HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Rosta variac fixed fan, longer warmup ramp etc... (27 msgs / 758 lines)
1) From: Mike McGinness
A few more re-wired Rosto ramblings:
Doing yesterday's four batches - first batches with fixed fan voltage,
heater controlled by variac - I chose to also change my profile to a longer
warm-up equalization ramp to 350f. Previous had been 3min, I extended it to
5min. After my recent grassy batch of new source Kona that I did a second
batch extended warm-up decided to see how the new ramp would affect others.
Did batches of Australian Skybury, Sulawesi Toraja, Kenya AA "Europrep"
(from CBC, came with my 2nd Rosto) and Wood's Captain Cook Kona 02 as a
"control" for new profile since I know it really well and love it.
Test cupped Wood's after about 25min rest. Just ok, seemed lacking much of
what I found special in this Kona. No grassiness or off tastes just flat.
Thought maybe I'd killed it with the new profile. But didn't want to jump
the gun reporting and waited. Made another Americano after work about 25hrs
rest. Oh man was it good. One of those cups your eyes roll to the back of
your head and you wonder how it can get any better. (yet it will:-) Very
possibly better than my previous profile batches. Great Kona highlight
acidity with fantastic body, complexity and sweet long finish. Same finish
temp of 440f, same 9min ramp from 350f, 5min. instead of 3min ramping to
350f. Total roast to what I call light full city 14min.  So not only did
the longer warm-up ramp eliminate the grassiness in the other Kona but
worked very well indeed on my favorite Kona.
Studying the four roast batches I found temperature much better with fixed
fan than with fan & heater both controlled by variac. The Kenya I took to
Vienna, a bit into 2nd crack, 460f. Sometimes on darker roasts with
fan/heater controlled together it was more difficult to keep the momentum if
slightly behind. In other words, if I was trying to make up a few degrees by
increasing voltage, the initial fan increase slowed the temp increase. With
fan constant was much easier to raise or lower temp rise rate. This is a
good thing. Better control of desired profile ramp. In the past I'd
occasionally have to switch to cooling fan only to slow a ramp since lower
voltage lowered the fan too and it takes longer for a heating element to
cool than fan to slow down! Fan instantly, duh. (same technique others
without variac are using for ramp control, except just a couple seconds
needed in my case.)
Still early for any definitive conclusions but preliminary results point to
fixed fan - variac controlled heater combo offers better control and faster
response than variac controlling both fan and heater. Either method better
than both fixed voltage IMO!
MM;-) aka Kona Krazy miKe mcKoffee
Variable Variac Rockin' Rosto Roasting
Rocky grindin' - Miss Silvia brewin'
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2) From: PC
Mike,
So,  did  you re-wire your Rosto so you have 2 lines of power, one for
the heater one for the fan?
Paul.....
HomeRoaster by Choice
Research-aholic by Nature
MM> A few more re-wired Rosto ramblings:
MM> Doing yesterday's four batches - first batches with fixed fan voltage,
MM> heater controlled by variac - I chose to also change my profile to a longer
MM> warm-up equalization ramp to 350f. Previous had been 3min, I extended it to
MM> 5min. After my recent grassy batch of new source Kona that I did a second
MM> batch extended warm-up decided to see how the new ramp would affect others.
MM> Did batches of Australian Skybury, Sulawesi Toraja, Kenya AA "Europrep"
MM> (from CBC, came with my 2nd Rosto) and Wood's Captain Cook Kona 02 as a
MM> "control" for new profile since I know it really well and love it.
MM> Test cupped Wood's after about 25min rest. Just ok, seemed lacking much of
MM> what I found special in this Kona. No grassiness or off tastes just flat.
MM> Thought maybe I'd killed it with the new profile. But didn't want to jump
MM> the gun reporting and waited. Made another Americano after work about 25hrs
MM> rest. Oh man was it good. One of those cups your eyes roll to the back of
MM> your head and you wonder how it can get any better. (yet it will:-) Very
MM> possibly better than my previous profile batches. Great Kona highlight
MM> acidity with fantastic body, complexity and sweet long finish. Same finish
MM> temp of 440f, same 9min ramp from 350f, 5min. instead of 3min ramping to
MM> 350f. Total roast to what I call light full city 14min.  So not only did
MM> the longer warm-up ramp eliminate the grassiness in the other Kona but
MM> worked very well indeed on my favorite Kona.
