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Skywalker, the ALM chinese one pound roaster
Hi all, my 'Skywalker' is arriving next week. This is my first dip of a toe into home roasting and I can see I need to do a lot more reading based on the language I don't understand in a lot of these posts!

However in order to give a newbie some positive 'wins' in my first week would someone be kind enough to suggest a beginners guide to using this bit of kit? Maybe a step by step of how to do the first roast and some hints on what to adjust from the trial and error steps?
First, read the manual, then the owners experience in this thread Grin
Ask about anything unclear.

Buy easy to roast beans, like most Central and South Americans, washed processing.
Avoid natural and honey processing for the first roasts.
Also avoid exotic fermentation experiments that are done today, like anaerobic/maceration/yeast infused, etc... any word that sound strange to you.

Then I would start with an automatic roast using program 22 = washed beans medium roast.
Try to note everything you can on the screen: time/temp at least every 30 seconds, if possible every 15-20 seconds even better.
Be careful when you hear the first cracks, in the 175-180C degrees ballpark and note this moment and temperature.
From that moment compute the drop moment according to Table 2 in the manual., and be ready to open the drop door when reaching that temperature.
For example if you hear first cracks at 180C, and you want a medium dark roast, i.e. 16C degrees development, then be prepared to open the door at 180+16=196C temperature.
The cooling drawer must be half open all the time Grin

Fully push the drawer, press C and wait beans cooling.
Weigh your beans and compute weight loss ratio.

Enjoy your cup, share results, and ask for more. Grin
Quick Auto Mode Roast video
Thank you both! Looking forward to it even more now!
The turn yellow moment in the video, at 4:50 time and 153C temperature mark, has less relevance as the beans are full yellow already...
More important is the start of turning yellow, about 10 degrees less, one minute earlier.
You can feel this moment by smell, fresh grass turning into hay smell.
Ive done probably 30 roasts on it so far, mostly in AST mode. Renatoa's post is spot on and the only thing I will add is MAKE SURE THE eject door is CLOSED before adding beans. It takes about 2 minutes for the beans to push the door open and then create a mess all over... ask me how I know. Otherwise the auto modes will really give you a good starting point!
Does this roaster need to be "seasoned"? My supplier does a mix of spilled bag beans at a very low price specifically for seasoning puposes (and says DO NOT DRINK!), is it worth the effort?
Personally I just roasted a single 250g to a french roast level and called it good. I didnt drink it, but It looked and smelled fine. I do not think it needs a significant seasoning roast.
It's a perforated drum so doesn't need to be seasoned per say but I still did a couple roasts with junk beans just to season/burn off anything from the factory/assembly potentially and called it good.
Well I ran a couple of heat cycles and it did make a little smoke.

I roasted some beans and drank them.

I'm not dead but my vision has gone to hell, don't think I can blame the CN?
What should we expect to be the effect of seasoning, if any ?


kaceythebeluga wrote:

Ive done probably 30 roasts on it so far, mostly in AST mode. Renatoa's post is spot on and the only thing I will add is MAKE SURE THE eject door is CLOSED before adding beans. It takes about 2 minutes for the beans to push the door open and then create a mess all over... ask me how I know. Otherwise the auto modes will really give you a good starting point!

The cure to this is have always the cooling drawer half opened, will not alter the thermal behavior of machine.
This way you can save almost all spilled beans, reload them and let the roast go away. At least minimize the mess.
It is called damage control Grin


renatoa wrote:

What should we expect to be the effect of seasoning, if any ?

Sounds like in this case it's just a chance to burn off any factory residue without wasting good beans. More of a 'comissioning roast' than a 'seasoning roast'!
Makes sense.

However... in time I expect deposits on the drum to change the thermal behavior.
How much or how fast this is a question I cant's answer atm...

For all the roasters I've built so far, the metal surfaces in contact with the beans go from the factory gray color of the steel to something darker, brown, due to the burnt coffee oils.

This happens mainly on the heated areas, but not in direct contact with moving beans.
The motion acts like an rubber eraser, keeping clean exactly the areas most in contact with the beans.
Thus, for Skywalker I expect the sidewall to be the least affected, and the bottom the most affected.

What would be the effect of this color change of drum?
More heat absorption, thus faster preheat, hotter drum, thus increased "contact" transfer, from drum to outer layer of beans.
Probably 5-10% more air should be enough to counteract this effect.

Anyway, you need dozens of roasts to see the first deposits, so don't panic yet smile
[quote]renatoa wrote:

Brilliant. You have saved me a future headache or two.
Has anyone used the smoke filter? If so how effective is it? What does it actually do, and would it need to be cleaned or replaced?


staralfur12 wrote:

Has anyone used the smoke filter? If so how effective is it? What does it actually do, and would it need to be cleaned or replaced?

I have used it for 4 or 5 roasts. According to the manual, it has 5 speeds available. It defaults to speed 2 when the exhaust fan is activated. I have not changed the speed of the fan. I believe it helps somewhat. I roast in my garage so the smell permeates the area anyway. It has discolored the filter as one might expect. I blow a small amount of chaff out of it with a hand held blower after each use. Obviously, at some point if usage continues, it will clog. I'm not sure I will replace the filter. If I do, it will probably be an automotive cabin filter as it has an activated charcoal layer to it. I think it reduces the smell in the garage maybe kinda sorta just a little, but I don't mind the coffee roasting smell in the air anyway(I roast light to medium-light).

