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  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    48

    Phidget & Artisan & Human Error

    I rewired my roaster's bean temp thermocouple output away from the roaster control panel and into a phidget 1048 and installed a laptop with Artisan.
    I connected a new thermocouple to the roaster control panel so it wouldn't get upset.
    The new thermocouple is located in the fresh air, not touching the roaster.
    The roaster would henceforth only show the ambient air temp.
    Why didn't I leave the roaster control panel alone and install the new thermocouple for Artisan by drilling a hole in the drop door etc? I'm lazy.
    Prior to starting the burner, both thermocouples reported roughly the same (ambient) temp so I thought all was well.

    I started my first roast.
    At charge temp, I loaded the beans into the drum and informed Artisan of the event.
    As the roast proceeded, it was looking much slower than usual, given the elapsed roast time & reported temp.
    Near what should have been the end of the roast, the beans were much lighter than usual and the reported temp was much higher than usual.
    I kept going for a little while and lost my nerve, not wanting to damage the roaster with high temperatures. I dumped the beans.
    They looked (and sounded and smelled) just starting first crack.
    I started to puzzle this one out.
    I have previously roasted these beans and am very familiar with them.
    The roast, from charge to dump, was 45sec longer than normal.
    I kept my burner settings the same as I normally would.
    So how were the beans under roasted?
    A light went on in my head.
    I had forgotten to configure the thermocouple as type J (Artisan defaults to type K for my phidget).
    So the both the charge and drop temps must have been reported as being much higher than the truth.
    I configured the thermocouple correctly for Artisan and did another roast.
    Bingo!

    Moral:
    Don't be lazy.
    If I had 2 thermocouples (old way and new way) both reporting bean temp, I would have immediately found the issue.

    Sorry for the long post.
    I'm feeling quite happy with the ultimate result, even though I ruined one roast.

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Posts
    16
    Sharing those slip-ups (that we all have) is an invaluable aid to others. Kudos to you for having the humility to share this for the benefit of others. Very selfless of you!

  3. #3
    sae
    sae is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    181
    When you change anything on your roaster or you suspect something might be wrong you have to leave the electronics behind and go back to basics - using the trier, your nose, your eyes and your ears. We have come to rely too much on the software and the number on the screen.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    48
    >> When you change anything on your roaster or you suspect something might be wrong you have to leave the electronics behind and go back to basics - using the trier, your nose, your eyes and your ears.
    >> We have come to rely too much on the software and the number on the screen.


    I agree in principle that relying on anything other than eyes, ears and nose can be unnecessarily problematic.
    Unfortunately I find it difficult to determine the charge temp with my eyes, ears & nose.

    Apart from eyes, ears & nose, I also attempt to use my feeble brain.
    Fear of damaging my roaster caused me to no longer trust my eyes, ears and nose because the roast time was already 45sec longer than was usually the case.
    My loss was one roast of beans, my gain was guaranteed survival of my roaster.
    When something is going seriously wrong, almost irrespective of what my eyes, ears and nose are telling me, I value protecting my roaster waaaaay ahead of losing a roast of beans.

    I have switched to using a computer to record my roasts so I can focus more on the roasting and less on data entry.
    Manual data entry every 30sec or even 1 minute during the roast was a serious chore.
    I have offloaded that to a computer and now have significantly more time to devote to using my eyes, ears and nose.
    Using Artisan allows me to display a previously successful roast in the background and then easily reproduce that roast without spending too much time on both data entry (the current roast) and data comparison (the previously successful roast).
    Using a computer adds some complexity, but saves on the drudgery parts of roasting so you can focus on the important stuff.

    A long time ago, I crossed the atlantic in my sailboat using "Satnav" - the predecessor to GPS.
    I also knew how to determine my position using a sextant.
    I therefore wasn't reliant on the electronics but, while it worked, it sure made life a lot easier (and more accurate).

    So my thoughts on the subject are:
    Don't rely on sophistication, but try to move forward.

 

 

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