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Pharos Sweeper Mod?
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Endo
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Endo
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Posted Sat Mar 10, 2012, 7:30am
Subject: Pharos Sweeper Mod?
 

I posted this on another forum. Just wondering if anyone has tried this yet, before I start my mods:

Before I bought the Pharos, I thought the hand grinding would be the worst part. In fact, the hand grinding action is incredibly smooth and totally quiet. I actually look forward to turning the handle and have no desire to motorized it. What I don't like is all the "whacking and spanking" required to get the grounds out (they actually recommend a rubber mallet.....seriously!).

The design is great (as is the taste), but it has a few fundamental flaws that should be fixed (IMO):

The first is the grinds adjustment method. It used to be simply a single nut which raised or lowered the center burr. Obviously, it needs a jam nut to hold the lower nut position. After grinder 50 or so, they made this change by adding the second nut.

The second problem is there is no reference for grind position. I see some people have started adding a grid template on top of the grinder to help. This should be etched into the top cover, and 2" indicator/adjustor rods should be attached to BOTH nuts

The third problem I have not heard discussed yet. They are using a coarse thread pitch for some odd reason. They should be using a finer pitch to make adjustments more precise. A simple change I would think.

These problems are all minor compared to the chute design problem IMO. This inner chute/hopper below the burr does not allow the grinds to fall freely. Instead, they all get stuck to the sides due to static and you must beat the grinder like an old rug to get anything out. When it does come out, it goes everywhere. You need to put a #4 coffee filter on your counter to catch 80% of the flying grinds, and you still end up sweeping. This totally unacceptable IMO.

I'd recommend removing the chute all together, and attaching a simple plastic vaned sweeper to the shaft inside the PVC tube (the sweeper center would also cover and protect the lower bearing from grounds, prolonging its life as well). The sweeper vane would be free to move up the shaft, but pressed down ightly with a simple loose spring around the shaft. Torque from the shaft would be transmitted to the sweeper by a square adapter on the shaft which is held in place with a screw (possibly on a local shaft flat, if required). This sweeper could easily be added to the design with only a very minor increase in manufacturing cost.

The only thing left would be to size the hole in the bottom plate to allow the grounds to drop, and slightly longer legs to fit a basket under the hole. And Voila! It would work exactly like a regular Mazzer doser, except powered by its own grinder action.

If I can find something that would simulate the sweeper vane, I'll try modding my grinder.


Endo: 001 (605x640).jpg
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AndyPanda
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AndyPanda
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Posted Sat Mar 10, 2012, 8:54am
Subject: Re: Pharos Sweeper Mod?
 

I thought the newer models have a funnel inside that guides all the grinds to the chute so you don't need to whack with a rubber mallet.
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samuellaw178
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samuellaw178
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Posted Sat Mar 10, 2012, 9:40am
Subject: Re: Pharos Sweeper Mod?
 

Endo Said:

The third problem I have not heard discussed yet. They are using a coarse thread pitch for some odd reason. They should be using a finer pitch to make adjustments more precise. A simple change I would think.

Posted March 10, 2012 link

Hi Endo, you got a new pharos? =D Welcome to the family! Haha The reason no one discuss about the coarse thread, I believe, is because it isn't that hard to make fine adjustment as it is now, that is after you added the scale. Without it, i think it would be quite difficult if you go by 1/4 turn, 1/3 turn etc etc. I realize the addition of scale is super important because it allows you to make precise, repeatable and minute changes to the grind setting. I have a paper scale on it now, works like a dream but ugly as hell. An etched one with numbering would be perfect!

These problems are all minor compared to the chute design problem IMO. This inner chute/hopper below the burr does not allow the grinds to fall freely.

Yes, this can be a problem especially with dry in combination to dark oily roast. Right now, it doesn't cause a problem to me and the grind came out easily with shaking and a few taps. Maybe it's the weather. But if they can fit the bottom part Lido design into pharos, that would be perfect! I remember OE said somewhere that might compromise the structure rigidity of the grinder/burr or something due to the design.  So maybe a redesigned Pharos 2.0 is required to solve that.

