Thermoworks Probes - how to make 'em last?


New member
Hi there...I've been reading these forums for a while, but have recently run into an issue I need advice on.

I've had my WSM 18" for about 4 years now. For the first 3 I used a Weber iGrill, and was mostly happy with it. I only had to replace 1 probe during that time, and that was definitely user error when I let it drop into my water bowl.

This summer I took advantage of a sale on the Thermoworks Signals/Billows setup, and have been pretty happy with it...except...

I've now done three cooks with it and it looks like I've got issues with all three meat probes. One is definitely bad ("LLL" error, and has been replaced by Thermoworks) after the 2nd cook, and now after my cook this weekend, it seems that the other two L-shaped Pro-Series probes have issues. I'm clearly doing something wrong.

After discovering I had a bad probe, I immediately ordered a couple more (1 L, 1 straight). Those probes came today. I did an ice test, and the two new probes and the ambient probe all were pretty close to 32 (+/- a degree or two). However one of my original L probes never got below 60, and the other was around 50. I then did a boiling water test, with similar results. Two old = not good. A room temp test has pretty much the same issue.

My WSM has the silicon grommet but I'm wondering if feeding the probes through it and then removing them at the end of the cook might be stressing the cable too much. I'm also going to just live with the smoke residue on the cable/spring and only clean the probe portion from now on.

I've read all the tips on the Thermoworks site for caring for the probes and how to use them in a smoker...

My main questions are:
  1. Has anyone else had similar issues with these probes? If so, how did you resolve them?
  2. Might it be better for me to cut a slot in my WSM and use it instead of the grommet?
  3. Has anyone found a good way to clean the probe rings when they come out of the smoker? I'm also thinking that removing them for cleaning could also stress the connection?
You all have been an amazing source of info for me, and I really appreciate it very much!

Dan Leighton

TVWBB Super Fan
I have a Smoke, not a Signals with the same probes. I don't have a WSM, but a Genesis gas grill so I use the firebox notch where a rotisserie would be. I only wipe off the actual steel parts of the probes. Same with the grate clip. Who cares if the cable gets dirty from being inside. I've had 25 or so low and slow cooks in the last year and never had an issue with the probes. Try not to kink or bend too tightly the cables. I coil mine very loosely and make sure to remove any potential kinks before storing them.How tight is the grommet hole? The cables are not meant to be pulled on. Perhaps the notch would solve your issue. I've seen other forum members discussing a notch in their WSM rather than the grommet.

MikeS in Alaska

I have a two probe Smoke that I've used for about a year. It uses the same probes and i suspect the units share similar components and design layout. I just thread the short "air" and long 90° "meat" probes through the grommet. Just watch when you remove them not to tug on the cable. If you are trying to use all four probes on your Signals unit, it may be a bit crowded in the grommet and a slot or two maybe the solution. You may not want to use the little color coded rings on the probes to save space. I clean my probes with a damp cloth avoiding immersion of the probe. I generally don't have to do anything to the probe cable unless it has "chunky bits" hanging on it.

I have had spurious readings of LLL and HHH upon occasion and in my case it seems to be related to the quality of the connection at the probe socket. A bit of wiggling and it settles down. The spurious reading seems more likely to occur when I first fire up the Smoke then it settles in for the duration (4 to 13 hours).

I will reboot the unit to clear the error as needed.

But so far, I've not had a probe flat fail nor the Smoke unit.


New member
Thanks everyone for the advice. I've ordered new probes, and will be extra careful with these. I've ordered the probe wraps from HeaterMeater (I'll be sure to not wrap them too tight). I'm also going to cut the slot/notch in my WSM this weekend.

One other quick there a reason that it seems every Photobucket picture I see in the threads are very blurry? It's almost as if they've been intentionally fuzzed.