Has anyone hacked a bread machine controller circuit?

I've got an old Breadman (TR333) bread machine and it's still chugging along.  The newer models have more useful programs (like Jam and Pasta) but have horrible flimsy baking pans.  What I'd like to do is reprogram my old solid bread machine to do these new programs.  I've seen the hacks to roast coffee in the bread machines but I don't think they mess with the controller circuit.  I think they just re-wire them to mix constantly and point a heat gun at the beans.

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Amendment after some thought and eye-measuring: half an eggcup of oil is probably about the amount I use. A full eggcup looks like it might be too much. I use "light" olive oil, which is a blend of refined and virgin oil, pale yellow in colour and a milder flavour than a pure virgin oil.

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I hope you'll forgive me posting something something that doesn't directly answer the original question: however, it is a behavioural hack that gets round the issue of "not enough rise" time for wholemeal (whole wheat) bread, and maybe others too.

First, a caveat: my old Panasonic breadmaker, a SD-BT10P (UK market 240v) has no interlocks on the lid or bread pan, and that's what makes my hack possible. But it might give those of you with more restrictive devices some creative ideas....

Second, an apology: my local measurements are metric, so forgive me for not knowing what they are in US/imperial. But I'll give all the quantities anyway, even though they're specific to this machine, in case they help as a starting point. All the ingredients I use are supermarket own brands, so nothing fancy.

First hack: I introduce the yeast, sugar and water some time before the rest of the ingredients, so that by the time mixing happens, it's fully active. Second hack: I take the bread pan out after the mixing phase, so it doesn't go through the knockdown phase which leaves too little time for slow rising dough to recover, and put it back in for the baking phase.

Anyway, this is the detail. With the bread pan out on the countertop, I get some water hand-hot (not cool, not "ouch!). More than I need for the baking. The excess warm water goes in the bread pan to warm it for a few seconds, then tipped away.

1 sachet (probably about 1tsp) fast acting dried yeast goes in a plastic mixing jug with 1tbsp Demarara (brown) sugar and 250ml warm water. Then I stir with a spoon vigorously until I can't feel the grittiness of the sugar any more, and tip into the warmed bread pan.

Set a 10 minute timer to remind me, and leave to activate. After 10 mins, there should be a nice creamy "head" (like beer) on top of the mixture, from yeast activity.

Set the pan on a scale, and add 310g 100% wholemeal stoneground strong bread flour.

Then add 1tbsp dried milk powder, 1tsp table salt, and some olive oil. I do it by eye, and can only say that less than half an egg cup is too little, and more than an egg cup is probably too much.

The bread pan goes into the machine, and I set the 3-hour whole wheat bread program and press Start.

After that, I need reminders. I do that on my phone, and for Android I use the "COL Reminder" app which allows you to add custom preset times, so I have quick times set up for 60, 120 and 180 minutes. My reminders are:

60 min: "Bread pan out"

120 min: "Bread pan in"

180 min: "Bread pan out" (in case I'm not near when the "completed" alarm goes).

At 60 min, I lift out the bread pan and set it down beside the machine and close the lid. I haven't needed to cover the dough as it goes on slowly rising at room temperature. Meantime the bread maker whirrs at intervals as it runs the "gas release" phase, but doing nothing because the pan is out.

At 120 min, I open the lid and *gently* lift the bread pan up and over into the bread maker. I say gently, because a sharp impact or air current can cause the risen dough to start deflating. The most delicate bit is lowering it into the machine correctly positioned and rotated at the right angle for the lugs on the bottom of the pan to engage with the slots in the base, then gently turning to lock, and close the lid. An hour later I have a nice tall whole wheat loaf.

Hope this is helpful to someone, obviously all the times and quantities relate to this one breadmaker, but could be a start for your own investigations.

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67spyder1 year ago

I have been thinking about this project for a while, what I've come up with so far:

1: Add a micro controller which will execute a task list (recipe)

2: Tasks would be :Set temp, stir, beep(maybe flash an led), wait, add ingredients (higher end machines have a hopper you can put stuff in)

3: WIFI connected to your home network.

4: Smart phone app (or desktop app) to edit and manage task lists (recipes)

This would allow the flexibility to turn it into a multi-purpose kitchen robot that would cook rice, soups sauces, eggs and whatever ppl come up with. I also see the ability to share task lists with others making this a really open project. Best of all it would still be able to make bread!

