MES control panel problems

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by voldaddy, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. wincanton

    wincanton Newbie

    This was an old thread from 2009.  If folks are having problems with their controller, they might want to start a fresh thread that would focus on the newer MES 30 smokers.
  2. magicland

    magicland Newbie

    Glad someone resurrected it. I was all set to smoke some ribs and ABTs for a party tonight, and my MES (sitting on the deck, 24 degrees this AM) wouldn't turn on. Brought the control unit inside for a bit, hit the thermostat with the torch I use to light my AMPNS, and it came on just fine. Lost an hour or so, but with the temps so low everything should be fine until I get home from work and pull everything out. If I hadn't read this thread just a few days ago, I'd have been pulling my hair out!
  3. redruff

    redruff Newbie

    my older mes 30 does this all the time. Ive come to the conclusion on mine that there is a crack or cold solder joint somewhere. if a push on it or wedge something tight under the controller it will work. That is a typical symptom of a cracked PCB or a bad solder joint. 

    I have a stand alone PID controller for my big smoker so I may rewire the MES to be controlled by the PID.
  4. 16carhauler

    16carhauler Newbie

    I haven't been using my MES since it got cold outside, but if I have to bring the control panel inside I'm going to be dam sorry I bought it. That's too much trouble!
  5. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You cold outside are you talking here? If the info isn't in some online FAQ or in your owner's manual, call MB customer service and find out if there's a minimum outdoor temp required for the smoker to work properly. If you look at the design and construction of your MES, I don't think it was designed for arctic temperatures, or even northern US winter cold climes.
  6. Masterbuilt and "customer service" are mutually exclusive terms, one knows nothing about the other. Used their products for 6 or 7 years and the first time I had a problem, they were totally unreasonable and no help at all on a gasser less than 60 days old. Bass Pro resolved it and I will never buy another Masterbuilt product.
  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Actually when I got my first MES 30. 5 years ago, I didn't need any Customer Service.

    Then I got one for my Son, and it wouldn't smoke. Their CS was terrible 5 years ago. The girls in the office were giving me causes that had nothing to do with the problem. We took it back to Cabelas. Then a couple months later they did a shake-up in their CS, and they started sending out Retro-fixes for that problem & they had that Free fix out for years. Everyone I've heard from since says their CS is Awesome, so anybody that dealt with them more than about 5 years ago were dealing with a different bunch.

    Then more than 4 years ago I got my MES 40, and I haven't needed any Customer Service, because it's been Fantastic for more than 4 years.

    However some of those who bought the Generation #2 have had problems & I have heard nothing but good words from those who had to deal with Masterbuilt's CS.

  8. inkjunkie

    inkjunkie Master of the Pit

    For what it is worth.....the temperature that is being displayed on our 1st gen. MES40 is off....have it set for 173*. Have a probe from our Thermoworks hanging in the exhaust is 215-235ish*....will be calling them tomorrow about this and the busted grate racks. One of them broke during transit. Another one broke off while loading a rack of ribs into it today.
  9. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The temp reading is coming from the sensor on the back wall of your MES 40, just to the right of center and below center of your smoker.

    The exhaust vent isn't going to be the same as that.

    The heat in an electric smoker is constantly cycling from below set point to above set point & you can get different readings at different time, just like in your kitchen oven if it is electric.

    The best way to test your MES digital read-out would be to put a digital wireless probe near your MES sensor. And then wait until it settles down, because the one will respond quicker than the other during the temp changes.

  10. inkjunkie

    inkjunkie Master of the Pit

    Will try this later. What had me concerned was with the probe inside the smoker, just about at the height of the upper grate when the temp was set at 225* the probe was reading right around 300*. I figured that with heat rising the area at the top of the smoker, nearest the exhaust was going to be the hottest. Don't really understand how this could not be an accurate reading of the inside of the chamber. I understand that the temperature will fluctuate some.
  11. inkjunkie

    inkjunkie Master of the Pit

    Just pulled the probe down some more, clipped it one the grate that is in the center of the smoker. Control panel...205*....Thermoworks 225*....they will be getting a call tomorrow...
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    205° and 225° are actually pretty close considering all the variations caused by air currents.

    For instance---When the heat rises, the MES sensor moves slower, as it also does when the heat drops.

