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Vario Won't Grind Coarse
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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > Vario Won't...  
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RichC
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Nov 2009
Posts: 21
Location: Delaware
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Dec 5, 2011, 5:43pm
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

Hey Craig, I have a question based on the Troubleshooting guide at the new Baratza website.

I am looking for a coarser grind to use with my new Chemex/Kone, so I went to the troubleshooting
page to see the pdf for making adjustments (finer/coarser).  Here's what I found:

TO CALIBRATE THE UNIT COARSER
A new upper burr carrier is required. Check out our online store for parts.

Is that correct?  Why would I need a new upper burr carrier to calibrate for a coarser grind?
Do they make a different upper burr carrier specifically for coarser grinding?

I am still going to try and adjust using the 2mm screw.  Any insight you could give would be appreciated.

Thanks!
Rich
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germantownrob
Senior Member
germantownrob
Joined: 2 Dec 2007
Posts: 2,153
Location: Philadelphia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,...
Drip: Brazen
Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Tue Dec 6, 2011, 5:17am
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

RichC Said:

Hey Craig, I have a question based on the Troubleshooting guide at the new Baratza website.

I am looking for a coarser grind to use with my new Chemex/Kone, so I went to the troubleshooting
page to see the pdf for making adjustments (finer/coarser).  Here's what I found:

TO CALIBRATE THE UNIT COARSER
A new upper burr carrier is required. Check out our online store for parts.

Is that correct?  Why would I need a new upper burr carrier to calibrate for a coarser grind?
Do they make a different upper burr carrier specifically for coarser grinding?

I am still going to try and adjust using the 2mm screw.  Any insight you could give would be appreciated.

Thanks!
Rich

Posted December 5, 2011 link

Interesting. Looks like Baratza is addressing the problem that I have always had by replacing the upper burr carrier, with my Vario calibrated for espresso the coarsest grind it will do is a course drip, this looks like it will give espresso grind to French press grind without a need to recalibrate.
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CraigA
Moderator
CraigA
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 11,248
Location: Rexdale, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: PID/PressureMod 2001...
Grinder: BUNN FPG-2 DBC, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos manual, Yama 5...
Drip: Behmor BraZen, BUNN VPR-APS,...
Roaster: Refurb Behmor 1600, BBQ...
Posted Tue Dec 6, 2011, 7:55am
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

RichC Said:

Hey Craig, I have a question based on the Troubleshooting guide at the new Baratza website.

I am looking for a coarser grind to use with my new Chemex/Kone, so I went to the troubleshooting
page to see the pdf for making adjustments (finer/coarser).  Here's what I found:

TO CALIBRATE THE UNIT COARSER
A new upper burr carrier is required. Check out our online store for parts.

Is that correct?  Why would I need a new upper burr carrier to calibrate for a coarser grind?
Do they make a different upper burr carrier specifically for coarser grinding?

I am still going to try and adjust using the 2mm screw.  Any insight you could give would be appreciated.

Thanks!
Rich

Posted December 5, 2011 link

I haven't looked/seen that on the website yet.
I believe Kyle Anderson addressed this issue on an earlier Vario Owners post. They had a new slightly thinner upper burr carrier made to allow for coarser grinding.

 
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jbviau
Senior Member
jbviau
Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 731
Location: Pembroke Pines, FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Preciso / LIDOs
Drip: Trifecta MB / Eva Solo...
Posted Tue Dec 6, 2011, 9:08am
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

Is this new upper burr carrier standard issue with Varios going forward? Just curious. If I ever picked one up, I'd want to be able to go coarse sometimes.
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CraigA
Moderator
CraigA
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 11,248
Location: Rexdale, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: PID/PressureMod 2001...
Grinder: BUNN FPG-2 DBC, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos manual, Yama 5...
Drip: Behmor BraZen, BUNN VPR-APS,...
Roaster: Refurb Behmor 1600, BBQ...
Posted Tue Dec 6, 2011, 9:43am
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

I've never asked, so I don't know., sorry.

