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Thread: Has anyone modified their coffee urn thermostat?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    Allegheny and Mercer Counties, PA
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    65

    Default Has anyone modified their coffee urn thermostat?

    Please correct me if you know I'm wrong.
    Water needs to boil at 212 to rise up the center pipe in a small coffee urn to perk your coffee.
    We need to maintain at least 180 to use this type of urn to bottle syrup.

    I read a thread where one man found numerous new urns failed to maintain over 145 degree in spite of company literature touting a higher temp.

    Has anyone modified their urn to meet the 180 requirement?
    Did you replace a thermostat to do this?
    Did you jumper out the existing thermostat to make the urn provide heat without ever shutting off?

    I found a 185 thermostat on-line and it's supposed to be a replacement for coffee urns, but it seems to be a NO (normally open) switch.
    http://www.uxcell.com/bimetal-disc-t...-p-158987.html
    I would assume we're looking for NC, so it would open at 185 to protect the urn's contents from overheating.
    I have no idea when this thermostat would turn back on after a drop in temperature.
    You'll see this company is located in Hong Kong, and you can find this product on Amazon as well.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    503

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polish Wizard View Post
    Please correct me if you know I'm wrong.
    Water needs to boil at 212 to rise up the center pipe in a small coffee urn to perk your coffee.
    We need to maintain at least 180 to use this type of urn to bottle syrup.

    I read a thread where one man found numerous new urns failed to maintain over 145 degree in spite of company literature touting a higher temp.

    Has anyone modified their urn to meet the 180 requirement?
    Did you replace a thermostat to do this?
    Did you jumper out the existing thermostat to make the urn provide heat without ever shutting off?

    I found a 185 thermostat on-line and it's supposed to be a replacement for coffee urns, but it seems to be a NO (normally open) switch.
    http://www.uxcell.com/bimetal-disc-t...-p-158987.html
    I would assume we're looking for NC, so it would open at 185 to protect the urn's contents from overheating.
    I have no idea when this thermostat would turn back on after a drop in temperature.
    You'll see this company is located in Hong Kong, and you can find this product on Amazon as well.

    Any thoughts?
    After bringing my coffee urn up to boiling temp, it typically drops to 180. At that point I empty the water from mine, and turn it off. In my experience, even though it's supposed to keep my syrup at 180, it creates enough heat at the bottom to create a little more niter. If I have a lot of syrup to process, I might repeat the process of boiling more water to bring it up to temp. But I never leave it on "warm".
    2016: Homemade arch from old woodburning stove. 2 steam tray pans. 6 taps on buckets. 1.1 galls
    2017: Same homemade evaporator, but souped up. Still 2 steam tray pans. 15 taps on buckets. 4.5 galls
    2018: Same setup. Limited time. 12 taps and short season. 2.2 gallons
    2019: Still very limited time. Downsized to 7 taps and a short season. 1.8 gallons
    2020: 9 taps, new Mason 2x3 XL halfway through season, 2 gallons
    2021: 18 taps. Mason 2x3 XL, 4.5 galls

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Cornish,NH
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    Polish Wizard, Just a thought! You could bypass the coffee urns thermostat completely ,then buy an ink bird temp controller ( used for fermentation for home distillers ) off amazon for $35.00 bucks! Then program it and let it control the urns temp completely. Set it up so high temp is 185* Low temp at 182 *it will keep it right there for you! Just a thought. We us a commercial urn which runs a lot higher temperatures.
    3x10 Dallalre, oil fired, Stainless steel.
    Steam hoods front and rear with preheater.
    1500 taps on vac, right to sugar house.
    900 on Gravity
    New Busch 3 Phase Vacuum. (2010)
    Lapierre 600 Turbo with 2 - 8" posts
    36 years of MAPLE ENJOYMENT!!
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hills...93710737313171

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Allegheny and Mercer Counties, PA
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    So far I've been heating water in my urn, dumping it when the urn reaches max temp, and haven't noticed niter issues with the (max) couple gallons I process each time I bottle.
    My urn is a rather small one that I found for minimal dollars at flea market. Thought I'd give it a test, and it's done well for me --- until the spout lever broke.
    Looks like I can buy replacements for about $7, but I'm still considering upgrading/upsizing.

    The InkBird device looks promising, and a Q/A portion on Amazon show the probe is indeed waterproof.

