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Thread: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

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    Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    After fitting a PID to my Silvia Ive been thinking what the pros & cons of insulating the boiler would be. The only information I can find is from Pidsilvia.com and as they are selling the product its all positive. Has anyone insulated a Silvia? and if so is it worth doing?

  2. #2
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    Definitely worth doing when a PID Controller has been installed.... 8-) Its not recommended for standard (t/stat controlled) Silvias though, as the insulation will create a number of headaches with operation, due to the wide deadband of the t/stats usually fitted.

    With an insulated Boiler, it will become a much more stable machine and improve the overall longevity of electrical and electronic components, including the wiring. Heat is the enemy of all of this so any reduction will be beneficial. You will lose the side-effect of a cup warming tray though; heating cups with Boiler water or via some other method will have to be employed.

    You also need to make sure that you insulate the top of the Boiler too, not just around the cylinder. Most of the heat loss is from the top but Ive noticed that a lot of people dont seem to worry about doing it because of the complexity created by the pipework, wiring and other devices. It doesnt take all that much effort to make a template and then cut the insulation out to suit...

    All the best,
    Mal.

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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    Thanks for the info Mal I just wasnt sure if insulating the boiler would have an effect on the grouphead but I guess after warming the cup through the grouphead (cup warming solved) it will be pick up heat.
    Also noticed they insulated around the grouphead & pipes with 1/8" silicon foam with 1/4" around the boiler.
    Is there anywhere in Perth or Australia that sells silicon foam or is Pidsilvia.com prices the going rate for this material? Is there an alternative that can handle the heat and available locally?

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    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    Gday Rocky,
    There are a number of options for insulation, some expensive, some cheap, some safe, some not.
    A search here for "boiler insulation" should give lots of information.
    I decided to use the "InsulBrite" and its still fine after 18 months. Heres the thread for the work I did: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1258726137/0
    Greg

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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    Great work Greg it looks so neat Im going to look into that this week.
    I left out one of the reasons I want to insulate the boiler is so I can move the PID inside the machine just above the steam knob. The insulation I think would be necessary to keep the temperature down inside the housing. I was also thinking of boring some neat holes on the RH side to ventilate this would not look out of place as the tray has holes on the same side.

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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    I have the insulation from the site you posted. It does work well and I can actually touch the boiler without it being hot.

    I did this to install my PID internally as well, measured the internal temps with the insulation installed and it seems to be around 50-60 degrees with steam on.
    With the internal PID I also used the steel box that was used to mount it external and some additional insulation around the box to help keep it from getting too warm as the max operating temp is 50 degrees for the PID.

    However it seems the pidsilvia site offers internal kits and they are rated for 50 degrees too, I asked them and they dont seem to have a problem with the PIDs running internally as is.*

    My next mod is to place some rubber grommets under the screws of the top panel to allow some gap for the warm air to escape. As much as I could add holes into the side of my Silvia I prefer not.

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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    Will the PID need reprogramming after installing insulation?

    The Auber PIDs are set to overshoot a little then come back to temp right? Will this take longer if the boilers insulated?

    Joe

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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    PID is designed to get to correct temperature and stay there. It predicts how much energy is need to keep temp stable even it varies. Adding insulation will have no effect on PID settings, it will just need less energy to get same temp. will be no harm to run auto tune after you install insulation to see if there are any changes, but I doubt there be much difference, boiler capacity and heating power and set temp will be the main factors.

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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    I understand your point Firepower, and Im not an engineer, so Im sure others can easily correct me if Im way off base here, but I was led to believe that insulating small PIDd boilers could lead to less responsive machines and longer recovery time.

    If you insulate the boiler, you cant afford to let the temp overshoot, because it will take ages to drop back down to correct temp. This means VERY conservative PID settings and a machine that is less responsive.

    An example is the DB Izzo Alex Duetto, where they insulate the steam boiler, but leave the brew boiler uninsulated.

    Again, I could be very wrong, not trying to start an argument, just curious. :)

    Joe

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    Quote Originally Posted by 0E2B2107440 link=1309610800/8#8 date=1309858891
    I understand your point Firepower, and Im not an engineer, so Im sure others can easily correct me if Im way off base here, but I was led to believe that insulating small PIDd boilers could lead to less responsive machines and longer recovery time.
    This assumption is incorrect Joe. Responsiveness is entirely a function of mass versus Input minus Losses. The insulation will add to stability and responsiveness will be improved since losses have less of an impact.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0E2B2107440 link=1309610800/8#8 date=1309858891
    If you insulate the boiler, you cant afford to let the temp overshoot, because it will take ages to drop back down to correct temp. This means VERY conservative PID settings and a machine that is less responsive.
    After insulating the Boiler, it may be a good idea to re-run the Auto-Tune function or closely monitor for changes in performance and adjust PID parameters accordingly, if required. The sorts of overshoot mentioned by Kevin would be small and also immediately soaked up by cooler metalwork. Equilibrium would be attained very quickly. Your concerns are really groundless.

    Any changes to parameters would be quite small in my opinion, if even needed and will vary from one PID Controller design to another so blanket statements of this kind are really meaningless.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0E2B2107440 link=1309610800/8#8 date=1309858891
    An example is the DB Izzo Alex Duetto, where they insulate the steam boiler, but leave the brew boiler uninsulated.
    One doesnt have anything to do with the other as a matter of fact. In the case of my Dual Boiler machine, the Brew Boiler is insulated and the steam Boiler not so.