    This is probably good, because if the MES sensor moved up & down like the digital wireless does, the heat would be cycling every two minutes.

    Plus---The back is generally hotter than the front & the right is usually hotter than the left, especially when you're moving the heat up or down.

    Later in a smoke, once the smoker settles in to a temp setting the whole thing usually comes closer together in temp, because the wild air currents from heating & cooling are lessened.

    I don't worry about minor fluctuations, unless one side is consistently 30° to 40° hotter than the other. Then I adjust my heat deflector a little.

  13. Sounds like some good advice

  14. inkjunkie

    inkjunkie Master of the Pit

    Absolutely no disrespect is meant here...but I don't "get it". I understand that the temperature of any heating device will fluctuate. Even the most airtight & well insulated structure is going to have some fluctuations. What I don't understand is how, in my case, you can set the temperature at 225* and the temperature just inside the exhaust port can be a consistent 45-50* higher. That being said, how can one smoke something at 225* when the top of the cooking device is closer to 275*? Please don't take this as me being a smart a**, I just don't understand it.
  15. The only way to check your temp sensor is to put your temporary sensor as close as you can to the factory sensor. The  exhaust port area is one if not the hottest areas of your smoker. Each elevation and side will have different temps. The area under the bottom tray is hot, as you can imagine but the right is hotter than  the left. I don't use a heat deflector but if I did I would use it to deflect the heat to the left side since the right is hotter all the way up. The nature of Smoked meat is that it is very forgiving . Good Q can be smoked at most temps between 210 and the top end of the units recommended range of 275. The important temp is the internal temp of the meat. I place the thickest part of the meat on the right since that is the hot side. I don't normally use the top rack. Placing your probe in the right place is the key.

    Spend some time checking the temps in different locations in your smoker learn where the hot spots are , write them down and use your log to properly place your meat to take advantage of the different temps. Most all smokers I have used had these types of temp zones. That is why there are different types of stick burners. It is all about the temp. Log it all and use it to your smoking advantage.  Jted
  16. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've only needed to contact MB customer service twice and they were great both times. We also have one of their tech guys who's a member of SMF who can be reached by PM and answers all messages in a timely fashion. I've had no problems with my MES 30 Gen 1.

    Experiences vary but I've read a lot more positive than negative things about MB as a company, about their products, and about their customer service.
  17. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Very good advice, Jted. I've been lazy about moving the ET-733 probes around but this year I'm going to find out where the hot and not-so-hot spots are inside my MES 30 Gen 1 so I can get the most accurate Barbecue and Food readings. I never pay attention to the temp display on the control panel except as a reference.
  18. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't see any disrespect there. I'm trying to help you & others.

    I never tested the temp of the vent, so I can't say what it should be. I never cared because I never put any meat there.

    I have many times taken temps on the way up & on the way down of all different areas in my smoker. That is why I cut a piece of Aluminum & I use it in the bottom right of my smoker to encourage the heat to move over to the center of the smoker and rise through the meat on the way up, instead of running straight up the right side & out the top vent. My deflector works Great.

    I put my Maverick probe on the left side at the exact opposite as the MES smoker temp sensor. When the left side is more than 10° lower than the right, I raise the left side of the plate. When the left side is hotter than the right, I lower the left side of the plate.

    Sometimes I do things in the beginning of a smoke that I have to reverse later in the smoke, but that's just the nature of the beast. Air currents change, and you just have to deal with them.

    Once the temp gets to your set temp & stays steady, the fluctuation slows & the whole interior temp becomes more stable.

  19. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    "I never tested the temp of the vent, so I can't say what it should be. I never cared because I never put any meat there." This is why I love reading your comments, Bear. They're real world and common sense. It's true; no one cooks right underneath the vent the temp there is irrelevant.

    I was told that in the new MES the top vent has been moved over to the left side as a solution to the right side hot spot. I personally have never tested where the hot spots are inside my MES 30, but I'll take care of that this year. I think I'm still too minimalist a smoker to even use a sheet of aluminum has a heat baffle but my hot spot tests will determine what I do next.
  20. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You were told right---Probably by me. Moving the top vent of the Gen #1 from the back right to the back left was one of the suggestions I gave them.

    Should eliminate the need for my deflector plate.


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