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Thread: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine?

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    How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Im looking at either a good single boiler ie. silvia or a used semi-commercial 1 group HX machine. If I were to get the used machine, what would I need to do before using it ie. descaling, chemical backflush etc...

    The idea of getting a new silvia is a good one, but after playing around with a 3 group Vibiemme commercial one and the steam power it produces, Im more tempted with a used semi-commercial where the steam power will be heaps more powerful than a 300ml single boiler type.

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    Those are two extremes.
    Why not somewhere in between.
    My Expobar has a 1.7 litre boiler.
    Plenty of steam.

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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    Hi "NewToEspresso,"

    I suspect that youll need to change your screen name if you hang around here much longer ;)

    I presume that by "semi-commercial," you mean something like the whole expobar/maver/giotto etc. class. These dont have anywhere near the steam power of a commercial machine. I think that I have used almost every machine in this class and the silvia that I had steamed milk just as quickly and forcefully as most of them, provided that I started steaming just before the light went out, so that the element was on whilst steaming. However, heating up the boiler after brewing took a few minutes. Personally, I think that if youre looking at spending HX money, you should be shopping based on the espresso that they produce. Steaming for milk is the easy part.

    Before starting up a used machine, you probably want to rip the top off (whilst the machine is cold and unplugged) and make sure that everything is actually connected, clean out the dirt and dispose of any cockroaches or rodents, living or otherwise, that might have taken up residence. A good descale and clean is probably then in order. In a really bad case, you might need to pull the machine apart and soak the relevant pieces in something like citric acid to get rid of all the scale.

    Hope that helps,

    Luca

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    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    NewToEspresso, descaling and backflushing is something you have to do quite regularly to machines, not just before using.

    Backflushing probably daily, with chemicals fortnightly or so.

    Descalng depends on the hardness of the water supply and whether softened water has been used.

    So whether a Silvia or Expobar, Giotto etc, be prepared to do that.

    --Robusto

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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    Cockroaches?!? Geez! Ive got a phobia on them. That thought is enough to turn me off getting a used machine.

    By semi-commercial I meant Expobar, Bezerra BZ99, San Marino CK, Brugnetti Simona etc sort of class. Something that will fit in a small kitchen without causing it to stand out too much or look like a cafe bench because that would be detrimental to my marriage. I was oogling at a Mazzer grinder and my home affairs minister made it clear in no uncertain terms that the Mazzers (even the mini) has no place in the home. The Iberital Challenge was as big as she would accept. Ended up going the Gaggia MDF because of the smaller size.
    A machine like the Rancilio S24 was going to be too big. The other criteria which makes it all the more difficult is that its got to look good (women!) ie. lots of shiny stainless steel. The Silvia leads the pack in that department being relatively small, unassuming and yet classy. The E61s style machines are subject to the eye of the beholder. A typical CS-er may find that the most beautiful thing on their bench (or maybe a La Pavoni chrome peacock) but for the normal person, it may look like a villain on the Transformers movie.

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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    Size-wise, the Diadema machines are smaller than the Silvia. They also have an E-61, and are very shiny. The Unico Splendour arent too much bigger, and they have a nice retro look to them. Theyre both sold by a site sposor (Cosmorex), so you shouldnt have any problems with after-sales support.

    Better yet, no cockroaches.

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    TC
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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    Quote Originally Posted by nunu link=1185779669/0#5 date=1185843563
    Size-wise, the Diadema machines are smaller than the Silvia. *They also have an E-61, and are very shiny. *The Unico Splendour arent too much bigger, and they have a nice retro look to them. *Theyre both sold by a site sposor (Cosmorex), so you shouldnt have any problems with after-sales support.

    Better yet, no cockroaches.
    Correcting you there. All Diadema/Unico are larger than a Silvia but are on a small fooprint- compared to say a VBM. We have a great deal on them for the month: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1163933911/4#4. Dimensions of all can be found in the .pdf flyers on our website http://www.talkcoffee.com.au/equipment/coffee-machines.php

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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    Oops...they are taller, but the footprint is smaller.

    Youll also have no problems with after-sales support from Chris too.

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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    I recently bought a used 1-group HX commercial machine (Wega Airy EPU)...its gonna be too large for your - er - "requirements", but I can heartily recommend the commercial route if at all possible...bucket loads of steam, the convenience of plumbed in and out, beautiful shots and built to last practically forever in the home environment...best of all is NIL upgrade fever.

    Incredibly lucky for me is that SWMBO is completely happy with the loss of kitchen room, as the above points have won her over! Perhaps you need to upgrade to marriage 1.1? ;)

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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    The plumbing thing may be a factor too. Is it possible to plumb in a commercial machine yourself or do you need to have a plumber come in and do it? The BOSS may not take too kindly to having tubes running everywhere and holes made to the kitchen benchtop to run the plumbing.... Shes not crazy enough about coffee to change her mind.

