HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Alp - anyone else hearing changes in unit? (24 msgs / 1639 lines)
1) From: coffenut
Hey Alp'ers,
Having been through almost 70 roasts, I'm starting to hear some change in
the way the Alp operates.  The unit isn't failing or doing anything
different to the roast at all.  What I'm noticing is sound changes.  For
lack of a better technical description, the motor sounds like it's laboring
more than it used to when in normal roast movement mode.  I'm also getting a
high pitched squeaking sound for the first 3-4 minutes (after pressing
Start).  I could just be those metal guide rollers in the chamber and I hope
it's not in the motor.  Anyone else experiencing this one?
Coffenut  :^)

2) From: Michael Rochman
Yup...it's getting cooler. Now we set it on 15 and it dumps right at 2nd
crack with Kenya, etc. Been meaning to call them. Your post serves as my
reminder. Thanks.  Mike
Hey Alp'ers,
Having been through almost 70 roasts, I'm starting to hear some change in
the way the Alp operates.  The unit isn't failing or doing anything
different to the roast at all.  What I'm noticing is sound changes.  For
lack of a better technical description, the motor sounds like it's laboring
more than it used to when in normal roast movement mode.  I'm also getting a
high pitched squeaking sound for the first 3-4 minutes (after pressing
Start).  I could just be those metal guide rollers in the chamber and I hope
it's not in the motor.  Anyone else experiencing this one?
Coffenut  :^)

3) From: Michael Vanecek
As grimy as the roasting chamber and exhaust chamber gets, I wonder if
grime is also getting into the bearings of the rollers and even the
motor?
Mike
coffenut wrote:
<Snip>

4) From: coffenut
My thoughts exactly.  It sounds a bit like a motor that needs lubrication.
With the heat inside that chamber, it may be taxing the bearings and motor
to maintain lubrication.  Since this product is pretty new, I was wondering
if anyone's had one a year or longer and hears any of this sound related
stuff.  It doesn't give me the warm fuzzies and I'm wondering if the box
will hold up for years.
Coffenut  :^)
<Snip>

5) From: Dan Piette
Mine sounds the same.
Also, after I gave the thing a VERY good cleaning (with Urnex coffee cleaner
and alcohol) I got a faster time to first crack. I have also started
preheating - but I am still not happy that I have to let the thing go
through its cooling cycle. Has anyone just unplugged the beast?
Dan

6) From: TFisher511
In a message dated 12/27/00 8:40:33 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
dpiette writes:
Has anyone just unplugged the beast?
Dan
I sure have and it hasn't hurt my unit a bit. It's like almost any other 
electronic device that won't pay attention. Shut it down and start from 
scratch.
Terry F

7) From: Thom Underwood
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When the electronics on the HWP go bad you can 
unplug it all you want.  I won't make a bit of a difference.  I went 
through three of them.  Shucks - my computers are better than 
that!
 
Regards - Thom
 
 

8) From: TFisher511
I agree 100% that when they are defective, they need to be returned to the 
manufacturer for repair or replacement. But when you want to interrupt a 
program and don't have an Esc button on the device, pulling the plug will 
normally reset the program.
My computers are better than that also. But they sell millions of computers 
and probably thousands of coffee roasters. Who knows, maybe that will change.
Terry F
When the electronics on the HWP go bad you can unplug it all you want.  I 
won't make a bit of a difference.  I went through three of them.  Shucks - 
my computers are better than that!
 
Regards - Thom

9) From: Greg Scace
 
Hi:
I just got an Alpenrost from Santa's human henchelves three days ago.  So I 
have no long term experience with coffee roasters, but I have lots of 
experience in machines, and was quite interested in how my roaster 
worked.  So I have these observations and some diagnostic ideas.
I noticed that the bearings in the chamber were not lubricated at 
all.  This seems reasonable to me in that the temperature is high enough to 
break down many lubricants and the loading and operating speeds of the 
bearings within the chamber are extremely small.
However, a high pitched squeaking sound accompanied by more labored 
sounding motor do indicate some kind of increased mechanical load.  So I 
have a couple of questions that could help isolate the problem.  First, do 
all of the rollers that support the drum rotate freely right now.  You 
should be able to easily move them with your fingers and they should offer 
no resistance to rotation except for the drive roller (the one with the 
pegs).  A roller that is difficult to roll would be a contributor to your 
trouble.  If all run freely, how about turning on the roaster without the 
drum installed?  Now you can tell if the motor is laboring on its own.  If 
the motor is laboring on its own, then the problem is with the motor, or 
reduction gear (I assume such a gear train exists).  You won't have to run 
it for more than a few seconds to a minute to tell if the motor is 
laboring, so I wouldn't worry about running it without the drum 
installed.  According to my instructions, you have to go thru the cool 
cycle completely before unplugging the roaster.  That doesn't seem like a 
very robust design to me, but whatever.
Greg Scace
At 05:35 PM 12/27/2000 -0500, you wrote:
<Snip>

