HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Alpenrost Death Rattle (21 msgs / 550 lines)
1) From: Chris Archuleta
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
This morning I got out my Alpenrost like many times before and from the
get-go it was acting strange.  The first time it started on "roast" 16
instead of 8!   A few seconds after the roast began the drum reversed
and started pumping the beans into the catch.  Okay...things got off on
a bad foot, so I decided to try again fresh.  I unplugged the roaster
and started fresh; this time after pressing the roast button it gave me
a false start.  It closed the vent and then shut off completely.  After
pressing the roast button about ten times, it finally started to run.
After 12 minutes it just shuts off.  No cooling, no nothing.  At this
point I gave up and figured the roaster was either dying or in desperate
need of some TLC.  Has anyone else experienced this behavior?  Is it
time to throw down for a new roaster?  Ironically it was roast #100.
Ugh.
 
Any help would be great!  Thanks.
 
Chris

2) From: Wendy Sarrett
Only roast #100?! Sounds like they should fix it if it truely is broken. 
Good luck!
Wendy
Chris Archuleta wrote:
<Snip>

3) From: raymanowen
I agree with Wendy- only 100 roasts? Something definitely has failed, but
don't can the Alp.
Call the supplier, then the manufacturer. If you get a helpless Homer
Simpson response, please relay that info too. I'm sure your experience will
sway a  of potential buying power on this end of the list.
It really sounds like the roaster is being run with a 3-prong plug adapter
on a 2-prong electrical outlet or extension cord with a discontinuous groun=
d
wire. If you use the adapter, Boo! Note that the wide blade on the Alp's
plug must match the wide slot of your outlet, and the ground terminal of th=
e
adapter must be grounded.
Those are the two ways to misconnect 3-prong adapters, and either one would
give exactly the results you describe.
OR- Are you using a different electrical outlet from the one you have used
in the past? If so, the outlet wiring could be faulty. You can test that
possibility with a digital multimeter or a circuit wiring tester available
at Radio Shack or most hardware stores.
I hope it's that simple- even if there is some failure in the Alp, you stil=
l
have heat and the motor. A wire may simply have come loose from a connector=
.
Not a drastic problem.
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
Got Grinder?

4) From: M. McCandless
If this is a common problem with these units, then there
is a major flaw in the design.
Ground should be isolated from ALL electrical circuits.
The neutral and hot should be the only current carrying lines.
If ground & neutral are reversed, it would be very flaky or not operational.
If ground & hot are reversed, the exposed metal would be hot (read dangerous).
If there is any continuity between ground & either hot or neutral,
there is a leak or wiring err, of worse yet a design problem.
You might check that ground with an ohmmeter.
If so inclined, check the power supply for a good steady 
DC voltage to the control circuit.
(I don't know what it should be without a schematic)
Check for loose power supply related wires.
McSparky
At 08:58 PM 4/30/2006 -0600, you wrote:
<Snip>

5) From: Michael Dhabolt
McSparky,
<Snip>
The neutral and hot should be the only current carrying lines.<
'Should' is the operative word here.  In my home I've found two
circuits with neutral and ground swapped - one all the way to the
breaker panel, the other -- wrong wires hooked together in a junction
box (about half the circuit).
Mike (just plain)

6) From: M. McCandless
Ground will work in most cases as a return, but,
depending on the conductivity of the soil, will have varying 
resistivity.
Nowhere as good as copper.
An example of potential danger:
I was renting a trailer at a mining construction site I was working
as a pipefitter.
A hot water pipe froze & burst.
I threaded a new one & took it back the next day.
Replacement required breaking the union at the water heater to 
enable the new pipe to be replaced.
As soon as I broke the connection, I got zapped in a big way -  from 
left hand right through to the right.
Won't be doing that again!
The whole system used ground as return, rather than neutral.
Needless to say, I have great respect for proper wiring & always 
check the ground/neutral.
McSparky
At 09:15 PM 4/30/2006 -0700, you wrote:
<Snip>

7) From: Chris Archuleta
Thanks for the tips on the electrical.  I will check those connections
with a meter the first chance I get.  I had already given it a visual,
and didn't see any broken connections or even any signs of corrosion.  
Here's my next question.  Does anyone have a detailed exploded view of
the Alpenrost?  
Many thanks!

