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Topic: A note about extension cord stalls (21 msgs / 484 lines)
1) From: Edward Spiegel
Hi folks,
I did some experimenting with my newly acquired ExTech MultiMeter and thermocouple (used together they make a low latency electronic thermometer) and some roasts.
I used a 100 ft. ext. cord with my WearEver Pumper to extend the roast (first crack was at 5 minutes and lasted about 1:30). I noticed that the temp stalled at 420 degrees fahrenheit about about 8 minutes 30 and after 3 minutes had not moved. As soon as I plugged the pumper directly into the wall, the temps started rising and the roast reached my target temp (440) within about 30 seconds of resumption.
So, it looks like if you are using an extension cord with some poppers that it may lower the maximum heat output to a point where you might not reach second crack.
I will do some more experiments when I get a chance to see if using more beans helps. PLEASE NOTE: this only happens with some poppers -- with others in my arsenal using the same extension cord extends the roast and does not prevent second crack.
In this case, the thermocouple will make it possible to extend the roast without baking it by letting me know when to unplug it from the extension cord and go directly to the wall.
I thought I'd mention this because I know a few people have run into a similar circumstance.

2) From: Dennis Parham
we have a nice solution to this in chrome plating!!  we use a light 
bulb strip that holds 4+ 120+w bulbs... and plug into a three-way  then 
as you need voltage increase of decrease, add and subtract bulbs... 
easy way to loser and raise Wattage! and CCHHEEAP!
you might have to use a120V bathroom strip but you MUST ground it and 
add a3 pronger plug to end... and only IF you know what you are doing!! 
dont go get shocked!!  but all us modders here already know that! lol 
and makes it easy to see roast too! lol
Dennis Parham
On Sep 27, 2004, at 2:26 PM, Edward Spiegel wrote:

3) From: miKe mcKoffee
There's just something that just bugs me about using extra appliances (be it
light bulbs or another popper) to reduce available voltage to the roaster -
the wasted electricity. Ok, some people don't want or can't afford a variac.
No problem. How about wiring your different length extension cords through a
bank of toggle switches that feed your popper plug? Maybe 200', 100', 50' &
25' cords and direct for example. They could be wired to simply switch from
one to another or wired to switch them in series to add or subtract length.
Rudimentary voltage reduction control without the need to plug and unplug
the popper or extension cord(s) during the roast. Just a passing thought...
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer etc.http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htm

4) From: Rick Farris
How about a damned variac!
-- Rick
Sierra Vista, AZ, 81F - 28%,  Partly Cloudy
Wind Variable at 7 mph (14:11:05)
ICBM: N31 34.015' W110 14.717'
Now Playing: Tommy Bolin - Post Toastee - 1976

5) From: Dennis Parham
hehehe... and you still will need a light to see roast!! lol just 
kidding.. ;-)) I was just  tellin you how we do it when electroplating 
triple chrome for a quick setup... :D
Dennis Parham
On Sep 27, 2004, at 3:49 PM, miKe mcKoffee wrote:

6) From: Edward Spiegel
At 2:14 PM -0700 9/27/04, Rick Farris wrote:
Some of us would just assume not shell out $100 for a variac if there are things that we have around the house that will get the job done to our satisfaction. . I am happy with what I can do with the equipment I have and am just looking for simple techniques that will give me more control. There is a certain amount of fun for me in the exploration -- and I am pleased with the results.
To each their own,

7) From: miKe mcKoffee
Yes it's true I roast with lights on if it's dark. However, light and seeing
the roast is not a "need" to home roast, more a oft taken for granted
luxury. Just ask the sight challenged home roasters! Smell is probably the
best indicator of roast progression IMO. Admittedly smell of roast may be
harder for most of us to learn than going by sight, especially when new to
coffee roasting. I'm unabashedly spoiled using bean temp, smell, sight and
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer etc.http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htm

8) From: miKe mcKoffee
I know we're using variacs to get things hot, so did you mean that in the
biblical sense?-)
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer etc.http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htm

9) From: Peter Schmidt
not being a rocket scientist myself....  when an extension cord drops
voltage, isn't it doing so in effect  by adding resistance, which will
produce heat, i.e. wasted electricity?
am i in left field on this?  i've been there before, it's an increasingly
familiar place....  hehehe
roasting in the shade in milwaukee,
peter schmidt

10) From: Edward Spiegel
At 1:49 PM -0700 9/27/04, miKe mcKoffee wrote:
I agree. So, for now, I will simply unplug from the ext. cord and go straight to the wall when the temp stalls.
I may also try the following with a 25 or 50 ft cord that I have. Start with the 100 footer and the 25 footer. About a minute after first crack, remove the 100 ft cord from the stream.

11) From: Steven Dover
100 foot! I guess it did stall. Try 8 to 15 feet. - Steve D

12) From: Steven Dover
Doubtful - he must be trying to impress us with his sophisticated use of the
english language. - Steve D

13) From: Rick Farris
I'll match vocabulary with you any day, pal.
-- Rick
Sierra Vista, AZ, 79F - 30%,  Partly Cloudy
Wind Variable at 3 mph (17:39:07)
ICBM: N31 34.015' W110 14.717'
Now Playing: Chris Rea - The Road To Hell (Part 2) - 1989

14) From: Mike McGinness
Absolutely! You just wouldn't see it like with a bank of bulbs:-) I was sort
of trying for some humor on the low tech lowering voltage angle with wiring
extension cords through switches etc... though it would/could work. Though I
wouldn't do it.

