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I am sure at this point you are tiring of my questions about the Amerique I am trying to get my arms around.... after 8+years with a 55 that operated flawlessly.

The Amerique I have was built on 11-14-2006 so it is a very early model. As far as I can tell it was used very little by the original owner and he indicated he made no upgrades to the unit at all. It was garage kept and like new.

I was using the unit yesterday to smoke some ribs and the outside temp was 88F. I placed the unit where I had my old 55.. on the patio on a wood stand in the sun. About an hour into the cook the screen went blank and began to flicker with the constant chatter of a relay.... 30-40 times a minute. I turned the unit off and about a minute later turned it back on... again I got the chatter from the relay with the "OFF" message blinking off and on on the screen. I turned it off again for about 5 minutes and covered the screen with a towel to keep the sun off of it. At this point the top of the unit was too hot to hold my hand on from being in the sun... same as my 55 used to get.

The unit came back on and seemed to work well for about 20 minutes and then the chatter started again. Once again I turned it off. I moved the ribs to the BGE to finish.

This AM I fired the Amerique up again and it has been running fine. No direct sun this time of day and about 75 degrees.

Several questions... is this situation common with the Amerique? Do they have to be out of the sun and heat to operate properly or is their just something wrong with my unit? I understand the issue with the screen going blind in the sun but in my case the unit stops functioning.

I have to do a big cook next week and am at the point where I may drag out the trusty 55. Any help would be appreciated to help me get my arms around this cooker.... Thanks!!!

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I have had the AmeriQue since late April and it had its 4th meal cooked yesterday, so I am not experienced user of electric smokers. However, because it has a circuit board, I keep mine in the shade when using. It "clicks constantly" and I am assuming that it is maintaining the temperature that I set. So far, not counting the seasoning use, I have not had any problems. So, I would suggest keeping it out of the sunlight and see how it does. You might also want to give the folks at CS a call after the holiday and get their opinion. Some more help and advice may show up here as well after the holiday.
The unit will work fine in direct sun, so I don't think that's the "cause" but something else could be going on that is affected by the sun. As it's a used unit, you don't know what the previous owner did or didn't do.

It doesn't help for the weekend, but you could move it to the shade (just as a double check) and try that. On Tuesday, call CS and they'll help you out. Could be something simple, or maybe not. Sorry I can't help troubleshoot it.
Appreciate everyones input. I called CS and spoke with Bill... as always the folks at CS are great to work with. It appears that there was a change in the insulation in later models of the Amerique which better protects the control panel from heat. CS is sending me the improved insulation which I will put in. They also suggested that the unit be kept out of the sun. Bill did not feel given my description that the unit was problematic or damaged in any way.
The sun will make a difference. I see the same thing on my SM020. If the controller gets too hot it will shut down. I don't know if that's a protection so if the heat gets too high the element wont be adding fuel to a fire... or if it's just how it is...

Easiest fix get a cheap yard umbrella at Lowes and put that up over the smoker when you are going to cook. Works great you can get a decent one and a base for about 50-70 bucks. Better yet, find one at a garage sale...

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