For what it's worth, how I use my Pharos now, is that I use the ground bin from Preciso, hold it tight against the chute and give it a few horizontal and vertical shakes. Almost 90% ground would come out this way. To get the rest, I tap on the bottom plate into the ground bin. Some very tiny amount of ground might miss, but most get into the bin.

Your sweeper mod does sound interesting! I really hope it would work! The only potential problem I can see is probably the cleaniness of the sweeper and the tight tolerance required.
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fredk01
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Joined: 20 Feb 2012
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Espresso: Saeco Aroma
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Posted Sat Mar 10, 2012, 9:40am
Subject: Re: Pharos Sweeper Mod?
 

I think the OP is having a problem with the new funnel, which still needs some tapping, but not as much as the original version.  From more recent posts, most have not issue with some tapping to get all the grounds out.  I will know for myself in a week or so.

The sweeper is an interesting idea.  Depending on materials, I would think it would suffer from the same static problems.
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samuellaw178
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samuellaw178
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Posted Sat Mar 10, 2012, 11:30am
Subject: Re: Pharos Sweeper Mod?
 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6s6RwGhvpg

I tried to upload my technique using the Pharos. I broke it down and this is how it looks:

1)~12 seconds to load the beans
2)~12 seconds to bite through all the beans
3)~20 seconds to get the ground out
4)~25 seconds to transfer, distribute and groom the puck, before tamping
5)~5 seconds to tamp

As compared to the dosered grinder, maybe you can shave about 6 seconds from 1, 6 seconds from 2, 20 seconds from 3, 10 seconds from 4(assuming you don't WDT). A total save time of.....42 seconds! Considering the price of Pharos and the fact that I was taking my time, that's not too bad. Really. :P
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CoffeeMac
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CoffeeMac
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Espresso: La Spaziale S1 Vivaldi II
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Posted Sat Mar 10, 2012, 12:06pm
Subject: Re: Pharos Sweeper Mod?
 

I bought a Pharos to see if I could taste the difference between 68mm conical burrs and the flat burrs in my Mazzer Mini without spending $2K+ on a Titan.  The answer is yes, but the jury is still out on whether or not the difference is big enough to warrant purchasing a new Titan.

I initially had a lot of trouble dialing in the Pharos and at first agreed with the OP's comment on having a finer thread pitch.  However, I now have a very repeatable adjustment setting technique. My adjustment technique is to put a screwdriver in the pin-holder hole and rotate the handle clockwise until it hits the screwdriver. I then put the pin in the adjustment nut and make my change looking at the gap between the pin and one of the nuts on the top plate.  I have also found that once it is dialed in I don't need to change it that often, even as the beans age (I only grind for espresso so far).

I also had trouble initially dialing in the Pharos to a fine-enough setting for espresso.  As I adjusted finer, the burrs would touch for a portion (1/3?) of the rotation.  I tried the adjustment technique from the video on the OE website, but that didn't seem to help.  I eventually figured out that I could eliminate the burrs touching by adjusting the relative tightness of the three main bolts holding the grinder together.  1/4 turn on one of the bolts can make a huge difference on whether the burrs touch or not when grinding for espresso.  Since I figured this out and got everything aligned it hasn't been a problem -- no further adjustments needed.

I agree that the biggest hassle with the Pharos is getting the grounds out.  I tried many techniques, most of which would involve losing lots of grounds and making a mess.  I finally came up with a decent technique that keeps hassle, loss and mess to a minimum.  I got a 2oz plastic Nalgene bottle from REI and put a hole in the lid that would friction-fit the bottom of the Pharos funnel, which sticks out a bit from the bottom plate.  After grinding, I pull the plug from the funnel,  attach the Nalgene bottle, and proceed to do the Pharos Shake Dance to extract the grounds.  It's still a pain, but at least all of the grounds end up in the bottle (and then the portafiliter), rather than all over the counter or floor.

