West Bend Air Crazy Popper

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Re: West Bend Air Crazy Popper

Postby swimjay » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:38 pm

Have been experimenting with simply turning the unit off and on to stretch things out, particularly the interval between first and second crack (which I stop before reaching), all the while stirring like crazy. Seems to be working, but of course it's hard to make this method precise. Am waiting for chimneys from Menard's.
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Re: West Bend Air Crazy Popper

Postby MikeW » Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:05 pm

Hi, I'm new to roasting and have tried only a few roasts on the Air Crazy so far. The first batch tasted bitter and flavorless, so I've got some learning to do.

I also modified the popper in a way I haven't seen before. The Air Crazy tends to turn off the heater during first crack, allowing the beans to fall below 375. I wanted to get rid of that thermostat. But the unit has a switch on the side, so I figured hey -- why not use the switch to control the heater?

That's what I did. Now when I plug in the unit, the fan comes on, but the heater is off. Flipping the switch turns on the heater. This lets me modulate the heat a little during roasting.

The way to do this is very simple. After unplugging the unit and removing the plastic cover, take the two connectors off the power switch, and fuse them together. Now take the connectors off the thermostat, and connect them to the power switch's terminals. If you understand how the thermostat controls the heater, it's easy to see how this modification transfers control of the heater to the switch.

With this mod, I was able to take the Brazil No-Name-Os to second crack. Hope they taste better this time.

-Mike
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Re: West Bend Air Crazy Popper

Postby frank828 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:58 pm

MikeW wrote:That's what I did. Now when I plug in the unit, the fan comes on, but the heater is off. Flipping the switch turns on the heater. This lets me modulate the heat a little during roasting.

The way to do this is very simple. After unplugging the unit and removing the plastic cover, take the two connectors off the power switch, and fuse them together. Now take the connectors off the thermostat, and connect them to the power switch's terminals. If you understand how the thermostat controls the heater, it's easy to see how this modification transfers control of the heater to the switch.



very cool. i may give this a try later.

hope your new batch tastes better. good luck.
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Re: West Bend Air Crazy Popper

Postby frank828 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:01 pm

btw, i know i sounded quite resistant to the whole shaking and stirring before but lately i've definitely added that to my process.

i'll shake it from the beginning up until just before first crack(cuz i kinda get tired) and then stir quickly with some wood chopsticks then go back to shaking for a bit and then more stirring. definitely need oven mitts on both hands to do this stuff.
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Re: West Bend Air Crazy Popper

Postby MikeW » Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:47 pm

frank828 wrote:
MikeW wrote:That's what I did. Now when I plug in the unit, the fan comes on, but the heater is off. Flipping the switch turns on the heater. This lets me modulate the heat a little during roasting.


very cool. i may give this a try later.

hope your new batch tastes better. good luck.


Thanks Frank! I am still having taste issues :-( I believe it's a brewing problem, all the beans I have taste the same, including roasted beans from Water Avenue. I have never brewed coffee before, and I'm still debugging my technique...

I'll bet the heater switch mod will be good at controlling temperature up to and during first crack.

Personally, I've found using the popper much easier than I thought. I figured it would make a mess inside, but with small (< 80 g) batches it's been fine.

-Mike
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Re: West Bend Air Crazy Popper

Postby martin » Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:13 am

MikeW wrote: I have never brewed coffee before, and I'm still debugging my technique...


I believe it was Bismarck who, when asked the secret of a good cup of coffee, replied, "use a new pot every time." Typical Teutonic overengineering, but 'tis true that cleanliness is next to godliness... and so are good control over the grind, water temperature, and contact (hence extraction) time. It's a learning process all around, and everything interacts with everything else. What a long, wonderful trip...
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Re: West Bend Air Crazy Popper

Postby frank828 » Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:11 pm

MikeW wrote:
frank828 wrote:
MikeW wrote:That's what I did. Now when I plug in the unit, the fan comes on, but the heater is off. Flipping the switch turns on the heater. This lets me modulate the heat a little during roasting.


very cool. i may give this a try later.

hope your new batch tastes better. good luck.


Thanks Frank! I am still having taste issues :-( I believe it's a brewing problem, all the beans I have taste the same, including roasted beans from Water Avenue. I have never brewed coffee before, and I'm still debugging my technique...

I'll bet the heater switch mod will be good at controlling temperature up to and during first crack.

Personally, I've found using the popper much easier than I thought. I figured it would make a mess inside, but with small (< 80 g) batches it's been fine.

-Mike


curious to know what method of brewing you're using and how far you're roasting the beans.
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Re: West Bend Air Crazy Popper

Postby Weyesa » Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:59 pm

I've been experimenting with a low tech method of controlling heat and extending my roast-- lifting off the butter lid. I wait until first crack starts winding down, then lift the lid off for a second or 2 every 20 seconds or so. It seemed to extend the roast on my Guatemalan Acatenango - Finca La Soledad.
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Re: West Bend Air Crazy Popper

Postby ADH » Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:31 pm

I am new to roasting but had had good luck with a "Nostalgia Electrics Retro" popper from BB&B (Target was out of the air crazy) http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product ... U=17592904

I'm finishing first crack in about four minutes and take it to a city+ roast.


Anyways, My local Target got a few more Air Crazy poppers in stock so I picked one up. The cup and switch are identical on both units so I assume the rest of the internals are as well. The results however are very different. The Air Crazy barely hit first crack out of the box. I just bypassed the thermostat which got me a decent roast, but it takes twice as long as the nostalgia. I had to stop at ten minutes and it was still less roasted than a 4:30 roast from the other popper. I am disappointed. The fan speed seems higher on the AC, I imagine that could be part of the problem, but I don't really want to go the dimmer route unless I have to. I also wish I had hard wired the fan, but that's just for a convenient cooldown.


I am considering using the a heat gun to speed up the roast a bit, I have two 20a circuits side by side that I can use, but I didn't know if there were any easier options.


Thanks in advance, this is an awesome little community!
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Re: West Bend Air Crazy Popper

Postby frank828 » Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:37 pm

hmm it seems like it's not heating up or the heat is still being cut at a certain point. what did you do to bypass the thermostat? how many grams are your batches?
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