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Thread: Faema Family

  1. #51
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Faema Family

    Quote Originally Posted by Fleagle link=1130542649/45#49 date=1141640896
    The PID will come in a later date. I can only see some really expensive Australian available ones so its time to hit eBay.

    Cheers,

    Rick :)
    Hi Rick,

    Glad to have you aboard the good ship CoffeeSnobs by the way [smiley=thumbsup.gif]. Regarding PID controllers, there are a couple of suppliers of industrial control and instrumentation who have PID units for quite reasonable cost. In the end though, I guess it comes down to feature list and capability as the ultimate determination of cost. Anyway, here are a couple of companies that I have dealt with before and found to be helpful. Just tell them what you want the unit for and the outcomes you require and they will be most accommodating in trying to meet your needs. Here they are.....
    http://www.onetemp.com.au/, and
    http://www.ecefast.com.au/default.asp

    Hope they can help you out :),

    Cheers,
    Mal.

  2. #52
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    Re: Faema Family

    Another update on this project. I gave the machine a workout recently, trying to brew my favorite blend at different temperatures. While the temperature profiles were flat like pancakes (within 0.5C over the duration of the shot), I was having trouble changing the brew temperature. In fact I adjusted the PID set point from 101.5 to 103.5C but all the shots brewed at or around the same temperature of 90C.....

    Heres my take on it. By drawing the water from the bottom of the boiler, the heating element no longer has as strong or direct influence on the water temperature. Instead, the water temp is more strongly controlled by the cooling at the walls of the boiler. So I have made a temperature stable machine, but not the temeprature settable machine I was after. I can fanangle the temperature higher with some flushing, but then it is more like a standard heat exchanger machine. Not really what I was after. Im also sure I can up the steadystate temperature by using much larger changes in the PID set point. But this is not optimal.....

    That brings me to the next solution.... A new machine is now being custom built to my specifications. It will be a new design that addresses the short comings of this machine. I expect it to be even more temperature stable than the current machine, as Im using what Ive learnt so far to guide the design, which is radically different but also quite simple (hence the custom machining). Im going to try and fit it into the Faema box when finished and then go through this process of evaluation once more....

    So stay tuned.

    Cheers,

    Mark.

  3. #53
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Faema Family

    Snip....
    Im going to try and fit it into the Faema box when finished and then go through this process of evaluation once more....

    So stay tuned.
    You bet Sparky,

    Your efforts make for very interesting reading 8-),

    Mal.

  4. #54
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    Re: Faema Family


    Maybe Im a bit harsh on my poor Faema. Another outing and with 0.second crack adjustments form 101.8 to 102.second crack I could pull the shot from slightly sour to no detectable bitterness/sourness. Still not getting the chocolate flavours, but that issue doesnt lie with the machine. It is amasingly forgiving on distribution and tamp, as using the naked PF almost all shots start with very uniform extraction. Pressure is very stable at just under 9 bar. The pour out of a double spout is straight down with no mousetails or rats tails. Crema colour is uniform and crema formation is almost immediate. What more could you want from a machine? So the routine is to immediately flush 30 ml prior to pulling the shot, then load the basket in the PF and pull the shot (less than 1 min to do this) and viola. This machine is so much easier to pull shots on than the Bezzera, which is far less forgiving of dose/tamp errors.

    Preheating is also working well with very little boiler loading during the shot, preventing the PID controller from turning on full tilt during the shot. All these little things add up.

    So while Im building mk II, Ill keep exploring this machine.

    Cheers,

    Mark.

