Temperature Issues

Riggins76

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Brand new to pellet smoking and just bought the 1150 PB PS2 on Sunday. I burned it in Sunday evening and as far as I could tell everything seemed ok. I had one of the meat probes in the pit and I was checking that against the dial temp. My brain was pretty foggy that evening due to Busch Light but I am pretty sure it was around 15 degrees cooler in the middle of the pit than the dial temp so I figured it was ok. Smoked chicken last night at 250 and and after an hour I checked the probes in the chicken and one was 115 and the other was 120 so I assume it was ok…checked 30 min later and one was 122 and the other was 127…checked 30 min later and same thing very little increase…since it was getting late I decided to increase the temp to 350…took a long time to get up to even 325 and kind of stalled…finally I thought I guess I should check the temp of the pit and when I pulled them out of the chicken and laid them beside it the temp probes read like 215 and 220 and just stayed there. Read a bunch of threads and saw that it might be the diffuser plate so I took that out today and did a dry test run. I also wrapped my main plate in foil and don’t know if that matters either. Pictures kind of run you through the dry run. You will notice probe 2 was the probe closest to the temp gauge (left side of grill) and probe 3 was opposite side. So my questions are as follows:
1. Is it normal that it would take 25-30 min for the grill to get up to 350?
2. Is it normal to have a temp lower than 15 degrees below your target just starting up the grill?
3. Is it normal for the opposite side of the grill be to be almost 55-75 degrees off?
4. After I reset the temp to be 230, should it have taken another 15-20 min for it to get to that temp even with the lid open?
5. After it hit the temp at 1 hour and stayed there for like 5 min they started to drop again. They both dropped down to 215 and for the most part of 30 min both probes stayed between 215-220 is that normal?
6. After I stayed at that temp for a while i set the dial back up to 325 to check to see how fast it got up there…it took like 30 min and the probe 2 read 298 and probe 3 read 282…this seems unreasonably low but again I ask the question is this normal?
7. The last test I did was a dry start up and try to set the temp at 230 as quick as possible…I FORGOT to clear the ash from the first test so it was still in there and could have caused this issue. So I set the dial for 270 and watched it creep up and as soon as the one of the probes read 215 I was going to turn in back to 230 and see if it would hold again. The dial never made it past 235 even though it was set at 270 and the meat probes never cleared 200 after 15 min. I was at a loss so I decided to change the dial to 230 just to see what would happen and for some strange reason the dial temperature rose to 245 and the probes got to 215 and just kept rising. I decided I had no idea what was going on so i shut it all down and here I am. Don’t really know what to try or how to trouble shoot this.

I’d really like to keep this smoker because I love the look and feel of it but If it’s gonna be this hard I might as well go buy an offset and take this one back. Any help or advice would be much appreciated and if you have any clarification questions please do not hesitate to ask.
 

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