 
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KyleAnderson
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KyleAnderson
Joined: 15 Mar 2009
Posts: 33
Location: Bellevue
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Dalla Corte Mini
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Tue Dec 6, 2011, 10:44am
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

All new Vario's produced from Serial # 4060 (from August 17, 2010 onward) have the new upper burr carrier. This new burr carrier is machined in a way that holds the upper burr 0.35mm higher than previous Vario's. Most prior Vario's had the full range of grind, but due to production tolerance stack-ups, the occasional Vario would have less than the designed range of grind adjustment (0.75mm total vertical movement). By adding this 0.35mm we ensure that all Vario's (during final calibration) have the full range of grind they were intended to have.
I hope this information answers more questions than it creates. I am sure i will hear about it if there are further questions.
Regards,
Kyle (President, Baratza)
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GDK
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Feb 2011
Posts: 92
Location: Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: MiniVivaldi II, preinfusion,...
Grinder: Baratza Vario W
Posted Fri Jan 20, 2012, 9:43am
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

Endo, scrutinizer, Dana,

Any update on how you have dealt with the two issues described by Endo and others in this thread? I am experiencing them with my Vario W now and have spent quite a bit of time trying and reading. Endo's description is a perfect reflection on what I see.

I will summarize:

  1. Cannot grind coarse enough

* I have lost half of the range on the coarse side. Bottom burr lowers as I move the MACRO lever down, though moving the lever past half way has no effect on the burr position. My testing approach is rock solid. Primary calibration is practically on coarsest setting, I know burr is stuck on something as the supporting control spline (under the rubber cover, primary calibration screw is part of that) is quite loose even when pushing the bur lower by hand after moving to coarsest setting. I can give more details on testing but this is the fact.

* UPDATED: culprit identified - the large plastic wheel drive. The hex shaft opening on the wheel has small imperfections which do not allow the lower burr carrier shaft to travel all the way down.


  1. Cannot easily grind fine enough - yes, these can coexist on this grinder, believe it or not

* hit and miss situation. A few weeks ago I was lucky and was getting great results with different types of coffee - consistently. Setting was several clicks coarser than the zero point. I could control the shot to 50 sec w/o having to go finer than the zero point. Then something (???) happened and I was getting consistent gushers with the same coffee beans (which I ended up wasting 100% while troubleshooting). The zero point had not moved! Since then, I am always a few clicks finer than the zero point to barely get 28 sec shots (again consistently) and if I try to go finer to approach say 35 sec shots, I can sometimes see micro lever slide a notch to coarse on its own. So I am hitting a wall there way too early.

* possible reason - I noticed a play with the lower burr as I apply downward pressure by hand. I am not talking about the click you hear after moving to coarser setting as that is one time thing. In this case I stay at espresso setting and while the hopper is removed (and the entire mechanism cleaned thoroughly), I apply about 30 lb pressure in the middle of the burr carrier, like I would tamp, and I can hear a very light click. As I release the pressure - a click back in position. You can repeat again and again w/o changing settings. This seems to explain why grind is not fine enough even with finer than the zero settings. BTW, I cannot detect the play when macro is on mid position, it may be there still though that does not help me.

Anyway, I seem to be approaching the end of the runway with the Vario and may have to abort as outlook for take off is not promising.
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ArneJ
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Jan 2012
Posts: 7
Location: Minnesota
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler
Grinder: Vario
Vac Pot: Santos
Drip: Bunn BTX
Roaster: Behmor, I-Roast 2
Posted Fri Jan 20, 2012, 9:49pm
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

GDK,

Don't abort yet.  

I have been struggling with the same problems (very unpredictable espresso grind) with the Vario for the past few weeks and I have found a solution that seems to be working for me so far.

I have backed off the 2 mm  fine calibration screw completely so that it does not engage at all with the lever and thus relies only on the primary calibration.  I think this makes the pivot point of the lever a much more solid and repeatable contact compared to the set screw.