  5. #55
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    Re: Faema Family

    You gotta tip your hat to anyone who can discern a difference of 0.4C --- and at 102.second crack, too. 8-)

    Robusto

  6. #56
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    Re: Faema Family

    Quote Originally Posted by robusto link=1130542649/45#54 date=1144477696
    You gotta tip your hat to anyone who can discern a difference of 0.4C --- and at 102.second crack, too. 8-)

    Robusto
    Yeah well, I cant claim to have perfected my distribution/tamp, and Ive said this machine isnt as temperature settable as Id like. So the differences are probably not as much due to design as accident. Still I seem to be pretty sensitive to sour and the last one rolled around my mouth without setting off too many sour signals. Pretty smooth. Not sure about the body though, but thats more to do with the grind/tamp.

    Its fun to learn about what is important and what isnt. This machine has shown me how important the grinder, distribution and tamp really are.



  7. #57
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    Re: Faema Family

    Heres a pre-update on whats going on. Things are evolving. I was designing a mk II model with a restored Silvia boiler bolted to a custom made 3-way flange, which adapts to a Bezzera group with active group heating. It was in the shop just waiting on some spare time. Then a new idea struck and I pulled the job. The reason, was the niggling concern about too much complexity, with PID control of both the boiler element and a group heating element... Also, theres this idea that a thermoblock can be made to perform without too much additional effort.

    Also, along side this project, is the active pressure control, still ambling along with some initial results that look promising, as well as a better and more efficient way of measuring water temperature. This last one has now been completed and is being pressed into service. Its essentially a filter basket that fits into a naked portafilter. Inside the basket is a plastic insert that houses a needle valve and thermocouple. The needle valve determines the flow rate and the thermocouple measures the temperature at the shower screen. With this device I can make as many measurements as possible without the variable of the coffee puck. Its essentially a Scace thermofilter, but with an adjustable flow rate and a K-type thermocouple for compatibility with most temperature measuring multimeters. I can easily replace the TC in this unit as well, so can move to a T-type special limits of error TC if I feel so inclined.

    I have been using the Faema to test this device, as I have logged this machine to death and am intimately familiar with its thermal behaviour. I am quite satisfied that the new temp measuring filter basket behaves so close to a measurement with an actual coffee puck that I am unable to discern any systematic difference. This is good.

    Now I am in the process of thoroughly thermologging the Faema to fully characterize its thermal performance. My first run totally restored my faith in this machine. Of seven runs, the first was low, as it heats up the group area. Then the successive shots are within or less than 0.5 degC of each other with the last shot (that quickly followed up the previous shot) about 0.5 degC higher. The variation within the shot (30 ml shots) was around 0.5 degC or better. Pretty awesome I reckon.

    After this run I tried a few real brews. The ristretto came out a bit sour, but the double was fully caramel. This was from a home roast blend.

    I have a much better understanding of the thermodynamics of this machine and believe it might be possible to reduce the boiler temperature strata somewhat and make these numbers a bit tighter. I am also letting go of active group heating, as I have found that this is actually not necessary with the boiler-on-group design as it would only compensate for the cold first shot, so is not really worth the extra complexity.

    The exciting news (for me at least) is that I am getting a Sunbeam EM6900 thermoblock courtesy of the Sunbeam lab and will be stacking it up against the Faema. This is a higher quality stainless steel lined thermoblock and it will be attached via a homemade 3-way flange to a Bezzera group. There are a few more ideas in play, but Sunbeam are happy to stack their technology against the old boiler based machines. Given the performance of the Faema, Im hesitant to pick which will come off best. Whatever, maybe we can really put some of this thermoblock dogma to the test...

    With a baby due in the next few weeks, Im not sure of the time frame, but youll read about it first here on CS.

  8. #58
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    Re: Faema Family

    Here is a picture of the new thermofilter I made up. It works a treat. The thermocouple bead is pointed up and hits the shower screen. The insert is recessed away from the shower screen to prevent any influence on the temperature reading. Ive already logged over 20 shots on both my Bezzera and my Faema. The reproducability of the Faema is brilliant. However there are still some niggling behaviours that have me designing my next mod, which I hope to install in the next week or so.