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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    easy answer to getting what you want, its called jewelery (doesnt apply is all cases)
    luckily she who has great ideas doesnt care as long as she gets her coffee :D
    she gets what she wants anyway :)
    good luck dude

    back on topic we noticed tnight when working out where wed put a machine that the sink we have has a mixer and a blanking plate on the sink, we are hoping that maybe we can run thru those..

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    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    Depending on the machine, you may need to feed through a water hose and a drip tray hose too, and possibly the power lead.

    Plumbing is not a problem for anyone handy with a spanner. *As *long as there is a dishwasher or sink nearby within ready access. *Its a fairly simple process to install t-connectors and tap into that with a flexible braided hose.

    -Robusto

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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    Agreed....although I am fairly handy with spanners etc. for the purposes of car repair, Id never done any plumbing and had the whole job done, water filters included, in a couple of hours (which included a couple of trips to the plumbing store for bits I forgot along the way).

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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    Ahhh.......I will respectfully disagree with perhaps all of you here and say that you should NOT have to do anything before using, and the last thing you should do is start pulling bits off of it and getting into stuff you are not familiar with.

    If you are new to espresso machines and buy a used machine, you should NOT buy unless you have seen it running, in the flash, in front of you, producing a commercial quality coffee. If you dont know, take someone with you that does. Ie even if you dont know what youre looking atm you can see that it runs and apparently does what its supposed to.

    Then you disconnect, pull off bench and take home and reconnect.

    So the idea is, you dont prep it, or it shouldnt need "prepping, it should be running...

    The idea then is to find out what you can about proper use and management of the machine, and go from there.

    Please please please please please, dont buy others rubbish or machines that dont run or dont run properly. The theory is you spend more money up front, and enjoy.

    Regardz.
    FC.

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    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    FC, with respect, I disagree with you!

    I think more than half the reason why people buy these types of machines is NOT about buying a bargain, but about the satisfaction of working on a project and seeing it come to fruition, then enjoying the outcome.

    If we all took this particular advice you offer, then one may extrapolate and say we should all by our beans ready made rather than ever trying to home roast. I think not!

    Whats happened to your spirit of adventure? ;)

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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    FC - I was lucky enough to get mine in a running and excellent condition and was able to pull shots and steam before buying and got it for a steal. Took it home plumbed it up and with some mucking around with the plumbing got it working as it had been but with a new water filter and softener....and to replace the machine as it stands with a new version (that looks identical BTW) would cost me thousands ++. So I was lucky, but most people I guess would not get the opportunity to buy a used, well loved commercial - most are probably in need of some attention. I agree though with Dennis that a lot of people buy to restore. Having said that if you can get a commercial machine for what you might pay for a Silvia say, that is really just plug and go then more power to you.

    Cheers

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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    I cant wait to get my paws and dremel toolkit sledgehammer(oh that last ones for silvia) pull the sucker apart wonder what the hell Im doing then put it all back together again, hide the parts that were left over and flick the power switch and wonder why the lights went out,
    but seriously being the insanely curious person I am, a project machine just like project motorbikes Ive pulled apart and put back together(which can do some nasty things to your anatomy if you get it wrong) and had them checked then rode them is the best feeling if you are so inclined, having said that its not everyones bag.
    Most might be happy to spend large and flick power presto theres coffee.

    I do have one question about the pump on htese 2-3 groups obviously theres some mechanism beit magnetic switch microswitch or whatever, how can you tell if the boilers got water and when the pump will kick in. Will a machine automatically start the pump? Yes one of those how long is a piece of string questions,

    also
    the 15amp puppies, does reducing the amount of elements connected ie removing 1 out of three really drop the amps to 10? Im assuming that the current needs to be checked and you cant just pick off one at random can you?

    Yes there was a serious question in my usually usless post :)

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    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    Sullo, with many of these machines there is a sight glass where the water level is visible.

    They also are likely to have an autofill probe so that as the water in the boiler drops, its automatically refilled to level.

    Yes, you can drop the amperage down by disabling one of the elements.
    I havent noticed any corresponding drop in performance .

    Get your Dremmel ready. Better still, put it away and get your open-ended Sidchrome spanners ready, along with a couple of screwdrivers and a mltimeter wont go astray either.

    -Robusto



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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    Ever since my lung collapse I had to stop riding bikes and trying to repair them :(
    My trusty spanners will breathe life again
    IGOR FLICK THE SWITCH!

    So without seeing a circuit diagram or exploded view of one, would I be correct in thinking that it really wouldnt matter which element or could that be more machine dependent? And how can you verify if youve not seen the pump in action that its working, is there a way to test the auto refill switch without damaging the elements?

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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    Sullo,

    Yep, my passion is the DIY bit as much as the end result.....

    Not only does MY machine make great coffee, but I RESTORED it into a state where that is the result..... and for me that is half the fun.... but not everyone is like me.....