15) From: Sue Spence
Who has the fancy box with the matching pair of Roget's finest?
Rick Farris wrote:

16) From: Dave Huddle
Since I roast with an unmodified Alpenrost, I roast by only sound & smell.

17) From: Rick Farris
I not only have a Roget's, I know how to use it.  :)
-- Rick
Sierra Vista, AZ, 72F - 43%,  Partly Cloudy
Wind From the Southeast at 8 mph (08:17:20)
ICBM: N31 34.015' W110 14.717'
Now Playing: Nobody's Prodigy - Drowning - 1994

18) From: Jean
From: "Edward Spiegel" 
are things 
satisfaction. . I am 
I'm all for saving money, but safety is important, too.  I read through =
some of the methods proposed here and cringe.  I'm not a fire expert, =
but from what I've read, the two things that cause Christmas tree fires =
are dried out trees and overloading outlets through use of extension =
Just remember that even a small fire is going to not be worth any amount =
of money saved. . .

19) From: Edward Spiegel
At 1:04 PM -0700 10/02/04, Jean wrote:
I am all in favor of safety. I don't think using extension cords in the manner discussed has much likelihood of leading to fire if you are attending to the roast. XMas tree fires generally happen because the cords are left plugged in for very long periods of time and are in the vicinity of what amounts to tinder.
Using an extension cord with a popper for 15 minutes while you are sitting there is very very unlikely to lead to a fire. You would smell the insulation melting on the cord well before a fire would start. While the cords get warm during the 8 to 15 minutes that my roasts take, they have never become too hot to touch.
I wouldn't use them like this unattended however.
Just my .02,

20) From: Phil Ferrante-Roseberry
True. For instance, my cheapo extension cord is rated at 1650 watts, 
while my pumper only draws  1250. That 33% margin makes me not worry 
overly about the fact that the cors gets warm while roasting.

21) From: Rick Farris
I haven't been following this topic very closely -- I'm with Jean and
believe that there is a small but finite safety issue -- but just to =
the reason that the extension cords work to increase roast times is =
they have a resistance to current flow, causing a drop in voltage, =
causing a
corresponding square-law drop in heat produced by the popper.
Of the many types of ratings that extension cords can have, the most =
one is for the load the extension cord can handle without having any =
on the device being supplied by the cord.  Clearly if you have an =
rated at 1650 watts and it is affecting your roast times, then the =
rating is not of this type.
Another type of rating of electrical devices is the UL rating, which,
contrary to public opinion is not the normal, safe, operating point.  It =
the point at which the rated device becomes unsafe, or in other words, =
which it is liable to burst into flames!  That's the difference between =
"el cheapo" extension cord, rated at 1650 watts and a "contractor grade"
extension cord similarly rated.  The contractor grade part is probably =
of 12-gauge wires and wouldn't work for your application at all.
But the biggest problem I have with the whole extension cord thing is =
it is fundamentally the wrong solution.  It's like baking a cake by =
what the oven heat and the baking time will be and then experimenting =
different shaped pans -- wide and flat, deep and narrow, etc -- to try =
get the cake to come out right.  It's just wrong. :)
Many people here have found that the day-to-day variations in AC voltage
make enough of a difference in their roasting profiles that they have =
a variac to their system simply to make sure that they always have =
say, 120 VAC supplied to their roaster.  
The essence of control is measurement. If you ever hope to be able to
reproduce a roasting profile, first you need to be able to describe (via
your measurements) what happened the first time.  Let's take a =
example.  Suppose you're using the extension cord method and suppose =
that it
works out that the extension cord is causing a 3 VAC drop in voltage =
to the popper.  Further suppose that on a given day, your line voltage =
120 VAC.  (Of course you wouldn't know this because you're not =
You roast a given amount of greens, keeping careful logs of when you
switched the extension cord in and out and you are ecstatic about the
outcome.  So next week you want to duplicate the roast.  You've got the =
bag of beans, the same popper, the same extension cord, but unknown to =
your neighbor is running his dryer and your AC voltage is only 117.  =
Your roast profile is entirely different.
So my point is that with a manually controlled roaster if you hope to =
control over the roasting process you're going to have to have some =
means of
measuring the voltage applied to the roaster and some means of =
You guys made fun of Kona Mike, but his suggestion of making up a ladder
switchbox with the extension cords was actually a very good suggestion.  =
even if you had a set of calibrated extension cords, and a way to =
and reliably switch them in and out, you would still need some way to =
that your starting conditions (AC voltage) were always the same.  That =
is a variac.  And of course, once you have a variac, you can toss out =
the extension cords.  :)
-- Rick
Sierra Vista, AZ, 68F - 30%,  Partly Cloudy
Wind Variable at 3 mph (08:48:02)
ICBM: N31 34.015' W110 14.717'
Now Playing: Big Brother And The Holding Company - Piece Of My Heart - =

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