You may have your primary calibration set too fine causing you to lose the ability to grind coarse or your Vario does not have the new upper burr carrier or compacted coffee.  To do the primary calibration (unplug Vario), remove the upper burr and clean everything well and replace the upper burr.  Then you can set the approximate zero position you want by setting the macro and micro levers where you want zero to be.  Then, when you loosen the 2.5 mm you can slide the adjuster towards the shoot to go courser or towards the back to go finer.  You may want to to pull yours all the way course first in case it is set too fine and really stressing the mechanism.  As you slide this adjuster it will move the lower burr carrier (down as you pull towards the shoot, up as you push towards the back).  As you push towards the back you will feel resistance when the burrs come into solid contact (zero points).  You just don't want to use too much force.  Then you can tighten the primary calibration screw.  To avoid the need for the the fine calibration screw you want to err on the fine side.  Also make sure that the lever is centered and not twisted.

Then I move the micro and macro all the way course and slowly march the macro and micro levers up with the motor running and no beans until I hear the motor loading to see where the "zero point" ended up.  Then I started checking with beans a few macro notches below zero and slowly moved up to dial in.  Now I am able to switch back and forth between brew methods with good repeatability again and I am getting consistent espresso.

I hope this might help.  

Arne
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GDK
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Feb 2011
Posts: 92
Location: Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: MiniVivaldi II, preinfusion,...
Grinder: Baratza Vario W
Posted Sat Jan 21, 2012, 7:17am
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

Arne,

Welcome to the forum. I guess you have been reading it already and registered to answer a call for help - thanks!

I spent more time with the grinder yesterday and uncovered the problem related to coarse grinding. I updated my post above.

The calibration method you described shows out of the box thinking and it should work.

You are quite right about keeping the fine calibration side of the lever as  low as possible, or in other words make the fine calibration screw stick out as little as required (and not at all in your case). CraigA has an excellent shot of the lever a bit earlier in the thread. If you look in between the primary and fine calibration screws, you will notice (barely) that there is a groove on the lever. There is a plastic tooth on the base that sticks up into the groove and limits the back-forth movement of the lever while leaving some side play. If the fine calibration screw is tightened too much (i.e. sticks up too much) it may lift the lever too high and make it come off the tooth while making adjustments. This may lead to more setting errors. In my case, I have been trying to keep the fine calibration screw stick a little to avoid the above. One note: when fine calibration screw sticks out less (or not at all), the lever would be at a steeper angle as it meets the lower burr carrier shaft. Difference though is so small, it must be inconsequential.

To get a good shot, where do you have the MICRO setting usually relative the zero point -coarser or finer and how many clicks?
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ArneJ
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Jan 2012
Posts: 7
Location: Minnesota
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler
Grinder: Vario
Vac Pot: Santos
Drip: Bunn BTX
Roaster: Behmor, I-Roast 2
Posted Sat Jan 21, 2012, 8:27am
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

Thanks for the welcome.  Yes I think I have read every post related to the Vario while trying to solve my problems.

Glad to hear your course grinding problem is resolved.

The way I am looking at it is the displacement adjustment for the Vario has ~230 steps and a nominal range of 750 Ám.  If we assume it is linear we will get 3.25 Ám per micro step.  I took a look at the lever and is that a groove or a cutout?  From reading the initial posts on the vario it is my understanding that the fine calibration was added and after the initial production runs and it was hoped never to be used.  I am not certain but I think that if the fine calibration screw is removed then the pivot point of the lever becomes the end of the lever and there is a line contact between the fine screw and the shoot.  If the fine calibration screw is engaged then it becomes the pivot point.  In this case we could see some wobbling or shifting of the lever and thus slightly the contact point as well.  This could be just with my Vario, perhaps there is more play in the threads of my fine calibration screw.  

The primary calibration is not something that you want to do very often because I think that the small amount of wear that occurs during the break-in period makes it difficult to get a real fine adjustment.  The sliding of the adjustment is not as smooth.  This is kind of a feel operation.

As far was the "zero point" is concerned, it depends on what sound the user calls "zero".  I would say that I am about 5-7 micro clicks courser than the point where I hear the motor is obviously laboring.  It is really difficult for me to hear the sounds accurately from the youtube videos to compare to what I am hearing.  I am in the range where I hear some ticking.
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