    The filter does suffer from one idiosyncracy and that is the group area has to be spotless. One grain of coffee will block the needle valve and change the flow. My thermofilter has an adjustable needle valve which allows different flow rates to be investigated, such as ristretto vs standard double rates. This will allow me to look at the flow rate dependence of a HX machine, for example.

    I have some very nice results which Ill post up later.


  9. #59
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    Re: Faema Family

    So what can this special temperature measuring portafilter do?

    Heres a series of seven shots starting from idle. You can see the forst shot is cold. The remaining shots are all within 0.5 C of eachother. The variation here is caused by the rising temp profile heating the group. If I pull a shot too soon after the previous, the group and boiler temp are still too hot.

    Theres a huge thermal gradient in this (and similar machines). The group temp is basically the bottom of the boiler temp and the top of the boiler temp is close to the PID set point. So were talking about around 10 -12 C, from top to bottom of the boiler. Thats why I get rising profiles.
    I have a mod planned to eliminate much of this thermal strata, which I hope to have in place soon. I have another mod planned to improve the relevence of the PID set point. I want to bring it alot closer to the brew temp.

    Anyway, heres the results.


  10. #60
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Faema Family

    Great consistency Sparky,

    Your new pseudo-puck certainly looks the goods. How did the subsequent brews taste as a matter of interest ;)?

    Mal.

  11. #61
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    Re: Faema Family


    After the tests I ran two shots, one a standard double and one a ristretto. The double came out best with quite nice caramel. The ristretto wasnt as tasty. The huge difference in taste really highlights the other variables involved. For instance the pressure is about 0.5 bar lower for a double at 8.5 bar, while the ristretto runs at 9 bar. Then theres the grind/tamp saga.

    The problem with actually using the machine for real coffee is contamination. The next data set I took was plagued by coffee grain induced blockages of the needle valve. It takes quite some cleaning before the group is clean enough to use the thermofilter basket consistently. So until Ive finished tinkering, Ill keep brewing my real shots on the BZ.

    Currently the machine has been pulled apart and is in the shop for the next round of mods. If these mods work, theyll probably be the last as theyll tackle the last two thermal problems that this machine suffers from: Thermal gradients and brew temp/ control temp offset.

    After that its time to look at the Sunbeam thermoblock.

    Cheers,

    Mark.

  12. #62
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    Re: Faema Family

    Great Sparky,

    One has to say, you are one very determined and thorough CoffeeSnob, and the finished result of all your work is going to be something to behold.....once again, cant wait :),

    Mal.

  13. #63
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    Re: Faema Family

    I have completed what I expect to be the final round of mods to this machine. These were all inside the boiler and group. Now the machine has a PID setting that accurately reflects the shot temp. In fact you can watch the intra-shot temp on the PID display. Its very cool. I know of no other machine that can do this. The big mod inside the machine was a new group feed pipe that acts to reduce thermal gradients inside the boiler. I wasnt really too happy with the rising temp profiles. Now they seem to have been tamed somewhat.

    I took the machine to the Pioneer Coffee Roastery for a test run on the weekend. I logged 5 shots without any flushing, just looking at the PID display and when it was at the target temp (or close enough to it) I ran a shot. The shots approximated a double (about 60-70 ml in 30 sec) as they ran at a pressure of 8.5 bar (which is where my double run). Ive gotta admit I had to blink a couple of times when I saw the results. Shot-to-shot variations at around 0.1-0.second crack and intra-shot variation no larger than 0.3C, but closer to 0.second crack and flat to less than 0.first crack for most of the shot.


    Ive graphed the results below.

    This graph has a temperature axis that spans 5C, so these shots are really flat and you can see the initial PID indicated temperature on the graph.

    Im thinking of pulling out the preheating thermoblock, as I dont need to use it. In fact, the design of the boiler feed means that it is better to put cold water into the boiler anyway. This machine will not pull a series of fast successive shots, but it will pull shots at a well determined temperature, so is the best test bed for exploring different roasts to look for optimal temperature effects on flavour.

