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New Mak 2-Star, need help!

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    #16
    I haven't removed the fan, so unless it's been installed backwards at the factory, it should be flowing air in the proper direction. I do end up with a grill (on the original controller) that gets too hot, or (on the new controller) does hold a temp but doesn't get hot enough, so I think the path from the hopper to the firepot is clear and unobstructed. I do think that the fan is blowing in the right direction because the smoke comes pouring out of the pellet hopper on the right side, where the pellet intake is, as opposed to the left side where the fan intake is.

    I really do feel this is just down to the controller. I think MAK is the victim of a bad batch of controllers, and with the shortages all through the business sectors, it's going to take a while for them to get new controllers in. What I'm struggling with is whether I'm willing to wait that long. I ordered this unit back in March, so waiting 6 months (or more) before I get it working gives me pause. For one thing, I don't know what kind of warranty periods there are, so I don't know if I'm starting to get into legal jeopardy with this thing. I want to believe that MAK is the kind of company that would make this right, or if they can't, give me a full refund, regardless of how long it takes to establish that the grill will work or it won't.

    In all honesty, I want the grill...I don't want to have to send it back and go find something else. I want the grill that MAK advertises, and that everyone raves about around here. I certainly can't take a $3800 loss, so I have to do something, but I'd really prefer to have the grill and all the accessories.

    I do want to take a moment to thank everyone for their support and advice. This community is an amazing thing, and I'm lucky and honored to be a part of it. If I were on my own with nowhere to turn but a somewhat faltering MAK support department, I'd be losing my mind. You all have done a lot to help me keep my calm and not jump to conclusions, and for that I am very, very grateful.

    I've sent a message to Dennis, explaining the latest results, and I'll let you know what I hear back, and what my next round of results are.

    Comment


    • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
      ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
      Editing a comment
      Your new MAK has a lifetime warranty. But the controller shouldn't do ANYTHING that affects burnback. Are you sure you installed all the inner components correctly? Either way I'm sure Dennis has responded to you by now so interested to see if you make forward progress.

    • heraldstorm
      heraldstorm commented
      Editing a comment
      Heh, well I am much better with computers than I am mechanical things, but everything from the pellet hopper through to the firepot was preassembled. All I did was put the stand together, put the cook chamber/hopper on the stand, and mount the warming box. Dennis has asked to go through things with me from the bottom up to check that everything is as it should be. I think we may try to do this on Friday afternoon. I'll post updates after that call. Thanks ItsAllGoneToTheDogs!

    #17
    I feel for you. There is nothing more frustrating than doing a bunch of research, spending a bunch of money, and then getting a lemon. Having said that, you’ve waited four weeks, and that is more than enough time for them to make it right. I suggest you ask them to refund your money, and if you have time to continue troubleshooting it for them, so be it. Just get your money back while you can still say that you haven’t cooked on it.

    Comment


    • IFindZeroBadCooks
      IFindZeroBadCooks commented
      Editing a comment
      While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I can say if I was in heraldstorm's position, I would be doing the same thing in terms of trying to get it fixed. At this price point, there is a big difference in quality between MAK and the rest, so my concern would be that he would have a subpar experience over the long run with another brand. Once fixed, the MAK should be amazing.

    #18
    heraldstorm First, the warranty is lifetime! So you should be good on that part. This is one of the best perks of a MAK that they started a couple years ago.

    Based upon your comments above, since you've run at least a few tests now, have you removed and dumped the ash from the fire pot at all? If the fire pot is full of ash, all the holes could be blocked restricting the airflow. This would limit the temp the grill could go due to a stifled fire and potentially push the smoke backward looking for the easiest path out of the smoker. Many MAK users empty the fire pot every single cook. Myself, I empty any time the grill runs for more than 3-4 hours...Meaning if I'm just doing short cooks I might do 3-4 cooks before emptying it, but if I smoke something I empty it before the next cook. The build up could be even worse after the fire alarms or if the full shutdown cycle wasn't completed after any cooks or tests.

    Comment


    • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
      ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
      Editing a comment
      I empty every cook unless I know for sure I'm gonna use it the next day, hopper gets dumped, auger gets run fully empty, and I scrub the grates before it cools down. Usually I'll dump the firepot right before putting the cover on, but sometimes I dump the firepot before the next cook. I absolutely do a full scrape and clean of components before doing an expensive overnight cook (only takes like 5 minutes).

