Author Topic: Bradley Original not getting over 160 degrees  (Read 2048 times)

Offline Mitchell N

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Bradley Original not getting over 160 degrees
« on: September 30, 2017, 06:47:28 pm »
Greetings all, new to the forum.  I just had this problem with my Original Bradley Smoker, purchased in July 2017.  I wanted to put this here in the event someone searches with the same issue.  I found similar issues, but not this exact one with a resolution.  It wasn't the heater element.

The symptoms were:

Today (5th use) it wouldn't go over 160 degrees.  Before today, it would get up to 225, but it would take a while, and when I would open the door for whatever, it would take 45 minutes or more to get back up to temp.  Being new, I didn't know this wasn't spec.

I went a-googling and found where others were asking for solutions.  I saw the extra element mod, and a couple others.  Someone suggested to check the plug into the back of the box.  That piqued my interest.  Mine was working to a degree, so this didn't seem significant, but then I realized I've seen my power connector loose, and even checked it today when I was trying to get the heat up.

I realized the connection being loose wasn't good, so I got a pair of needle nose pliers and bent the conductors so the female plug would seat better and didn't move.

I turned it on, and bam, within a few minutes it was up to 240 degrees.  I would have found it earlier if the element wasn't warming at all, and it didn't occur to me at first that the loose fitting would restrict the voltage, instead of not letting any through.

Been smoking for a while with a Chargriller and SFB.  I decided to make life a little easier.



Offline KyNola

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Re: Bradley Original not getting over 160 degrees
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2017, 07:25:59 am »
I'm guessing your element was not working at all.  The puck burner was your only heat source.  Your dilemma is pretty common.  If the power jumper cord isn't properly seated the heating element won't work.  Glad you solved your problem.

Offline harleyr warrior

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Re: Bradley Original not getting over 160 degrees
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2017, 04:50:51 am »
Good luck to you. Hope all works out for you. I had my Bradley  for a month and knew then it was lacking in heat. I decided to modify mine with a 900watt element and a convention oven fan mounted directly behind it. I've  smoked 4 6lb chickens at one time and up to 6 racks of ribs at one time. 225 at about 5 to 51/2 hours. I've smoked a 22 lb turkey from start to finish. If you are smoking small amounts of meat you will be fine. But if your smoking anything of any size it will take hours to get to 225.

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Offline clarke21953

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Re: Bradley Original not getting over 160 degrees
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2017, 06:28:34 pm »
Greetings all, new to the forum.  I just had this problem with my Original Bradley Smoker, purchased in July 2017.  I wanted to put this here in the event someone searches with the same issue.  I found similar issues, but not this exact one with a resolution.  It wasn't the heater element.

The symptoms were:

Today (5th use) it wouldn't go over 160 degrees.  Before today, it would get up to 225, but it would take a while, and when I would open the door for whatever, it would take 45 minutes or more to get back up to temp.  Being new, I didn't know this wasn't spec.

I went a-googling and found where others were asking for solutions.  I saw the extra element mod, and a couple others.  Someone suggested to check the plug into the back of the box.  That piqued my interest.  Mine was working to a degree, so this didn't seem significant, but then I realized I've seen my power connector loose, and even checked it today when I was trying to get the heat up.

I realized the connection being loose wasn't good, so I got a pair of needle nose pliers and bent the conductors so the female plug would seat better and didn't move.

I turned it on, and bam, within a few minutes it was up to 240 degrees.  I would have found it earlier if the element wasn't warming at all, and it didn't occur to me at first that the loose fitting would restrict the voltage, instead of not letting any through.

Been smoking for a while with a Chargriller and SFB.  I decided to make life a little easier.
Wrap a brick in aluminum foil and put in the bottom of your smoker next to the water bowl. If you're smoking something where you need to open the door to baste or put sauce on, it retains the heat so your smoker goes back to temperature faster.

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Offline reeB42

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Re: Bradley Original not getting over 125 degrees
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2018, 08:58:11 am »
I got my Original Bradley Smoker about a month ago and so far I am very unimpressed. I keep hoping it will work better the next time (used about 5 times already with similar results) but it never does. With meat in the smoker it simple will not heat up past 140. Switched from Weber Bullet charcoal smoker to a Bradley electric for ease of use and regret it. 

The details - The smoker is in it's mini-shack I built as I was excited about my new electric smoker. It's plugged into its own outlet directly, vent fully open, preheat for about an hour and its up to 200ish, element works ( I can see it turn red), plugs on back pushed in solid, etc,. The other day I loaded all 4 racks with some ribs and a few chickens, Once the meat is placed inside the smoker it never gets back up to temp. After I put them in the temp dropped to 125F and sat there.  After 6 hrs....6 hrs,  it was at  140F!  I had to finally move them to my kitchen oven to finish them. As an experiment I left the empty smoker running and after around 3 hours (I forgot it was on) the temp inside was up at 250. So it does heat up when empty, great I can smoke some air balls and air ribs...

 I'm experienced with appliances and mechanics and I'd say the OBS heating element is simply too small to handle a full load of meat (i.e. anything over 3-4 lb.).   Based on the fact this forum topic seems popular I'm guessing it's a valid design problem with this unit.  I wouldn't get another.

It does not seem right to me after splurging on what I thought was a high end electric smoker I should have to upgrade it with a 2nd element or figure out a work around. For the amount of $$ they charge it should work correctly out of the box.

