If I understand your machine, I had one similar. It liked pellets and chips also worked as long as they were small. It would start fast.
Fill 1/3 to 1/2 with charcoal.
Start proper air draft
Light the top of the charcoal. All top diameter red glowing.
Place thin layer of pellets on top.
After 30 seconds to 1 minute the flat will light with proper burner.
Later I will see if I can find pictures.
You will graduate ! ! After all, we all have made it.