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Topic: New Crazy Roaster (3 msgs / 149 lines)
1) From: Larry Dorman
Well... after a number of months roasting with hot air poppers, I have
upgraded to the Stir Crazy / Sunpentown Super Turbo Oven combo so I
can roast larger batches.
I've been reading all of the threads lately on this combo and I relied
heavily on that information in deciding to make my purchase - so, to
all of you who contributed - Thank you!
The first thing I did was break off the plastic cap.  I didn't realize
it unscrewed, so I was trying to gently lift it when it just snapped
off.  In the long run this worked out great for me.  I drilled a hole
and then used a screw and washer to reattach the stirring arms.  I put
a 1" copper cap over the center and that seems to work well.
To modify the stirring arms I bought a short length of 3/8" copper
tubing.  I then cut two ~4" pieces and squished them in a vise over
the stirring arm.  This flattend them out nicely to give the stirring
arms a larger profile.
My next step was to roast a full pound of Ugh as a learning
experience.  Here is what I learned...
1)  I had to push the flattened tubing over a little bit so that it
was at about a 45 degree angle instead of straight up and down. 
Without this there was enough resistance that the stir crazy would
keep reversing directions and not really stir the beans.
2)  A full pound is too much with the roaster sitting right on the
stir crazy.  I had beans occasionally getting up into the fan area and
getting whacked by the fan.  As the roast progressed this got
understandably worse.
3)  I need to improve my cooling method for this size of roast.  I
always cool my beans by dropping them on a cookie sheet that is sits
on a baking cooling rack.  This mostly worked, but there were too many
beans and they didn't cool quite as fast as I would have preferred.
I keep the bowl for the roaster right next to my roasting station so
that when I'm done with a roast I can just sit the roaster on the
bowl.  Then I unplug the stir crazy and move it to the cooling area.
Overall I have to say that I'm extremely happy with the setup.  I have
to decide if I'm going to do smaller roasts or add some kind of spacer
to put more distance between the beans and the roaster.  I'll probably
do the spacer, as the whole idea was to be able to roast a pound at a
time.
I've not yet tasted the roast, but it looks very even.  It was very
easy to watch the roast progress and hear the snaps.  I did end the
roast not too long after 1st crack because I didn't like the beans
getting into the fan.
The last thing I'll share that I learned is to not even think about
ordering the roaster from Amazon.com.  There are two listings on
Amazon... one is $55.  I saw that I could get the stir crazy from the
same place so I placed my order.  Their website came back and said it
could place the order because a non-existant checkbox wasn't checked. 
So... I called Amazon.  They told me to place the order with standard
shipping for both items (shipping on the Stir Crazy was supposed to be
free) and they'd fix it in the system.  Just to be safe, I asked what
the final shipping should be and they said it would be $8.95 - so I
placed the order.
As soon as I placed the order Amazon's service rep said she couldn't
find the roaster on the order.  I went to my order history where it
showed it split out as two separate orders.  The stir crazy was $29 as
expected with $8 shipping, but the rep took off the shipping.
The roaster, on the other hand, was shown with a shipping cost of
$29.00!  Then, the rep tells me that that order was with a third party
and they can't do anything about it.  It's hard to express how
frustrating this was.  I ended up having to call the third party and
having them cancel the order.  The upside is that I made Amazon give
me a $5 discount on the Stir Crazy.
So... if you go to by the Sunpentown Turbo Oven, order it from NewEgg.
 I've ordered a lot of computer stuff from them in the past and have
always had a good experience.  I ended up ordering the roaster from
them and got the same service I'm used to.
I'll report back when I've roasted some good beans (not Ugh) and had a
chance to try them out...
LarryD

2) From: petzul
Hi Larry,
Thanks for the report. Sorry you had to work so hard to get set up but 
now you are sailing!
Good luck with your roasting :)
PeterZ
Larry Dorman wrote:
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3) From: Frank Haist
Larry,
    Breaking the stem before the first roast, bad luck. But good job 
fixing it. I just wanted to give a report on my experience so far with 
the SC/TO after a week or so of use. I found that roasts with the 
heating element of the SC on full-time were just too quick for what I 
wanted. Everything was proceeding to rapid second crack by 8:30, and 
that was with a springform pan as a spacer. Turns out, I didn't like the 
springform pan too much as it was much narrower than the radius of the 
SC so it restricted the view of the beans. I installed a switch to the 
SC heating element. That was a relatively easy thing to do. Two words 
caution. The plastic base of the SC is quite brittle when drilling. I 
got the hole for the switch, but in doing so I made a hairline crack in 
the side. No big deal, it didn't compromise the SC. Second, I removed 
the two nuts under the motor unit to separate the base from the teflon 
dish. When I was reinstalling those, one broke off. Others have 
mentioned how easy those were to break. I just wasn't paying attention 
for a second and snapped the bolt. Again, no real problem as the one 
bolt seems to hold the thing together fine. But be warned (and I was). 
If needed, I could JB Weld a screw to replace.
    So, without the heating element, and having the TO sit right on top 
the SC, the roasts went a little too long. On the order of 16 minutes 
(my voltage may be a little low during daytime hours I'm starting to 
believe) Today, I finally hit the magic mark I was trying for. In 
roasting up the India Parchment (200 g), I turned the heating element on 
for the first 3 minutes of the roast, then turned it off for the 
remainder. Doing that, I got first crack at about 8:00, with second 
crack coming in about 12 minutes or so. Stopped about 30 sec into second 
crack. Perfect even roast. I've had good luck cooling (up to 250 g 
batches) on the baking sheet with a fairly heavy fan blowing down and 
about 1 minute of stirring with wooden spoon.
  Couldn't wait more than two hours for the rest to try. This is one 
tasty coffee. Can't wait to see how it develops.
  Good luck with the SC/TO. This is a great setup.
---Frank
petzul wrote:
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