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Thread: Silva - heating takes 5+ mins

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    Silva - heating takes 5+ mins

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi All,

    My 10 year old Silva (V3 I believe) is taking 5-6 mins to heat up. It use to take a minute or so. We don't have a scale problem here. I opened it a few years ago and it was completely clean of scale. None of our kettles get scale either.

    I am happy to replace the element and gasket myself if that is the problem. But I wanted to check before I spend the $150 for the part.

    My questions:

    Does this sound like the element?
    If I replace the element should I replace anything else at the same time?


    Thanks in advance...

    Peter

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Ten years of espresso in a Silvia that has only been allowed to heat up for 60 seconds, yuk.

    One minute for Silvia to heat up from cold, impossible!

    Five to six minutes to heat up, highly unlikely

    Fifteen minutes is closer to the mark, most recommend at least twenty minutes.

  3. #3
    TOK
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterMer View Post
    ...Silva...is taking 5-6 mins to heat up. It use to take a minute or so....

    Does this sound like the element?
    If I replace the element should I replace anything else at the same time?...
    a) no one can diagnose anything definitive without having a machine on the test bench to check in person and
    b) dont understand what you are trying to "rectify".


    While the "warm up times" you have given are certainly not right, if the machine is heating up to a proper working temperature and thermostatically cycling on and off as it should, then there isnt anything wrong/.

    If you are basing your "warm up times" on how long it takes the element light to switch on/off from first start up, then without having any other info to go on but your enquiry, I would venture an initial opinion that you may never have been given a proper run down of how to properly manage a machine such as a silvia (not to mention that 5 to 6 min for the light to go on/off for the first time after cold start sound quite normal, and it is the 1 minute that is way off...)

    The element light will go on/off in a short space of time from cold start but that only means the thermostatic set point has been reached. However, the boiler material and integrated group (a considerable brass mass) will still be well below temperature. If you make coffee at that point, your espresso cant help but be quite under-extracted if not luke warm because there will be significant temperature loss from the brew water into the still cold boiler/group/group hande material. When that underheated water passes throught the puck of grinds in the group handle, it cant extract the oils properly and leaves you with an under extracted brew.

    Irrespective of what the element light is doing, it is not the best idea to make any coffee with silvia until atleast say 15 minutes have passed from the cold start. In that time all of the boiler and (integrated) group will have warmed considerably so there will not be a loss of temp from the brewing water, and it will be from that point on that you will start to get the type of extraction that the machine really is capable of.

    hope that helps.

    Edit: I am also wondering if you were ever instructed on how to prime (and keep) the boiler (primed) properly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOK View Post
    a) no one can diagnose anything definitive without having a machine on the test bench to check in person and
    b) dont understand what you are trying to "rectify".


    While the warm up times you have given are not right, if the machine is heating up to a proper working temperature and thermostatically cycling on and off as it should, then there isnt anything wrong/.

    If you are basing your "warm up times" on how long it takes the element light to switch on/off from first start up, then without having any other info to go on but your enquiry, I would venture an initial opinion that you may never have been a proper run down of how to properly manage a machine such as a silvia.

    While the element light will go on/off in a short space of time from cold start meaning the water in the boiler has reached the thermostatic set point, the boiler and integrated group (a considerable brass mass) will still be well below temperature. If you make coffee at that point, your espresso cant help but be quite under-extracted because there will be significant temperature loss from the brew water into the still cold boiler/group/group hande material. When that underheated water passes throught the puck og grinds in the group handle, it cant extract the oils properly leaving you with an under extracted brew.

    Irrespective of what the element light is doing, it is not the best idea to make any coffee with silvia until atleast say 15 minutes have passed from the cold start, and it will be from that point on that you will start to get the type of extraction that the machine really is capable of.

    hope that helps.
    Your a very patient man TOK.

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    Hi Thanks for the replies. To confirm the element light is what is taking time to come on. That use to switch off in about a minute of so. Then you could run some hot water through, light on again with new water but off quickly. Now it takes a long time to initially go off and after running some hot water.

    Have to say I have never had luke warm coffee from a 5 min warm up time but i have had way to hot when left on for a long time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOK View Post
    a)
    Edit: I am also wondering if you were ever instructed on how to prime (and keep) the boiler (primed) properly.
    I would be interested in how to do this...