MM> Studying the four roast batches I found temperature much better with fixed
MM> fan than with fan & heater both controlled by variac. The Kenya I took to
MM> Vienna, a bit into 2nd crack, 460f. Sometimes on darker roasts with
MM> fan/heater controlled together it was more difficult to keep the momentum if
MM> slightly behind. In other words, if I was trying to make up a few degrees by
MM> increasing voltage, the initial fan increase slowed the temp increase. With
MM> fan constant was much easier to raise or lower temp rise rate. This is a
MM> good thing. Better control of desired profile ramp. In the past I'd
MM> occasionally have to switch to cooling fan only to slow a ramp since lower
MM> voltage lowered the fan too and it takes longer for a heating element to
MM> cool than fan to slow down! Fan instantly, duh. (same technique others
MM> without variac are using for ramp control, except just a couple seconds
MM> needed in my case.)
MM> Still early for any definitive conclusions but preliminary results point to
MM> fixed fan - variac controlled heater combo offers better control and faster
MM> response than variac controlling both fan and heater. Either method better
MM> than both fixed voltage IMO!
MM> MM;-) aka Kona Krazy miKe mcKoffee
MM> Variable Variac Rockin' Rosto Roasting
MM> Rocky grindin' - Miss Silvia brewin'
MM>
MM> homeroast mailing list
MM>http://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast">http://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroasthomeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast

3) From: Tom Gramila
Mike,
	Thanks for the info about your mods to the rosto.  I was also 
interested to find out if the independently powered fan has changed the 
roast capacity for the rosto, since the dry beans need the most oomph 
from the fan, and they would not have necessarily gotten that with a 
variac wired fan.
	So what is the roasting capacity now??
	I also wondered about your profile.  I understood your profile in 
the past to have had three parts, a drying stage -- about 3 minutes to 
230F, then a ramp stage -- about 90 seconds to 350, and then 10F per 
minute to completion.  You are now refering to time to 350; is this the 
second stage alone (ie, from 230 F up) or is it the whole time from beans 
at room temperature??  Maybe I missed previous details about your 
"warm up equalization ramp"......
	I have always looked forward to hearing about your and others
profiling "discoveries"  -- they make a good "map" for those of us who are
just beginning to explore profiling -- Thanks!
Tom G.
	On Mon, 6 Jan 2003, Mike McGinness wrote:
<Snip>
<Snip>
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4) From: Jim Schulman
Hi Mike,
Controlling just the heater is certainly better 
for the roast start, when one wants all the air 
movement one can get. I frequently have to stop 
and restart my FR/Variac combo before the first 
crack to get the colors even, since enough juice 
for bean movement is too much on the heat. 
But it's interesting to hear that you're also 
getting better control at the end of the roast; 
I've never had problems with the FR at this point.
Jim
On 6 Jan 2003 at 22:59, Mike McGinness wrote:
<Snip>
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5) From: dewardh
Paul:
<Snip>
the heater one for the fan?
That's the way I did mine . . . bypassing the timer altogether.  I put 
"regular" plugs on each set of leads, and built a two-switch-two-outlet control 
box . . . one switch turns on one outlet (fan) and enables the second switch, 
the second switch turns on the second outlet (heater).  That way the heater 
can't go on without the fan, and separate fan speed and heater voltage controls 
can be plugged in between the control box and the roaster (if desired).  The 
result is pretty much as Mike describes it . . . much better control of roast 
temperatures (and progress), and better agitation throughout the roast, since 
the fan runs full speed all the time (or faster, if you choose to boost it).
