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Has anyone bought one of these Chocolate Dude Tabletop Tempering Machine
http://bakerscandc.web-ctr.net/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=14...
It seems like a bargain at 12 lb capacity for only $525, equivalent about to the 1.5 lb Chocovision Rev1, so what's the catch?

Do they have temp control problems? Do they not stir? Why so cheap? Are they just busting Chocovision and ACMC's small capacity temperer racket?

Please help me figure out which of these to buy.

Tags: chocolate, home, machinery, temperer

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I have not heard of this brand at all. The web site does not give any details about how it works. I'd be interested in more details. Like explain - "Innovative temperature control" and "Automatic temperature sensing".
Never heard of the chocolate dude. silly name.
I've just talked to both the Chocolate Dude and Bakers C & C about this machine
They're going to send me contacts for people who've bought the machine so I can see what they think. There's a better pic of it here: http://chocolatedude.007sites.com/index_files/image335.jpg
though their website http://chocolatedude.net/ displays very strangely on my machine (Mac with Safari or Firefox)

Jim who makes the machine explained how it works a little more to me:
- bowl holds about 10 lbs, but better to cap it at 9 lbs so it doesn't climb the sides
- has a plastic paddle that stirs as the bowl turns a bit like the Chocovision REV1
- there's a temp probe that goes through the paddle
- 4 60 W incacndescent light bulbs for heating, 1 fan for cooling
- takes about 45 minutes to temper 9 lbs of chocolate from pre-melted chocolate to completion, though it could melt as well, just takes longer than a microwave or double boiler
- temperature settings are manual- i.e. you set it to 110 first, it brings it up to that temp, then you set it to 80 and it brings it down, then you set it for 89 and it brings it back up. Not automatic like the Chocovision. I'm not familiar with the ACMC machine
- no alarms for when it reaches the temp, so you have to watch it
- made of wood laminate box, not plastic

Hope that gives more info for people to evaluate it! Still debating whether to buy one. Does the ACMC have more features like an alarm or automatic temp changes?
Hi Nat,

No, the ACMC has a similar manual control. There is a thermometer probe which controls the heat on/fans on and the only indication that you are up to or down to temperature is the fan switching on or off. Works fine if you are in the room or close by.
I would like to add some information concerning this machine. It is made out of melomine, (particle board with a plastic coating). I am now using a better grade of melomine. It has a laminated coating on both sides, like they use on counter tops. Yes they are made in my shop. After you set the temperature for 110 and the chocolate reaches 110 you then set it for 87 not 80. Either the heater lites are on or the fan is on. This makes for a better temperature control of the chocolate. The temperature probe is threaded through the paddle and is close to the bottom on the bowl. We will be at the Colorado Chocolate Festival in denver Colorado May 7 & 8, where we we wil demostrating them. I am a small busines and I don't want to go to assembly line type construction. The only machines I have had to repair were two damaged in shipment by FedEx. Hope this helps.
What is being done to ensure the correct crystal formation as the chocolate cools?

The chocolate is warmed to melt out all the crystals, then (usually) cooled below the temper point, then warmed. In the Chocovision machines seeded chocolate is melted into the mass to coerce the formation of form five crystals.

How is your machine different (if it is)?

Also, can you comment on the noise level?

:: Clay
The machine noise level is low. There is a fan attached to the motor that comes on when the motor is on, the motor turns the stainless steel bowl. The paddle is stationary. There is also a cooling fan that comes on to cool the chocolate. Either the heating lites are on or the cooling fan is on for better temperature control. You manually set the temperature.
So it works manually like the ACMC? You set the upper temp and put either solid or melted chocolate into the bowl and when it's all melted you lower the temp and wait until it reaches that point, and then raise it again.

You add seed as the chocolate is cooling down?
It works (in theory) pretty much exactly as the ACMC does. I own a unit, but it sits gathering dust in my storage room, because as it is, I can't use it. The machine has several glaring design flaws. The main one being the baffle and bowl combination: The bowl was attached to the rotator axle by screws (as opposed to welded), whose heads protrude into the chocolate side of the bowl. Additionally, the baffle does not fit properly and so does not scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. This causes a lot of chocolate to solidify on the sides and bottom of the bowl during the cooling cycle. The baffle has notches cut into it to accommodate the passage of the screws, but again, the needed scraping action does not happen.
These problems were encountered while trying to use the machine ACMC-style, decrystallizing, lowering the temps to the necessary low point, then raising to working temp. I have not attempted to use it with the seeding method.
Another huge problem is that the temp probe is very difficult to keep in place and can't reach all the way to the bottom of the bowl, so when you get to the last 1/4 of the chocolate, the probe sits in mid-air.
I replaced the dinky stock fan with two units identical to those the ACMC comes with, as the stock one took FOREVER to cool the chocolate when the machine was at capacity.
Hopefully when I have some free time I can address these flaws and put it to work.
I have seen several of these machines at the local chocolate show. I find that the fit and finish of the various parts are rough. It looks as if it were assembled in someones garage. For example, the temperature probe is dangled into the chocolate through a hole in the center baffle.

That being said ....

It apparently works fairly well according to the people who had it and the price is fairly good for a tempering machine.

So I'd say simply that if you are not concerned about how it looks, it probably would work out fairly well for you. But if looks are important (such as if you have a store and it is going to be out in the public eye), it may not be. I could not inspect the mechanics but if you are handy, the fact that the machine isn't produced on an assembly line with lots of custom parts (that would have made it look better) should make it fairly easy to repair.

-Art

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