Author Topic: Smoker's busted. What to do?  (Read 8515 times)

Offline EZ Smoker

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Smoker's busted. What to do?
« on: March 15, 2012, 01:35:50 PM »
A few months back (November, I think) I got a new OBS.  Had someone put the 2nd element in it for me.  It worked fine for 3 or 4 smokes, but they were all shorter smokes (turkey breast, chicken wings, more chicken wings), and the 2nd element was working well, heating it up fast, but then, the other day, I started the preheat process, and it went slowly, as if I didn't even have the 2nd element.   I looked down there and the 2nd element wasn't glowing.  I continued the cook anyway.   I put four pork butts in it, and things were going fine for quite a while, but after the 3rd one came out, I noticed temperatures weren't recovering the way they should.  The cabinet temp (as measured by my PID probe, and confirmed by my standard Bradley door thermometer) wouldn't get above 140.  I eventually had to move the 4th butt into the kitchen oven to finish it.   

The pork butts were wonderful, and the leftovers, vac-packed and frozen are both tasty and plentiful.  But I went to check on the smoker a couple of days later.  It wouldn't heat up.  At first it got up to about 115, but then the temp started dropping again.  It won't heat up at all now. 

What do I do?     

Scott


It may seem like I'm rubbing salt in the wound, but the truth is I'm trying to cure it.

Offline Toker

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Re: Smoker's busted. What to do?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2012, 04:11:28 PM »
Did you check your fuse and element to see if they were blown out? Mine is not modded yet.

Offline mikecorn.1

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Smoker's busted. What to do?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2012, 04:39:26 PM »
Ditto!  Check all connections also.


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Mike

Offline TedEbear

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Re: Smoker's busted. What to do?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2012, 08:42:33 PM »
At first it got up to about 115, but then the temp started dropping again.  It won't heat up at all now. 

What do I do? 

It sounds like only the smoke generator hotplate is producing heat.  Hard to believe that both elements would have gone bad.  If you have a multimeter turn the tower on and check if there's voltage present at the ends of the elements.  If there isn't then it's either a bad fuse, a tripped high temp sensor or one of the power cables isn't plugged in all the way.

Offline EZ Smoker

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Re: Smoker's busted. What to do?
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2012, 09:38:50 PM »
sorry I'm so slow getting back to this.  Been a whirlwind of a month.  Yes, I checked the power cord connections.  In fact I took the PID out of the loop for testing purposes, which forced me to change the power cord, but the problem still existed.

I haven't checked the fuse yet, but with 2 elements, I've got 2 fuses.  And I wouldn't think both would go bad unless something was blowing them.  As for the multimeter, I don't have one, but I can borrow one.  What readings should I get, and where exactly should I take those readings?
It may seem like I'm rubbing salt in the wound, but the truth is I'm trying to cure it.

Offline TedEbear

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Re: Smoker's busted. What to do?
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2012, 05:09:24 AM »
As for the multimeter, I don't have one, but I can borrow one.  What readings should I get, and where exactly should I take those readings?

In your original message you said that you have two elements.  I don't know how the person wired the second element but there's a main 10A fuse on the back of the SG box that goes to everything else.  Check that it is OK first.

At least one of the elements probably has the ends exposed.  Turn your smoker on high and check for 120V at the element.  I assume you already verified that there's 120V at the wall outlet, right?  ;)

If there isn't any voltage at the element, unplug the cord going to the back of the tower and check for voltage at the end of the cord.  If there still isn't any then the problem is inside the smoker generator box, maybe just a loose wire. 

If there was voltage at the cord then you might have to remove the back and check the high temp sensor.  Turn the smoker off before you do this.  Check the resistance through the high temp sensor and examine all connections in the tower.  It might just be a loose wire going to the back panel plug. 

Offline EZ Smoker

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Re: Smoker's busted. What to do?
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2012, 09:25:29 PM »
Thanks, TedE.  I'll get my hands on a multimeter and check those things.  After I do my taxes, of course. 
It may seem like I'm rubbing salt in the wound, but the truth is I'm trying to cure it.

Offline EZ Smoker

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Re: Smoker's busted. What to do?
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2012, 02:52:20 PM »
Oh Man, it's hurting me to live without my smoker.  So intimidated by mechanical things... I'm more of a software guy...  but I can't live without it any more.  I've been putting it off so long to avoid dealing with mechanical things.  But now I'm outta brisket, outta turkey breast, all but out of pastrami and barbacoa, and I haven't had my signature chicken wings in so long... 

