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Exploration Of the Hottop Characteristics II: First Sandbox
I have completed the first "sandbox" run, and as a result, I now know how to use a background to control a roast!
(at least the basics . . .).

First, about the sandbox roast. I set up the Hottop and computer, plugged the USB into both devices, turned on the computer, hit power twice on the Hottop, then selected the Auto program and then started the run.

Then, I started Artisan, set super on (right click on elapsed timer), clicked ON, CONTROL, and START.

I let the device warm up, turned the heating element off, then on, then let it warm up a bit.

Then I hit CHARGE when the BT was at about 218 F.

Then I waited a bit, turned the heat off, turned the fan on, let it cool a bit, then turned the heat back on, fan to 50%, then messed with the heat, taking it to 80, then 60, then 50, turned the fan on, the heat off. I basically just played with all the controls to get some stuff recorded.

Finally, I turned the fan all the way up, the heat all the way down, and hit the drop button. and let everything cool back down to under 100F.

I saved this profile. Remember, there were no beans in the roaster. So my next step? CONTROL THE ROAST WITH ARTISAN!

Before I go further, let me state that the Artisan software is unbelievably well designed and robust. I am astonished at how good this software is considering that it is free. The Authors are true heros!!!

Again, considering that all of this is a voluntary effort, the documentation of the program is also EXCELLENT. I sit in awe and disbelief at how cool and complete this is.

Having said that, I need to register a comment/criticism of the Artisan software documentation. Similar to other programmer written documentation I have seen in the past, this documentation describes the UI for the software in detail, but does not really pay much attention to the user's point of view. It's OK. It's still great documentation, and it is FREE!!!

Nowhere does the documentation (that I have found) say: Here is a step-by-step way to control a roast.

Since I never criticize without offering to help (when something is free), I am going to offer this up. Perhaps the Artisan authors will pick this up and improve on it.


So here is how to do it!!!! (Okay, here is ONE way to do it--which seems like a good place to start).

First, you have to make a profile. I haven't used their analyzer designer software yet, so I am using a previous roast profile--the sandbox profile described at the beginning.

Next, with the profile displayed on the roast screen, you go to the menu above, hit ROAST->SWITCH PROFILES.

This places your open roast profile into the background.

Next, go to ROAST->BACKGROUND and check the box titled "Playback Events" in the right lower part of the screen. Next to this button is the "Playback Drop" buttton. If you do not click this button, the DROP event will not be triggered in playback mode. This might be desirable, so I did not click it. However, if you are expecting complete automation, this failure to drop might confuse you--as you will see it did me, below.

See, the beauty of trying all this out with no beans in the roaster is you can screw with stuff without having to worry about wasting precious coffee!

OK, now, with the roaster still connected with the USB, hit the power button twice, select auto, start the auto, the, check that the temperatures are registering on Artisan. Make sure Super is on, Control is on, hit the ON button, and then the START button.

This will switch the roaster over to USB control, and you will see the cursor begin to move across the screen. The cursor is a thin vertical line going from the top to the bottom of the screen. It will be moving slowly from left to right.

So the first surprise was when the cursor passed my changing of the controls before the charge. It completely ignored them.
Okay, that was unexpected. That means that this run will not exactly replicate the preheat cycle, which means the slope of the temperature curves will not exactly match the background.

So now I suspect that the playback is not going to control anything until I hit the charge button. Therefore, I will wait until the BT gets to 218.3 (the previous charge temp) and then hit charge.

I did this, and the the screen moved around and the new charge was aligned with the background charge. Unfortunately, since the preheat curve was different, the current bean temperature curve has overshot the background a little bit.

Then, YIPPEE! The cursor hit the point where the background turned the heat off, and sure enough, the heat on the roaster got turned off! Yay! It works!

From this point on, the roaster does everything exactly as it was done in the background. The background is turning the heat up, down, the fan up, down, part way all the way, and the roaster is doing everything the background does. Very nice.

The only surprise was when I passed the drop event, and nothing happened. I have to admit I to a tiny bit of panic, but then reason took over and I realized what the "Playback Drop" button was for.

Now, something interesting happened. I hit the drop button, and then lost all control over the roaster. Once you hit drop, playback stops. Then, I accidentally tweaked the USB cable, and the roaster lost contact with Artisan, and shut off. Yikes, the temperature is too high in that thing not to have the fan running.

So I unplugged the USB, turned the roaster back on, power button twice, auto, select, and it went into cooling mode, and then I hit eject, and it started its normal cool down.

There are lots of interesting implications to this last bit, but I won't go into them here.

So that is how you actually start a roast from a profile.

I was surprised to see that the bean temperature plot actually matches the background plot almost exactly, turn for turn. The only difference is that it is offset about 18F higher the entire "roast." Even the ROR follows the background ROR quite closely considering the rough start we got.

Maybe I shouldn't be too surprised since there are no beans involved here, but still, it validates that there is pretty good base repeatability in the device itself.

For one of my future experiments, I am going to try hitting the CHARGE button much earlier, to get the temperature curves better aligned (fine tuning). Also, I am going to try to find out why the ET curve disappeared when I switched a profile to background.

To Summarize controlling a roast from an existing profile:

1. Bring up profile you wish to duplicate
2. menu->Roast->Switch Profiles
3. menu->Roast->Background-> check Playback Events
4. Make sure roaster is connected by USB, on, and start Auto mode
5. In Artisan, super on, START, CONTROL
6. Hit DROP to start playback.

Again, this is not the only way to do the above, but it works and will get you started.

Next Post: I will learn hot to MODIFY the background to move the recorded events around earlier or later in time.

Be careful out there, and keep your fire extinguisher handy!
Edited by Tavake12 on 02/15/2020 10:42 AM
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