HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Cool Alps (7 msgs / 168 lines)
1) From: Bob Trancho
Bob Briggs mentioned in a recent post that his Alp "suffers from the
cool-Alp syndrome - it neither roasts hot enough nor cools quick
enough".  Mine is only 6 week old but I've noticed that it is already
running cooler than when new - I have to run at 15 and only rarely do a
manual stop before the usual 20+ minute auto-cool down.  This was
getting me maybe 15-30 seconds into second crack until the last two days
- just about where I like most varieties.  My last three roasts have
gone the full level 15 time (@20:00) not even gone to 2nd crack.  Given
some leeway for different beans, I don't think that there should be a
huge difference between a CR La Magnolia and a Panama Songbird.  My
ambient temp has been between 65f-70f.
I've solved the cooling problem by removing the hopper at the start of
cool down and dropping the beans down a ramp into a colander sitting on
a running fan - the beans are at room temp within minute. 
So before I get on the phone to Swissmar, is this normal?  Is the Alp
useless for Vienna or darker roasting?  I'd much rather have it capable
of charcoal and shut it down when the roast hits my preference than have
to re-roast to get to 2nd crack.  I could roast a 1/2lb in my Rosto in
less time than it takes to do that!  Any suggestions would be greatly
appreciated.
Bob Trancho
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2) From: Michael Vanecek
Give Swissmar a call. While 65 to 70 may be a bit cool, you still should 
be able to pull darker roasts.
Cheers,
Mike
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3) From: Chris Beck
Hi, Bob.  I found somewhere on the Web some instructions about how to 
dial your Alp in for temperature.  You have to open the unit and adjust 
a pot on the PCB, I think.  I have the post at work somewhere and I 
think I find it on alt.coffee.
Chris
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4) From: Dave Huddle
Make SURE that the Alp is kept clean.  Build up of coffee gunk on the
flaps and the inside cover has been reported to slow the roaster.
I clean mine after each roast.
I roast in a cool garage now - hit 1st crack at about 13~14 minutes.
A 20:00 roast would incinerate the beans!
I think that cooling is adequate.  The beans are still warm, but well
below roasting temp. at the end of the cycle.
Dave
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5) From: EuropaChris
Here's that post I mentioned last night:
From: "b. walker" 
Subject: Adventures in Alp Hacking
Newsgroups: alt.coffee
Reply-To: braindead0
I decided to open my Alp up (cleaning) and see about upping the temperature 
(21+ minutes for a roast, rarely ever stopped before 15 stopped).  In my 
case I didn't have a decent temp guage handy, so I used an Ohmmeter.
1: lay Alp on it's back (lid hinges down).  Remove bean carrier first 
though..don't want it rattling around.
2: Remove two screws in small access panel  on the bottom (ventilated, easy 
to find)
3: Pull circuit board out a bit.
4: On the upper right hand corner, top of circuit board there are two white 
cloth covered wires, they have small spade connectors that are soldered 
onto terminals.  Attache ohmmeter to those (don't remember the polarity, in 
the next steps if it reads 0 ohms, swap).  Set ohmmeter to lowest setting 
(unless it's below 25ohms).
5: There are two trim pots accessible through holes from the bottom of the 
board.  The one at the top appears to adjust the time of the 'bean dump' 
process (found out after I tweaked it).  The one nearest the center of the 
board adjusts the temperature.
6: Make sure there's nothing flammible touching the top/sides/etc...
7: Turn on Alp.  Check resistance, it should start rising pretty quickly.  
If it doesn't reverse polarity.
8: Mine got to 25ohms and then you could tell the heater cycled, and it 
just hung around 25ohms.
9: Turn the pot (might have to remove the gunk they used to sorta lock it 
down) counterclockwise (worked for me).
I left mine at 29ohms and roasted 8oz of tanzanian peaberry in 
approximately 16 minutes to what I would call a city roast.
Might need to tweak it down just a bit, but it's much better now!
As alwasy YMMV, do this at your own risk...voids warranty....yadda yadda...
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6) From: Bob Trancho
Thanks Chris, I tracked it down last night, also.  I also wrote to
Swissmar as I'd rather get a properly functioning unit via my warranty
than void the warranty by diving in.  That said, I already dusted off my
DMM and dug out my torx drivers in case I don't get a satisfactory
answer from Swissmar.
Bob
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7) From: EuropaChris
Yeah, I forgot to mention that...if it's under warranty, return it.  Swissmar has been good on this issue from what I've heard.  
I plan to get an Alp someday, but I don't drink enough to justify 1/2 lb. per roast.  I really do like the drum roasted flavor in espresso, however.
Chris
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