Controlling a Cormorant Roaster with Artisan - Page 3

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

#21: Post by bwren »

ronncat wrote: I would love to have information on your custom voltage regulator board as that seems to be a great way to approach this. :D
Attached is a 3d mockup of the board. Board size and mounting hole placement is same as the original. I hope to be able to test the custom PCBs in a couple of weeks.

ronncat wrote: Also would love to know how you incorporated the potentiometers into the fan and drum speeds. Can you use the existing ones on the Cormorant and wire them to the hub? This would be very slick as it would still offer manual control to the roast.:D
Yes you can use the existing ones, but I decided to keep the original boards intact, and get 2 new ones. They are identical in shaft size, and I reuse the original knobs. Any generic linear taper pot (5-10K ohms is ideal) will work, and the ones I got (P160KN-QD15B10K) were about $0.75 each. These are wired directly to the Phidget hub. When you rotate a knob, it sends a quantifier signal through Phidgets HUB (Voltage IN) to Artisan, which logs the change and sends the corresponding command OUT through Phidgets to the motor.
[Edit: There can be a small lag of a second or so between turning the roaster knob and seeing the voltage change on the roaster volt meter, which is not objectionable to me. I also have specific marks around the dial for commonly used voltages. This minimal delay can be reduced by lowering Artisan's sampling frequency.]

From an automation design philosophy standpoint, during a roast, I try to keep my interaction with Artisan limited to logging main events like Charge and FC, and have all my control inputs on the roaster logged automatically. (I am of course monitoring data on the screen during roasting -for me this feedback from Artisan is invaluable). Therefore my decision not to use an actuator for the diffuser, but just keep it simple and auto-log diffuser position changes.
ronncat wrote: Let me know if I can be any assistance with your gas hookup. At least you will know which valve worked for me. Still 4 of them left last time I checked ebay. Definitely could downsize the stepper motor as well. :D
Yes I will certainly hit you up for some info. I am currently away from the roaster, but hope to be back on it in a couple of weeks. I do have some questions re the gas control - please excuse my ignorance - this is not an area of expertise for me. It looks like you have the needle valve between the first stage regulator (on the propane tank) and the second stage regulator (in the roaster). Any thoughts about putting the needle valve control after the secondary regulator? I'm also assuming you use the built-in combo valve/igniter on the roaster - do you leave it wide open after ignition?

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#22: Post by Brewzologist »

BoulderMike wrote:Thanks Johnb and bwren, I truly appreciate your kindness in responding to my novice concerns. I believe I undertand more now that what you were customizing, at least I think I understand this, was adding the ability to control the Cormorant from Artisan. I don't need to do that. Anyway, I appreciate everyone who replied back and I am now comfortable and continue to eagerly anticipate getting my Cormorant. Now if the USD wasn't so weak ...
Michael;

Hope the following will give you an idea of how/why you might choose to increasingly automate a Cormorant or similar roaster:

1) As John and Gavin have shown, the Cormorant doesn't need much to function manually.

2) You could later connect the temperature probes to Artisan using Phidgets to capture temperature data and manually log events like gas/fan changes or when first crack starts. Many get to this level of automation and never go further. I did this for years. IMO, the key advantage of this automation level is it lets you easily follow a previous roast profile to improve/repeat a prior roast, and it also makes it easy to share/discuss profiles with others.

3) If you really get ambitious (which is the subject of this thread), you can also connect your gas, fan, and drum to Artisan. The key advantage of this automation level is to enable the computer software to control the roaster and vice versa. I use this mostly to automate the consistent warm-up of my roaster so I can focus on other tasks while Artisan automatically adjusts the gas/fan to follow my predefined warm-up script. Some also like to use this feature to automatically follow a previous roast profile (me not so much as I want full control to tweak the roast as it happens).

HTH;
Steve


P.S. IMO you should start at #2 because being able to incrementally improve your roasts, repeat them, and share profiles will help you increase your roasting skills quickly.

P.P.S. If you decide to do #2 and have no hardware yet, I recommend the following as an end-game for temperature probes whether you source them from Artisan, Phidgets or elsewhere: https://artisan-scope.org/phidgets/2x-rtd-set/ This may look daunting but there are many of us willing to help you get it running with Artisan on your Cormorant. My biggest pain was getting the right size/thread of mounting nut for my roaster.

