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Thread: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

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    PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I have wanted for some time to move the PID controller on my Sylvia to a less intrusive position, like inside the body of the machine.
    The specs for my PID said max operating temp, 50 degrees C, so some modification was needed to do this.

    A few hours with my dremil tool, and I had two holes, one for the controller, and the other for some air flow.
    Felt based sound insulation material was used as heat insulation, and my multimeters RTD probe showed less than 40 degrees C at the controller, all well withing specs.
    A mates sylvia had been acting up, giving bitter shots, so I have lent my spare machine, Miss Sylvia, to him for the long term.



  2. #2
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Good work, looks great and factory like.

    Cheers

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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Very cool looking dude...

    I keep looking at my Lelit wondering if I could get away with putting a PID inside the case...

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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    very nice work 8-)

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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Very nicely done Andy..... 8-)

    Mal.

  6. #6
    KJM
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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Stunningly well done, Andy. Youve given me ideas!

    Does the expanded mesh rattle when brewing? Or did you silicone it ::)

    /Kevin

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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Quote Originally Posted by 5B5A5D100 link=1306312258/5#5 date=1306492554
    Stunningly well done, Andy.* Youve given me ideas!

    Does the expanded mesh rattle when brewing?* Or did you silicone it* ::)

    /Kevin
    Hi Kevin, the mesh just sits in there, located by the lips and such inside, a weak spring holds it out against the inside.
    You can just see the spring on the last photo, level with the PID controller, and towards the left of the mesh.
    As a maintenance engineer, I cant help but design easy access in to anything I modify, after working on so much gear NOT designed with maintenance in mind, but only with cheapness of new build in mind.
    With the spring removed, it just slides out.

    When next I am up at Dans place, I will whip the tip cover off, all of four screws and take some "inside looking out" photos.

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    TC
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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Quote Originally Posted by 604F45580C664045464455210 link=1306312258/6#6 date=1306556726
    I cant help but design easy access in to anything I modify, after working on so much gear NOT designed with maintenance in mind, but only with cheapness of new build in mind.
    Very nice work!

    We need you on the design team of a few machines Andy. There are some absolute shockers to work on ::)


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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Long time stalker and first time poster and recipient of Andy Gadgets Ms Sylvia. After using the PID Sylvia for couple of weeks now. I can say that I prefer my non PID Sylvia more and have gone back to using my old machine.

    Now I can see quite a few people scratching their heads about that comment. My Sylvia has been my daily driver for more than 9 years and is getting on in age. The only parts I have replaced in that time are the steam wand "o" ring and the portafilter basket gasket. I have learnt to temperature surf on my machine and using the PID highlights why it temperature surfing works well on a non PID Sylvia.

    The temperature on both machines is taken from the boiler as far as I can tell. Using the above pics on the PID set to a 107c. Pour your shot and the PID temp. drops like a brick off a pier. By the end the shot the temp is down to about 80- 82c. The group head temp is less the than the boiler temp, so by* the end of the shot. The group head temp. might be in the low 70s c. With the PID Sylvia, the pull is a very weak shot. Over the last couple of weeks I have tried a lot variations from increasing the temp, Trying different tampers, changing the grind, changing the coffee to improve the crema. With little or no effect. The biggest change was increasing the PID to 113c to get some ok crema.

    The reason for the 113c setting. Using a standard Sylvia. When the boiler light goes out. The temp is 113c and the boiler light comes on at 95c. The difference of 18c is a lot. If you start a pour before your boiler light has turned out. You will end up with a poor shot. I understand the idea of PID in keeping the boiler in a narrow temp. band for a more consistent shot. For me, in real terms, my standard Sylvia pulls a consistent shot.

    The only modification to my Sylvia is. I have removed the twin spout off the bottom of my portafilter. Turning into a mini naked portafilter. I have found this helps a lot in pulling a shot with my Sylvia.

    I am very glad to have been able to use Andy Gadgets PID machine. I now have a better understanding on how the temp. varies greatly on a Ms Sylvia.

  10. #10
    brett230873
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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Quote Originally Posted by 755254494B4B4354260 link=1306312258/8#8 date=1306648266
    Long time stalker and first time poster and recipient of Andy Gadgets Ms Sylvia. After using the PID Sylvia for couple of weeks now. I can say that I prefer my non PID Sylvia more and have gone back to using my old machine.