I'm setting up now to experiment with a simpler way still . . . controlling 
temperature by varing the return ratio of the roast air.  If it works as 
contemplated it will require no internal mods to the roaster (other than 
placing temperature sensors, which has to be done in any case).  The idea is a 
variation of the "tinfoil trick" that others have done in the past to increase 
roast temperature, only more easily controlled (and I'm going to vent the 
"straight through" air past the chaff filter, which will only see return air so 
it won't clog as readily).  Since no variac will be needed the whole mod should 
cost only a few dollars more than the thermometers, and be relatively simple to 
implement.
If only there were more time . . .  . . .
Deward
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6) From: Mike McGinness
From: "PC" 
<Snip>
Exactly. Originally power line still to timer dial which now only feeds the
heater. New power line directly wired to fan.
MM;-) aka Kona Krazy miKe mcKoffee
Variable Variac Rockin' Rosto Roasting
Rocky grindin' - Miss Silvia brewin'
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7) From: Mike McGinness
From: "dewardh" 
<Snip>
I chose to leave the heater wired to the heater timer dial as a safey
feature. Heater will turn off even if something happens and I get
distracted. Either way would work functionally of course.
<Snip>
control
<Snip>
switch,
<Snip>
heater
<Snip>
controls
<Snip>
Good safety feature, "master switch" in effect, enabling the second outlet
switch via the on switch for the first outlet. Clean design. I tend to be
more the 'mad scientist' type. Make it work, maybe eventually make it look
good!
<Snip>
roast
<Snip>
since
<Snip>
it).
<Snip>
controlling
<Snip>
is a
<Snip>
increase
<Snip>
air so
<Snip>
should
<Snip>
simple to
<Snip>
I wonder if it'll be possible to provide enough return air to eliminate the
need for variac in low ambient temps. Also, I use the variac primarily to
slow the roast with lower voltage, even in lower ambient temps! How would
this design allow slowing a roast without lowering the voltage to the
heater?
<Snip>
Ditto big time lack of time!
MM;-) aka Kona Krazy miKe mcKoffee
Variable Variac Rockin' Rosto Roasting
Rocky grindin' - Miss Silvia brewin'
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8) From: dewardh
Mike:
<Snip>
need for variac in low ambient temps.
At the extreme, completely blocking the exhaust forces *all* the air to 
re-circulate . . . that should be more than enough in any circumstance . . . 
.
<Snip>
even in lower ambient temps! How would this design allow slowing
a roast without lowering the voltage to the heater?
I haven't got hard numbers yet, but I "expect" that by bypassing the chaff 
filter and (substantially) enlarging the exhaust ports I'll be able to increase 
airflow enough to reduce air temperature enough to . . . etc.  I find that I 
have no problem getting longer roast times with low chaff beans in the "stock" 
rosto . . . with high chaff beans plugging the chaff filter it's hard to get 
long roasts (in the unmodified machine) . . . turn the power down enough and 
the fan all but stalls. With separate fan and heater leads that doesn't happen, 
of course.
Deward
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9) From: Mike McGinness
From: "Tom Gramila" 
<Snip>
Capacity unchanged. You're asking the wrong person about the Rosto's batch
capacity! I bought it planning on doing 1/3# batchs to evenly split a pound
of greens and that's what I've done for two years. Hence developed Rockin'
Rosto roasting style to aid bean movement when I first got it and still do.
1/3# weighed batch is my standard, once in a while I decide to do a 1/2#
batch or occasionally I'll do an itty bitty 1/4# batch, have even done 3oz
batches testing but they need the fan slowed or bean movement way too fast,
once did a 9oz batch of St. Helena (to be split between two for Christmas
gifts, worked fine.) 1/2# batches you really gotta be careful with the
rocking technique or beans will get in the chaff collector and block air
flow...
<Snip>
My apologies for the confusion. Yes while playing with a modified "Black
Bear" profile approach I was attempting so go real low & slow to 230 then
blast it up to 350f. This was extremely difficult just using direct wired
variac. I was using voltages as low as 85v during equalization, talk about
lack of air flow! (this would be very doable now with heater separated from
fan) I then tested just gradual ramp to 350 followed by 10f per min ramp
development roast ramp and couldn't really taste a difference so have gone
to basically two stage. Gradual equalization warmup pre-first crack to 350
(now using 5min, was using 3min) followed by 10f per min ramp to finish. If
doing a City roast, 410-420f finish roast target range, I ramp 10f per
1:30min from 350f.
