The FrogPad

Roastmaster Support => Support => Topic started by: dmanning123 on January 01, 2019, 07:22:39 PM

Title: ThermaQ probe for popcorn maker?
Post by: dmanning123 on January 01, 2019, 07:22:39 PM
I'm a newbie, here, so looking to get started in the best direction.  I'd like to attach a temperature probe to a West Bend Krazy II Popcorn Maker.  I use Thermapens for cooking so I'm already a fan.  I plan on grabbing the ThermaQBlue but am curious what is the best probe to use in the popcorn maker?  Anyone attach one?  (I've read the article on SweetMarie's, but am curious which ThermaQ probe works best)

Once I figure this all out on the popcorn maker, I will upgrade to something higher end, but want to make sure this is a hobby I get hooked first.


Title: Re: ThermaQ probe for popcorn maker?
Post by: Danny Hall on January 02, 2019, 03:33:15 PM
Hi Dave...welcome!

The only popcorn maker I've ever roasted on is a Whirley Pop, back in the day, so I can't speak from experience. But, I equipped that with a probe, and the basics are the same, whether its a popcorn maker or a large shop roaster. You want to get the probe in the center of the bean mass as much as possible. For a fluid style of roasting (assuming you're using the air popper version) that's more of a judgment call, and you'll end up measuring air temps as well, but with proper placement it will allow you accomplish the same results - repeatability.

The ThermaQ Blue accepts ANY style of K type thermocouple, and thermocouples CAN be bent AS LONG as you bend on a radius, i.e. no sharp corners. Think "U" shaped, not "L" shaped. Also stay away from the tip (where the junction is) at least 1/2". That being said, I'd take some measurements of the machine...maybe use pipe cleaners if you plan on bending it to help you get it right, and choose an 1/8" K type probe that hits your measurement plus some to go through the casing. You can get a wide array of sizes on Amazon...ranging from an inch or two through longer lengths.

Good luck!!
Title: Re: ThermaQ probe for popcorn maker?
Post by: Andy on January 04, 2019, 05:11:20 AM
I have used both type k thermocouples and iCelcius BBQ, which is a thermal resistance probe. Both work fine in my WB Poppery (I). Mine is configured so the tip of the probe is just below the surface of the green bean mass when it is at rest. When the beans loft in the fluid bed and then expand, the probe will be approximately in the middle of the bean mass. That is what has worked for me. I have not used ThermaQBlue or a Thermapen, so I cannot speak to that specifically, but I would think the same placement should work.

Title: Re: ThermaQ probe for popcorn maker?
Post by: dmanning123 on January 05, 2019, 02:42:42 PM
Thanks for the replies!  I did the simple mods to my West Bend Air Krazy air popper to have the fan remain on and the switch now controls the heating element.  I have a ThemaQ on order and will drill a hole and mount the thermocouple so it ends in the center of the popper and at a height just below the surface of the beans at rest (thanks Andy).

If I want to "graduate" from the air popper to larger roaster (at least 1/2 pound capacity) that is < $1,000, but I want to retain my ThermaQ thermocouple and this software, does anyone have any recommendations as to which brand would allow me to mount the thermocouples?  I don't want to get into soldering circuit boards, etc.

Waiting on my beans to arrive now! 
Title: Re: ThermaQ probe for popcorn maker?
Post by: Danny Hall on January 10, 2019, 04:24:54 PM
Sounds cool!

Before getting my 1 Kilo drum roaster, I had a Quest. The Quest was pretty easy to mod for thermocouples. I think later models even shipped with mounts and dedicated holes.

On my current roaster, I didn't relish drilling through cast iron, so I sacrificed a screw mount (that was drilled all the way through the faceplate), and the TC hits the bean mass perfectly. (See attachment).

Sorry, I don't have any experience on newer sample roasters, just wanted you to be aware of this trick, in case it helps with the model you choose.