    Now I can see quite a few people scratching their heads about that comment. My Sylvia has been my daily driver for more than 9 years and is getting on in age. The only parts I have replaced in that time are the steam wand "o" ring and the portafilter basket gasket. I have learnt to temperature surf on my machine and using the PID highlights why it temperature surfing works well on a non PID Sylvia.

    The temperature on both machines is taken from the boiler as far as I can tell. Using the above pics on the PID set to a 107c. Pour your shot and the PID temp. drops like a brick off a pier. By the end the shot the temp is down to about 80- 82c. The group head temp is less the than the boiler temp, so by* the end of the shot. The group head temp. might be in the low 70s c. With the PID Sylvia, the pull is a very weak shot. Over the last couple of weeks I have tried a lot variations from increasing the temp, Trying different tampers, changing the grind, changing the coffee to improve the crema. With little or no effect. The biggest change was increasing the PID to 113c to get some ok crema.

    The reason for the 113c setting. Using a standard Sylvia. When the boiler light goes out. The temp is 113c and the boiler light comes on at 95c. The difference of 18c is a lot. If you start a pour before your boiler light has turned out. You will end up with a poor shot. I understand the idea of PID in keeping the boiler in a narrow temp. band for a more consistent shot. For me, in real terms, my standard Sylvia pulls a consistent shot.

    The only modification to my Sylvia is. I have removed the twin spout off the bottom of my portafilter. Turning into a mini naked portafilter. I have found this helps a lot in pulling a shot with my Sylvia.

    I am very glad to have been able to use Andy Gadgets PID machine. I now have a better understanding on how the temp. varies greatly on a Ms Sylvia.
    Fantastic first post! I was also a Silvia user who despite the offer of a PID didnt go down that path. My reasons were less considered and less methodical than yours but to get 10 happy years out of a sub $700 (bought mine in 98/99 from Coffeeco) was just wonderful. Yeah she isnt the best machine but like my old Mazda, she wont die despite you kinda wishing she would. WELCOME!

  11. #11
    KJM
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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Quote Originally Posted by 4265637E7C7C7463110 link=1306312258/8#8 date=1306648266
    The temperature on both machines is taken from the boiler as far as I can tell. Using the above pics on the PID set to a 107c. Pour your shot and the PID temp. drops like a brick off a pier. By the end the shot the temp is down to about 80- 82c. The group head temp is less the than the boiler temp, so by* the end of the shot. The group head temp. might be in the low 70s c. With the PID Sylvia, the pull is a very weak shot. Over the last couple of weeks I have tried a lot variations from increasing the temp, Trying different tampers, changing the grind, changing the coffee to improve the crema. With little or no effect. The biggest change was increasing the PID to 113c to get some ok crema.
    Hmmmm. Methinks something is amiss here. I have a PIDd Silvia and the shots are very temperature stable.. I have a naked PF with an LM basket in it that has a tiny hole through which a thermocouple probe goes. Ive adjusted the temperature on the PID to give me a shot that runs from 93C down to 91C... The indicated temperature is currently 106C on my setup. The crema from the KJM blend on a 30sec (2xLatté glasses) fills about 1/2 of the glass :)

    If you just run the PIDd machine up from cold, the group head will be cold and youll get a coldish pull. Since I have to stretch milk for Mrs KJMs Lattés, I do the milk first then run the pump to refill the boiler and put about 40ml or so of water through into the latté glasses to warm them. This also heats the grouphead. This is a bit like the temperature surfing, but is far more precise. When I run a shot after this it is darn near perfect. This is the repeatability you get with a PID - but you have to follow the correct practice.

    When I run 2 espressos and no Lattés, I just run the thing to temperature, then run water through the PF into the glasses. Again - it pre-heats the glasses and sets the grouphead temperature up. By the time I grind for the 2 espressos, it is back at temp (106C in this case) and I just dry the PF, tamp and go.

    The other alternative is to leave the machine on for an extended period to stabilize the grouphead/boiler temps.

    Id give it a whirl - you might be pleasantly surprised how simple it is to get the thing dialled in! Miss Silvia with the extra fruit is really simple, but if youve already got your process automated...

    Cheers
    /Kevin

  12. #12
    KJM
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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Quote Originally Posted by 1F303A2773193F3A393B2A5E0 link=1306312258/6#6 date=1306556726
    Hi Kevin, the mesh just sits in there, located by the lips and such inside, a weak spring holds it out against the inside.
    You can just see the spring on the last photo, level with the PID controller, and towards the left of the mesh.
    As a maintenance engineer, I cant help but design easy access in to anything I modify, after working on so much gear NOT designed with maintenance in mind, but only with cheapness of new build in mind.
    With the spring removed, it just slides out.
    Ahhh - you have a coil spring? Hmmm.

