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HX/E-61 Temperature Control
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > HX/E-61...  
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marrone
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Joined: 5 Sep 2003
Posts: 195
Location: Bakersfield
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Tea
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Roaster: Hot Top, Fresh Roast +
Posted Sun Feb 13, 2005, 6:30pm
Subject: Re: HX/E-61 Temperature Control
 

Dan Kehn and others have confirmed that one of the big problems is the superheated water in the HX itself.

One possible solution is a reverse PID - Only because that technology is cheap enough and flexible enough to be the simplest choice.

Leave the existing controls 'as is' for normal operation. When the machine has been idle for some time (say 1 minute), the PID takes over, and it's setpoint is +/- 30 degrees (F) cooler than the pressurestat gives. Once the machine is called on to do something (pump running), the PID is shunted and things go back to normal (the Isomac Tea takes 30 seconds to do this).

This would keep the grouphead from overheating, keep the HX temp in line and would be simple enough to accomplish, especially if the PID had enough smarts to activate/deactivate using its internal timer.

Ted
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x
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Joined: 29 Sep 2002
Posts: 322
Location: x
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Feb 13, 2005, 7:39pm
Subject: Re: HX/E-61 Temperature Control
 

Hello,
Having gone from the pid controlled Silvia to an HX machine,  I was freaking out because of nothing to look at for temp control.

Now have a TC inside a well about 1/2 inch from were  the water enters the portafilter right in the water channel.  Readings are probably about 1 to 2 degrees cooler than the water hitting the coffee. (Got some ideas on how to build a little better thermowell setup that should get me even closer to the real temp and a little less lag) The results are deadon repeatable.  I can now watch the temp of the flush and the temp of my shot cycle and have plenty of information to put me were I want to be.
There is a little learning to get the timing right after the flush to hit the desired brew temp.

This seems like a great place to start to monitor an HX machine.  If you can see what the machine is doing its much easier to work with.

Loring
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GaryH
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GaryH
Joined: 24 Oct 2003
Posts: 2,530
Location: San Jose California
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Zaffiro
Grinder: Macap M4 Doserless
Vac Pot: none
Drip: yes
Roaster: none
Posted Sun Feb 13, 2005, 8:48pm
Subject: Re: HX/E-61 Temperature Control
 

x Said:

Hello,
Having gone from the pid controlled Silvia to an HX machine,  I was freaking out because of nothing to look at for temp control.

Now have a TC inside a well about 1/2 inch from were  the water enters the portafilter right in the water channel.  Readings are probably about 1 to 2 degrees cooler than the water hitting the coffee. (Got some ideas on how to build a little better thermowell setup that should get me even closer to the real temp and a little less lag) The results are deadon repeatable.  I can now watch the temp of the flush and the temp of my shot cycle and have plenty of information to put me were I want to be.
There is a little learning to get the timing right after the flush to hit the desired brew temp.

This seems like a great place to start to monitor an HX machine.  If you can see what the machine is doing its much easier to work with.

Loring

Posted February 13, 2005 link

So the starting point temperature control on your HX is basically the same as the PID Silvia. So how much better is the shot taste on the HX?
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Rick
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Rick
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
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Espresso: Wega Mininova Inox Auto...
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Posted Sun Feb 13, 2005, 9:52pm
Subject: Re: HX/E-61 Temperature Control
 

x Said:

Hello,
Having gone from the pid controlled Silvia to an HX machine,  I was freaking out because of nothing to look at for temp control.

Now have a TC inside a well about 1/2 inch from were  the water enters the portafilter right in the water channel.  Readings are probably about 1 to 2 degrees cooler than the water hitting the coffee. (Got some ideas on how to build a little better thermowell setup that should get me even closer to the real temp and a little less lag) The results are deadon repeatable.  I can now watch the temp of the flush and the temp of my shot cycle and have plenty of information to put me were I want to be.
There is a little learning to get the timing right after the flush to hit the desired brew temp.

This seems like a great place to start to monitor an HX machine.  If you can see what the machine is doing its much easier to work with.

Loring

Posted February 13, 2005 link

Personally, I think this holds more promise for most HX machine owners than trying to devise an automatic brew water temperature control system.

