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**Pellet cookers** - YS480, YS640
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January 3rd, 2015, 6:13 pm
#1
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: December 2nd, 2014, 10:42 am
  • Posts: 4

I've had my YS640 for about a month now, and I've done a couple of small, short cooks (burn-in, bacon, etc). Today I had planned on smoking a tri-tip for 2-3 hours, but then the weather started to roll in. I started up the YS640 and the outside temperature was about 33 degrees F. The smoker got up to 225 (my set temperature), I put the meat on, and then it started to snow lightly. Ever since then, the temperature has dropped to about 135 on the panel of the YS640, and it constantly has the three "up" dashes. I do not have any type of thermal blanket, but assumed that I would still be able to smoke and just consume more pellets. Is there something wrong with my smoker? The outside temperature is now a brisk 22F, is it just too cold outside for the YS640 to get up to temperature? I really thought I would be able to use it all winter, but I'm really concerned about my purchase now.

January 3rd, 2015, 6:50 pm
#2
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January 3rd, 2015, 9:48 pm
#3
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: December 2nd, 2014, 10:42 am
  • Posts: 4

I read through the other thread, and nothing jumped out at me. I definitely heard pellets dropping, and at the start, the firing was definitely roaring. I did prime as well - hoping to get it going - and heard pellets dropping, but the temperature never budged.

Interestingly enough, as I continued to attempt to smoke the tri tip tonight, eventually (after more than an hour of low temps), the YS640 finally started working. When I had the temperature set to 225, the highest it would go was about 140. I set it to 375, and it leveled off at about 180 for 20 minutes. I know now not to change the temperature, but I was really trying anything at that point to salvage the cook (and it had already been at 225 for 45+ minutes). And then after 20 minutes of sitting at 180, the YS640 finally shot up and was clearly on its way to 375. When it hit 290, I changed the set point back to 225 and it cooked the rest of the time just fine - keeping pretty close to 225.

I'm wondering if it had something to do with the pellets. The last cook I did was about 3 weeks ago, and we've had some frigid temperatures here in Denver and lots of snow (12+ inches). I didn't remove the pellets that were in the hopper, since I have a cover. I topped off what was in there with more pellets (same type, hickory, bbq'rs delight). Could the existing pellets have been too cold? Or maybe they picked up moisture from the snow? The humidity level is low here (when it's not snowing). My only guess is that once the smoker got to the new pellets from the hopper, it started to work with no problem. Should I be removing the pellets in between cooks and storing them inside or in the garage?

Any help or advice would be appreciated!

January 3rd, 2015, 10:14 pm
#4
* Cheyenne ** Cheyenne *
  • Joined: November 28th, 2014, 12:53 am
  • Posts: 91

I too am in Denver and cook in the cold we've recently had. Make sure you are unplugging the power from the smoker as leaving it in between cooks in can sometimes send the smoker into an alternate reality.

January 3rd, 2015, 10:21 pm
#5
* Cheyenne ** Cheyenne *
  • Joined: November 28th, 2014, 12:53 am
  • Posts: 91

You also may want to consider putting the smoker into H2 or H3 mode during startup in these cold days.

January 3rd, 2015, 10:56 pm
#6
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  • Joined: April 18th, 2014, 3:12 pm
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Pellets that have taken on moisture are not good fuel, and do not burn efficiently. The normal amount of moisture content in pellets is less than 10%. Any higher and the pellets will not perform, which will obviously not allow the cooker to perform. Pretty much the same as water in gas affects a vehicle.

There is no need to change the heat up mode manually, as the cooker will do it automatically within the first 6 to 10 minutes after starting the cooker.

Pellets being cold should not matter. I guess that I would suggest that if the cooker is going to set for any period of time of non-use, that it might be better to remove the pellets and store them in a tightly closed container. Pellets in their bags, that are stored directly on a concrete floor, will absorb moisture to the point that they will start breaking apart. High moisture pellets are very poor fuel.

Yoder_Herb
January 9th, 2015, 2:15 pm
#7
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: January 9th, 2015, 1:26 pm
  • Posts: 4

Hi, I've been having the same issues with my YS640 and I'd like to see if you've been able to figure out a root cause. I also have a similar purchase and timing story. Got the unit in October and it worked fine until it got cold here in Albuquerque. My wife bought me a thermal blanket for Christmas thinking it would help but it hasn't. I find that if it's below 40 outside the smoker has issues.

