Introduction: Pit Boss KC Combo Platinum Light Mod
Why do this mod?
I LOVE my new Pit Boss KC Combo Platinum, but for some godforsaken reason, Pit Boss decided to make the two interior lights (1 in the Pellet section & 1 in the Gas section) only able to be turned on if the pellet side is operating! After owning my KC Combo for a week, this madness had to stop!!
For this project, you will need the following supplies:
- Two 3M 801 Displacement Connectors.
- One SPST Toggle Switch rated for 15 amps.
- Two 10" lengths of 14-16 AWG wire, stranded. (I used some wire from a broken computer power supply).
- A crimping tool (I use the Klein crimping tool, but there are others that work just as well).
- Two female spade connectors (Blue are 14-16 AWG).
- Wire Stripper tool.
- *Optional* Lineman's Pliers
Step 1: Take Stuff Apart!!
Let's get this party started...
SAFETY NOTICE: Make sure that the power cord IS NOT PLUGGED IN!!!!!! I don't want anybody getting hurt, so please check and double check that the power cord is disconnected!
So the first step is to open the hopper lid and remove the six (6) Phillips screws holding the cover plate on.
Carefully remove the cover plate and set aside.
Now you should be looking at the control board like you see in the first photo.
Interesting side note on the probe connectors...
When I removed the cover, I noticed that there are actually accommodations for two more probes.
I went ahead and removed the two white plastic screws from the probe plugin assembly to be able to get a better view of what was behind it and discovered that there are two more probe connectors on the board labelled P1 & P4 (P2 & P3 are currently occupied by the existing probes).
I wonder if Pit Boss plans on some future expansion with this setup?
Please note, removing this board and this entire paragraph is not a part of the light mod, just something I found interesting.
The Pit Boss lighting circuit
So at the bottom left of the board, you should see a bunch of wires coming up from a hole near the back of the pellet hopper.
The Black and White wires are the 120VAC Hot and Neutral (respectively) coming in from your power cord to power up the board.
The Orange wire is for your lights. That is what we are going to be focusing on for this mod.
The first thing I noticed was that they did not use a relay for turning the lights on and off, but instead used a Triac.
A Triac is a Triode for Alternating Current (hence TriAC). Triacs allow current flow in both directions (where a diode only allows current to flow in one direction).
The triac receives a signal to turn On or Off, turning your lights on the grill On or Off.
We are going to basically use the SPST Toggle Switch to "jumper" power from the Hot 120VAC Black wire over to the Orange wire going to the lights.
Since Pit Boss used a Triac for this, we don't have to worry about any back voltage issues.
Once this mod is complete, your lights will still work the same way they came from the factory (through the button on the display and also through the app), with the addition of being able to override them manually at any time.
Step 2: Let's Mod This Sucka...
Time for some skillz...
Okay! Now we just need the two (2) lengths of wire previously mentioned for this next part.
Don't worry about stripping the end of the wires yet.
Take your 3M 801 connector and use a flat blade screwdriver to open up the gap between the two plastic halves enough to slip over the black wire, just below the white Molex connector.
Once the 3M 801 connector is over the black wire, go ahead and insert one of your wires (I used black, but it doesn't really matter) into the other opening in the connector, making sure that the end of the wire doesn't stick out of the top (don't want any shorts to be possible).
I typically use a pair of Lineman's Pliers to squeeze the connector putting the face of the pliers on the metal piece on one side and the back of the blue plastic connector on the other and squeeze down firmly. This type of connector pierces (using the metal piece) into both wire partway to make a connection. Once squeezed down, I then close the blue plastic door, latching it in place.
Do the same thing for the Orange wire, locating the 3M 801 connector a little below, so there won't be any crowding issues when you go to put the cover back on.
Now just route both wires down through the same hole that all the other wires are coming up through at the back of the pellet hopper.
Now you are going to want to remove the cover that the power cord goes through on the back left side of the grill.
Remove the 4 screws that hold the cover on. This is where I chose to mount my toggle switch (see photo above).
My toggle switch required a 1/2" hole to mount through. I started with a smaller hole drilled through the left hand side of the cover about 3" down from the top (keep in mind that the top edge of this cover slides underneath the other cover when assembled) and then went up to the 1/2" bit. If you have a step bit, that would also work well.
This location doesn't interfere with my cover and is very convenient, yet out of the way.
Before I mounted my switch in the hole, I decided to wire it up for convenience. Now you can trim the wires to an appropriate length and strip the ends and crimp on the female spade connectors.
I had to use a flat head screwdriver to open up the metal of the connectors a bit to get them to slide over the toggle switch terminals (my terminals had screws in them that I removed.)
You could also use fork terminals, but that also runs the risk of exposed terminals (AKA shock risk).
Female Spade Flag Terminals (90 degree terminals) would also work well in this application.
The fit was a little tight, so I DID bend the terminals out slightly to make sure they weren't pressing against the cover.
Since this is just a Single Pole Single Throw (SPST) switch, it doesn't matter which wire goes where.
Once you have your switch mounted through the hole you drilled, you can take a couple of zip ties and secure your wire to the white wire loom from the factory, if so desired.
Now put the cover back in place and attach with the screws you previously removed.
Do the same thing with the cover you removed in Step 1, attaching with the six screws previously removed.
Step 3: Admire Your Handiwork!
Now that all the covers you previously removed are back in place, go ahead and connect the power cord to an outlet.
Now you should be able to use the toggle switch to bypass the electronic switching and have lights on whenever your BBQ Grilling heart desires!!
Take THAT Pit Boss!