LeonardoK11 year ago

This is a really old post, but I am working in something like this with arduino. there are a couple of projects out there with arduino and bread maker

tewharau (author) 7 years ago
Thanks for the quick responses

OK, it looks like I'm going to open it up and see what is there.

I guess I was hoping there was some group of avid bread machine hackers that had somehow given Google the slip....


I'm interested in doing this. I have a Panasonic breadmaker, but I'd like to be able to change the program - I have a passion for sourdough bread!
Anyway, I'm planning on buying another Panasonic on ebay, and looking into hacking it. I write embedded firmware for a living, so who knows, maybe I can come up with something.

Hi there... did you had a way to write a new ROM for your machine?
any advice?.... I'd like to reprogram or replace with ATmega or PIC one of those things...

Sorry, it's still on my incredibly long list of things I'll probably never get round to.

John

tewharau (author)  jarnoldbrown7 years ago
Sounds great!  I'm curious to know how it turns out....
pcooper24 years ago
I don't have any pointers for this question, except to say that the thought of modifying my Welbilt bread machine has crossed my mind. There are bread machines that can be programmed by the user, but you're talking about a fourfold or higher price increase over the basic machines. If one wants to bake whole wheat, rye or sourdough breads, the standard cycles don't work, because they don't allow enough time for these doughs to rise. I know, because I've tried it.

I'd look into a way of installing a connector on the side or the back of the housing to run a cable to an external controller, perhaps a personal computer or single-board microcontroller, such as an Arduino. Another approach would be a replacement controller that can accept a USB thumb drive or some sort of Flash memory card to transfer ASCII program scripts from a PC, where editing and saving such scripts would be easier. One could even have a collection of cheap memory cards or thumb drives on a keyring, each with a script for a different bread recipe.
sanco6 years ago
This one looks promising
https://www.instructables.com/id/Mr-Compost-How-to-make-an-in-kitchen-compost-tur
teske7 years ago
i was searching the internet if it was possible to program my bread machine.
     -the machine can only make breads and jams
   -what is necessary to bake cakes?

anyway have a look at:
    http://waprile.weblog.tudelft.nl/2010/04/03/more-stuff-in-progress
with some more info this might lead to a programmable bread machine

Got to be do-able. What can be in a bread machine ? Heater controller and sensor, mixer motor speed and direction....what else ? 

Sounds like a job for an Arduino to me.

Steve
Mines got an led readout, electronic timer, electronic control for the different types of bread etc.  Lots of those little black things that look like bugs with wire legs.  My b. maker is not even a very expensive machine either.  I guess you could rip out all of that stuff and just start over on all the controls.
Hi tewharau,

a few weeks ago we purchased two V cheap breadmakers on offer at argos £15 each just for fun.
Something she has wanted for a while, anyway bread is coming out pretty poor and a considerable amount of research into ingredients has been done and plenty of experiments, however it is now my turn to start "playing"...............

I have looked at all the most expensive models and have noticed that the paddles(kneading hook) and the baking case are all very similar in fact they appear to me manufactured  by the same source. The baking case is mounted through the base on a single stiff spindle to the paddle, leaving a maximum air gap 50mm+ all around the baking case. in this space is mounted a single  rectangular heating element, the effect of this is to attempt to maximise the heat by convection around the baking case. The element again appears to be the same in all breadmakers  400w . So having established that the design is the same using the same or similar components across ALL bredmakers available in the UK, why does my £15 model perform badly against the models costing £150........................theres only one way to find out......

I have decided that i am going disassemble the unit and replace the PIC into a remote box probably with a serial lcd screen and a couple of buttons. I am convinced that it is the lack of PWM powering the element which is causing the yeast rising and baking cycles to perform inadequately. there also may  be no facility to measure ambient temperature essential if I am to calculate the characteristics of the heating element.

So I intend to turn one of the breadmakers into a reflow oven........... and here we have a thread on the same subject








tewharau (author)  Duncan3037 years ago
 I've noticed the same thing.  They all have a bluish non-stick coating and although they look different from the outside, they are very similar on the inside.  Have you had one apart yet?
Agreed. The inboard controller may not be reconfigurable, so it might be easiest simply to bypass the control circuit with a diy replacement using an arduino or other micro controller, using whatever portions of the control circuit you can re-use, replacing those you can't.