10) From: Greg Scace
 
Reaching first crack faster after cleaning seems reasonable to me.  The 
interior surfaces are highly polished to reflect radiation to the 
drum.  Dull surfaces absorb radiant energy more than highly reflective 
surfaces, so the dirty surface absorbs heat which is then transferred to 
the air flowing between the back of the radiation shields and the plastic 
housing.
-Greg Scace
At 07:32 PM 12/27/2000 -0600, you wrote:
<Snip>

11) From: Greg Scace
My guess is that Swissmar wants you to complete the cool cycle so that
you don't accidently overheat the components.  I think that the
roaster lives and dies by the fan motor.  When the heating element
is powered up, the fan sucks air through channels between the reflective
radiation shielding inside the roasting chamber and the plastic
walls.  The air flowing through this channel convects the heat
away.  If you turn off the unit without running the cool cycle, all
of the thermal energy contained within the hot components must travel
through the parts of the roaster on its way into the room.  Some
parts may get lots hotter than they were designed for and they could
suffer as a result.  For instance, items that were lubricated with
petroleum based grease could lose their lubrication as the grease
melted.  And plastic components could melt.  
The Alpenrost is very cleverly designed by someone who knows a good deal
about heat transfer and how to concentrate heat in the roasting chamber
while keeping adjacent items cool.  Provided that everything works
like it should (the fans runs and the exhaust duct stays relatively free
of chaff) then it will be happy.  If that fan ever fails, the unit
will heat up really fast.  Presumeably the thermal protection switch
is conservatively set to protect the roaster.
-Greg Scace
At 10:35 PM 12/27/2000 -0500, you wrote:
In a
message dated 12/27/00 8:40:33 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
dpiette writes: 
Has anyone just unplugged the
beast? 
Dan 
I sure have and it hasn't hurt my unit a bit. It's like almost any other
electronic device that won't pay attention. Shut it down and start from
scratch. 
Terry F 

12) From: coffenut
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I have 
to agree with your last thoughts.  No matter who's roaster you use, except 
for the guy who roasts in a wok over pecan wood, they all have little quirks and 
may have shorter lives than we'd like.  I'd like the Alp to work for at 
least 10 years, but we don't have even 2 years of history with the 
product.  At $300, I'll be disappointed if the Alp dies 4 months after my 
warranty expiration...but I'll keep on roasting.  I've got home roasting in 
the blood now and will keep on going somehow.
 
Just 
out of curiosity, of all the commercial units designed for roasting coffee, 
who has the longest running unit (not counting warranty replacements)?  
Anyone been using the same HW Gourmet or HWP for multiple 
years?
 
Coffenut  :^)

13) From: coffenut
Greg,
Thanks for the ideas and diag test thoughts.  The 3 free rotating rollers
are moving smoothly and I agree that typical lubricants would not last with
the heat.  With the roast oils and grime, a lubricant could makes matters
worse by collecting debris.
With the drum removed, I started the unit and immediately heard the high
pitched squealing sound.  The sound is also rotational/cyclical.  It comes
and goes about every 2 seconds as the motor is turning.  With the drum
removed, the only two rollers that move are the drive cog and the roller on
the same side as the cog.  I held the roller still to see if it had anything
to do with the squeal and it had no effect.  The squeal appears to be coming
from behind the cog area.  With the drum removed, the motor is pretty steady
sounding, but with it installed, I can hear the labored sound.  I'd expect
the motor sound to change with the drum "in" versus "out".  What I've
recently noticed is the motor sounds more labored than it did a month or so
ago.  Maybe this is linked to whatever is causing the squealing noise.
Have fun with your new Alp!!
Coffenut  :^)
<Snip>

14) From: TFisher511
Wow, now you are going to make me fire up my Unimax 2000 and see if it still 
works. Other than commercial roasters and popcorn pumpers, I don't think 
roasters that are still available today have been around long enough to 
answer that one. The HW Gourmet has probably been out the longest.
Terry F
Just out of curiosity, of all the commercial units designed for roasting 
coffee, who has the longest running unit (not counting warranty 
replacements)?  Anyone been using the same HW Gourmet or HWP for multiple 
years?
 
