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Topic: Alpenrost Questions (18 msgs / 387 lines)
1) From: John Roche
Does this unit compensate for changes in voltage like the HWP? I'm
considering adding this to my collection as I have not been entirely pleased
with my HWP.
I would like to get a dryer type hose to vent out my window (maybe 5 feet
from where unit will be) do you need to build something to attach to the alp
of can you just place the hose over the output? Is a fan necessary to draw
the smoke thru? 
My other reason for the alp (other than capacity) is that Tom bills it as a
much quieter machine than the HWP. Since I live in a small NYC apartment,
this would be a major plus for my girlfriend. She hates listening to the
HWP! Can anyone who owns both comment on the sound level differences???
Finally, the reason i've held off on the alp is reading all the quality
control problems (not that the HWP doesn't have some!) have these been
more-or-less addressed at this point?
john

2) From: Paul Goelz
At 07:29 PM 7/22/2000 -0400, you wrote:
<Snip>
From what I can tell, it compensates for voltage but not for ambient
temperature.  The internal temperature is regulated, but in a way that does
not sense the effects of outside temperature very well.  
<Snip>
Be careful.  There is not enough fan capacity to push through any length of
hose.  If you try it, you will find it will upset your roast profile big
time.  If you need to have some form of power exhaust, I would suggest
rigging something up so that the end of the hose can be near but not
connected to the roaster exhaust stack.  The roaster will never know the
difference that way, and if you have sufficient air velocity, you will
still draw the smoke outside.  
<Snip>
I don't own an HWP, but the noise from the Alp is such that you can watch
television with it in the same room.... kinda.  The noise of the beans is
about equal to the noise of the motor and gear drive.  
<Snip>
I had a problem with mine the first day I had it and Alp (Swissmar)
replaced it via UPS BLUE without my even asking.  The replacement has been
100% for about six months now.  I have not heard about any significant QC
probelms with them.  My only complaints with it are:
1.  The holes in the drum are large enough that some small beans (Yemen,
for example) can get lodged in them.  
2.  The temperature regulation is susceptible to ambient temperature
changes.  Wish it were better regulated.  Actually, it is regulated well.
It just isn't sensed well.... the sensor placement does not seem to sense
the real drum internal temperature.  
3.  The fact that the timer is set in increments of 15 seconds by numbers
that don't mean anything by themselves is just plain dumb.  If they
improved anything, it should be to give you real time indication instead of
"18 minutes plus 15 seconds times whatever number is displayed".  If they
don't wantt o change the display, I'd vote for deleting the 18 minute
starting point and have the digits indicate 15 second increments period.  
That sad, I think I have the ambient temperature thing licked.  I took a
tip from someone on this list and have been roasting with the exhaust aimed
into the fireplace.  Works great except for an occasional day where the
house is under negative pressure due to temperature or wind effects.  That
way, I can roast indoors year round,and have the Alp at a constant starting
temperature.  
Paul Goelz
Rochester Hills, MI
pgoelz at eaglequest dot com
Videoastronomy and music web site:http://www.eaglequest.com/~pgoelz

3) From: Brad Duerr
I have just purchased a new Aplenrost.  I also have been using a HWP since
it first came out.  So far, I have not had a very good experience with the
Alp.  The first time I used it I set it for 8 using Monkey blend and it came
out much too dark.  I was roasting outside and the temp was in the 70s.
Several days ago I roasted at 8 and the results were charred beans.  I
reduced to 6 with the same results, then reduced to 4  and still very black.
Finally, I set it for 6 and lifted the lid every now and then to observe the
color and stopped when the color was what I liked.  Questions:
1.  Does anyone have any idea what's going on with my Alp?
2.  How does one "go" manual with the Alp?
3.  How long after the first crack does the second one occur?
Any other comments would be appreciated.

