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Gaggia Baby Class Modding - Different than other Gaggia's, but it can be done
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Discussions > Espresso > Espresso Mods > Gaggia Baby...  
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tracerbullet
Senior Member
tracerbullet
Joined: 13 Feb 2012
Posts: 168
Location: Saint Paul
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Apr 22, 2012, 8:41am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Baby Class Modding
 

Pulled it apart to measure for you (I'll try not to hurt my arm patting myself on the back, haha).

The top of the OEM wand: .235" OD and .324" length above the shoulder
Silvia wand linked earlier: varied .229 - .237" OD and was .326" length above the shoulder.

Silvia wasn't quite round, obviously, but average ID is about there at a similar .235" overall  and again it works A-OK.

I've used it 3 times now and there's no leaking or anything else. Very easy mod, pulling it apart, measuring it, and reassembling it was < 10 minutes start to finish. Still not getting "micro" foam yet but I know that's me as an operator. I'd rather develop a technique to introduce enough air than figure a technique to block so much from entering.
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Kex
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Apr 2009
Posts: 41
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia: Coffee & Baby Twin
Grinder: KitchenAid Pro Line
Vac Pot: None
Drip: None
Roaster: None
Posted Tue Apr 24, 2012, 8:57am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Baby Class Modding
 

Interesting indeed ... if it's that easy, I might even do it myself.

A lot of very experienced Gaggia owners seem to rush out to replace the wand with the Silvia wand, as you probably both know. I haven't done it on any of my Gaggias ... maybe because I'm not even remotely a latte drinker, and I don't find the foam from my chrome Pannarello a problem for cappuccino (rightly or wrongly so).

The cleaning aspect is a bit of a pain, but I do not remove everything for cleaning: just the lower sleeve. I simply wipe the top part, and if I never allow milk to cover the air hole (or the top of the Pannarello), it never gets messy inside or out at all. I also shoot a burst of hot water out of the wand after frothing. It took me a couple of weeks to figure out how to get the compression fitting to remain tightly on the "stub" of the steam pipe from the machine. Basically, any time I wipe the end of the Pannarello, or remove the sleeve, I always wipe or twist in the direction of tightening the fitment (from left to right).

I just wanted to mention that I know of at least one "veteran" Gaggia user (meaning a very experienced user, who has taken the machine apart dozens of times, experimented with dozens of modifications and repairs, has the Silvia wand now, roasts and grinds and adjusts the pressure, etc. etc. ...) who maintains quite fervently that acceptable micro-foam CAN be achieved with the original wand with some practice. I think it's mostly to do with positioning the end of the wand correctly, near the surface of the milk.
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tracerbullet
Senior Member
tracerbullet
Joined: 13 Feb 2012
Posts: 168
Location: Saint Paul
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Apr 24, 2012, 10:19am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Baby Class Modding
 

I guess anything's possible. For me, even with the wand submerged (just shy of the air hole but an inch or two into the milk) 100% of the time I still got way too much air in there. If you attempted to do it just below the surface, like you would with a Silvia wand, for any length of time at all you'd end up with meringue...

But it looks like there have been subtle changes to the parts over time, that may make a difference. or maybe it can be done w/ the stock wand once the airholes are plugged up - either with old milk or a piece of tape (I was doing the latter).

I gave it as long as I could before I swapped, I tend to read things and think "bah, they're just doing it wrong, I'll figure it out and make it work". Once I finally got annoyed w/ the piece of tape procedure I went for it.

It carries little weight but another thought is that on the "pro" equipment I've seen and / or gotten to play with, those wands are much more like the Silvia wand and much less like the Gaggia pannarello tip.
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sideshowbob
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sideshowbob
Joined: 28 Feb 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Newport, South wales
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Apr 26, 2012, 3:42pm
Subject: What hose clip are you using? and where did you get it?
 

Just a quick question...
What's the hose clip/clamp are you using to connect your high pressure hose to your barbed connectors?
It seems to be the same as the stock gaggia ones, I've been looking for them for ages and I can't seem to locate them here in the UK
Can you please give me the exact part name and size?

thanks!
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tracerbullet
Senior Member
tracerbullet
Joined: 13 Feb 2012
Posts: 168
Location: Saint Paul
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Apr 27, 2012, 5:25am
Subject: Re: Hose Clamps
 

Well I have several answers:

I found these at the McMaster-Carr website, they call them "gap free pinch clamps". The Parts Guru site also has them and there and other places they are "Oetiker clamps".

