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Modifying Saeco Via Venezia (OPV, p. gauge, depres. PF, pressure profiling, etc)
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Discussions > Espresso > Espresso Mods > Modifying Saeco...  
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frank828
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Joined: 23 Feb 2011
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Location: Los Angeles
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Posted Tue May 15, 2012, 4:41pm
Subject: Modifying Saeco Via Venezia (OPV, p. gauge, depres. PF, pressure profiling, etc)
 

Hey guys, so i recently got my Saeco Via Venezia from CL and i cant help but start modding it.  I believe the Aroma and Starbucks Barista machine is pretty much the same thing, also(thinking adding these words will probably help for the search engine)

wsikes and i have been talking back and forth in his grinder thread and i figured that the information would be more useful in this forum in it's own thread.


Depressurizing the PF:
So one of the first things i did so far is depressurize the portafilter.  i know this has been described in detail many times before.  It is extremely simple, just remove the three screws on the bottom of the PF and pop off the plastic mechanism inside with a flat head screwdriver then push out the rubber gasket.  Clean up all the parts and reassemble without the gasket and plastic mech.

Pressure Gauge:
Next, i heard that these machines come set running at about 11bar(for the ese pods) and i'd like to get it to 9bar.  I have no way of measuring the pressure as of yet.   I built a pressure gauge to attach to the steam wand where i'd open up the steam wand in brew mode and close off a release valve at the end of the gauge.  The problem i have now is that the hose i have hooked up to the steam wand is too wide and wont seal well enough to hold in the pressure.  I'm considering either replacing the steam wand with a gaggia wand or silvia wand as i hear they use a thicker wand and should fit properly with the 1/4" inner diameter hose i have.  Otherwise, i'll need a smaller hose and a smaller barb to the gauge.  I followed the instructions from this video to build it.   Click Here (www.youtube.com)
The other option is if you have the unpressurized portafilter from seattle coffee gear with the spout, i'm thinking something like this may work Click Here (www.espressotec.com)

Overpressure Valve(OPV):
So from my searching around, everyone seems to say to just add an OPV from a different machine as these Saeco machines are not supposed to have an OPV.  
From my research, i found that there is a pressure release valve installed from the factory.  This valve Click Here (www.espressocare.com)  is installed.    You can see it here on the left of the pump http://www.myschiffman.org/cg/CIMG0378-2.JPG (not my picture, credit goes to http://ulkapumprepair.blogspot.com/ ).  
I was curious why no one mentioned this valve in all the searching of information that i did and figured there must be something about this valve that wouldnt allow me to adjust pressure.   So then i contacted Stefano at http://www.espressocare.com asking about the valve and if it is indeed adjustable and if not, what valve would be better.   He informed me that the valve is indeed adjustable by screwing or unscrewing the barbed end(usually bottomed out by factory) but since there is no pressure gauge, it would be difficult to know what the adjustment would end up at.

another option for adjusting the pressure i found from Click Here (www.saecomods.com) by using a lamp dimmer to adjust the voltage going to the pump.  it seems pretty simple and from what they are saying, it is pretty reliable and effective.  I have a dimmer on order right now and may use it if manually adjusting doesnt work for me.

*pressure profiling mod(should work on many other machines, not just the saeco).  info here: "Re: Pressure Profiling Mod - (originally "What kind of valve do i need?")"

another thing i found curious is the changed restricted showerhead screen on the current models for the ESE pods.  I wonder if simply replacing the current with the older screen with more holes would be enough to adjust the pressure at the puck.   Here's the older style screen   http://www.espressoparts.com/SAE_1?&search_id=1706140  and here's the one that comes with the ESE compatible machines   http://www.espressoparts.com/SAE_15?&search_id=1706140

so that's what i have so far and i'll update if i have any progress.  hopefully this info can help someone else looking for the same kind of info.
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wsikes
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wsikes
Joined: 3 Oct 2011
Posts: 396
Location: West Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Promac MD-64 AT
Drip: Bunn
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Tue May 15, 2012, 5:58pm
Subject: Re: Modifying my Saeco Via Venezia (OPV, pressure gauge, depressurized PF, etc)
 

Frank, I think the pressure relief valve is just a blow-off valve like the one on a hot water heater.  If you set it to a lower pressure it will likely be activated by normal boiler pressure and blow steam and hot water off inside the machine.

