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Author Topic: Butter pump warming ideas?
Frank Cox
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1749
From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
Registered: Apr 2011


 - posted 09-11-2015 02:34 AM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I use of these for butter for the popcorn:

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In the summer it's fine, but as the days get colder the spout tends to get plugged up if the machine sits for a while. The heat source is inside of the tank but there's nothing to keep the spout warm; the butter that's in the spout can get rock hard if it sits for 30 minutes or so. This is highly annoying when someone comes out in the middle of the show to purchase popcorn and I have to force the hardened butter out of the spout before I can put butter on the popcorn.

Do any of you have any ideas or suggestions for what I could do to prevent this from happening? Outside of the nuisance factor, this can waste a fair amount of butter since I just force the hard stuff out of the spout and into a cup that I throw away at the end of the night.

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3277
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 09-11-2015 05:28 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sell more buttered popcorn. Or grant yourself a sniff every 2 minutes or so.

Seriously, I guess I would start with an isolating coat for the spout, similar to what you get to isolate water or heating pipes. Foam-tunnels, etc. Maybe that is just enough to keep it warm through the heat transfer from the tank. If that is not enough, I guess the easiest way to actively heat it may be a warm air blower of any kind. There are also heat wires available for certain markets, you could coil them around the spout, but there may be regulations against such a bricolage around food dispensers. Maybe the manufacturer of the unit has a solution?

- Carsten

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Connor Kirkwood
Film Handler

Posts: 25
From: Portland, OR, USA
Registered: Jul 2009


 - posted 09-11-2015 05:45 AM      Profile for Connor Kirkwood   Email Connor Kirkwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
1) Soak a bar rag in hot water and wrap it around the outside of the nozzle.

2) Take the cap off of the nozzle and use a coffee stirrer (or something similar) to poke a few holes in the solidified mass, then pump some of the hot butter through, slowly.

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Martin McCaffery
Film God

Posts: 2199
From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-11-2015 08:03 AM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Heating tape for pipes?

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3277
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 09-11-2015 09:26 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Seems this is available in low-voltage as well:

http://www.oemheaters.com/c-981-freezstop-low-voltage-heat-cable.aspx

One could actually simply wire a large cement power-resistor to an isolated USB-wall-supply.

5V/1A should be more than enough to keep the pipe warm.

- Carsten

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Steve Kraus
Film God

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From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: May 2000


 - posted 09-11-2015 01:23 PM      Profile for Steve Kraus     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Is there that much variation to lobby temperature, from what you A/C down to in summer vs. what you heat up to in winter?

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Mike Spaeth
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1102
From: Hampton, GA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 09-11-2015 02:43 PM      Profile for Mike Spaeth   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Spaeth   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
https://www.katom.com/003-86910.html?zmam=29342707&zmas=1&zmac=32&zmap=003-86910&utm_source=google&utm_medium=adwords&utm_campaign=CSE&gclid=Cj0KEQjw98mvBRD-_ciSovKhq7gBEiQAEvsBZwb914-qRc677ee1KQehj504lpKT4iUx3AqZjqoJlpAaAqHR8P8HAQ

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Justin Hamaker
Film God

Posts: 2019
From: Lakeport, CA USA
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted 09-11-2015 03:13 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Perhaps turn up the heat on the butter pump. Since it's all metal, I would think the heat from the butter would transfer through the parts to keep the nozzle warm enough to not solidify.

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Connor Kirkwood
Film Handler

Posts: 25
From: Portland, OR, USA
Registered: Jul 2009


 - posted 09-11-2015 07:13 PM      Profile for Connor Kirkwood   Email Connor Kirkwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Be careful about turning the heat up too high. Most of those machines are warmed by water that sits between the butter bucket and the heating element. If the heat is up too high, the water will cook off, and if there's no water, pressure will build until the top pops off and butter will fly everywhere.

I never set it above 100 degrees, but sometimes it will get jostled up to 150, which is "butter rocket" territory.

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Frank Cox
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1749
From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
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 - posted 09-11-2015 07:21 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If the heat is turned up too high the butter starts to burn. I can smell it, and it takes me 20 minutes with an SOS pad to clean the pot after the night is over.

There is a magic temperature setting where the butter is hot enough to pump but not so hot that it burns.

Note that this is BUTTER, not any kind of vegetable oil or margarine. Perhaps other stuff behaves differently than butter under excessive heat; butter just burns.

And yes, there is a great deal of temperature variation between summer and winter in the lobby. In the summer I wear a short-sleeved shirt to work behind the counter, and every time someone opens the doors all of the "cool" escapes. In the winter I wear a sweater and a light jacket and every time someone opens the door the heater has to work overtime to replace what's lost. It's worse when people stand in the doorway holding it open and talking, of course.

But yes, there's a big temperature variation and there's not much that I can do about it unless I install some sort of an enclosed porch and there's really no place to put something like that. The auditorium stays at a relatively constant temperature but it's not exposed to the outdoors like the lobby is.

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Stephan Shelley
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 531
From: castro valley, CA, usa
Registered: Nov 2014


 - posted 09-11-2015 07:53 PM      Profile for Stephan Shelley   Email Stephan Shelley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Server products that make the machine pictured make a model with a heated spout. The spout rests on a heated block.

http://server-products.com/Catalog/Food-Warmers/Topping-Warmers-Merchandisers/86540.htm

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Frank Cox
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1749
From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
Registered: Apr 2011


 - posted 09-11-2015 11:19 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'll have to look at that one when I next need a new butter pump. (I'm on my second one now; just purchased this one a couple of years ago to replace the one that I purchased when I first opened my theatre.)

Dunno, though.... that spout looks pretty short in the picture. I wonder if it would reach out far enough to be able to butter the center of a popcorn container. When the time comes I'll see if I can find a more detailed picture or perhaps see one in person somewhere. Won't be for a while, though.

I guess I've lived with this problem every winter for twenty years so I'll probably have to continue to live with it. Oh well.

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3277
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 09-12-2015 05:41 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I would first try an insulating coating like a foam tunnel or something like that. There is certainly some heat transfer from the unit to the spout, and maybe only a few degrees more are needed to keep it warm. You could simply try to wrap a few turns of cloth around it next winter and see what happens.
Or have someone knit a nice retro-style franger for it ;-)

- Carsten

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