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Popcorn Popper

What goes better with a nice movie than great tasting popcorn? No microwave popcorn for us.

To get the best tasting popcorn we purchased a commercial quality popcorn popper. We got the Paragon Original 1911 brand 8 oz popper. This produces theater quality popcorn with turn-of-the-century nostalgia. The popper has a heated base to keep the popcorn fresh and crisp, an internal light, and a nice cart. We purchased the machine from Stargate Cinema who provided quick and friendly service. We also get popcorn supplies from them.

The kettle has a stirring rod and produces great popcorn. I use the popcorn portion packs that have pre-measured corn, coconut oil, and seasoning.

I am very impressed with the quality of the machine. It has a hard-coat anodized aluminum kettle, stainless steel food-zone and tempered glass cabinet. The popper and cart weigh about 119 lbs.

The internal light was too bright for use while watching a movie in our darkened living room, so I added a dimmer. See below for details.

This is the Paragon Original 1911 brand 8 oz. popper on the optional base. The base has storage room for supplies. The base of the popper is heated by a low wattage heating element to keep the popcorn fresh. The light is connected to the same switch as the heater which causes a problem while watching movies. The light is too bright, and turning the master switch off will also turn the heater off. To solve this problem I modified the machine by adding a dimmer to the light. Now we can leave the master switch (and hence the heater) on and dim the light to a low level while watching movies. It creates a nice low level ambient light while keeping the popcorn fresh!

This is the dimmer that I used. It is a standard household lighting dimmer. I chose the type with a rotating control since it would be the easiest to install. I drilled three holes in the top inside cover of the popper, one for the dimmer shaft, and two for mounting hardware. The dimmer has RFI suppression to reduce any possible interference in the home theater system. It also has pigtail leads which made it easy to connect.

This is a blurry picture of the wiring. I removed the top cover of the popper (very easy, only 4 screws) which exposed the wiring. I drilled 3 holes to hold the dimmer next to the two existing switches (master and kettle). I cut the red wire that supplies power to the light socket and connected the dimmer in line. I crimped a terminal to the green ground wire from the dimmer and attached this to one of the mounting bolts.

This is a view inside the popper. The white knob is the dimmer. The master switch is the far left one, the kettle switch is in the middle. It works great, we can now leave the master switch on to have the popcorn base warmer remain on and dim the light to a nice glow while watching a movie.

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