No one wants to see an error code on their pellet grill/smoker. However, as pellet grills are electric with several electrical moving components, things can fail. Sometimes its user error (wet pellets blocking the auger), but sometimes components just fail of their own accord. Either way, it will often lead to an error code on the display. With this article, I’ll discuss what error codes your Camp Chef pellet grill/smoker may display and how to correct the issue. The information below applies to all current Camp Chef models.
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Table of Contents
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Introduction To Camp Chef Error Codes
They also produce the Camp Chef Vertical XXL pellet smoker.
Whichever Camp Chef model you own, your control panel will resemble one of the three, as seen in the image above.
Now, if you’re an Apex owner, granted your control panel won’t look exactly like the full-color display controller on the right of the image above, but its the same panel technology.
When it comes to error codes, they are all actually very similar.
That’s good in one sense as there is less to troubleshoot, but its not so good when it comes to tracking down an issue. Right, let’s get into this…
FLAME, FLAME OUT & FLAME ERROR
If you own a Camp Chef product with the first-generation control panel, as seen on the left in the image above, your panel will display FLAME.
If your model is fitted with a Gen 2 PID controller, it will display FLAME OUT for this issue.
Finally, if you have one of the latest versions of the Camp Chef Woodwind or you own an Apex pellet/gas grill, then your control panel will display FLAME ERROR for this issue, but what exactly is the issue?
Well, as the name implies, a flame out is where the pellet grill smoker knows the fire has either not been established or the fire has gone out. But why could this happen?
The first thing to check and the most likely reason for this issue is the hopper ran out of pellets. However, there are a couple of other scenarios you may need to investigate to resolve this issue.
The Risks Of Cooking On The Smoke/Lowest Temp Setting
I’ve previously written about the potential complications of cooking on the Smoke setting of pellet grills/smokers, but I’ll run through the potential issue here quickly.
Take a previous generation Camp Chef control panel (the one on the left in the image above), you can set the dial to Lo Smoke or Hi Smoke.
Well, to maintain these relatively low temperatures, very little fuel (pellets) is being added to the burn pot, and only a small fire is been maintained.
With such a small fire, if your pellet grill/smoker becomes exposed to higher wind speeds/sudden gusts of wind, the fire could be extinguished.
Hence, you could return to your Camp Chef to find a hopper with pellets still inside but a FLAME OUT error etc, displayed.
This is not to say never to use Smoke settings or very low-temperature settings on your Camp Chef pellet grill/smoker. Just be aware that when running at those settings, the fire is more sensitive to going out.
Blocked Auger And/Or Sheared Auger Pin
Another potential cause of the FLAME Out error is the auger has become blocked. Foreign objects such as stones/nails are maybe a culprit.
However, in most cases, its due to pellets getting wet in the auger tube, typically from rain getting into the hopper.
Once wet, the pellets will expand and block the auger tube up pretty good.
If you have the flame-out error on your Camp Chef on startup, you can easily and quickly check if a blocked auger is the issue. Remove the ash cup under the burn pot to see if there are unburnt pellets in it.
Now, if there are no pellets in the ash cup, you may remove the access panel under the hopper to see if the auger motor is moving. You may see the fan on the auger motor spinning away.
However, that doesn’t mean the auger itself isn’t blocked. The pin between the motor and the auger could have snapped.
When I get around to it, I’ll write a dedicated article on replacing the auger motor/fixing and auger jam on Camp Chef pellet grills/smokers. Luckily its easy to source replacement parts from Amazon etc.
Failed Hot Rod Igniter
Ok, so if you have pellets dropping into the burn pot, hence you know the auger isn’t blocked, and the auger motor is working correctly, but you still get the FLAME OUT error. What’s going on!?
Well, in that case, you have a failed hot rod igniter. At the base of the burn pot, there is an electrically heated element that starts the fire.
However, the elements inside them can burn through, or corrosion/rust can take its course and be the cause of failure.
Whatever the cause, to get going again, you are going to need to replace the hot rod igniter.
It’s not a difficult task, and I’ll have a dedicated article on how to do it soon. In the meantime, learn how to manually ignite a pellet grill/smoker.
SENSR, RTD ERROR & SENSOR ERROR
Depending on your particular Camp Chef model, you will get one of the error codes above for this particular issue.
The first generation panel will display SENSR, and the more modern WiFi/PID panels will display either RTD ERROR or SENSOR ERROR. So what’s going on!?
This is an issue with the temperature probe that sits inside the cooking chamber of your Camp Chef, which tells the control panel the actual temperature the pellet grill/smoker is at.
However, these sensors, known as RTD probes, are pretty sensitive and fragile.
There is a very fine wire within the RTD probe. As it gets hot, the electrical resistance through the wire increases and the control panel can interpret this electrical resistance as a temperature reading.
The problem is when moving a pellet grill/smoker around. If its not moved carefully, this can damage the RTD probe. However, they can also get damaged by getting hit accidentally by a cooking utensil etc.
PRERR & – – –
This is an issue related to the meat probe thermometer, which can be plugged into a Camp Chef control panel.
Older Camp Chef control panels will display the PRERR error, whereas the more modern WiFi/PID control panels will simply display – – –.
Does this error code mean the meat probe/probes are broken? Potentially, but before you order replacements, check the probe is fully inserted into the control panel.
If the connector is only half in, a full connection is not being made, and the control panel cannot read the meat probe’s temperature.
The more modern Camp Chef control panels can display an ‘OVER TEMP’ error code.
Within the various Camp Chef manuals for this error code, it simply states ‘the grill exceeds a normal operating temperature‘. The manuals do not, however, explain why this error code may have occurred.
There are two likely scenarios that can lead to an over temp error. Either following a restart after a flameout situation where the burn pot was not cleaned of excess pellets or as the result of a grease fire.
Flameout Prior To Over Temp Error
Ok, so following on from my comments above on the causes of the flame-out error code, let’s discuss a scenario that could lead to an over temp error following on from a flameout situation.
Let’s say a flameout occurred due to a strong gust of wind blowing out the fire.
Well, up until the point where the Flame Out error was displayed, the control panel kept feeding the fire pot with pellets as it didn’t yet know the fire was going out.
As a result, by the time the Flame Out error displays, there is now a burn pot full of unburnt pellets. Let’s say you didn’t clean the burn pot of these pellets and just turned the Camp Chef off and on again and set a temp.
Well, as the burn pot is full of pellets, there is more fuel present than there should be. This can lead not only to an Over Temp error once the fire is established, it can even lead to a pellet grill explosion.
Grease Fire Prior To Over Temp Error
Now, the likely hood of a grease fire occurring on your Camp Chef really comes down to one question, does your Camp Chef have direct-flame access, also known as ‘Slide ‘N Grill’?
The Camp Chef Apex doesn’t provide direct flame access from the pellet fire, but a grease fire is possible due to the gas burners.
When using Slide ‘N Grill functionality, you need to be aware that if your grease tray is not cleaned frequently enough, it could lead to a grease fire.
A grease fire can lead to the Over Temp Error and your Camp Chef entering shutdown mode.
My Final Thoughts On Camp Chef Error Codes…
Hopefully, the information above has helped you to troubleshoot the error code you have displayed on your Camp Chef pellet grill/smoker.
The thing is, as pellet grills are electric, error codes and component failures are not to be unexpected, but they can usually be fairly easily resolved.
Soon I will be producing articles on how to replace any potentially damaged components in your Camp Chef, the auger motor, hot rod igniter etc.
That’s it for now! If you would like to learn about the latest and greatest pellet grill/smokers now on the market, then please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide. 🙂
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