I believe the Pharos has a fundamental design choice/flaw that will forever make grounds extraction a challenge:  The second bearing is below the burr.  It will be difficult/impossible for an after-market modification to work around this IMHO. To fundamentally correct the problem, both bearings should be above the burr, allowing a grounds jar to be attached at the bottom.  This is what OE did with the Lido grinder (38mm conical burrs).  I'm not sure why they didn't take this approach as well with the Pharos. My take, based on some of OE's comments in their videos and other postings, is that one of the design goals was to keep the grinder very symmetrical, with the burrs being equidistant between the two bearings.  This may have some benefit in keeping the burrs aligned or in keeping the overall esthetic  in line with the designer's vision, but creates a fundamental ease-of-use issue in getting grounds out.

Having said all that, I have to say I am still happy with my Pharos purchase. It's nice to have a quality backup grinder, to be able to grind "off grid" while traveling, and to explore Titan-class flavor profiles.
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samuellaw178
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samuellaw178
Joined: 22 Jan 2011
Posts: 382
Location: KL,Malaysia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Arrarex Caravel
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Roaster: DIY Copper drum roaster
Posted Sat Mar 10, 2012, 12:18pm
Subject: Re: Pharos Sweeper Mod?
 

CoffeeMac Said:

I bought a Pharos to see if I could taste the difference between 68mm conical burrs and the flat burrs in my Mazzer Mini without spending $2K+ on a Titan.  The answer is yes, but the jury is still out on whether or not the difference is big enough to warrant purchasing a new Titan.

Posted March 10, 2012 link

Exactly! Can I +10000 to that? hahaha!

Although we can't say for sure that Pharos delivers exactly similar cup result to k10 titan conical grinder etc, most said that it's very close if not equal or better. With the price lower than a new Baratza Preciso, we are allowed to decide whether it's worth it to throw the extra 1k for a titan conical grinder. Me for one, don't really crave for a titan conical grinder after trying the Pharos because the taste difference to my palate isn't that huge of a deal to justify the cost. The improvement(or more accurately difference, depending on what you compare to) is there, don't misunderstand. But its magnitude is relatively minute to my really unrefined coffee palate though I think I am a sensitive taster in other food. Even if I do crave for the titan once  a while, Pharos is there to quench that. =P But of course, some people's tongue are really good and picky enough to tell the subtle difference. Then of course they wouldn't be satisfied with anything less, but I actually suspect most of us aren't....
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Endo
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Endo
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Posted Sat Mar 10, 2012, 7:13pm
Subject: Re: Pharos Sweeper Mod?
 

The grind quality is great, but they shouldn't have stopped there. I just wish they had spent a bit more time thinking about the "convenience" aspect of this grinder. A simple change like the sweeper I proposed would make this SO much easier to use and much more "kitchen" friendly too. After all, who has a hammer in their kitchen?
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hankua
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hankua
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Posted Sat Mar 10, 2012, 7:29pm
Subject: Re: Pharos Sweeper Mod?
 

Pharos version I single doses directly into a portifilter.  No secondary containers needed, just a little home made spout on the side of the hopper. Very simple, and you can clean the burrs without taking it apart.

hankua: pharos.jpg
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russel
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Posted Sat Mar 10, 2012, 9:17pm
Subject: Re: Pharos Sweeper Mod?
 

Endo Said:

After all, who has a hammer in their kitchen?

Posted March 10, 2012 link

Actaully, I think that a lot of people do...at lease all of those who like Doug and Barb's "OE Slap Shot" technique.  The puck makes and excellent blunt-non-marking-somewhat-quiet implement to use to knock out the grounds.  On a similar note, the new non-skid mat thing work as a decent PF holder while you tap with the puck.  I have zero mess when tapping the grounds into my LP PF.  I do use one of the OE funnels, so that isn't as large an accomplishment as it might sound.
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