    • heraldstorm
      heraldstorm commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, glitchy, it's a good thought. Because my original controller was feeding too many pellets, I've gotten in the habit of each time I run a new test, I empty out the firepot and start with a clean firepot. But good thought! One of the things I really do like about the MAK is how easy it is to empty the firepot. My old Traeger was a huge hassle to clean out. I really do hope that I get this thing working because there are aspects of it that I really do love!
      Last edited by heraldstorm; September 7, 2021, 04:07 PM.

    #19
    I do not have a dog in this fight. But it is so cool to watch how this group supports one another. Best of luck I am convinced this will work out for you.
    Last edited by DavidNorcross; September 12, 2021, 03:59 AM.

    Comment


      #20
      While I can't really help with MAK specifics, it does seem like the conversation is mainly via email.

      Have you tried doing a video call where they can see it in operation? Are there firmware updates? And maybe you can show them real time shots of the controller and issues? Do they offer a onsite visit option by a MAK techical person to help? Sometimes hearing and seeing something makes all the difference.
      Last edited by IFindZeroBadCooks; September 7, 2021, 04:37 PM.

      Comment


      • glitchy
        glitchy commented
        Editing a comment
        MAK doesn’t do OTA firmware updates yet and I don’t think they’ve updated this year or it was January/February when they did as mine came with latest. Their firmware is pretty stable, so releases are pretty spread out. MAK is usually excellent at making sure latest is installed before sending things out. I like the phone or video idea, might help resolve it more quickly.

        You can check the version though, think it’s 1.60 on new controller, right ItsAllGoneToTheDogs ?

      • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
        ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
        Editing a comment
        Current version is 1.60 it's supposedly exactly the same as 1.59 or whatever the previous was, only difference is they added a setting to select between regular and fully SS 2 star because the full stainless were running a bit hotter without it. But they said most SS units are performing like my old MAK... we'll see.

      #21
      heraldstorm Gotta ask the obvious questions first, figured you hard emptied the pot having had a pellet grill before. If smoke is not blowing out the vents and it won’t get hot, it sure seems like something is wrong with airflow. Dennis didn’t happen to leave the fan set to off in the maintenance mode when he sent it to you? Do you see it running?

      Where are located, you wouldn’t be a neighbor to one of the other MAK owners here by chance?

      Comment


      • heraldstorm
        heraldstorm commented
        Editing a comment
        Well on this second controller, I can hear the fan running full speed on ignition, and then it slows down as it starts to heat up. I haven't looked at it, but Friday, Dennis has asked me to make sure the inside of the grill is dismantled down to just the firepot, and to remove the fan cover. We're going to do some sort of call, video or voice only, I don't know, on Friday, so we'll be able to go through everything then.

        I'm in northern New Mexico.
        Last edited by heraldstorm; September 8, 2021, 11:45 AM.

      • glitchy
        glitchy commented
        Editing a comment
        heraldstorm Hopefully you are all taken care of on Friday then! Keep us posted as I'm anxious to see you up and running before you get any more frustrated. Have you asked about the accessories to see if they have any ETA? However, you mentioned the door and front shelf which are both stainless and I'm guessing they are using every bit of SS they have on hand to complete grills before making accessories.

      #22
      Well, I keep trying to give this company a chance. And then another chance. And more and more chances. Everyone here tells me that they really care about making sure their customers are happy, and that their products meet expectations. Today Dennis didn't show, didn't call, didn't email, and when I called MAK, I was told he was on another line. Sure, people get busy, I understand, but I'm taking a day off for this. We had an appointment scheduled. If he chooses to miss the appointment, OK. But at least let me know!

      You guys keep singing the praises of this company, but I'm thinking it isn't the same company you guys remember and love. Just like people can change, so can companies, and MAK hasn't changed for the better. I haven't even had an apology out of this place for all my trouble and wasted time and money. And to top it all of, I get a no call, no show, on an appointment that was scheduled days in advance.

      I know not everyone is in a customer service oriented business, but I'll tell you what: If I treated my customers the way I've been treated here, I would be fired. If my employer treated our deliverables to our customers the way MAK has treated this grill, I wouldn't be the only one out of a job. The entire program would be shut down.

      Comment


      • glitchy
        glitchy commented
        Editing a comment
        Do you know who you did speak to? Their operations manager did leave the company a short while back and was often the one that answered the phone whenever I called. You could call back and escalate to Josh and see if he will get things moving forward for you.

