Posted Sat Jan 18, 2014, 11:29am Subject: Re: Silvia Temp. Surfing Technique
I seem to recall that when the guys who became the big boys of espresso were still using Silvias, the closest anyone could come to temping one via temp surfing or reverse temp surfing was no better than the range of +/- 5F, as measured by a "Scace Device" (thermocouple mounted in the bottom of the pf).
The hit or miss nature of the process had a lot to do with why the dichotomy of "sink shots" vs "God shots," was discussed to death back then; and why so few Silvia owners talked about "consistently good" in any other way than aspirational.
Some coffees and palates can handle a wider temperature range when it comes to using temp to balance sweets and sours than others. +/- 2F (a 4F range) is about it, though. Missing the sweet spot by 2.5F or more may still give you something which is recognizably espresso, but so sour or bitter espresso that it's not pleasant.
My advice is to fix the PID; replace it; or pay someone to fix or replace it for you. Life is too short for bad espresso. Don't just demand the best from yourself, demand it for yourself as well.
Posted Sat Jan 18, 2014, 12:53pm Subject: Re: Silvia Temp. Surfing Technique
Keep in mind that installing a PID doesn't mean your temperature control issues are done. ... better though.
The Silvia typically runs about 20F offset. The PID is precisely controlling the boiler at 20 degrees hotter than the target brew temperature. The offset grouphead is running cooler and you are depending on this heat loss as the brew water makes it's way to the coffee. Flow rate, warmup time, steaming or idle,,... If your group is hotter or cooler than 'normal'(whatever that is), there goes a shot for the sink. Significant brew temperature errors are still possible.
The tighter this offset can be engineered into the machine, the easier it is to maintain consistent brew temps.
Yes - This must be emphasized. The PID only maintains a consistent inter-shot boiler temperature. It does not handle intra-shot temperature stability - that is the job of the group. Silvia is pretty good in this regard. Contrast that with my Solis - During the shot I need to use the steam switch to maintain some intra-shot temperature stability. Otherwise, the cold water entering the boiler cools it down too much.
Posted Sat Jan 18, 2014, 4:18pm Subject: Re: Silvia Temp. Surfing Technique
Jim's excellent data clearly shows the issue of managing the group temperature on the silvia, as well he addresses it in his comments. In theory you should be able to reproduce his results consistently. In practice not everyone does. Be mindful of the group temperature when you pull the shot.
Edit; Thanks Dana, for your data on the SL-70. I had not seen that before, and just took the time to go through it. It is really helpful to show what temperature problems small boiler machines have, PID or not. Well done!
If you are interested keep posting. A reasonably sized photo of the controller front and back. If you have seen the wires at the back, then it is not boxed? Do you have a volt meter or multi-meter and can you use it?
I am for suuure interested, and if you or anyone has the patience and know to help me, I'd be most appreciative. Photos of what we're working with are coming as soon as my machine cools down (you didn't think I was gonna work on this BEFORE a shot, did you?).
I can say this though.
I have opened up my machine and the PID. The PID is boxed and mounted in between the grouphead and steam wand.
When I opened the machine, I took the PID out of the box to look and see if I could match it up with the documentation I was reading here. Click Here (www.seattlecoffeegear.com)
I do not have a volt meter or multi-meter. Incidentally, I also don't know how to use them ;)
I'm going to start to open up my silvia and take some photos with my iPhone, the only digital camera I have. Hopefully the resolution is high enough.
Let's see what you have. The PID terminals and wiring would help along with identifying the specific SSR and Sensor. I have concern with helping you in a machine with electricity, and water, with no volt meter and not knowing how to use one. OTOH, that is not listed as a requirement for the Auber kit. Let's identify all that we have to work with. IPhone resolution should be fine.
You may find some help on the thread below in finding components, like the SSR, and common locations.
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