No one wants to see an error code appear on their pellet grill. However, due to how pellet grills/smokers work and their complexity, error codes can appear from time to time. The process of troubleshooting then begins, finding out what the issue is and how to fix it. Pit Boss have the largest range of pellet grill/smoker models to my knowledge, and they use a wide range of different control panels. However, you will find that the same error codes apply to many models/control panels. So let’s look at what they are and what they mean…
Disclaimer: Hey! By the way… any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon or other sites are affiliate links, and I earn a commission if you make a purchase.
Important: If your Pit Boss won’t turn on, check out my linked article to track down the cause of the problem.
Pit Boss Error Code Troubleshooting Introduction
So as you can see from the image above Pit Boss fits many different types of control panels into their products. Some are using previous generation ‘time-based’ operations where the auger runs at set timed intervals.
More modern/premium Pit Boss models such as the Gen 2 Pro Series and the Platinum range feature control panels running PID algorithms which are constantly monitoring the internal temperature of the pellet grill and making adjustments.
There are also some Pit Boss control panels which are fitted with SmokeIT functionality, this is the App that can control Pit Boss products from your phone either via Bluetooth or WiFi. It’s also possible to upgrade to a SmokeIT control panel in some cases.
Some of the Pit Boss control panel error codes are universal. Hence, no matter what type of Pit Boss pellet BBQ you own, you could see these particular error codes.
However, there are other error codes that you will only see if you own a more modern Pit Boss pellet grill, such as the Gen 2 Pro Series or a Platinum model for instance with SmokeIT.
Universal Pit Boss Error Codes & Fixes
So the error codes below can appear on any make/model of Pit Boss pellet grill/smoker no matter whether you own a previous generation model or the latest and greatest.
ErH (Overheating Issue)
This is the most common/likely error code that any Pit Boss owner will come across. Is that because its due to a common problem with these pellet grills? Nope, it’s because its an issue more to do with infrequent cleaning of the grill leading to a grease fire.
If you see the ErH error on your Pit Boss control panel, it means that the internal temperature inside the cooking chamber has exceeded the safe operating temperature. What that safe operating temperature actually is depends on the programming of the specific control panel.
For instance, a Pit Boss horizontal pellet grill/smoker will get up to higher temperatures under normal operating conditions (500 degrees plus) compared to a vertical pellet smoker, which shouldn’t really get too far over 400 degrees.
Now, most Pit Boss pellet grills come with direct-flame access, a great feature to have if you want the best searing results from a pellet grill. However, it also increases the risk of a grease fire if the grill is not cleaned frequently enough, especially after long slow cooks of fatty meat.
While an excessive amount of pellets in the burn pot could lead to a larger than normal fire triggering the ErH error code, in most cases, this error code is triggered due to a grease fire.
The solution is to let the Pit Boss cool down after its finished going through the shutdown cycle and then give it a thorough clean. Clean out the burn pot as well as the grease tray.
When you turn the Pit Boss back on again, the error code should have disappeared. If not, its potentially a dodgy RTD temperature probe or the control panel itself may need replacing.
ErP (Improper Shut Down)
If you see the ErP error message on your Pit Boss it means that the pellet grill/smoker did not go through its proper shut down procedure where the auger stops but the fan keeps running to burn up the remaining pellets in the burn pot.
This can potentially be due to user error (power cord unplugged during operation) or you may have had a power outage during the cook.
To fix this issue in most cases its simply a case of turning the Pit Boss off again for a couple of minutes. Once turned back on set the dial to the Smoke setting or your desired temperature.
If the error code is still being displayed when you turn the unit back on again, you may need further assistance from Pit Boss customer support.
Er1 (RTD Probe Connection Fault)
If you’re seeing the Er1 error code on your Pit Boss control panel it means the panel does not have a good connection to the RTD temperature probe that lives inside the cooking chamber.
Your first attempt to correct this issue is going to require removing the access panel to get to get to the back of the control panel to check the RTD probe connection. You want to see if the connection is sound but also that the wires themselves are in good condition, no rodent damage for instance.
To complete this task you are going to require the wiring diagram of your particular Pit Boss model. Now there would have been a printed manual in the box, but I know, you’ve lost it.
No bother, you can download the manual from the Pit Boss website. Just use the search function in the top right hand corner of their website and enter your model number. On the product page under the description there will be a download link for your particular pellet BBQ.
Now, if you check the connection and all seems good, well then its either a fault with the RTD probe itself or the control panel may need replacing. Start by swapping out the RTD probe, its a much cheaper potential fix.
noP (Meat Probe Fault)
If you are seeing this error message it either means there is a poor connection between the control panel and meat probe, the meat probe is damaged and needs replacing or, worst case scenario, the control panel needs replacing.
First, obviously check the connection, remove and reinsert the meat probe connection into the control panel. If that doesn’t work, the next step is to order a replacement meat probe (link below). Meat probes are ‘consumable items’ and not covered under warranty.
If the noP error still remains with the new meat probe then the control panel will need to be replaced. If your Pit Boss is still under warranty customer support should send out a new one. Otherwise, you can also order a new panel through the link below.
Er2 (Fire Not Established)
If your Pit Boss is displaying the Er2 error code, its because the control panel believes the fire was not established. There are a couple of reasons why this could be the case.
First off, the hopper may simply be out of pellets. Alternatively, there are pellets in the hopper, but the auger was not primed with pellets, the hot rod igniter timed out, and the Er2 code was displayed.
Therefore the first part of the troubleshooting process is the check the hopper has pellets and the auger is primed. As soon as you see a few pellets drop into the burn pot, let go of the Prime button.