<Snip>
Hey, don't blame me if it tastes terrible to you, but if you like the
results I'll take the credit:-) As always YMMV!
MM;-) aka Kona Krazy miKe mcKoffee
Variable Variac Rockin' Rosto Roasting
Rocky grindin' - Miss Silvia brewin'
Mad coffee roasting scientist at large
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10) From: Mike McGinness
From: "dewardh" 
<Snip>
the
<Snip>
..
<Snip>
Most likely true. Never tried it!
<Snip>
increase
<Snip>
I
<Snip>
"stock"
<Snip>
get
<Snip>
and
<Snip>
happen,
<Snip>
I've been asked but I've never asked you (that I recall anyway). What batch
size(s) do you usually do with the Rosto? A smaller batch takes longer to
roast from my experience, all else being equal. (Using variac throws that
out of course.)
MM;-) aka Kona Krazy miKe mcKoffee
Variable Variac Rockin' Rosto Roasting
Rocky grindin' - Miss Silvia brewin'
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11) From: dewardh
Mike:
<Snip>
Following your lead, 150g, almost exclusively (well, Steve sort of got me 
started that way by telling me to use the provided measuring cup *full*, which 
is generally pretty close to 150).
<Snip>
equal.
Smaller batches do take longer . . . (to the point of never finishing at all in 
the worst case).  I believe that it's an "airflow thing".  And yes, they tend 
also to *over* agitate, and many beans end up in the chaff filter.  Too small a 
batch is probably the most common "beginners" mistake with a Rosto . . . not 
helped by Tom's (in this case bad, I think) advice.
<Snip>
A variac alone has its own "problems" . . . the real "solution" is to pull out 
separate fan and heater leads and put a speed control on the fan as well as the 
variac on the heater.  Then one controls agitation and heat separately.  My 
proposed airflow mod does not improve on that . . . its advantage is that it 
will be (if it works) cheap and simple (if not quite as versitile), and thus 
more accessable to more users.  It's enough of an impediment to widespread 
addoption (of the mods) that one must open the thing up to get temperature 
probes properly installed . . . far fewer people are willing to go the whole 
route and re-wire *everything* (with a separate control panel to boot).
The point of the whole exercise is to make "sophisticated" home roasting simple 
and accessable to *more* people, not to make it the exclusive province of a 
bunch of "dedicated goofies".
Deward
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12) From: Mike McGinness
From: "dewardh" 
 A variac alone has its own "problems" . . . the real "solution" is to
pull out
<Snip>
as the
<Snip>
My
<Snip>
it
<Snip>
thus
<Snip>
whole
<Snip>
I plan on adding a device, not sure what yet, for fan speed control. I would
like to be able to increase fan speed beyond 120v for cooling but will most
likely compromise and settle for just be able to slow the fan. Still may
pick-up a second variac though. (the 5amp model would more than suffice) Or
go rheostat like used for light dimmer maybe? Obviously will need to be able
to handle the fan load (resistive heat dissipation?) I was hoping to be able
to mount it inside the Rosto with the control dial on the outside but don't
think that will be possible. Most likely will end up with a separate box
affair like you have. I like your idea of the chained outlet switches,
didn't think of that design. Been way too long since taking electronics in
College!
<Snip>
simple
<Snip>
a
<Snip>
"Dedicated goofy", don't recall being called that one before. I thought I
was just a "propeller head!" Actually in truth for me the main point is
improving "my" roasting capabilities. Side benefit sharing the knowledge and
how to with others. Though I greatly welcome and appreciate your insight and
input!
MM;-) aka Kona Krazy miKe mcKoffee
Variable Variac Rockin' Rosto Roasting
Rocky grindin' - Miss Silvia brewin'
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13) From: Rick Farris
Jim wrote:
<Snip>
Geez.  Now if you just had *two* variacs, you could run the fan up to 135VAC
(more like 150VAC prolly, check the fan rating) at the beginning and really
load up the Rosto...
