MES tripping GFCI

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by buckman52, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The low temp. connectors work if you remove the plastic and wrap with fiberglass electrical tape....
  2. gav iscon

    gav iscon Fire Starter

    Element in my opinioin. Not that i've seen your smoker but I've repaired loads of kettles and cookers where the element looks fine but not and is shorted out. Can you unplug the element  (make sure its safe) and then see what happens when it attempts to switch it on.?
  3. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    Exactly!  I have only used my MES with an appliance extension cord (at least 1875 watts and under 8 ft.)  I have never used my MES without an appliance cord.  Damn things aren't long enough!

  4. kodiakfire

    kodiakfire Newbie

    GFCI's are not infallible. You may have a bad one. If the test button won't "trip" the GFCI, then it is defective and, by the way, provides no shock/electrocution protection. You need to plug it into a non-GFCI branch and see if if still cycles the over current-protection device. If the circuit still trips, then there is a ground fault somewhere in the device and it is drawing excessive current. That being the case, stop using it and figure you'll have to get another one or repair the problem.

    If the non-GFCI circuit operates ok, then replace the GFCI.
  5. butchtc

    butchtc Newbie

    I have often read threads about not using an extension cord on these electric smokers Masterbuilt or not. The truth of the matter is if you use an extension cord, as I always have without issue, it has to be at least made from 12 Gauge wire or heavier, i.e. 10 Gauge or 8 Gauge and you'll be just fine. Residential wiring that supplies 120 volts to all your receptacles in your house are wired with AWG-12/2 w/ground to handle 15 amp circuits and there is no problem there. Inexpensive extension cords that are made from #14 or #16 gauge wire are too light creating an elevated level of resistance and that could pop breakers, but could also very easily burn up the 800 - 1500 watt heating elements found in these smokers due to voltage and or amperage starvation, for lack of better words. Think of it like a water pipe, if you have a big pipe running into a smaller pipe water flow slows. Your electric smoker can't tell that it's plugged into your house receptacle or a 12 gauge (or heavier) extension difference. Note: You can run a 12 Gauge extension cord out to 250 feet in length without a voltage drop, longer than that you must go to a 10 or 8 Gauge extension cord, but those get fairly pricey. Hope this helps and sorry for rambling.


    Arnold, Missouri       
  6. Walta,

    Just Google Stainless Steel High Heat Spade Connectors and multiple sources will come up.

  7. kodiakfire

    kodiakfire Newbie

    My Mastercraft is an 800 watt unit which will draw 6.6 amperes (I=Power/Voltage=800/120 or if you prefer 800/110 which will produce 7.3 amperes. Cord ratings are typically: #10 wire can safely carry 30 amperes, #12 wire will carry 25 amperes (older cabling will say 20 amperes), #14 wire will carry 15 amperes (source is NEC). Since all properly wired residences have both #14 & #12 wires in the branch circuits, my smoker can be plugged into any of my outlets (outside ones of course).
    Powering a device with a too-small diameter wire will have no effect on the heating element. However, you will deteriorate the wire's insulation and, depending on the over current error, you can fail the wire's insulation covering. That's not a wise idea. The minimal over current protection size in residential branch circuits is either 15 or 20 amperes. Therefore, using an undersized cable, when the over current value remains at or below the breaker/fuse rating won't cause the breaker/fuse to cycle. However, either can and probably will cycle when the heated cable fails its insulation covering and begins to fault. Sorry to challenge butchtc, but his characterizations are not accurate. His comment on problems that may develop using a very long extension cord is for another discussion. As I mentioned in an earlier post, tripping GFCI's means either a defective GFCI or a potential shock hazard with the device. Both need further investigation and I would not use the smoker nor rely on the GFCI to prevent a shock hazard until you have solved the problem
    cedar eater likes this.
  8. bryceb

    bryceb Smoke Blower

    Bringing this thread back to life... I had a similar issue this morning with my MasterForge 30" (Lowes rebranded MES30). Turns out that the heating element was either completing a circuit to ground by way of a wood chip(must have been damp) in between it and the metal heating box under it or maybe actually touching the metal. I had to push down on the metal to dislodge the chip and after that, all was good. Prior to that, the GFIC outlet would pop before I could get the plug in all the way. It did however work fine on a non GFI circuit for a test.
  9. If you can get it to me, I will be glad to do some testing on it for you.  I live in north east Iowa.  my email is     [email protected]  just let me know when you will be here.

    We used to have the same problem when we used wood chips, after we changed to pellets we have not had that problem


    sparky    ( electronics engineer )  and ham radio operator for 57 years 

    had a thought, you tell me where you are and my brother and i might take a road trip
  10. Butchtc, I will have to disagree with you on the voltage drop of a 12AWG cord out to 250 feet not having voltage drop. At 250 feet your voltage drop with a 6.6 amp load(800 watts) is 5.29 volts or 4.41%. 

    Always use the shortest cord you can. Example  A 14 AWG cord of 25 feet with a load of 6.6 amps only loses 0.84 volts. No matter what size cord you use be aware of what other items may be on the came circuit.

    A 3% drop of voltage is the largest that normal power tools should experience. I am not sure about heating elements but I don't think it is larger. Keep it as short if you can.  Jted 
  11. My MES30 started tripping the GFCI immediatly upon trying to plug it in also.  I contacted Masterbuilt customer service thinking the control panel on the MES was bad.  They informed me it was the box that was bad.  Even though my MES was out of warranty they sent me a new box.  All I had to do was send them a copy of my purchase receipt and pics of the cord cut flush w/the box and the removed serial number plate.  When the new box arrived i just had to transfer the door and control panel and throw the old box away.  Excellent customer service from Masterbuilt.  
  12. butchdon

    butchdon Newbie

    now that was awesome Customer Service. I bought mine used so that will not work for me. But it's good to know for future purchases.
  13. butchdon

    butchdon Newbie

    I skipped from the first page to here , but I did notice there was no "ground" symbol in that schematic. The MES comes with a 3 wire connector so it seems like it should be indicated on the schematic, somewhere prior to the transformer.
  14. I have had some experience with bad heating elements. Disconnect wires to both sides of the actual heating element(s) and then plug in and try unit. If it has more than one element (I am not familiar with this unit), and does not trip the GFCI then reconnect them one at a time to determine the bad element. The actual heating coil sometimes touches a ground point when it expands as it heats. Best of luck.

    Electronics are a different story, you can only look for an obvious short (burn spot on a metal part) or some loose piece making contact. Small shorts to ground will trip a GFCI before the actual breaker trips.
  15. mike a

    mike a Newbie

    My MES (rebranded with Bass Pro) has started to pop the GFI but not until it hits 140 degrees... Sound like the element?
  16. Is your MES digital or analog? cayotica
  17. mike a

    mike a Newbie

    Digital front mount control board. It heats to about 140 then trips the outlet. I have tested the outlet itself and it is fine.
  18. Yeah sounds like the electronics, not! the electronic only use a few volts and amps must be relays in there activate the high of them is going to ground when activated. I would try to get a wiring diagram and find that relay.
  19. Have you disconnected the element. Heating normally to some point and then tripping a GFCI (not the breaker itself leads one to theink about the thermostat, a bimetalic device that shorts at some point, I would guess.Looking at the diagram I found in this forum, (not a good one at that) it will take some patience to troubleshoot it. I can't tell what are the individual modules, but replacing and trying might be your best bet. Good Luck!

  20. Oh! My bust, thought you breakers were tripping too. Still the same though something is grounding I'll have to do some homework the diagram helps a lot. I will check with my electric whiz brother he has an MES ALSO see you soon

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