Traeger Junior Elite Grill

TeamQue

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Hello and thanks for the add...

We purchased a Junior Elite earlier this year (2019) and thought this grill would be easier to operate than what it is. I've had no luck with the help line and have been trying to figure it out on my own.

I stumbled upon this site and thought I'd give it a try.

I can't help but notice the temperature swing this thing has. Can be swings from 50* to 100* at times. I figured out that starting the grill on smoke with the lid open helps but still see these swings. It even drowns itself out with pellets and the grill will shut down with a pot full.

Any help would be greatly appreciated...

Thanks !!!
 

Beaser

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Welcome TeamQue
I had a Junior and it was a great grill, Pellet grills are definitely more complex than propane or charcoal units but with a little effort you should be able to work through any issues. Don't give up on Customer Service, if you feel you haven't been given the right answer call back and talk to someone else.
What exactly are your issues?

You mention the grill quitting with a full load of pellets in the firebox. When the grill shuts down is there an error code in the display ?

What temperatures were you cooking at when the shutdowns occurred?

Did you run the Junior at a high temperature and then reduce the setpoint and have the grill shut down?

What was the temp. setpoint when these wide temp swings occurred? You can lose 50-100 deg by opening the door especially in a brisk breeze.

Many issues relate to the condition and quality of the pellets. The biggest issue that I've experienced is sawdust. Rough handling, storage in damp conditions or poor QC among other things can cause pellets to disintegrate and become sawdust. When too much sawdust gets dumped into the hopper, it'l be pushed through the auger with the pellets and when it hits the flame pot you can get an uncontrolled burn which will present as a flamethrower type flash, a sudden raise in temp and on one occasion a big bang.
When you open the bag, stir the pellets with your hand , the dust (if there is any) will settle to where your fingers have reached. I bought a cheap colander at the dollar store and I strain the bottom of every bag when I transfer the pellets to plastic pails.. Keeping your pellets in the hopper and auger in high humidity for extended periods can also cause the pellets to disintegrate. It's easy to see if they have been affected.

Please give us some feedback so we have something to work with
 
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TeamQue

TeamQue

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Beaser:

See below questions and my answers...

You mention the grill quitting with a full load of pellets in the firebox. When the grill shuts down is there an error code in the display ?
I believe so but do not exactly remember the code. Maybe ERR?

What temperatures were you cooking at when the shutdowns occurred?
It's anywhere from 225* to 350. Have tried 180 as well.

What was the temp. setpoint when these wide temp swings occurred? You can lose 50-100 deg by opening the door especially in a brisk breeze.
We smoked a turkey last night and it was set at 225* - 6 hour cook. I saw anywhere from 200* to almost 380* last night. Outside temperature was about 60* without opening the door.

Pellet type and storage.
Pellets are Traeger branded. Always stored inside and closed bag; sealed as best I can with clips and rolled excess bag over. Now sawdust may be an issue but will excessive heat swings be that bad? I always keep the pot clean and try to vacuum it out as well. I will have to try to sort out the sawdust and see what happens. I have notice this in the bags.

Thank you very much for your post. We really appreciate your comments..

Team Que
 

jhonmiller

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Thanks for such healthy discussion on the topic of pellet Grills. It really help me out in getting the valueable insight.
 

Beaser

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The error code is important, it's time to RTFM (read the manual) most of us don't unless someone has a loaded potato gun pointed at our head. The error codes are important and they are all in the manual.

Your cook temps are on the low side which helps us zero in on the problem. There are two possibilities, the control (temp control or Resistance Temperature Detector [the temp probe]) or excessive sawdust in the pellets. Was the high temp swing to 380 a rapid acceleration or a slow creep. Rapid acceleration may be the pellets.

Now that you're aware that excess saw dust in the pellets can create burn stability and temperature issues check the outlet of the auger and the bottom of the hopper for excess wood dust. It's not what you do or how you store them so much as the way they've been handles before you buy them. The dust will burn faster than the pellet will and can be almost explosive another kinder phrase is uncontrollable burn.

Your unit may have an adjustable P setting, the factory default for this is 2. see instructions http://tipsforbbq.com/Definition/Traeger-P-Setting
The P setting sets a delay for pellet feed. From the factory the delay is 65 seconds, a setting of P0 or P1 may feed more pellets for your ambient conditions, causing the temp to swing. The "P" hole is an access hold to the P switch and is on the right side of the display, it is covered by a black circular sticker from the factory. If the sticker is gone than chances are someone was playing with it.

Anyone else think of anything please chime in.
Beas
 
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pkitch

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Definitely sounds something is off, I had one too and saw much bigger swings than my Ironwood but not to the level you're seeing. If you can rule out strong winds then I think also the P setting is most likely culprit, however the bigger question is how is the net cook? The variances averaged over the time of the cook might not be as off as you think...
 
