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Topic: Hottop variac (10 msgs / 246 lines)
1) From: Hot Coffee
I use an Hottop and my house voltage varies from 122 volts down to 116 
volts.  This is supply voltage and has nothing to do with anything from my 
home. So, how much of a difference will this make to the consistency of my 
roasts.  Would it really make that much of a difference if the volatage was 
consistenly 120 v.  I always make it into 2nd crack if I want to.
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2) From: Terry Stockdale
At 01:02 PM 5/8/2006, Hot Coffee wrote:
<Snip>
The supply voltage differences will make a huge difference, since the 
Hottop has a thermocouple to control the heat -- but it can't put out 
heat fast enough at 116v (in my experience with the one I had).  The 
roast settings are simply different points on a timer.  Initially, I 
could not get to Full City+ with the timer chip in the early model.
The varying supply voltage will also mess up your consistancy. 
Manually controlling the Hottop during the roast lets you have a 
predictable roast.  Note that the variac must be adjusted by hand - 
it is not a set-and-forget controller -- those are a lot more expensive.
Having said that -- let me add that I bought one of the Hottops 
shortly after they were officially available.   It is not the new 
"digital model" and I don't know what, if anything, a variac might do 
to the controller card on the digital models.
A variac and a digital voltmeter, which let me monitor the voltage 
all the time, let me have a stable predictable roast.  I also used a 
digital thermocouple/thermometer (same one SM sells) and ejected 
manually at the temp of my choice.
--
Terry Stockdale -- Baton Rouge, LA
My Coffee Pages:http://www.terrystockdale.com/hottopMy RK Drum pages:  http://www.terrystockdale.com/rkdrum">http://www.terrystockdale.com/coffeeMy Hottop pages:http://www.terrystockdale.com/hottopMy RK Drum pages:  http://www.terrystockdale.com/rkdrum

3) From: Frank Coster
Terry,
I've had a "regular" HotTop for about 2 years now. I'm very happy with it 
and the results, but I'm always looking to improve if possible. I don't know 
what my house voltage is but I typically reach first crack in 15 minutes and 
2nd in about 17 minutes. While I do use a separate timer just to keep an eye 
on how long the roast is, I always base my roast  manually by where in the 
crack phase it is at. Do you think that monitoring the temperature of the 
beans would help me improve my roasts, and if so which is more important, 
the crack phase or bean temp? Do you end the roast at a certain temp rather 
then where in the crack phase it is?
Frank Coster
frankc12
Coral Mustang Wines
www.coralmustang.com

4) From: Terry Stockdale
You're lucky if you don't have to worry about voltage variations.  I 
had the same problem as the original questioner.  Saturday mornings 
in the summer 122v;  Saturday afternoon 116v.  All the ACs in the 
neighborhood were really drawing hard on the "pipe."
The temp and crack stayed together repeatably -- but during early 2nd 
crack, temp changed so rapidly compared to the sound/smell that I 
would eject on temp.
Of course, for a cheap digital thermometer without calibration 
capability, they all differ a little bit on readings.  My usual for 
Uganda Bugisu was to eject at 463degreesF, somewhere in the 15 to 30 
seconds of 2nd crack.  I'd roast Panama/Nicaragua/Guatemala coffees 
barely into 2nd, and eject at 456-458 degrees.
I watched a manual timer, too, but as a trigger to tell me when to 
pay close attention to the bean temps.
Terry
--
Terry Stockdale -- Baton Rouge, LA
My Coffee Pages:http://www.terrystockdale.com/hottopMy RK Drum pages: http://www.terrystockdale.com/rkdrumAt 12:02 PM 5/9/2006, you wrote:">http://www.terrystockdale.com/coffeeMy Hottop pages:http://www.terrystockdale.com/hottopMy RK Drum pages: http://www.terrystockdale.com/rkdrumAt 12:02 PM 5/9/2006, you wrote:
<Snip>

5) From: Hot Coffee
Wow Terry, that's a lot of info, Thanks
So I guess I could put the old control panel back in as I upgraded.  the 
only advantage I can see is that at 116 volts I can see that the temp is 
anywhere from 15 - 30 degrees cooler.
So the 116 117 volts I,m getting now are steadily that, so with an SM variac 
does that mean I have to sit there for the 20 min. of roast and continually 
adjust thevariac to maintain 120 v.
PS. My power company said they would be by tomorrrow and taht came and went 
and now they said definitely this week.  As the worm turns.
Thanks
John Fellowes
Gibsons. B.C.
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6) From: Terry Stockdale
At 09:00 PM 5/9/2006, you wrote:
<Snip>
Which means the Hottop can't put out enough heat to get to it's 
built-in profile.  The build-in thermocouple turns the heat on and 
off, and even kicks in the fan occasionally, to try to keep the temp 
at the profile they designed into it.
<Snip>
I usually found that the voltage was pretty stable within a batch -- 
although it would change over a longer roasting session (I usually 
did 4-6 batches back to back).
I was running off a heavy-duty extension cord, too.  I noticed that 
the voltage would drop 4v-6v when the Hottop's heaters were on.  My 
normal variac setting got me 120v when the heaters were on.
Also, when I wanted to stretch out the time between 1st and 2nd 
cracks - the variac was the easy choice -- I would just drop the 
voltage to about 116v and let the time stretch.  Then, I'd bump it 
back up to 120v to let 2nd crack start.
Like I said, the combination of the  variac, the digital voltmeter 
and the digital thermocouple thermometer gave me much greater control.
<Snip>
And, they'll probably say their spec is 115-125 or something like 
that, and leave...
I think I need to take some of my responses and add them to my Hottop pages.
<Snip>
--
Terry Stockdale -- Baton Rouge, LA
My Coffee Pages:http://www.terrystockdale.com/hottopMy RK Drum pages:  http://www.terrystockdale.com/rkdrum">http://www.terrystockdale.com/coffeeMy Hottop pages:http://www.terrystockdale.com/hottopMy RK Drum pages:  http://www.terrystockdale.com/rkdrum

7) From: Hot Coffee
Thanks again Terry.  I have to go for and get a variac.  So what does 
extending the roast time between 1st and 2nd do for you.
John Fellowes
Gibsons
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8) From: Michael Dhabolt
John,
<Snip>
Really substantial difference in taste - try it, you'll like it.
Mike (just plain)

9) From: Hot Coffee
So I guess I will.  I just ordered a variac
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10) From: Terry Stockdale
Taste difference - more mellow, less acidic.  One probably related 
thing is that it lets the beans expand more fully by keeping the temp 
below second crack.
I usually did this with bright Centrals and Kenya's, too.  More 
earthy coffees like Uganda Bugisu didn't seem to benefit.
Terry
At 11:24 AM 5/10/2006, you wrote:
<Snip>
Terry Stockdale -- Baton Rouge, LA
My Coffee Pages:http://www.terrystockdale.com/hottopMy RK Drum pages:  http://www.terrystockdale.com/rkdrum">http://www.terrystockdale.com/coffeeMy Hottop pages:http://www.terrystockdale.com/hottopMy RK Drum pages:  http://www.terrystockdale.com/rkdrum


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