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JohnDoe
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Posted Thu Aug 21, 2003, 12:45pm
Subject: Dimmers / Roaster (Popper) Modifications
 

I am not very knowledgeable in things related to electricity… but have been contemplating adding an on/off switch and possibly a dimmer to my popper.  In doing so, I know that if I use a dimmer it must be rated for at least 1500W.  I have seen people refer to fluorescent dimmers for this purpose.. but would it matter if it was a fluorescent dimmer or incandescent dimmer as long as it was rated properly?


Also- I have been able to come up with a few websites that outline this process… some with nice pictures and some with just text.  If anybody has any urls to provide that might be of assistance in this area.. I would appreciate it.  One of the areas that seems a little more difficult is how to separate the fan and heater so they can be controlled independently.
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jim_schulman
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jim_schulman
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
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Location: Chicago
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Posted Thu Aug 21, 2003, 3:19pm
Subject: Re: Dimmers / Roaster (Popper) Modifications
 

Poppers vary in their construction; but most, except the P1, have a low voltage DC motor in series with the heater. This means you should use a flourescent dimmer dimmer or variac to control both the fan and heat, or you need to create a low voltage circuit for the fan, and operate the heat separately on a regular dimmer. The latter can be done relatively inexpensively if you are good at electronics, but it's not too advisable if you aren't.

The easiest, but most expensive, method is to use a variac. The one here is rated at 5 amps, but has been used very successfully to control 1500 watt roasters (the key is to prevent its overheating by allowing it too rest after 15 minutes use or so). At $55, it's no more expensive than an flourescent dimmer, and you can simply plug the roaster into it and turn the dial.

 
Jim Schulman
www.coffeecuppers.com
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AArt
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Posted Fri Aug 22, 2003, 9:39am
Subject: Re: Dimmers / Roaster (Popper) Modifications
 

Harbor Freight has 2 cheap router controls for sale - $20 and $25, both rated at 15 amps (1800 watts).
They won't give you the full benefits of a variac, but would work as well as the dimmer. They both also have a bypass switch for full power.
I've used one on my FR, and it worked OK.
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MoJoe
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MoJoe
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Posted Mon Sep 1, 2003, 9:34pm
Subject: Re: Dimmers / Roaster (Popper) Modifications
 

Here are a couple of links that I referenced for mods.  

http://my.execpc.com/~n9zes/homeroast/roast.html
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/8104/popper.html

I have a Poppery II and found that when I began roasting with it, I got first cracks at 2-3 min, and 2nd cracks at 5-6 minutes.  This produced a bean which appeared roasted to Full City by look and sound, but had a "grassy", under-roasted taste and smell.  I spent a lot of time researching why this was happening and came to the conclusion that my unmodified Poppery II must be roasting too quickly.  I was VERY discouraged at first, because so many people raved about the excellent roasts that the air popper produced.  I tried different beans, but had the same bad results.

Determined to make my air popper work right, I added a 550° thermometer, and all of the modifications listed in the above links. See photo below (Motor dimmer, thermal fuse elimination, thermostat bypass, and on-off switching of both heater elements)  The yellow switches on the left side are the two heating elements.  The white dimmer knob controls the fan speed, and the voltmeter on the right just tells me if I am getting consistent line voltage.

I will tell you that my very first attempt after making the mods was successful.  I am now able to slow down the roast by adjusting fan motor speed and toggling one or both heaters off momentarily.  An added bonus is the ability to increase the fan speed about 15% above the original, which eliminates the need for manual stirring during beginning stages of the roast.  I can also preheat quicker by turning on both heater coils, with a much slower fan speed.  I might even be able to use more beans than before, although I have never tried it.  The fan speed control may allow you to keep the beans moving without so much excess airflow that they are falling out.

I may add another 600W dimmer knob to give me a finer control of the smaller heating element.  It would be handy to dial the small heating coil down a bit, instead of cycling power on and off.

Good luck!

Ron Bacon

MoJoe: poppery-ii-mods.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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CremaGuy
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Posted Wed Sep 3, 2003, 12:32pm
Subject: Re: Dimmers / Roaster (Popper) Modifications
 

Ron,
    I had practically the same experience with my PopperyII and made almost the same modifications at probably the same time (Labor Day Weekend).   There seem to be so many people on the web recommending use of an unmodified popperyII but my advice to anyone trying a PopperyII for the first time is:

DONT USE AN UNMODIFIED PopperyII WITHOUT A THERMOMETER !!

I did several roasts and couldn't figure out what was going on because, as you say, I was getting the cracks and seeing the beans change to an appearance which to my untrained eye looked like they were roasted.  And my untrained taste buds couldn't identify (at first) the cause of the problem.  The thermostats on these units are cheap and non-deterministic.  When I installed a thermometer, the cause of the problem was immediately obvious - the temperature was erratic and often below 385 degrees.

One remaining issue I'm wondering about is this;  now that I've connected the smaller heating element directly to the 120 volts, should it be expected to burn-out sooner ?  In it's normal (factory) configuration, there's only 100 volts across it (the other 20volts is across the motor).  However, it's possible that the nichrome resistance is high enough that the 100 volts across it in the factory configuration is really an under-loading.  I'd like to hear from anyone who's used a PopperyII for a long time, successfully, with 120 volts across the small heating element.

Patrick



rwbacon01 Said:

I have a Poppery II and found that when I began roasting with it, I got first cracks at 2-3 min, and 2nd cracks at 5-6 minutes.  This produced a bean which appeared roasted to Full City by look and sound, but had a "grassy", under-roasted taste and smell.  I spent a lot of time researching why this was happening and came to the conclusion that my unmodified Poppery II must be roasting too quickly.  I was VERY discouraged at first, because so many people raved about the excellent roasts that the air popper produced.  I tried different beans, but had the same bad results.

