Pellet grills and smokers offer a lot of convenience due to their automated nature to control the pellet fire and give you a precise cooking temperature. However, due to how pellet grills work and the number of components required, from time to time, things can go wrong. This is applicable to all pellet grill/smoker brands, Weber included. When things go wrong, you will often get an error code on the display. Now, the manual will tell you what that error code means. However, Weber’s manual doesn’t provide proper context on why the error code in some cases may have occurred, so that’s what you’ll learn here.
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Introduction To Weber Error Codes & Fixes
First off, let me start by saying that I think the Weber SmokeFire is an excellent pellet grill. However, as I have previously stated in my articles, such as the SmokeFire Gen 1 vs Gen 2 I believe it does have shortcomings that hold is back as a pellet smoker.
Part of those shortcomings are also relevant to this article on the error codes that can be displayed on a SmokeFire control panel. Hence, my title, which includes ‘What Weber Isn’t Telling You‘ is partly in reference to some of the error codes being caused due to design elements of the SmokeFire.
All of the error codes start with ‘E’ and are then followed by a number 1 to 9. You can check out the official definitions of the Weber error codes here. Below, I’m going to summarise each error code and provide additional context on why they may happen and how to potentially avoid them.
E1: Auger Jam
Probably the most common issue/error code that any pellet grill/smoker owner will come across during their ownership is a blocked auger at some point. For the Weber SmokeFire, this is indicated via the E1 error code.
While the auger jam may have potentially been caused by a stone, nail or other hard foreign object entering the hopper, in most cases its due to rain getting into the hopper.
Once pellets get wet they can expand up to six times the volume of dry pellets. Hence once fully expanded and dried out again, they can jam up an auger good and proper.
If you do have the E1 error code on your Weber, to fix the issue, you are going to need to disconnect your SmokeFire from the power source and remove all the internal components and then remove the auger assembly.
If the auger is blocked up within the tube with wet expanded pellets, you are going to have to carefully rotate the auger counterclockwise to remove it. You will then need to spend some time cleaning out the expanded pellets that caused the blockage.
When refitting the auger assembly, check that the shear pin/bolt that fixes the auger shaft to the motor hasn’t snapped. The auger motor may have snapped the pin/bolt trying to clear the blockage.
If you need a new pin, you will need to contact Weber customer support. Likewise, if after refitting the auger assembly, you are still getting the E1 error message, customer support will need to send you a new auger motor.
E2: Fan Error
The fan on your Weber SmokeFire performs a vital role to feed the fire. On a pellet grill/smoker natural draft of air movement through the cooking chamber and out of the smoke vents isn’t sufficient to feed the fire with enough oxygen, a fan is required.
Therefore, when the fan fails, combustion cannot take place properly to achieve the desired temperatures. After unplugging your SmokeFire, you will need to remove the rear access panel.
Before you ring up Weber customer service to get a new fan, just check that the connector between the wires leading between the fan and the control panel are secure.
If the connector has become loose, the issue leading to the E2 error code may not be a broken fan, just a fan with a bad connection. If after checking the connection, the fan still doesn’t operate properly, a replacement will be required.
E3: Grill Flame Is Out
Right, we are now getting into the meat of this article, as if you read the official Weber fix for the E3 error code, its very general, it basically states to just clean the burn pot and check the auger assembly for blockages as per the E1 error code above.
What Weber doesn’t talk about is a Flameout situation can happen if a strong gust of wind was able to get to the fire pot. If strong enough, a gust of wind can actually extinguish the fire. This is especially true when pellet grills/smokers are operating at lower temperature settings, hence smaller fires.
However, if you own a Gen 1 Weber SmokeFire, you maybe getting the E3 error message due to an issue with how the auger was designed and the tube it sits within. You can read more about SmokeFire owner experiences with this issue here.
Anyway, if you contact Weber customer support they should be willing to send you out replacement auger components to address the issue and resolve the E3 error code situation.
E4: Communication Failure
As the title of this error code would imply, this is an issue specifically with the control panel. Electrical gremlins are a real thing, so don’t be too surprised that the official Weber Fix is to turn the Smokefire off, wait a minute, and to then turn it on again.
However, if you own a Gen 1 SmokeFire, the E4 error code could be a result of the first-generation firmware on your control panel. If turning your SmokeFire on and off does not work, contact Weber customer support and discuss with them Firmware updates for your control panel.
E5: Grill Is Too Hot
The likely scenario for an E5 error code is your SmokeFire experienced a grease fire. Now, any pellet grill can experience a grease fire, and pellet grills with direct-flame access are even more likely to see a grease fire if not cleaned frequently enough, as I discuss in my article on how to safely use a pellet grill.
However, due to the design of the Weber SmokeFire, grease fires are even more likely due to its design. Its a design that gives the SmokeFire the title of being one of the fastest pellet grills to heat up. Therefore, the design of the SmokeFire has its pros along with its cons.
To avoid the E5 error code, Weber will advise more frequent cleaning to remove ash/grease build-up in the base of your SmokeFire. However, if you do smoke a lot of fatty meats, they also recommend the use of their ‘Wet Smoke Kit’.
