Repair and Restore Masterbuilt Electric Smoker




Introduction: Repair and Restore Masterbuilt Electric Smoker

About: DIY projects created by 7th and 8th graders as part of their Computer Technology Education class. Follow Us on Twitter @DISdemonsphysed. An opportunity for students to share their independent and collaborativ…

Learn to RESTORE your Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Electric Smoker to working and like new condition.

While this Instructable is specific to the Masterbuilt brand and model mentioned, it might be able to be used as a guide for other brands and models. Read on to see the problem and solution with this smoker.

With a few tools and a few skills you can get your smoker up and running again to smoke your favorite meats.

Cost for restoring electrical circuit was only a few dollars for male and female connectors.

This is my first smoker. I have been nothing but happy with it's workmanship for several years until this past winter. This past winter I noticed that the smoker would trip the GFCI circuit in my garage after only being powered for a minute or so. My first thought was there was just too much of a load on that circuit with all the other stuff powered in the garage. So, I proceeded to use the GFCI off the deck area of the house. This worked for one more smoking session, then I had the problem again. Since the second circuit had no load on it besides the smoker, I knew something had to be wrong with the smoker.

After some research I surmised that there was a faulty connection between power source/supply and heating element. There was also some mention in online research that the heating element itself might just need a really good cleaning. Click Here to do your own research on this problem with this brand and model.

The problem was exactly that. A corroded connection where wires connect to the heating element.

Read on to see how to restore your faulty wiring and connection as well as clean the element.

Step 1: Tools and Supplies

  • Screw Drivers
  • Pliers
  • Wire Cutters and Strippers
  • Wire Brush
  • Steel Wool
  • Propane Torch
  • Rotary Tool
  • Rotary Sanding Drum
  • Solder
  • 14-16 Male Connectors
  • 14-16 Female Connectors

Step 2: Cause of Problem

I suspect the cause of the corrosion was due to a combination of moisture coming from the smoking process when using the water pan and smoking meats out in the rain.

Compare the images and you will see the corroded male spade terminal. After removing the heating element I was able to easily snap this connection with my fingers. This was the cause of the GFCI tripping. Thank goodness for building codes and GFCI. This could have been a potential fire hazard without the GFCI protection.

Let's move on to fixing the problem.

Step 3: Inspect Heating Element Connection

To inspect electrical connect start at the outside back of unit and find the access panel.

  1. Remove screws
  2. Remove panel
  3. Inspect connections

Depending on the condition of the wires the wires should pull away from heating element connection.

See the 2nd image and you will see the connection is quite corroded. In fact, when I tried to pull the wire the connector at the heating element snapped. The connection at the right pull off with a pair of pliers and just needs some cleaning.

Step 4: Remove Chip Box

Ah... look at the evidence of smoked meats! You can almost smell those ribs smoking just looking at the pictures.

Before you start working... be sure you smoker is unplugged.

You will need to remove the wood chip box and ash trap from the inside of the unit.

  1. Remove ash tray
  2. Remove screws that attached chip box to inner wall
  3. Remove nut and bolt that attach box to lower support
  4. Remove chip box.
  5. Heating element is now exposed.

Step 5: Remove Heating Element

Removing the heating element is now relatively simple after wires are disconnected including ground wire.

  1. Disconnect wires.
  2. Remove mounting screws.
  3. Remove grounding wire nut. (this was done before picture was taken)
  4. From inside of unit remove grounding screw. In the last image it is covered I smoker grime in center of two heating element probes.

Your heating element will pull out easily.

Step 6: Clean Heating Element

With some steel wool and wire brush clean your heating element.

Step 7: Remove and Restore Corroded Connection

Now lets restore that bad connect to like new condition.

  1. Use a propane torch to heat up the solder connection between connector and heating element.
  2. As you are heating use pliers to pull off the old connector.
  3. Use rotary tool sanding drum to give it a good clean.

Step 8: Replace Heating Element Connector

Using 14-16 awg male connectors, solder a new connector to the heating element. Since only one of my connectors was in bad connection I replaced one. Your call if you want to replace both.

Sorry... no images of the soldering process as I only have 2 hands to work with. :-)

Step 9: Replace Female Connectors

Using a combination of male and female 14-16 awg connectors, replace all connections that are in bad condition.

Step 10: Reinstall Heating Element

  1. Reinstall heating element and screws
  2. Connect wiring
  3. Cover Panel

Step 11: Reinstall Wood Chip Box and Ash Pan

Reverse the steps previously explained on uninstalling the wood chip box and ash tray.

Step 12: Pack and Smoke

Pack your smoker with favorite meats and smoke 'em!

As mentioned earlier cost for restoring the circuit was only a few dollars for new connectors. Before tackling this project I check cost of new smoker. This smoker retails between $150 and $250. Amazon currently has on sale for $150 with some minor upgrades in design.


Made By DIS Maker


That's right... the teacher of MyWlakeTech jumped in on the fun of an Instructable as well! Why should the kids have all the fun.

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    Question 1 year ago on Step 11

    I'm having trouble controlling the temperature in my Masterbuilt model 20079015 smoker the temperature fluctuates and doesn't shut off at the temperature I had set it for. what might be the problem


    Question 2 years ago

    I have a Masterbuilt smoker I got from a friend. It turns on just won’t heat up. I’ve replaced temp sensor and I just ordered an element also any ideas for sure. Not sure on these masterbuilt smokers. Any advise would be great fully helpful thank you


    Question 2 years ago on Step 7

    Thanks for this great article. I have the exact same issue and was going to order a new burner before reading this. One question though - Can a regular soldering iron be used for removing the terminal and attaching a new one?


    Answer 2 years ago

    so to answer my own question, no. I tried and it wouldn't get anywhere near hot enough, probably because the burner itself is drawing away all of the heat. So I tried with a propane torch and still couldn't get the terminal off. I was able to bend what was left of the terminal up enough to get a section long enough to use. Replaced the female connector on the wire and it passed a short test run. Will put it all back together and try a longer test run just to be sure.


    Question 4 years ago on Introduction

    I have sportsman elite smoker, Have problem with it shutting down after about a hour all lights go off. Can hear clicking noise from digital display keeps shutting office restarted. Any ideas what it might be????