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Ignition Rod Repair (700 series grills)

This article covers how to replace the ignition rod (hot rod) in a Z Grills 700 series pellet smoker.

For Grill Models: 7002B, 700E, 700E-XL

Time: 20-30min

Difficulty: Medium

Spare Parts (from Z Grills): Ignition Rod, Cable ties

Tools Required: Pliers or small socket set, Phillips head screwdriver, Scissors or knife

What is the ignition rod?

The ignition rod extends into the bottom of the fire-pot and is responsible for igniting the wood pellets. Each time the grill is turned from Shut Down the Smoke setting, the ignition rod runs for 5mins, getting red hot.

Repair Instructions

Check out the video below and the step by step instructions with photos on this page to understand how to replace an ignition rod in a 700 series Z Grills pellet smoker.

Step 1. Unplug the Power

Before doing any maintenance or cleaning, always unplug the power to the grill.

Step 2. Empty the hopper

Scoop as many pellets out as you can using a plastic scoop or cup.

Vacuum out the remaining pellets so you can see the Auger.

To make cleaning out all the wood pellets easier, you may want to temporarily remove the guard plate.

4 screws are located just under the front and rear lips of the guard.  

Take care not to drop the screws down into the Auger.

Step 3. Remove base cover

Remove the 6 screws (3 front, 3 rear) to release the base cover.

The base cover should drop down once the screws are removed but will be held in place by the power cable.

If possible, gently push the cable up through the cable tension ring to drop the cover down a bit lower. This will make getting the hopper box off a little easier.

Step 4. Release the Controller

Z Grills Controller Remove Screws

Remove the two screws from the controller.

Z Grills controller push into casing

Gentle pull the controller forward and then push back in through the hole in the hopper box.

Controller dangling from hopper

Once pushed through the hole, the controller may dangle down below the hopper box as shown.

Step 5. Remove hopper box

Remove hopper box screws

Remove the two front and two rear screws.

Carefully lift the hopper box up and off and place to the side out of the way.

You now have clear access to the controller and all the electrical components.

Step 6. Check the fuse

If the ignition rod tripped the power (quite common) the fuse is most likely blown.

A spare fuse is zip tied to the top of the green fuse box.

Fuse Box Pulled Out

Cut the white cable tie and pull the top off the green box with the fuse housed inside.

3A M205 Fuse

If blown, swap the fuse out with the spare.

The fuse type is a 3A M205 Fast Blow Fuse, which is widely available from electric parts outlets and hardware stores.

Step 7. Unplug the ignition rod cable


Cut off all the cable ties to free up the cables.

Identify the cable with the sticker HOT on it which powers the ignition rod.

The cable will be purple-white from the controller and white-white leading into the side of the grill to the ignition rod.

Carefully unplug the connector.

Step 8. Remove fire-pot

Remove fire-pot screws

Undo the 4 screws on the top of the fire-pot using a pair of pliers, spanner or suitable sized socket wrench.

Pull the fire-pot to the right (tap with pliers if required).

To lift out, rotate the pot to the side and lift up and out at an angle.

Flip the fire-pot over and gently undo the screw until the ignition rod can slide out.

Step 9. Replace ignition rod

Pull out ignition rod

Pull the thick white cable to remove the old ignition rod from the grill.

Insert new ignition rod

Insert the new ignition rod and push through enough cable until you can grab the end from the fire-pot hole.

Pull new igntion rod out

Make sure the cable runs to the front side of the auger feed tube.

Ingition rod extend length

Insert the new ignition rod into the fire-pot so it extends out 10-15mm.

Secure in place by tightening the screw. Do NOT over torque the screw as it may break.

Angle firepot to insert and remove

Put the fire-pot back in place by angling the ignition rod to the front of the auger feed tube.

Drop down and then rotate to align the auger feed tube with the big hole in the fire-pot.

Tap fire-pot back into place

Put the fire-pot back in place by angling the ignition rod to the front of the auger feed tube.

You may need to gently push the auger feed tube up or down to slot into the hole in the fire-pot.

As required, gently tap the fire-pot into place so the screw holes align.

Tighten fire-pot screws up

Do up all the screw firmly. Do not over-tighten.

Step 10. Connect and bundle cables

Unplug Igntion Rod Cable

Connect the new ignition rod cable to the purple-white plug labelled HOT.

Bundle cables neatly together

Bundle the cables neatly using the ignition rod cable as an anchor.

Use several cable ties to secure the cables together taking care to ensure none are close to the main fan (underneath) or auger motor small cooling fan.

If available, use some spiral conduit to wrap around the cables.

Correct temperature cable position

Ensure the thin, white temperature sensor cable is running down on the inside of the hopper plate as shown.

This cable may be bundled closer to the top of the cable which is also fine. It is important this cable is not loose such that it could contact either of the fans.

Step 11. Replace hopper box

Controller dangling from hopper

Put the hopper box back in place and secure with the 4 screws.

Step 12. Put controller back

Z Grills controller push into casing

Gentle push the controller back up from below and through the hole in the hopper box.

Controller Boards Temp Sensor Terminals

Check to make sure the temperature sensor cables are still firmly in place.

Depending on the controller model, the colour of the cable ends and terminal block may be different. Both are situated at the top of the controller board.

Grill underneath view

Use a mirror or selfie camera on your phone to look from underneath the hopper box. This photo shows an acceptable, neat set of cable that will not contact the fans.

If any of the cables are too close to the fans use cable ties to secure more neatly.

Step 13. Test operation

Before replacing the bottom cover first test the operation of the grill.

Plug into power, switch on and turn the controller knob to Smoke setting.

Listen for the fan sound and look to see if the auger it slowly rotating (it comes on/off) intermittently. You may need to wait 30-40 seconds to see it rotate.

Firepot ignition process

To check the operation of the ignition wait to see smoke, which should appear in 4-5 minutes.

If the auger feed tube is empty of pellets, use a long piece of twisted kitchen paper to touch the ignition rod to see if it is getting hot (2-3 minutes from turning to Smoke).

If the fan, auger motor or ignition rod are not working, unplug from power and check the plug connections.

Step 14. Replace cover

Once once confirmed that the ignition rod is working, turn the grill to shut down cycle.

If there is fire in the fire-pot wait until the fan turns off before turning off.

Unplug the grill from power.

Cable tensioner

Slide the cover back up into place by wiggling the cable through the cable tension ring.

Put all 6 screws back in place. Don’t over-tighten them.

If the auger feed tube has been totally emptied of wood pellets you will need to follow the initial startup procedure to prime the wood pellets. Click here for instructions. The initial burn-in does not need to be completed again.

Awesome job, you fixed it!

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