Coffenut  :^)

15) From: coffenut
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You 
are correct.  I had this conversation with Anthony Lemme (Alp inventor) and 
he made a big point of telling me not to unplug the unit prematurely before the 
roast is complete.  I can empathize with those that want to get the 
quickest cooling and have to admit I'd like to be cooling those beans as soon as 
the heater has shut down too.  I'm sure the Alp cool-down design has 
something to do with user safety.  They could have designed it to shut down 
the drum and allow the user to dump the beans immediately after the burners turn 
off, but someone would get burned, lawsuits, etc.  The 5 minute total 
cool-down period allows the drum to reach a safe handling temp given that you 
grab it around the perforated area.
 
Bottom 
line for me is that I'm plenty pleased with the results even allowing the Alp to 
complete and shut down on its own.  I do put the beans into a plastic 
colander, cover the top with a grease splatter screen and toss 
them to help remove chaff and cool them.  This does an excellent job and 
cools the beans in a minute or so.
 
Coffenut  :^)

16) From: Mark Beckman
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That is another reason that I love my RoyalMax 
U2001.  After roasting over 600 pounds now, it is still running like a 
champ.  I can if needed however replace anything on the roaster 
myself, as long as I can get the parts from RoyalMax.  The motor, blower, 
transformer, bean temperature controller, or it's thermocouple can all be easily 
replaced, along with it's four heaters.  I cleaned the unit once 
by taking it all apart, removing almost everything and putting it back 
together again.  I can remove the beans anytime I want.  I used to 
remove them at 380 degrees, but now let them go down to 280 degrees because of 
the smoke that would get into my basement at 380 degrees.
 
Mark

17) From: coffenut
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Looks 
like you have a nice long run with the HWG!  I know what you mean about 
"word getting around".  I could spend all my free time roasting for other 
folks, but have limited it to family too.  There are many people who desire 
the results, but not many who want to do the roasting.  Between roasting, 
home-made breads and woodworking, I've no extra time either.  Thanks for 
the reply.
 
Coffenut  :^)

18) From: coffenut
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Excellent situation Mark and 600lbs is a definite track record.  I'd 
feel comfortable making my own repairs on the Alp after warranty expires.  
Your reply raises a good question...can we get replacement parts for the Alp 
(post warranty)?  Seems like most folks are still under warranty, so I 
haven't seen anyone talk about the post warranty repair 
process.
 
Coffenut  :^)

19) From: Fiona Geiser
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Terry asked...
Anyone been using the same HW Gourmet or HWP for multiple 
years?
 
Hi,
I have been using my HWGourmet every week since 
September 1997,  shortly after it was introduced.  I have had no 
problems, whatsoever.  The roaster is a real champ!!  My friends wish 
I would roast more often for them since word has gotten around about my blends, 
but I do not have the time.  I have moved on to other hobbies now (learning 
French and how to play the oboe), and only roast every week for my family 
members.  I have a Solis SL90 Espresso machine, that is also very  
dependable.  I am so thankful to sweetmarias for the availability of green 
coffees!! 
Fiona

20) From: Thom Underwood
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Royalmax???  Never heard of it... tell me 
more.
 
Regards - Thom
 
 

21) From: Mark Beckman
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Well, to start with they do have a slightly 
outdated Web site at www.royalmaxcoffee.com    
It is a 2.2 lb max capacity roaster, and costs around $2500.  
 
Mark

22) From: Thom Underwood
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May I assume that the Royalmax U2001 is smaller 
than the 9002?  It's not listed  on their web sight.  And while 
the 9002 is very pretty and looks like it would roast the heck out of coffee... 
it appears too big (simply roasts too much coffee) for a home user.
 
Regards - Thom

23) From: Mark Beckman
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No, the U2001 was replaced by the U2002.  The 
size is the same.  The circuit board was upgraded, the drum drive went from 
belt driven to gear driven, the front access panel was modified for easier 
cleaning of the inside and the drum aluminum drum was replaced with a stainless 
steal one.  The roaster will roast 1 pound minimum and 2.2 pounds 
max.  I still consider it to be a home roaster, as I can easily pick it up 
and move it to another table. I don't have the manual in front of me here, 
but I think it weighs around 60 lbs. I do have it hooked up to 3" dia. vent that 
I installed myself.  I bring a lot of roasted coffee to people I work with, 
and many never had enjoyed specialty grade coffee before.  For Christmas I 
know of 5 people who received a grinder, so they can get coffee from 
me.
 
Mark
 

24) From: Thom Underwood
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Thanks for the reply.  It's a bit out of my 
price range for now but sure makes me drool.
 
Regards - Thom
 
 


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