RECTEQ (previously branded as REC TEC) has been making pellet grills/smokers since 2008. They are well regarded by many, including myself, as providing some of the best value products with quality features such as stainless steel construction and PID/WiFi functionality. However, just like any pellet grill/smoker, from time to time, things can go wrong, leading to an error code. A RECTEQ pellet grill/smoker will only display one of three error codes. However, what the code means will depend on your specific model.
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.
Introduction To RECTEQ (REC TEC) Error Codes
Why? Well, a RECTEQ pellet grill/smoker will only display one of three error codes, either ER-1, ER-2 and ER-3. However, the more I thought about it, fewer error codes is not necessarily a good thing, as one code could cover a couple of different separate issues.
However, it started to get even more complicated when I realised that depending on the specific RECTEQ model, the error code will mean different things. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is understand which error code meaning is applicable to your specific RECTEQ model.
For instance, an ER-1 error code on a previous generation REC TEC branded model without WiFi means the grill overheated. However, the ER-1 error code on a more modern RECTEQ branded product (with WiFi) means there has been a power failure.
Likewise, the ER-3 error code on a non-WiFi REC TEC means there has been a power failure. However, the ER-3 error code on a modern RECTEQ branded product actually means the grill has overheated.
Just to make this a little more complicated, if you own a Bullseye with a control panel, even though your grill does not have WiFi, its error code meanings match that of the other WiFi-enabled RECTEQ products.
ER-1: Loss Of Power
First off, please note, as I discussed above in the intro, if you have an older REC TEC branded product without WiFi functionality for loss of power, your grill will display the ER-3 error code.
If you have experienced a loss of power to your RECTEQ, but you know your property still has power, then you need to do a little investigating. First, inspect your power cable/extension cord for any obvious signs of damage.
Second, if you are using an extension cord, to discount it as the issue, try and connect your grill directly to the external GFCI outlet on your property. However, you also want to check that the GFCI outlet is working correctly.
To do this, get another portable appliance that pulls quite a bit of power to test the GFCI outlet, a hair dryer would be a good example. See if the hair dryer runs consistently without cutting out.
ER-2: Failure To Light
Ok, so the meaning of this error code is universal no matter what model of RECTEQ you own, whether its an older model without WiFi or one of the latest models with WiFi, the issue is the fire cannot be established.
But what’s the cause of the issue? Well, this is where the limited number of error codes on a RECTEQ isn’t ideal, as the reason could be a couple of issues. First off, let’s discount an empty hopper of pellets shall we.
- It could be an auger jam or a failed auger motor…
- It could be the fan/blower has failed…
- It could be the igniter has failed…
Well, the easiest one of those potential causes for the ER-2 error code to discount is a broken fan. You’ll know if the fan is running as you’ll hear it. However, you can see the fan and if the blades are running by looking up under the access grate below the hopper.
If the fan is running to work out if its the auger or the igniter which is the issue, you are going to need to remove all of the cooking racks, grease tray and heat deflector from above the burn pot.
Auger Jam/Auger Motor Failure
While an auger jam on a pellet grill/smoker can be caused by a foreign object entering the hopper, the most likely cause is rain getting into the hopper and causing wet pellets to expand in the auger tube.
With all the grates, grease tray etc removed, you will be able to see the burn pot and to see if pellets are able to drop into the burn pot. At the same time, remove the rear access panel as seen in the video below to inspect the auger motor.
Now, you could have a situation where the auger motor appears to be turning, but there are no pellets dropping into the burn pot. Well, as shown in the video above, that would mean the shear pin which connects the motor to the auger shaft has failed.
If you have a situation where there isn’t an auger blockage, the motor will won’t spin and you still get the ER-2 error code, well, that’s then going to be an auger motor replacement job.
If you have a functioning auger motor and combustion fan, but you are still getting the ER-2 error code, well, that leaves the igniter. Now, RECTEQ fits ceramic hot rod igniters, which do last longer and are much more reliable than steel hot rod igniters used by most other brands.
However, nothing lasts forever, and even ceramic igniters can fail. As shown in the video below, the installation of a new igniter is pretty straightforward, especially if you use the wires of the old igniter to help feed through the wires for the new igniter.
First off, please note, as I discussed above in the intro, if you have an older REC TEC branded product without WiFi functionality for overheating, your grill will display the ER-1 error code.
So what can cause the overheating issue? Well, there are three potential causes. First, your RECTEQ experienced a flameout situation and dumped a load of pellets into the burn pot previously. On the next start-up, there would be too much fuel in the burn pot leading to an overtemp situation.
However, by far, the most likely cause of an overheating issue on a pellet grill is due to a grease fire. Now, as RECTEQ pellet grills don’t offer direct-flame access, the risks of a grease fire are reduced. You would have to have a really dirty grease tray on a RECTEQ for a grease fire.
So what else could cause an ER-3 error code if your RECTEQ didn’t previously experience a flameout or a grease fire? Well, that would mean your RTD probe inside the cooking chamber has failed.
RTD Probe Failure & Replacement
The RTD (Resistance Temperature Detector) probe sits inside the cooking chamber. Within the RTD probe there is a thin wire, as the temperature increases, its harder for electricity to pass through the probe.
The control panel monitors the electrical resistance passing through the RTD probe and gives the results as a temperature reading on your control panel, and that influences all operations of the control panel from when to feed in more pellets etc.
The problem is RTD probes are fragile. Knock an RTD probe with the cooking racks or hit it with your BBQ utensils and it can snap the wire inside the RTD probe. It will then no longer function and needs to be replaced.
To remove and replace the RTD probe on many RECTEQ models is quite an involved process. It will require you to rest your grill on its side (once the hopper is empty and all internals removed) and remove the control panel and hopper. The video below shows how its done.
My Final Thoughts On RECTEQ (REC TEC) Error Codes…
I’m pretty sure it wasn’t RECTEQs intention to have the meaning of their ER-1 and ER-3 error codes being mixed up depending on which generation of pellet grill/smoker you own. It was probably a little mistake during the design process that ended up in the final products.
Anyway, I hope the above has made it clear how to interpret the meanings of the various error codes no matter which generation of RECTEQ (REC TEC) product you own. Remember, ER-2 has the same meaning (Failure to Light) no matter what RECTEQ you own.
That’s it! Best of luck getting your RECTEQ up and running again. If you would like to check out the latest and greatest new models etc, 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.