You’re all ready to enjoy your weekend in the garden grilling or smoking, you get to your Pit Boss, press the power button and crickets. You hear nothing from the grill/smoker, no fan or auger noise, nothing. You look down, and you see the control panel isn’t responding. So if your Pit Boss won’t turn on, what do you do!? Well, you need to follow a systematic approach to find where the problem lies, don’t just start randomly changing components. Below we’ll go through the step-by-step process to get your Pit Boss up and running.
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: Check out my article on Pit Boss error codes if your grill/smoker turns on, but you don’t understand what the problem is.
Step 1: Check Your Source Of Power and Cables
So if your Pit Boss won’t turn on, you want to start with the basics, you want to check your pellet grill/smoker is actually getting power. The information below regards operating your Pit Boss from mains 120V AC power. If you are operating from a portable power source, then a different issue may apply.
If you are powering your Pit Boss from an external socket on your property, its likely your using a GFCI outlet. GFCI standards for ground-fault circuit interrupter, basically these sockets trip more easily to protect the user due to higher risk of water ingress/electrical shock using electrical appliances outside.
As shown in the video above, if your Pit Boss won’t turn on and its plugged in via an extension cable going to the GFCI outlet, try skipping the extension cable and plugging directly into the GFCI outlet to test your pellet grill/smoker.
If your Pit Boss still won’t turn on, try another electrical appliance you know that works with the GFCI outlet to rule it out as the issue. Alternatively, plug your Pit Boss into a different outlet that you know is functioning properly.
If your source of power seems good, do a thorough inspection of your Pit Boss power cable. Is there any damage to it, can you see any teeth marks from pets/rodents? Are there any sharpe kinks in the cable? If so, get it changed.
Step 2: Remove The Pit Boss Control Panel And Check The Fuse
Following the information above, you know your Pit Boss is getting power, if it still won’t turn on then you’ll have to look a little deeper. You now need to disconnect the power and get ready to remove the control panel.
Is the control board faulty and needs to be replaced? Maybe, but you don’t want to jump to that step too soon if your Pit Boss is out of warranty, as replacing the control panel is the most expensive fix.
First, you need to inspect the condition of the fuse on the back of the control panel. How do you do that? Well, check out the video below, and then I’ll discuss it more.
As shown in the video above, to check if the control panel fuse is working, with the temperature dial in the off position, press the power button, and you should see a blue light. No blue light?
Well, after unplugging the power you’ll need to remove the panel as shown in the video to get to the fuse on the back. The fuse is typically located on the left side inside a green plastic housing.
If the fuse is black or you can see that the wire inside it is broken, then it needs to be replaced. Its best to order several fuses, because as you’ll see below, you could blow more fuses getting to the route of the problem.
I have a separate article on how to remove a Pit Boss control panel for a wide range of models. With the new fuse installed, reinsert the control panel and reconnect the power. If the control panel lights up briefly and then goes out again, check the fuse on the back of the control panel again.
If the new fuse has blown that tells you that one of the internal components, either the pellet feed auger, the hot rod igniter or the combustion fan is causing a short circuit and blowing the fuse.
Step 3: Disconnecting and Testing The Pellet Grill Components
Ok, so you know you have power going to your Pit Boss and you have checked/changed the fuse. If the fuse on the control panel keeps blowing when turned on and set to Smoke, then you need to track down the culprit.
Several of the components such as the auger, fan, hot rod igniter have their own detachable Molex connectors, you just need to know what colored wires lead to which component. The RTD temperature probe has its own green connector block on the control panel.
Black & White = Power Cable
Yellow = Combustion Fan
Red = Auger Motor
Purple = Hot Rod Igniter
Green Connector Block = RTD Temperature Probe
The first thing to check/try is that each of the connections is secure and there is no damage to the cables causing a short (rodents etc). The next step is to systematically check each component.
Leave the black and white cables attached to give the control panel power but disconnect all of the other Molex connectors for the other components. Then, connect your Pit Boss back up to the power and see if you can turn on the control panel, again make sure the fuse is good.
If the control lights up you will get an error code as the other components are not attached, but don’t worry about that for the moment. Turn off the Pit Boss and unplug the power.
Then systematically connect each component and repeat the process above each time to find the component which is causing the fuse in the control panel to trip/blow.
Step 4: Replacing Faulty Pit Boss Components
During Step 3 above, if when testing any of the components it causes the control panel to display an error or blow a fuse, you will, therefore, need to swap out that component.
I have separate posts linked below on how to swap out or repair each of these parts. Therefore, below is just a quick summary of each one.
Pit Boss Combustion Fan Replacement
The combustion fan obviously does a very important job in feeding the fire in your Pit Boss pellet grill/smoker. It’s not a common component to fail, but it is possible.
