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Thread: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

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

    Just wondering if anyone has found a source for reasonable quality PID temp controllers that could be used for espresso machine boiler control?

    If so, wheres the best place to get one from in terms of price and support? All the best,

    Dimal.

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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Anyone ??

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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    See my reply to Ed Vinas in his thread "PIDing Silvia......" in the "General Coffee Related..." section. I bought a PI controller from RS (www.rsaustralia.com.au) after looking into importing. They also do a West PID that seems comparable to the Fuji unit people are buying in the US for around $250 (which is what I would buy if I had it to do again). Be a little careful with the prices there, from memory they dont include GST.

    Im sure RS arent the cheapest, but they have an online presence and are easy enough to deal with. Plus you can also buy your SSR and thermocouple off them.

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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for that. I read your post the other day as a matter of fact and it was this that prompted me to ask if anyone had identified a reliable source for the Fuji or similar units.

    Ive since been able to track down similar units, one from a company called Eurotherm and another from Omron Australia. The going price on the Eurotherm unit is as you intimated at approx $250.00 plus GST. From what Ive been able to research on this unit, it would appear to be superior to the much favoured Fuji but it is not "cheap".

    Still waiting to hear back from Omron and from experience in using their products in the past, I would expect their unit to be slightly less expensive than the Eurotherm which has a somewhat Rolls Royce reputation. Ive used Radio Spares quite a bit in the past too and as you say, they are a very reliable and user friendly source but the prices one pays are always near the top echelon.

    If you like, Ill report back on price details once I have them all in my hot little hands? Im not quite ready to make the financial outlay just yet, be a couple of months til Im ready as Im in still in the research and fact gathering phase at this stage. All the best,

    Dimal.

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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Digging through some spare parts around the place Ive come across a Brainchild BTC-9300 PID Process/temperature controller. I think new they are worth about $230+GST.

    Ive now ordered an SSR $28

    Im planning to attack my Gaggia Classic when time permits one weekend during the next month.

    I start a seperate thread and take lots of pics results etc.

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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by HV_MAN link=1102703274/0#4 date=1106264145
    Digging through some spare parts around the place Ive come across a Brainchild BTC-9300 PID Process/temperature controller. I think new they are worth about $130+GST.
    Hi HV_MAN,

    You wouldnt still have a contact address/URL/E-mail for the company you bought it from would you? Would be greatly appreciated if you could point me in the right direction.

    Cheerio,
    Mal.

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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1102703274/0#5 date=1106489403

    Hi HV_MAN,

    You wouldnt still have a contact address/URL/E-mail for the company you bought it from would you? Would be greatly appreciated if you could point me in the right direction.

    Cheerio,
    Mal.
    Hi Mal
    Sorry to get you excited, I stuffed up/missed typed the costing it cost $230+gst not $130+gst. sorry.... :-[

    we got it from ecefast, I think their www is:

    www.ecefast.com.au

    Ringup them up they do cheaper than their listed price and not all their products are shown.

    Again sorry for the incorrect info.

    Cheers,
    Craig

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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    No worries Craig,

    Sounds like about the same price for equivalent Omron and Eurotherm units. Ill just have to save up the extra biccies and go for one of those Id say.

    Thanks anyway for the info though, much appreciated. All the best,

    Mal.

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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Hi again All,

    Decided to take Craigs advice and contact http://www.ecefast.com.au/ . In short, I could not be happier with the level of service I received, the assistance offered and then the discount provided. Definitely an A1 company to do business with.

    Have been offered a full spec PID Controller (48mm x 48mm) and the thermocouple for an all up price of $200.00 including GST. They also have a range of SSRs too at very reasonable prices so will no doubt order one of these as well.

    The chap to ask for is Jim Walker, a very helpful man. Will keep posted as things progress. Have decided to mount the unit in its own enclosure external to the Mokita via a short section of flexible metallic conduit, in keeping with the overall polished s/s appearance.

    Thanks again Craig, excellent reference. All the best,

    Mal.

  10. #10
    ed_vinas
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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Mal, great to hear. Please let us know how it goes.

    Cheers
    Ed

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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by ed_vinas link=1102703274/0#9 date=1107032986
    Mal, great to hear. Please let us know how it goes.

    Cheers
    Ed
    No Worries Ed,

    Will do. Most likely will complete over the next few weeks so will take photos throughout the process and post these up upon completion as a kind of How to for others who might be contemplating the same mod. All the best,

    Mal.

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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Have been offered a full spec PID Controller (48mm x 48mm) and the thermocouple for an all up price of $200.00 including GST. They also have a range of SSRs too at very reasonable prices so will no doubt order one of these as well.
    Well, believe it or not Ive managed to find an even better value supplier of quality PID Temp Ctrlrs. Ive only just received a quote back from them and they offer a similar quality Ctrlr but for only AUD$143.00 Incl. GST. I think this is going to be hard to beat and if you are interested, contact "Ron Fowler" of OneTemp Pty Ltd, website located at http://www.onetemp.com.au/ .