      • heraldstorm
        heraldstorm commented
        Editing a comment
        At this point, glitchy, I just need to forget about the piece of junk for a while until I have a clearer head. If I call and talk to anyone at MAK right now, it won't be a helpful interaction for anyone. I talked to some young sounding man named, I believe, Rick.

      • Sid P
        Sid P commented
        Editing a comment
        I’m sorry for your trouble; you’ve given them every chance to resolve the issue. If you paid with a credit card, you should contact the card company ASAP. Good luck!

      #23
      Nope, that's it. I'm done. I received a short response saying he's on the phone with another customer with an auger jam. I get told that I can set up a time between Monday and Thursday 8-5. I'm not taking off any more time for this, after already spending thousands on it. So now we'll have to see if I am forced to involve lawyers to get all my money back.

      Glad you guys love your MAK, but I don't want anything to do with these clowns, or their non-functional grills.

      Comment


      • glitchy
        glitchy commented
        Editing a comment
        You can ignore post below, I was writing that at the same time as you were writing this. I totally understand your frustrations.

      • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
        ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
        Editing a comment
        I always dealt with Dennis or Josh, and while not every interaction has yielded the results I wanted, they were always eager to TRY and solve whatever. Even when I had some really stupid questions or problems with other brand equipment that I posted on facebook while using on their grill they have reached out to help.

        I'm extremely disappointed that you had this experience. I hope they will do right by you, they should.

      #24
      heraldstorm I completely understand your frustration. Taking time off for an appointment and then getting a no show is very frustrating on top of just simply wanting what you paid a premium for to work. The old operations manager was my key contact point and even helped me out with my initial issues. I have a PM out to a buddy that has a close relationship with MAK to see whom we need to direct you to in order to get focus on your issues. I’ll let you know what I hear or he might pop in and tell you directly as he’s a member.

      While I agree that MAK should be bending over backward to get you going, if there’s something I can do to help let me know. You can PM me even and I’ll give you my number. I’m not a MAK expert as I’ve only had mine 6-7 months, but I have had a few too many pellet grills and had to tear a few apart over the years. If it’s in the controller though, probably not a lot I can do and my controller is likely even a little different.

      Comment


      • heraldstorm
        heraldstorm commented
        Editing a comment
        glitchy, that's very kind of you, but I don't want you to spend a bunch of time on it. This certainly isn't any of your doing. If you know someone at the company that may care that this is happening, I'll certainly speak with them to find out what they can do about this situation. Otherwise, while I'm very grateful for your offer, that company has wasted enough of people's time, and I'm not going to allow this to go any further. I'll PM you my info, feel free to pass it along.

      #25
      This is way to much readin fer me who has a little interest in pellet stuff but not a lot & have no experience. But, I think it woulda been nice if’n ya made a video of the escapade. It sounds like it would be interesting, especially when the fire alarm went off.

      Comment


      • heraldstorm
        heraldstorm commented
        Editing a comment
        Heh, I agree, FireMan. If I'd have expected all this drama, I'd have filmed every second, and had one of my friends put in special effects and Hollywood-style explosions. Mostly, it would be me blowing up, not the grill, but some lights and sirens for the fire alarm would be great!

      #26
      heraldstorm I know the symptoms don’t point to it at all and the fire alarms were very definitely the controller, but one thing you could try on your own is a different brand of pellets. Anything else would be worth a shot, my local grocery store sells LumberJack, ACE usually has Traeger and others. Problems getting above certain temps can be pellet related.

      If you haven’t already that is. I thought you mentioned buying a bunch of Bear Mountain.

      Comment


        #27
        heraldstorm
        My own personal thought would be send it back if possible.
        A premium product at a premium price should deliver on all reasonable expectations upon delivery. Not tomorrow, or next week, or whenever we can get to it.
        Customer service does seem to be lacking and from what you have described it seems to be bordering on realizing the problem is unsolvable due to current supply chain/tech support from an electronics manufacturer.
        I would be forever disappointed whenever I walked out and started the cooker after experiencing what you have gone through.
        I personally have no problem purchasing high end premium product but I do expect it to work flawlessly.
        Last edited by Debra; September 11, 2021, 04:38 PM.

        Comment


          #28
          I am not a MAK owner - I am a fan of Grilla products. But I think you have been extremely patient and after the no show, I think it is time to have them come pick it up and refund your money. Just my opinion.

