New Quest M6 -- Problem?

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

#1: Post by cjhacker23 »

Hello Fellow Quest Roasters,

I just received my Quest M6 from Coffee Shrub and it's making a noise that doesn't sound normal to me. Of course, I have never used this roaster before, or any Quest roasters, so I don't know what normal sounds like, but I thought I should ask here.

1) When the roaster is plugged in (and the timer dial turned on) there is a distinctive electrical crackling sound coming from the roaster, apart from the sound of the timer, or the drum turning. Is this normal?

2) The amp meter never reaches the max of 15. When the power dial is turned, the needle goes from 0 to about 12 on the meter, but no higher. Is this normal?

I recorded a video of the sound and uploaded it to YouTube. Here's the link:

I'd be grateful for anyone's thoughts on whether this sound/behavior is normal or if I should contact CS or Quest about it.


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#2: Post by Nunas »

Normal. I noticed the same thing when I moved from a Quest M3 to an M6. On mine, at least, I attribute it to the gearbox, not an electrical fault. If I had to guess, I'd say that they switched from a wet gearbox to a dry one. One of the complaints that Quest owners often had was finding some gooey stuff in the electrical compartment. It turned out to be nearly dried gear lube that had leaked from the transmission. On mine it was clear, but another user reported dark. If you do ask Quest or CG, and get an answer, please post it here or PM me and I'll add a note in the Quest Handbook when I get around to publishing an updated version. As for the meter, mine does not go to full scale either. The heaters draw a nominal 1450-Watts, which is about 12 to 13 amps, depending on your mains voltage.

cjhacker23 (original poster)

#3: Post by cjhacker23 (original poster) »

That's a relief! And I hadn't realized you are the one responsible for the Quest Handbook--I am so grateful to you for putting it together. I have been using it as my guide as I learn my way around the machine. It is a great resource.

I have not received a response yet from CS or Quest, but I will post their responses if and when they do.

Regarding the voltage, I have noticed that the power fluctuates througout my house. Indoors, max registers at right about 1400 on my Watt-o-meter, whereas in the garage, where I intend to use it, max power registers at 1220.

What are your thoughts about a variac? Or something like that, which might juice the power a little? (Full disclosure--I have never used a variac and don't know enough about electricity to understand why this might be a good or bad idea!)

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#4: Post by Peppersass »

I think Maurice is right about the sound. Nothing to worry about. It's a grinding noise, not electrical noise. My Quest M3 makes a similar sound at a slightly lower volume, so maybe some of the grease has leaked out of my transmission, and yours doesn't use grease.

I'd look into why the voltage in your garage is low. You may have faulty wires, outlets, breakers or connectors that are dissipating the extra 180W. That could be a fire hazard.

Personally, I wouldn't run the roaster on an ungrounded outlet. That's a potential shock hazard. All outlets in your house should be grounded.

cjhacker23 (original poster)

#5: Post by cjhacker23 (original poster) »

Yes, the low voltage at that ungrounded outlet is a bit concerning, and you're totally right about ungrounded outlets in general. The good news is that after shifting things around in the garage (this new roaster was just the excuse I have been looking for to do some much needed cleaning up) I found a perfect corner with a workbench near a window and a grounded outlet, which produces a normal amount of current.

cjhacker23 (original poster)

#6: Post by cjhacker23 (original poster) »

An update: From Molly Yen at Quest:
We are sorry to know that the M6 is making a sound when plug on.

There might be the reason the heater scratching the drum a bit.
And this might caused while heavy drop the package while delivery.

Please try taking off the front plate off M6 and taking off the drum to bent front part of both heater
A bit for making it not touching drum; please see below reference photo.

Attached heating element replacing photo shows how to taking off drum.

Hope above info could be a good solution to solve the issue.
Thank you!
Doing what she suggested turned out to be a bit of an ordeal, as I first misidentified which screws needed removing--I thought I had to remove the three flush hex screws on the drum face. Well, after stripping one of these screw heads, I spent 20 minutes with a power drill and a screw removal bit in order to remove it... only to find out that this is a "dummy" screw that isn't screwed into anything, merely glued into place! On top of that, these weren't the screws I was supposed to remove in the first place. Anyway, when I finally identified and removed the CORRECT screws and the drum and could see the heating elements, they seemed fine. They both were clear of the drum's path.

All of which is to say that the sound is normal for a current production Quest M6.

I should also add that this thing is built like a tank, totally unfazed by my heavy-handed treatment of it. A machine designed to last.

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#7: Post by Nunas »

cjhacker23 wrote:What are your thoughts about a variac? Or something like that, which might juice the power a little? (Full disclosure--I have never used a variac and don't know enough about electricity to understand why this might be a good or bad idea!)
I recall seeing something on the instructions for my old M3 about not using a Variac. On the other hand, I'm sure I've seen posts here on H-B by members who use a Variac to compensate for low mains voltage. However, the M6 heaters draw nearly the maximum continuous current from a normal 15-amp circuit. If you want to mess with a Variac you should use a 20-amp circuit. I'd be worried that with the wrong twist of the Variac knob I might blow my heaters.