Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

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Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby jdavidwaldman on Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:24 am

Can anyone recommend a tweaker (Alistair?) to retrofit an electronic auto timer onto our Compak WBC? We are located in New Jersey, and are willing to ship grinder within Continental US. thx. Alternatively, a recommended parts list with schematic and some pics would work.
... but how does it taste?
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby Robert Goble on Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:04 am

Part of the success of the Anfim grinder is the timer it uses. And it's not just any timer, but specifically the timer known as the "Search Timer" or "Search Controlled/er" - which is as some of you know a product of coffeed member Philip Search.

In the early days, all Anfim timer mods were done post factory, in labs like ours or by Philip specifically. Anfim now ships the timer as a factory mod. (Using the specific Search components). I'm quite sure this specific mod can be added to most any grinder so Philip would be your man here.

Just a little further note on timers -- part of what makes Philip's timer so good is the high quality (and therefor cost) of the materials, and its performance/accuracy (all heavily tested by Philip and a series of beta testers.) There are other timers out there - indeed timers themselves are not new -- but for the most part the drive to use cheaper components has left many of them less appealing.

If I was writing a commercial I'd say "ask for it by name -- Search Controller...." and I'd make sure it came with a little sticker --- I don't know if he has stickers yet, but I'm sure he'd help you out. Good luck.

R.
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby xristrettox on Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:54 pm

I've had the luck to play with several grinders with the search mod, and I have also played with a few grinders with Terry Z's mod.

If you're looking to adapt a timer, I would try and go with something more like Terry's. It is adjustable to .05 seconds while there is no real tactile adjustment with the search.
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby Robert Goble on Thu Sep 18, 2008 4:30 pm

Our experience with Terry's products have been very positive as well.
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby Chris Baca on Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:28 pm

the timers with the digital readouts are dope. as every grinder I've played with (even when heavily modded) has some amount of dose variation it's nice to be able to tell that you in fact did adjust the timer and by exactaly how much. the timers John hooked up for us are a dream and have resolution in .001 increments if you want it (no need to go that small really). Hit up John aka Jepy: jepy@mac.com
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby Lorrie McCullaugh on Fri Sep 19, 2008 1:33 pm

i find the adjustment on the Search timer to be very user friendly. My biggest problem with the digital timer is the need to focus on the numbers. It takes away from the ease of use. I find that with a digital timer, I wind up with just one more thing to focus on. The Search timer allows me to focus completely on the end result; the coffee. I kind of equate it to the way I cook; I rarely follow recipes. I just know that if I put this and that together, it tastes amazing. I have no desire to measure out "a tablespoon of minced garlic" to add to my red sauce.

For those of you clamoring for that digital display, though, Philip has developed a digital counterpart to the Search control...
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby Lorrie McCullaugh on Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:14 pm

I should disclose that I have tested products, including the Search Timer for Philip, and work with him in developing other equipment.
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby Ryan Willbur on Sun Sep 21, 2008 1:35 pm

I've had the privilege of working on both a Robur with a Search timer and a Robur with a digital timer, and digital wins out for me everytime. I like to be exact. I like to know what I'm dosing, how many seconds it takes for my shots to drop, and many other numerical factors that are going into my shots. I prefer to be able to have numbers so I can pass on factors onto those who I share my bar with, so they can pull shots similar to what mine are. The knobbed timers work well as a 'workhorse' timer, but they're hard just not as black and white as I prefer...
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby PureArabica on Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:24 am

Robert Goble wrote:part of what makes Philip's timer so good is the high quality (and therefor cost) of the materials, and its performance/accuracy (all heavily tested by Philip and a series of beta testers.) I don't know if he has stickers yet, but I'm sure he'd help you out. Good luck.

R.


That's interesting. My big complaint about the search timers is their inconsistencies. Every 6-8 doses it would grind for a shorter or longer period, and for a busy bar, it was a pain in the arse!! This inconsistency wasn't a fluke either. It happens all of our grinders that have this specific timer installed.

If I saw a grinder with a search sticker, I'd consider it a warning.
Go Digital!!
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby Alistair Durie on Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:00 pm

PureArabica wrote:That's interesting. My big complaint about the search timers is their inconsistencies. Every 6-8 doses it would grind for a shorter or longer period, and for a busy bar, it was a pain in the arse!! This inconsistency wasn't a fluke either. It happens all of our grinders that have this specific timer installed.