You will not have to remove the hopper to remove/replace the combustion fan. On horizontal pellet grills/smokers you can do the job by simply removing the panel below the hopper as I show in my article on how to replace a Pit Boss combustion fan.
Pit Boss Auger and Auger Motor Replacement
A problem with the pellet feed auger in your Pit Boss could very well be the cause of the fuse blowing on the back on your control panel. However, the auger motor itself maybe just fine, the problem may just be a blocked auger.
If the pellets inside the auger tube have got wet they will expand and jam the auger up good. So good, the auger motor won’t have sufficient power to clear the blockage and the over current of power as the auger motor tried to move can blow the fuse on the control panel.
Therefore, as I discuss in my article on how to replace Pit Boss auger motor, you need to check for a blockage first and clear it out and then check the auger motor before ordering a new one.
Pit Boss Hot Rod Igniter Replacement
After following the process above in Step 3 to find which component is causing the control board fuse to blow, its probably most likely to be an issue with the hot rod igniter. You’re going to need to clean your pellet grill/smoker before you can complete this replacement though.
As the name implies this component gets very ‘hot’ as electrical current passes through it to start the fire. Its also exposed to very high temperatures once the fire is established. Therefore, the filament inside the hot rod ingniter can burn through.
Well, a faulty hot rod igniter can cause a short circuit which, you guessed it, can cause the fuse on the back of the control board to blow. Therefore, follow my instructions in how to replace a Pit Boss hot rod igniter if this is where your issue lies.
Corrosion/rust can also be the culprit of a faulty hot rod igniter, this can also effect the burn pot. Therefore, before ordering a new hot rod check the condition of the burn pot to see if it needs to be replaced due to corrosion damage aswell.
If it is the hot rod igniter which is causing your Pit Boss to not turn on you can still use the pellet grill/smoker before you get a replacement. Check out my article on manual pellet grill/smoker ignition for more details.
Pit Boss RTD Temperature Probe Replacement
The RTD probe on your pellet grill/smoker is what reads the internal temperature inside the cooking chamber of your pellet grill/smoker and gives that information to the control board.
Can the RTD probe actually stop the Pit Boss turning on or blow the fuse on the control board? Highly unlikely as so little electrical current actually passes through it. However, a broken RTD probe is going to cause you problems.
Check out my article on how to replace a Pit Boss RTD probe where I also discuss how you can test if the temperature probe is working correctly and potential reasons why it might have failed.
My Final Thoughts On Your Pit Boss Not Turning On…
If you’ve got power to your Pit Boss (Step 1) but the fuse keeps blowing (Step 2), then the most likely cause is a faulty hot rod igniter. However, don’t presume that’s the problem, follow the systematic approach detailed in Step 3 to find out if that really is the case.
There is also the possibility that you are able to power on your Pit Boss but you get an error code which is stopping the grill/smoker from functioning. If that’s the case, check out my article on Pit Boss error codes to find the route of the problem.
You may end up finding out that your panel needs to be changed out. If that’s the case, then check out my article on how to replace a Pit Boss control board.
That’s it! Hopefully the information above can get your Pit Boss up and running again as soon as possible. If you would like to browse more of my articles please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide. 🙂
Back in 2007 when I first become aware of pellet grills and smokers the only brand I was really aware of was Traeger. Traeger is really where this whole concept of cooking with pellets started in the 1980s. It was a ‘slow burner’ (pardon the pun) but since the 2010s is really when pellet grills and smokers started to get mainstream awareness, discussed alongside gas and charcoal grills. There are now over 30 pellet grill/smoker brands that I’m aware of, and the link above goes to my A to Z list of brands article.
Now, you may already be aware of a few of the other brands such as Pit Boss, Camp Chef, Z Grills and I’m sure you are aware of Weber, though you may not have known they have entered the pellet grill game. However, they are now many, many more brands to look into. Some may be what are commonly referred to as ‘Traeger clones’, but many others are offering their own unique designs and features.
A pellet grill/smoker is only as good as the BBQ pellets you put into it. The type/quality of the BBQ wood pellets you use will impact temperature performance and smoke flavour. There are many pellet flavours including Apple, Hickory, Mapel, Oak and Walnut to name but a few. However, some brands are hardwood blended pellets whereas others are 100% single wood species.
In this article, I provide details on over 20 brands of BBQ wood pellets, their range of flavours, whether they are 100% single wood species or hardwood blended pellets, their typical price and where they are available. I also provide tips on how to get the best deal when buying BBQ wood pellets and how to test pellet quality. Finally, I discuss the new kid on the block, charcoal pellets and their special attributes compared to all other hardwood BBQ pellets.