Author Topic: Smoke generator not smoking as much  (Read 1455 times)

Offline Broke_smoke

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Smoke generator not smoking as much
« on: May 10, 2019, 06:22:07 am »
Hi,
     I have a digital model. It takes a lot longer to make the wood smoke these days, and not as vigorously as before. I have read some of the posts about remedies. I cleaned the contacts on the thermostat wire, took the unit apart and cleaned and tightened what I could. Symptoms were communication errors prior to cleaning or reinserting connectors. Sorry, I don't recall the codes; it was about a year ago. I would like to get this working again but don't want to buy a new generator if the issue could possibly be related to the connections or wires. I removed the generator this a.m. to watch it work. I find it strange that it won't operate at all if not connected to the oven itself. After all, the electric comes into the generator first. I think the error was E1
When the power and thermostat cable were disconnected.
That normal? Thoughts how to proceed?
     By the way; my wood pucks are years old and some sat in the garage for that long. Could the wood be moist or causing this? I have had old wood pucks before, and I can't recall if I religiously stored them indoors. Should I buy new ones to test or is there another method to test if the heating plate is getting hot enough? Meat thermometer? What temp should it reach?

Offline Broke_smoke

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Re: Smoke generator not smoking as much
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2019, 06:42:06 am »
I just ran a test with my digital thermometer and it finally after maybe seven or eight minutes, leveled off at about 490 degrees. Seems pretty hot to me, but maybe it's supposed to be hotter? Seems I should buy some new pucks to try.

Offline manxman

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Re: Smoke generator not smoking as much
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2019, 08:00:16 am »
It is worth trying some fresh pucks, they do absorb moisture if the packs have been opened and left for any length of time in a dampish environment. Quite often they crumble easily when this happens.

Is the puck burner face plate clean, any residue build up can be cleaned with a fine wire brush otherwise it can reduce burn efficiency. Have you added a longer extension lead or other electrical items to the same circuit both of which can affect overall performance? Finally I think the manual has a method for testing the burn plate with a multimeter if I remember correctly?

Hope you get it sorted quickly and easily.
Manxman

Offline Broke_smoke

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Re: Smoke generator not smoking as much
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2019, 09:49:12 am »
I tried to find some locally, but to no avail. I went ahead and threw a rack of buffalo baby backs in there depite the reduced smoke. Hope they come out good. I might use this situation with my wife to try out a pellet smoker. I like the Bradly fine when it's working. My first non-digital lasted many years. This digital one really hasn't had extensive use, so I was disappointed, but given the temperature reading, maybe it is just old wood. I'll buy some new bisquettes. I'm not very good with stuff like multimeters, even though I have one.
     The pellets tend to be in a upper price range so it would seem not directly competing with Bradley, so I hope as I'm asking for pellet suggestions, it's not too tacky. Thanks for your suggestions.

Offline Broke_smoke

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Re: Smoke generator not smoking as much
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2019, 10:28:23 am »
The unit is not forwarding the pucks onto the burner either.
I'll have to take it apart again in case I reassembled it wrong.
I can hear the mechanism, just no wood coming out.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Smoke generator not smoking as much
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2019, 01:50:53 pm »
Hi Broke_smoke;

Welcome to the forum.

Your burner plate should be producing a temperature of around 550°F - 555°F. A temperature probe is not the best device to check surface temperature. If you have an infra red thermometer that would be best. When the sensor cord is not connected or bad you will get an E1 error. Its a safety device.

If you mechanism is working properly, check you chute to make sure that it is straight, and not inserted in too far.


     I
         don't
                   inhale.
  ::)

Offline Broke_smoke

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Re: Smoke generator not smoking as much
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2019, 02:09:57 pm »
Hi Broke_smoke;

Welcome to the forum.

Your burner plate should be producing a temperature of around 550°F - 555°F. A temperature probe is not the best device to check surface temperature. If you have an infra red thermometer that would be best. When the sensor cord is not connected or bad you will get an E1 error. Its a safety device.

If you mechanism is working properly, check you chute to make sure that it is straight, and not inserted in too far.
What if it is indeed not putting out over 500? It is a pretty good thermometer, a DOT. What is the most common reason for not putting out enough heat? I will check alignment as it seemed when it was sending a puck in, it kind of bumped on the way in like it was trying to get over the lower edge.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Smoke generator not smoking as much
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2019, 02:31:25 am »
After reading your post a second time; 7 - 8 minutes is not enough time for the burner to get to maximum heat. Do the test again, but wait at least 15 minutes for the burner to heat up.