That said I actually changed over again, may not have updated here (I should to keep it up to date in case it really does help someone), to a fairly rigid tubing and some compression clamps. The idea is similar to what you'd use to connect a city water supply to a refrigerator with an ice maker but with a better tube. The clamping method is the same as you'd use for copper tubing. Once every couple of weeks if I left the machine on long enough and the heat from the boiler managed to work its way through to thoroughly heat the OPV as well, the tubing connected to the OPV would get soft. Wouldn't melt, it was below its rated temp, but it would get soft and want to work its way loose. Changed over to the other style with a different material tube and never had another scare.
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D4F
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Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,038
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Fri Apr 27, 2012, 9:45am
Subject: Re: Hose Clamps
 

Looking at the PartsGuru site, Gaggia and in particular Gaggia Baby Class is not recommended, 2006 and newer.  Much of that seems to center around the tubing and clamps and resulting leaks.  They mention the over braided type tubing as not good.  The new Classic does not have that.  Seems that switching tubing types as you just mentioned might be the answer.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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sideshowbob
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sideshowbob
Joined: 28 Feb 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Newport, South wales
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed May 23, 2012, 3:13pm
Subject: Different than other Gaggia's, but it can be done
 

Found the said clips but because the hose I'm using has very thick walls I can't find a specific fit so I opted for cheap jubilee clips so that I'll have that needed adjustment range...
By the way...
about the switch problem you posted a while back.. I think I have a similar issue... When I press the brew switch.. I hear the distinctive solenoid click first then the pump.. but just a small squirt of water comes out when the solenoids clicks but no water.. the pump vibrates... I can even see my pressure gauge hit 9.5bar but water still doesn't go out the group head.. did changing the switch solved your problem?

thanks!
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tracerbullet
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tracerbullet
Joined: 13 Feb 2012
Posts: 168
Location: Saint Paul
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 10:40am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Baby Class Modding - Different than other Gaggia's
 

Hrm, if that's what I'd call a normal hose clamp I wouldn't recommend them. It should work but I'm not a fan of them. in automotive applications they don't seem to last long in my experience. If it works it works, and worst case you have a wet machine and kitchen so maybe not a big deal. The other clamp types - in the US at least - are readily available from the McMaster-Carr site in many diameters. Something to consider.

Yes, replacing the switch did solve my problems. The switches aren't just on / off but instead connect combinations of the 4 terminals. When that switch didn't work properly the right things weren't connected and it didn't run.

My problem however was that the solenoid did not get electricity and pull the internal piece to allow water flow. If yours clicks, then it sounds like it's a different problem. If it works correctly, and the pump operates, then you have what you need for flow. Since you are building pressure and not getting flow, I'd say that flow is blocked. Either the solenoid is plugged up internally or something else along that path is plugged. I've seen on other Gaggia's now (I've bought, fixed, and sold a few on ebay now that I know how they work) that there's a very small path through the brew head. If you take off the shower screen (single screw), then undo the next part of the brew head (two allen wrench headed bolts, 5mm I believe), you will see one lonely little hole that supplies water from the boiler. They liked to get plugged up.

Anyhow I'd go there - disassemble the bottom of the brew group and also the solenoid and see if one or both aren't plugged up. It sounds like your switch is working correctly if you are sure you hear the solenoid activate.
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,038
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Thu May 24, 2012, 7:25pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Baby Class Modding
 

tracerbullet Said:

I recently installed the Silvia wand, and have only used it once (this morning). I didn't get enough foam on account of having to re-learn my technique again, but given other's reports I'm sure I'll get there. I can see already it's much easier to clean, just needing to be wiped off instead of pulled apart each time.

My real reason for updating is to say that with the Baby Class and the Silvia wand bought here: http://www.espressoparts.com/R_1054?&search_id=1611434 , the whole changeover process took about 5 minutes. Previously, Jon (Jkoll42) posted links to great pdf's describing a change-over and the work required. I'm happy to say that something with my machine or wand was different because I had no work to do whatsoever. The diameter and length of the tip of the new wand were identical to what came on the Gaggia originally. Even measured with a micrometer I got #'s within a thousandth or so. It was plug & play.

So - an easy mod for current or future Baby owners - the wand linked went right on. I can't say if it's better yet, need more time to play with it. But it couldn't have been easier to install.

Posted April 21, 2012 link

Thanks for the post and link to the correct part.  I just finished this upgrade.  I had to look at the Gaggia parts to realize that on the Classic, and probably others, there is an o-ring that is up in the connector that did not come out with the wand and probably seals the Rancilio wand as well.  As mentioned, perfect fit with no adjustment.  The nut was not on very tight, but no leaks.  As you noted, time to relearn technique.  I got almost no foam on first attempt and then started searching and reading.

When are you getting a PID?

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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azreal1983
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Oct 2013
Posts: 2
Location: uk
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Baby Dose
Grinder: starbuck barista grinder
Posted Wed Oct 16, 2013, 10:21am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Baby Class Modding
 

Hi

Great write up!

I was wondering on 003.jpg where you unscrew the OPV. do you think something like this http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/400455498326  would screw in its place?

And therefore keep all the existing tubing? I am struggling to source the parts in the UK.

Kryz
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