Variac and Poppery II

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Variac and Poppery II

Postby Steve Freides » Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:53 pm

I bought a Variac for use with my Poppery II. I'm all hooked up and will give it a try tomorrow.

Any suggestions for voltage as a starting point? The Variac seems to default to 110 V but the Poppery II mentions 120 V on the bottom.

I tried it a little - way cool to effectively be able to dial up and dial down the popcorn popper, looking forward to figuring out how to best use it for roasting coffee.

Other - we roast a lot of Sumatra and a batch has been taking 15-18 minutes of late when sometimes - when we had higher line voltage, I assume - it would be done in half that long.

Many thanks.

-S-
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Re: Variac and Poppery II

Postby MikeV » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:39 am

How's the variac working for you? Over the years, I've seen line voltage at various outlets and various supply areas vary from 108 to 133 VAC. The 120 volts listed on the bottom of the popper is the nominal voltage required by the popper. Since the heating element(s) are a fixed resistance and power factor, the power generated varies with line input voltage. I assume you know this, as you bought the variac.

The no-load line voltage at the outlet on which I operate our Behmor is typically ~122 volts. The only danger I see in using the variac is the possibilty of exceeding the max design voltage of the popper, which will result in its death. If I were in your place, I would set the variac load voltage at 120 volts. Good luck!
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Re: Variac and Poppery II

Postby martin » Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:16 pm

The obvious thing to do for the Behmor would be to have the variac on the main heater only (which reduces the load it deals with to 10A IIRC). Take a bit of rewiring, but not too bad as it's all on quick-connects. I've thought about doing it more to lower the voltage for profiling (instead of the on-off cycling the relay control does). OTOH, I've thought about doing much more intrusive mods since before I had the Behmor, and haven't yet been moved to start...
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Re: Variac and Poppery II

Postby Steve Freides » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:37 pm

I am still using the variac with a popcorn popper. I seem to have worn out my Poppery II but am getting good results from my Popcorn Pumper with the variac set at 120 volts. The Poppery II will go back to duty making popcorn since that requires less heat as I understand things.

I bought a 20 amp variac, and most of the outlets in my basement are 15 amps, but I have a 20 amp circuit and I'm running a heavy extension cord to the variac's input and then using only the short cord on the popper to plug into the variac's output.

So far, I think the biggest issue for me is going to be wearing out popcorn poppers and/or having issue with their thermostats.
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