay Tuned for the next part of this build. I have other mods I plan on doing.
     
    daricksta and tallbm like this.
  2. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Nice job!  It looks like it is going to work out for you.  Let us know how it smokes once you get it seasoned and perform you first smoke :)
     
  3. hondo

    hondo Fire Starter

    INSTALLMENT #2

    As others have done I added a rack for hanging snack sticks and sausages.

    These were purchased from Lowe's. They are paint sticks for stirring 5 gallon buckets of paint. They also have a ruler on them which came in handy for cutting and spacing of the dowels. A three pack was 95¢. I also bought 3 dowels that are 1/2" in diameter.



    I cut them off at 13".


    Taped them together.


    Drilled 1/2" Holes to make the half moons to hang the rods on. I did not take a photo but others have shown this and that is where I got the idea for mine. I used a nickle as a spacer to get them even from the roof of the smoker and drilled holes for mounting. Here they are mounted.


    Here it is complete.


    End of INSTALLMENT #2
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
    daricksta likes this.
  4. hondo

    hondo Fire Starter

    INSTALLMENT #3

    I got this idea from dward51.

    Insulating the door of the smoker. I ordered off ebay and got the brand fireblack 1/2"X1/8"X15' with High Temp adhesive. I got 1/2" because I ordered the wrong one. I wanted 3/4" like he used but the 1/2" works just fine.

    I just cut four pieces, two for the sides and two for the top and bottom, peel the paper off and stick it in place. The door did not even need adjusting. I will see how well it does when I do the seasoning smoke.

    End of INSTALLMENT #3
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looking good so far...    Have you thought about a bigger exhaust ??  Could help with the smoke flavor and venting moisture...
     
  6. hondo

    hondo Fire Starter

    Yes I have and have scoured the web for a small chimney. Looks like I may have to drive to my shop and make one. Trying to figure out what else I need while I am there. Don't want to drive that far for only one little job.

    Anyone have suggestions on where to get a chimney that I can open and close? There was a nice one recommended in another post from Lowe's but they don't make them anymore.

    The guy at Lowe's suggested PVC, they have no clue. Plus I want it to look good, the rest of the setup will look good.

    Thanks for the suggestion.
     
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Considering the height of the smoker body, you don't need a chimney  .... 
     
  8. hondo

    hondo Fire Starter

    Maybe so Dave but I would have to enlarge what is there and plan on using that hole for thermocouple entrance. I want to exhaust to exit at the top left of the smoker forcing the smoke across the box.
     
  9. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The creativity and ingenuity of some of you SMF members continues to amaze and impress me.
     
  10. hondo

    hondo Fire Starter

    Thanks daRicksta. I'm not done yet. Hopefully the rest will assist someone else.
     
  11. hondo

    hondo Fire Starter

    INSTALLMENT #4

    I made some progress on the smoker today.

    First, the replacement heating element came in so I tackled it first. It did not fit as is so I had to modify the mounting. I cut off the surrounding metal from the leads and adapted it to fit into the housing left behind by the old element. A bit of a pain without all my tools but and angle grinder is a wonderful thing sometimes. I also removed the legs supplied to hold the element off the floor and am using the bars built into the smoker. Well not really using them as the element holds itself straight out and about 1/4" above the bars.



    On to the next project.

    My son called and said he was heading over to pick something up he left here so I asked him to stop by the shop and do me a favor. Cut a 3/16" piece of steel I have that has holes in it to the size of 13X14 7/8". I also asked him to bring a metal stand I have out back and a piece of wood that is a shelf for inside a lower kitchen cabinet.

    Here is an overall shot of how I plan on using the tool stand and the cabinet shelf.


    I used these brackets to secure the smoker to the table. I'll cut the parts off that are not doing anything for a cleaner look and screw them more securely after I am done with the build and get it all outside.


    Here is the steel as I got it.

    .


    Since I did not have a wire brush for the angle grinder I had to find another way to knock off some of the rust. A vinegar bath to the rescue.


    I raised the shelf brackets up because that bottom shelf would be pretty much worthless anyway and put the steel plate where the mounting screws were and used them to put those little "L" brackets to hold it. After a couple hours in the vinegar and some scrubbing with a Scotchbright Pad, here is the result installed in the smoker.  Not perfect but no loose rust. I see this as dual functional. First I hope it evens out the heat even more than just changing the heating element and second it is a sturdy shelf for a dutch oven of beans or, if I wanted to, make toast on it.


    On to next project.

    I am a nut about wires. I hate having wires dangle all over the place so I decided to add some cable management. I will be adding some temp control stuff so will have powered items on the top of the smoker. I added a 2" PVC pipe to the back so I can take all dangling wires and push them down into the tube and they will be out of the way. The power cords for the temp control stuff will feed down through this tube as well. Everything will be neat and tidy.