    Sorry for the list-of-questions, but - how is access to the steam valve affected? It looks like the PID ends up on top of the valve.. Dont rush to reply - I suspect the inside-looking-out photo will reveal all!

    Lovely work, again. I have to admit to being quite capable of doing that sort of thing in wood, but machining stainless just drives me bonkers!

    /Kevin

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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia



    The other alternative is to leave the machine on for an extended period to stabilize the grouphead/boiler temps.

    * By the time I grind for the 2 espressos, it is back at temp (106C in this case) and I just dry the PF, tamp and go.


    Cheers
    /Kevin
    [/QUOTE]

    This the process I use. I leave the machine for a least half an hour to warm the group head and use the process you have mentioned above on both machines and the non PID Sylvia pulls a better shot.

    Dont ask me why this is so :-?*

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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Quote Originally Posted by 3314120F0D0D0512600 link=1306312258/12#12 date=1306659979
    I leave the machine for a least half an hour to warm the group head
    I find it takes 60+mins to really reach its optimum temp, although I have not tested or measured that, it just seems to keep warming well after 30mins and shots become better and more repeatable.

  15. #15
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    I agree with Kevin...

    Something is definitely amiss here. A PID Controlled boiler (properly implemented and tuned) will outperform a t/stat controlled one 8 days a week. Id reckon that either the temperature sensing is sited incorrectly or the thermal connection is poor; or that the controller hasnt been configured correctly....

    This is NOT how a PID Controller performs so something is definitely wrong... :(

    Mal.

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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Hmmm....
    What sort of pid are you using strommer? Where is the thermocouple?
    You could post the p i and d parameters you are using and somebody with the same equipment could compare to theirs.
    Maybe try redoing the auto tune?

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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Might have to wait for the OP Andy Gadget to chime in. Andy was the person who installed the PID to his Sylvia.

    I can only go by my observations of running both machines side by side. Using the same beans, grinder & tamper. The non PID pulls a better shot.

    I have had my machine for a long time and the knowledge the technique should basically be the same between the machines with a little variation on grind and tamping.

    I do feel and understand what a PID does, and properly tuned in one would work wonders on most machines.*

  18. #18
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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Were not doubting your observations Strommer....

    Just seems though something is not right with the controllers installation or configuration. I guess we will have to wait for Andy to come back and suss it out then... ;)

    Cheers mate... :)

    Mal.

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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Re read my last post. Did not mean to type in serious tone. Just reporting on what I have found on my tests.

    I guess I am like most people. The only way to learn what works for me, is in the doing?

    Now dont get me started on what my next machine might be. Just when I decided on buying a Diadema Unico Splendor Maxi from one of the sponsors. Breville are going bring out their latest toy. ;D

  20. #20
    brett230873
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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Quote Originally Posted by 0720263B39393126540 link=1306312258/18#18 date=1306754578
    Re read my last post. Did not mean to type in serious tone. Just reporting on what I have found on my tests.

    I guess I am like most people. The only way to learn what works for me, is in the doing?

    Now dont get me started on what my next machine might be. Just when I decided on buying a Diadema Unico Splendor Maxi from one of the sponsors. Breville are going bring out their latest toy. ;D
    Grab one of each. The new Breville may be the catalyst game changer for the domestic market and looks like a very exciting and accessible piece of kit. The Splendor is the second best looking machine on the market IMHO. I dont envy your choice but at least neither machine will need modding to get the best out of it! All the best.

  21. #21
    KJM
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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Quote Originally Posted by 4B6C6A7775757D6A180 link=1306312258/16#16 date=1306730580
    I have had my machine for a long time and the knowledge the technique should basically be the same between the machines with a little variation on grind and tamping.

    I do feel and understand what a PID does, and properly tuned in one would work wonders on most machines.*
    Hmmm. I cant figure out how the PID could be so out of whack. It looks like the generic 1/32 DIN form factor PID lots of people sell. If it is the one from Auber Instruments, I can pass on the config I have for mine - but that assumes you have the temperature sensor in the same place etc etc.

    Im really puzzled! It annoys me when I cant figure out how stuff works (or fails to work...) Youll have to keep us posted on this!

    Cheers
    /Kevin

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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Been following this thread with great interest Strommer. You are the very first person I have heard that doesnt feel a PID controller is an improvement. This makes it extremely interesting and potentially a great learning experience for us all.

