Gene Cafe problem with long roast time

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

Postby bicktrav » Mar 08, 2018, 3:03 am

Hey everyone,

I've had a Gene Cafe for several years now and have used it on and off with good results. After a hiatus from roasting, I took it out tonight and roasted a batch and it took a very long time; I didn't hit first crack for just over 20 mins. That includes a 5 min drying phase at 300F followed by the remander of the time with the heat set at 482F. Anyone ever encountered anything like this? Is the machine busting? I had actually noticed that the roast times seemed to be increasing before this but this one definitely made me concerned.

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Boldjava

Postby Boldjava » Mar 08, 2018, 6:37 am

Three thoughts.
1. You could have voltage issues from your utility provider. Easily checked with a voltmeter from your hardware store. Had a problem with voltage when we lived in Wisconsin: https://www.amazon.com/Yeeco-Voltmeter- ... 017AVBIVG/
2. Heat element going. Easily replaced. I have done it. If I can do it, anyone can. There is a troubleshooting guide out there that helps you determine that. The heater part is here. https://genecafeusa.com/collections/gen ... g-assembly
3. Clean the underside. There is a vent space that needs constant cleaning. Make sure you vacuum it clean for ease of airflow. Take a shop vac to it after every session.
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LMWDP #339

bicktrav

Postby bicktrav » replying to Boldjava » Mar 08, 2018, 6:11 pm

Thanks for the reply! I checked the line voltage as the Gene Cafe was running, and it seems normal. The heating element draws the voltage down from 120 to about 113 the whole time, which, I assume, means the heating element is at least staying on the whole time. Could there be another problem with the heating element?

Where is the vent? Is it the gradation on the bottom right on the machine? Do you just stick a vacuum or shop vac to it for a moment?

Thanks again for the help!

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chuckcoffee

Postby chuckcoffee » Mar 08, 2018, 8:18 pm

bicktrav

Boldjava is right on the money. The heater and the fan are the 2 items that require maintenance. Heaters seem to be better now. I used to replace them every year. My last one has been in 3 yrs with many back to back sessions. Now seeing that I cannot reach the max temp 482 so time to replace. I keep a spare on that. The other issue is the fan which the blades will become caked with fine dust and the capacity will be dramatically reduced hence the vacuum suggestion. You could take a strong flashlight to see how much build up.

While your in dealing with the heating element you can take the fan out and blow off the blades. Eventually the fan needs to be replaced as mine does now. I'm seeing chaff not making it out of the glass chamber. This will be my 3rd fan and maybe 5th heating element over about 10 years. Great unit but heat is not kind to it.

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Boldjava

Postby Boldjava » Mar 08, 2018, 8:21 pm

113 is inadequate with which to roast. I use a variac and roast with 119.4. Someone with more electrical knowledge needs to speak to what is going on. When I had problems in Wisconsin, I was getting 111-113 at the line.

RE: Vent. http://coffeetime.wikidot.com/gene-cafe ... aintenance
Take an old tooth brush and shop vac to it (it is on the underside of the machine). It is the air intake.
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LMWDP #339

bicktrav

Postby bicktrav » replying to Boldjava » Mar 08, 2018, 9:15 pm

That's interesting. I'm getting the full 120 at the line before the roaster turns on. Once the Gene starts running it draws down to 113. That sounds problematic/abnormal? Is that something I need to call an electrician for?

bicktrav

Postby bicktrav » Mar 08, 2018, 9:16 pm

chuckcoffee wrote:bicktrav

Boldjava is right on the money. The heater and the fan are the 2 items that require maintenance. Heaters seem to be better now. I used to replace them every year. My last one has been in 3 yrs with many back to back sessions. Now seeing that I cannot reach the max temp 482 so time to replace. I keep a spare on that. The other issue is the fan which the blades will become caked with fine dust and the capacity will be dramatically reduced hence the vacuum suggestion. You could take a strong flashlight to see how much build up.

While your in dealing with the heating element you can take the fan out and blow off the blades. Eventually the fan needs to be replaced as mine does now. I'm seeing chaff not making it out of the glass chamber. This will be my 3rd fan and maybe 5th heating element over about 10 years. Great unit but heat is not kind to it.


Thanks for weighing in! I'll definitely try cleaning it. May have to replace the heating element too but want to rule out other possibilities first.

EvergreenBuzzBuzz

Postby EvergreenBuzzBuzz » Mar 13, 2018, 2:10 pm

Dave is spot on and I will add this.

Before I just got my North 500 gram, I was on my second Gene. First one lasted 8 years. IMO you can't avoid opening it up and giving the fan a good cleaning. If the hot air isn't hitting the beans they aren't roasting. Sounds like you may need a new heater too. Some say the new ones are better. I changed procedures when I got the second one. I set the max temp at 460. It's still going strong after 3 years.

So let us know what fixes this for you?

Michael
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