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Electric smoker keeps tripping AFCI breaker

I bought an electric smoker a few years ago. After spending a summer away, when I returned, the smoker would shut off a few minutes after turning it on. Turns out when it gets to the point in its cooking cycle when it would turn on the heating element, it trips the AFCI breaker and the whole thing shuts off.


Any advice on how to proceed in trying to repair it?

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Hi @mturetsky ,

If it trips the breaker when the element is being powered on it indicates that there may be excess current flowing either due a faulty heater element or to a lesser extent moisture in the control board or problems with the electrical wiring in the cabinet.

First check that no other appliance is plugged into the same circuit fed by the breaker and is in use at the same time, as apparently the smoker requires a lot of current when the heater is turned on and this may be too much for the circuit breaker and it will trip. Perhaps try plugging in an electric kettle (these are usually 1200-2000W) in place of the smoker and check if that also trips the breaker when turned on.

If it also trips the breaker then there may be a problem with the breaker or the number of outlets connected to that particular breaker and what is connected to them.

If it doesn’t trip the breaker then use a DMM’s (digital multimeter) Ohmmeter function, to check that the smoker’s heater element is OK. Test it out of circuit i.e. disconnect it from the wiring harness in the cabinet, to measure what the resistance of the element is (I don’t know what it should be) and that it is not short circuit. Also test that the wires to the element aren’t shorting out to the cabinet by testing between the cabinet (bright, clean, shiny metal connection point)and the element harness connections with the Ohmmeter.

Here are the product manual and an electrical replacement manual for the appliance (I think they are the correct ones), that may help.

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Awesome! Thanks so much! I've tried it in two separate AFCI outlets with the same result. I'm in Louisiana so it's generally pretty humid, so that might be causing it to short out. I'll see what I can find out, but it might take a while.

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Same issue. I kept it outside with a cover on it for over a year. It wouldn’t stay on when I tried to use it (tripped the breaker). I placed my smoker in the basement where I have a dehumidifier. After 3 days it started to work normally. I took it outside and smoked some pork for 6 hours, no issues! From now on, I’ll keep it indoors until I need to use it.

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