KC Combo pellet box smoke

Hybridkowboy

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I’ve read through all the posts about this issue. There’s enough complaints, concerns, questions, etc. that it’s clearly a flaw in the system. Here’s what I’ve figured out so far; the ash isn’t falling through to the ash tray which in turn is causing a buildup so thick that the pellets in the auger are igniting, and eventually getting back to the hopper. I’ve had my KC Combo for 5 days, cooked on the smoker side 3 times (the 3rd time I got the smoke in the hopper/pellet box). I vacuumed out the fire cup, which had an insane amount of built up ash and un-burned pellets. I ran the auger (prime) and for three full rotations I was getting burnt and/or discolored pellets. I didn’t stop until I was getting only fresh pellets. I then emptied the hopper from the back and I am currently burning off the remaining pellets in smoke mode. I have already submitted a support case with PitBoss to see if they will do anything to correct this issue. If you are having this same issue, I urge you to register your grill and submit you’re own support case. I will update this thread as I learn more and/or hear from pitboss.
 
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Hybridkowboy

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I’ve read through all the posts about this issue. There’s enough complaints, concerns, questions, etc. that it’s clearly a flaw in the system. Here’s what I’ve figured out so far; the ash isn’t falling through to the ash tray which in turn is causing a buildup so thick that the pellets in the auger are igniting, and eventually getting back to the hopper. I’ve had my KC Combo for 5 days, cooked on the smoker side 3 times (the 3rd time I got the smoke in the hopper/pellet box). I vacuumed out the fire cup, which had an insane amount of built up ash and un-burned pellets. I ran the auger (prime) and for three full rotations I was getting burnt and/or discolored pellets. I didn’t stop until I was getting only fresh pellets. I then emptied the hopper from the back and I am currently burning off the remaining pellets in smoke mode. I have already submitted a support case with PitBoss to see if they will do anything to correct this issue. If you are having this same issue, I urge you to register your grill and submit you’re own support case. I will update this thread as I learn more and/or hear from pitboss.
Well I haven’t heard back from Pitboss but this is the conclusion I’ve come to so far... the ash removal system doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. Instead of the ashes falling through to the ash tray, it builds up in the fire cup which in turn causes the pellets in the auger to ignite and eventually reaches the hopper. I spoke with a good friend of mine who is a chef that uses a pro series not only at home but at his restaurant as well. The pro series does not have an ash removal option. He has to clean it out at minimum every other cook. I bought myself a shop vac and have been cleaning mine out after every cook and haven’t had any issues since. For now this will be what I do since the ash removal doesn’t work properly. I suggest that anyone using a platinum series Pitboss with an ash removal feature do the same. If and/or when I hear from Pitboss I will post here again with the details. I hope this helps.
 

MikeInFla

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I don't have a Platinum but I have a Pit Boss pellet grill and a Copperhead Series 3. About every 3 cooks I vacuum out the fire pot and everything inside. Just make sure it has cooled down. I normally let it sit overnight then vacuum before the next cook. No issues with either Pit Boss.
 

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After reading your post, I checked my ash try ( I have the same model less than a week old) and there indeed was ash building up and there was some in the tray. I used the tray brush feature and looked in the fire pot and the brush was not hitting the holes to clean the pot. It's as if the bristles are too short to be effective to get the layer of ash to drop through. It looks great at cleaning the underside of ash tray which is pointless. I scraped a few times but the small layer of ash woiuldn't go through until I manually pushed it through. I'm also not getting nearly the smoke I thought I would, possibly due to cheap pellets that had an opening my wife found after buying from Walmart. I'm going to use a bag of Pitboss to see how that works. A Youtube! Pitmaster reviewer who recieved the grill fior review even said the burner is too clean and doesn't produce a lot of smoke so he uses a pellet tube with the smoker and for $800??
 

DaveXDm9

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After reading your post, I checked my ash try ( I have the same model less than a week old) and there indeed was ash building up and there was some in the tray. I used the tray brush feature and looked in the fire pot and the brush was not hitting the holes to clean the pot. It's as if the bristles are too short to be effective to get the layer of ash to drop through. It looks great at cleaning the underside of ash tray which is pointless. I scraped a few times but the small layer of ash woiuldn't go through until I manually pushed it through. I'm also not getting nearly the smoke I thought I would, possibly due to cheap pellets that had an opening my wife found after buying from Walmart. I'm going to use a bag of Pitboss to see how that works. A Youtube! Pitmaster reviewer who recieved the grill fior review even said the burner is too clean and doesn't produce a lot of smoke so he uses a pellet tube with the smoker and for $800??
This is a common complaint and what I do not understand from Pit Boss is why re-invent the wheel as the Pro Series, Navigator, and Sportsman are fantastic grill/smokers. What they should done was created a PID controllers for these grills plain and simple. Because I have a aftermarket PID controller on my PS 1100 and it is a completely different grill now the smoke it delivers is unbelievable.
 