If I saw a grinder with a search sticker, I'd consider it a warning.
Go Digital!!
Nick


The timer itself is very accurate in its repeatability - the inconsistency comes in the form of different beans of varying origins, size and densities. Every exact 5.743 seconds of motor activity will produce a slightly different result.
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby Andy Schecter on Sat Sep 27, 2008 7:23 am

PureArabica wrote:My big complaint about the search timers is their inconsistencies. Every 6-8 doses it would grind for a shorter or longer period, and for a busy bar, it was a pain in the arse!! This inconsistency wasn't a fluke either. It happens all of our grinders that have this specific timer installed...Go Digital!!


This is a peculiar thread with so many starkly contradictory claims. Here is my experience:

1. As Alistair notes, no matter how accurate the timer is, there will still be variability in the amount of coffee ground in a set time period (due to variations in packing, density, hardness, bean size, etc).
2. Even if the amount of coffee ground were precisely the same each time, the amount that falls or fails to fall from the chute varies. Sometimes a lump of coffee just hangs there. See pic of an Anfim grinder:

Image

3. Digital vs analog doesn't affect the accuracy of the timer; it is simply the human/electronic interface. A digital interface is advantageous because it allows one to easily repeat a setting and accurately communicate a setting to others. An analog interface (ie, twisting a knob) is advantageous because it is quicker and more intuitive when adjusting during a rush. IOW, each interface has distinct strengths.
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby Vince Piccolo on Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:09 am

That's interesting. My big complaint about the search timers is their inconsistencies. Every 6-8 doses it would grind for a shorter or longer period, and for a busy bar, it was a pain in the arse!! This inconsistency wasn't a fluke either. It happens all of our grinders that have this specific timer installed.

If I saw a grinder with a search sticker, I'd consider it a warning.
Go Digital!!
Nick


Nick when you run the 100 meter race in 26.3 seconds it doesn't matter if I'm using an analogue or digital stop watch. You still came in at 26.3 seconds. 8)
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby Andy Schecter on Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:29 am

Vince Piccolo wrote:Nick when you run the 100 meter race in 26.3 seconds it doesn't matter if I'm using an analogue or digital stop watch.


Hi Vince:

The stopwatch is unnecessary for anyone running 100m in 26.3sec.

A sundial would be more appropriate. :-)
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby PureArabica on Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:52 am

Vince Piccolo wrote:
That's interesting. My big complaint about the search timers is their inconsistencies. Every 6-8 doses it would grind for a shorter or longer period, and for a busy bar, it was a pain in the arse!! This inconsistency wasn't a fluke either. It happens all of our grinders that have this specific timer installed.

If I saw a grinder with a search sticker, I'd consider it a warning.
Go Digital!!
Nick


Nick when you run the 100 meter race in 26.3 seconds it doesn't matter if I'm using an analogue or digital stop watch. You still came in at 26.3 seconds. 8)


Hey Vince, nice shades.
I realize the argument that a timer is timer.
But, the fact that our grinders will consistently short us 3-5 grams of coffee every 6-8 cycles is not a result of bean size variation or left over coffee in the chute.
Maybe we got the "fluke" grinders. :roll:
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby Vince Piccolo on Sat Sep 27, 2008 11:36 am

But, the fact that our grinders will consistently short us 3-5 grams of coffee every 6-8 cycles is not a result of bean size variation or left over coffee in the chute.
Maybe we got the "fluke" grinders. :roll:


I don't know what a "fluke grinder" is but back to the subject ... you're telling me that a solid state relay timer when not digital, shorts you up to 5 grams and a timer with digital readings will not? This does not make sense. There must be more to the story. Maybe Philip can chime in because he has some knowledge about your grinder situation.
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby Philip Search on Sat Sep 27, 2008 12:33 pm

Hey guys, I have some comments, and I hope to shed some light on several of the questions and posts that have been made. I normally don't say much on these boards since its easy to mis understand but I feel I do need to answer some things where myself, and products I designed have been directly questioned.