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    ok time now permits...

    You prime the boiler after EVERY steam operation, to make sure the boiler is full to the correct level (because when you make steam, you convert water to steam and let it out.....it doesnt automatically refill). If you have run a particularly long steaming operation (big jug etc), the water level in the boiler will be a lot lower than it should with possibility of requisite problems.

    If the steaming operation was the last thing you did before switching the machine off, the boiler should have been primed BEFORE switching off, so it is known to be at correct level when you switch it on again at the next sitting.

    You also prime a brand new machine out of the box, and anytime you run the water reservoir or pump dry, or remove the water resevoir for filling.

    To prime:
    switch on the WATER toggle switch (middle switch with squiggly lines) and open the steam valve. The water pump starts and directs water into the boiler until it runs out the top which will be from the steam exit port. Ergo....when water eventually runs out of the steam pipe in a continuous passive stream, you're done. Spitting steamy water is not a "continuous passive stream". Close steam valve, and switch off the WATER toggle switch.

    Job done. With boiler full, machine will operate as intended.

    Hope that helps.

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    Many thanks TOK for your reply.

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    Happy to help

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOK View Post
    ok time now permits...

    You prime the boiler after EVERY steam operation, to make sure the boiler is full to the correct level (because when you make steam, you convert water to steam and let it out.....it doesnt automatically refill). If you have run a particularly long steaming operation (big jug etc), the water level in the boiler will be a lot lower than it should with possibility of requisite problems.

    If the steaming operation was the last thing you did before switching the machine off, the boiler should have been primed BEFORE switching off, so it is known to be at correct level when you switch it on again at the next sitting.

    You also prime a brand new machine out of the box, and anytime you run the water reservoir or pump dry, or remove the water resevoir for filling.

    To prime:
    switch on the WATER toggle switch (middle switch with squiggly lines) and open the steam valve. The water pump starts and directs water into the boiler until it runs out the top which will be from the steam exit port. Ergo....when water eventually runs out of the steam pipe in a continuous passive stream, you're done. Spitting steamy water is not a "continuous passive stream". Close steam valve, and switch off the WATER toggle switch.

    Job done. With boiler full, machine will operate as intended.

    Hope that helps.
    Hello

    if I do not ever steam is it OK to prime using the top switch to run water through the main group-head instead of using the middle switch to run the water through the steam wand?

    THANKS!

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    as mentioned earlier its not really priming if you use the brew (group) output as the feed that supplies the brew is not at the top of the boiler.

    http://www.pidsilvia.com/Images/SIL_...steam_out2.jpg

    as for the requirement to prime, if your not steaming you dont have to worry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by koshari View Post
    as mentioned earlier its not really priming if you use the brew (group) output as the feed that supplies the brew is not at the top of the boiler.

    http://www.pidsilvia.com/Images/SIL_...steam_out2.jpg

    as for the requirement to prime, if your not steaming you dont have to worry.
    thanks!

    Another question: if I never ever steam, I only make double-shots of espresso - so is there any reason or any requirement for me to use the middle or the bottom switch buttons on my Silvia and/or to ever open the steam wand round dial ??

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    No there isnt

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    Quote Originally Posted by koshari View Post
    No there isnt
    Many thanks!!

    This makes it much simpler, even for temp surfing I only use the top brew-switch to make the light come on.

    When I turn the machine on - for the first time in the morning - I hit the top brew-switch and I let about 200-300ml of water come out from the brew head (not wand), to flush out the old water contents from the boiler - I guess this is how I prime it for espresso.

    Then I wait 15-20 min and then I make double espresso (including temp surfing, priming - using the top brew-switch only).

    I hope this is the correct set of actions for espresso-only process for Silvia.

    I am asking becuse after 5 years of service my Silvia V3 element blew up (blowing the house fuse), cost me about $280 (with labour included) so I began to wonder if my espresso making process has been wrong and I somehow damaged the Silvia V3.

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    The older elements were copper. The recent are stainless steel. Having said that I have a v1 where the element is still fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by koshari View Post
    The older elements were copper. The recent are stainless steel. Having said that I have a v1 where the element is still fine.
    thanks, so which is better - new V4 stainless steel element or the old V3 copper?