    I love the simplicity of this machine. It is a simple boiler-on-group design using a single PID controller to stabilize and control the temperature. The real modifications to this machine are to water path inside the boiler and to the position of the temperature control point.

    It still blows me away to think that this 20 year old machine is actually capable of this level of performance.

    Cheers,

    Mark.



  14. #64
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    Re: Faema Family

    Wow.

    Ill look at my Faema with awe at its hidden potential.

    Thanks Dr Frankenfaema for opening my eyes. ;D

    That is an awesome modification project - and here was I just wondering whether or not I could replace the element myself.

    Having no idea where to start I think Ill let the pros handle it this time.

  15. #65
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    Re: Faema Family

    Quote Originally Posted by telemetric link=1130542649/30#34 date=1137305224
    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky link=1130542649/0#14 date=1131761254
    Hi Mal,

    I use a cheap DMM, Digitech QM1538 with RS232 output. Its $60 from Jaycar. The high resolution was obtained by reading the RS232 output directly using a Matlab routine. The software that it ships with is not too good and it wouldnt work on my computer in any case (well not my laptop, but it worked on my desktop)... anyway, it records in 1 sec intervals. This is wierd as the DMM outputs at 0.4 sec intervals and there is no handshaking at all. So the software must either interpolate or it gets every second data point slightly wrong. So I wrote my own Matlab routine to read the RS232 output, giving me the full 0.4 sec resolution.
    very interested in this software you wrote please can i get a copy...
    ::)

    And me too - can you email it to me ?

  16. #66
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    Re: Faema Family

    Quote Originally Posted by faemageek link=1130542649/30#35 date=1138061265
    Hi guys,

    I have a faema erika electonic which has a built in grinder. I have been using it at home for the last 9 months and absolutely loving it. I picked up a faema family at auction last week and very keen to use the commercial portafilter to see what the differences would be with my smaller erika i wired on a plug and turned it on (all appliances bought at auction now have the plug cut off). It all lights up but no heat, steam or water
    and when a push the coffee button there is a bit of a loud click but no action, the boiler doesnt heat up and no water is pushed through. I am wondering if its as simple as a fuse blown or a major part has died like the pump. I noticed the photos of sparkies faema famly machine which is the same as mine and have done a quick comparison with the insides but didnt notice anything. Thinking maybe i should get a voltmeter and check out the circuits or is it worth taking it someone for an overhaul. Does anyone know a good place in sydney. I dont have much money though and would rather try to do it myself and find out more about the workings of the machine. Any hints?
    I know this is a bit late to be useful, but Im posting this for the record for the benefit of others- this is a common occurence, with a simple cure.

    The most likely cause is that the thermal cutout has tripped.

    To reset:
    First, unplug the unit from the mains.
    Remove the black plastic inspection plate on top at the front. You can now see the top of the boiler.
    Towards the front, theres what looks like a thermostat but with a very small red button in the middle.
    Using a suitable inplement, push this down until it clicks. Youve just reset the thermal cutout and are now good to go.

    To prevent this from happening, always run water into the boiler (third button down) immediately you first switch the power on. Stop filling when the sound from the pump changes (it should go quiet).

    For a good tasting coffee, wait til the light goes out behind the second button down before you brew- that means that the water has reached brewing temperature. Brew before it goes out & you may have a sour shot because the waters too cold.

    Another hint: On my Family, the brew thermostat was 100.C, & it gave sour shots.
    I changed it to a 107.C for a marked improvement in flavour. I note that Coffeeparts lists the replacement brew thermostat as being a 107.C, so Im not sure whether mine had been changed (I bought it secondhand) or Coffeeparts are improving things of their own initiative.

  17. #67
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    Re: Faema Family

    Do you happen to know where I can buy parts for this model in Europe (Switzerland, Italy, France or even Germany?)

