Pellet grills such as a Traeger can produce some great tasting food when they are working correctly of course. If you have come to use your Traeger pellet grill and it fails to turn on there could be a wide range of potential issues. To get it going again you have to be systematic in your approach to identify the issue of why it won’t turn on. Yes, checking you actually have 110V power going to the Traeger pellet grill is one of the first steps, its not the only check you can carry out though. So with this post, I want to highlight the process of how to fix and get your Traeger pellet grill going again if it won’t turn on. I’ll do this by referencing official advice (video) from Traeger and directing you to my other posts on potential Traeger components you may need to replace.
Traeger pellet grills can produce excellent tasting food, but they are more complicated than a gas/propane grill. Therefore, there are a range of reasons a pellet grill may fail to turn on: Image – Amazon.com
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.
Another scenario you may experience is your grill turned on initially but then went off unexpectedly. This could have been due to a mains power outage or a component within the Traeger pellet grill could have failed. As it failed it may have blown the cylinder fuse on the back of the Traeger control panel. Below, I’ve included the official video from Traeger on how to identify the reasons behind why your Traeger won’t turn on.
Hopefully, the cause is simply a damaged power cable or a randomly blown fuse. However, if it is a component failure such as the hot rot igniter, induction fan, auger motor or controller I have separate posts linked below on how to fix/replace these components.
Step 1: Check Your Source Of Power and Cables
As shown in Traeger’s video above, the first step, while it may appear obvious is to check you are actually getting 110V power to your grill. Now, if you have a portable pellet grill such as the Traeger tailgater that will likely involve using a 12V to 110V inverter. In my Traeger accessories post, I reference the inverter that Traeger offer, but other inverters can be used. But a faulty inverter could indeed be the problem.
However, in most cases, people are using Traegers in their back yard, and they cook on their lawn or patio. You need to check that the breaker in your homes master panel hasn’t tripped and the cable its self isn’t damaged. Moving heavy objects or rolling the Traeger its self over the power cable can damage it and cause a bad connection. However, there is also potential damage caused by pets or your lawnmower. The point being, don’t presume the power cable isn’t where the issue lies, it very well could be that simple.
Check the condition of your Traeger’s power cable. If you can see chunks missing from cable, teeth marks or sharp kinked bend, replace it: Image – Amazon.com
Step 2: Remove The Traeger’s Control Panel And Check The Fuse
After you have checked that power is getting to your Traeger pellet grill and the cable is in a good condition if your smoker still won’t turn on the next step is to check the fuse on the back of the control panel. Though please remember, safety first. Remove the power cord before you unscrew the control panel on your Traeger. As shown in the video above the exact location and style of fuse holder on the back of your control panel may vary.
In some cases, you may even have a spare fuse attached to the back of the controller. Once you have removed the fuse if the fuse cylinder is black the fuse wire has burnt through. However, even if its not black, look carefully to see if the wire is still intact to make a connection.
Every Traeger pellet grill owner should have a set of spare 5A cylinder fuses to hand if the smoker doesn’t turn on: Image – Amazon.com
If the fuse has blown, it could have just been a faulty/fragile fuse. Therefore, replace it with a new fuse, screw the control panel back in, turn the power on and see what happens. If the control panel doesnt turn on at all then it may mean the Traeger control panel is faulty and needs to be replaced.
However, the panel may turn on but when you set the dial to smoke it turns off again. This will likely mean the fuse has blown again which means a couple of things. First, its a good idea to have several spare fuses to hand. Second, you will have to turn off/isolate the power again and remove the hopper cover to start disconnecting and testing components.
If your smoker doesn’t turn on then your Traeger pellet grill controller may be faulty, though you first want to check the other components shown below: Image – Amazon.com
Step 3: Disconnecting and Testing The Pellet Grill Components
If you turn your Traeger control panel on and it works but as soon as you set the dial to smoke it turns off again it means one of the components has failed. Therefore, as shown in the video above you will have to remove the control panel and hopper cover to disconnect and test the different components. These include the auger motor, induction fan, hot rod igniter and RTD temperature probe. Each component relates to the following connector wire colours:
- Black = Power Cable
- Orange = Induction Fan (For Combustion Air)
- Red = Auger Motor
- Purple = Hot Rod Igniter
- Green Connector Block = RTD Temperature Probe
The first thing to check is that each connector is secure and there isn’t a loose connection. Furthermore, check to see if any of the connector wires are corroded which could be causing an issue. If everything seems well connected the next step is to unplug everything from the control panel except the black wires for power.
