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Thread: Person/company to repair/upgrade PID Silvia?

  1. #1
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    Person/company to repair/upgrade PID Silvia?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hey guys,

    I was lucky enough a couple years back to buy a Watlow PIDd Silvia from Speleomike, and weve had some great times:

    http://www.speleonics.com.au/mikes/coffee/silvia.html

    However, Im hoping to save her from the obituaries!

    I have always run her on Brita water, and backflushed her once every 3 months. However, this time when I backflushed her, the RCD activated and shut down the power to the house. When I turned the power and machine back on, everything seemed to work normally at first, but then I noticed that the temperature readout on the Watlow controller was varying wildly (jumping back and forth randomly between 80 and 160 degrees). I checked to make sure that there was water in the boiler (as I expected there to be), and water came out hot and strong, but now the heating is very inconsistent (as it attempts to correct for phantom/false temperature fluctuations).

    So, I always try and turn disasters into a benefit somehow. Does anyone have recommendations for someone to perform maintenance on my machine? I would pay for any or all of the following (depending on price, I guess at some point I should just buy a new machine):

    - Get PID fixed so it reads temperatures correctly.
    - Get steam PID installed (was told this was an easy/cheap addition).
    - Lower the pressure to 8.5 bar (bubbles almost always come through the pour)
    - Get all the gaskets replaced and general maintenance done.

    On that point, what general maintenance needs to be done? Should I check for scale just in case the Britta has failed me (how do you know if you even have scale issues?). Do I need to replace the screen? The pressure release valve?

    Anyway, any advice/recommendations would be welcome. I guess failing that, Id be happy to do the work myself, its just Id feel more comfortable with someone more experienced to pass comment on the state of my machine!

    Thanks Guys!
    James

  2. #2
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Person/company to repair/upgrade PID Silvia?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5450504F5E3F0 link=1286760107/0#0 date=1286760107
    Does anyone have recommendations for someone to perform maintenance on my machine?
    Just email the sponsors on and if any of them can help theyll respond.

  3. #3
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    Re: Person/company to repair/upgrade PID Silvia?

    Quote Originally Posted by 3E3A3A2534550 link=1286760107/0#0 date=1286760107
    - Lower the pressure to 8.5 bar (bubbles almost always come through the pour)
    This is a sign of extremely fresh coffee. While the coffee is expressing he CO2 manifests itself as big bubbles

    What state are you in?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Re: Person/company to repair/upgrade PID Silvia?

    Quote Originally Posted by 0E383B392E3838241828232424274B0 link=1286760107/2#2 date=1286762606
    What state are you in?
    How bout a state of uncertainty? ;D

  5. #5
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    Re: Person/company to repair/upgrade PID Silvia?

    Quote Originally Posted by 08343D2530510 link=1286760107/3#3 date=1286764867
    Quote Originally Posted by 0E383B392E3838241828232424274B0 link=1286760107/2#2 date=1286762606
    What state are you in? *
    How bout a state of uncertainty? ;D
    Haha, that certainly! NSW otherwise :)

    Well thanks TG for the email, I got replies from both PIDkits and JetBlackEspresso (where Ive just dropped the machine off for service).

    Jim from PIDkits reassured me that it was unlikely to be the PID, and walked me through the diagnosis (it turned out to be the solenoid on the backflush blowing and providing an earth leak which temporarily mucked with the temperature sensor, not to mention my RCD). He also told me that since I had the "SD3C-HCAA-AARG model" of PID, Id need a new one for steam control.

    So heres my predicament. I do like Espresso, but the machine gets used 90% for cappuccino. Im already up for $200 for general maintenance and repairs, $250 for an upgraded PID (do you think anyone would want to buy the old one?), and got quoted $400 ($100 installation and $300 PID), and an additional ($200?) for an upgrade to the 2006 Silvia pressure regulator. Phew! Thats $800 on a machine thats only worth that much to get it making coffee perhaps no better than before.

    So I know this is a matter of opinion, but Id welcome advice: what is the next machine up for good espresso and cappuccino, perhaps with inherently better temperature/steam/pressure control? How much for a double-boiler machine that is worth its grinds?

    Lastly, a demo of some grinders in the shop showed how much QUIETER they are than my Sunbeam EM0480, so Im tempted to put out a sale here "Recently overhauled top quality PID Silvia with Sunbeam EM0480 grinder to give some good years to a coffeesnobs member ready to step into the real coffee world" :P How much do you think the combo would be worth?

    Thanks guys!
    James

  6. #6
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    Re: Person/company to repair/upgrade PID Silvia?

    Quote Originally Posted by 6A5C5F5D4A5C5C407C4C474040432F0 link=1286760107/2#2 date=1286762606
    Quote Originally Posted by 3E3A3A2534550 link=1286760107/0#0 date=1286760107
    - Lower the pressure to 8.5 bar (bubbles almost always come through the pour)
    This is a sign of extremely fresh coffee. While the coffee is expressing he CO2 manifests itself as big bubbles

    What state are you in?
    Oh and Ive decided to go naked (PF) when I get my coffee machine, JBE thought that channeling was occurring which was a fault between user and machine, not overpressure. :-[ :-X This way I can verify whats going on!



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