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ronncat (original poster)

#23: Post by ronncat (original poster) »

BoulderMike wrote:To ronncat and bwren: Sorry to ask this again but your posts are making me very, very nervous. If you two feel the need to do so much customization to the Cormorant, can someone like me expect it to be a good purchase/option when my goal is to use it "out of the box" and without customization. You two seem to be pointing out a lot of operational shortcomings of the Cormorant and it is making me wonder if a roaster like the Cormorant "out of the box" is a mistake for me. My goal is to roast good coffee without a lot of tweaking and customization. I am fine with tweaking the controls of the roaster during the roasting process, but don't want to customize.
Mike,

Did you ever watch Tim Allen in Home Improvement? Well... that's me. I can't ever leave anything alone. From 50 mph golf carts and 40 mph electric standup scooters, to more gimbal and drone designs that I can shake a stick at...

The Cormorant is awesome OTB!!! Does not require any upgrades or tweaking. It is a good solid roaster. You will not be disappointed. Don't let this thread scare you. If you decide to modify later, you will have a source to look back on, but only if you want to...

Ron

ronncat (original poster)

#24: Post by ronncat (original poster) »

P.S. Mike

Take a look at this thread of mine. Sometimes I have too much time and not enough to do:

Monoleeth Flat Pour Over Grinder :lol:

ronncat (original poster)

#25: Post by ronncat (original poster) »

davecx365 wrote:Nice setup and report!
To me, the gas control is still the hardest part to control on the Cormorant. I find it hard to make adjustments for anything less than 4mbr at a time. The heat control (via Artisan) is about the only thing I miss from using the Hottop. Its good to know that someone has found a solution for gas control.

I would like to do something like as well but that will have to wait because of too many other projects. I do have a couple of questions.

Roughly how much did it cost you to accomplish the gas control part?

You also mentioned that a proportional valve as a possible solution but rejected it because of cost. What do those run if someone wanted to go that route?

In the photo of the completed cart, what is on the right-hand side of the roaster? (the big black box thing) An additional cooling unit?
Hi Dave,

Sorry for the delay, but your questions somehow got put on the backburner. The ballpark costs for me to do this are as follows:
Stepper motor - $40.00 Probably can cut this significantly as I used one way larger than needed
Pololu stepper motor controller - $20.00
Stepper motor mounting Bracket - $5.00
MXL Pulleys - $10.00 and $12.00
MXL timing belt - Had on hand, but just a few dollars
Needle Valve - ebay find for $30.00

All of the tubing, regulator, and connectors would be needed whether or not you automate the gas, so I didn't include them.

So, for about $130 give or take not including tax or shipping, i was able to complete the conversion. Not too bad considering I had read some posts where a proportional valve would be in the several hundred dollar range.

Incidentally, the black box you referenced to is a bean cooler that I designed and built when I was using my Quest M3. It is much more efficient than the Quest or the Cormorant cooling system and has a larger capacity...

Ron

BoulderMike

#26: Post by BoulderMike »

Brewzologist wrote:Michael;

Hope the following will give you an idea of how/why you might choose to increasingly automate a Cormorant or similar roaster:

1) As John and Gavin have shown, the Cormorant doesn't need much to function manually.

2) You could later connect the temperature probes to Artisan using Phidgets to capture temperature data and manually log events like gas/fan changes or when first crack starts. Many get to this level of automation and never go further. I did this for years. IMO, the key advantage of this automation level is it lets you easily follow a previous roast profile to improve/repeat a prior roast, and it also makes it easy to share/discuss profiles with others.

3) If you really get ambitious (which is the subject of this thread), you can also connect your gas, fan, and drum to Artisan. The key advantage of this automation level is to enable the computer software to control the roaster and vice versa. I use this mostly to automate the consistent warm-up of my roaster so I can focus on other tasks while Artisan automatically adjusts the gas/fan to follow my predefined warm-up script. Some also like to use this feature to automatically follow a previous roast profile (me not so much as I want full control to tweak the roast as it happens).

HTH;
Steve


P.S. IMO you should start at #2 because being able to incrementally improve your roasts, repeat them, and share profiles will help you increase your roasting skills quickly.

P.P.S. If you decide to do #2 and have no hardware yet, I recommend the following as an end-game for temperature probes whether you source them from Artisan, Phidgets or elsewhere: https://artisan-scope.org/phidgets/2x-rtd-set/ This may look daunting but there are many of us willing to help you get it running with Artisan on your Cormorant. My biggest pain was getting the right size/thread of mounting nut for my roaster.
Thanks so much Steve, again, I truly appreciate your (and others on this thread) kindness and patience with my questions. I went back and forth on whether to get the Artisan/Phidgets stuff installed by Johan or not. I have decided to go with the RTD kit and install myself. Hopefully I can get it done on my own, if not I will reach out to others like you, and I appreciate your help (in advance!). One quick follow up question: I believe for the automation from this thread you are able to control the Cormorant from Artisan. If I don't do this, when I make adjustments manually on the Cormorant do I need to then manually type stuff into Artisan to let it know what I did? If so, is this necessary, or just a nice thing to do? If the latter, would you mind letting me know the benefits of manually entering the changes in the Cormorant to Artisan? Thanks again for your kindness.

