Every Traeger pellet grill uses a control panel to operate the pellet auger, hot rod ignitor and combustion fan. The control panel receives temperature information from inside the grill via the RTD sensor. If you are having issues with your Traeger grill not operating correctly, it may be an issue with the control panel, which you may need to replace. Alternatively, your control panel may be working correctly, but you would like to upgrade to the more modern/advanced digital Pro Series control panel. Whichever is the case with this post, I wanted to discuss how to change a Traeger control panel. Let’s get into this!
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 Traeger error codes article if your grill will turn on, but you don’t know what the issue actually is.
Introduction On Traeger Controller Replacements
If your Traeger grill is still under warranty, you should get in touch with Traeger to discuss any issues you’re having.
Within the warranty period, you should not be going out of pocket on a faulty control panel.
However, as I’ll discuss below, the problem may not actually be with the control panel itself.
Hence, Traeger will likely request that you follow the various checks I describe below first before they determine the problem is actually with the control panel.
How To Check If Your Traeger Control Panel Is Faulty
If you are having issues with your Traeger grill no longer achieving or maintaining the set temperature, the control panel may be faulty. But how can you be sure that’s where the problem lies?
After all, a new Traeger digital control is not cheap. So you don’t want to go to the expense of replacing a perfectly good working panel.
Before you can really determine if the Traeger control panel is faulty, you’re going to have to run a fire-up test.
Step 1: Thoroughly Clean The Pellet Grill
Before you can run a fire-up test to see if the control panel is faulty, you are going to have to thoroughly clean the pellet grill.
By thoroughly, I mean top to bottom. For instance, empty out all the pellets and vacuum out the hopper, auger and burn pot.
Secondly, you are going to have to de-grease the RTD temperature sensor within the grill. If you are not sure how to do this, I have a post on how to properly clean a pellet grill.
Step 2: Put Some Pellets In The Hopper And Turn On The Pellet Grill
Now the grill is completely clean, put a small number of pellets back into the hopper to conduct the test burn.
Make sure you have sieved the fines/dust from the pellets, as they can impact the efficiency/regularity of the fire.
My post on the best Traeger accessories includes details on a pellet sieve bucket to remove any fines from the BBQ wood pellets. Then turn on the grill and set a temperature.
You also want to have an infrared heat gun to hand. First, you want to listen to tell if the auger is working and moving pellets.
If not, the auger motor could have failed. If the fire fails to start at all, the hot rod ignitor could have failed and may need replacing. Alternatively, the induction fan may be faulty.
If the temperature within the pellet grill starts to increase and the digital readout is displaying a temperature, you can then use your infrared heat gun to test if the temperature readout on the control panel is accurate.
When purchasing an infrared heat gun to read the temperature within your pellet grill make sure its can read up to high temps such as this model: Image – Amazon.com
Traeger Pellet Grill Temperature Inaccuracy
When testing the temperature within the pellet grill with the infrared heat gun, you want to aim directly at the RTD temperature sensor.
After all, that’s where the digital control panel gets the temperature information from.
If there is a more than a few degrees difference between the readout on the heat gun and the temperature readout on the control panel, there is a problem.
Now, the problem could be the RTD probe or the control panel itself.
You may wish to try and fix the issue first by just replacing the RTD temperature sensor, as I’ve discussed in a previous post.
Otherwise, if you are going to replace the control panel, you should always replace the RTD sensor at the same time.
Now, its important to note we are not discussing temperature swings here.
In other words, how accurately the control panel can manage the temperature inside the Traeger compared to the set temperature.
We are purely looking at how accurately the RTD sensor reads the actual temperature.
How To Replace/Upgrade A Traeger Control Panel
Now, how easy and quick it is to replace the control panel on your Traeger pellet grill will vary slightly depending on which model you have.
For instance, getting access to the wiring looms is easier on the larger grills as there is more space available.
On the Traeger Tailgater portable pellet grill, access to change the control panel can be more tricky. You source a new controller through either of the two links below.
Legacy Traeger Control Panel Upgrade/Replacement
Now, if you have a very early/legacy Traeger, you won’t have a digital temperature readout on your control panel. There will simply be the option of Smoke, Med or High.
This control panel is no longer available, but any Traeger can use the digital temperature readout control panel.
The video below from Traeger shows how to change out the control panel with a few important tips.
Changing over the old controller for the new one is simply a case of changing the cables like for like. The new control panel cable colours are the same as the old panel.
However, a personal tip I would give when doing these sorts of jobs is before you disconnect any of the cable connectors, get out your phone.
Take good clear pictures of how each cable connector goes to the other and of the back of the control panel. That way, you have a quick reference to check if you get lost.
How To Upgrade To The Traeger Pro Controller (With Meat Probes)
The standard Traeger digital temperature control panel shown above is a vast improvement on the original three heat option panel.
However, you can upgrade any Traeger pellet grill to the Pro Series control panel as well. Where the Pro Series control panel differs is that it offers the monitoring of two separate meat probes.
As you can see from the video below from Traeger the installation of the Pro Series controller is just as simple.
While the Traeger Pro controller does cost a little bit more than the standard controller, personally, I would choose the upgrade. I think the additional meat probe ports are worth it.
However, a new controller may not cost more if you opt for a non-branded option such as that below. Whether you want to go that route is obviously a personal choice.
D2/WiFire Control Panel Replacement
If you own a Pro Series Gen 2, Ironwood or Timberline Gen 1 based on the D2 Direct Drive system and WiFire integration, your controller will not look that those above.
As of writing this article, D2 controller models should still all be under warranty. Therefore, you shouldn’t have to pay for a new controller yourself, and you should contact Traeger support.
However, once you receive a new control panel, you’re going to have to know how to install it. Well, check out the video below, and it will guide you through the process.
Within the next year, there will be the first Traeger D2 models sold, which will be coming out of warranty. Hence, owners will have to pay for any control panel replacements themselves.
Once its possible to purchase D2/WiFire control panel replacements, I’ll update the post on where they can be sourced from.
Conclusions On How To Upgrade/Replace A Traeger Control Panel
Unless you have already carried out a thorough clean of your grill and used an Infrared heat gun as described above, I would hold off on purchasing a new control panel until you are sure that’s the actual issue.
The problem may actually lie with the pellet feed auger, hot rod ignitor or RTD temperature probe.
However, this post is also not just about replacing a faulty Traeger controller, its for those who may wish to upgrade.
If you have a first-generation Traeger without the digital temperature readout, upgrading to the Pro Series controller could give your old grill a whole new lease of life.
Thanks for reading. I hope you found this post useful. You may also wish to learn how Traeger wood pellets are made. Please visit my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide to learn more! 🙂