4) From: coffenut
<Snip>
[mailto:owner-homeroast]On Behalf Of Brad Duerr
<Snip>
<Snip>
<Snip>
Assuming your Alp is mechanically functioning correctly (drum motor, cooling
flaps open/close, etc), you may have a unit with the heater calibrated to
the hot side.  I have one like that and have seen the same results you see
if I use the automated settings.  The first thing you need to learn about
the Alp is to time your roasts from 1st crack and use the "Cool" button to
manually stop the roast.  I use an inexpensive digital stop watch and start
it when I press the start button.  This way I know how long the entire roast
takes for a given bean and I can note the point in time that I heard 1st
crack.  Once I hear 1st crack, I know that within 2-3 minutes I'll be
entering 2nd crack and can go to manual cool down when the beans are to my
liking.
Try this as a test.  Load the Alp with exactly 8oz of beans (weighed, not
measured in a cup).  Put the timer setting up on 15 just so it won't
interfere.  Start the roast and listen for 1st crack.  When you hear it,
allow the roast to continue for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes and then press the "Cool"
button.  On many beans, this will produce a medium to dark brown bean that
is dry.  Pressing "Cool" will force the Alp into the Cool down mode and you
will hear the motor spinning the beans for approx 3 minutes while the heater
has been turned off.  Then you will hear the motor reverse itself, eject the
beans and then stop after 2 minutes.  This should give you a "City Roast" or
somewhere close to it.  If your unit is calibrated to the hot side, Swissmar
will replace it for you in effort to get one that is more "middle of the
road".  I have decided to keep mine, because I don't rely on the automated
settings at all and prefer to end the roast when it has reached my
preference.  With my unit, I have a unit that will roast as dark as I would
ever want to go (should I decide I want darker roasts).  The units that are
calibrated (less hot) may not be able to achieve darker roasts as well.
<Snip>
	Just press the "Cool" button and the Alp takes it from there.
<Snip>
For most of the beans I roast, it takes about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes (with only
a few exceptions).

5) From: Michael Rochman
<Snip>
most of the beans I roast, it takes about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes (with only  a
few exceptions).
Is that from the first bean cracking, or the end of first crack, which can
be quite a bit later?
Thanks, Mike

6) From: Paul Goelz
<Snip>
I have an Alp that seems to be calibrated right in the middle.  I get city
roasts at about "8" in 70 degree ambients.  However, twice I have noticed
that when it went into "cool" the damper doors did not open.  If I had not
noticed this and manually intervened, I suspect that the beans would have
been roasted much darker than usual.  
When the machine goes into the "cool" part of the cycle (either
automatically or manually), you should hear the "clang" of the damper doors
opening and see a noticable increase in the amount of smoke in the exhaust.  
I do not yet know why mine failed to open the doors.... I cleaned around
the door edges and it has not done it since.  But I suspect this might be
at least part of the reason for darker than expected roasts.  
Paul Goelz
Rochester Hills, MI
pgoelz at eaglequest dot com
Videoastronomy and music (UnFest) web site:http://www.eaglequest.com/~pgoelz

7) From: coffenut
<Snip>
[mailto:owner-homeroast]On Behalf Of Michael Rochman
<Snip>
<Snip>
<Snip>
Mike,  the amount of time I shared is calculated from the first bean that
cracks.

8) From: coffenut
Paul, you may want to share your intermittent problem with Anthony Lemme
over at Swissmar.  He's the guy that invented the Alp and may have an idea
or two about the two occasions where your unit did not open the flapper
doors.  Unexplained and non-recurrent problems are never comforting because
they leave you wondering when or if they will return.  Anthony's address is:
anthonyl
coffenut  :^)

9) From: TFisher511
In a message dated 8/7/00 6:10:40 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
coffenut writes:
Paul,
If you get an answer to this one, please share it with me. Mine has done the 
same thing once that I know of, and one other time that I suspect due to an 
unexplained burnt batch. It has not malfunctioned for a couple of months now, 
so these types of problems are often difficult to find.
Thanks,  Terry F
<Snip>
is:
<Snip>