    Ron is also a very helpful chap and more than willing to offer his knowledge and experience with regard to PID control. Glad I waited until the last quote came in. All the best,

    Mal.

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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Good to hear they are looking after you.

    onetemp is also a company I occasionally deal with, again very good to deal with. They have been around a long time under a different name which I currently cant remember....

    What models are they offering?

    Remember not all temperature controllers offer PID & fuzzy logic etc. not that Im an expert in these things.


  14. #14
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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Hi HV_MAN,

    Remember not all temperature controllers offer PID & fuzzy logic etc. not that Im an expert in these things
    Appreciate what youre saying. Its ok though as I used to work with industrial control systems, SCADA, DCS and the like so I know how to interpret the specs and data and stuff.

    As a matter of fact, used to be in control of a team who were among the first to incorporate Fuzzy Logic algorithms into large scale DCS and it was a very rewarding experience in terms of knowledge gained. Ah, those were the days but a long time ago now, close to twelve or thirteen years I guess.

    Anyway, its not essential to use a controller that incorporates FL as part of its control strategy, straight PID with Auto-Tuning is plenty powerful enough to accomplish what is needed in an espresso machine. Something that is worth thinking about though, is a multi-channel controller that can both control the boiler Brew Temp and then the Steam Temp as the operator demands. These units are usually a bit more expensive, probably in the same range as a PID/FL controller, but offer a lot more practicallity.

    Comes down to Horses for Courses as it always does in the end. If you want a PID/FL controller, go for it. You probably wont notice any difference in operation for this particular task but it might give you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside (sorry about the pun).

    In short, the PID Controller from OneTemp is almost identical to the unit offered by "ECEFAST" but at considerable discount. I think the difference is due to OneTemp being a supplier to the OEM market and as such, the higher volume throughput results in lower prices. Thats my take on it anyway. Hope some of my diatribe has been of assistance. All the best,

    Mal.

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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Ive got everything under control except where to put the thermocouple on the Gaggias boiler. :-/

    The classic in stock form has 2 thermostats one mounted at the bottom side of the boiler for espresso temp and the other at the top of the boiler for steam. Both of these are a screw in type.

    Q1/ Does the thermostat have direct contact with water? (I dont want to disturb it is I dont have to)

    Q2/ If Q1 = NO. Where is the best point to mount the thermocouple to the boiler top of bottom?

    Q3/ If Q1 = YES. Should I acquire a thermocouple that in mounted into a screw fitting or not bother and mount it on the outside of the boiler. If the screw in type thermocouple is the go where to mount it top of bottom?

    Q4/ Anyone known the type of thread? etc

    Cheers
    Craig

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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Hi again Craig,

    Taking your questions in turn:

    A1) This is ideal of course, as the fewer the number of temperature transition points there are, the better. That being said though, with such a small boiler it doesnt really matter all that much and brass/stainless steel, etc are very good conductors of heat so it would be acceptable to attach the t/c to the surface of the boiler. The simple answer being NO.

    A2) Im not familiar with the physical characteristics of the boiler in your particular machine, but if it was possible to attach the t/c close to the position of the original Brew T/stat, thats what I would do. Apart from that, if you attached it relatively close to the discharge into the Brew Head then that would also be ok.

    A3) Redundant

    A4) Redundant

    Hope that helps you out Craig. The parameter of concern with these sorts of decisions is the "time" it takes between a change in temp taking place and how long before that change is detected and acted upon. In large boilers this can be critical but in boilers with capacities less than half a litre and a relatively large Heating Element, it is of no real consequence. With this application, you can think of it as Thermal Intertia.

    This time delay, if significant enough, can lead to instabilities in the temperature control which can result in large oscillations of the water temperature. In these type of situations, PID controllers really come into their own and especially those with Fuzzy Logic assistance.

    The FL uses algorithms which interface with "rules" that attempt to replicate the way humans think and work, and can "learn" to cope with a wide range of differing operational circumstances and disturbances in the process. FL and Artificial Intelligence originated from similar beginnings and are kindred philosophies as a point of interest.

    After all this, I hope I havent muddied the waters. There is a plethora of information about this kind of thing to be found on the Net and if you wanted to know more about it, this isnt a bad place to start
    http://www.expertune.com/tutor.html

    All the best,
    Mal.

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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Hi again All,

    Just discovered an alternative method for attaching the SSR in PID modded machines that avoids the need to drill holes in the panelling anywhere.

    How do you do it? Well, with double-sided adhesive Thermal Tape of course. I bought some from these people... http://www.coolpc.com.au/catalog/ a while ago for upgrading the cooling of chipsets on PC motherboards and video cards where pinning or fixing by more usual methods was either impossible or less than ideal.