BoulderMike

#27: Post by BoulderMike »

ronncat wrote:Mike,

Did you ever watch Tim Allen in Home Improvement? Well... that's me. I can't ever leave anything alone. From 50 mph golf carts and 40 mph electric standup scooters, to more gimbal and drone designs that I can shake a stick at...

The Cormorant is awesome OTB!!! Does not require any upgrades or tweaking. It is a good solid roaster. You will not be disappointed. Don't let this thread scare you. If you decide to modify later, you will have a source to look back on, but only if you want to...

Ron
Thanks again Ron. I understand the desire to tweak things. I would likely be the same if I had the talent! Anyway, thanks for your responses. I do appreciate it.

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#28: Post by Brewzologist »

BoulderMike wrote: One quick follow up question: I believe for the automation from this thread you are able to control the Cormorant from Artisan. If I don't do this, when I make adjustments manually on the Cormorant do I need to then manually type stuff into Artisan to let it know what I did? If so, is this necessary, or just a nice thing to do? If the latter, would you mind letting me know the benefits of manually entering the changes in the Cormorant to Artisan?
Artisan has default buttons to mark when you charge, hit dry end, first crack, etc. Artisan also allows you add your own buttons that many use to mark gas and fan settings. During a roast you press these buttons and they are logged in your profile along with temp curves. The benefit is you know exactly when you changed say a gas setting from 4kPa to 3.5kPa which allows you to precisely repeat a roast. Or, if the roast was a little too hot and you wanted to have less heat the next time you could go from 4 kPa to 3kPa. All this can be done manually on paper but it's much easier to load a previous roast as a background in Artisan and follow it in a new roast.

All this info is available at the link below. While you're waiting for your Cormorant I recommend you read everything you can about how to configure and use Artisan. You can even install it and run simulated roasts to start learning how to use it:

https://artisan-scope.org/docs/quick-start-guide/

P.S. If you're going to use Artisan please make a contribution to help keep the project alive.

BoulderMike

#29: Post by BoulderMike » replying to Brewzologist »

Thanks, I have looked at the quick start guide, but not recently as I haven't had any equipment. With receiving the roaster being soon now, I am going to start reading again. I downloaded Artisan and Phidgets and will begin looking at that software also. If I understand you correctly, I will have to manally let Artisan know when I change settings, but it will be by pressing a button in the software, not typing data. That makes sense to me.

ronncat (original poster)

#30: Post by ronncat (original poster) »

bwren wrote:Attached is a 3d mockup of the board. Board size and mounting hole placement is same as the original. I hope to be able to test the custom PCBs in a couple of weeks.
In your image I see a diode, a few caps and resisters and a voltage regulator (I believe). I have no idea what the other components are. So... your design takes the 0-5V signal from the Phidget OUT and then outputs a variable voltage (0-12V) to the fans, thereby sidestepping the PWM issue??? That is brilliant!!!! I have spent time looking for such a device with zero luck. We'll just have to see how your prototype works...
bwren wrote:. Any generic linear taper pot (5-10K ohms is ideal) will work, and the ones I got (P160KN-QD15B10K) were about $0.75 each. These are wired directly to the Phidget hub. When you rotate a knob, it sends a quantifier signal through Phidgets HUB (Voltage IN) to Artisan, which logs the change and sends the corresponding command OUT through Phidgets to the motor.
So my understanding is the three wires from each pot would be wired into a port on the VINT Hub. They represent vcc, ground and output. The hub will read the output and send it to Artisan. Then you configure Artisan to output to the respective Phidget. For the fans, it would go to the Phidget OUT which would output 0-5V which feeds your custom board to the fans. For the drum, Artisan would send to the Phidget DCC. Once again, Brilliant!!!

As far as the gas hookup, I have placed the needle valve between the regulators and yes, I do use the built in ignitor. Once the flame is lit, I just leave it in the max position. You could probably place the needle valve after the secondary regulator, but due to space concerns, I think it coulld be rather difficult. In addition, if you need to manually adjust the valve, access would be tough.