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Gene Cafe Problem
I'm hoping someone can assist me.
My Gene Café is probably 6 yrs. old and I've installed two new heating elements with great success. Recently my unit began only going as high as 456 and then cycling off and on and not going higher that 456 deg.. I ordered another heating element, installed it, and had the same problem.
I contacted Tim at Freshbeans and sent him the roaster. He's has had it now almost two months and tells me that he has basically rebuilt it and it continues to do the same thing, and that he has another unit there exhibiting the same problem. He said he has contacted someone in South Korea and is getting nowhere with a solution.
I'm frustrated and although I believe Tim is trying to assist me, I need to either get it fixed or move on to another roaster.
Can anyone lend any insight as to what I should do, or how to move forward?
I will thank you in advance for your assistance.
Yama & Gene cafe
Please see my post : http://forum.home...post_38100 Most likely when you sent Tim your unit, you didn't send your drum. This might apply to your problem (or not)
Edited by JackH on 11/19/2013 9:32 AM
after 6 years for 400 bucks what do you really expect. how much money do you want to put into this OLD roaster?

I would kiss it off and be kind to Tim who is trying but will need to take it in the shorts for this...

my guess is that he hopes you forget about him. how much can you expect after this length of time? nothing lasts forever today but 6 years is good.

it is old, you can fix it forever but it will never work the same again. you cannot expect after 6 years for a company to supply you with parts if they have a one year warranty.

I could go on into the night with warranty issues but I believe you have lived the lifetime of your GC.

time to get a new roaster.


I don't see where Dave was implying he was getting parts for the roaster at no charge.

I would let Tim plug away at it to hopefully help others who might end up with the same issue with a Gene that's not so advanced in years.

As far as what to do now? I would not count on getting the roaster back quickly and would probably buy a new Gene and have a backup if/when Tim figures out the fix.

1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
John Despres
I'm with both Alan and Ginny.

With Ginny in that there's only so much money to throw at it.

With Alan in that a new one would be lots of fun. And if Time does fix it, well there you go. Two roasters.

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
to be clear I am not suggesting he is not paying for parts but how much is too much?

I do know that Tim goes out of his way, way out to find fixes for the home roaster
community but at some point it simply makes more sense to get a new one...

there is always some "issue" with any product regardless if new or older and I guess I wonder how long you want to wait? most likely you will have yet another issue with this roaster.

at some point you need to be realistic that it's dead...

My take on vendors supplying parts is if they are willing to keep stock of them and want to be the rep then it's there choice if they want to sell them at cost or operate as they should and do a fair markup so everyone benefits.

My philosophy on repair or replace with furnace, hot water heater and other home appliances is if you're going to have to spend 50% of what it will cost to replace the appliance with fixing then I always go for replace. OTOH, there's always the creepup phenomenon where you've slowly spent up to 30% of the original cost of the item and then you feel like your getting hosed if you toss it in the dumpster and so you keep fixing.

Tough choices!

1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
To be sure, I won't leave Tim out to dry on this repair. It's not my style.
I accept the point that spending even more money on this unit is not sensible, and I appreciate that input.
One of the reasons for posting was to see if anyone had encountered that issue, as Tim was pretty taken aback by it as well as I.
I want to hastily add that in every contact with Tim he has been helpful and gone above and beyond in his efforts.
I think I may try the Behmor unit and see how that goes.
Yama & Gene cafe
not sure you would be happy with a Behmor after the Gene Cafe. you have much more control of your roast in the Gene Cafe.

maybe talk to Jack and Kosmo about the turbo oven roasters. more load and control over Behmor.

Edited by ginny on 08/06/2013 6:19 AM
John Despres
I agree with Ginny; I don't think you'll be happy with a Behmor after a Gene.

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
I have had the same problem with my Gene Cafe. I have replaced six heaters and the problem keeps recurring. Tim does not seem to have a repair for this issue/defect - which seems to be a common flaw in the GC. I would love to keep using my Gene, but not at the cost of throwing good money after bad.
You say you've replace heaters. Are they burning out or are you hoping that the problem will be fixed with a new heater?

Thermal cycling is likely an improperly set thermostat or malfunctioning overtemp switch. Do you happen to have the wiring schematic that you could post?
1 pound electric sample roaster, 3 pound direct-flame roaster, both handmade; modified Mazzer Mini grinder, LaSpaziale Vivaldi II automatic espresso machine. When the electricity goes out I make vacpot coffee from beans ground on my Zassenhaus hand grinder, and heat the water with a teakettle on the gas range.
Oh now this is happening to me. I thought the heating element included the thermostat, so replacing the heating element would fix this. I've the old heating element still since replacing it last time I was troubleshooting problems. Whatever happened to this DaveG did Tim ever get back to you? Did Korea ever get back to him? Did you get a behmor? Anyone want to buy my roaster?
I have had my GC for about 4 years and have replaced a heater every 6 to 8 months. This is one of the reasons Tim left the company of GC. The manufacturer has not addressed the issue and has not had a new version of this thing since.
I love my GC and I probably would not be happy with another roaster since none seem to give you the control and visibility of the roast that I like. But I keep hoping for a 2.0 soon!
Still have the original heating element that came with GC when bought off Ebay seems like a lifetime ago. It has been burned once on one end thru my stupidity but easily repaired-thanks to instructions from John Despres.
The wire in element is prob 1/2" shorter but seems to heat better.

Mistakenly thought needed to replace it back in summer but turns out prob was not the element. It proudly waits on a shelf in case its ever needed.

Over 1000 roasts and I smile every day at the control I have over roasts. Really, really regret that Tim Skaling is no longer with Gene Café.
What a gentleman! He spoiled a lot of people, especially me.
John Despres
Heaters can be repaired quite easily.

It's usually a broken heating element at one end or the other. The cause being either a loose connection or an overly tight connection. Open the heater, find the break and reattach it. If you do a good job, it will last a long time.

I posted directions here somewhere how to do it, but I can't find that post... Argh...

There will be something extra for whoever finds it first.

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
Hi guys,
Thanks for the input, but my problem is with the thermostat not the heater. have you guys any experience fixing that?

I started cycling at 450ish even though my dial was set higher, like the original poster.
John Despres
Hi, Mike.

I didn't see your thermostat post... Two things to check:

1) Is your chaff collector clean? If the roaster cannot breathe, you'll have issues. Take it all apart, scrub it clean with Simple Green, reassemble. Don't loose any screws.

2) Flip your roaster over and see if the intake screen is clean. No? vacuum it clean. Tim used to slit the screen in order to prevent them from clogging. In fact, he removed mine.

One or both of these may be the problem.

Keep us posted.

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
John Despres
What is thermal cycling? Is that where the heater turns on and off? If so, that is exactly the way a GC works.

Set the heat for 400F and the heater will run until the temp hits, maybe 403F. Then the heater turns off to let the temp drop to, perhaps 397F and turns back on again allowing the temp to climb back to 403F and so forth until the operator changes a setting.

If that's not thermal cycling what is?

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
Hi John,
My roaster is once again in pieces, since I am familiar with taking it apart. It is fairly spotless inside, so it is not an airflow problem. You are correct about the cycling, but my heater is set for a temperature above what it is cycling at. for instance, I am setting temp at 482 and it is cycling at 450, much like the original poster described above. Does that make sense?
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