-- Rick
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14) From: Rick Farris
Mike wrote:
<Snip>
My philosophy is "First make it work, *then* make it work good."
-- Rick
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15) From: Ben Treichel
Hey dewardh! Let my buddy Kona miKe alone. He's a well balanced 
individual! He knows that the only important things in life are coffee, 
computers, and Sci-Fi.
Ben
Mike McGinness wrote:
<Snip>

16) From: dewardh
Mike:
<Snip>
like to be able to increase fan speed beyond 120v for cooling but will most
likely compromise and settle for just be able to slow the fan. Still may
pick-up a second variac though. (the 5amp model would more than suffice)
One of the "$15 "router speed controller" things (that burn out trying to 
control the heater ) would more than suffice.  To get "overspeed" as well a 
12V 1A transformer wired to "boost" brings the total cost to still less than 
$25.  Have to put it in a box, but the box for the switches is already there. 
 Cheaper than another variac . . .
<Snip>
Thank my High School drama teacher (40+ years ago) . . . that's what he called 
the stage crew.  All the work, none of the glory . . . (but we had "fun" anyway 
).  I don't know how widespread the term is in "theater circles" . . . (but 
it applies well enough elsewhere ).
Deward
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17) From: Rick Farris
Mike wrote:
<Snip>
That would be cheap, but would limit you to line voltage...  Too bad you
can't find a one-amp variac.  :-)
-- Rick
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18) From: Rick Farris
Deward wrote:
<Snip>
It's a 12VAC fan?
-- Rick
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19) From: Mike McGinness
From: "dewardh" 
<Snip>
well a
<Snip>
than
<Snip>
there.
<Snip>
Unless the variac is a used bare bones Powerstat 5amp 120v in 0-140v out I'm
bidding on currently at $1 plus $10 shipping! (and the seller has two up for
auction...:-) I was thinking to strip the 20amp and mount in same control
box. Decided to keep it as is. Bidding on a 10amp to go in the box too
instead... Will use large easy to read volt meters, different colored
lighted power switches (utilizing your fan/master switch idea) and dual
outlets for each variac. Gonna be one large project box and heavy on
completion! But total cost of dual variac control unit should be much less
than I paid for the 20amp self contained variac. Which of course will then
be sold to pay for the home-made duel version:-)
<Snip>
called
<Snip>
anyway
<Snip>
(but
<Snip>
Well, it could apply. This evening while driving to pick up a part I had
flown in for a Server, the thought came for the next and possibly ultimate
fluid bed homeroaster control unit. Stepper motor controlled variacs are
available. Just a matter of designing to be computer controlled by
thermocouple and voltage level feedback. Each variac controlled differently.
All determined by programmed parameters. I know it can be done but have
forgotten much of what I'd learned programming wise and circuitry wise (been
20+yrs) So lots to re-learn but no rush. When this project is finished it
will be a totally set it and forget it scenario with the profile(s) exactly
the way you want it(them). Pour in the beans, select the profile, start the
program, which then tells the control unit to turn on, calibrates the variac
positions, sets them and turns on the fan and heater, and it goes from there
monitoring and adjusting heat and fan speed according to temp/time feedback
from start to cooldown finish. (Just the thing I believe the Imex Pro 1500
does, but smaller batches and way way way less than $5000!) Goofy? It won't
be if I follow through with the thought and make it happen! Crazy maybe,
goofy no:-) But if I can pull it off for $500 or under it'll be worth it.
Even at $k I think it'll be worth it. Total you decide the profile it takes
care of it. Leave time for other projects instead of always hovering over
the roast manually controlling the profile...
MM;-) aka Kona Krazy miKe mcKoffee
Variable Variac Rockin' Rosto Roasting
Rocky grindin' - Miss Silvia brewin'
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20) From: dewardh
Rick:
<Snip>
No.  To get *higher* than line voltage you wire the 12V transformer as a 
boost/buck device (wired to boost) . . . 120V in gives 132V out (load current 
limited to the secondary current rating of the 12V transformer).  The "speed 
control" (or "dimmer") then works down from that.