8) From: raymanowen
"Obvious" to some might not be so to others. If you take covers off of the
Alp, what you see will be a detailed view.
"Raymond- you  have that clock put back together before dinner."
I was admiring a detailed exploded view of the Cuckoo clock. Made it. Dad
wasn't going to relent.
That's #1. You always have a detailed exploded view at hand!
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
Got Grinder?

9) From: David Liguori
Chris Archuleta wrote:
<Snip>
Only 100 roasts, but how long have you had it?  I think the warranty is one year.  If you are within that, they will fix or replace it.  Otherwise, probably time to think about replacing it.  The reliability record of the Alp is, unfortunately, not good.
Your problem is in the control board.  Those who suggest grounding and polarity problems are, I think, barking up the wrong tree.  Something like that *could* make the control board behave erratically, but so could a hundred other things.  If you're so inclined, try taking the unit apart and checking all the connector plugs for proper seating.  The hatch on the bottom has a tricky "security" Torx screw you have to find some way around, or get the tool.  Please unplug the power before doing this.
You might try looking up Craig Andrews' posts to this board and Coffee Geeks.  Some of them are confusing, but he did repair for Swissmar and is very willing to help.  There is an engineer, whose name I can't recall, who designed and built his own controller and display boards, but I don't think he has any more.
If you're really handy, you might consider doing your own rebuild, such as complete manual control via switches of the drum and air louver motors, with maybe a variac for the heating element, as I've considered doing.
Finally, if you really like the Alp, you might consider paying Swissmar to fix it.
 --
David Liguori

10) From: Chris Archuleta
I have had the Alpenrost for about 4 years; so it's definitely not new!
But from what I've read Swissmar has discontinued the item, and has no
spare parts.  Manual operation is definitely an option since I do that
now more or less.  
I will see if I can't find the articles you spoke of.
Thanks!

11) From: Jim Russell
Chris,
Have you seen this page on sweetmarias?http://www.sweetmarias.com/AlpenrostSimpleDiagnostic.htmlI don't know if it will help, but it's worth a shot.  Good luck.
Jim
On 5/1/06, Chris Archuleta  wrote:
<Snip>
--
Roasting them almost as fast as they come

12) From: Michael Dhabolt
Chris,
Craig Andrews that David mentioned is a wealth of information about
the Alp and is usually more than ready to help.  His handle at
coffeegeek.com is CraigA, if you do a 'members info' and then a 'read
all posts from CraigA'  you'll get a lot of Alp info, he will usually
respond to a PM also.  He frequents this list periodically and may
weigh in at any time.
If you decide to go 'Full Manual' with the Alp, keep us aprised of
your progress (I've got an old one on a shelf myself).
Mike (just plain)

13) From: Michael Dhabolt
Chris,
Craig Andrews that David mentioned is a wealth of information about
the Alp and is usually more than ready to help.  His handle at
coffeegeek.com is CraigA, if you do a 'members info' and then a 'read
all posts from CraigA'  you'll get a lot of Alp info, he will usually
respond to a PM also.  He frequents this list periodically and may
weigh in at any time.
If you decide to go 'Full Manual' with the Alp, keep us aprised of
your progress (I've got an old one on a shelf myself).
Mike (just plain)

14) From: Steve Hay
On 5/1/06, M. McCandless  wrote:
<Snip>
I thought that we had a grounded electrical distribution system in america,
i.e. to save wire, + is hot and - is ground and GND is also ground...
This can be problematic in a shipboard environment where the electrical
system is ungrounded.
--
Steven Hay
hay.steve -AT- gmail.com
Barry Paradox: Consider k to be the greatest element of the set of natural
numbers whose description require maximum of 50 words: "(k+1) is a natural
number which requires more than 50 words to describe it."