Rick
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x
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Joined: 29 Sep 2002
Posts: 322
Location: x
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Feb 13, 2005, 10:04pm
Subject: Re: HX/E-61 Temperature Control
 

Hello,

So the starting point temperature control on your HX is basically the same as the PID Silvia. So how much better is the shot taste on the HX?

It might be a little more complicated and better than that.  The Rio Junior is a 100 plus pound machine with a rotary pump big boiler and big HX.  Maybe not fair to compare to Silvia.  This must have some effect.

When I 1st started with the Rio my shots were much worse than what I had learned to make with Silvia and PID.  In a week or so I was getting the basic hang of the flush and shots were on par with Silvia.  The TC is giving me a reference I need and would say Rio is out performing what I was able to coax out of Silvia regularly now.  Is the difference earth shattering? No. Are my skills good enough to maximize either machine? No.  I do think as I get better at utlizing the data the TC gives me shots will improve more, and become more consistant.  Less time wondering if the machine has been idle 1 minute or 6.  Just flush water till you hit the temp you are looking for and shoot.

For me, I think knowing the actual brew temp. will help me utilize different blends to a better result.

I know you mentioned TC horror stories, those should be taken seriously.
a kind pro on the site was generous enough to steer me along to make something that looks to be quite accurate and safe to use.  The E61 machines looks pretty easy to me to install.  Even easier than the grouphead on the Rio.  

I love all this talk of out of the box thinking on everthing from plumbing reroutes to applications of PID that I don't fully understand or know if they are practical.  I think a well placed TC right there in the snout of the grouphead is a simple and big bang for you effort tool to understanding how to deal with what you got and not what you wish you had with a HX machine.
For me whatever I do to a machine I want to monitor the modifications and try to validate the results.

Loring
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djmcmath
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Joined: 8 May 2004
Posts: 138
Location: Seattle, WA
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Espresso: Gaggia Espreso
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Posted Sun Feb 13, 2005, 11:11pm
Subject: Re: HX/E-61 Temperature Control
 

Loring -- good call, flushing to a temp rather than a volume or time.  I'm already doing that -- when I discovered that concept, it helped dramatically.  My TC sits between the puck and the shower screen, so I know what temperature I'm actually getting to the coffee.  With a good flush 'n' wait routine, I can usually hit within a degree or so of where I intend to hit, though sometimes I'm 2 or 3 degrees off, for no apparent reason.  That's part of why I'd like to automate this process -- if I can remove my weaknesses from the system, it will be that much more consistent.

The "reverse PID" seems like a pretty good idea.  No additional moving parts, just some funky wiring I'd have to work through.  Do you have any links to the details on the previous implementations?  The big weakness (in my admittedly small mind) is that it actually makes the thermodynamic problem more complex.  Yes, the boiler (and thus the grouphead) are the right temperature for the first shot, but temperature control for subsequent shots will be hit and miss.  Further, there won't be steam until the boiler comes back up to normal temp, so if I'm doing a one-shot milk drink, I'm SOL, and may as well be using a $150 60ml boiler machine.  I'm not convinced that this is any improvement at this point.  Do you have more details?  I'm very interested -- PIDs are something I understand; I'd love to make a solution using simple controllers!  :)

Thanks for the help, all -- great thoughts all around.


Dan
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JeremyR
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JeremyR
Joined: 24 Jan 2003
Posts: 256
Location: Wellington
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: yes
Grinder: yes
Vac Pot: yes
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Roaster: yes
Posted Mon Feb 14, 2005, 7:27am
Subject: Re: HX/E-61 Temperature Control
 

I guess one thing that makes me want a dedicated brew boiler is that I want anybody to be able to use the machine. I don't want to have to train friends how to use it. If it was just me using the machine it wouldn't be such an issue.

j
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x
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Joined: 29 Sep 2002
Posts: 322
Location: x
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Feb 14, 2005, 8:21am
Subject: Re: HX/E-61 Temperature Control
 

Hello,

My TC sits between the puck and the shower screen, so I know what temperature I'm actually getting to the coffee

This might be the most accurate way to go.  It is a bit of a pain for day to day use IMO.  Enter the thermowell.