Now, water pans in pellet smokers are not strictly necessary in most cases as pellets do contain around 5% moisture, so the cooking process is not completely dry. However, the reality is on a Weber SmokeFire, the main purpose of the ‘Wet Smoke Kit’ is not to keep your food from drying out, its to catch the grease from dropping into the base of the SmokeFire and mixing with ash from the pellet fire.
E6: Start-up Failure
If you are seeing the E6 error code on your SmokeFire pellet grill/smoker, the fire was not established and the unit went into shut-down mode. To start to troubleshoot this issue, you will need to remove all of the internal components to get to the fire pot.
The E6 error message means the glow plug, also commonly referred to as the igniter on a pellet grill/smoker, was not able to get the fire established. Does that mean your glow plug is broken? Potentially and I’ll get to that, first I want you to watch the video below.
Ok, so in the video above from Rookie BBQ, he got the E6 error code on his SmokeFire. He cleans out the burn pot and then proceeds to test his SmokeFire to find that the glow plug is actually in working order.
He is very confused about why this has happened, however after watching the video, I can tell you what happened. The important point to note is at 3.50 in the video where he states, ‘what the freak is that!‘
Well, what he found in the burn pot was a clinker, a clinker is where the ash at very high temperatures melts together. A clinker, once cooled forms a hard dense material that feels a little like glass.
Well, that clinker had formed around the glow plug, effectively insulting the surrounding incoming pellets from the heat of the hot rod. Hence, the hot rod was getting hot, but the pellets were not getting that heat to combust.
Poor Glow Plug Reliability
Now, a clinker around the glow plug may be the cause of your E6 error code and not a faulty glow plug. However, Weber does seem to have an issue with the reliability of their glow plugs which are deemed a consumable item and not covered under warranty.
All glow plugs/hot rod igniters can fail, as I’ve previously talked about with my error code articles on other brands. However, Weber is using a different design of glow plug that does appear to be more susceptible to failure.
Why do I know this? Well, for two reasons, first, Weber is now shipping two spare glow plugs with a SmokeFire which should tell you something. Second, if you check out the reviews on the glow plug replacement you will also see why there appears to be an issue.
E7: Motor Failure
The E7 error code on your Weber Smokefire means that there is an issue with the auger motor. Hence, you will need to remove the access panel as discussed for the E1 error code above.
It would appear this error is linked to the potential auger blockages that some SmokeFire owners are experiencing. Hence, after removing the auger, checking its clear from any blockages and that the connection is good, if the E7 error still appears, contact Weber customer support.
E8: Thermocouple Error
The E8 indicates there is an issue with the RTD temperature probe, which on a SmokeFire is positioned in the center at the back of the cooking grates. The official Weber response on the E8 error is very brief and simply tells you to contact customer support.
In all likelihood, if the connection between the RTD probe and the control panel is sound and doesn’t work, the RTD probe will need to be replaced. The reason is, RTD probes, by their very nature are sensitive and can fail after knocks and bumps.
Within the RTD probe is a thin wire, as the temperature inside the grill increases and the wire inside the RTD heats up and its harder for electrical current to pass through it. The control panel measures this electrical resistance and interprets it as a temperature reading.
However, that thin wire inside the RTD, especially when its warm, can snap if bumped etc. Therefore, you need to be very rarely around it and don’t hit it with the cooking racks or a utensil etc.
E9: Fuel Sensor Error
Near the bottom of the hopper, close to where the pellets are collected via the auger is a fuel sensor. Now, if you have the E9 error message on your SmokeFire, it indicates an error message with this sensor.
The official Weber advice to correct this issue as shown in the video below is to turn off the grill, empty the hopper and wipe the fuel sensor with a cloth. Seriously, that’s all their advice.
Since the title of this article includes ‘What Weber Isn’t Telling You‘ I can do a little better than ‘wipe the fuel sensor clean’. First, let’s clarify what the issue is, importantly its not a low fuel notification.
With the E9 error, the SmokeFire is still trying to feed the fire with pellets to regulate its temperature, the fuel sensor is indicating the hopper has pellets in it (because its covered in pellet dust).
However, the hopper is actually empty hence the temperature will be dropping. Therefore, the E9 error will display because the fuel sensor is stating there is fuel in the hopper, but that’s not the case.
Well, I say not the case, there maybe fuel, but Gen 1 SmokeFire hoppers have notorious issues with hopper pellet hulling, which was one of the fixes for the Gen 2 SmokeFire.
Anyway, the issue is clearly there is excessive dust/fines within the pellets which is covering the fuel sensor. Hence, Weber should be advising owners to sieve their pellets before loading them in the hopper.
My Final Thoughts On Weber SmokeFire Error Codes…
It really does baffle me that Weber doesn’t provide hardly any context at all about why certain error codes can appear on the Weber SmokeFire.
Hopefully, the above information has provided you with that context to not only hopefully fix the error code but, equally important, to reduce the odds of it happening again.
That’s it! If you would like to check out more of my articles, have a browse of my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide. 🙂
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