  18. #68
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    Re: Faema Family

    We operate two FAEMA Family machines at home. One is a brass boiler model from 1982 (re-vamped in 2007) and one of the later aluminium boilers. (mod edit) PM me some reliable sources for spares.

    The Italians have more of the genuine parts. The parts I purchased in Berlin needed to be modified a bit.

    I like the machines - their design could be from a 1950s Fellini movie: a crossover of VESPA scooter and FIAT 500.

    This posting edited- please read site sales and posting policy

  19. #69
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    Re: Faema Family

    Quote Originally Posted by 6B48594A5341380 link=1130542649/62#62 date=1154480603
    ...........I love the simplicity of this machine. It is a simple boiler-on-group design using a single PID controller to stabilize and control the temperature. The real modifications to this machine are to water path inside the boiler and to the position of the temperature control point...................
    Cheers,

    Mark.
    Hi Mark,

    Do you mind sharing these modifications?

    /mathias

  20. #70
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    Re: Faema Family

    Hi Mark (or anyone else)

    I have the chance to get my hands on a Faema Contessa (same as Family) for a rediculously cheap price due to the portafilter being missing.... any ideas what more common portafilters fit this machine? I see on espressoparts that all Faema replacement portafilters listed say "excluding Family"...

    I wouldnt mind creating a Frankenfaema to go with my Frankengaggia and Frankenpavoni but only if I can get my hands on a protafilter!

    John

  21. #71
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    Re: Faema Family

    Brasilia PF should work

  22. #72
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Faema Family

    Ring Coffee Parts and check with Pedro.

  23. #73
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    Re: Faema Family

    Thanks, will try those suggestions...

  24. #74
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    Re: Faema Family

    Stumbled upon this site.It was nice to read about this little machine and to find a wealth of info on its repair,maintenanceI have a Faema family that I bought New in Italy in 1984.It is a 220V/50HZ unit,and seems to work fine with my 220v/60hz current.I am thinking of rebuilding it and will look forward to the many links in this site to do so.

  25. #75
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    Hello Snobs,

    Introduction:
    My name is Gino. I have a question for you experts. I found an early Family (1990 with Brass boiler and copper lines) for $40 CAD, grinder and all!
    Restored it because it was covered with cigarette stench and grease from being in an old kitchen with ZERO maintenance.

    Here is a link to my Dropbox folder with process photos and a video. Please watch the video in the video folder!
    My Problem: Water flow is way too heavy.
    I've replaced the gaskets, cleaned the boiler, flushed the whole system. Everything runs great! However... I can grind my beans down to baby powder and the machine will still push right through it.
    The water flow is very heavy! The machine gets extremely hot (steam if left on too long) and even at the finest of grinds, I will make about 2 ounces (60mL) in about 11 seconds.

    Does anyone know what is going on?

    Thank you kindly.

  26. #76
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Your Process Pictures folder shows as empty.

    What grinder and what beans are you using? Old stale beans sounds like a definite probability.


    Java "Gotta be fresh!" pyile
    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

  27. #77
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    Hi all, long ago around. Gino i have the exactly same sympthom ok my 1st gen Family. Brutal water flow and steam from grouphead, puck is destroyed. Also boiling and bubble brew coffee from portafilter when pulling the shot.
    Im use 7 days roasted beans and almost powder, no mather What i do always burn out the coffee.
    Element isnt in shortcut. There is a way to test if brew thermostat blow off?

  28. #78
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    Just an update, finally seems that un muy case is really simple. By error the brew thermostat is 135c, the same temp for the steam one. Buy the grinder and machine for only 50dls unkowing the condición. They are mint, seems never have been used because this issue. The thermostats are stocks one, probably was a Factory mystake.
    Made the burr grinder mod stepless and grind fine too for europiccola and Elektra. Instead a 100c thermostat im going to try a 105c or 107c due the Heat loss during brew.

  29. #79
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    Great information

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