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Alpenrost upgrade/fix
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Discussions > Coffee > Home Roast > Alpenrost...  
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aferencz
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Joined: 28 Mar 2004
Posts: 12
Location: massachusetts
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: bezzera
Roaster: alpenrost heathware
Posted Sun Aug 1, 2004, 3:24pm
Subject: Alpenrost upgrade/fix
 

My family bought me an Alpenrost for Christmas replacing my second Precision.  I've been an espresso addict for over twelve years and I started roasting about two years ago.   The Alpenrost was not as good as I expected probably because I had to rely too much on my ears and nose and not at all on the eyes.  I purchased an electronic scale to get better consistency but it did not help too much.  Sometime after about the tenth batch the beans started coming out greener and greener.  The more I cranked up the number the greener they got (explanation later).  I got an RMA number from Alpenrost and sent it back to someplace in NY.  It came back with a little sticker on the bottom, worked again once and went 'green' again.  Hmmm..

I trolled the forums and found I was not the only one with the problem.  Reading into some of the discussions I came to the (maybe incorrect) conclusion that it was run 'open loop' - the temperature was 'set' at the factory and because of variation in ambient temperature and AC voltage probably differed a lot from house to house and roast to roast.

Since my profession is electronics and power control I decided to rip into the Alpenrost and replace everything electrical.  I designed a new control printed circuit board with a thermocouple sensor (good to 550degC, about 5 degC accurate with my measurement circuit), microcontroller (the aplenrost has two - one for the display and one for the control - but it obviously didn;t control the right thing), updated display, cleaner cables, less parts, less cost (listening mr. alpenrost?), and more features.  My goal was to create a series of programmable 'profiles' that could be updated with the four buttons.  The two boards (power, display) were kept the same size with the same mounting holes (no need to fix something that works).  The up/down arrows select the program, run starts the process, cool stops the process and starts the cooling cycle.  The cycle runs for two minutes or until the thermal sensor reads 125degF or less.  It then ejects the beans.

Yesterday my friend and I tested the design and it works as designed.

Why did I get the green beans?  During the upgrade I decided to keep the 'protection' circuit attached to the heating element.  I ran a profile at 425degF and I noticed the temperature started to decrease after two minutes.  Was my board bad?  Nope...the protection sensor had disconnected the heating element.  After a few minutes it worked again.  So I think (can't be 100% certain) if you have geen beans coming out it is because the thermal protection is set below the factory 'set' roasting temperature.  I believe the RMA guy fixed the wrong problem or kept it too close.  I know my new board ran the chamber at 400degF for twenty minutes and did not shut down.

The unit now has nine possible roasting profiles of six setpoints/times.  When you run the profile the display shows temperature / 10 (35 = 350degF) and keeps the ambient temperature within about 20degF (hysteretic control bounces between the setpoint - 10F to the setpoint + 10F).  Otherwise the units runs the same...motor control, flap control, early user shutdown into a cooling cycle, etc.

I plan on posting some pictures of the new board.  I ran out of beans playing around yesterday and have an order coming any day.

I am in need of profile information for a drum roaster.   If you have any experience espcecially with variable profiles (start cooler, get hotter, etc) I would appreciate hearing from you.

I read about the new Iroast (?) which has the same capability of my updated alpenrost.  If I had only known...but don't I have something better - a home drum roaster with accurate time/temperature control?

Regards,

Andrew Ferencz
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CraigA
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CraigA
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 11,207
Location: Rexdale, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: PID/PressureMod 2001...
Grinder: BUNN FPG-2 DBC, Baratza...
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Posted Sun Aug 1, 2004, 4:04pm
Subject: Re: Alpenrost upgrade/fix
 

Hi Andrew,

Have you looked for any answers here on the Coffeegeek forums? I've posted on alt.coffee & the Sweetmarias homeroast list about adjusting the Alp if it's roasting too cool. See: "Re: Alpenrost too cool", Lots of info under this whole thread & other threads I've posted about, thermal fuse, Vr1, Vr2, etc...

GREAT on a re-design on the Alp!


aferencz Said:

I ran a profile at 425degF and I noticed the temperature started to decrease after two minutes.  Was my board bad?  Nope...the protection sensor had disconnected the heating element.

Yes the circuitry cycles on & off starting at approx the 2 min mark & till you terminate the roast cycle by hitting the cool button. That is their feeble attempt at a roast profile & the overlimit thermostat (800F)  shuts everything down if it exceeds that temp & will reset after approx 15 mins.