I've been working with Herb over the last week and have implemented all of his suggestions. I've adjusted the auger, repositioned the chimney, tested the fans and run several temperature tests. So far the only trend that I see is outside air temp.

The last potential culprit that we ended up with is the pellets. I had purchased a 1/2 pallet of BBQR's Delight Hickory in November. I keep them in my shed. We have almost no moisture around here being in the high desert.

Today I tested a bag of BBQR's Delight Apple. (note, seems like I'm spending all of my pellet $$ on testing instead of cooking) Ambient temp was 35 and rising. The cooker was able to get up to 350 (default temp) after 1 hour. I plan on testing again tonight when temperatures are dropping instead of rising but it still doesn't seem like it has a very "strong" ability to get to temperature.

I'm interested in getting any additional information that we could use to figure out what's happening here. For example, where did you purchase your pellets?

February 14th, 2015, 9:46 pm
#8
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: December 2nd, 2014, 10:42 am
  • Posts: 4

Sorry it took me so long to post again. I haven't had any more issues with the temperature, but I also haven't smoked when the temperature was under 30. I have done in the mid to upper 30s, and it worked just fine. It's been a pretty mild winter, so we haven't had any more super cold nights that I used the YS. That being said, I really do think it was the moisture from the pellets being left in the hopper. Even though we don't have high humidity, when it snows and melts, I think the pellets just end up soaking some of it up. To combat that, I just scoop them out and keep them in the garage.

Have you had any more issues? My pellets were purchased from a local guy here in Denver. Since that initial problem (and taking the pellets out), it usually comes up to temperature in 20-30 minutes and stays constant. Haven't had any problems getting it up over 400 either.

February 14th, 2015, 10:59 pm
#9
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: January 9th, 2015, 1:26 pm
  • Posts: 4

Thanks for the follow up. It's been pretty warm here in albuquerque as well so I haven't been able to test consistently. However, I haven't had any problems recently either. Guess I'll have to wait until next winter and see if the old issue comes back.

February 16th, 2015, 2:39 pm
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: September 2nd, 2014, 11:25 am
  • Posts: 14

HI, I live in Farmington NM, just a little more elevation than Denver, but not much, Mild winter this time but last was a muther. I purchased a thermal blaket, I started the Yoder in 5 degree weather, no issues, I use an another brand off pellets, cause that's all we have here, I found u keep smoker clean, sensor, burn pot ect. all will work fine.

January 1st, 2018, 10:19 am
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: January 9th, 2015, 1:26 pm
  • Posts: 4

Well, it got me again. New Year's morning, 20 degrees at 6:00 AM and the smoker can't even build enough temp for the digital display to register.

I've cycled the smoker, pulled everything out and put some pellets in the burn box to give it a little extra oomph but no dice. I just ended up putting the pork butt on the gas grill. I just left the smoker running (2 hours now). I suspect that it will start building temp as soon as the ambient temperature is above 30-40 degrees.

I can't even describe how frustrated I am with my grill. This only happens to me when I get up early and I'm really counting on my grill working for me. I'm thinking about ditching the Yoder and just getting a Traeger. My father in law has one and has never had issues with it.

January 1st, 2018, 11:37 am
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  • Joined: April 18th, 2014, 3:12 pm
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The cooker should compensate just fine for cold temperatures, if, it is properly working and maintained. We have owners in Canada who cook all winter without issue.

Have you called our support line? 877.409.6337, option 2

Yoder_Herb
January 2nd, 2018, 10:56 pm
* Wichita ** Wichita *
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  • Joined: December 20th, 2015, 4:30 pm
  • Posts: 170
  • Location: Wichita, KS

Something is wrong with your cooker man... assuming you are using it correctly. I have cooked in negative double digit temps (wind chill) in Kansas all night. Uses a lot of pellets but works and compensates perfect. Don’t get mad at the cooker... contact support, as herb suggested, and get it fixed.

Wichita, KS!
New to pellet grilling/smoking

YS-640 ON ORANGE COMP CART
January 20th, 2018, 10:30 am
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: January 9th, 2015, 1:26 pm
  • Posts: 4

Yeah, I guess so. I was pretty disappointed so I took it out on the smoker :)

I've already worked with Yoder_Herb a couple of years ago to recalibrate the auger and reposition the chimney and something else I think. Non of it improved my situation. It's been kind of a hard thing to track down since I need pretty cold weather and I live in New Mexico.

Anyway, I'll call support and see if they have some new suggestions.

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