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Saeco rapid steam - mini HX or what?
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jannus
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Mar 2013
Posts: 62
Location: South Africa, Cape Town
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: NS ElliMatic & OLD Via...
Grinder: mazzer sj
Vac Pot: nope
Drip: yup
Roaster: nope
Posted Wed Mar 20, 2013, 5:52am
Subject: Saeco rapid steam - mini HX or what?
 

Hello fellow Coffee lovers,

I hope there's someone out there who can shed some light on how the Saeco Rapid Steam mechanism works?  It is the type of boiler used in some models of the the Magic Cappucino, the Classico Rapid Steam, and a few others.

What I've figured out is this:
It uses a single boiler, with one thermostat keeping temperature in the boiler to about 124 degrees C.  (see pic below, although that was before I did some major repairs)
When the unit is warmed up and I start pumping water, it seems to come out at about 70 degrees C, dropping rapidly.  From what I can figure out, it works kind of like a heat exchange sort of principle, because the tube running down into the group seems to take water directly from the pump, but runs through the 124 deg C water.  I do preheat the head, but even just pumping water straight out the steam wand produces the same low temp.

So:
Am I correct in the above, or can someone shed some light on how this machine works technically?
How do I raise the temperature, or at least make it stay hotter for longer?  Or is this the way it's supposed to run?

I've seen this post:
Click Here (www.home-barista.com)
in which XCman shows mods he did to his Classico RS, and appears to be quite happy with it.  It appears a few Saeco's use the same principle, so I figure there has to be people out there knowing better than me how to work it!  :)

Any other tips or advice welcome on how to best use a machine with this mechanism would be appreciated.

Also, if I should rather post this over at HB, please shout and I'll be happy to move it there.  I just don't want to double-post.

Cheers,
Jan

jannus: Bellville-20130224-00330 small.jpg
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jannus
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Mar 2013
Posts: 62
Location: South Africa, Cape Town
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: NS ElliMatic & OLD Via...
Grinder: mazzer sj
Vac Pot: nope
Drip: yup
Roaster: nope
Posted Mon Mar 25, 2013, 12:34am
Subject: Re: Saeco rapid steam - mini HX or what?
 

Hello again,

I've shortened the post, taking out my info on what I've done to repair the unit.  If someone can be so kind as to shed some light on my questions it'll be highly appreciated!

Cheers,
Jan
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,479
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Mar 26, 2013, 11:37am
Subject: Re: Saeco rapid steam - mini HX or what?
 

Welcome to the board and please do not take the following in the wrong way. It is not a jab at you. Please feel free to read and participate in the discussions. We welcome all who seek info!

Your issues with heat is common to these machines. There is NO boiler, a block of metal is at temp and the water flows through the block of metal.

It is a thermoblock machine, and a super auto at that. A thermoblock is not well thought of and neither are super auto machines, it seems that it combines the worst of both worlds for the coffee GEEKS here.

I suppose we are not the market it is aimed at, that would be people who can not be bothered by what it takes to make quality espresso. Super auto machines excel at ease of use and the trade off is lower quality espresso for the most part.

See the SCG site for the specs.
Click Here (www.seattlecoffeegear.com)

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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jannus
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Mar 2013
Posts: 62
Location: South Africa, Cape Town
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: NS ElliMatic & OLD Via...
Grinder: mazzer sj
Vac Pot: nope
Drip: yup
Roaster: nope
Posted Tue Mar 26, 2013, 11:54am
Subject: Re: Saeco rapid steam - mini HX or what?
 

Hi calblacksmith,

Thanks for the response!  Sorry, it seems I was not very clear - it is not a superauto...but rather the machine attached.  

I know it's far from a proper espresso machine, but I was curious as to the workings.  Especially the post and pictures linked to from HB made me think that it might be possible to get something passable from it.  The heating mechanism / boiler assembly on mine is the same as that in the linked post, a Classico RS.  I've never seen a thermoblock, but this thing has a stainless container with water in it, and an element heating that up.  It is not a very large boiler, though.  

I will in time move to something proper, but for the moment this is what I've got.  

Thanks again for the response, looking forward to more!  :)

Cheers,
Jan

jannus: MagicCombiCappuccino.jpg
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jannus
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Mar 2013
Posts: 62
Location: South Africa, Cape Town
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: NS ElliMatic & OLD Via...
Grinder: mazzer sj
Vac Pot: nope
Drip: yup
Roaster: nope
Posted Tue Mar 26, 2013, 12:08pm
Subject: Re: Saeco rapid steam - mini HX or what?
 

