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The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke
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Follow Up II RE: Foul Up

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Back in April, yes I did say April, I reported issues with my Maverick ET-733 where are the indoor receiver unit was blowing through batteries in under 1 to 2 weeks. At the time Maverick sent me a replacement receiver which exhibited the same problem. Then they sent me a new transmitter unit, which seems counterintuitive, and did not solve the problem. At that point I sent this unit back and asked him not to send me another replacement until he had time to adequately test said replacement in house to make sure was working. I followed up in July and there was still no solution. Where I have to other Maverick thermometers I was able to get by. About two weeks ago I spoke to the folks at Maverick and they finally had a solution to this mystery. This blog entry will be a quick follow-up attempting to explain what was going on and the solution.

According to the phone call I had with Maverick Industries, the problem was only just solved very recently. They had just received a new batch of thermometers which are said to perform correctly. It seems the problem was caused buy an "undocumented feature" in the electronics of the unit itself. "Undocumented feature" can also be slang for a bug in this case it sounds more like a bug then that a feature that you would actually want. What was happening is if the transmitter and the receiver were out of sync with one another and the receiver was shut off within four minutes of this condition occurring it triggered this “undocumented feature”. One of the features that was added to the ET-732 was the synch alarm. After being successfully synced if 4 minutes went by where the receiver did not get a signal, an alarm would go off alerting you to the fact that you had lost sync with your transmitter. This feature was continued in the ET-733, But with an additional twist. If the transmitter and receiver were synched and you shut the receiver off, it continued to try to regain sync with the transmitter. This occurred in the late receiver appeared to be off even though it was doing this background task. Since the transmitter was now permanently off, the receiver would keep trying in vain to regain a synch until the batteries died.

Like many items these days, the ET-733 was made in China. Evidently nobody from Maverick Industries new about this particular "undocumented feature”. This certainly would explain why it took them so long to get to the bottom of the things. The unit gave no appearance of being active and off usually means off. According to the person I talked to they had just gotten a new batch of units from China which did not seem to exhibit this behavior. For older units that have this behavior the trick is evidently to make sure the units are in sync and shut the base station off first. This is where this problem could crop up in the past. When I was done cooking and brought the food in, I would also shut the transmitter off and bring it inside with me. I would put the transmitter down which would jog my memory to shut the receiver off. If I did this within 4 minutes of shutting the transmitter off and before the synch alarm went off, I had just set this "undocumented" feature into motion. So the trick is to make sure the units are in sync, and shut them off within four minutes of each other.

If you don't already own they ET-733, you may wonder why you couldn't just pull the batteries from the receiver unit. The ET-733 has some additional settings over the ET-732. The ET-733 added a nice feature where as long as the batteries were installed and had power, these settings would be held in memory for the next time you used the unit. If you pull the batteries, or if you have to keep replacing them because they were dying prematurely you end up having to redo all of the settings again because they were not held in memory. Trust me the existing settings and flexibility you have with this unit are nice, but you don't want to be resetting them every time use the unit.

The folks at Maverick we're very friendly and helpful along the way but it was quite evident that they didn't know what was going on themselves until very recently. In my case I was able to be patient because I already had two other Maverick remote read thermometers I could use. With the addition of my third Egg for baking my patience was about to end. I was sent a brand-new unit from the batch they had just received from China. It was the complete unit, not just new receiver. I’m not sure if this was due to my patience and/or the amount of time I'd been without my unit, or whether they are doing this for everybody. Either way this was convenient for me because I did manage to burn out two of the probes for my Maverick units (my fault) and now I have two more of the hybrid dual-purpose probes.

I used the replacement unit four days ago over the weekend and I just fired it up now. The display seems as bright as ever which is a good sign. I know previous Mavericks I have owned have had six months or more of battery life. I will fall this entry up with another one why have had enough time to decide whether the problem is truly fixed. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

SOME RELATED LINKS:
Here are some links to the original blog entries I wrote about the Looftlighter and Maverick ET-733.

  FLAME ON - THE LOOFTLIGHTER

  MAVERICK ET-733 - FIRST IMPRESSIONS
  MAVERICK ET-733 - FOUL UP
  FOLLOW UP AKA FOUL UP

  BACK TO BBQ BLOG 2014
  ARCHIVE OF BLOGS: 2014
  INDEX OF BLOGS: ALL YEARS
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