    The pump detects water level in the boiler by one of two main methods:

    The most common is the level probe.... a probe which passes through an insulated gland into the boiler. The tip of the probe when it touches the water completes an electrical circuit and shuts of the pump (or if you like, when the water level drops it opens the circuit and switches on the pump to fill the boiler..... The level of water is adjusted by inserting or withdrawing this probe.

    The problems with this type:
    1......If you use distilled/demineralised water the water wont be detected and the boiler will keep filling.... until the pressure relief opens (the pump is supplying 9 Bars..... the OPV opens at less than 2 Bars..... and that sprays water everywhere inside the machine - not good!

    2......If scale builds up on the level sensor it wont conduct enough to sense the water same happens as in 1 above.

    The other type uses a float with a magnet in the boiler and a reed switch on the outside to detect the level.... as the float rises the magnet comes closer to the reed switch.... and the motor is switched off. The La Cimbali has this type....

    Less problems with this type.... water can be pure and the float wont care..... You can get scale build up on the float which will affect the level a little... but not as drastic as the type above.

    Water level is adjusted by moving the reed switch...

    OK heaters..... Commercial machines have 3 heaters (so they can be run on 3 phase) .... so using mine for example.... 4000 W total heater power...

    Each element uses 4000/3 watts or 1333 Watts.... to covert that to Amps devide by the voltage (nominally 240V here in Aus) so 1333/240 equals 5.6 Amps for each heater....

    On three phase the heaters will draw 5.6 amps on each phase.... or if wired for single phase and all heaters in circuit it will draw 16.8 Amps.... plus there is the pump.... normally about 300W... starting current is higher so lets say an additional 2 Amps..... All up 18.8 Amps .... so I have a 20 Amp run....

    Now if I disconnect 1 heater Ill have 11.2 Amps for heaters and 2 Amps for the pump.... total 13.2 Amps.... sweet on a 15 Amp outlet...

    Disconnect 2 heaters..... The machine draws 5.6 Amps on the heaters plus the 2 Amps.....7.6 Amps.... which is fine for a single normal outlet...

    So From the specs for the machine (on the plate attached) you can calculate how many heaters you can afford to run for a given power point type....

    The "cost" of using less heaters is slower warm up time and slower recovery between shots.... neither of which will be an issue - unless running a cafe at home.

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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    Sullo,

    Most if not all commercial machines have a sight glass as Robusto commented above.... and have a two position power switch.

    The first position is everything other than heaters.... if the water in the sight glass is at the correct level.... nothing will happen.... if too low, the pump will start (you will hear it) and run until the water level is correct and then stop.... If it doesnt see my earlier answer.

    Once it is at the correct level - and the pump has stopped.... switch to position 2 and the heaters will start heating the water....

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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    thank you for explaining that Ive been going thru parts diagrams from CPs site,
    so a unit thats plate reads 3000W would be 12.5, three heaters with one disconnected would be approx 8.4 plus 2 for *the pump. could that be run on 10amp household socket? Although Id prefer to have the 15amp circuit run thru so I dont fry the 10amp rated wiring, that correct?

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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    Sullo,

    That is spot on.... a smaller machine will also have a smaller pump.... so my 300W monster will not be in most machines.... so 2 heaters plus pump would almost certainly be less than 10 Amps

    Household wiring is 15 Amps (most modern houses are 16.8 Amps).... the outlets are only designed to supply 10 Amps.... you wont fry your house wiring...... the fuse (just as long as you havent put a nail in the holder instead of a wedge / breaker ::) ::)) will blow well before the line fails.

  24. #24
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    You have to hear the pump of course.

    Autofill: disconnect the ground wire from the probe and the pum should start pumping. Ground the wire --on the probe or any metal-- and it should stop. Though some machines, I believe, can bypass the pump by opening a solenoid and allowing mains pressure to do the job. There may also be a manual valve you can use to fill the boiler without using the pump.

    You may -- as I did -- work out which element to disable. My machine has direct feeds to some of the terminals, and jumpers from one terminal to another. I removed a jumper, thereby taking that element out of the circuit. A DMM may come in handy here.

    If its a volumetric unit, make sure the soft touch pads work. Replacing the computer, or the pads, can be expensive.

    Flowmeters are about $160 each. So its preferable that all works.

    -Robusto
    -Robusto

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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    thanks guys appreciate the help here, Ive emailed a few places to try find a parts diagram so I can investigate further before laying out the cash,
    Im sure I can hear my tools getting excited already at the thought. My day job although Im called a technician most days a trained monkey could do my job, then again thats what they pay for....
    Just figured out that the machine Im currently looking at is rated at 3000/single phase, I dont wanna be messing with 3 phase! All that electrickery n all.
    Cheers
    Steve


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    Re: How do you prep a used semi-commercial machine

    Off topic replies have been moved to [link=http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1186397419]This Thread[/link]



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