Now, if the auger isn’t moving then there is either an auger blockage which you’ll need to address or the auger motor has failed. After cleaning out the auger, check to see if it turns via the Prime button before loading pellets back into the hopper.
Alternatively, the hot rod igniter could have failed or there isn’t sufficient airflow getting into the burn pot as it needs cleaning of ash.
You can check if the hot rod igniter is working by placing your hand above the burn pot and setting the dial to Smoke. If you cannot feel the heat after a minute, the hot rod needs replacing.
Er3 (Fire Has Gone Out)
So this is a very similar issue/error code to Er2 above. The difference been in this case the fire was initially established but has then gone out at a later point.
The potential causes are essentially the same as that of Er2. Hence, the hopper could be empty of pellets, or the auger is blocked. Maybe the induction fan has failed, or air is no longer able to get into the fire pot due to blocked holes with ash etc.
Before you start replacing components go through the process described above of checking the hopper, auger and cleaning the burn pot etc.
What you can discount is a dodgy hot rod igniter, as the fire was able to get established initially.
SmokeIT Control Panel Additional Error Codes
If your Pit Boss pellet grill/smoker features SmokeIT integration there are a few additional error codes you may see. Two examples of Pit Boss control boards where these additional error codes will show are are those fitted to the Gen 2 Pro Series or Platinum Series models (Lockhart, KC Combo and Brunswick).
Now, the two SmokeIT control panels above are not the only Pit Boss control panels which may display the error codes listed below, but they are the two most common examples.
Err & Blinking PELLET or AUGER Icon
This error code either means the hopper is empty of pellets or the auger is blocked. Maybe water got into the hopper and the pellets expanded. Either way, this error code indicates fuel is not getting to the burn pot.
Remove the contents of the BBQ and clean out the burn pot. Then make sure the auger is primed with pellets. If the auger will not turn when you press the Prime button, it could be blocked or the auger motor itself has failed.
First, you’re going to have to remove the auger. Check out my article on Pit Boss auger blockage repair if you’re struggling with this particular issue.
If there turns out to be no auger blockage but the auger motor still fails to turn once reassembled, then the auger motor will need to be replaced.
Err & Blinking IGNITOR Icon
This error code means there is either a poor connection between the hot rod igniter and control panel that needs your attention or the hot rod igniter has failed.
To troubleshoot this issue its essentially the same process as that described above for Er2. You want to remove the internal contents of the Pit Boss, press the power button and place your hand above the igniter after about a minute to feel for heat.
With a clean burn pot if the igniter is working you should also see it glowing. If that’s not the case and you have checked the connection on the control panel its a dodgy ignitor that will need replacing.
While you wait for a replacement read my article on manual pellet grill ignition to keep grilling.
Err & Blinking FAN Icon
This error code indicates there is an issue with the induction/combustion fan. It either has a connection issue or the motor has failed. First, you need to find the wiring diagram for your particular Pit Boss product as described above with regards to the Er1 error.
If you have checked the fan connection and the fan still fails to operate, then a fan replacement will be required. However, potentially the issue could be with the control board itself.
However, as I’ve stated above, if your Pit Boss is out of warranty, then swapping the fan first is the much cheaper potential fix. If the new fan fails to operate, that would then point to a control board issue and a required replacement.
General Pit Boss Troubleshooting
Ok, let’s say you don’t have one of the error codes above, or you did, and you have resolved the error code, but you don’t think your Pit Boss is operating as it should. Here are a couple of examples.
Pit Boss Temperature Swings – Normal or Broken?
What is a ‘normal’ temperature swing on a Pit Boss pellet BBQ, 5 degrees, 10 degrees, 25 degrees? Well, the answer could be yes and no to each of those temperature differences, it really depends on what technology the control panel is using.
Just a couple of years back, all pellet grill control panels (from all brands) were based on time-based temperature control. In other words, the auger would run for set periods of time to try and maintain a set temperature.
However, the more recent Pit Boss products, such as Gen 2 Pro Series and the Platinum Series, use PID temperature control algorithms. These control panels are making constant small adjustments to achieve the set temperature.
Typically, you should expect a ‘normal’ temperature swing on a time-based control panel of about 25 degrees around the set temperature. However, Pit Boss PID pellet grills should ‘normally’ show a lower temperature swing of 5 to 10 degrees around the set temperature.
So surely all SmokeIT control panels are using a PID temperature control algorithm!? Nope, I discuss this as a point of disappointment in my article on the SmokeIT control panel upgrades.
Pit Boss Starts Dropping Temp Mid-Cook (What To Do)
If the temperature inside your Pit Boss starts to drop beyond the ‘normal’ temperature swings discussed above the likely cause is the hopper is running out of pellets.
Now if you are able to catch this issue in time you can potentially load pellets back into the hopper and continue with the cook.
However, if a longer period of time has passed and a flameout has occurred then loading the hopper with pellets and expecting to just keep going with the cook as before is not going to happen.
My Final Thoughts On Pit Boss Error Codes & Troubleshooting…
As pellet grills/smokers are electric there is a variety of components that perform different tasks that all have to be working together for your Pit Boss to operate correctly. Unfortunately, from time to time, things can go wrong.
Sometimes its a user error (infrequent cleaning, poor quality pellets etc), maybe you left the hopper lid open in the rain, well that’s going to lead to a problem. These things happen, but sometimes its not user error, components can just fail of their own accord.
To get back up and going again, you need to follow a systematic approach to resolve your problem and check all the obvious potential issues first, running out of pellets, for instance.
That’s it! I hope you found my descriptions of the various Pit Boss error codes above useful to get you back up a running again. If you would like to learn more about various other makes and models, please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide. 🙂
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