15) From: Aaron
Electrical distribution systems in america ARE grounded.  Ie ground, ie 
earth ground is a return path to the generating station.
Your house has 220 volts which is essentially split in half for 110 
volts (ok lets not cut hairs over 110v,  115v, 120v you know what I mean)
if you go hot to hot you get 220 volts.....  to get the 110 that most 
appliances run off of, you hit a 'centertap' which is basically a 
conductor in the middle of the secondary of your transformer that 
stepped the voltage down for you.  That center tap also happens to be 
grounded...  I should say *ideally* it is ground.
If you look at your house wiring,  they will call this 'return'  the 
'neutral' wire... ie neutral, right in the middle, not one way or the 
other way (in regards to the hot leads).  so either hot lead to the 
neutral, will give you 110 volts... because it is using half the 
windings of the secondary of the transformer.  Most houses will have 
their 110 loads on both sides,  some feeding off hot lead A   others off 
hot lead B to balance the load so you are not sucking all your power off 
of only one leg of the  circuit.
An electrical circuit will have a neutral and a ground, in a house.... 
now in a perfect world, these both are the same thing, same place, same 
potential... neutral and ground will be at earth (zero) potential and 
theoretically safe......  this is the perfect world... we do NOT live in 
a perfect world.
DO NOT EVER CONSIDER A NEUTRAL RETURN TO BE THE SAME POTENTIAL AS 
GROUND, IT IS *NOT* GROUND.
If you have an electrical fault, loose wiring, corrosion, the neutral 
may very well NOT be at ground potential as is should be, and since it 
is the middle of a 220 volt transformer secondary... can very easily set 
you on your ass if you happen to grab it at the wrong time.
Power plants run grounded systems, one of the reasons is because it's 
much more cost effective to sink the return electricity into the earth 
and let it make it's way back to the power plant that way, rather than 
run thousands of miles of 'return wire' to do that.  There are many 
other reasons but I don't want to get into capacitive coupling and other 
geekly stuff like that... it is getting too technical.  Also for the 
record, electrical systems run a 3 phase system (they have 3 hot wires) 
your house only needs two, but we wont go that far into it either or Y 
and delta xformers. nuff said.
The disadvantage to this system is if ANY of the legs ground out... you 
have a short circuit, big current, the magical smoke gets let out of the 
wires and your piece of equipment stops working.
========
Shipboard systems now, have ungrounded systems. there is no 'natural' 
ground to them... mainly because of the very nature of a ship... any 
ship that is making its own power,  ie navy ships come to mind, is 
probably made of STEEL... steel is metal, which when sitting in an ocean 
full of salt water, happens to conduct electricity very well.. given the 
ship is conductive, and the electrical leads are conductive.. a grounded 
system would be too dangerous as the chances of a mishap are amplified 
many times.   Having a grounded system in an environment like this is 
not asking but begging for problems.   Again, in theory in a perfect 
world,, in an ungrounded system, on navy ships...one phase grounding out 
will not cause a problem, or technically won't electrocute a person who 
happens to be grounded and touch one wire (unlike an earth grounded 
station).. however again the world is not perfect and you have 
capicatance etc which rears it's ugly head and no it is NOT safe to 
touch any lead in any system, either grounded or ungrounded.
Either way, electricity will do whatever it wants to do, sometimes do 
things we have no explaination for.  I have seen ball lightning emerge 
from the back of a switchboard after a high current interrupt that 
floated and changed direction.  I have seen a fan motor that had all 
electricity removed. but was still rotating from the moving air in the 
space, induce enough power to light a lightbulb that was next to it.  
Either way, no matter what kind of system you are on,it needs to be 
respected.
Aaron

