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PID on a HX?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > PID on a HX?  
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Gig103
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Posted Thu Oct 10, 2013, 12:10am
Subject: PID on a HX?
 

Hi there experts,

I was checking out Seattle Coffee Gear, and they have a new Pasquini Livia G4, and it has a PID despite being a heat-exchanger machine. That didn't make sense to me, but what are the pros/cons? Nice looking machine but it had me wondering!
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
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Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Thu Oct 10, 2013, 3:06am
Subject: Re: PID on a HX?
 

In the cup.... Nothing.
A pid is an electronic temp control so there are no moving parts so it has the potential to last longer than a pstat. Some Pstats make a soft click and some people are bugged by this, a PID is silent.
It has a nifty display to watch and because it DOES improve a SBDU or DB the assumption is that a HX will also benifet too. However because the way a HX works, it has no real value in the cup.

 
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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NobbyR
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NobbyR
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Posted Thu Oct 10, 2013, 3:27am
Subject: Re: PID on a HX?
 

Gig103 Said:

(...) , but what are the pros/cons?

Posted October 10, 2013 link

Like Wayne pointed out it's purely eye candy.

 
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"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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dana_leighton
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dana_leighton
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Posted Thu Oct 10, 2013, 4:19am
Subject: Re: PID on a HX?
 

This thread has some of the arguments, as well as links to some good threads on H-B regarding the subject.

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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GVDub
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Posted Thu Oct 10, 2013, 6:53am
Subject: Re: PID on a HX?
 

For whatever it's worth, here's my take on the matter.

First, unless you're running a separate, dedicated cup warmer, the built-in "cup warming tray" on the top of the machine doesn't really keep the cups warm enough. So using the cooling flush to warm the cup(s) before making a shot makes perfect sense.

Second, the reduced pressure from using a PID to keep the boiler at a temp where the cooling flush isn't necessary pretty drastically increases rebound time between shots, making back-to-back shots much harder to pull consistently, whereas when the boiler is kept at proper temperature, unless your shot prep takes a really long time, your can pull shots all day with virtually no flushing other than the brief burst needed to clean the screen from the previous shot.

Third, a boiler running at "walk up and pull" temps will have weak steam, making any milk drinks more difficult and also increasing rebound time for shot making. On the other hand, if you're only pulling the occasional straight shot and want to just walk up and do it, it's good for that. But so is any open-boiler manual lever like a Caravel. So, for milk drinks on a PID'd HX, you either have to suffer from reduced steam pressure, or bump the boiler pressure/temperature back up, so it might as well be a SBDU.

Fourth, the nature of PID temp control is that it ramps, and the closer it gets to set temps, the slower it ramps, as its logic is to precisely hit that temp with no overshoot. The overshoot on a p-stat controlled HX is of fairly negligible effect, as that type of boiler pressure/temperature fluctuation has a less direct and immediate effect on head and brew temperature, assuming the machine is at its stable operating temperature to begin with.

So, as far as I can see, the only advantage of sticking a PID on an HX machine is to silence a clicking p-stat, and if that's your biggest problem, I wish I had your life.
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jonr
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Posted Thu Oct 10, 2013, 7:58am
Subject: Re: PID on a HX?
 

An electronic thermostat + good PID has less hysteresis than a mechanical device and is quieter, more durable, not subject to barometric pressure errors (say up to 1F) and is more easily adjusted.  But temp (vs pressure) is also more prone to measurement error caused by where you are measuring.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
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Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
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Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Thu Oct 10, 2013, 1:04pm
Subject: Re: PID on a HX?
 

What George said plus again what I said above.

No practical gain in the cup with a PID regulated HX machine.

If you want to walk up and pull a shot, Sylvia and a PID will do just as good of a job  and for a lot less money. A slight niggle with George above, at walk up and pull a shot temp, you will have NO steam as the boiler will be below boiling temp of water. Then for steaming, you will have a MUCH longer time to wait for the MUCH LARGER boiler to come up to steam temp. In effect, you turn the machine into a poor copy of a SBDU.

Tighter regulation of the temp on a HX boiler will add nothing to the cup, the brew water runs through the HX system which is NOT regulated by the PID, so as said above, Possible longer life and getting rid of a clicking Pstat (depends on Pstat, the LaCimbali has a Pstat that works a micro switch and is dead silent)

 
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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GVDub
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Posted Thu Oct 10, 2013, 1:33pm
Subject: Re: PID on a HX?
 

calblacksmith Said:

at walk up and pull a shot temp, you will have NO steam as the boiler will be below boiling temp of water. Then for steaming, you will have a MUCH longer time to wait for the MUCH LARGER boiler to come up to steam temp. In effect, you turn the machine into a poor copy of a SBDU.

Posted October 10, 2013 link

Gotta disagree here, Wayne. The boiler still has to be above boiling to be able to both deal with the heatsink effect of the grouphead (which, even though it's thermosyphon warmed, or some other way, like bolting direct to the boiler, will still be substantially cooler than the water that's fed to it and will drop that temp quite a bit) and bring/keep the HX circuit at brewing temp. You'll get very weak steam, but not no steam. Even with a 255 boiler temp (as you would have at 1.1 bar), the grouphead still tend to run around 45 degrees cooler on an E-61 (somewhere around 210 from what I've read, though not having yet owned an E-61, I'm only going by searchable sources). Having the boiler at brew temp means the head temp would be low enough that it would suck so much heat from the HX water you'd have a problem not getting sour shots. Or so I would think. The boiler temp has to be above boiling for the head to be warm enough to not suck too much heat from the HX water.
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boar_d_laze
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Posted Thu Oct 10, 2013, 2:40pm
Subject: Re: PID on a HX?
 

A primary reason to use a PID instead of a p-stat is that it allows the maker to "thermocompensate" the group with boiler water and keep very stable head temp.  Another HX using the same strategy is the new generatiom Elektra T1.

The new Pasquini looks like it has a lot going for it.

In terms of pros/cons for the PID on the G4 in particular, the pros include meantime between failures, tighter deadband, and the ability to relate electronic control over the boiler to other aspects of operation.  There probably aren't any cons.

BDL
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Gig103
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Espresso: Crossland CC1
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Posted Thu Oct 10, 2013, 8:13pm
Subject: Re: PID on a HX?
 

Cool, thanks for the tutorial everyone. I have a bit of upgrade-itis when I see "shiny" machines, and I like the volumetric dosing. But my CC1 honestly is doing a fine job, and the thermoblock bridges that delay for steam after pulling my shots.
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