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TeamQue

TeamQue

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Definitely sounds something is off, I had one too and saw much bigger swings than my Ironwood but not to the level you're seeing. If you can rule out strong winds then I think also the P setting is most likely culprit, however the bigger question is how is the net cook? The variances averaged over the time of the cook might not be as off as you think...
After the anxiety of the cook, everything was cooked great. It's a love / hate relationship !!! LOL
 
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TeamQue

TeamQue

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The error code is important, it's time to RTFM (read the manual) most of us don't unless someone has a loaded potato gun pointed at our head. The error codes are important and they are all in the manual.

Your cook temps are on the low side which helps us zero in on the problem. There are two possibilities, the control (temp control or Resistance Temperature Detector [the temp probe]) or excessive sawdust in the pellets. Was the high temp swing to 380 a rapid acceleration or a slow creep. Rapid acceleration may be the pellets.

Now that you're aware that excess saw dust in the pellets can create burn stability and temperature issues check the outlet of the auger and the bottom of the hopper for excess wood dust. It's not what you do or how you store them so much as the way they've been handles before you buy them. The dust will burn faster than the pellet will and can be almost explosive another kinder phrase is uncontrollable burn.

Your unit may have an adjustable P setting, the factory default for this is 2. see instructions http://tipsforbbq.com/Definition/Traeger-P-Setting
The P setting sets a delay for pellet feed. From the factory the delay is 65 seconds, a setting of P0 or P1 may feed more pellets for your ambient conditions, causing the temp to swing. The "P" hole is an access hold to the P switch and is on the right side of the display, it is covered by a black circular sticker from the factory. If the sticker is gone than chances are someone was playing with it.

Anyone else think of anything please chime in.
Beas
Found the black sticker, untouched from the factory... I'll look at the manual and check out the link. Need to clean it out as well....
 
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TeamQue

TeamQue

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Update - 12/24/19: It's been a while since I had the opportunity to use my grill. Completely cleaned it out from top to bottom, bought a strainer to sift out the dust from the pellets, figured out the P Setting too.
Today I'm smoking a pork butt; cold weather bake as it started at 33* this morning. I bought a cold weather blanket for this type of cooking being from the colder climate.
Grill is working OK but the temperature swings are still crazy. Anywhere from 170* to up to 385* so far at a 225* setting. Went from a P2 to P3 to P4 trying to quill the swings but still there. Wondering now if it is the Treager Pellets now.
Still a love / hate relationship with this thing...
 

California Smoker

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I received a Jr Elite for Xmas 2019. I've used the grill to smoke Tri Tip, Chicken and Steelhead. The outdoor temperature ranged from 55F to 62F during this use. After each use, the unused pellets are removed, excess grease wiped off using Traeger cleaner, ash vacuumed and foil on the grease pan relined. Unused pellets are stored in an air-tight container. The temperature gauge initially swings about 150 degrees over a 225F setting after 15 minutes post-start. The temperature generally settles closer to 225F after 20 minutes. That said, there can be times, after 20 minutes, when the temperature raises from a 225F setting up to 325F. I recall less fluctuation when cooking at 375F. What have I done? I've moved from P2 to P3 and noticed little change in the temperature fluctuation. I received a new controller and RTD from Traeger. After installing both, a defect in the new controller was confirmed. While waiting for the second controller, I reinstalled the original controller. Overall, I'm able smoke/cook on the grill, but the temperature swings are curious. I use meat temperature probes to monitor cooking progress which helps. I would be pleased if the temperature swings could be limited to +/- 30 degrees.
 

California Smoker

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Ran a test this morning - used original controller, new RTD and a suggestion from another griller. I placed a thickly folded paper towel between the RTD and the side of the cooking chamber. I started on smoke (P3) and with the lid open, 52F ambient temperature. Immediately after seeing wisps of smoke (about 2 minutes later), I changed the setting to 225 and closed the lid. I checked the grill temperature panel every 5 minutes for an hour. Within 8 minutes after starting the digital panel read 345F but started dropping. After 15 minutes, the grill reached 212. From this point, the digital temperature bounced +/- 11 to 25 degrees from 225F for an hour - except for one 5 minute reading (55 minutes after start) in which the digital panel was 304F (the temp dropped thereafter to a 244F at the next reading). Hard to tell if a simple folded paper town helped stabilize temperature fluctuations. At the end of the day, we're dealing with fire and a non-PID controller on this grill.
 

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TeamQue

TeamQue

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I received a new controller from Treager and just replaced it today. Going to clean the grill completely and try again. Living in Wisconsin the temperatures are below freezing most days but going to wait until there is a day with little wind and in the 20's to 30's. Crossing my fingers to see if this is better than the old controller...
 

California Smoker

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Traeger CS shipped me a second controller and RTD, a KIT0278. This controller has a blue digital screen and one temperature probe receptacle. My grill now ranges 8-12 degrees around the set temperature.
 

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