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Toaster Challenge

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marcbarker

New Member
Improve a Toaster Challenge

Can anyone suggest a good way of improving a Toaster, to prevent it burning the bread if the bread is ever different to normal?

The toaster has got that turny-round knob on the side of it, yeah, but that knob is usually left well alone, it's not changed once the toast is a good colour. Once you start fiddling with the turny-knob, it usually messes it up, "leave it alone" says a voice behind me, citing underdone or scraped toast events of earlier this week and kitchen filled with thick smoke.

Usually get around the problem by always making sure the bread is always the same brand, same thickness sliced and if the bread was kept in fridge, we allow it to warm up first. Trouble is, it's a bit boring having the same bread all the time, and now that we've recently got a bread-maker, it's difficult slicing the bread the right thickness each time. Too thin it's like a smoke bomb going off, too thick and you have to toast it again 2 or 3 times, and hope it doesn't fill the room with smoke on the final toasting.

So the challenge is...., does anyone know of a nice way of improving a cheap toaster to make it work better and be more tolerant of different bread?

Is there colour sensor that could be used? Or maybe some PIC-controlled thingy that measures the moisture of the bread or weighs the bread as it's toasting or whatever?
 
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marcbarker

New Member
Update: the toaster in the link is a Concept only, it's not a real toaster. Seems it had just been done to obtain the Patent for it before the Americans got there with it. (In USA you can patent an idea, but it doesn't have to actually work as well).

Maybe the Colour Sensor project posted on another thread could be used?

I predict... the next posting on this thread will be.... A toaster in the shape of a Star Wars character, and burns a Darth Vader image into the toast.

PS... and I also predict that the poster will make a typo in the link, which should be https://shop.starwars.com/catalog/product.xml?product_id=1307702
 
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Diver300

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Buy a smoke alarm.

Remove the annoying bleeper. Fit a normally closed relay in its place.

Make sure your toaster is one that pops up when power is removed.

Wire supply to the toaster through the normally closed relay.

Mount the smoke alarm really close to the toaster.

Toast will always be done to the point where the first wisp of smoke is detected.
 

marcbarker

New Member
Use a Smoke Detector, Brilliant idea! Fully automatic every time ...Print....

The best innovations come from right here in the UK, the land of the truly mass-produced home computer in 1982 that sold millions, and also probably why today the UK has one of highest concentration of writers for video games industry. Americans seem to spend more effort patenting things, less effort with innovation :p

I'll let you know how I get on.
 

crutschow

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Buy a smoke alarm.

Remove the annoying bleeper. Fit a normally closed relay in its place.

Make sure your toaster is one that pops up when power is removed.

Wire supply to the toaster through the normally closed relay.

Mount the smoke alarm really close to the toaster.

Toast will always be done to the point where the first wisp of smoke is detected.
But would that work if you only want your toast a light brown? Seems like by the time the first smoke appears the toast would be rather black.
 

gabeNC

Member
The best innovations come from right here in the UK, the land of the truly mass-produced home computer in 1982 that sold millions, and also probably why today the UK has one of highest concentration of writers for video games industry. Americans seem to spend more effort patenting things, less effort with innovation :p


I would imagine it's because there are alot more people packed into a smaller geographic area.
 

marcbarker

New Member
But would that work if you only want your toast a light brown? Seems like by the time the first smoke appears the toast would be rather black.

Never going to know anything unless actually try it for real.

This is what I'm going to do: 1. put sticky tape over the beeper so I don't get deafened. 2. put bread in toaster and switch on. 3. hold smoke alarm over toaster. 4 when alarm beeps, switch off toaster. 5 post a picture here.

Anyone want to guess the outcome in the meantime? Whoever guesses the nearest wins this brand new shiney greek symbol here: β
 

tcmtech

Banned
Most Helpful Member
I have a 4 slice commercial toaster that does perfect toast every time! It can go from frozen bread to perfect golden brown in just over a minute with 4 slices! Its not bread specific either. :)

The control system is electronic so the 'turny knoby things' (one knob for each pair of slots) do actually change the color in a uniform linear fashion. 1 slice or 100 slices the first and the last look identical.:)

The only down side is its intended to be 240 volt powered so I had to rewire it for 120 volts and it takes 25 amps now! :eek:

3000 watts for a toaster! Now thats cookin!:D
 

BrownOut

Banned
Man I love toast. I use a horizonal toaster oven. Slow, but it makes good toast, and I can make my toasted garilc bread in it. Girlfriend drives me crazy because she wants to close the oven door when making toast. Egads! How insufferable!
 
