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Popper gets really hot after only a few seconds of heater on
mg512
I don't think there's a generally accepted minimum safe fan level. It really depends entirely on your setup. There are two things that can go wrong, in general.

1. The heating element can overheat, which could either lead to it burning out, or a thermal fuse burning out, or potentially worse (catching fire etc).

2. The beans themselves could overheat, and get burned, start smoking, or worse (catch fire etc).

The first one is highly dependent on the popcorn machine you have. Some have a thermal fuse with a relatively low trigger point, some with a much higher one. Unfortunately there isn't really a warning there - if you burn it, then realistically you'll have to replace the whole element, which means buying another popcorn machine. The second one you should notice if the beans get too dark or start smoking.

You certainly can experiment and go to 70% or even 50% fan power, just know that there's a small risk you'll burn out the heating element. One thing to watch for is that the fan motor might need a certain power level to start running at all, e.g. on my machine I think below 20 or 30% it just doesn't move at all. You definitely don't want that - if you hear the fan turning off, immediately turn off the heater, or it will be gone in seconds.


As for constricting the outflow, that does generally increase temperatures, but I would be extremely cautious about this. I once tried this with a glass funnel put over the top of the popper, and my beans started smoking heavily within a very short period of time. They were smoking so much I unplugged the whole popper and took it outside, and a random passerby asked if they should call the fire department.
 
allenb

Quote

hstan4 wrote:

Does anyone have any thoughts on my previous post in the thread? I just recently fired my popper back up and am still struggling to reach the temperatures needed to get it to FC early and am seeing similar spikes in ΔBT as posted previously. I still have a similar question: if my heater is at 100% power, is ~50% power for the fan still considered safe as long as the beans are moving a fair amount?

I'm not having problems with bean movement after 5 minutes or so in the roast, so am looking for ways to increase the temperature while ensuring the popper doesn't get dangerously hot if the fan is set too low. I've seen in other threads people mentioning closing off the chamber even more to increase temperatures, so can give that a try too


Ditto on comments by mg512. Shoot us some photos of your probe placement for ET and BT
1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
 
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