After experimenting with and destroying two no name poppers from Ocean State Job Lot (cheap stuff store) I decided to upgrade. The Presto Poplite is readily available and pretty solid compared to anything else I found in local stores. On close inspection I could not see the fire hazard warning that has been posted on this machine. The screen in the bottom has pretty small holes in it that I think are impossible to become clogged with chaff especially while in use (air blowing through it). No more so that only other heat producing machine that is not being used for its intended purpose.
I really like how that machine comes apart and goes back together much easier than the previous poppers I tried. One thing that is really nice is that the base of the cup is part of the blower housing and the side of the cup is separate which makes modifications easy.
As a Quick test, I tossed in Ĺ cup of beans which roasted to 1st crack in about five min. However; the roast is kind of uneven unless you constantly stir. There is defiantly enough heat and air blowing to continue modding. The arrangement of the air intake creates a hot air pocket in the center of the bean mass. Pushing beans up and out to the sides and back down. The base of the cup tapers down to the air screen. This could create and ideal turnover of beans through the hottest area but as it is, it seems imbalanced. As if some of the beans sort of hang on the side of the air cone rather than get pushed through.
Separate the heat and fan circuits. Control fan with dimmer and control heat with PID (left over from another project). Nothing new here, just following the lead of many before me.
Once that is working, try to tune the system for even roasting at a given temperatures by altering fan speed, tilting etc. eliminating the need to stir.
Slow the roasting process down for longer roast times.
Modify the air flow to achieve optimum bean turn over.
Also, I found a Presto Orville Redenbachers Popper at Salís and it looks identical except for color so I grabbed it for spare parts.
Once you get the mods done and gain control you'll be very busy for a long time experimenting with all the various profiles you can come up with. In a short time you'll be nailing some excellent roasts and then there's no turning back.
1/2 lb and 1 lb drum, Siemens Sirocco fluidbed, presspot, chemex, cajun biggin brewer from the backwoods of Louisiana