And..... that's all she wrote for now......<sigh>

kaptain_zero

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Assembled the EX4 yesterday, noted it had the steeper ramp installed from the factory, so it looked like the VER 2 has all the updates in it..... short story, no it doesn't.......<groan>.

It was quite gusty outside yesterday so I held off on the burn in until today. Took it out of the garage, loaded up pellets, selected 600F and hit the button. First smoke, then temps steadily climbed to 510F and then started dropping. I did hear some odd "gronking" noise from the grill, but wasn't sure what was causing it. It turns out that pellets had stopped dropping and thus the flame out. I took the back panel off the auger housing and when I looked up inside, sure enough... the original 2 piece auger chute. So.... it's off to waste time on the phone with Weber warranty to get this sorted out. The noise was likely a jammed auger. As it is Friday and I had my heart set on some smoked food, I'm going to clear the chute and see if I can get it working long enough for a short cook.

Christian aka

Kaptain "Why me?" Zero
 

MrPhilGrillTX

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Oh brother. That's no good. Hope you can get it going.
 

JpsBBQ

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Did you remove the wire finger guard above the entrance to the auger? Secondly, what brand of pellets? Thirdly, where did you buy one with the old auger? They have been impounded for six months now. They recalled them back from the dealers. Either way, it should take more than one cook for the two piece mechanically fastened auger to actually fail. Also you may have to cycle the thing on and off a couple times for the updates to take hold. I’m no expert in that field so others will likely know better than I. Keep at it.
 
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kaptain_zero

kaptain_zero

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Well, thanks for the all the info. It looks like Weber will have to deal with this...

So after the first failure to reach 600F, I took it apart and cleaned out the auger chute. I put things back together, refilled the pellet hopper and fired it up... This time it failed at 380F!

After sitting on the couch for a while, I decided to give it one last go... cleaned it all out, then opened another bag of pellets that were clearly fresher as they had that shine on the sides.... Fired it up and away it went.... 435F and then slowly dropping temp again (set to 600F).

Auger housing is the old two piece style, the ramp in the hopper was installed by the factory. Firmware was updated as soon as I turned it on for the first time. It updated, I shut down and on reboot it wanted to update something again. Third time was the charm, everything was up to the latest version. It was then that I tried to do the burn in. After 3 tries with two different pellets, I'm not doing it again without new parts......<sigh>

So much for THIS weekend.

I don't have a hate on for Weber, in fact I spent 30 years NOT buying Weber because I thought they were too expensive, then I got a Q100 and I have not bought anything else since. I'm no stranger to electronics, I'm licenced to design/build my own experimental Amateur radio transmitter up to 1000w, I build my own 3D printers, computers and the list goes on. so updating firmware and configuring stuff is second nature. I just had bad luck with this unit.

Regards

Christian
 
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kaptain_zero

kaptain_zero

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The plot thickens.

After the shutdown cycle, I took a quick look inside the burnpot and was empty (as it should be) and the pellets had been retracted in the auger tube (about 1"). So now I'm thinking perhaps it's the controller that's going wonky?!?!?!

To be on the safe side, I selected a factory reset from the control panel and rebooted once again. (who knows... sometimes a bit gets flipped in memory causing all kinds of weird stuff to happen). It's currently set to 600F and it heating up again. Maybe this time it will work?

In the meantime I've fired off a support request via email.

Christian
 
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kaptain_zero

kaptain_zero

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Nope, made it to 360F and then started to drop, so a flipped bit in memory does not seem likely. Oh well, it was worth a shot.... I think I'll order a pizza.....
 

Goneincognito

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"Did you remove the wire finger guard above the entrance to the auger? Secondly, what brand of pellets? Thirdly, where did you buy one with the old auger? They have been impounded for six months now. They recalled them back from the dealers."

I would be interested to know the answer to these questions.
The fist two may well be the cause of the issue.
 

bbqking

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It seems to me, that it’s somewhat weird that the question of where this ex? Was obtained was not answered…imo it’s probably 2nd hand. Also suspect is if I was assembling it….I’m pretty sure I would have noticed the 2 piece auger( version one) during assembly??? And although not an issue, the version ones had some issues. Weber should be able to send you the parts to help. Good luck.
 
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kaptain_zero

kaptain_zero

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XXXXXX Barbecue Company was where I purchased the Smokefire. They are an authorised Weber dealer in Winnipeg and I see no need to post their full business name as it's not their fault. The SmokeFire was brand new and in the box, and was listed as a Ver 2 in their inventory. The upgraded ramp did come factory installed and so by outward appearance, it looked like the new version to me. Spotting the 2 piece auger chute is easy, once you know what it looks like.

The pellets I used were:
WF Tompkins Maple
Pitmasters Choice Blend

Both are common cooking pellets in our area and should have zero bearing on the issue I'm having. I did try the Maple as it was the freshest one I had, but it made no difference. They are both 1/4" diameter. If the temp went up to a point and stayed there, it could have been inferred that it might be the pellets, but the temps rise, stop and fall without ever getting up to the set temperature on the controller.

