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The Solis SL70 Espresso Machine Thread
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > The Solis SL70...  
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Kristi
Senior Member
Kristi
Joined: 6 Oct 2005
Posts: 2,286
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Evo w silvia wand
Grinder: Macap M4 mod to d&s-less
Roaster: (Jeff at Redbirdcoffee)
Posted Sat Jul 15, 2006, 1:49pm
Subject: The Solis SL70 Espresso Machine Thread
 

EDIT:  NOTE:  parts in this thread keep changing.  reread it if you have a question!  :o)

EDIT:  I think there are VERY important keys here...
8OZ BRASS boiler.
boiler DIRECTLY over brewhead.


However, the pf can NOT be nakedized.


Enjoy the thread!!!



Some of you may know that I just picked up a Solis SL70 from Fr John.  Darn pristine condition!

The Solis is Swis made and has an 8 or so oz brass boiler - a big attraction for me - warms up easily, but stable during the pull.  Since everything here is Mark's fault  ;o)  read his great review:  "Solis Crema SL 70 Review"

In getting any used or demoed unit, no matter how clean it is (and this was CLEAN), I up-end it (remove the reservoir first!), and fill the brewhead with a strong hot Caffiza solution and go shopping.  This eats at any old coffee oils on the gasket and environs.  There were plenty.  Note, the necessity for this can be eliminated by going throuth the motions of a "backflush" (every few weeks)  EVEN THOUGH YOU DON'T HAVE A 3-WAY SOLENOID.  Now in most machines of this caliber there is a spring loaded nylon plug above the dispersion bolt, beneath the shower screen, which prevents anything backing up into the boiler.  So some Caffiza in a 53mm blank pf filter and running some water into it will clean the brewhead area.  Loosening it just slightly and running the pump will force the Caffiza mixture past the gasket and clean that area.  Let it sit for a while, then flush with plenty of fresh water using the pump and the blank.  There are 53mm blanks available (both metal and rubber) and I will get one, but this time I was using the pf holder from the Elespresso and a blank that I had plugged with a clear plastic suction cup - crude but relatively effective.

While doing all this and while pulling a couple of test shots, I noticed that nothing was coming out of the OPV, and that the pulls seemed a tad wattery toward the end.  Cool - OPV valve is stuck - very common in all machines.  !!!Big caveat that no one stresses, for any machine, when decalcifying, put in a blank and blow some of the decalcify mixture through the OPV.  If you don't, the OPV will quickly get stuck.  This means that your pressure is now more like 13bar than 9 bar.  Bad!!!

LOOSENING A SOLIS OPV:  [before doing this, I would suggest you put a bit of strong decal solution in your reservoir, and a blank in the pf, and try blowing some of it through the OPV (you can see it dribbling out the center tube into the front tray).  Let it sit for a while and try some more.  If after 4 or 5 attempts you still get nothing, you could leave it overnight or try the following.
  Getting at the Solis OPV is a tad of a prob.  
  1. Unplug the unit.
  2. Remove the reservoir.
  3. Remove the screw in the bottom of the back slot in the top plate that the reservoir tab slides into.
  4. Slide the top plate FORWARD, loosen it and hang it to the back by the ground wire.
  5. The front plate will pop out exposing a pair of screws holding the under baffle in place - remove them.
  6.  -null-
  7. In the middle there is another pair of similar sized screws, but one is under the steam valve.  Going from the back with a long thin magnetized screwdriver you can remove that one, and easily remove the other one.
  8. Remove the steam wand holder tab's 2 tiny screws and remove the tab.
  9. Carefully remove the under baffle.
  10. Carefully remove the under/front baffle (you have to spring it a tad to get past the two wing tabs).
  11. You will then see the OPV easily accessable (see pic)

I tried to loosen the leftmost nut while gripping the main brass fitting, but found it VERY stiff, as if something akin to locktite had been used.  They probably expected that once they set it it would never have to be adjusted.  

I did eventually loosen it about one turn and then filled the reservoir with a tad of hot water and strong CleanCaf mixture and tried it and voila I got a dribble.  So I left it for a bit and then repeated this cycle a bunch of times.  Eventually I got a fairly consistant dribble (see pic below).

