HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Alpenroast Problems (11 msgs / 318 lines)
1) From: MMore
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 
Thanks in advance
Michael A. Roaster of Vienna, Va.

2) From: Rich Adams
"...almost exactly a year..."
They have a one year warranty.  800-387-5707  listed athttp://www.sweetmarias.com/alpenrost.tipsheet.htmlRich Adams

3) From: Jeffrey A. Bertoia
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.
MMore wrote:

4) From: Bob Trancho
MMore wrote:
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

5) From: Bob 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.
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

6) From: John Abbott
On Wed, 2004-02-25 at 11:28, MMore wrote:
[snip of one-more-story about dead alpenroasts]
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.

7) From: Bob Trancho
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.
MMore wrote:

8) From: Michael Vanecek
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,
MMore wrote:

9) From: Elliott O'Reilly
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!"

10) From: Michael Vanecek
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.
Elliott O'Reilly wrote:

11) From: Ron Kyle
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
Drums for grillshttp://rnk10.tripod.com

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