The Spectra 11 is the newest Melanger from Spectra (formerly Santha).
Overall, I like the changes in design. It makes for a more pleasant chocolate making experience, is neater (as in less messy), addresses some of the previous design…I hesitate to say flaws…so lets say problems. The biggest two are that the drum drive and connections have been totally redesigned to eliminate a leak problem that has steadily increased over the years. The other item is actually a feature that the original had, but somehow got lost…the floating lid. In the first version, many years ago had a lid that sat on the tension knob. For some reason Santha changed the design, sealed the drum and lid…and made a design flaw where water vapor could not escape and could potentially seize the chocolate as it condensed and dripped back in.
Here’s what the new internals look like.
What you have is a whole interlocking system now that rotates on Delrin ‘bearing’/shaft. The center hardware slips down over the Delrin covered stainless steel shaft. Because the cap now attached directly to the shaft, and the shaft no longer attached to the bowl, the stress point that was breaking in the Spectra 10 has now been eliminated. It’s actually much harder to describe how this goes together but the pictures make it obvious. The Delrin sleeve that attaches to the bowl is glued to the bowl, but being only a support sleeve, and containment system, there is no reason it should start leaking.
It’s pretty minor, but I rather like the new hand grip on the new hardware. It’s just a breeze to use, and you can keep your hands clean. Here’s what the actual center hardware and shaft now look like.
I’ve been experimenting about a month with the Spectra 11 at the time of writing this. It works basically the same from an efficiency standpoint. I did find that with the new cap/tension system I was actually able to over tighten it. When starting from warm nibs, the result was that I could stall the Melanger. At first glance that may seem an issue, but in other light, I like the extra tension and added control. I also noted that sometimes the Delrin on Delrin squeaked. Nothing more than that, and no cracks or anything like that. I loosened the tension a touch and it stopped the squeak.
That’s about it. I’ve been asked many times so far, and still don’t have an answer as to how compatible or retro-fittable the Spectra 10 will be to the 11. At first glance, it’s not compatible, but I suspect it’s really only a matter of changing the flywheel and getting the new bowl and hardware. I will check into that and report back.