I have noticed the residual heat from roasting has weakened the plastic where it enters from the roaster. It is deforming.
It is definitely a cheaply fabricated attempt to offset the roasting smell.

I could not imagine using this if I roasted to a dark roast.
*Kaffelogic Nano 7
*Skywalker V1
*2023 BC-2
Measured 105C temperature of the exhaust air, at the level or filter fitting, for 50% heater, 65% fan and 200C inside.
Most ordinary plastics starts melting at that point.
On the Discord Skywalker channel, and on Reddit too there is a great buzz about first fire case of this machine.
Quoting below the unlucky guy story:


Started the Auto mode with p23. 400 grams of beans.6 minutes later there was excessive smoke and flames visible inside. No button worked to stop the heating until I unplugged it from the wall. Seller on alibaba is not responding, will probably send this pictures to the manufacturer as well, hopefully they can send a replacement.This was the second roast!

From all the posts around this case I am not sure what the posters call "relay", that "overheated and got stuck".
Maybe @ctjameson, who is a member here and the other two communities, having a post on reddit about his mod of the electronics board inside roaster, could confirm that mystery "relay" is the thyristor on heatsink, i.e. the heater control switch.

Beyond debating about the culprit and other legally issues, let's learn how to defend against such situations.
First of all, roasting coffee is not an unattended activity, period !
All the time during roast your eyes and other sense must be on the roaster !

For this particular case, my advice for anyone is to learn to make the difference between heater working at 100%, that means "relay stuck" and could led to fire, and normal operating behavior.
When stuck the heater is not flickering at all, when power is modulate it flickers, it's simple...
What is the simplest, fastest and more convenient way to see the heater during roast? Just remove a bit the charge chute door until you see the red light, and you will notice the flickering at first sight.
Looking through trier hole or the beans window is less convenient... for my back at least Grin

I didn't mention the ubiquitous advice "having handy a fire extinguisher", because I assume using one is already too late Shock
Better prevent first...

Any additions or comments are welcomed.
Two more thoughts about the melted roaster case reported above.

There are two times more chances this issue happens for 115V US models, because the current through the thyristor is double for same power level, compared to a 230V version.
As already discussed in RobotDyn dimmer thread, for a SCR/SSR element the temperature of the case/silicon junction is a matter of current exclusive, voltage having no importance.
Thus, the heatsink dimensions of such electronic "relay" should be designed according to the current, i.e. double as size for 115V models than for 230V.
My bet is they are identical for all models, beat me if I am wrong Grin

The second thought is about power monitoring.
Instead having an eye permanently on the heater flickering, a more convenient method would be to buy a power meter plug energy monitor, like one of these:
...and have the power level readable every moment under your eyes.

If you see at a moment power jumping at 1000W, but the control panel say 75%, for example, then you should: first try a power reduction... then, if control panel seems ineffective try a power off, and, in a last resort, unplug from the mains.
All of above done faster than I needed time to wrote them.
renatoa posted:


Two more thoughts about the melted roaster case reported above.

Glad you posted this on the potential for meltdowns and fire with roasting coffee. Very important to be on guard at all times. My little green 120 gram capacity electric drum roaster had a similar issue a few months ago. I was fortunately only warming up the roaster and didn't have any coffee charged yet and after 5 minutes of warmup, I noticed the ET readout was spiked at 650 F and climbing. I tried turning down the dimmer style power control but no change in output so I unplugged immediately and saved the roaster from going into full meltdown which would have required a complete rebuild.
Turns out that the 16 amp rated SSR had overheated and froze in the conducting state. This was the first time I ever witnessed this happening. I increased the size of it's heat sink and hasn't happened since. If I had left my shop and grabbed a cup of coffee in the house, the roaster and possibly my whole outdoor shop would have been burnt to charcoal.
1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana
I had a situation with the controller pad that comes with this roaster. During a roast, I pushed some of the buttons and got no response. It wasn't an overheated situation, just trying to make changes. After the roast, I figured out that pushing too firmly on the buttons was not the way it works. When I roasted again and just made slight, baby taps on the buttons, everything worked like it should. Those membrane buttons are very sensitive.
*Kaffelogic Nano 7
*Skywalker V1
*2023 BC-2
You can Bake them at home.
I love baked beans.

Speaking of baked beans, I opened up the front of my unit last weekend to finally check it out and also give it a cleaning. There were 4 or 5 beans stuck in the drum that were nice and crispy. Decent amount of fine particulate build up before the exhaust area but not as bad as I expected for the amount of coffee I put through it compared to how bad my sandbox was.

Also got the hopper printed that someone on here created I believe, love it, makes the drop easy and less beans escaping by pouring in via measuring cup

Edited by Lostx403 on 02/26/2024 12:16 PM
Were they stuck under the fins or on the front plate. I get a few burnt every now and again but have never seen one stuck in the fins yet? Not sure they can sit on the lamp.
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