Hi

The average toaster I have experienced regulates the heat but keeps the length the toast is in for the same duration. This for me has a major drawback, if you prefer light toast the toast dries out. The other problem is that when set on max you generally nuke white toast and only just toast brown bread.

Another problem is that sometimes, depending on the toaster, the popup function is regulated by a bi-metallic thermal device, which are notoriously innaccurate. The first batch of toast will overcook whilst the next batches will vary.

Check how yours works.

Why dont you try the reverse, build a seconds timer that will release the popup system. Set the temperature to full and regulate the degree of toast by time.

Cheers
Andrew
 

marcbarker

New Member
That's a bold claim you're making! :) C'mon, give us all the details then, what make and model is it. How did you rewire it so it makes perfect toast every time without adjusting it for different bread or being just taken out the freezer.

And what was your story of 100 slices of toast?, it must had been a big party, did 25 couples each wait their turn for 2 slices each, over a period of an hour? or did you spend that hour stockpiling 100 slices to be served cold?

I guess if you often toast 100 slices in one toastfest session, you need to keep an ample stock of bread in a freezer. With 3 kW of pure unadulterated toasting-power available in your kitchen for rapid toastability, doesn't frozen bread toasted come out a little like BBQ food often does?, that is frozen in the middle and done just right on the outside?

I have a 4 slice commercial toaster that does perfect toast every time! It can go from frozen bread to perfect golden brown in just over a minute with 4 slices! Its not bread specific either. :)

The control system is electronic so the 'turny knoby things' (one knob for each pair of slots) do actually change the color in a uniform linear fashion. 1 slice or 100 slices the first and the last look identical.:)

The only down side is its intended to be 240 volt powered so I had to rewire it for 120 volts and it takes 25 amps now! :eek:

3000 watts for a toaster! Now thats cookin!:D
 

colin mac

New Member
Connect a keypad and LCD to the toaster and input what type of bread you are about to toast. The toaster runs at a certain temperature for a certain time based on some
values stored in memory and previous trial and error runs on said brand of bread.
 

marcbarker

New Member
The average toaster I have experienced regulates the heat but keeps the length the toast is in for the same duration.
On your toaster, the heat output W is regulated? Are you saying there is an user-adjustable power controller inside it, that varies the heat, not the time?

depending on the toaster, the popup function is regulated by a bi-metallic thermal device, which are notoriously innaccurate.
Do they still make toasters with bi-metal thingies in them? I thought they were all microchip nowadays, made in China.

build a seconds timer that will release the popup system. Set the temperature to full and regulate the degree of toast by time.

I thought that was what the microchip did? A timed circuit breaking the current in a self-holding solenoid, holding the toast down.
 

marcbarker

New Member
Connect a keypad and LCD to the toaster and input what type of bread you are about to toast. The toaster runs at a certain temperature for a certain time based on some
values stored in memory and previous trial and error runs on said brand of bread.

Cool! Have you a Hex Code program for the keypad/lcd/microcontroller ? I hope I won't be spending too much prime toast time debugging the program and maintaining a bread characteristics database :) Maybe I could add a wireless G interface to it and give the toaster regular live updates, in the same manner as anti-virus software, to reduce the danger of toasting error.

Wait a mo... can I not do the exact same thing by setting the appropriate number on the turny-knob thing, according to a 'toasting history' note book kept by the side of the toaster?

But what happens if I mis-identify the bread and set the wrong number? Ooops! smoke filled kitchen!
 
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On your toaster, the heat output W is regulated? Are you saying there is an user-adjustable power controller inside it, that varies the heat, not the time?


Do they still make toasters with bi-metal thingies in them? I thought they were all microchip nowadays, made in China.



I thought that was what the microchip did? A timed circuit breaking the current in a self-holding solenoid, holding the toast down.

Mate i'm in Africa, Microchips in toasters ..... ??? There probably are, mine is a mechanical job and el cheapo. Sounds like you boys are talking about the space shuttle model. Out of my league sorry ......... but hey do you know how many things you can do with toast?

One of my fave's is. Take a piece of hot toast, liberally apply butter, sprinkle with icing sugar (to taste) and a slight sprinkle of cinnamon. It's pud man.

Sorry can't help more, enjoy your toast.

Cheers
Andrew
 
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