The last thing you want to see on the control panel of your Z Grill is an error code. Unfortunately, with pellet grills/smokers being electrical devices ,it is possible for components to either fail or for there to be a bad electrical connection etc. Now, there are things you can do to reduce your chances of seeing an error code on your Z Grill ,which I’ll discuss below. But first and foremost, let’s deal with the error code you may already have on your Z Grill pellet grill/smoker and how to fix the issue. Right, let’s get into this!
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Introduction To Z Grills Error Codes
There are many different reasons an error code could have appeared on the control panel of your Z Grill pellet grill/smoker. It may simply be a bad connection between one of the electrical components (auger motor, fan, hot rod igniter etc).
Alternatively, one of the components could have failed, or maybe the auger is just blocked with wet expanded pellets. Well, the error code displayed on the control panel will help to narrow down what the issue actually is.
I’m going to provide my own comments/feedback on each of the potential error codes you could come across on your Z Grill. However, as an introduction, I’ve provided the video below on error codes from Z Grills Australia.
If you have previously come across my article on Traeger error codes you will notice some similarities between those error codes and the Z Grill error codes below.
Why is that? Well, many pellet grills/smokers from different brands share similar technology. Right, let’s get into this then, shall we?
LEr (Low Temperature Error)
For this error code to display on the control panel, Z Grills state ‘the grill’s internal temperature has been below 150 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.’ But what could be the cause of this issue?
Well, the most obvious potential issue and the first thing you should check is that there are still pellets in the hopper. However, if there are still pellets in the hopper and you have the LEr error code what else could be the issue?
Potentially A Blocked Auger/Faulty Auger Motor
If your Z Grill never got the fire established before the LEr error displayed then it could potentially be a blocked auger. Maybe some foreign objects (nail/stone) ended up in the hopper and stopped the auger from turning. However, most of the time, this issue will be due to rain getting in the hopper.
If you use your pellet grill in the rain or leave it out in the rain, there is a potential risk of water getting into the hopper. If this happens then the pellets will absorb the water and swell up. Wet pellets can expand up to 6 times the volume of dry pellets and can block up an auger good and proper.
Will this cause the auger motor to be damaged? Potentially, but if you’re lucky, once the blockage has been removed your Z Grill auger will function as normal. To see if your auger is working properly, remove all the grates/heat deflector in your Z Grill so you can see the burn pot.
Then with power to your Z Grill, set the dial to the Smoke Setting, if the auger is working properly, you should start to see pellets dropping into the burn pot. If that’s not the case, you are going to need to remove the hopper/burner assembly to check out the auger.
Now, if your auger is blocked up, it won’t be as easy to remove as the auger shown in the video above. To remove a jammed auger you will need a set of mole grips and turn the auger counter clockwise to literally unscrew the auger from the blockage of wet pellets.
Once you have cleaned out the auger tube of wet expanded pellets, reassemble your Z Grill and test if the auger motor is turning when set on the Smoke setting. If its not moving, unfortunately, that means the auger motor was damaged as a result of the blockage and will need to be replaced.
Potentially A Broken Hot Rod Igniter
Ok, so let’s say you have checked out the potential auger issue above, and its either been resolved or its working correctly and feeding the firepot with pellets, what else could be the problem for an LEr error message to display?
Well, if your Z Grill is not able to establish a fire, your auger motor is fine and you can hear the combustion fan spinning away it leaves the hot rod igniter as the source of your problem.
As its name implies, the hot rod gets hot to ignite the pellets and start the combustion process. However, hot rod igniters have an element inside that can burn out, and sometimes corrosion/rust can cause them to fail.
Replacing the hot rod igniter is not a difficult task as you can see by watching the quick video from Z Grills below. However, its always important to remember to disconnect your Z Grill from the power before you start.
Now, sourcing many of the replacement parts for your Z Grill is pretty easy with a quick search on Amazon etc. The reason being, many Traeger, Pit Boss and Camp Chef pellet grills share many of the same internal components as several Z Grill models.
If your hot rod igniter has failed until you have a spare ready to replace it, you should check out my article on manual pellet grill ignition, which should get you grilling/smoking again.