    After giving these installations a caning over the past few months Im more than happy with the performance results and "permanency" of the attachment. This stuff is a breeze to use and will stick like the proverbial to pretty well anything, and can be found here... http://tinyurl.com/5yfo6. Will be trialling over the next few months so will report back in a couple of months time.

    Cheerio,
    Mal.

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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Good to hear your PID mods up and running MAL.

    I used double sided tape as well.
    Certainly saves drilling the case, also allows the mod to be removed without a trace etc.

    Got any pic?

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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Hi again Craig,

    Afraid I still use old fashioned technology where cameras are concerned and still have a few piccies left on the roll. Once Ive managed to use these up and have the film processed, will scan and pin-up for info and comments/feedback.

    My old work-horse camera is a 31 year old Nikon F2s with assorted lenses, filters, etc and still looks like new despite having travelled with me where ever Ive gone. Had it serviced recently and the shutter timing was still within Nikons published tolerances. Not too shabby for one of Nikons first System cameras and is probably why I still have it and resisted the urge to go digital.

    Anyway, will post everything up as soon as I have something worth posting, so until then, have to use your imagination. ;)

    Cheerio,
    Mal.

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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Ebay USA has several on offer, with at least one willing to export to Australia for $25. www.ebay.com and type in pid temperatue controlers. This one, for example, Fast Fuzzy PID Temperature controller BTC-2500-511111, works out at about $AU115 including postage. You would then have to buy the relay, thermocouple and power supply, and research whether it is suitable for your needs.

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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Hi robusto,

    Thanks for that info. I think when its all said and done though, youre probably better off trying to source a suitable device locally. You are more likely to receive technical and practical assistance from your local supplier if installing and setting up a PID controller is not something with which you are familiar.

    Also, should the unit prove to be faulty, it is a much simpler proposition to contact your local supplier for assistance and warranty support.

    On the subject of specifying Fuzzy Logic PID devices, this really is huge over-kill for such a basic application as controlling the temp in a sub 1,000ml water boiler. Theres lots of information about this on the web and Ive alluded to a small cross-section of this in a couple of posts above. A straight PID Controller is more than adequate for the task and is in itself, way more than what is needed to achieve control of +/- 1 degree C.

    Cheers,
    Mal.

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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1102703274/15#16 date=1109685891
    Just discovered an alternative method for attaching the SSR in PID modded machines that avoids the need to drill holes in the panelling anywhere.

    How do you do it? Well, with double-sided adhesive Thermal Tape of course.
    I did the same thing with mine, Mal. Probably a different brand than you used, but basically a 5cm x 5cm (2 inch x 2 inch) square piece of double-stick foam tape. That was about a year ago. The installation has been perfectly stable.

    You can see my PIDed Silvia at
    http://www.terrystockdale.com/coffee/journey_5.shtml
    and
    http://www.terrystockdale.com/coffee/espresso.shtml

    Terry

  23. #23
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    Re: PID Mod for Silvias, Gaggias, etc

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by dragon link=1102703274/15#21 date=1110504400

    I did the same thing with mine, Mal. Probably a different brand than you used, but basically a 5cm x 5cm (2 inch x 2 inch) square piece of double-stick foam tape. That was about a year ago. The installation has been perfectly stable.

    You can see my PIDed Silvia at
    http://www.terrystockdale.com/coffee/journey_5.shtml
    and
    http://www.terrystockdale.com/coffee/espresso.shtml

    Terry
    Hi Terry,

    Great to hear from you by the way.

    Was the tape you used a Thermal Conductive Tape or a straight Double-sided Adhesive Tape? From your "Journey" treatise, Im not sure if you used the tape to attach the PID box to Silvia or for the SSR.

    Either way, It probably doesnt really matter a great deal when you oversize the SSR by a factor of two to three times, as a lot of people seem to do. Its probably more important that the SSR isnt sited within the Boiler environment, thereby thermally stressing the device unnecessarily. Always better to try and keep electronic devices cool.

    I used the tape because my Mokita doesnt have a lot of spare room internally to mount the SSR using screws and nuts (Silvia is a bit bigger and seems to have plenty of spare room), and if I did fix the device this way, I would have ended up with the screw-heads visible on the outside of the s/s panelling... not a good thing.

    Just to be safe, I tested the Thermal Tape on a couple of PC chipset coolers and a video card processor cooler. After quite a few months, none of the coolers even looked like theyre going to shift and the tape seems to do a good job of transferring the heat to the HSF units in each case. Good enough for my little Mokita upgrade I thought.

    Anyway, to cut a long story short... the tape seems to be working quite successfully with the PID/SSR mod to the Mokita and may offer an alternative method of fixing devices to the internals of espresso machines where their owners had previously decided against such mods because of the need to drill mounting holes through the machines s/s panel-work. So far, so good and as soon as the film roll is ready to process, will post piccies up of the progress through the entire mod process. Until then,

    Cheers,
    Mal.



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