Offline zueth

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Re: Bradley Original not getting over 160 degrees
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2018, 09:38:07 am »
It will definitely get over 160 with standard 500 watt element.  I smoked 4 pork butts all the time in my BDS with the stock 500 watt element.  You need to just set the temp and not worry if the Bradley shows something different, will it take longer to cook yes, but will the meat still turn out amazing yes.  It would take me over 24 hours to smoke cook the pork butts, you just learn to plan around the slow cook. 


Offline reeB42

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Re: Bradley Original not getting over 160 degrees
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2018, 10:41:06 am »
"It will definitely get over 160 with standard 500 watt element" ..... My unit wont,, maybe I have a faulty one. Mine will not get over 140ish with food in it. What throws me off is that with nothing in it , it will get up too 250, with it full it just doesn't seem to have the power to get back up there, it will definitely not get over 150. 

"You need to just set the temp and not worry if the Bradley shows something different" I was using an separate digital temp  probe not relying on the in-door temp probe. I'm good with the low and slow, its why I enjoy this style off bbq. Low is 200-250, not 150.

Thanks for the reply though, I was starting to think with all the people saying they have similar problems that is was a manufacture defect. I guess it's possible I have a faulty unit. I have emailed Bradley and we will see what they say.

Cheers,


Offline TedEbear

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Re: Bradley Original not getting over 160 degrees
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2018, 01:16:33 pm »
You can help it with the heat recovery by placing a couple of heated bricks in the bottom.  Also, filling the water bowl with hot water helps a little.

Online Habanero Smoker

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Re: Bradley Original not getting over 160 degrees
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2018, 01:24:44 pm »
Are you allowing the meat to sit at room temperature for an hour or so before placing it in the Bradley? If not this will help some with heat recovery.

What was your vent setting? With that size load, especially with chicken with skin, you should leave the vent at least half open, maybe more. Later in the cook you can probably close is some, as most of the moisture dissipates.

Also you should invest in a digital probe thermometer, is you haven't got one already. The temp gauge is not reliable when there is food in the cabinet.


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Offline reeB42

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Re: Bradley Original not getting over 160 degrees
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2018, 02:25:24 pm »
I had not allowed the meat to sit out so I had expected the dip in temp, but after running for 6 hours it was still under 150. I use the maverick digital temp probe, which was actually pretty close to the temp gauge in the door.

The hot water trick I did, that I know from years of charcoal smoking. The brick thing I can try. Just a little frustrating that things like this have to be done to make it work like it should when I just bought it.   

Offline zueth

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Re: Bradley Original not getting over 160 degrees
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2018, 05:59:27 pm »
Mine with stock 500 would always be in 200-220 range unless I loaded it with a ton of meat. Like when I would do 4 pork butts? What’s ambient temp? Windy out?


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Online Habanero Smoker

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Re: Bradley Original not getting over 160 degrees
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2018, 02:24:58 am »
The location of your probe is important. Evaporation of moisture near the surface of the meat can give you a reading as much as 40°F below the actual cabinet temperature. That is why the door gauge is not that accurate after loading food. Keep your probe away from the meat, at least around 3-inches. I place my probe on the bottom rail near the close to the front.

What vent opening are you using?


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Offline reeB42

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Re: Bradley Original not getting over 160 degrees
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2018, 07:06:01 am »
"What’s ambient temp? Windy out?"  The temp was between 2-4 Celsius. There was some wind but I built a little mini hut for the smoker which it sits inside with the doors closed, so no wind blowing on the smoker.

"The location of your probe is important" I slice a potatoe  in 1/2 then stick temp probe clip the potatoe which this time I placed on the 2nd rack from the top.  Vent was fully open the whole time.


Offline zueth

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Re: Bradley Original not getting over 160 degrees
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2018, 01:21:54 pm »
"What’s ambient temp? Windy out?"  The temp was between 2-4 Celsius. There was some wind but I built a little mini hut for the smoker which it sits inside with the doors closed, so no wind blowing on the smoker.

"The location of your probe is important" I slice a potatoe  in 1/2 then stick temp probe clip the potatoe which this time I placed on the 2nd rack from the top.  Vent was fully open the whole time.

35-39 degrees out, so pretty cold out for smoking.  not sure why you are using potatoe, can you just use the clip that comes with maverick and put that on the bradley rack.  Do you have the temp probe below, above, or on same rack of food?

Offline reeB42

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Re: Bradley Original not getting over 160 degrees
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2018, 01:43:03 pm »
"35-39 degrees out, so pretty cold out for smoking" - Its in its own little cabinet, out of the wind. Yes its cold but it should still heat up.

"not sure why you are using potatoe, can you just use the clip that comes with maverick and put that on the bradley rack.  Do you have the temp probe below, above, or on same rack of food?"  I simple like my potatoe method, it's a solid base to stick the probe holder in that I can easily move around, it also gets it a few inches up off the rack for what i think is a more accurate temp reading. The probe was on the 2nd rack from the top which also had two chickens on it, the probe was between them with a few inches on each side. All the racks had meat on them.

-Update - I spoke with Bradley today who very helpful and seemed like they want to help.  They suggested it may be a faulty temp sensor or power supply. They are sending my those parts which I will replace myself.  Hopefully that fixes it.