New theory and possible workaround: Pellet bridging that can stop pellets from falling into the auger.

Mojo RyZen

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My good friend and coworker began an experiment that looks promising. We are both engineers, but he paid greater attention in chemistry class than I did. At work, he is my go-to material scientist. We both own Gen 2 EX-6s. His theory is the walls of the hopper, not the chute/slide, are causing the pellet friction that leads to the bridging/ sink holes. He says they are not painted well and the relatively rough walls cause pellet friction. In addition to removing the finger guard and the Gen 2 chute, he added UHMW tape to the hopper's front and back walls. He thinks the chute/slide is smooth enough - no tape was added there. The result, so far, is more of a pellet V-shaped pattern, not a sink hole, and better pellet feeding.
This experiment is new. His hopper is not empty yet, but it will be soon. I think it's worth a try. He did admit that he thinks placing the UHMW tape vertically, not horizontally, would have produced even less friction. It would have taken more time, though. His plan is to continue taking hopper pellet photos as the pellets burn. I'm posting the first one here. I will post more as I get them. We are both adept at using the scientific method. I think his theory has merit, so I couldn't wait for more results to post here. I figure maybe other group members can try this and help prove, or disprove, the theory.

I wonder if unit-to-unit variations in the quality of hopper wall paint jobs have something to do with bridging or no bridging. YMMV
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MackeyC34

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Goneincognito

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I wonder if unit-to-unit variations in the quality of hopper wall paint jobs have something to do with bridging or no bridging. YMMV
There has to be something at play.
I can leave my hopper unattended for a good 5-6 hours before even looking at it.
Most of the time when I do look, it's all good and I close the lid again.
 
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Mojo RyZen

Mojo RyZen

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I wonder if the painting process was different on the pre-release prototypes that Weber tested. Maybe now, paint process variations from unit-to-unit cause some to work fine and others to drive some owners into purchasing concrete vibrators. Go figure!
 

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This may be a controversial statement but I honestly believe the majority (not all) of issues are either the condition and choice of pellet or that the finger guard has not been removed.
What you are doing may yield some positive results though and I am interested to find out.
Just out of curiosity, what pellets are being used in the testing?
 
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Mojo RyZen

Mojo RyZen

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This may be a controversial statement but I honestly believe the majority (not all) of issues are either the condition and choice of pellet or that the finger guard has not been removed.
What you are doing may yield some positive results though and I am interested to find out.
Just out of curiosity, what pellets are being used in the testing?
Your "choice of pellet" statement may apply, but I have a Gen1 self-upgraded to a Gen2. I removed the finger guard from the get-go. I've always experienced bridging. The pellets need to be hand smooshed every two hours (MAX). My friend is using Pit Boss pellets in his experiment. I only have Weber pellets on hand, so my experiment won't be an exact match. I'm also going to apply the tape vertically on the hopper walls - another deviation from a "controlled" experiment.
 
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JpsBBQ

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Your "choice of pellet" statement may apply, but I have a Gen1 self-upgraded to a Gen2. I removed the finger guard from the get-go. I've always experienced bridging. The pellets need to be hand smooshed every two hours (MAX). My friend is using Pit Boss pellets. He is using Pit Boss pellets in his experiment. I only have Weber pellets on hand, so my experiment won't be an exact match. I'm also going to apply the tape vertically on the hopper walls - another deviation from a "controlled" experiment.
Every two hours on low and slow cooks? Really? Hmm. Do you fill the hopper to start? Hmm.
 
