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Thread: Modding the Gaggia Classic: need for advice

  1. #1
    Member Charlie4coffee's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Modding the Gaggia Classic: need for advice

    Hi everyone,

    given that I now have a second coffee machine I decided that I may take the time (and the risk) to mod my Classic.

    Specifically, what I want to achieve is super silent operation. I mean, I really love my Gaggia and I seriously think I am able to pull nearly as great shots as on a much more costly machine, but I hate the mega-noise it produces. Everything is vibrating and shaking around, cups are moonwalking all over the drip tray with me trying to move them again under the stream (of consciousness) of coffee with the result that it distracts me from looking at the scale etc.

    Also, this would solve the issue that all this noise is no good for my neighbours nor my partner, who do not have the same appreciation for fresh coffee at 6.30am that I do.

    So, I would like to outboard the vibration pump and to put it at the very bottom of the cupboard (in a box made of insulated sound absorbing material) where currently my Gaggia is. The Gaggia is on a flat surface which has 6 drawers below. I want to move the pump in the 6th and lower drawer, next to the floor, to be clear.



    What do I need to do that?

    Do I simply need to replace the silicone tubing and electric cable with longer ones and that's it? Or is there something (for sure) that I am not taking into account?

    Would the pump, so low, be able to operate normally or do I need something to help it "push the water" upstream?

    The longer tubing do they need to be heat resistant? Which type?

    If is feasible would be convenient to use an ULKA EX4 instead of the 5, given that is more silent?

    Sorry for the series of questions but I really want to silence this thing.

    Thanks in advance,
    Charlie

  2. #2
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    There would be significant differences in flow resistance moving it that far away on the horizontal, let alone vertically. I have no idea how to accurately calculate a way around them but I'm sure you will need to.

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    The EP5GW is designed as a quieter pump, it's what nearly all super autos use.

    A lot of super autos use spring dampeners under the pumps to absorb the movement when they are in operation.
    This plus some insulation should help you. There's sufficient room in the Classic body to accomodate this i think.

    You could just relocate the pump behind the machine, why did it have to go so far away?
    The pump on some good rubber mounts outside of the metal body should make it very quiet.

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    Member Charlie4coffee's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies.

    I was thinking of putting it so far away just for the noise, but if putting it behind (and maybe enclosed in a little sound dampening box) does the job it would be great.
    Would I require some kind of a device if it's just 10-15 cm outside of the machine or just longer tubes and cables would suffice?

    I will look for an EP5GW. So this is like an EX5 but quieter?

  5. #5
    Member Charlie4coffee's Avatar
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    Otherwise if it is not possible to outboard it my only option is to include a sound dampening material like a Dynamat, but being inside I would think it would need to be fireproof or resistant to heat.

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    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    I'm not sure that externalising the pump is the right way forward... cause it renders a highly portable machine essentially immovable.

    I'm also interested in dampening a Classic I've been fixing up, but I'm not so attached to it that I'm willing to buy an EP5GW or EX4 to put in it. The biggest problem with the Classic design is that the chassis is essentially an exoskeleton - and given the pump is mounted to the stainless steel box (and above its centre of gravity), the whole thing just reverberates without a solid block of steel to absorb the vibrations (like you get in a majority of espresso machines).

    What I was thinking of is mounting some really dense rubber to the pump mount, and then mount the pump to that. It'd go a good way to dampening the whole thing. But I haven't actually thought through how to do that.

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    Charlie, when you buy sump pumps or fountain pums they rate them for a head (or height) of water. Often you get a rating something like 100 litres a minute at 1/2 metre, max head 6 metres, 10l/m at 6 metres. Add in the exra resistance of the tubing and I cant help but think you will make a 9 bar pump 6 or 7. I would take the advice on quieter pumps and alternate (soft) mounting.

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    There is only 0.1 bar static head to overcome by being 1m lower - not an issue as these pumps are rated for over 10 barg discharge pressure at the flowrate range in an espresso machine (< 4 mL/s).

    Increasing the diameter of the tubing would help to alleviate the frictional pressure drop, but I don't think it would be much of a problem anyway.