So I'm just gonna force myself and get this thing done.  My wife got me a multimeter from her Dad... So I just have to go get the smoker out of my smokehouse, find a place to work on it, and go to work.  I'll keep you updated. 

Scott
It may seem like I'm rubbing salt in the wound, but the truth is I'm trying to cure it.

Offline TedEbear

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Re: Smoker's busted. What to do?
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2012, 04:43:04 AM »
If you were anywhere near St. Louis I'd offer to come by and help you.  If your father-in-law has a multimeter he probably knows a little about troubleshooting with it.  Ask him if he can spare a few minutes to diagnose the problem.

Who added the second element last November?  Is that person available?

Offline EZ Smoker

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Re: Smoker's busted. What to do?
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2012, 03:30:15 PM »
Thanks, TedE.  The guy who modded out my smoker lives in a faraway land.  But my wife and I have the smoker on the patio now, ready to figure this thing out.  I made a bunch of notes based on this thread, but I can't find them now... pretty organized, huh?  I'll letcha know how things turn out tonight.
It may seem like I'm rubbing salt in the wound, but the truth is I'm trying to cure it.

Offline EZ Smoker

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Re: Smoker's busted. What to do?
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2012, 10:12:29 PM »
Aw, man... I spent a while tryna figger out why I was getting a reading of 67 volts when I measured at the ends of the heating element.  Then I read an outlet.  67 volts.  Read another outlet.  67 volts.   Stupid Multimeter wasn't calibrated right or somethin'.  So I got another multimeter, and got a much better reading.  It was around 107 or so, but I was using an extension cord to work on my patio. 

But anyway... I'm getting voltage there at the heating element.  I can't reach the ends of the other element to test it too, but I'm not getting any heat from either of them. 

The fuse in the back didn't look blown, but I'm still figgerin' out how to test that fuse with the multimeter.  Do I need to disconnect it first?  The book for the multimeter said I should.  But then I ran out of time.  I'll try to get back to it tomorrow. 
It may seem like I'm rubbing salt in the wound, but the truth is I'm trying to cure it.

Offline EZ Smoker

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Re: Smoker's busted. What to do?
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2012, 07:00:07 PM »
Ugh!!  Tried to get back to it, but I've been laid up with a pain in my foot for a few days.  Hopefully will be able to get to it tomorrow or the next day.  It's like the universe is conspiring to keep my smoker broken. 

If I'm getting voltage at the heating element, does that mean the fuse is okay? 

I'm beginning to suspect the high-temp sensor.  Seems to make sense as I'm getting voltage to the element, and it's unlikely that both elements went bad at the same time.  Does that make sense?
It may seem like I'm rubbing salt in the wound, but the truth is I'm trying to cure it.

Offline TedEbear

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Re: Smoker's busted. What to do?
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2012, 05:04:10 AM »
If you've confirmed that there's 115V at the element then power is getting to it, meaning the fuse is OK.  However, the element(s) could still be bad. 

If you disconnect the wire off one end and check the resistance through each element you can verify if they're good.  I believe a good element will read 27-32 ohms.  You don't have to completely remove the element from the smoker to check it, just one wire off one end.
 

Offline EZ Smoker

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Re: Smoker's busted. What to do?
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2012, 01:03:14 PM »
Great!  Thanks, TedE.  I'll check that resistance as soon as I'm up on my feet again.   
It may seem like I'm rubbing salt in the wound, but the truth is I'm trying to cure it.

beefmann

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Re: Smoker's busted. What to do?
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2012, 02:18:50 PM »
Aw, man... I spent a while tryna figger out why I was getting a reading of 67 volts when I measured at the ends of the heating element.  Then I read an outlet.  67 volts.  Read another outlet.  67 volts.   Stupid Multimeter wasn't calibrated right or somethin'.  So I got another multimeter, and got a much better reading.  It was around 107 or so, but I was using an extension cord to work on my patio. 

But anyway... I'm getting voltage there at the heating element.  I can't reach the ends of the other element to test it too, but I'm not getting any heat from either of them. 

The fuse in the back didn't look blown, but I'm still figgerin' out how to test that fuse with the multimeter.  Do I need to disconnect it first?  The book for the multimeter said I should.  But then I ran out of time.  I'll try to get back to it tomorrow.

if you are getting a reading of 107 at the closest receptacle... try a few others through out the home. if they all read  107- 108 then you  have a  low voltage problem, and contact your power company  let them know you  suspect a low voltage problem and ask them to come check the lines to your home.  you  should be at 115 to 120 volts AC.