 
Bill
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frank828
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Feb 2011
Posts: 578
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: GS3
Grinder: RoburE, Kenia
Vac Pot: Hario
Drip: Brazen, CCD, Aeropress, V60,...
Roaster: Behmor, Air Crazy
Posted Tue May 15, 2012, 6:03pm
Subject: Re: Modifying my Saeco Via Venezia (OPV, pressure gauge, depressurized PF, etc)
 

actually the valve that i have has a hose that goes back to the water tank.  you can see it in this picture.  It is connected directly onto the pump before the boiler.  

i had at first thought it was just a safety valve also and that's why i contacted Stefano about the part.
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frank828
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Joined: 23 Feb 2011
Posts: 578
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: GS3
Grinder: RoburE, Kenia
Vac Pot: Hario
Drip: Brazen, CCD, Aeropress, V60,...
Roaster: Behmor, Air Crazy
Posted Tue May 15, 2012, 6:06pm
Subject: Re: Modifying my Saeco Via Venezia (OPV, pressure gauge, depressurized PF, etc)
 

btw i just ordered a silvia v3 steam wand and will attempt to get it to fit.  I should be able to remove the nozzle and attach the 1/4" tubing from the gauge onto it as long as it's a thicker wand and closer to the size of the gaggia's.

im hoping this will solve this problem AND give me a better steaming wand when i'm done.  I might have to elevate the machine if the wand is too long, though.
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wsikes
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wsikes
Joined: 3 Oct 2011
Posts: 396
Location: West Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Promac MD-64 AT
Drip: Bunn
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Tue May 15, 2012, 6:19pm
Subject: Re: Modifying my Saeco Via Venezia (OPV, pressure gauge, depressurized PF, etc)
 

Good luck with the valve and the steam wand.  I called Seattle Coffee Gear and the parts guys were gone for the day, but the lady on the phone assured that the steam wand you ordered will not fit my old style Aroma.  I am going to have to open my machine up and look for a valve like you are talking about on your machine.  If nothing else, I'll have to call Stephano myself after looking inside my machine.
I don't drink milk drinks but I made a cappo for my non-coffeedrinking wife the other night and I'll have to say that the old steam wand seemed to do a pretty good job.  Maybe it was beginner's luck.  So much to think about right now, but enjoying my "fast-pulled" Americanos for the time being.  Gotta get that dimmer switch installed this weekend.

 
Bill
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frank828
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Joined: 23 Feb 2011
Posts: 578
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: GS3
Grinder: RoburE, Kenia
Vac Pot: Hario
Drip: Brazen, CCD, Aeropress, V60,...
Roaster: Behmor, Air Crazy
Posted Tue May 15, 2012, 6:46pm
Subject: Re: Modifying my Saeco Via Venezia (OPV, pressure gauge, depressurized PF, etc)
 

thanks Bill.   something i noticed is that the steam wand from my via venezia and the one from the aroma may be quite different.  

my steam wand has a big nut that is accessible from the bottom of the case that attaches to a male thread. here is a good picture of it http://common1.csnimages.com/lf/1/hash/1160/2985406/1/1.jpg

from what i see of pictures of the aromas, i think the wand is attached inside the casing and might make this much more difficult to do.

Hmm...i'll have to take pictures when i get my wand in.  Hopefully there is hope for both of us.
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frank828
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Feb 2011
Posts: 578
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: GS3
Grinder: RoburE, Kenia
Vac Pot: Hario
Drip: Brazen, CCD, Aeropress, V60,...
Roaster: Behmor, Air Crazy
Posted Tue May 15, 2012, 6:50pm
Subject: Re: Modifying my Saeco Via Venezia (OPV, pressure gauge, depressurized PF, etc)
 

this may also help you, Bill.   Click Here (www.ifixit.com)

on step 5 you can see the pump and the valve.  hopefully yours is the same way
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wsikes
Senior Member
wsikes
Joined: 3 Oct 2011
Posts: 396
Location: West Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Promac MD-64 AT
Drip: Bunn
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Tue May 15, 2012, 6:59pm
Subject: Re: Modifying my Saeco Via Venezia (OPV, pressure gauge, depressurized PF, etc)
 

Nice link, Frank... I'll have the machine apart this weekend and hope for the best. I'm going to repost the link to see if I can get it to work without having to copy/paste.

Click Here (www.ifixit.com)

Thanks for the heads-up.

 
Bill
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D4F
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Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,870
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Tue May 15, 2012, 8:57pm
Subject: Re: Modifying my Saeco Via Venezia (OPV, pressure gauge, depressurized PF, etc)
 

I think this is a common adjustable valve as well.

Click Here (www.chriscoffee.com)

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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frank828
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Feb 2011
Posts: 578
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: GS3
Grinder: RoburE, Kenia
Vac Pot: Hario
Drip: Brazen, CCD, Aeropress, V60,...
Roaster: Behmor, Air Crazy
Posted Tue May 15, 2012, 9:38pm
Subject: Re: Modifying my Saeco Via Venezia (OPV, pressure gauge, depressurized PF, etc)
 

hey D4F, yeah i saw that one while i was searching for information on OPVs.  Problem is that i dont know how i'd mount it AND the headache of finding the right connections/hoses to get it working.  

i'm really hoping the factory valve will work out.  


on a side note, i used to machine for the first time and got it dialed in in about 3-4 tries.  not bad.  used some intelli black cat and got it tasting somewhat close to the shot i got from them tonight.   i noticed after the 2nd shot, i couldnt distinguish any of the flavors.  damn espresso overload on my palate.


oh also, i have the naked portafilter coming from SCG in a day or two.  That should be fun.
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