  9. #9
    Member Charlie4coffee's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for all your very useful inputs!
    So, this is what I did this weekend:

    -I opened the Gaggia and tried to fit some foam-like material under the pump to dampen the noise
    -Tried it: no way, still too much noise. Back to square one.

    -Went to jaycar, took some sound deadener and tried to put it around the pump and under with the same aim
    -Tried it: nothing, the gain is just too minimal to even risk overheating the pump with that material.

    -I dismounted the pump from the chassis and made a cable extension for the pump electrical connections
    -Once I did that I took a shoe box and filled it with foam-like material as well as the pre-mentioned sound deadener.
    -Put the pump inside the box just aside the gaggia
    -Tried it: no way, this bad boy just makes too much noise.

    I mean, it's just that it is a damn noisy pump. What can I use instead of a Ulka EX5?
    I heard Fluidotech are slightly better, but they need to be primed? Do you know something about this? Also, if I take a Fluidotech would I be able to fit it in the Gaggia using what I already have (I mean, are they all provided with the same fittings at the entry and exits?) or would I have to go searching all kinds of fitting/tubing/connections around?

    Also, I have read that Ulka EP5 are quieter than EX5, but in other pages they only state that the only difference is brass vs teflon outlet. Which is the thruth?

    Charlie

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    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    How are you using these sound deadening materials? They need to be held in place with force between the pump and the machine, if they're just loose they will do almost nothing.

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    Member Charlie4coffee's Avatar
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    Thanks level3ninja.
    Yes, mine have a side that's sticky. They also dampen vibrating noise, they are used for cars usually. But I don't think this is a suitable solution for the level of noise I am after.

    For the pump, when I enclosed it in the box, it was fully held in place by the foam and the sound deadener was attached to the sides, but it was almost like nothing. No effect, at least not the minimum I was expecting.

  12. #12
    Member Charlie4coffee's Avatar
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    Also, I have seen that Fluidotech have a diode. What do I do with that? Is it necessary even in case my machine already has a solenoid valve? Where do I connect it?

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    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie4coffee View Post
    Thanks level3ninja.
    Yes, mine have a side that's sticky. They also dampen vibrating noise, they are used for cars usually. But I don't think this is a suitable solution for the level of noise I am after.

    For the pump, when I enclosed it in the box, it was fully held in place by the foam and the sound deadener was attached to the sides, but it was almost like nothing. No effect, at least not the minimum I was expecting.
    I can't imagine that doing much of anything to be honest. You need rubber/spring isolation mounts for the pump to stop the vibrations getting to the frame of the machine, not something to soak them up once they get there. The stick on stuff might be the finishing touch once the bulk of it has been reduced by isolation mounts.

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    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Agree, as above. You need to reduce the transmission of noise from the pump into the machine. This is not only the mounts but also the pipe to/from the pump. If they are stiff and/or badly routed etc it doesn't take much to make a racket. I have also found some vibe pumps to be noisier than others (same make/model etc), maybe you have a particularly noisy one contributing to your noise?

    Cheers

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    Member Charlie4coffee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by artman View Post
    Agree, as above. You need to reduce the transmission of noise from the pump into the machine. This is not only the mounts but also the pipe to/from the pump. If they are stiff and/or badly routed etc it doesn't take much to make a racket. I have also found some vibe pumps to be noisier than others (same make/model etc), maybe you have a particularly noisy one contributing to your noise?

    Cheers
    Yes that's exactly what I was wondering. That's why I was thinking of changing it with a fluidotech, which are reported to be quieter, but they seem to have a diode which I don't know how to connect.

  16. #16
    Member Charlie4coffee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    I can't imagine that doing much of anything to be honest. You need rubber/spring isolation mounts for the pump to stop the vibrations getting to the frame of the machine, not something to soak them up once they get there. The stick on stuff might be the finishing touch once the bulk of it has been reduced by isolation mounts.
    Mine has rubber mounts. But they seem very hard. Do they age and become stiff? Do you know where I can find springs? I had a look on coffeeparts but did not find anything other than the rubber ones.

