Baratza Forté hopper safety switch won't stay engaged

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.
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JR_Germantown

#1: Post by JR_Germantown »

I emailed Baratza support two days ago, so they've had a chance to respond (but haven't yet).

I'm having to hold the hopper while grinding, to keep the safety switch from disengaging and stopping the grinder. I have a second hopper that is barely used (my decaf hopper), so I swapped. Same issue, regardless which hopper I use. It's not the hopper. I also thoroughly brushed and vacuumed the area around the switch (with a Dyson, OK?!?! ;)).

Has anybody else had this problem? If so, have you found a solution that does NOT involve duct tape?

Thanks.
Jack

turbo290

#2: Post by turbo290 »

Jack I have the same problem. It just started recently and I went through the same process of cleaning the area thoroughly thinking there was ground coffee clogging up the switch. When that didn't work I went with duct tape until I could come up with something better. Glad you posed the question.

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JR_Germantown (original poster)

#3: Post by JR_Germantown (original poster) »

JR_Germantown wrote:I emailed Baratza support two days ago, so they've had a chance to respond (but haven't yet).
CORRECTION: I see that I emailed Baratza yesterday, not two days ago. I don't want to reflect badly on them. Maybe I'll get a reply soon. They have a good reputation for customer support.

Jack

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JR_Germantown (original poster)

#4: Post by JR_Germantown (original poster) »

First reply from Baratza support:
My guess is that you have two worn down hoppers. The metal case will not wear when rubbing against a plastic hopper, so we have never seen the grinder be the root of the issue. You can try running a small amount of tape around the bottom lip of the hopper to effectively shim the hopper a bit tighter. What is your grinders serial number?
I replied:
I'm sorry, but I can't even begin to imagine how both hoppers wore down at the same time, when one has been in the cabinet about 98% of the time I've owned it (I use it for decaf, and I rarely serve decaf).

I'll have to check the serial number after work. It has always been sensitive to the slightest touch, but only recently started consistently shutting itself off mid-grind.

Got any other ideas? There should be no tape required on a $900 grinder.
Stay tuned!

If anybody else is seeing this issue (with any Baratza grinder, not just the Forté), please weigh in.

Jack

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JR_Germantown (original poster)

#5: Post by JR_Germantown (original poster) »

The Baratza tech told me they would need to get my grinder in for inspection. I sent my serial number as requested, but I'm sure it's way out of warranty. There's no way I'm shipping them my grinder for repair at my expense. I had hoped they'd have a standard fix for this, like they had for the problem of the grind adjustment drifting.

It looks like my comment about the duct tape was prescient. I think I'm on my own to fix this, but it most likely won't involve tape of any kind.

I'll continue to update here when I hear back from them, or devise my own solution.

Jack

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JR_Germantown (original poster)

#6: Post by JR_Germantown (original poster) »

Update (and questions):
After corresponding a few times with Baratza's tech support (helpful as always), they offered to send me a new hopper. Since I was thinking of cutting it down for single dosing anyway, I opted for the old style hopper, the one without a bean shutoff. It fits so tightly that it doesn't slip. However, it takes three hands to remove it (two on the hopper, and one to hold the grinder). That's not my idea of a fix.

I'm actually experimenting the the tape suggestion. Does anybody know WHAT to tape? I can't figure out what the hopper actually rests on.
turbo290 wrote:Jack I have the same problem. It just started recently and I went through the same process of cleaning the area thoroughly thinking there was ground coffee clogging up the switch. When that didn't work I went with duct tape until I could come up with something better. Glad you posed the question.
Did you fix yours? Where did you put the tape?

I'm fully convinced that Baratza's design was flawed. As far as I can tell, the only things that keep the hopper from rotating during use are friction and the safety interlock microswitch itself. The microswitch is being used as a detent, and it is not strong enough for that. Also, I'm not sure mine isn't damaged or defective. Does this look right?


Thanks.
Jack

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PacMan

#7: Post by PacMan »

When I was making a 3D printed single dose hopper insert for my vario (may not be apples to apples comparison) I used black electrical tape with the early iterations of the hopper. I put the piece of tape over the length of the switch. The tape doesn't keep the switch depressed but the slightly rubbery electrical tape would catch the hopper tab and keep it engaged. I ended up adjusting the size of the hopper tab that engages the switch a few mm at a time until it reliably engaged the switch.

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JR_Germantown (original poster)

#8: Post by JR_Germantown (original poster) replying to PacMan »

Wait, you made a single dose hopper insert? I'm searching your posts now... ;)

Jack

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JR_Germantown (original poster)

#9: Post by JR_Germantown (original poster) »

Ah, this:
My Baratza mini hopper

Really interesting! Want to sell one?

I'd planned to use a straight cylindrical hopper and use dowel (or similar) to provide a little bit of weight above the beans.

Jack

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PacMan

#10: Post by PacMan »

The linked post was the first version, still in use with my preciso for drip. This is the final version on the vario:





The weight that comes with the OE mini hopper is a little too much for my vario, makes some bad noises with beans and weight on top. I ended up using the caravel tamper in the neck and it works well. Both weights rest on top of the upper burrs carrier. If you have access to a 3D printer I could just provide the stl file I made. That way could modify as needed to make sure it engages your switch. Or even better, engineer the tab a little better to eliminate this issue you're having.