Posted Wed Mar 26, 2014, 3:56pm Subject: Poppery1 w router speed controller= melted plug
I am so upset and discouraged right now. I wish I would have just left my popper alone. I just did a test roast with my new router speed controller and the popperys plug at the end of cord melted into it. I have no idea what happened. I took it apart last night and separated the circuits. Basically just took off the fan wires on the terminals and connected them to a separate lamp cord and left the popperys front switch to turn the heater off and on after it's plugged into the controller. I really don't think I screwed anything up with the wiring. Fan worked when it was plugged in and as I dialed the router knob the heat got more intense. I also added a thermocouple from my fluke meter that I drilled into the side. Everything seemed good with the roast, I tried to extend dry time a bit and then around 6 mins I dialed it to the max setting. The BT seemed to stall right around 390-400. I never hit FC. Then I looked down and there was a little smoke coming from the end of the cord and she was melted.
Any ideas here? I know cord is toast along with the controller. I just hope the popper isn't ruined.
Posted Wed Mar 26, 2014, 4:47pm Subject: Re: Poppery1 w router speed controller= melted plug
Sounds like there was a poor connection at the plug (assuming everything is wired correctly.) Anywhere there is resistance will generate heat. If the plug was corroded/tarnished or loose fitting? It may be all you need to replace is the power cord and plug to get back up and running. Unplug everything and inspect the damage.... Is your router controller rated to 1500+ Watts?
Posted Thu Mar 27, 2014, 2:53am Subject: Re: Poppery1 w router speed controller= melted plug
It's possible it was a poor connection. I tried to pry the power cord plug out of the controller last night but it wouldn't budge. I will try again. I'm not sure if the router speed controller is rated for 1500W. I've just read about people using the Harbor freight one. All i see on the spec sheet is Current Capacity 15 amps, Voltage Capacity 120AC, Fuse 15 amp. I guess another possibility could be a defected router controller. It is Harbor freight after all.
Posted Thu Mar 27, 2014, 4:52pm Subject: Re: Poppery1 w router speed controller= melted plug
Frost you were right. I had someone look at it who knows electric better than I and thats what he came up with. So we cut the end of the cord off and wired directly to the router controller. I did test it for about 10 minutes and nothing melted :-) I'm very happy, can't wait to start roasting again tomorrow night
Posted Thu Mar 27, 2014, 8:40pm Subject: Re: Poppery1 w router speed controller= melted plug
Glad you got it working again. I have not used the router speed controller (I use a Variac) but have read that it is very sensitive to adjustment; You will likely be working in a very small range on the dial and it may be difficult to get repeatable ( roast to roast) settings that will give the same Bean Temp rate of rise and finish temperatures.
I would suggest you get a 'Kill a Watt' meter (about $20) and plug the speed controller into this. Set the display on Watts and use the Watt level, the power into the heater, as the 'set point' rather than some position on the controller dial. You will likely soon realize why this is a good idea; it will give you better, more accurate and repeatable heater control.
The first 3 minutes to pace initial drying may have a Watt level of 800 or so. Ramp to first crack for another 3-4 minutes would have the wattage going up gradually to maybe 1000-1100 Watts. (just guessing here with what your popper, fan, ambient, bean load, might be... you will have to find your own numbers, but the basic power 'profile' should be in the ballpark) Once first crack is underway, a very gradual decrease in power is usually required to temper the finish. ...so the 1100watts will gradually back down to maybe 900 or so...
Absent another temperature probe to measure your ET, or heater temperature, that's about the best guide I can give.
Posted Fri Mar 28, 2014, 3:31am Subject: Re: Poppery1 w router speed controller= melted plug
Thats a fantastic idea. I will get one ordered asap. I was thinking about how in the world I was going to repeat a roast. So I should have about 3 ramps....1 lower temp for drying....2 ramp to FC and 3 After FC. This is what the 4/4/4 people shoot for correct? Approx 4 mins each? Would the last 4mins be less time if I'm not planning on getting into SC or should the temp just be lowered to keep the beans from SC and staying with the 4 mins?
One more thing...should I preheat the popper or start cold?
My suggestion to keep the roast between 3/3/3, and 4/4/4 at least to start. 3.5/3.5/3.5 is a good middle of the road target for an air roaster.
Finish/development times about the same for going lighter or darker. (darker/hotter finish develops more quickly than lighter cooler finish, but usually you target the lighter roast to be brighter anyway....)
Be careful about lowering the heat during the finish, not too much power drop here: make sure the bean temp keeps rising and does not drop here. Try to only make small changes to the heat level and not go up and down with the heat; steady on the throttle.
With heater control, always preheat the roaster. This helps consistency when doing back to back roasts too.
Posted Mon Mar 31, 2014, 5:11pm Subject: Re: Poppery1 w router speed controller= melted plug
I can't thank you enough for your great advice. Just wanted to let you know I've had some great roasts with the setup. The Kill-a-watt thing works great. I can do very repeatable roasts (as long as i keep notes). I spent some time on Sunday doing a little tidying up of my wiring. Above my table I now have 2 switches (with on indicator lights) that control 2 outlets that have the Killawatt and fan plugged into.
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