While it may have been a blocked auger tube the first time, I may have simply assumed the same happened the second time. It may not have as after the third attempt failed, I let it shut down and started it again. It worked fine for a few minutes, but then the temps dropped off again. It seems like the controller isn't telling the auger to feed pellets after a few minutes.

The finger guard is in place. There was never any bridging in that area, the auger tube was full of pellets and yet the temps would drop, again pointing to perhaps the controller.

I'll have to see what Weber has to say.

Sorry if my reply is too slow for you, bbqking. I do have other things that occupy my time.


Regards

Christian
 

JpsBBQ

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Why not just let it run for a while and or just set the temp at a lower number. Try moving the set point. I’d play with it a bit even if it’s not properly reacting. The diameter of pellets can be an issue IMO. Weber runs best on their pellets or ones with the smaller diameter like theirs.

I have to be honest, this whole thing sounds really weird. I know for a fact that the retailers were supposed to turn over their old stock. It is inconceivable that you have one with the old auger since they haven’t used those for a year now. Something is really off. Could be the whole Canada thing. Seems like our friends down under are also having some issues that have loooong since been resolved here in the states.

All I can say is I’m really sorry and disappointed to hear about your issues. I can imagine how frustrating it is when you get all jazzed up for the new cooker and have issues out of the gate. I will say that I’ve been completely issue free now for months and months and the cooker is phenomenal. You seem to have a great attitude and I suggest continuing forward as I believe you will ultimately love it. Good luck.
 

Goneincognito

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Yup.. Anything with a diameter larger than Weber's pellets can cause issues. There are a few brands (lumberjack is one) that are the same size.
Unless you are planning on sticking your hand in the auger while its running, I would remove the finger guard ASAP.
Bridging is a common issue and removing the guard can help this.

I'm in Australia and have had my EX4 since the end of November 2020 and is a Gen2 with all the proper parts and haven't had a single issue so it is definitely strange that yours came the way it did.

I
 

Goneincognito

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Sorry if my reply is too slow for you, bbqking. I do have other things that occupy my time.

Regards

Christian
I think it was more that you had added a few posts since the questions were asked and a none of your reply's addressed those questions.
 

AHoneyman

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Both are common cooking pellets in our area and should have zero bearing on the issue I'm having.
Well, I have played all of the pellet games and have been forced to conclude that this statement is incorrect for the SF. The 1/4 inch pellets are the big ones that have trouble feeding/running/something. Yes, it makes no sense as far as a logic approach to controller/pellet feed/temp output but it does. Use smaller pellets and many problems go away. See the link below.

 

bbqking

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I use Weber pellets exclusively now. I used to use pit boss, never had any issues with pellets feeding. No issues with my EX6 since newer auger and glow plug replaced.
I apologize @kaptain_zero …didn’t try to come across as crass. It really doesn’t matter where you bought it. Like I said, I bought mine on offer up, and love it. Weber has been excellent in helping with any issues.
I wish you good luck.
 
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kaptain_zero

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bbqking

No worries, it just seems like sometimes we expect others to have the same timetables as we ourselves do.

So, just for giggles... I had to work on my motorcycle in the garage so I put the grill back out and set it to 300F this time. It lights up with no issues and it actually went to 300F for a while. I then tried to set it to 350F and it just sat at 300F and then started dropping it's temps. When it hit 200F, I set it to shut down, which it did. I then set it to 600F and started it up again. Temps climbed to about 440F, then nosedived back to 200F and I once again just set it to shutdown and that's where I'm leaving it.

These last few startups seem to indicated that it's not the auger getting jammed or that a bridge has occured. As for the pellets, I would think that Weber sources the pellets somewhere and has them bagged in their own bags. With the markup on pellets, it would be prohibitively expensive to ship and sell pellets to a country like Australia, and yet we see the cost of 20lbs is about the same as in Canada. While there are reasons for selecting one pellet over another, there are laws that prohibit such nonsense as "your warranty is void if you use a different brand ink, toner, gasoline, diesel, AA batteries. As with everything, there ARE poorly made pellets, crappy gasoline, lousy inkjet cartridges etc. that the device manufacturer has the right to disown them and point out that a problem exists, leaving the consumer to ferret out such second rate products. I selected two popular local brands of pellets that are used in likely thousands of pellet grills in Winnipeg and as they start up and feed for a while, then everything stops.

Imagine if Weber (who does offer Weber branded charcoal) said that if you want their kettle grill to work properly, you need to use Weber branded charcoal, or that you had to use *their brand* of propane in their gas grills.

I'm confident Weber will sort this out... the hopper mod WAS done, so clearly it wasn't from the first batch. Perhaps somebody on the assembly line didn't bother swapping out the hopper chute.... I don't know, Weber should be able to figure it out from the serial number. Rev 2 was also supposed to come with 2 probes (I only got one) and from what I have gleaned from various forums, a spare igniter or 3 should have also been in the box if it indeed was a Rev 2, but I don't know if that's everywhere or just in the USA. I did NOT get a spare igniter in the box.

So.... I guess I'll fire up the gasser this weekend.
Murphy.png
 
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