I know that this has been discussed before on this list, but you tend to gloss over some things until they become relevant...It has now become relevant. I have had an Alpenroast for almost exactly a year now, upgrading from my WB Poppery II. I know that it's generally more difficult to get to 2nd crack anyway, but recently I haven't been able to get there at all. I roast 5-6 ounces at a time, reaching 1st crack at about 13-14 min., finishes at 16 or so. But then,,,,,,no 2nd. The reflector plates are all clean. Is the element crapping out? If it is the end, which I would be sorely disappointed with given the price, should I replace with another type of roaster, and if so, what do you all recommend? Thanks in advance Michael A. Roaster of Vienna, Va.
"...almost exactly a year..." They have a one year warranty. 800-387-5707 listed athttp://www.sweetmarias.com/alpenrost.tipsheet.htmlRich Adams
Michael First, let me address your question regarding heating elements. They do not "crap out" by providing less heat. This is not the failure mode of a resistive heater. So I feel very confident in saying that is not the problem. I just saw a message from Rick Farris come in and the advice is sound. In particular ensure that the cooling doors close completely as that is probably the most common age / use related degradation of an alp. Also, the advice to check your line voltage is good advice. That is probably the second largest cause of light roasts in an ALP. As a long time Alp owner and as a new owner of a Hot Top it is a nice machine but it is also near twice the cost of the Alp. It appears to be much more ruggedly built but since I haven't had it long the jury is still out. If your Alp is not yet out of warranty you may want to call Swissmar and maybe get them to do a tune up. jeff MMore wrote: <Snip>
MMore wrote: <Snip> Mike, You can also try removing the casing and cleaning out the chaff that inevitably gets sucked into the airway along the inside of the unit. This is where the thermostat lives and the clogging can mean it registers hotter than it should. The following picture shows the unit open from the top. You'll have to muscle out the foil covered thermal barrier (and stick it back in again when done). The thermostat is located near A. You might also tryremoving the thermostat from it's clip and moving it a bit further toward the outside of the unit before reassembly.http://a0.cpimg.com/image/DC/07/10912220-a8ea-023F016C-.jpgHere are the instructions for adjusting the potentiometer. It works for some folks. It didn't help me.http://themeyers.org/cgi-bin/nopre.cgi/HomeRoast/Topic6318.htmBob Trancho
Mike, here are some disassembly and cleaning instructions posted by Rick W way back when that complement the photo I linked previously. These don't include the side thermostat info but give good tips on removing the case and dealing with the self-threading screws. Bob ==================== 11) *From:* Rick W Dave, Dave and other Alpers, You asked for it "Toyota"...here's a write-up that I'd prepared a while back: AlpenRost Cleaning & Disassembly notes: About once a year, the Alp should be taken apart for a thorough cleaning. This is because chaff and other debris will build up inside the non-user accessible areas and eventually bring on failure of some sort. Here's a basic list of what to do: 1. Power unplugged, lay the Alp on it's side (door hinged side) and remove 10 screws that are accessible from the bottom. There are two hidden screws that are covered by rubber feet/plugs at the very front of the unit (bottom side). Remove these two plugs and then remover the two screws. Note, two of the screws are sheet metal type and different from the rest. Take note of where they go so you can reinstall them in the right location when reassembling the bottom. There are also 2 black screws at the very rear under the lower fan shroud. Also remove these two screws. If you have all screws removed, you should have: - 6 silver colored self tapping sheet metal screws (11/16" long) - 2 two black screws (7/16" long) - 2 brass colored machine screws (1 10/16" long) 2. After these 10 screws have been removed, turn the unit upright and the whole upper plastic shell will lift up. Do not try to completely remove the upper shell until you have disconnected the connector that feeds from the control panel on the upper shell. That connector simply pulls straight up and then you can lift off the shell and lay it aside. There is a piece of black plastic that's part of the lower fan shroud that fits into the upper shell at the rear. Take note that it slides into the shell and must be installed before replacing the shell on the Alp. 3. Using compressed air, blow out all the chaff and debris that may have collected on top of the control circuit card that lies directly under the fan. Inspect the fan blades for debris that has collected on the blades and clean if necessary. 