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Manual Steam Boost for the Silvia...
Rancilio Silvia - How to
Step by step guide for easy brewing and steaming with the Rancilio Silvia
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JPatrick
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Oct 2012
Posts: 9
Location: Sonoma County
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Fri Mar 22, 2013, 5:00pm
Subject: Manual Steam Boost for the Silvia...
 

Howdy folks,

A quick intro... after eight years of visiting Coffee Geek I finally broke down and replaced my little Krups "machine" with a used Silvia and Rossi  RR45 grinder back in November.  And since I'm not ready $$$-wise to PID my machine (as much as I'd love to wire in the steam control options) I came up with a low-cost solution to help with steaming performance.

I swung by the local electronics store and picked up a small, inconspicuous press-on/press-off switch (which was already pre-wired with 6" leads on it).
Then, to Radio Shack for a few tap-in connectors so I can bypass the steam thermostat manually.

I can now manually over-ride the steam thermostat at-will to keep the boiler turned on when I want to steam milk.  And my total cost was all of $3!
The only "drawback" is when I forget to turn off the boost switch after I finish steaming.  (Though, the resettable over-temperature thermostat still works well.  Ask me how I know!)

Not sure if anyone else has done this before, but I can't remember reading about it in all my years of lurking/dreaming here on Coffee Geek.

While milk for latte art still escapes me, I'm fairly certain I can rule out lack of steam output as a contributing factor!
Next up will be testing two-hole and four-hole replacement steam tips... currently heading my way.  Time will tell if they're beneficial or not!

If anyone is interested in pics, I can snap a few.

Thanks!
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PJK
Senior Member
PJK
Joined: 21 Jan 2002
Posts: 2,319
Location: Shingle Springs CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancillo Silvia, Tonic...
Grinder: Modified Rocky, Elma side...
Vac Pot: Old Silex
Drip: Melitta BCM 4  +Some old...
Roaster: Hottop, Modified Z&D,...
Posted Sat Mar 23, 2013, 1:17am
Subject: Re: Manual Steam Boost for the Silvia...
 

If your bypass switch had a timer of about two minutes max it would not alarm me, but I think what you are doing is living on the edge as you have found by the need to reset the safety thermostat.

Phil


JPatrick Said:

Howdy folks,

A quick intro... after eight years of visiting Coffee Geek I finally broke down and replaced my little Krups "machine" with a used Silvia and Rossi  RR45 grinder back in November.  And since I'm not ready $$$-wise to PID my machine (as much as I'd love to wire in the steam control options) I came up with a low-cost solution to help with steaming performance.

I swung by the local electronics store and picked up a small, inconspicuous press-on/press-off switch (which was already pre-wired with 6" leads on it).
Then, to Radio Shack for a few tap-in connectors so I can bypass the steam thermostat manually.

I can now manually over-ride the steam thermostat at-will to keep the boiler turned on when I want to steam milk.  And my total cost was all of $3!
The only "drawback" is when I forget to turn off the boost switch after I finish steaming.  (Though, the resettable over-temperature thermostat still works well.  Ask me how I know!)

Not sure if anyone else has done this before, but I can't remember reading about it in all my years of lurking/dreaming here on Coffee Geek.

While milk for latte art still escapes me, I'm fairly certain I can rule out lack of steam output as a contributing factor!
Next up will be testing two-hole and four-hole replacement steam tips... currently heading my way.  Time will tell if they're beneficial or not!

If anyone is interested in pics, I can snap a few.

Thanks!

Posted March 22, 2013 link


 
Philip J. Keleshian
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Tifoso
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Jan 2007
Posts: 21
Location: W.Pa
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Maestro
Roaster: Melitta
Posted Sat Mar 23, 2013, 3:19pm
Subject: Re: Manual Steam Boost for the Silvia...
 

If you're going to over-ride the steam stat you should use a momentary switch and shunt the the steam stat so that  it only functions when the steam switch is operated. Also, since the heating element draws ~ 8-1/8 amps, the switch should be 10 amps or higher.

I have 2 manual heater controls on my Silvia; one which operates any time the machine is powered on, and the other shunting the steam stat. I also installed an SS relay feeding the heater element which does the heavy lifting negating the need of a high current swich. (I still am using a 10A N.O. momentary push-button switch for general over-ride).

For the steam o/r, I use a N.C. microswitch paralleling the steam stat & actuated by a 'cam lobe' mounted to the steam control shaft. With shaft in the closed position, the lobe actuates the switch, opening the contacts. At about 12 degrees of rotation, the switch is then 'closed' energizing the heater, allowing continued heating even though the stat is now open. I adjusted it so that the lobe actuates the switch & opens the contacts in case I get sloppy/neglegent & don't rotate the knob completely.
What a difference in steaming !

Also, I have a boiler temperaure meter connected. It's almost imperative to know where you're at temp-wise if you want to keep from a meltdown.

One more important point: MAKE SURE THE BOILER IS FILLED WHEN USING A MANUAL OVER-RIDE.
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JPatrick
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Oct 2012
Posts: 9
Location: Sonoma County
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Sat Mar 30, 2013, 12:03pm
Subject: Re: Manual Steam Boost for the Silvia...
 

Thanks for the input folks... thought I'd leave a quick update.

The four hold Rancilio tip works well with about 20 seconds of extra juice.... 8 ounces of ice cold milk turns to microfoam in about a minute or so.

And while I'd love if it were automated like one running off the steam control shaft, it works well enough for me.
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