Determined to make my air popper work right, I added a 550° thermometer, and all of the modifications listed in the above links. See photo below (Motor dimmer, thermal fuse elimination, thermostat bypass, and on-off switching of both heater elements)  The yellow switches on the left side are the two heating elements.  The white dimmer knob controls the fan speed, and the voltmeter on the right just tells me if I am getting consistent line voltage.

I will tell you that my very first attempt after making the mods was successful.  I am now able to slow down the roast by adjusting fan motor speed and toggling one or both heaters off momentarily.  An added bonus is the ability to increase the fan speed about 15% above the original, which eliminates the need for manual stirring during beginning stages of the roast.  I can also preheat quicker by turning on both heater coils, with a much slower fan speed.  I might even be able to use more beans than before, although I have never tried it.  The fan speed control may allow you to keep the beans moving without so much excess airflow that they are falling out.

I may add another 600W dimmer knob to give me a finer control of the smaller heating element.  It would be handy to dial the small heating coil down a bit, instead of cycling power on and off.

Good luck!

Ron Bacon

Posted September 1, 2003 link

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ptimmer
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Joined: 7 Apr 2005
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Roaster: Whirlypop, Poppery II+
Posted Fri May 13, 2005, 9:47am
Subject: Re: Dimmers / Roaster (Popper) Modifications
 

Again, similar experience.  My controller uses two dimmers, a fan switch and a main power switch.
The fan dimmer goes trhough a 25.2V transformer as described in above links.

My first test with the new controller I wanted to see how far I could extend my roast times with
just the main heater, so the "motor heater", which is now an adjustable trim heater was always
off.  My fan speed was adjusted just high enough to keep the beans agitating.  I stopped my roasts
at 450 f.  The thermo showed overshoot up to 455 f.  Cooling was quick with the ran running.

My strategy for the next batch is run the fan, dump in my 2/3 cup, adjust the fan to get proper
movement, then kick in the main heater.  As the beans lighten and swell, the fan gets continually
adjusted lower, and lower.  The bean swelling is more pronounced, and the number of cracks
in the beans is greatly reduced.

My roast times extended from around 6 minutes out to almost 12 minutes, and the brightness in
my expresso dissapeared.  This is a success!  My first efforts were half Donkey, half classic italian
espresso blends.  If the machine is preheated to around 300 f, the time drops to about nine minutes.

The next step is to start dropping the final roast temperature to add back more character.  I suspect
455 f is taking away some sweetness and some complexity.

pt-
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JSutton
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JSutton
Joined: 24 Dec 2010
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Location: Northern VUHginya
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Roaster: West bend Poppery II
Posted Thu Dec 30, 2010, 6:14pm
Subject: My schematic based on WBP2 Mod threads
 

Here's my schematic diagram:

JSutton: PopperII Elec Schematic v2.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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sea221
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Posted Fri Dec 31, 2010, 6:53pm
Subject: Re: My schematic based on WBP2 Mod threads
 

Hi I never thought a router controller could be used on a reactive circuit, I thought it could only be used on a inductive load, I will try it.The heating element load isn't to much for the controller, very nice drawing.I stopped using the air popper about 2 years ago and switched to a SC/TO so I could get a better roast profile plus be able to do 12 to 16 oz good luck, looks like you did a heads up job on your roaster.Rich
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JSutton
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JSutton
Joined: 24 Dec 2010
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Location: Northern VUHginya
Expertise: Just starting

Grinder: Santa's bringing a burr...
Drip: Clever Coffee Dripper
Roaster: West bend Poppery II
Posted Sat Jan 1, 2011, 2:00pm
Subject: Re: My schematic based on WBP2 Mod threads
 

Here's the update when I realized I need to think through the actual wiring as I began to install switches in a four gang switchbox.:

http://www.sutton.org/images/PopperII_Elec_Schematic_v4.png

JSutton: PopperII_Elec_Schematic_v4.png
(Click for larger image)
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Crow
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Crow
Joined: 18 Dec 2008
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Posted Sun Jan 2, 2011, 5:56am
Subject: Re: My schematic based on WBP2 Mod threads
 

I use a Powerstat with 1KVA rating which is infinately variable from 0 to 135 volts. Variac is another brand. The analogue dial is large and adjustable to make it accurate readout to 1 volt.

I use it with a Poppery I to extend roasting times from 5 minutes to however long I wish to get to the same roast level.
I used it with a hotpad on an injured my arm, in order to sleep safely all night.
To power on vintage tube electronics you need to increase voltage gradually to make the tubes last 20 times longer, variacs do that.

I use it on a 1930 art-decoish Coleman model 70. (An early Mr. Coffee type of drip brewer, which appeared about 50 years before its time and bombed due to the conjuction of the high pirce and the depression). With a variac you can tone down any Mr. Coffee to just under boiling and it will brew every time at that exact temperature. In other words it can turn a cheap drip into a perfect machine.

Sure they cost $150-250 new, but nobody need pay that. The Powerstats, Variacs, etc. made in the 1950's work as good as one made yesterday. And they can be found for $40 or $80 used. Ham radio operators and AM broadcast radio geeks buy and sell vintage variacs all the time. I paid $45 if I remember right. The thing will outlive me, bulletproof heavy, made in the 50's. Bought it in a radio fan buy sell forum.
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