          Comment


          • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
            ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
            Editing a comment
            Yep I agree, I loved my 2018 2 star, I'm really close with help from MAK to loving my 2021 SS 2 star... but if during my toruble shooting I had the experience heraldstorm did, I woulda asked for a full refund. Although I would still give them one last chance, I'd write a letter (so I could minimize emotion) and let them know how unsatisfied you are with the experience. I would do the same with any company with a strong reputation and an experience so out of norm.

          #29
          Now that I'm a bit less wound up over the whole thing, I think Debra has summed up the way I feel. Even if they make the grill work flawlessly, I'm still going to have a bitter taste in my mouth. I am going to put in one last contact, to someone hopefully higher up in the company, and I'll give them one last chance to make this work. The only way I'll take time off from work for this is if they actually fly someone out here with all the parts they'd need to get it working on the spot. If they want to ship out all the parts I'd need to fix it on the weekend and have someone go through everything with me, great. Even better would be to test a brand new grill, ship that out, pick this one up, and let me go on my way. There's a few things they could do, and I'll admit none of them are inexpensive.

          To me, though, it would be worth it to have me singing their praises and taking back my negative comments about the company and their products. One of my friends bought a Masterbuilt while standing on my patio (aren't smartphones great?!) after hearing me talk about it, and it's not even my favorite grill.

          I can guarantee that nobody I ever talk to, current or future friend will buy a MAK grill, based on where things stand today. So it's really up to MAK...do they care about their customers, or not. Do they want my business, and potentially that of the people that I know, or not?

          Thank you again to everyone who has offered ideas for what I can try to get this grill working, or offered a shoulder for me to cry on. Most especially, thanks to glitchy and ItsAllGoneToTheDogs. You guys really know your 'cue units, and I appreciate all your time and advice. I just can't say enough about this community! You guys are really special, and I appreciate you!

          Comment


          • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
            ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
            Editing a comment
            I was almost at the point where I was going to request them fully test a grill and then ship it to swap with me, I didn't care if my brand new grill came seasoned... I just wanted my new grill to do what my old one did.

            But, like I said before I offered to take this process slowly and was in a position having a great working 2 star already I could swap parts and controllers and all sorts of things the first time buyer wouldn't be able or even willing to do.

          • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
            ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
            Editing a comment
            As of Friday Dennis has my 2021 2 Star working perfect from 200 to 600. We still have a little work to do for smoke mode, but my grill is 99% as advertised right now. To top it off I can't hear well on the phone so we've done this all via e-mail, which I know is not their preferred way and has caused some confusion because of nomenclature.

            I truly hope whichever direction you go, that MAK does you right.

          • Debra
            Debra commented
            Editing a comment
            heraldstorm.
            Yes pretesting and shipping another grill and picking up the problem grill would be expensive.
            But as you say the expense would be worth it if they really care about customer service and reputation.
            Word of mouth travels fast when problems occur especially in communities that are insular as the BBQ world is.
            There are 17,000 plus members on this board alone. these 17,000 members also frequent other BBQ forums with X number more members. Word gets around very quickly.

          #30
          There’s some advantage to buying a product available from a local dealer who can deal with issues like this face to face. I bought a Yoder from a local company and they set it up and fully tested it. You’ve done a all you can and if I were in your position I’d not want to have anything to do with this company. When a company reacts like this and can’t ship products until next year, my hunch is they may not be viable long term. Be sure to file a complaint with your credit card company within 60 days of the charge.

          Comment


          • Debra
            Debra commented
            Editing a comment
            ItsAllGone To The Dogs.
            My perspective is in todays world NO company is viable as we have given up being leaders and manufacturers to the Chinese. We have sold ourselves out to cheap labor and affordable appliances. It has made THINGS more accessible to the masses but the price we have paid as a country is also beginning to rear its ugly head.
            Last edited by Jerod Broussard; September 12, 2021, 12:31 PM.

          • Debra
            Debra commented
            Editing a comment
            ...I am in the process of a major kitchen remodel right now, and all the appliances I have chosen are at minimum 3 months out due to what I am told are supply chain issues on electronics. The ONLY item I have ordered that is in stock is a BlueStar range top that is 100percent manual and American made. It makes one seriously ponder.

          • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
            ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
            Editing a comment
            Debra MAK grills aren't the only thing MAK metals makes They will be around for a while unless Heraldstorms experience becomes the norm, which I doubt.

            We bought new couches a few months ago, it was a 4 month wait. And that was with Chinese materials. We bought a new aluminum gate, that was a 8 month wait. The supply chain is jacked up.
            Last edited by ItsAllGoneToTheDogs; September 12, 2021, 07:46 PM.

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