I just received my variac (20 amp fuse) model that SM sells. I found out that regardless of starting voltage setting, if I turn it on and off in succession, 5 seconds appart or more appart it will trip my breaker outside. I tried a different outlet in the house and did the same. This is happening without having anything connected to it.
Am I supposed to turn it on and leave it. Even though a little while ago, I pluged in into the outlet turned it on and it triped the breaker.
Am I missing somethig here? Or could this be a defect that I should be concerned about?
On the FR+. Should I be seeing smoke at second crack?
If you are running on a 15 amp or better breaker with nothing else major running, you shouldn't trip the breaker. IIRC, the FR+ pulls somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-12 amps. I have a 5-amp KRM overfused that never caused problems.
I would expect to see some smoke at 2nd crack. Since the FR+ moves a lot of air, it might not be immediately obvious. I've been doing all my roasting with a heat gun lately so my memory of the FR+ is a little fuzzy. Depending on the origin, I may see smoke as early as first crack.
I'm not sure why you are turning it on and off in succession. I would usually turn on my variac before a roasting session and turn it off at the end.
A transformer draws a very large surge current when it is first turned on, before the magnetic field is fully established, even if no load is attached. This should not trip the breaker which is supposed to respond slowly, like the slo-blow fuse insde the variac; it sounds like the counter-spring inside the breaker that stops it from popping in a surge is too weak, and the unit needs to be replaced. If there were a problem with the variac, it's fuse would blow. In the meantime you could experiment by turning the variac down to zero before switching it on and dialling it up slowly -- I doubt it'll work, but it's worth a try.
I did use my setup last night. I only turned the variac off when I needed to rest the beans. All seemed to work fine.
As to why I would have turned it on and off in succession. I think it was what seemed like chaos while trying my first roast monitoring the beans, temp, variac and time all in 10 sec increments then in 30 second.
I use 2 FR+ roasters (Not at the same time). When I am letting the bean temp equalize, I just unplug the roaster from the variac and don't turn off the variac. I have not had the problems you are describing. The variac makes it much easier to control & duplicate roasts with the FR+o don't give up. Good Luck, keep us posted.
the variac is used to control in coming voltage to the roaster. If there is no draw of power from the FR8 then very little power is used from the variac. Always keep the variac on and let the timer control the roasting times, use the variac to off set any voltage difference you want to make. I have noticed that my first crack was around 5 minutes.
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