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    I have used Silicone Gel Mounts for this purpose in the past and found it to be quite successful.
    Have attached an image of what I'm referring to.

    SiliconeGelMounts.JPG

    You also need to dampen the pump stroke pulses between the pump discharge and the next connection downstream. This can best be achieved by using a reasonable length of genuine adequately rated hydraulic hose. Low pressure rated for espresso pump outputs is plenty. The higher the rating used, the stiffer (and less damping) the hose will be...

    Mal.

  18. #18
    Member Charlie4coffee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    I have used Silicone Gel Mounts for this purpose in the past and found it to be quite successful.
    Have attached an image of what I'm referring to.

    SiliconeGelMounts.JPG

    You also need to dampen the pump stroke pulses between the pump discharge and the next connection downstream. This can best be achieved by using a reasonable length of genuine adequately rated hydraulic hose. Low pressure rated for espresso pump outputs is plenty. The higher the rating used, the stiffer (and less damping) the hose will be...

    Mal.
    Many thanks Mal, that look very promising!
    I am going to try to order those.

    To change the downstream tubing (to the boiler) I guess I should use a tubing that is able to withstand heat or that's not necessary?
    In my case I have pvc tubing upstream and rigid teflon (I think?) downstream to the boiler.
    With what exactly can I switch that rigid teflon tubing? Would one of those tubing with the metallic mesh covering (sorry I don't know the exact term) be suitable?

    Thanks again everyone for the precious help!

  19. #19
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Yep, some hydraulic hose has a protective metal sheath on the outside for use as physical protection in rugged environments. Not really necessary for an espresso machine but I guess it looks nicer than a black rubber sheath. I think a metal sheathed hose wouldn't be as efficient re: damping pulses from the pump.

    Best damping is achieved if you can accommodate a loop between the pump and its downstream connection.

    Mal.
    P.S.
    Something like this would work well...
    Flexible Hose.JPG
    Last edited by Dimal; 17th August 2017 at 12:03 AM.

  20. #20
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    I am following this thread with much enthusiasm. I really would like my Gaggia Classic to be less noisy but what about my Eureka Mignon? It is just as noisy!

  21. #21
    Member Charlie4coffee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Yep, some hydraulic hose has a protective metal sheath on the outside for use as physical protection in rugged environments. Not really necessary for an espresso machine but I guess it looks nicer than a black rubber sheath. I think a metal sheathed hose wouldn't be as efficient re: damping pulses from the pump.

    Best damping is achieved if you can accommodate a loop between the pump and its downstream connection.

    Mal.
    P.S.
    Something like this would work well...
    Flexible Hose.JPG
    Thanks very much Mal!
    Yes, I think I have enough space for a loop and I will order something like this immediately! I will start looking on the Internet as I went to Reece but I was told they didn't have anything that could be of use. I will let you know what I get!
    Dimal likes this.

  22. #22
    Member Charlie4coffee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JojoS View Post
    I am following this thread with much enthusiasm. I really would like my Gaggia Classic to be less noisy but what about my Eureka Mignon? It is just as noisy!
    Yes, the grinder is the other factor, but there is a catch.
    The silent operation, for me, is needed because on certain days I have to get up really early (really), and at 4.30am the less noise I make the better. On those 2 or 3 days I could even withstand to grind my beans late at night, seal those in a bag and then use them straight away in the "morning". I know they will not be as fresh but I would prefer a solution like this to...no coffee at all!


    Anyway, long is the road for the Gaggia warrior who seeks silence...

    We'll see how the story ends!
    Dimal, matth3wh and magnafunk like this.

  23. #23
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    A guy I work with does a similar trick grinding the night before, but adds an extra step. He was told to do this by some coffee roaster a few years back. He bought an old style soda fountain, and every time he opens a bag of coffee or grinds some early, he sits some CO2 into the bag needle closing it. This removes the oxygen and stops the beans oxidising. He swears it works really well and the beans hardly age at all, as well as it being time consuming and expensive.

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