Hottop owners?

el grano viejo
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The Quest is the quest?

Postby el grano viejo » Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:29 am

Keeping up with developments is no easy task, many roasters showing up from unexpected places, although information can be scanty. Most are relatively large drum roasters, probably too big for my place unless I remove a partition, so for now sticking to the roasters itemized above.

One development I missed was the M3s model of the Quest, sold by the Shrub. Interesting reading. If the capacity were closer to one pound the quest for a Hottop replacement would be over. The features are otherwise exactly the basic machine I want, leaving high tech bolt-on options up to me.

Sold out but no matter, not ready to make the commitment, provisionally at the top of the list. When a new supply arrives may get serious about a purchase.

A recent run of very good roasts from the 8828B increases my disappointment over the failure to address the glaring deficiencies. Among them is the piling up of chaff here, there & everywhere, a condition worsened by the B model's deeper tray residing in a lowered roast chamber. Hottop did not plug the cavity vacated by the original tray, and it wads up with chaff very quickly, after a roast or two. Obvious solution was to reinsert the original tray, so I'm now running a two tray Hottop. Very little descends to the larger tray, but more piles up on the wall opposite the heating element, possibly the safest place for it. Nothing changes the tedium of removing the front bearing plate every five roasts or so, but any improvement is welcome.

BTW the old style front cover is necessary. It has a larger cutout at the bottom to accommodate the old tray. Incidentally the latter (P-4a) can be purchased for $10 from Hottop, but don't do it unless you obtain an old cover (P-6b) elsewhere. It's "no longer available."
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el grano viejo
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Re: Hottop owners (two trays)

Postby el grano viejo » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:28 am

Sorry -- trying to upload a photo to illustrate the two tray set-up, getting this error --

"Could not upload attachment to .//files//999_b5e6c10b9ddc9130abe9a21657afa3b1."

I'm looking for a stealth button to get this job done, in vain.
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coffeeguy316
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Re: Hottop owners?

Postby coffeeguy316 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:27 pm

For what it's worth, I have owned the little Gene, HT B2, and both flavors of the Behmor (1600 and 1600+) over the years.

Of all of them the one I liked the least was the Behmore 1600. Everything is pre-programmed. That was replaced buy a second hand 1600+ which was a HUGE improvement on the design. Although the power control is not as fine as the Hot Top (25% vs. 10% increments), the dual drum speed partially corrects for that short fall. It's showing signs of wear however, as the roaster will get ERR2 messages sometimes during the roast or the cool down. When that happens, the drum stops spinning. I've torn that down for cleaning as far as I can before it hits the riveted component level.

Before the Behmore, I had the Gene. That was great little roaster, and the whole neighborhood could smell me roasting coffee. It was funny watching them walk down my road with their noses up in the air like hounds on a scent. It is not the most tech friendly to work on, but after replacing the heating element many times, the chip a couple of times, and at the end a bunch of other stuff, I became a pro at it. The roaster developed an oscillation problem that I was unable to solve, and the new distributors seemed to know less about the roaster at the time than I did. I'm sure they are more experienced now.

The Behmore came about, as a result of the Gene blowing a heating coil during a roast, and I had a fundraiser for my church that I had committed to, so I went out in a hurry and bought it from Cates Coffee in Oakland, New Jersey. It lasted me about a couple of years before it failed to roast bean into the first crack before I ran out of time. I decided to take the chance and buy a Hot Top Basic even though at $750.00 at the time, it was very pricey.

The Hot Top is actually very user friendly when it comes to maintenance, as it is very easy to take off the bearing cover and pull out the drum. A brush and vacuum took care of the chaff. To change out the heating coil though, I needed to remove the outer shell (lots of gunk builds up on this too). The two attachment points at the back after you pull off the fan were torqued on pretty tight, and the buildup of oils did not help either. I ended up stripping out the left machine screw when attempting to take it off, and the shell did not come off as a result. One day, I plugged the roaster in, and as soon as I turned the power on, the circuit board started smoking and sizzling. Needless to say, I had to take the frame apart to get to the board, and since the frame was damaged when I tried to remove that stripped out screw, I had asked to buy a replacement frame part as well as circuit board. The latter Hot Top USA would sell me, but when I asked about the frame part, they told me they would not sell me one, and I had to buy a new roaster. That sealed the deal with me that I would never buy another roaster from them again. When they jacked up the prices, it just reaffirmed that it is not worth it.

