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Gaggia Classic 3-way solenoid
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TerryRRR
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Jun 2013
Posts: 5
Location: zambia
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Jun 17, 2013, 5:43am
Subject: Gaggia Classic 3-way solenoid
 

A couple days ago I received my new Gaggia Classic. Since then I have been learning my way around the machine. It only shipped with the strange pressurized filter setup ('Perfect Crema') but I have ordered a normal double basket. I may change the wand too, but overall, it works really well. One thing I am unclear about is how the advertised three-way solenoid works. My understanding was that this is supposed to draw off excess water after pulling the shot, sending it into the drip tray and leaving behind a very dry puck. However, on my machine, after I pull a shot and flick the brew switch off, there is quite a variation in the solenoid's (apparent) effect: sometimes, there is a whooshing sound and a fair amount of water comes out of the solenoid drain tube into the tray; at other times, there is no noise and just a thin trickle of water. The pucks vary in dryness too.

At a certain level, I guess I shouldn't be concerned because I am happy with the coffee. But I'm curious to know whether these variations in the solenoid activity are normal or whether they are related to a malfunction or else so something else completely--like my inexpert tamping and general inexperience with the machine.

Thanks!
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tracerbullet
Senior Member
tracerbullet
Joined: 13 Feb 2012
Posts: 168
Location: Saint Paul
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jun 17, 2013, 11:49am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic 3-way solenoid
 

I get some variation in my Gaggia Baby as well, sometimes the puck is drier than others, sometimes more water comes out than others. I'm always changing up my coffee, grind, and tamp though, so I've always figured it was related to that.

The solenoid just swaps between connecting the portafilter to the boiler, and the portafilter to the blow off tube (leading to the drip tray). Depending on how much pressure is built up on top of the puck, the amount of water (and how forcefully) it'll shoot to the drip tray will vary. As for the puck itself I figured it was how much it absorbed afterwards which changes with grind, coffee, time left attached to the machine, and so on.

If / when you either can't get water from the boiler to the coffee to start your shot, or start spraying it around when you pull the portafilter afterwards, then you have a problem. Right now I think you're probably just fine.
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gophishin
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Mar 2013
Posts: 61
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ecm technika iv profi
Grinder: baratza vario
Posted Mon Jun 17, 2013, 2:14pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic 3-way solenoid
 

You will have a noticeably drier, more-compacted, and solid puck once you ditch the pressurized porta filter setup.  My classic mis-shipped without the commercial basket, but once I received and started using the commercial style basket the pucks were noticeably drier and would eject intact into the knock box rather than breaking apart.  Assuming that the three-way is not clogged up, as the machine is new, I would say this is why you are experiencing wet pucks.  After use, you might notice some variation indicating a need to backflush and/or clean your machine.
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TerryRRR
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Jun 2013
Posts: 5
Location: zambia
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Jun 17, 2013, 9:34pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic 3-way solenoid
 

Thanks both of you for these helpful replies. It sounds like there isn't really anything worry happening. I'm looking forward to getting rid of the perfect crema basket and that plastic widget (which is begging to go down the drain). It is pretty lame of Gaggia to not include a normal basket, given that this machine is probably targeted at enthusiasts....
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tracerbullet
Senior Member
tracerbullet
Joined: 13 Feb 2012
Posts: 168
Location: Saint Paul
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Jun 18, 2013, 11:44am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic 3-way solenoid
 

Well that's a change then. I thought you'd bought it used but I see now where you did mention it being new. These machines used to come with the standard baskets. their website seems to confirm it's only the pressurized basket. Agreed that is lame.
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,007
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Tue Jun 18, 2013, 11:57am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic 3-way solenoid
 

When I got my Classic it came with pressurized and a non-pressurized basket and a note making it seem like the non-pressurized baskets were standard to the US only, in response to the US market demand.

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


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,007
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Tue Jun 18, 2013, 12:04pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic 3-way solenoid
 

tracerbullet Said:

The solenoid just swaps between connecting the portafilter to the boiler, and the portafilter to the blow off tube (leading to the drip tray). Depending on how much pressure is built up on top of the puck, the amount of water (and how forcefully) it'll shoot to the drip tray will vary. As for the puck itself I figured it was how much it absorbed afterwards which changes with grind, coffee, time left attached to the machine, and so on.

Posted June 17, 2013 link

Nice and simple explanation of 3 way.  I think that some expect a dry puck and do not realize that a dry puck is allowed, not necessarily produced.  There is no suction to pull off water beyond the draining and perhaps some siphon until air is introduced.  Think of a blind PF full of water and is does not all get pulled out by the 3 way.  Coffee fill level, too much or too little, affect the wetness even with 3 way.

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