Though it is a Dot, a penetration probe thermometer is not as accurate as a infra red for measuring surface temperatures. I believe that information is somewhere on the ThermoWorks site. They even mention that it is not the best thermometer for air temperature. For that you should get the high temperature air probe. How much of a discrepancy between using the Dot with a penetration probe verses an infra red I couldn't tell you. I may test that today using my Chef's Alarm and an infra red. 

If the thermometer is accurate, a common reason that the burner is not reaching at least 550°F was covered in Manxman's post. Such as have you added any appliances on that same circuit, that may be drawing more current? Also the build up of residue. But it may be as simple of too much moisture in the bisquettes. I realize you said you are using bisquettes that you had in storage for a long time, but another cause may be how the bisquette was manufactured, and/or the type of wood. There was a time (I don't know if they still do it from time to time) they increased the amount of compression during manufacturing of the bisquette, to slow the burn rate. These bisquettes would only burn halfway through. As to the different types of wood, I find that my apple, and maple bisquettes seem to burn much faster than oak, and hickory.



     I
         don't
                   inhale.
  ::)

Offline Broke_smoke

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Re: Smoke generator not smoking as much
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2019, 03:50:33 am »
I'm interested to hear the results of the probe test.
Regarding the time it took; maybe it would have gone up a little more, but I waited a minute or so. It had hit 501 and dropped to about 485 and then fluctuated between about 490 and 500. I had scraped the pad with a razor blade, so I don't thing gunk buildup was an issue. I'll order some more wood today and I think I'll take it apart again and see if I can fix the feeding mechanism. I don't remember there being any way to put it together that would make it feed cockeyed, so I'll have to more carefully examine it. I also don't recall ever reading that there were any special "gotchas" about putting the screws back in.

Offline manxman

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Re: Smoke generator not smoking as much
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2019, 04:40:43 am »
In respect of not delivering the pucks to the burner the fact you can hear the mechanism suggests that the circular motor which drives it is working, a good number of years ago there was quite a high failure rate of these motors which no doubt has been addressed.

It is also possible the two part pivoted arm that drives the push assembly is not seated correctly or damaged, I had this from new on my first ever generator and there was a discernible metallic clunk as it tried deliver a puck which isn’t there normally. Maybe try the puck advance button with the generator side plate off to observe taking care to keep fingers clear!  ;)
« Last Edit: May 11, 2019, 04:42:18 am by manxman »
Manxman

Offline Broke_smoke

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Re: Smoke generator not smoking as much
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2019, 06:17:40 am »
In respect of not delivering the pucks to the burner the fact you can hear the mechanism suggests that the circular motor which drives it is working, a good number of years ago there was quite a high failure rate of these motors which no doubt has been addressed.

It is also possible the two part pivoted arm that drives the push assembly is not seated correctly or damaged, I had this from new on my first ever generator and there was a discernible metallic clunk as it tried deliver a puck which isn’t there normally. Maybe try the puck advance button with the generator side plate off to observe taking care to keep fingers clear!  ;)

I just fixed the puck delivery. I'm not sure why I needed to fix it, but the fix is simple and fast. I hope short videos can be uploaded. Hmmm, even under "Attachments and other options" there's no option to attach anything. I'll check on my computer vs phone. Sometimes menus show up differently.

Offline Broke_smoke

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Re: Smoke generator not smoking as much
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2019, 06:21:57 am »
I'm on my desktop and there's no attachment option.
No visuals on this web site?

Offline TedEbear

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Re: Smoke generator not smoking as much
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2019, 08:44:28 am »
Host them on YouTube and post the URL link.

Offline Broke_smoke

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Re: Smoke generator not smoking as much
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2019, 09:27:10 am »
How about just a still?

Offline Broke_smoke

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Re: Smoke generator not smoking as much
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2019, 10:23:50 am »
Ok, here's the before and after youtube videos.

Here's the problem -  https://youtu.be/0YRy_TwoPak     

Here's problem fixed  -  https://youtu.be/l0y1Ydpgjck     

Look closely and you should be able to tell what fixed it.
The puck stop is a 90 degree sheet metal bend. I took off that piece,
laid it on the garage floor and pounded it flat with a hand sledge so that the 90 degree piece
that made up the puck stop became flat, making the puck stop stick out about
1/8" further so that the puck would drop sooner. Seems to work fine.
Hope this all makes sense.