I don't have many thoughts on anything but SOP installations of PID.  My knowledge of PIDs is minimal.  If you can figure out how to program it, I can figure out how to wire it.

Having your friends able to use a machine with a hi degree of success seems dubious without some learning curve, but I see your point.

This does make the machine more complicated than a dedicated brew boiler machine.  I have had to give my wife instructions on the 'water dance' and leave it at that.  She doesn't want to deal with the TC meter thing.  My wife has trouble getting all of the stereo fired up.

Loring
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marrone
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Sep 2003
Posts: 195
Location: Bakersfield
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Tea
Grinder: Pasquini, Spong
Roaster: Hot Top, Fresh Roast +
Posted Mon Feb 14, 2005, 9:37pm
Subject: Re: HX/E-61 Temperature Control
 

djmcmath Said:

The "reverse PID" seems like a pretty good idea.  No additional moving parts, just some funky wiring I'd have to work through.  Do you have any links to the details on the previous implementations?  The big weakness (in my admittedly small mind) is that it actually makes the thermodynamic problem more complex.  Yes, the boiler (and thus the grouphead) are the right temperature for the first shot, but temperature control for subsequent shots will be hit and miss.  Further, there won't be steam until the boiler comes back up to normal temp, so if I'm doing a one-shot milk drink, I'm SOL, and may as well be using a $150 60ml boiler machine.  I'm not convinced that this is any improvement at this point.  Do you have more details?  I'm very interested -- PIDs are something I understand; I'd love to make a solution using simple controllers!  :)

Dan

Posted February 13, 2005 link

Dan,

The 'reverse PID' would do exactly as you say- turn Tea into a Pidded Zaffiro (when idle).
After the first shot, the Tea is its normal self again, no different than a non-pidded machine.  The transition (timed and calculated) is about 30 seconds. This works here, since we normally don't stop with a single pull.

The wiring wouldn't be much more than hooking the PID/SSR in series with the pressurestat, wiring the thermocouple, and a switch or relay at the pump to activate the Tea mode.

The main thing holding me back is I don't know which controller has the internal logic to put itself on a high temperature setting for some time period after the pump is actuated. Secondary problem is arranging a slick place for the added hardware.

Ted
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djmcmath
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Joined: 8 May 2004
Posts: 138
Location: Seattle, WA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Espreso
Grinder: Solis Maestro Plus
Posted Tue Feb 15, 2005, 1:17pm
Subject: Re: HX/E-61 Temperature Control
 

Ted -- it seems to me that you'd pretty much have to build your own timing control circuit to control which controller was controlling temperature.  That was confusing, let me try again: none of the PIDs that I've played with have any kind if digital input that would tell it to change the temperature band, or stop controlling, or pass temp control to another unit.  You'd have to build your own circuit that took input from the pump, counted time, and switched control to the heaters from the pressurestat to the PID.  My EE knowledge is small enough that designing something like that would be a challenge.

Storing the extra hardware is always an issue.  I've determined that, for this machine, anything extra has to fit inside the stainless case -- no "espresso sprawl" across my counter this time.  To some extent, digital controllers can be wired externally, with neat little plugs and wire-wraps and little steel boxes so they look pretty.  Extra plumbing is more challenging.  Adding a whole second boiler into the plumbing between the HX boiler and the grouphead takes up a lot of space, and that can't just be set on the counter nearby.  (sigh)

Anyhow, it occurs to me that most of the successful temperature mods that people are using are basically conversions from an HX machine to a dual-boiler machine, in one form or another.  My concept to toss into the conceptualization brainstorm is that the normal brew-loops in the HX could work as preheat for a brew boiler.  Given a preheat sequence, the brew boiler can be pretty small -- and that seems important, given the concerns of the last paragraph.  Any decent PID should have an output circuit for both hot and cold: the hot would be wired to the boiler heaters, the cold would be wired to a pair of cooling fans.  

The only trick about that part is finding the space inside the machine -- even a "small" boiler takes up a lot of space...  (sigh)

Dan
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