The Behmore 1600 Plus has done me quite well considering it was used and damaged. Joe Behm is supposed to be coming out with another roaster called the "Behmore Connected" which uses a mobile application to control and log there roast rather than the manual or automatic power settings. That has been fraught with many development issues I think, mostly due to quality of the parts which are made in China. I had considered waiting for that to come out, but the release has been betting pushed back farther and farther. Now instead of 1Q-2017, it might be 3Q-2017.

The Huky is an interesting roaster, but rather pricey in the neighborhood of $2350.00, and the Aillo Bullet comes in around 2800 after shipping is calculated. Both are ventable outside, but for the Bullet, you will have to have somebody with a 3D printer fabricate one of the adaptors whose files can be downloaded off Aillo's website.

I have considered ordering from Online Metal Store the material to build my own drum roaster, and I have some schematics drawn up for the dimensions. If however I buy another factory roaster, it will probably be another Gene.

coffeeguy316
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Re: Hottop owners?

Postby coffeeguy316 » Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:04 pm

"To change out the heating coil though, I needed to remove the outer shell (lots of gunk builds up on this too)". ....just to clarify, the outer shell does not necessarily have to come off to change out that heating element. After removing the fan assembly (which will build up a lot of gunk), and the manual eject knob, the back plate comes off to expose the motor and wires which plug into the circuit board and elements. It is cramped working with the outer shell on though, and that is why I tried to remove it from mine.

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martin
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Re: Hottop owners?

Postby martin » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:36 pm

Have you replaced the small plastic-framed fans in that roaster? I've never had it go as far as an ERR2 (or other), but after a while they seem to lose their oomph, which upsets the balance of things. Like the "magic spot" which the manual goes to special pains to tell you to clean, reduced airflow may lead to [false?] detection of overheating. Cleaning out dust & gunk from the fans is important too, but at some point that's not enough.
Sweet Maria's, Behmor, Encore, Bonmac, CCD, Pavina - fun AND good coffee

el grano viejo
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Re: Hottop owners?

Postby el grano viejo » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:47 am

coffeeguy316, sorry for the belated response, forum so quiet I forget to keep checking.

The Hot Top is actually very user friendly when it comes to maintenance, as it is very easy to take off the bearing cover and pull out the drum. A brush and vacuum took care of the chaff. To change out the heating coil though, I needed to remove the outer shell (lots of gunk builds up on this too). The two attachment points at the back after you pull off the fan were torqued on pretty tight, and the buildup of oils did not help either. I ended up stripping out the left machine screw when attempting to take it off, and the shell did not come off as a result. One day, I plugged the roaster in, and as soon as I turned the power on, the circuit board started smoking and sizzling. Needless to say, I had to take the frame apart to get to the board, and since the frame was damaged when I tried to remove that stripped out screw, I had asked to buy a replacement frame part as well as circuit board. The latter Hot Top USA would sell me, but when I asked about the frame part, they told me they would not sell me one, and I had to buy a new roaster. That sealed the deal with me that I would never buy another roaster from them again. When they jacked up the prices, it just reaffirmed that it is not worth it.


Reference is to the tiny screw left side as you face the rear, no? A bad spot for gunk buildup indeed. I cannot picture the damage to the frame, also unsure exactly what is meant by the frame. I'm having trouble finding a parts diagram on the Hottop web site.

The reason I'm curious is my broken Hottop does me little good. Like you I balk at coughing up a lot of dough to Hottop because of its present policy of gouging the customer base. Not sure I can help out, possible but I need a clearer understanding of the problem. A photo would be welcome but last I tried it couldn't be done on this forum. A tempting possibility is the legacy forum. It's still possible to login, maybe posting photos too. Highly irregular but if it works, why not? Development stopped long ago wrt this "improved" forum.

https://legacy.sweetmarias.com/forum
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CucamongaDan
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Re: Hottop owners?

Postby CucamongaDan » Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:57 pm

Image posting: last I checked this new improved forum was about the same as the legacy forum as far as posting photos. You can link to a photo that has a URL but you can not upload one from your hard drive directly to the forum. So if you want to post your own photos set up an account with Photobucket or another photo hosting site that suits you and link to the photos you've uploaded there.

You click the [Img] button above the text editing box and paste the photo URL in between the brackets that appear.

I will test since I haven't done it for a while.


Image


Seems to work still.


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