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Mojo RyZen

Mojo RyZen

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Every two hours on low and slow cooks? Really? Hmm. Do you fill the hopper to start? Hmm.
Yes. Full or not, I've always had to smoosh pellets. Emailed and spoke on the phone with Weber reps many times. None of their suggestions ever worked. I've never done an overnight cook, which is one of the reasons I bought this beast. I think my friend's theory has merit. Otherwise, I may end up using a cement vibrator and a timer.
p.s. I can't help saying how much I enjoy posts stating how everything works fine ;-) There's definitely a manufacturing process, or some other variation that causes some owners to have no problems while others have nightmares.
p.s.s. I'm living the dream! Nightmares are dreams too :-(
 

JpsBBQ

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Yes. Full or not, I've always had to smoosh pellets. Emailed and spoke on the phone with Weber reps many times. None of their suggestions ever worked. I've never done an overnight cook, which is one of the reasons I bought this beast. I think my friend's theory has merit. Otherwise, I may end up using a cement vibrator and a timer.
p.s. I can't help saying how much I enjoy posts stating how everything works fine ;-) There's definitely a manufacturing process, or some other variation that causes some owners to have no problems while others have nightmares.
p.s.s. I'm living the dream! Nightmares are dreams too :-(
Have they actually ran out?

Pellets all cavitate in every cooker to some extent. Doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t eventually feed. Eventually you have to swipe pellets in all cookers a bit. Weber may be a bit more but you should definitely be able to cook waaay longer than two hours at 225-300 without issue. Of course it is alway good practice to keep the hopper full at the start of a long cook. Anyway, happy grilling!
 
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Mojo RyZen

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Have they actually ran out?

Pellets all cavitate in every cooker to some extent. Doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t eventually feed. Eventually you have to swipe pellets in all cookers a bit. Weber may be a bit more but you should definitely be able to cook waaay longer than two hours at 225-300 without issue. Of course it is alway good practice to keep the hopper full at the start of a long cook. Anyway, happy grilling!
Yes. The pellets have run out during a daytime brisket cook. At the time, the WiFi on my phone showed no indication. I live on the 2nd floor of a two family home. The WiFi function has gotten better, but I'm not going to take chances. I can/will solve this problem myself. I'm just looking for the least painful solution.
 

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Seems like a pretty good idea, I can see trying it someday.
I’m not sure how often I mix up my pellets, I truly don’t mind doing it, l like to be in my backyard and check on stuff, I also spritz briskets and butts so I’m out there.
Having come from a WSM 22” this is freaking nothing. I’m never going back to that. 😃
 
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Mojo RyZen

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Seems like a pretty good idea, I can see trying it someday.
I’m not sure how often I mix up my pellets, I truly don’t mind doing it, l like to be in my backyard and check on stuff, I also spritz briskets and butts so I’m out there.
Having come from a WSM 22” this is freaking nothing. I’m never going back to that. 😃
Uderstood. I also spritz. I'm old and have bad knees. My pain and swelling increases with my use of stairs, despite my cane, railings, and caution. My retirement home will have no stairs.
I also own a WSM 18" that I modified. It also includes a Santa Maria attachment. I like having manual control over the wood, but not the baby-sitting.
 

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Mojo RyZen

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Uderstood. I also spritz. I'm old and have bad knees. My pain and swelling increases with my use of stairs, despite my cane, railings, and caution. My retirement home will have no stairs.
I also own a WSM 18" that I modified. It also includes a Santa Maria attachment. I like having manual control over the wood, but not the baby-sitting.
p.s. Being in my backyard is like a vacation for me. When my three kids were young, we took them to Disneyworld. When we got back, I was reading a book, drinking a beer, sitting by my pool, and wondering why I ever left my backyard. There's no place like home ;-)
 

Bruno

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p.s. Being in my backyard is like a vacation for me. When my three kids were young, we took them to Disneyworld. When we got back, I was reading a book, drinking a beer, sitting by my pool, and wondering why I ever left my backyard. There's no place like home ;-)
Amen!! My house is nothing fancy but we have French doors that lead from the dining room to the backyard, it’s my favorite feature of the house. I grew up with and unusable small backyard, I love being outside cooking anything.
 
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Bruno

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Uderstood. I also spritz. I'm old and have bad knees. My pain and swelling increases with my use of stairs, despite my cane, railings, and caution. My retirement home will have no stairs.
I also own a WSM 18" that I modified. It also includes a Santa Maria attachment. I like having manual control over the wood, but not the baby-sitting.
That looks like fun.
 

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