Hi calblacksmith,

Just to clarify - this is the diagram that I found that seems to represent what is going on in my machine.  This is also the diagram that puzzled me, and that didn't help when I opened the machine and found it to look like this.  :)

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ddubick
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Joined: 1 May 2012
Posts: 130
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Nuova Simonelli Appia 1Gr
Grinder: OE Pharos, Macap M5, Nuova...
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Mar 26, 2013, 1:14pm
Subject: Re: Saeco rapid steam - mini HX or what?
 

From that breakout diagram you may be right in your analysis of how it's working.  

I would think the brew temp would start closer to steaming temp due to the issue similar to HX's overheating.  And when you say it drops rapidly do you mean just free flowing water or during an actual shot where water volume isn't all that much?

There is the possibility that there's scale coating the small 'HX' tube so badly that the heat from the boiler can't get through.  Have you opened the boiler yet?

Other than installing a higher rated steam thermostat I don't know what else you could do.

HX's work well because there's a good volume of water in the HX being moderated by the boiler, normal use and flushing.  This thing is working more like a thermoblock than an HX - not very well.
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EricBNC
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EricBNC
Joined: 22 Jun 2010
Posts: 1,827
Location: North Carolina
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: QM Silvano, LP Stradivarius,...
Grinder: K30, Major, Preciso, Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Sunbeam C30, Bodum Santos...
Drip: Bonavita BV-1800,...
Roaster: Behmor, Melitta, Fresh...
Posted Tue Mar 26, 2013, 2:36pm
Subject: Re: Saeco rapid steam - mini HX or what?
 

This is a single boiler dual use machine - these is no thermoblock or heat exchanger inside that boiler - just a way for fresh water to get in from the pump and two ways for it to get out:

1) through the group head (where the portafilter is attached)
2) through the steam wand.

The dual thermostats control the element to raise temps to make hotter than boiling water for steam and cooler water (but still hot) for pulling the espresso.

Not a Superauto either, but we already knew that...

 
I chew coffee beans with my teeth while gargling with 195 F water to enjoy coffee. What is this "coffee brewing" device you speak of?
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,479
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Mar 26, 2013, 5:53pm
Subject: Re: Saeco rapid steam - mini HX or what?
 

I guess I didn't understand.
A SBDU is one boiler that serves two functions.
My search engine let me down and took me to the wrong machine, it is close on this one. I NEVER make a mistak so this one is on the search engine
;-) :-P

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,881
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Tue Mar 26, 2013, 6:57pm
Subject: Re: Saeco rapid steam - mini HX or what?
 

I am not sure if you have your question answered yet.  I found another diagram, very similar, but large enough for me to see.

Click Here (www.partsguru.com)

You have SBDU and I am not sure if you understand how that works.  Sorry if you and the others have already answered as much as you need.  SBDU is single boiler dual use.  One boiler has two thermostats, one for brew and the other for steam, thus the two temperatures of the stats.  The tube that I think confusing in this diagram is not connected on top but connected centrally at the bottom.  Hot water enters the tube at the top and then out the group.  Cold water enters away from the tube, and tends to settle being cold, thus the high pickup. If I see it correctly the cold enters the front side and that is why the tube is bent back away from the entry.  Most SBDUs are similar. If your temperature is off then you need know if the tube is connected in place and then try to find if the thermostat is working.  

Let the machine warm 15 - 20 minutes and then test the water temperture.  If not hot, then let the machine rewarm and try to get a boiler temperature.  You could get an approximation by letting the machine heat fully.  The inflow of cold water will cool the boiler, so wait another 10 minutes.  Depending on you comfort lever you can unplug the machine, but use an instant read digital thermometer and hold it on the boiler.  It should be close to the thermostat temperature.  Realize that the thermostat clicks on and off, so the boiler may not be at the actual noted stat temperature.

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


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,881
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Tue Mar 26, 2013, 7:01pm
Subject: Re: Saeco rapid steam - mini HX or what?
 

calblacksmith Said:

 I NEVER make a mistak so this one is on the search engine

Posted March 26, 2013 link

Or on the spell checker :)

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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