4. There is a metal shell that covers the gears that operate the flapper doors on the operator side of the Alp. That metal shell snaps on when in place, so pull it toward you (working it or maybe using something to help lightly pry) and it will slide out toward you. Now you can see the plastic gears that operate the rods that open and close the flapper doors. Clean any debris from the gears and lightly relubricate them with some light grease. I used clear automotive dielectric lube that's designed for lubricating spark plug wire boots. Also inspect the flapper doors and the flanges these doors touch when closed. There is usually a sticky hard tar-like substance in those areas and on the doors that should be cleaned to allow proper door movement. Next, work the doors open and closed by hand to verify that everything is moving smoothly. You'll feel a slight amount of resistance from the gears as they engage, but it should be fairly easy to move the doors. If all is good, put the metal cover back over the gears. If you don't get this cover on correctly, it will impede the gear movement and the doors will not open when required. Start by fitting the metal cover from the bottom first and then snap it in place at the top. If the cover is properly in place, it can be slightly wiggled. You can also look at it from the rear side and see if it has fully snapped into place. This is very important to check. 5. Put a single drop of machine oil down into the area where the main drive gear turns that drives the drum. I also do the same for the 3 free spinning rollers. 6. Inspect the Alp for any other debris and clean as necessary. 7. The control panel can be removed for cleaning too. It attached via two small screws to the inside of the upper plastic shell. Be very careful when handling this part as it has some electronics and you don't want to damage anything via static electricity. Clean any debris and check the 4 switches to see that they click when depressed. When reassembling the control panel, do not over tighten the two small screws. Just snug them down to the point that they stop. 8. Replace the upper plastic shell, I start from the back first. Make sure the black plastic lower fan shroud is slid into the upper shell before placing the shell back on the Alp. Working from the back, drop the shell in place and align as needed until it drops back into place. If you find yourself having to force it, you do not have it properly aligned. 9. Replace all 10 screws and tighten (just snug don't over tighten). 10. Plug in the Alp and verify it operates correctly using the (bean less) dry-run test. Hope this helps other Alpen-users, Rick Waits places shroud behind a chaff, gear Alp chassis the once a
On Wed, 2004-02-25 at 11:28, MMore wrote: [snip of one-more-story about dead alpenroasts] <Snip> You've got several choices - but mine would be 1) HotTop 2) RK drum and BBQ 3) save the guts and hack the controls on the dead alpenroast.
Mike, I replaced my Alp after only 5 months with a Hottop. That was one year ago this week and I've never regretted the purchase. It is dead-on reliable and consistent. I've got over 100 roasts on it so far. If I lived in a climate where I could roast outside or in a garage in the winter (we have too many below zero days in VT for that) I'd get a BBQ drum from either RK or Buzzroaster. In fact, I may get one anyway to play with once spring travels this far north. Being able to roast large batches for friends and family is appealing. Bob MMore wrote: <Snip>
While there were some hot Alps out there - I think one of my Alps is on the hot side - I can recall any "cool" Alps. But it's possible. I recommend packing your Alp, 230 grams of beans and carting it off to another location on a different part of the power grid just to be sure that other factors aren't contributing to the problem. Take it to a friends house or work if they'll let you and roast up a batch and see if it'll take you into 2nd crack. Set it to its maximum setting and time the cracks. If so, then the problem lies in your power source. If that, I'm of no help but I'm sure others here would be able to offer suggestions. If 2nd crack still remains ellusive, then give Swissmar a call and see what suggestions they may have for you. They've done me right before and I've no complaints. While I'm sure there are better roasters out there, both my Alps have taken a beating and keep producing reliable roasts and I've had them for over a couple of years. Have fun, Mike MMore wrote: <Snip>
This is a multi-part message in MIME format. I have an Alp that runs hot, hitting 2nd crack with Sumatra at about = 15-16 min. depending on the beans. I roast by ear anyway so I was not = very concerned about the presets. But I am curious, is it worth trying = to adjust the temp or is the difference here insignificant to the = quality of the roast? I use the method someone else mentioned here of = using a timer to about the 11th min then monitoring the rest of the = roast in person. Before I did this, twice after numerous consistent = roasts on 2 different machines, I came back to find the beans burned and = the units dead when I left it unattended. Luckily Swissmar took care of = me and now I don't trust leaving it unattended. "Twice burned, = quadruple shy!" Elliott
Heh - never leave a roaster unattended. It is, after all, your very special coffee in there. :) I always roast by ear and smell. I'll stay in the same room, timing the roast. When it starts to smell a certain way, I'll be more attentive, waiting for the crack to start. Depending on how long the first crack took from start based on experience for that particular bean and my desired level of roast will determine how long after first crack I allow the roast to go. I'm not a big burnt-bean fan, so usually my roasts end before second crack or just a few pops into it... Because of that, the presets on the Alp are totally useless to me. I just set to the maximum preset when I roast and manually stop it when it's time. Cheers, Mike Elliott O'Reilly wrote: <Snip>
Elliott, I would leave it where it is. 16 min into 2nd for 1/2 lb is Ok IMO With my BBQ drum I finish at 14, with small 1 lb load. 1min into 2nd crack. Ron Kyle rkdrums Drums for grillshttp://rnk10.tripod.com