    Last for today I think is a VERY simple thing but something easy to do.

    I plan on adding a chimney on the top of the smoker on the left side. Therefore I don't need the hole at the top right so may as well use it for inserting thermocouple wires into the interior of the smoker. To do that I wanted to make the hole smaller so I bought the following:





    That is all for INSTALLMENT 4
     
  12. hondo

    hondo Fire Starter

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    Got it all cleaned up and painted the stand and cabinet shelf. Did my seasoning run. Got it up to 350 and that was all it has. I expected more from a 1200W element but don't think I will need to go that high anyway.

    Been messing with the PID controller that I have but I don't like it. It is a REX-c100 and only reports in Celsius and is flaky to figure out. I did set it at 100 Celsius (212 degrees) and it stayed there with virtually no deviation for over an hour.

    The PID reads zero with the thermocouple in the freezer and 100 in boiling water so things look right on. However I used two other methods (that can't be calibrated) to measure at the same time and these were not even close. Not sure what is up with them. The analog dial on the front read 200.

    Can anyone recommend a PID that works well and reports in Fahrenheit that has a decent manual and will not break the bank? Already have a few bucks into this thing. Ideally I would like a two probe PID that allows one probe to provide the input the pid need to maintain the temperature and the second to monitor the temp at another level in the smoker. If I could find a fairly inexpensive unit like that I would buy it. I would then also need meat thermometer that would monitor two pieces of meat. I'm going to have to research this a bit but look forward to any suggestions anyone has.

    Here is the smoker as it sits now.


    And in place with my grill and a security cable locking both together and to the fence.


    Thanks for looking.
     
  13. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Nice mods!!!!!

    This is the smokestack I used on my mod. I ordered it from Lowes as it's a replacement for one of their smoker/grills.  I think it was like $19 shipped and is stainless (ordering info is below).  I made a spacer ring out of sheet aluminum that is friction fit in the hole between the inner liner and outer shell of the smoker body (I insulated 100% of mine though).  I also used 3/4" steel spacers to prevent the bolts from crushing the inner liner against the outer as I tightened them (the air gap between the inner and outer liners is approx 3/4").

    Here is the info on the smoke stack I ordered from Lowes....


     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
  14. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    PS - you might as well go ahead and order a Auber Instruments "plug-n-play" PID box to control the temps.  The swings on the analog dial are pretty wide and hard to set with any accuracy.  This is the current version of the one I have (I've had it a few years).  Single temp/probe model but it has 6 programmable steps which is perfect for sausage & sticks.  I can set each temp change and time at each step.  The analog element just plugs into the back of the PID box and you turn then analog temp setting dial to full on and let the PID run the show:

    http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8&products_id=110


    They also have it in a dual probe, dual temp model, but it is more expensive (pit & meat temp in one):

    http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=14_28&products_id=381

     
  15. hondo

    hondo Fire Starter

    I tried to get that smokestack after reading your thread, it is out of production. I talked to Lowe's and they have no idea what else to use but; "How about PVC?"

    I like the dual probe Auber but will need to wait a bit. Got crap to spend cash on first. I'll make due with the cheap REX for a while until other crap goes away and the will pony up for the Auber 2 probe.

    Thanks for jumping in and pointing me in a good direction.
     
  16. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Maybe this inexpensive chargrill replacement stack will work

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/267069/mes-rewire-simple-guide-no-back-removal-needed
     
  17. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If you have a local Lowes, Home Depot, Academy Sports or other store that sells smokers and grills, I would go by there and see if they have a floor model with the type of smoke stack you think would work.  Copy down the make and model number and then call about a replacement part.  Lowes asked when I bought my smoker (I presume for warranty), but I just told them I bought it from a buddy at work and damaged my smoke stack when we moved it and it would not be under warranty.     Also some models are specific to certain stores, so try a little google research to see if it's at another store under a slightly different model number.
     
  18. hondo

    hondo Fire Starter

    I ordered a 1-1/2"ball valve and will use a nipple and a ring or something to hold in place. The reason I say a ring or something is because I read somewhere here that some people have extended the chimney on the inside of the smoker. Can anyone talk about that? Is there really any benefit to it? It seems to me that the smoke would rise to the top of the smoker and fill it up until it gets low enough to escape through the exhaust. I can see that putting the top shelf in smoke longer but is it stale smoke?

    Does anyone think this is a good idea? If so can you explain why?

    I also think that if this is beneficial, maybe it should be extended to the bottom of the smoker. If the smoke has to build up until it completely fills the inside of the smoker and then exit from the floor, it would kinda be acting like a reverse flow offset, right? This could help keep everything at the same temp.

    Opinions?

    Thanks
     
  19. hondo

    hondo Fire Starter

    TallBM,

    I think that was the wrong link.
     
  20. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

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