Then plug in a component, in turn, every time turning on the power, setting the dial to smoke to see if the control panel goes off (blown fuse) or an error message is displayed. It should be noted in the video that Traeger acknowledges that its often the hot rod igniter which could be causing the problem.
Step 4: Replacing Faulty Traeger 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.
Traeger Induction Fan Replacement
The induction fan on your Traeger provides the air needed for efficient combustion to take place. If this is the component that has failed on your Traeger grill luckily it is one of the cheapest and easiest components to replace. You will not have to remove the hopper cover again, just the bottom panel. However, it will be easier to complete the change over if you are able to lay the grill on its side. Check out my post on how to replace a Traeger induction fan.
Replacing the induction fan on a Traeger pellet grill is one of the easiest and cheapest fixes to get the smoker going again: Image – Amazon.com
Traeger Auger and Auger Motor Replacement
Now, even if the auger is the cause of your control panel blowing a fuse the auger motor may actually be fine, the auger its self may simply be blocked. The most common cause for this is water (rain) got into the hopper. The grill pellets absorbed the water, expanded and jammed the auger.
I have a post on how to replace a Traeger auger motor. However, within that post, I also discuss how to free up a jammed auger. Once unjammed before you purchase a new auger motor connect it back up to the control panel and try again. You may find after inserting a new fuse into the control panel you’re good to go!
The auger motor on your Traeger may not actually be faulty, it may simply be blocked which is causing the motor to overload and blow the control panel fuse: Image – Amazon.com
Hot Rod Igniter Replacement
If the hot rod igniter has failed on your Traeger grill, hence the grill won’t fire up at all the first thing you will want to do is clean the pellet grill. You are going to need to get an ash vac or shop vac and clean all the ash from the bottom of the grill and burn pot.
In my post on how to replace a Traeger hot rod igniter, I discuss the official Traeger method of replacement along with other methods. In either case, depending on the condition of the hot rod igniter and firepot it may be difficult to separate them. Therefore in some cases, if the firepot is also in poor condition both are often replaced at the same time.
You can purchase and replace the hot rod igniter on its own. However, it often makes more sense to change both the firepot and hot rod igniter at the same time: Image – Amazon.com
Now, if your hot rod has failed and you don’t have a replacement to hand it is possible to manually ignite a pellet grill. However, please read my linked article carefully as it can be a dangerous process and you will need to take proper precautions/care.
RTD Temperature Probe Replacement
The temperature probe on your Traeger grill unless there is a bad connection on the control panel is unlikely the cause of the grill not turning on. However, if faulty they can be a cause of error messages or just simply make your cooking time a lot harder if the RTD probe is not able to properly regulate the temperature of the grill. In my post on how to replace a Traeger’s temperature probe, I discuss how you can test if the RTD is faulty. The problem could be with the probe or it could be with the controller itself.
The RTD probe within every Traeger pellet grill performs a crucial role providing the controller with accurate temperature data to control the auger and induction fan: Image – Amazon.com
Conclusions On The Causes Of A Traeger Pellet Grill Not Powering On
As I stated at the start of this post if your Traeger pellet grill won’t turn on you want to take a systematic/logical approach to find out where the problem lies. Otherwise, if you simply guess or base decisions on what you ‘believe’ may be the problem you may waste quite of bit of money on a new controller, induction fan, auger motor, hot rod igniter or RTD probe. You want to follow the process above to first properly identify which component is the cause of the problem. Or as also shown above, it could simply be a damaged power cable or a blown fuse.
That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope after you follow the process above you are able to get your Traeger pellet grill fixed and working again for as little expense as possible. If you are curious about how Traeger wood pellets are made or wood pellets, in general, please browse the other posts in 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.