November 19, 2013
By Kyle Anderson, Chief Engineer
All of our grinders use a powerful DC motor that produces a very high torque (even at “locked rotor” conditions). In every electro-mechanical device, there should be some kind of easily replaceable or automatically resettable “fuse”. In the case of the Encore, Virtuoso, and Preciso we have two of these safety systems.
The first is an automatically resettable thermal “fuse” (PTC) that when triggered, cuts power to the motor down to a few milliamps until the timer switch turns off. At this point it can cool down and automatically reset. The PTC requires a “locked rotor” event to last for about 2.5 seconds before the PTC is triggered. Under most abnormal conditions (i.e. a rock or unroasted coffee bean), the grinder will stall, then the PTC will trigger, and after the obstruction is removed, the grinder is ready to go again.
In certain circumstances, the shock to the grinder may be great enough that the motor doesn’t have time to stall, but rather the ring burr carrier can act as a mechanical “fuse” . This is the second safety system. This shows up as inconsistent grind and a broken tab on the burr holder. In the past, our main drive gear was the weak link and this was inconvenient to our users, because this was not a user-replaceable part. We have since redesigned our entire gearbox so it never fails. As a result, 100% of the torque produced by the grinder is resisted by the ring burr carrier. The ring burr carrier can easily be replaced by the end user, so the grinder is back in action quickly. We have over 180,000 units in circulation and we go through a little less than 3000 burr holders per year. This works out to 1.7% of our Encore, Virtuoso, and Preciso grinder owners replacing ONE burr holder per year (98.3% do not). In almost all cases, failure of this part is due to foreign objects (stones, screws, etc) or unroasted coffee beans getting into the grinder.
Now you know why we have a plastic burr holder and why it’s a good thing!
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