    It comes down to individual designers experiences and perceptions, as much as any basic engineering criteria.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0E2B2107440 link=1309610800/8#8 date=1309858891
    Again, I could be very wrong, not trying to start an argument, just curious. :)
    In this instance, Im afraid you are wrong Joe. :(

    There are many webpages around, that go into considerable detail over design issues with regard to Process Control and the underlying Physics involved, and I would recommend that you Google for them. This is not really the forum to start a discussion into the detailed engineering involved as most people would consider it too geeky Id reckon..... ;)

    Mal.

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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    Quote Originally Posted by 45686C606D010 link=1309610800/9#9 date=1309874768
    In this instance, Im afraid you are wrong Joe. :(

    There are many webpages around, that go into considerable detail over design issues with regard to Process Control and the underlying Physics involved, and I would recommend that you Google for them. This is not really the forum to start a discussion into the detailed engineering involved as most people would consider it too geeky Id reckon..... ;)

    Mal.
    More than OK with being wrong, and glad to learn something useful. Thanks for taking the time Mal. :)

    Joe

  12. #12
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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    No worries mate.... :)

    Mal.

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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    I have done a few Mods to my Silvia i.e. the one you are proposing and I have found it has made a pleasurable difference. The insulation around the group head especially.

    Be warned though.. its tricky!


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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    Edit. I had to remove the insulation from the top section of the steam pipe as clearance was an issue. So now I have only insulated the steam pipes lower half.

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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    This mornings proof I had a laugh!






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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    Thankyou all for the feedback.
    I,m really encouraged to go ahead with the silicon foam and called into Clark Rubber Balcatta thinking theyre sure to have it. They had offcuts but it was working out much cheaper to buy the already cut kit plus postage from the US. Im thinking It may be an opportunity for one of the CS sponsors to offer this foam as sheets or kits for the Australian market.
    Those of you that have bought from Pidsilvia.com did you purchase the pre-cut kit, kit with template or sheet?
    I feel like drinking those two InTheCup coffees now.

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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    I bought the pre-cut.

    I actually had to cut a piece down that inserts over the group head. As in its original size there was too much overhand and I couldnt get the plastic group head cover to fit back neatly.

    But in cutting it down its fiddly stuff as it warps when you try to cut it. Using something like a very sharp knife is better than say scissors.

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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    Note in my previous post. I had to remove the wrapping from the top half of the steam pipe due to clearance issues.

    But I dont mind having it partly exposed as I still have a cup warmer 8-)

    I have dealt with PIDSILVIA before for a flat shower screen and they deliver promptly. But that said I have watched his YouTube video which serves as the instructions and note; the way he wraps the steam pipe you would never be able close it up again without trying to warp the cup warmer as the pipe sits mms below the tray.

    Words of caution the guy from PIDSILVIA fully removed the boiler from the machine... which in my opinion is not an option taken lightly. I was able to do it without doing a full removal but when attempting this it helps to have a second pair of hands as removing the front panel of the Silvia to access above the group is tricky without someone to hold it while you manoeuvre everything into place.







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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    Quote Originally Posted by 3B302A312B34363F580 link=1309610800/13#13 date=1310190408
    Edit. I had to remove the insulation from the top section of the steam pipe as clearance was an issue. So now I have only insulated the steam pipes lower half.
    I had the same problem, what I did was put some rubber washers under the 4 screws to lift the top panel up a bit. This ensured that it had the clearance and also some ventilation, worked a treat.

    Quote Originally Posted by 58697D6445696F6D6D080 link=1309610800/15#15 date=1310260624
    Those of you that have bought from Pidsilvia.com did you purchase the pre-cut kit, kit with template or sheet?
    I bought pre-cut but having installed it and cut it now you could save money and just go with a template as the material is very easy to cut.

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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    I did write of to ask about the uncut 12"x12"x1/4" with template kit did it include 1/8" thick foam for the steam pipe & grouphead. The answer was no but there was enough material to splice it. I guess with a steady hand and sharp knife this wouldnt be too difficult and the cost is $36 instead of $50 plus postage. Good tip about lifting the top panel up from MrDerrickC.

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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    Interesting that it doesnt include the steam and grouphead..... doesnt make sense. The photo from their site shows the non cut covering the steam pipe and I would assume grouphead too.

    The material is very easy to cut with sharp scissors, I cut some of the left over pieces that they included to cover some parts of the steam valve.

  22. #22
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    Quote Originally Posted by 606B716A706F6D64030 link=1309610800/13#13 date=1310190408
    Edit. I had to remove the insulation from the top section of the steam pipe as clearance was an issue. So now I have only insulated the steam pipes lower half.
    Did you try "Butt Wrapping" the Steam Pipe rather than the "Half Lap" method you used? Im sure this would still provide adequate insulation but maybe reduce the need for extra clearance.... ;) 8-)

    Mal.

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    Re: Silvia - Boiler insulation Pros & Cons

    Hi,

    1. when wrapping the steam pipe, you should not have the insulation overlapping like in the picture at the previous post, you should start the overlap only on the way down.* *you can only have 1/8" of material on top.* you should have the clearance if you dont overlap at the top.

    2. this material is very soft, in most cases you can fit it with no cutting. (push or stuff it in for better fit)

    3. i will add some notes in the instruction regarding this.

    i hope this helps.* *i can better reply to emails.

    Thank You !



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