First, the timers I generally use are solid state. They can be digital, or not. The difference is the speed, acuracy, and durability. My search controls are tested and waranteed for 20 million cycles. Digital doesn't imply the type of relay. There are a couple of types of relays, these are the fastes and most acurate. Contact switch relays (darkroom timers, or spring contact relays have a greater chance of failure, or are much slower. The timer I manufacure works in milli seconds. Another feature of my controls are that if they fail, they lock open, so that the grinder is still able to be used, as if I didn't have a timer.another big deal is the intended use. The timers many put in grinders are designed for much cleaner, coffee dust and moisture free enviroments than a busy coffee bar. Mine are sealed with a very special epoxy resin. Water tight.The delta timer a lot of people like has about 1/3 the life expectance, and is intended for a control board,it works well, but will fail. For references, I would give Synesso inc, elysian coffee, gimmie coffee, el biet, 49th parallel, etc. These are people who have significant experience on bars, many with high volume experience, and they like the product. Also, as busy as these bars are, the timers have NEVER failed in them. Nor have they had acuracy issues with the equipment. Simply the normal variance in the coffee as already listed.

Second, to billy, saying you have used a lot of my products is false. Sorry dude.

Third, to nick and regarding the intelly three phase roburs. Some disclosure should have been made by you. 1. These grinders had issues due to the losse dusty breakers in the la warehouse, it shorted a barrel switch in at least one grinder, and could have potentially damaged the other components including the timer unit.2. This was not done by anauthorized installer of my products, I can't verify any issues with your grinders wiring, especially in thise case it sounds like the contact relays contolling the motor were wired to the timer wrong. 3.No issues were brought to my attention about these timers having issues before this, probably because your company hasn't even paid for the parts which were delveloped at great expence to my company. 4. Had this been brought to my attention, and your bills been paid, and solution would have been offered by my engineers (btw, they are the same that do the difficult problem solving for hp, apple, intel, and multiple factories around the world) including offering you new, better contact relays, and verifying your install. 5. And I repeat myself, this is a super acurate, super fast solid state relay. Calling a timer digital, or not is not discriptive of HOW it works. Its ignorant, and misleads people to the actual function of the unit. There's a lot that goes into doing things right. I don't wish to simply 'hack' and 'mod' a grinder as a one off go around solution. I have invested, as have others, tens of thousands of dollars in making a real, dependable, repeatable, standardized solution for controling grind amounts. With replacable parts. Much like a reputable espresso machine maker does. Were professionals, not home users (no offence, difference in application) or simply geeks.
Fourth, mazzer, with help from our community including terry z have made many modifications to the roburs to be able to gain accuracy when using timers. These include adding an agur for better more consistant bean fead, and other adaptations for the incorperation of the actual doserless timered units. Older, non timered roburs don't have these. Including the ones nick refers to. When comparing grinders make sure to compare apples to apples.

Laslty I am happy to adress specific questions or problems with grinders, and other coffee brewing devices, and have spent a lot of my life and money helping others, for free with this. In fact, due to the popularity and demand for a digital timer unit, as well as requests for the anfims to be stepless, I've been working late nights to do this in a real way, from the factory. The kind of discusion that has been going on here disheartens me. Let's be professional guys, and someday we can all have the products we really want on the bar, and we can keep improving the quality of the coffee and espresso we brew.
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby PureArabica on Sat Sep 27, 2008 1:25 pm

Hey Philip,
Thanks for the great response.

Since I don't really handle the accounts payable department, I can't rely comment on whether or not you're owed anything.

Also, not every grinder we have was in our dusty warehouse. And, because I've heard similar reports from others who have used your timer mod, I couldn't really attribute the inconsistencies just to dusty breakers. Maybe everyone else I've talked to has dusty breakers?

We also don't have augers in any of our grinders. The only thing we've changed about our original grinders, other than your timer mod, is the addition of a doserless chute.

Jeez - are you calling Billy a liar?

I must say, I had zero intention of hijacking this thread. Poor J. just wanted some advice about what timer people would recommend, and we recommended different timers based on our different experiences. When I said "go digital" I should have clarified - Go TerryZ's mod or Jepy's mod. Others are suggesting the serch mod - thats fine too.

So, flat or Convex?
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby xristrettox on Sat Sep 27, 2008 1:54 pm

Coffeeparadise wrote:
Second, to billy, saying you have used a lot of my products is false. Sorry dude.



Hey, perhaps you should read what I wrote, and not have a knee-jerk reaction.

I said "I've had the luck to play with SEVERAL grinders with the search mod". The first one I used was at the NWRBC in Seattle a few years ago, and I remember how that grinder was all kinds of messed up. I ended up buying a different one from you at the show, and then another one when we opened up Hawthorne. The word several means: More than two but not many. I've used 3.

