HomeRoast Digest

Topic: new popper needs some modifications (11 msgs / 271 lines)
1) From: john
Hi, folks.  I've recently acquired an air popper (a little hard to find in
Portugal) and roasted my first batch with it.  Well, there was barely any
distinction between the first and second crack...I mean, as soon as one
ended, the other began.  As a result, I was caught unprepared and made some
lovely charcoal pellets.  The West Bend Poppery II I had in the U.S. worked
like a charm in it's original state, so I never made any modifications.
It's been suggested that I should simply add a dimmer to it, so I can lower
the temperature and spread out the roast a bit more.  I'm curious what some
other suggestions might be, and if there are any diagrams on the Web on how
to do it.
Thanks for your insight.
I support sustainable coffeehttp://www.drzeus.net/coffee

2) From: Rich Adams
I'm certainly not the expert but,
Not just any ordinary dimmer.
You will need one rated for the power of the unit, most likely somewhere
around 1200 - 1500 watts.
An example would be this dimmer:http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item%71339560&category&219And I would think a separation of the power sources for the fan and heat
would help too.
Alternately, you can use a variac, again, rated at the proper wattage, to
control the heat.
Rich Adams

3) From: Ken Mary
Some low-tech mods are roast in a cooler environment, use an extension cord,
add a switch to either the entire popper or just the heater. Using fewer
beans will lengthen the profile, but not by much.
When I do very fast roasts where the cracks may run together, I set out a
cookie sheet to catch stray beans and watch for divots landing on the sheet.
Use the divots as a gauge to end the roast. In my experience, fast roasts do
not work on Yemen or Ethiopian beans, but Central or South American beans do

4) From: miKe mcKoffee

5) From: Ed Needham
Those dimmers are outrageously expensive, as in $60 to $100, and are
sometimes hard to find unless you go to an electrical supply store.
I got two on new ones Ebay for about $30 each and am happy.  I don't think
I'd trust a used one.
Ed Needham
To Absurdity and Beyond!
homeroaster ... d.o.t ... com

6) From: Felix Dial
Sorry if you've posted this before, but could post directions on how to do
one of your fast roasts?  How long do these roasts last?  Correct me if I'm
wrong, but I think you stop just at the beginning of rolling 2nd crack?
Thanks in advance.
... snip ...

7) From: miKe mcKoffee

8) From: Ken Mary
Both of my ultra-fast roasters were Hamilton Beach/Proctor Silex Popcorn
Pumpers. These have the motor resistor as part of the main heating element.
This enables you to use just the heater part of the element which raises the
power to about 1500 watts at 115volts. The fan must be powered separately
with a dimmer/transformer or variac. These are lightweight poppers so the
heatup is very fast. I use between 75 and 100 cc of beans. Since the bean
mass is low, the beans will heat quickly. I always cold started the roasts
for consistency. I assume a preheat would work for lower powered poppers,
but I never tried it. The heat is always full on, and the dimmer is used to
slow the fan for the fastest roasts. The beans must be cooled in the popper
to quickly stop the roast.
The longer 3.5 minute roasts usually had a brief quiet period so the first
snaps of second crack could be detected and that is where they were stopped.
The 3 minute roasts sometimes had a quiet period, but usually I stopped them
at the first divot. The 2.5 minute roasts were stopped at the change in
character of the crack noise and smoke color from grey to blue.
The cooled beans from the 3 minute and shorter roasts when dumped from the
roaster should have a satiny to glossy but *dry* finish. No oil should be on
the surface. The beans look and feel like they were varnished. The expansion
is greater also, normally 1.9 to 2.0.
I have not done any of these fast roasts for about 6 months. Partly because
I wanted to focus more on the 6 to 9 minute profiles needed for the
Ethiopian beans that I now enjoy so much. And partly because the mica
holders are slowly burning up. I have been meaning to rebuild the heaters so
the wire covers the full circle of the holder. There is about 90 degrees
taken up by the unused motor resistor which leaves a cold spot.

9) From: Felix Dial
Hi Mike,
I was wondering if you use your variac in series with your
voltage-boost-transformer?  140volts from the variac plus 25 or so volts
from the boost, I imagine would yield lots and lots of bean movement.
Thanks in advance.

10) From: miKe mcKoffee

11) From: john
Sorry, I forgot to thank you all for your suggestions. :)
I support sustainable coffeehttp://www.drzeus.net/coffee<Snip>

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