Potentially A Flameout Situation
The final scenario that can lead to an LEr error code is when all of the internal components of your Z Grill are working just fine, its just experienced a flameout. As it sounds, a flameout is where the flame was extinguished during operation.
Wouldn’t a flameout occur just because the hopper ran out of pellets? Nope, a flameout is not due to a lack of fuel, its typically because a strong gust of wind was able to reach the burn pot and extinguish the fire.
After a flameout has occurred, the internal temperature inside the Z Grill will drop, eventually leading to the LEr error code. Now, if a flameout has occurred and the hopper was still full the burn pot will actually be full of unburnt pellets.
It is very, very important that these pellets are cleaned out of the burn pot before you turn the Z Grill on again, or it could lead to a smoke explosion. Learn more about why in my article on how to safely use a pellet grill/smoker.
HEr: High Temperature Error
First, let’s start with the official definition of this error from Z Grills which states ‘the grill’s internal temperature has reached higher than 550 degrees Fahrenheit’. The stated solution is after turning the grill off to turn it back on again and to set it to the Smoke setting, and then proceed to use the grill as normal.
The potential stated cause of a HEr error is said to be ‘if your grill is in direct sunlight; open the grill lid and move your grill into the shade to reduce the temperature.’ The more likely scenario is your Z Grill experienced a grease fire.
If there is a lot of grease build-up on your grease tray from infrequent cleaning, or maybe you just like to smoke lots of fatty cuts of meat when operating at the higher temperature settings (450 degrees) a grease fire could occur.
If you have a Z Grill model with direct-flame access, the risk of a grease fire is increased due to the ability of the flames of the fire to pass through the grease tray.
The point is, if you get the HEr error code after your Z Grill has gone through its Shut Down cycle and cooled down, give it a thorough clean to reduce the chance of getting the HEr code again. If you smoke lots of fatty meats, more frequent cleaning will be required.
Er1: Temperature Sensor Failure
Within the cooking chamber of your Z Grill, there is a temperature probe. Its proper name is an RTD probe, with RTD standing for Resistance Temperature Detector. Its the RTD probe which tells the control panel what the actual temperature inside the cooking chamber is.
Hence, a working RTD probe is vital to enable the control panel to work out if it needs to keep feeding pellets into the burn pot to increase the temperature inside the cooking chamber. Unfortunately, by their very nature, RTD probes are sensitive and can break.
Within the RTD probe there is a small wire, as the wire gets warmer, it means its harder for electricity to flow through it (resistance). The control panel can then interpret the resistance of the electrical current into a temperature.
The problem with a thin wire, especially when its warm, is it can snap. Say you were moving the Z Grill around while the RTD probe was still warm or more likely, you clipped it with a cooking utensil, that could cause the RTD probe to fail, leading to the Er1 error code.
Er2: Incorrect Startup Setting/Potential Control Panel Failure
As shown in the Z Grills video above within the introduction above, hopefully, if you are seeing the Er2 error code, its simply because your temperature dial was set to a temperature before the power switch was turned on.
If that’s the case, simply turn the dial all the way to the left and turn it back off and on again. However, if you have the Er2 error code while the grill is running, this could mean there is an issue with the circuitry in the control panel.
If your Z Grill is still under warranty, then contact Z Grills customer service for more assistance and they may determine the control panel needs to be replaced and send you out a new one. Outside of warranty, new control panels can be purchased from Amazon etc.
My Final Thoughts On Z Grills Error Codes…
Pellet grills/smokers offer a lot of convenience by regulating the fire/temperature for you. However, as they do that by utilizing a collection of electrical devices, from time to time, these devices can fail to operate as they should.
Its obviously your responsibility to make sure that water doesn’t get into the hopper and expand the pellets causing an auger blockage, and you need to be careful around the internal RTD probe. But in some cases, components fail due to no fault of your own.
By following my comments above on the potential causes of each of the error codes, you should be able to get your Z Grill up and running again as quickly as possible.
That’s it! I hope the above has sorted you out, and you now know the meanings of the various Z Grills error codes. If you would like to read more of my articles, please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide. 🙂
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