Sorry dude.
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby Philip Search on Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:14 pm

Nick, you raised specific issues, with out an understanding of what you are saying. This is all I am responding to. Terrys mod, and jeppys are both digital display solid state relays as far as I understand. Very much the same in function as the timers I make. As to your other grinders, as I stated, non of these were certified installs, nor did the person who did the istall, you, or anyone from your company call with any questions when the timers had issues. Also, there should only be three of my timers in intellys possesion, all three of those grinders were plugged in in the warehouse, as I delivered them there from espresso parts. What you did wasn't recomend a timer. It was rather directly critize something with out the proper information, in a very personal way.

I digress, basically, what I'm saying is, if your going to comment on these issues, know what your saying. What kind of a digital timer are you recomending? Does it work well with the capasitors, switching relay, etc for the grinder its being applied to? What's its life span? Does it fit in the housing? Etc.

Let's make this educated and talk it through with technical savvy and barista sense.

Your previous posts comments would be the same as if i a pioneer cd player, putting in my car myself, and then when it skipped because it wasn't professionally installed, I blamed pioneer and recomended a sony. Its very different then saying, the sony cd player has a better interface, or longer anti skip protection, etc. Plus, not to be dismissive but most don't have the grinders (threephase) you are refuring to. They have specific chalenges to controlling with time, mainly they hold a lot of coffee on the burr sets. Well, that's my oppinion anyway.

Billy, no offence intended, nor was I calling you a liar, should have worded my comments differently. You have used anfims, with search controls. The one at the wrbc had a capacitor and morotor issue, one of two out of hundreds if not thousands. It happens in manufacuring sometimes. What I was refuring to was simply ammount of time with a variety of search control products. Especially in relation to the questions posted to begin this thread.
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby Philip Search on Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:33 pm

Something everyone should think about in applying timers to grinders is longevity. What happens when you the timer blows out? Mechanical things fail. If your purchasing a digital display timer, look at its cycle rating. Also, find out what happens when it shorts out. Does it lock open or closed? The delta timers mentioned beore cost about 40 dollars and have about a 20 thousand cycle life span, if I recal correctly.that's why my timer costs more, the internals and sealing alone cost more than 40 dollars in base product. Something to ponder anyway. Besides my timers, there are some wonderful industrial controls for motors out there that can be sourced from companys like mousser, but there a lot more expensive and alittle more complicated than I would put on a bar. Ease of replacment, with anything mechanical is important.
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby Philip Search on Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:39 pm

Out of curiousity, what's the longest anyone has used a delta or simular digital timer on a grinder?

I know the intermatic ones I tested last about 6 months, the search control 120v module I have has been in use for over 2 years on my test grinder with out failing.
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby nick on Sat Sep 27, 2008 4:23 pm

PureArabica wrote:We also don't have augers in any of our grinders.

The newer Roburs pretty much all have augers.

Simply put, if the Robur is grinding about 20 grams in about 6-7 seconds, you have an older Robur without an auger. If it's grinding that much in about 3-point-something seconds, you've got an auger.

Then again, you guys have the phatty 3-phase Roburs too. I do think that you have at least one or more Robur with an auger.

Not callin you a liar, Nick. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Sincerely,
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby xristrettox on Sat Sep 27, 2008 4:59 pm

Coffeeparadise wrote:Second, to billy, saying you have used a lot of my products is false. Sorry dude.

Coffeeparadise wrote:Billy, no offence intended, nor was I calling you a liar

:?
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby sam on Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:02 am

Before I bought an Anfim I was really happy with the timer that I was using. I bought a darkroom timer. It is big with lots of knobs to turn. It is black and silver and has lots of shininess to it. I can turn the knobs both left and right! I can get my adjustments to 100th of a second without digital stuff! Since I bought my Anfim I have moved my Super-Timed-Device to other grinding situations (French press grinders and decaf). I swear that every grinder that I plug my S-T-D into gets 1,024,645 times better.
If you can't afford the Search, TerryZ or the Jepy or just can not get past the rhetoric, please buy Sam's S-T-D!
Call for specs.....
pass the peas....
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Re: Compak WBC Grinder Auto-Timer Tweak

Postby xristrettox on Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:33 pm

oooh.... I want Sam's std.
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