16) From: M. McCandless
Well said.
McSparky
At 10:51 PM 5/1/2006 -0400, you wrote:
<Snip>
 earth ground is a return path to the generating station.
<Snip>
 (ok lets not cut hairs over 110v,  115v, 120v you know what I mean)
<Snip>
 appliances run off of, you hit a 'centertap' which is basically a conductor=
 in the middle of the secondary of your transformer that stepped the voltage=
 down for you.  That center tap also happens to be grounded...  I should say=
 *ideally* it is ground.
<Snip>
 'neutral' wire... ie neutral, right in the middle, not one way or the other=
 way (in regards to the hot leads).  so either hot lead to the neutral, will=
 give you 110 volts... because it is using half the windings of the=
 secondary of the transformer.  Most houses will have their 110 loads on=
 both sides,  some feeding off hot lead A   others off hot lead B to balance=
 the load so you are not sucking all your power off of only one leg of the =
 circuit.
<Snip>
 in a perfect world, these both are the same thing, same place, same=
 potential... neutral and ground will be at earth (zero) potential and=
 theoretically safe......  this is the perfect world... we do NOT live in a=
 perfect world.
<Snip>
 IT IS *NOT* GROUND.
<Snip>
 very well NOT be at ground potential as is should be, and since it is the=
 middle of a 220 volt transformer secondary... can very easily set you on=
 your ass if you happen to grab it at the wrong time.
<Snip>
 more cost effective to sink the return electricity into the earth and let=
 it make it's way back to the power plant that way, rather than run=
 thousands of miles of 'return wire' to do that.  There are many other=
 reasons but I don't want to get into capacitive coupling and other geekly=
 stuff like that... it is getting too technical.  Also for the record,=
 electrical systems run a 3 phase system (they have 3 hot wires) your house=
 only needs two, but we wont go that far into it either or Y and delta=
 xformers. nuff said.
<Snip>
 have a short circuit, big current, the magical smoke gets let out of the=
 wires and your piece of equipment stops working.
<Snip>
 ground to them... mainly because of the very nature of a ship... any ship=
 that is making its own power,  ie navy ships come to mind, is probably made=
 of STEEL... steel is metal, which when sitting in an ocean full of salt=
 water, happens to conduct electricity very well.. given the ship is=
 conductive, and the electrical leads are conductive.. a grounded system=
 would be too dangerous as the chances of a mishap are amplified many times.=
   Having a grounded system in an environment like this is not asking but=
 begging for problems.   Again, in theory in a perfect world,, in an=
 ungrounded system, on navy ships...one phase grounding out will not cause a=
 problem, or technically won't electrocute a person who happens to be=
 grounded and touch one wire (unlike an earth grounded station).. however=
 again the world is not perfect and you have capicatance etc which rears=
 it's ugly head and no it is NOT safe to touch any lead in any system,=
 either grounded or ungrounded.
<Snip>
 things we have no explaination for.  I have seen ball lightning emerge from=
 the back of a switchboard after a high current interrupt that floated and=
 changed direction.  I have seen a fan motor that had all electricity=
 removed. but was still rotating from the moving air in the space, induce=
 enough power to light a lightbulb that was next to it.  
<Snip>
 respected.
<Snip>
 unsvbscribes) go to=
http://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings

17) From: Michael Dhabolt
Aaron,
Nice explanation,.........and that is why for those of us that learned
on shipboard distribution systems, household wiring just seems----just
plain strange......(the ground / neutral thing - safe? eh!).
Mike (just plain)

18) From: Ed Needham
Could you just take a few things off and clean the whole thing inside and 
out?  I'm thinking crud buildup in generally inaccessible places might be 
triggering the weirdness in operation.  If it were mine, I'd find a way to 
keep using it.
*********************
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"
ed at homeroaster dot com
(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)
*********************

19) From: Craig Andrews
Not usually, I always respond to a PM/email! {;-) I got Chris's email 
yesterday, Mon May 1st @ 7:52pm Toronto, Ontario, Canada time. I'm very 
busy & will answer privately when I can..
I get the Homeroast Digest emailed to me every day.
Thanks & Cheers!
Sincerely,
Craig.

20) From: Chris Archuleta
I did tear it down the best I could, but I couldn't figure out how to
remove the top plastic completely.  I was able to create enough gap that
I could blow it out with some high pressure air.  It didn't make it any
more functional though.  What's the trick to getting the plastic apart?
The other thing I worry about is that you can tell the plastic has
gotten hot more than once and it's a little bit brittle around the
hinges, so I'm a little sketchy about torquing on it without know what
I'm doing completely.
I'm thinking now that if I can't salvage the electronics, I will attempt
to make it a manual roaster.
Yesterday one of the HR list members did offer up his slightly used
Alpenrost to me for a sum.  I bit!  So I won't be without a roaster for
too long.
Thanks for all the help!
Chris
---------------------------------
Could you just take a few things off and clean the whole thing inside
and 
out?  I'm thinking crud buildup in generally inaccessible places might
be 
triggering the weirdness in operation.  If it were mine, I'd find a way
to 
keep using it.
*********************
Ed Needham(r)

21) From: Steve Hay
On 5/1/06, Aaron  wrote:
<Snip>
Did that system have arc fault detection?  Just curious..  Many fireballs
are due to high voltage creating ionized gas that eventually shorts out two
lead and *BOOM*.  Nasty stuff.
--
Steven Hay
hay.steve -AT- gmail.com
Barry Paradox: Consider k to be the greatest element of the set of natural
numbers whose description require maximum of 50 words: "(k+1) is a natural
number which requires more than 50 words to describe it."


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