10) From: Paul Goelz
At 06:08 PM 8/7/2000 -0400, you wrote:
<Snip>
I'll save this but hold off for now.  It has not done it since I cleaned
it.  While I really do not think that was the problem, I'll hold off until
it does it again.  I set the timer but I also set a stopwatch so I can keep
track of when things should be happening.  
Paul Goelz
Rochester Hills, MI
pgoelz at eaglequest dot com
Videoastronomy and music web site:http://www.eaglequest.com/~pgoelz

11) From: coffenut
Paul,
Maybe coffee roasters (with electronics) get to pull a few of the same
tricks computers get to do.  Namely, have a problem that surfaces and then
just leaves without a trace.  If I had a dollar for every time that has
happened on my home PC's over the years, I'd a least have enough to buy
another AlpenRost.
In addition to noting crack times with the beans, I also note the time the
heating element kicks-in (usually around 2:24 into the roast), cool down (3
minutes) and bean eject (2 minutes).  This way, if I start to see any
significant changes over time, it may signal a problem with the unit that I
can begin to address.
Coffenut  :^)

12) From: Michael Rochman
<Snip>
the
<Snip>
CN, any idea why it doesn't start heating right away???   Mike

13) From: coffenut
Mike,
I mis-stated and should have said that the heating element begins to cycle
at 2:24, which I'm told is what produces the sound variation in the motor at
that point.  I checked this on my Alp once and noticed that heater does
start heating when you press "Start" and then starts cycling around 2:24.
Thanks for helping me to realize the error in my previous post.
Coffenut  :^)

14) From: Michael Rochman
CN, by cycling, do you means it's thermostatically controlled or that it
just goes on and off as part of the program?  Mike
I checked this on my Alp once and noticed that heater does
<Snip>

15) From: coffenut
Mike,
Had this conversation with Anthony Lemme once.  From what I recall he said
the heater begins cycling off/on at regular intervals around the 2:30 mark.
This causes the change in motor sound.  My guess is that each time the
heater is cycled off, the motor gets a bit more juice and that results in a
change in motor noise.  I have watched the motor as this cycling begins and
cannot visually detect any change in speed.
Coffenut  :^)

16) From: Jeremy Jones
Hi all!  Im relatively new to homeroasting and I have
a few questions regarding the Alp.  I have recently
had problems getting my roasts to more than city or
city+ even on 15.  The reflector plates are clean, the
temperature of my kitchen where I do my roasting is
consistent @ 70 degrees F and I have reset the alp a
couple of times without any considerable difference. 
Unfortunately I do not have a thermometer to measure
the bean temps but the smoke decreases soon after
first crack which is seems to be getting to fine.  It
seems to stall just after that and the smoke
decreases.  The beans coming out of the roast after
cooling are hot to the touch as always--could it be
humidity?  The humidity yesterday when I started
having problems was 60%.  Today humidity levels are
40% but I am still having the same problem although
some of my "older" stock beans are doing better but
still noticeably take longer to get to full city but
is seems almost impossible to get Full City+ without
decreasing my batch size by 75 grams or so.  Im
consistent with 225g batch sizes normally.  If
humidity should not be that much of a factor where
should I go next?  Also, my Cafe Rosto seems*
unaffected--there might be a 10-20 second decrease in
roasting times but I cant seem to get consistent
results today.  Sorry this is so long, I appreciate
any ideas.
Do you Yahoo!?
Free Pop-Up Blocker - Get it nowhttp://companion.yahoo.com/

17) From: MMore
I had the same problem until I realized that I had to wait, sometimes 22 min. 
for 2nd crack to begin.  The time between first and second was up to 5 min.  
Once 2nd crack started, though, it was really hard to ramp it down so you have 
to be careful if you're trying to get it right to the start of 2nd.  I even 
had to restart the machine as it wanted to go down into cool down mode before 
2nd started.
Hope this helps.
Michael A. Roaster of Vienna, Va.

18) From: rnkyle
Your ALpenrost seems to be a bit cool and can be tweaked to roast hotter.
here is the lind to the adjustments neededhttp://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/homeroast/6348#6348hope this helps
Ron


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