SwingDangler

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This is a common complaint and what I do not understand from Pit Boss is why re-invent the wheel as the Pro Series, Navigator, and Sportsman are fantastic grill/smokers. What they should done was created a PID controllers for these grills plain and simple. Because I have a aftermarket PID controller on my PS 1100 and it is a completely different grill now the smoke it delivers is unbelievable.
I completely agree. I did solve the problem with a tube smoker and I have no complaints with the temp controls which work amazingly well for the long smoke. the Bluetooth feature even worked on my ipad not the android device of course. The interesting thing is, Pit Boss actually RECOMMENDS on their webpage using a tube in their smokers if you 'want more smoke flavor' which is completely bizarre considering that is the whole basis for their manufacturing facility and business model! So they must know this Combo model is not doing the same as their pro line.
 
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Hybridkowboy

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After reading your post, I checked my ash try ( I have the same model less than a week old) and there indeed was ash building up and there was some in the tray. I used the tray brush feature and looked in the fire pot and the brush was not hitting the holes to clean the pot. It's as if the bristles are too short to be effective to get the layer of ash to drop through. It looks great at cleaning the underside of ash tray which is pointless. I scraped a few times but the small layer of ash woiuldn't go through until I manually pushed it through. I'm also not getting nearly the smoke I thought I would, possibly due to cheap pellets that had an opening my wife found after buying from Walmart. I'm going to use a bag of Pitboss to see how that works. A Youtube! Pitmaster reviewer who recieved the grill fior review even said the burner is too clean and doesn't produce a lot of smoke so he uses a pellet tube with the smoker and for $800??
Yes the ash removal tray/system is absolutely useless. I vacuum mine out before any new cook. I also just started using a pellet tube which makes a huge difference. Be aware that any long cook over 3-4 hours you’ll want to force the ash through the mesh on the bottom of the fire cup, mid cook. It’s a pain in the ass but necessary if you don’t want burn back and smoke coming out of the pellet box and fire out of the auger tube. I learned the hard way about 4 hours in to a 12 hour cook at 225 degrees. I didn’t have an issue past the initial cleaning after the 4 hours but pay attention on the long cooks.
 
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Hybridkowboy

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How much space do you have between the bottom of your burn pot and the bottom of the feed tube?

I have a 700S and I wonder if I need to pause an 18 hour cook to clean out the burn pot.

Maybe I need to put something like this https://smokedaddyinc.com/product/the-ash-away-ash-removal-system/ in my grill for mid-cook smoke outs.
I’m not sure how the 700s burn pot is set up as far as ventilation and ash removal but the KC Combo only has a mesh bottom (about 1/8” square mesh) there’s no holes or venting on the side of the pot. The problem with that is very little of the ash falls through as it is supposed to, which in turn causes burn back and smoke to the pellet box. The link you posted would actually make things worse for a KC combo owner. I haven’t measured the distance from the auger to the bottom of the fire pot but it’s not much, an inch at the most. I didn’t take that in to account when assessing the issues and possible solutions but I’m guessing it might have some to do with the KC combo burn back and smoke issues.
 

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Has anyone tried using the ash brush system during a long cook to help the ash fall into the ash tray?
 
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Hybridkowboy

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Has anyone tried using the ash brush system during a long cook to help the ash fall into the ash tray?
Yes I have and it doesn’t work. If you read through most of this thread you’ll see that long cooks are not ideal with a KC combo. The ash does not fall through as it’s supposed to. Unfortunately you’ll have to watch it, check it and make sure you’re not getting too much buildup of ash. The buildup will cause the pellets in the auger to start burning and you will eventually get smoke coming out of the pellet box and even fire out of the auger. I’ve witnessed it first hand and had to pause a long cook to clean everything out so as not to get fire in the pellet box.
 

biffhero

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I’m not sure how the 700s burn pot is set up as far as ventilation and ash removal but the KC Combo only has a mesh bottom (about 1/8” square mesh) there’s no holes or venting on the side of the pot. The problem with that is very little of the ash falls through as it is supposed to, which in turn causes burn back and smoke to the pellet box. The link you posted would actually make things worse for a KC combo owner. I haven’t measured the distance from the auger to the bottom of the fire pot but it’s not much, an inch at the most. I didn’t take that in to account when assessing the issues and possible solutions but I’m guessing it might have some to do with the KC combo burn back and smoke issues.
I think the 700 has a burn pot something like this.


I cannot find the 700 manual online in PDF format. We don't have a mesh bottom, that's for sure.

Since you have a mesh bottom on your burn pot, maybe you could attach a motor with an offset weight to vibrate it.
 
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Hybridkowboy

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That would likely work quite well, unfortunately I feel it would likely void the warranty. I’m a welder/fabricator and have a few ideas that would improve the ash removal system and I could execute them fairly easily but not willing to void the warranty. In the meantime I am staying diligent in cleaning before each new cook. I am planning on making some sort of scraper that fits through the grill that will force the ash through the mesh mid cook, that way I won’t have to pause a cook to clean it out.
 

biffhero

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Any Pitboss purchased after 9/3/2018 comes with a 5 year warranty and states that any modification made to the unit voids the warranty.

Oh! Well, I guess I'll use my grill the way it came from the factory for a few months until I decide that the controller board and other FRU items are not lemons. Then I can start in with the mods.
 

Sparky

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I found most of my ash build up was on the outer edge of the burn cup where the mesh meets the metal ring. I thought of trying to enlarge the holes in the mesh to see if it would help. Also looking for some kind of metal rod that I could move the ash on the side of the cup. What do you all thinks?
 
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