    I'm curious, NH Mapmaker, can you tell me more about your commercial urn?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Cornish,NH
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    712

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    Polish Wizard, Coffee urn is a commercial coffee maker. It is doubled sided and has a water jacket that keeps syrup hot! It hold 6 gal of syrup and about 10 or more gallons of water which is very handy for cleaning around the sugar House. The urn will take syrup all the way up to 200 plus degrees then there is a hold button that holds the temp around 185*! the best part is being a water jacketed unit you never worry about scorching the syrup.
    If you can open my photo bucket page there are a few pictures of it . My old one has the round tops , newer one is the square one! old one was gas. Newer one is electric which is the one we are using now. Tried to post picture but with out my five year old grandson here can't do it! LOL
    3x10 Dallalre, oil fired, Stainless steel.
    Steam hoods front and rear with preheater.
    1500 taps on vac, right to sugar house.
    900 on Gravity
    New Busch 3 Phase Vacuum. (2010)
    Lapierre 600 Turbo with 2 - 8" posts
    36 years of MAPLE ENJOYMENT!!
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hills...93710737313171

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    West Central Indiana
    Posts
    16

    Default

    I have modified a coffee urn to use as a bottler. I have only got to test it with water so far though. It seemed to keep it hot enough, but I don't remember if it held a 180 deg. or not. The thermostat may not work quite as you think, at least mine was not what I thought it would be. There are 2 heating elements in my coffee urn. A high power one for boiling/percolating and then a second one that goes in series with the percolating heating element to reduce the power thru it. The thermostat was a NC contact, but it is used to short out (take the warming heating element out of the circuit). When the urn gets up to temp, the thermostat opens up and puts the warming heating element in the circuit in series with the percolating heater element. What I did was, just remove the thermostat from the circuit, remember this is only used to switch it to the warming mode. So my urn is always in the warming mode, it will never percolate. Since we are adding the syrup hot there really is no need for the percolator anyway, we are just trying to maintain the temp. This may be why some people have varied experiences, depending on how fast you dump your water and then put your syrup in, the urn may have cooled enough to go back into percolating/boiling and create some niter. By removing the thermostat on mine it cannot go into the percolating mode and boil the syrup.

    I am an Electrical Engineer by degree (long time ago), so my understanding and confidence in this might be a little higher than others.

    Hope this helps

    Coffee Urn.jpg Coffee Urn Circuit.jpg

  7. #7
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    Dec 2015
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    Allegheny and Mercer Counties, PA
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    Thanks to all for the details and suggestions.
    And BrierPatch, your photo with the radio and stuff looks too much like the way my life has evolved.
    When I traveled to visit a friend, the first thing he jokingly handed me was a pager to hang on my belt so I wouldn't go through withdrawal since I was away from my home fire service obligations.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    West Central Indiana
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    16

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    Ok, so you got me wondering how my urn is going to work. I put a gallon of hot water (about 125 deg.) in it and plugged it in. After about 3-4 hours the temp was up to 175 deg. Then after about another 1 1/2 hr. the temp was up to 183. After a little longer I did notice possibly a very slight boil (1 small bubble about every second) at the side of the center heating element. So it looks like mine is going to work for what I was hoping for. I was just wanting something to give me a little more time and be easier to bottle with the spout. Don't know if I got a weird one or maybe it's the modification I made of taking the temperature switch out of the circuit, but it looks like it is going to work. Looks like the model is a West Bend 58030. Let me know if you are interested in the details of the mod I made and I can try and get you more details.

    Coffee Urn Box.jpg Coffee Urn 175.jpg Coffee Urn 183.jpg

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Birdsboro PA
    Posts
    1,326

    Default

    That seems like an awfully long time to heat up. When you do use it, only put an inch or so of water in it and get the thermostat to kick into the hold mode. Then dump the water without unplugging it and quickly start filtering into it.
    first year 2012 50 taps late season made 2 1/2 gals.

    2013 2x6 homemade arch 180 taps. 20 Gals.

    2014 40 on 3/16 gravity 160 on buckets.

    http://omasranch.wix.com/omasmaple

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Allegheny and Mercer Counties, PA
    Posts
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    Default

    BrierPatch,
    Thanks for the details on your urn wiring.
    Anytime I used my urn I left the stem installed to heat water and subsequently heat the urn, but I removed it when I poured my hot syrup into the urn.
    I hoped to have the urn provide a bit of heat to help keep the syrup warm, rather than it all cool if my bottling process wasn't as quick as I hoped.

    I purchased some self-adhering insulation that I plan to wrap around the urn. Maybe this will help maintain syrup warmth.

    Since I remove the stem when the syrup is in the tank, what would be your suggestion for altering (or not) any wires or thermostats in my urn?
    I can't imagine I would get much niter even if the urn remains factory original.
    I think I'd rather be sure the unit is producing full heat.
    You mentioned the urn may drop into maintaining mode once I remove the heated water.
    I assume it is a old West Bend product, and I just ordered a couple replacement spouts based on hole size (West Bend seems to use 1/2" spouts)

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