BC Automation

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.

Postby blondica73 » Sep 26, 2017, 11:15 am

Hello HB members,
I was wondering if any of you has taken a stab at automating the BC roasters. I've read the piece on the North Roaster automation and seems like a very cool idea.

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Postby slickrock » Sep 26, 2017, 1:52 pm

The approach to automating a BC roaster should effectively be the same as I covered in automation post for the North Roaster. In fact, this approach can be used for really any drum roaster running on gas, and the approach really doesn't get in the way of onboard PID roasters such as with the BC, Bella TW (e.g. Mini 500) and would certainly work with "maker-style" roasters such as the Huky, Kaldi, et. al.

While I have not seen the BC, I gather that its plumbing is inboard, so you would likely have less room for valve plumbing, and I can think of a few ways to simply my original post on this, which I'll update on the North automation thread in a bit.
07/11/1991, 08/21/2017, 04/08/2024, 08/12/2045


Postby blondica73 » Sep 26, 2017, 2:43 pm

The current plumbing configuration is: tank > regulator > on/off valve> manual needle valve > burner. I push a button and the valve opens, depress it and valve closes. I'll check the voltage applied when pressed and the part number for the current valve used. I don't think it would be a big deal for the manufacturer to add a couple of more chips on the interface board and a different valve to interface with the PID feature in Artisan. They just added a new interface protocol: Bluetooth.


Postby blondica73 » Oct 19, 2017, 7:52 pm

Making progress on the BC automation. I purchased a thermocouple (5mm), an Arduino Uno R3 board and a TC4 board and programmed it last night. Right now, I can read the temperature into Artisan via the Arduino/TC4 combination. As I only have one additional pre-drilled hole in the BC-5 (8mm or 1/4' NPT), I can currently use only 1 additional thermocouple. I also ordered a 3 mm thermocouple of Ebay and once the automation is up and running I will try them both. I'll also look to see if I could take advantage of other areas on the face of the roaster to see if could also get ET.
Next steps is to buy the proportional valve and the controller. I was notified by slickrock who succeeded in upgrading his North Roaster that Clippard came out with a brand new valve. I emailed the manufacturer earlier today to get more info and see if I could use it for my project. I'll post again once I make more progress.


Postby blondica73 » Oct 23, 2017, 11:04 pm

Questions to folks using HC-06. I bought one and trying to install it with my Arduino board, however, I cannot talk to it, even after installing the drivers. The windows system install two serial ports and when I try to access one Artisan is freezing. Currently, I cannot read the Arduino board using HC-06.


Postby blondica73 » Dec 20, 2017, 1:31 pm

I made some progress on the BC automation. I purchased 2 probes from OMEGA (1/8' thikcness or approximately 3 mm), probes with dual output. One output goes to the OMRON controller and the other output goes to the TC4 board (both probes). I installed the probes in the exact location of the stock probes and fished the output cables through the same sleeve as the older ones, that was quite a challenged. I managed to get the HC-06 working by ensuring that the baud rate on the TC4 and HC-06 was the same. Currently, the OMRON controllers read the temperature for both ET and BT from the new probes. I'm also able to read in Artisan the BT and ET probes via the factory interface or TC4. Granted there is a small difference between the TC4 reading and the OMRON reading, about 1F, but that is negligeable.
I also bought the Clippard valve, DVP, and the associated controller and my next step is to hook them up and drive them using the TC4 board. Stay tuned!


Postby blondica73 » Dec 28, 2017, 2:11 pm

I tried my first roast using the TC4 board (still manual mode) and things did not go as planned.
As mentioned in previous posts, I purchased 2 OMEGA probes with dual outputs. One ouput from the probes (both ET and BT) went to the original OMRON controllers on the BC-5 and the other went to the TC4 board. I powered up the Arduino/TC4 board using a AC/DC power supply connected to the 220V on the roaster. I connected the TC4 to my laptop, fired up Artisan and started a test roast. I was following the temperatures (ET and BT) on both Artisan, which read the temperature from the TC4 and also on the OMRON controllers (visual inspection). At ambient temperature the temperature difference between TC4 and OMRON was 1F. As the roast progressed the difference increased greatly reaching almost 60F at one point. I was wondering if other folks ran into a similar problem and wanted to know what they did to fix it.


Postby ira » Dec 28, 2017, 3:09 pm

It is possible that the original thermocouple was a different type, roasters commonly come with J type and I assume you put in a K type. Certainly worth checking to see if that's the problem.



Postby blondica73 » replying to ira » Dec 28, 2017, 3:24 pm

I did put K-type thermocouples, however, I roasted a test roast based on the OMRON output and the roast profile looks very similar to the roasts when I used the original thermocouples. I'll change the setting on my TC4 to J-type to see if it makes a difference.


Postby btreichel » Dec 30, 2017, 1:48 pm

That sounds like a scaling issue. A 2 point calibration would fix that. P.s. don't know if that is supported, etc. But simpliest 2 point is an ice bath, and boiling water.