Deward
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21) From: dewardh
Mike:
<Snip>
Harbor Freight often has in-store "sales" of a little digital multimeter for 
$4.99 (and you can probably get that price on-line too, with the right catalog 
number, which I don't have immediately at hand, but then there's shipping . . 
..).  the things make a cheap and easy to read digital line voltage monitor (you 
do have to remember to turn them off, so as not to kill the batteries).
<Snip>
I think I've mentioned before that it would be an easy mod to put a stepper on 
the 20A thingie . . . either direct drive (might take too big a stepper to be 
convenient) or easier with a couple of sprockets (on a backing plate) and a cog 
belt.  Just drop it on in place of the knob . . .
<Snip>
Simple to implement with off-the-shelf parts.  Extech has a two channel K 
thermocouple datalogging thermometer with serial port output for around $230 
(the EA-15, software and serial cable included) which would satisfy all your 
input needs (and is a handy gadget in its own right ), and both serial port 
and parallel port to relay gadgets are common fare in the electronic hobby 
magazines, usually dirt cheap, for the outputs (pulse to the stepper drive). 
 Those, plus any old laptop, and you're there (except for the programming, in 
your language of choice, of course).  Easily under $500, especially if you've 
already got an old laptop . . .
Deward
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22) From: Rick Farris
I'm sorry, Deward, I'm not trying to be dense, but I'm confused.  I thought
a transformer was a four-lead device.  If it's designed to create 12VAC from
120VAC, tell me again how you would "wire" it for boost?  Let's call the
120VAC side terminals 1 and 2, and the 12VAC side terminals 3 and 4.
Normally you would connect 1 to one side of the 120VAC line and 2 to the
other side.  Then 3 and 4 would be the 12VAC output.  What are you
suggesting?
-- Rick

23) From: Randy Roy
Hello Rick,  I've done this before.  You take your power cord and wire it to
terminals 1 and 2, just like you normally would.  Then you take one of the
secondaries, say #3, and wire that in to the hot PRIMARY side, say #1, so
now you have 2 wires connected to the hot primary terminal, the power cord
and the secondary.  Your two output wires are now the un-connected secondary
(#4) and the neutral side of the primary (#2).  You should now have 12 volts
plus your normal household voltage across #2 and #4.  If you have 12 volts
LESS than your household voltage, reverse wires 3 and 4.
If I mis-stated anything, I'm sure Deward will chime in.
Randy

24) From: dewardh
Rick:
You wire the transformer as an autotransformer.  Using your terminal numbers:
connect terminal one to neutral
connect terminal 2 to phase
connect terminal 3 to terminal 2
connect load between terminal 1 and terminal 4.
If the voltage at 1-4 is below line (bucking) then reverse terminals 3 and 4 to 
get boost.
The secondary of the transformer passes the entire load current, for which it 
must be rated.  Transformers typically are rated for 600V isolation voltage, so 
that's not an issue at normal line.  This is a very handy technique if you need 
to run power tools at the end of long (hundreds of feet) "extension" cords . . 
.. it prevents burning up motors. Use an appropriately rated (20A covers pretty 
much everything) transformer of whatever boost voltage you want.
This is, by the way, how your utility maintains line voltage under varying load 
.. . . with an automated autotransformer (commonly called a "stepper") set up to 
compensate for line loss.
Deward

25) From: dewardh
Randy:
<Snip>
I replied before I got to yours . . . otherwise I wouldn't have bothered . 
 I'm mostly surprised that more people don't know this handy little trick . . .
Deward
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26) From: Randy Roy
Deward, I'm glad that you replied because your explanation was a little
easier to follow than mine.  You're right - it is a neat little trick, and
cheap, too.
Randy

27) From: Rick Farris
Randy wrote:
<Snip>
Jeez, what will they think of next?  Thanks!
So, if 12VAC boost isn't enough, you could find a 120::24VAC xfmr and boost
to 144VAC...
-- Rick
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