Kristi: Solis1.JPG
(Click for larger image)

 
#--> I recommend Eric Svendson's adapter and thermometer for E61s (also Silvia) : easy surfing!
# My photo albums have moved to     http://picasaweb.google.com/krislema2
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Kristi
Senior Member
Kristi
Joined: 6 Oct 2005
Posts: 2,286
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Evo w silvia wand
Grinder: Macap M4 mod to d&s-less
Roaster: (Jeff at Redbirdcoffee)
Posted Sat Jul 15, 2006, 1:50pm
Subject: Re: Solis SL70 notes
 

EDIT 10-7-2009 : see my post on 10-7-09 way down near the end of this thread for a way to make loosening this infernally tight nut, easier.
-------------------------------- --------------------------------


Closeup of the OPV...

Kristi: SolisOPV1.JPG
(Click for larger image)

 
#--> I recommend Eric Svendson's adapter and thermometer for E61s (also Silvia) : easy surfing!
# My photo albums have moved to     http://picasaweb.google.com/krislema2
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Kristi
Senior Member
Kristi
Joined: 6 Oct 2005
Posts: 2,286
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Evo w silvia wand
Grinder: Macap M4 mod to d&s-less
Roaster: (Jeff at Redbirdcoffee)
Posted Sat Jul 15, 2006, 1:51pm
Subject: Re: Solis SL70 notes
 

Dribble that now emerges from the OPV.  You figure that the ULKA pump is either 15 or 19 bar so SOMETHING must be emerging from the OPV during a pull or you are grinding too coarsely. EDIT: the pump is an ULKA EP4 which starts at around 19bar.

EDIT:  I had to loosen this a couple more turns to get a dribble during a pull.

Kristi: SolisOPV2.JPG
(Click for larger image)

 
#--> I recommend Eric Svendson's adapter and thermometer for E61s (also Silvia) : easy surfing!
# My photo albums have moved to     http://picasaweb.google.com/krislema2
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randomperson
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Apr 2006
Posts: 312
Location: Boston and Vermont
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Valentina Levetta, Gaggia...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini E, Rocky...
Drip: Capresso MT500, Braun...
Posted Sat Jul 15, 2006, 7:12pm
Subject: Re: Solis SL70 notes
 

Hi Kristi --

I find your machine posts fascinating --  I learn a lot from you!

Speaking of which, I have been trying to figure out how to send you a private message but for the life of me I can't figure out how to do it on this site.  If you are willing, could you let me know how to contact you, PM-wise?  No, I'm not stalking you or anything -- just could use some advice, if you are willing.

Many thanks, either way!

--Kathy
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Kristi
Senior Member
Kristi
Joined: 6 Oct 2005
Posts: 2,286
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Evo w silvia wand
Grinder: Macap M4 mod to d&s-less
Roaster: (Jeff at Redbirdcoffee)
Posted Sat Jul 15, 2006, 7:15pm
Subject: Re: Solis SL70 notes
 

Hi Kathy,  click on my email button...
EDIT - also, I can't PM you as you have not enabled PM (nor have I).

 
#--> I recommend Eric Svendson's adapter and thermometer for E61s (also Silvia) : easy surfing!
# My photo albums have moved to     http://picasaweb.google.com/krislema2
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Kristi
Senior Member
Kristi
Joined: 6 Oct 2005
Posts: 2,286
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Evo w silvia wand
Grinder: Macap M4 mod to d&s-less
Roaster: (Jeff at Redbirdcoffee)
Posted Sat Jul 15, 2006, 7:26pm
Subject: Re: Solis SL70 notes
 

Continuing Solis notes...

HINT:  if you want your filter basket to not fall out of the portafilter holder, wrap a rubberband around it and stick it in the pf holder   I'm hoping that prevents a repeat of this afternoon's puck-all-over-the-floor!!!  So far so good!

This evening's decaf was very fine indeed - soft, but strong flaverfull espresso!  So I've got the temperature figured out - I turn it on for 5 min before I want it, pf locked in,  and pull 10 seconds of water through the pf/filter.  Then pull the pf and dry it and grind the coffee into it.  The rubberband makes doing Stockfleths infinitely easier!!!!!  Lock and load, and pull.  I find 20sec is fine before the tiger striping changes and fades.

Of course, if you've read Mark's review, you know that the steaming of this machine is excellent.  It's taken me a few times to get used to it, but I love it!  Cavitate for 5-10 secs and then hold it just beneath the surface till it gets warm.