    How are you measuring temps? Is it just with the PID display, or do you have another thermocouple to measure brewhead temp? Any idea where the PID thermocouple is located?

    Regardless of heat up times and quality of shot, the temp drop during a shot seems extreme.

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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    I have been a bit quite in the hope that Andy would chime in. If I recall Andy bought this machine 2nd hand off a CSer with the Auber 1512 PID fitted externally. Not sure if it is fitted correctly or not. As I did not fit the PID.

    I lifted the lid and have taken a photo of the wiring.

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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Quote Originally Posted by 6641475A58585047350 link=1306312258/22#22 date=1306994212
    I have been a bit quite in the hope that Andy would chime in. If I recall Andy bought this machine 2nd hand off a CSer with the Auber 1512 PID fitted externally. Not sure if it is fitted correctly or not. As I did not fit the PID.

    I lifted the lid and have taken a photo of the wiring.
    Thanks Dan, was waiting to take photos, which yoiu have now done.
    The original thermal switch is in the plastic bag, just for somewhere to keep it that I wouldnt forget.
    The RDT for the controller is where the thermal switch had been, with the correct silver thermal conductive paste under it, so I cant see anything wrong with the original installation, other than the controller being mounted next to the group head, with double sided tape, getting in the way of the steam wand, which I have now corrected.
    More investigation required.

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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    If I had to take a stab in the dark at what the problem could be. I would say that the PID display is reading about 4- 5c higher than the real temperature.

  26. #26
    KJM
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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    That one is pretty easy to check!

    Turn it on. Press )set(. You should have 0000 on the display. Drive over using the > key and change this to 0089 and press )set( again.

    You should be looking at a display that says "IntY" now. I think it is the "^" arrow you press now and cycle through the options till you get to "PSb". Press )set( and this is the input offset. So if you have anything other than zero, thats the problem. Use the arrow keys to make it zero and press )set( and youre done. (You can just flick the on/off switch at this point to get it back to non-programming mode).

    The SYL-1512 PIDs are pretty straight forward to play around with.

    /Kevin

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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Quote Originally Posted by 7677703D0 link=1306312258/25#25 date=1307095713
    That one is pretty easy to check!

    Turn it on.* Press )set(.* You should have 0000 on the display.* Drive over using the > key and change this to 0089 and press )set( again.

    You should be looking at a display that says "IntY" now.* I think it is the "^" arrow you press now and cycle through the options till you get to "PSb".* Press )set( and this is the input offset.* So if you have anything other than zero, thats the problem.* Use the arrow keys to make it zero and press )set( and youre done.* (You can just flick the on/off switch at this point to get it back to non-programming mode).

    The SYL-1512 PIDs are pretty straight forward to play around with.

    /Kevin
    Dan returned the sylvia on the weekend, and I had a play today with it.
    The offset was zero, thanks Kevin.
    I pulled a short black with Oomph "Gunslinger" beans, out of my MazzerMini and with the controller set at the 113 degrees Dan had been using, and it was horrible and bitter.
    As the shot pulled, the Crema was weak and disappeared quickly.

    Lowered the set temperature back to the 105 degrees I had been using.
    Much nicer, the Crema was strong and long lasting, and the shot was just a little acidic due to the beans being meant for use with streached milk.

    I had a mate from the north staying, so I did a sort of blind test with him, a hot (113) shot, followed by a cold (105) shot.
    He isnt really a coffee person, something I am slowly witteling away at, but he pronounced the hot shot undrinkable, while he thought the cold shot was very similar to the familiar output of my Giotto.

    So Dan is happy with his old Sylvia, and I have my spare machine back, allowing me to get my Giotto serviced.

    Conclusion?
    Let sleeping dog lay, and move on.

  28. #28
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    105-108deg C is definitely the sweet spot for Silvias.... 8-)

    Mal.

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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    my PID Gaggia is set to 107C this was also what the original thermostat was rated at.
    I also measured temp of brew in strofoam cup in group and 107C was the best for 94C

  30. #30
    KJM
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    Re: PID controller moved inside Miss Sylvia

    Quote Originally Posted by 436C667B2F456366656776020 link=1306312258/26#26 date=1307361175
    Lowered the set temperature back to the 105 degrees I had been using.
    Much nicer, the Crema was strong and long lasting, and the shot was just a little acidic due to the beans being meant for use with streached milk.
    The temperature I have mine set to is 106C, and that gives me the desired shot temperature. 113C seems crazy high to me!

    Glad it seems to be behaving approximately normally now!

    Cheers
    /Kevin



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