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    The SS element should be a bit more immume from oxidisation. I suspect you would have had your boiler upgraded to a v4for that price so it's likely you have a Stainless element now.

  18. #18
    TOK
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    its not about "better"...its about a more convenient and cheaper fix when the element has blown and needs to be replaced. The new element is just an element.....requiring either some work to be done to the older version boiler to fit OR, the purchase of a new boiler top half.

    The superseded boilers had an integrated element, the latest boilers have holes drilled to accept a screw in element.

    We used to do this conversion when we were short on new stock of elements (ie inbetween shipments), but when stock of regular boiler/elements came in there was no incentive to spend time doing the conversion...

    If your element is working properly you would never consider the change until it shorts out. At that time your service provider will be able to give you the ducks guts on what is best to do, and from then on you only need to buy the element not the whole top half of the boiler.

    Hope that helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by acid_rider View Post
    thanks!

    Another question: if I never ever steam, I only make double-shots of espresso - so is there any reason or any requirement for me to use the middle or the bottom switch buttons on my Silvia and/or to ever open the steam wand round dial ??
    Yes there is. You would do the "prime boiler" function after if you run the reservoir out of water andf consequently if the pump runs partially dry. When you refill the reservoir, hit the water button and open the steam valve as per my post above. That will pump out the air lock that will be in the inlet water line as a result of you running it out of water...

    hope that helps.

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    thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by TOK View Post
    Yes there is. You would do the "prime boiler" function after if you run the reservoir out of water andf consequently if the pump runs partially dry. When you refill the reservoir, hit the water button and open the steam valve as per my post above. That will pump out the air lock that will be in the inlet water line as a result of you running it out of water...

    hope that helps.
    excellent, thanks.

    given that i never ever steam, under what conditions would my pump become partially dry?

    i never let the reservior run dry, i always fill it up (or top it up) before every use of the machine and i replace reservior water daily (when machine is switched off, of course).

    it therefore sounds to me that i would need to "prime boiler" only in event of an "accident" when i accidentally forgot to top up the reservoir and the machine was turned on at that time?

    did i understand you correctly ?

    much obliged once again

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    Hi A-R.

    Yes, however answering for the general readership:

    While you may not run the tank dry there are plenty that do....It is not a rare occurence. The pump sucks air, there are air locks in the line or in the pump depending on how long the pump is running without water. That was the basis of my post # 19.

    Best to re prime when this occurs.

    In this case you can say you are not strictly priming the boiler, you (anyone) are repriming the water inlet circuit, but its still the same operation to make sure there is a steady feed through for optimum performance of the machine.

    Hope that helps.

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    thanks! Great tips.

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    Happy to help and can I simply mention.....

    Its not a question of needing to "prime" or not. Its more the idea of understanding that to keep a steady feed of water through the system, without airlocks, and the correct water level in the boiler etc, will keep the machine operating at optimim.

    What does that do? It prolongs the life of the electric element which = many dollars not to mention much inconvenience saved

    So if you have a hankering to "prime the boiler" just because you can, rather than think...I dont need to do that....think instead that it will NOT hurt to do so, in fact it is really helpful to you in the long run if nothing more than to understand the proper operation and management of the machine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOK View Post
    Happy to help and can I simply mention.....

    Its not a question of needing to "prime" or not. Its more the idea of understanding that to keep a steady feed of water through the system, without airlocks, and the correct water level in the boiler etc, will keep the machine operating at optimim.

    What does that do? It prolongs the life of the electric element which = many dollars not to mention much inconvenience saved

    So if you have a hankering to "prime the boiler" just because you can, rather than think...I dont need to do that....think instead that it will NOT hurt to do so, in fact it is really helpful to you in the long run if nothing more than to understand the proper operation and management of the machine.
    Very well said, in fact i did prime boiler this morning using the middle water switch and opening the steam wand (to extract ~250ml of water) when I first started the machine to heat up.
    Then I let it sit for ~20 min and then I prepared the double shot, temp surfed using the top switch, extracted double espresso (closer to double ristretto to be more precise), and it was very good.



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