 
#--> I recommend Eric Svendson's adapter and thermometer for E61s (also Silvia) : easy surfing!
# My photo albums have moved to     http://picasaweb.google.com/krislema2
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Kristi
Senior Member
Kristi
Joined: 6 Oct 2005
Posts: 2,286
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Evo w silvia wand
Grinder: Macap M4 mod to d&s-less
Roaster: (Jeff at Redbirdcoffee)
Posted Sat Jul 15, 2006, 7:41pm
Subject: Re: Solis SL70 notes
 

Solis notes:

Do the portafilter wiggle!  Folks with high-end machines do this, but there's no reason for anyone not to do it.  After you pull your shot, put a blank basket in, turn on the pump and loosly put the pf in and jiggle it around - this goes a long way to keeping your gasket clean and that area clean!


Filter baskets.  Of course, do not use the pressurized pf baskets that come with the machine.  Below is a picture of 2 non-pressurized baskets.  On the left is the one I got from SeattleCoffeeGear/CafeWest.  The one on the right I got from Fr_John when I bought the machine from him.  The one on the right is clearly superior.  Since Baratza stopped carrying the SL's, I do not know where to get them.  I will keep searching...


EDIT:  SeatleCoffeeGear/Cafe West just emailed me that they "would ship out the correct filter".  

EDIT EDIT:  well, I got the basket but it was the sloping sides one.  In a call to them, I found out the straight side basket is actually a Saeco non-pressurized double basket.  One is on the way.  I'll let you know.

EDIT EDIT EDIT: The double basket with the straight sides all the way down is indeed a Saeco non-pressurized double.  Seatle Coffee Gear/Cafe West part number 124650221 (thanks folks!!!)

Kristi: Solisbaskets.JPG
(Click for larger image)

 
#--> I recommend Eric Svendson's adapter and thermometer for E61s (also Silvia) : easy surfing!
# My photo albums have moved to     http://picasaweb.google.com/krislema2
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Abouna
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Dec 2001
Posts: 258
Location: Iowa
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Vetrano, Solis SL70
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, MACAP M4 Stepless
Drip: Press
Posted Sat Jul 15, 2006, 8:07pm
Subject: Re: Solis SL70 notes
 

Kristi,

You almost make me want my machine back!  Interesting stuff.

As for the steam, I have yet to get the microfoam as well with my Vetrano as I did with the Solis, it will take time.

Fr. John

 
FJ
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Kristi
Senior Member
Kristi
Joined: 6 Oct 2005
Posts: 2,286
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Evo w silvia wand
Grinder: Macap M4 mod to d&s-less
Roaster: (Jeff at Redbirdcoffee)
Posted Sat Jul 15, 2006, 8:11pm
Subject: Re: Solis SL70 notes
 

Abouna Said:

Kristi,

You almost make me want my machine back!  Interesting stuff.

As for the steam, I have yet to get the microfoam as well with my Vetrano as I did with the Solis, it will take time.

Fr. John

Posted July 15, 2006 link

LOL!!!  Yes, I was quite convinced, after reading Mark's review, that there was a lot of potential here, and I'm finding that's true!

As to steaming, yes, it's so easy on the Solis, but just a different learning curve on the Vetrano.  I'm sure you'll get it!!!

For now, I'm having a lot of fun with this, and maybe others will realize that you don't have to spent a kilobuck to get good espresso!

Thanks again!!!!!

 
#--> I recommend Eric Svendson's adapter and thermometer for E61s (also Silvia) : easy surfing!
# My photo albums have moved to     http://picasaweb.google.com/krislema2
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Kristi
Senior Member
Kristi
Joined: 6 Oct 2005
Posts: 2,286
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Evo w silvia wand
Grinder: Macap M4 mod to d&s-less
Roaster: (Jeff at Redbirdcoffee)
Posted Sun Jul 16, 2006, 9:10pm
Subject: Re: Solis SL70 notes
 

Solis notes...

One of the big plusses for this machine is that it's 8oz brass boiler is DIRECTLY over the brewhead.  I find that this makes preheating very quick and easy.  The only other machine that comes close to that (I have heard) is the Isomac Venus, but I haven't seen one.  The Silvia really puts the brewhead quite a distance out from the boiler and I found it hard to preheat, and stabilize the temp of the head.  I added the ropeheater mod to the Silvia  to compensate.


Tonight's decaf was VERY enjoyable.  I am liking this Solis very much!

 
#--> I recommend Eric Svendson's adapter and thermometer for E61s (also Silvia) : easy surfing!
# My photo albums have moved to     http://picasaweb.google.com/krislema2
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