 
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phaelon56
Senior Member
phaelon56
Joined: 11 Feb 2002
Posts: 1,144
Location: Syracuse, NY
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: LM 4 group , Isomac Tea,...
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Roaster: Sivetz , Diedrich
Posted Mon Aug 2, 2004, 9:03am
Subject: Re: Alpenrost upgrade/fix
 

When you refer to profiles, are these actual rising and falling temp settings that allow you to do things like extend roast time or get a longer plateau in between first crack and second crack?  In other words, are you able to get variable temperature settings withign a single roast cycle?  I'm one of the lucky one - my used Alp has always been consistent. If I keep the innards clean (Dawn Power Dissolver is the key) so that reflectance from the inner surface is consistent, my roast times are very consistent for given bean types - usually around 17 or 18 minutes is when rolling secind crack starts (depending on bean type).

I do wish there were greater control and I'd be very interested in a retrofit if it becomes available (hint hint).

 
Owen O'Neill
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CraigA
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CraigA
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 11,207
Location: Rexdale, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: PID/PressureMod 2001...
Grinder: BUNN FPG-2 DBC, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos manual, Yama 5...
Drip: Behmor BraZen, BUNN VPR-APS,...
Roaster: Refurb Behmor 1600, BBQ...
Posted Mon Aug 2, 2004, 9:10am
Subject: Re: Alpenrost upgrade/fix
 

Hi Owen,

If roasts don't quite seem to be roasting dark enough & taking too long.Take the bottom plate off of the bottom of the roaster & blow out all the accumulated chaff & chopped up chaff, it'll actually LOOK like fuzzy chaff, that collects around the printed circuit board. The reason, accumulated chaff increases the immediate environmental operating temps of the printed citcuit board. An increase in operating temps on the PCB RAISES resistance in the circuit, LOWERS current & hence., LOWER wattage & heat output.

 
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aferencz
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Mar 2004
Posts: 12
Location: massachusetts
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: bezzera
Roaster: alpenrost heathware
Posted Mon Aug 2, 2004, 9:16am
Subject: Re: Alpenrost upgrade/fix
 

You can set up to six time/temperature per roasting cycle...variable temperature settings within a roast cycle.  

Right now I am getting all of the bugs out by running under different conditions.  I think that will take about a week and then I can publish some photos so you can see what I have done.  As I mentioned before when the unit is all closed up it looks like it just came out of the box.
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aferencz
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Mar 2004
Posts: 12
Location: massachusetts
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: bezzera
Roaster: alpenrost heathware
Posted Wed Aug 18, 2004, 4:09am
Subject: Re: Alpenrost upgrade/fix
 

Update...

The new boards are now working.  I had to spend some time coming up with the temperature setpoints.  Right now I am experimented with a fixed 475degF profile and I want to try a lower temperature to dry the beans, a higher temperature to get the beans above 400, and then ??? My espresso is so good that I drink too much and spend my day jumping around.  Maybe this wasn't such a good project!

I called Alpenrost to discuss my design changes and found they are many steps ahead of me.  I don't want to let the cat out of the bag but suffice to say they know about the problems and are going to fix them.

If you are interested in the plans, PCB layout, BOM, etc. just email me directly and I can provide you with enough information to build yourself a better roaster.  

Regards,
Andrew
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aferencz
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Mar 2004
Posts: 12
Location: massachusetts
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: bezzera
Roaster: alpenrost heathware
Posted Sat Aug 21, 2004, 6:23am
Subject: Re: Alpenrost upgrade/fix
 

I am in the process of the PCB to remove a few 'reworks' so I can make the files and available to those interested.  In the meantime here are some pictures of the new and old boards...

aferencz: alpenrost_orignal_ctl.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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aferencz
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Mar 2004
Posts: 12
Location: massachusetts
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: bezzera
Roaster: alpenrost heathware
Posted Sat Aug 21, 2004, 6:24am
Subject: Re: Alpenrost upgrade/fix
 

Here is the new control board...

aferencz: alpenrost_new_ctl.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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aferencz
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Mar 2004
Posts: 12
Location: massachusetts
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: bezzera
Roaster: alpenrost heathware
Posted Sat Aug 21, 2004, 6:24am
Subject: Re: Alpenrost upgrade/fix
 

and here is where I put the thermocouple...

aferencz: J_tc_location.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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Mikelo
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Sep 2005
Posts: 10
Location: Rocky Mountains
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Fri Oct 14, 2005, 10:47pm
Subject: Re: Alpenrost upgrade/fix
 

DO you have a schematic or better yet unstuffed PCB board available?
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