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Thread: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

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    Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I really want to improve my shots, drinking a lot of single origins lately and i really want to get the most out of the fairly pricey beans, im thinking i have a couple of options, i could pid my silvia which would be the cheapest way but im guessing could take a bit of time to do.. Im not sure how much its gonna improve the shot (comments from pided silvia machine owners very welcome)?? Would i be better though (comments from proud lever owners very welcome here) to invest in a lever machine, i dont want to spend too much over $1000, so would one of those little europicolla machines do the job? or would i be looking at the ponte vecchio type rig??

    pls help!

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    I will put my head up out of the trenches ( ready to dodge shots from the "traditionalists" hovering around* ;) )
    Unless you have truly mastered* the art of temperature surfing ( and proven it with temperature reading checks) , then yes, a PID will improve the number of good shots* you make. It will also save you time and water that you normally waste trying to stabilize the temp .
    .. If you are handy and confident with a screwdriver, PIDs are cheap and easy to install.
    Alternatively, you could install a cheap digital temp probe* ( see "gronking")so you can actually see the boiler temp as it ramps up and down and pick the best point to pull the shot.

    Having said that as a satisfied owner of a PIDd Silvia enjoying not throwing bad shots down the drain, i have to say i have my eye open for a nice quiet lever machine also . !!* ;) ;) ;)

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    thanks for the info blend52, have you tasted many shots from a lever? Do you think id be getting nicer shots?

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 616F666D673631030 link=1338355533/1#1 date=1338365052
    I will put my head up out of the trenches ( ready to dodge shots from the "traditionalists" hovering around* ;) )
    Found this terribly funny.* Nice seeing you here blend52, good to see you still have your head on after that *other* thread, mate :)

    Anyway, back on topic, Im also thinking about getting a lever machine (instead of the HX I have my eye on), so interested to see how this thread pans out. Have some concerns on the quality of coffee I personally would get, though, with a lever machine... I dont think my mojos to that level yet.

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 343C212528606362510 link=1338355533/3#3 date=1338419510
    Anyway, back on topic, Im also thinking about getting a lever machine...* Have some concerns on the quality of coffee I personally would get, though, with a lever machine... I dont think my mojos to that level yet.
    Lever machine is probably the best thing you can do to improve that mojo. Yes, your first few shots probably be pretty average (I know mine were awful) but the amount of feedback you get through that lever, the time, the shot consistency and colour and the amount of control?

    You learn so much about the grind, the tamping and the shot its amazing. Once you do get the hang of it, you can pour some pretty awesome coffee with it too.

    And they look great! :)

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    There are many reasons for me considering a lever machine.
    Silvia is a great machine ( once the temp* is controlled ) but it lacks "character" and gives me the feeling it would be more at home in a laboratory rather than a relaxed kitchen.
    I also crave for minimal reliance on electronics etc, and the vibe pump is a noisy little bugger too !

    The few shots i have sampled from a (commercial) lever machine were very impressive, but weather* you or i can replicate that depends on many other factors,..but i believe the potential is there and i see it as a challenge* or the next step on the coffee ladder.

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 6B656C676D3C3B090 link=1338355533/5#5 date=1338434662
    Silvia is a great machine ( once the temp* is controlled ) but it lacks "character" and gives me the feeling it would be more at home in a laboratory rather than a relaxed kitchen.
    Geez...Is it a full moon or something?

    The Silvia "lacks character" in exactly the same was as any other pump operated machine using unpressurised baskets "lacks character".

    Some potential purchaser could read the comment and think the Silvia is no good. Its a long way from no good. In fact, it is likely only to lack character if the nut on the group handle is incorrectly calibrated.

    If you expect a plaything lever like a Pavoni to deliver the same result as a commercial lever- to quote the famous man, "tell im es dreamin".


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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    The Pavoni treated properly makes a really nice shot but it is fiddly like a lot of machines until you get to a technique that works consistently, you also need to watch it for overheating (cant be left on). That said my couple of commercial levers are easier to get great shots out of but that comes at an obvious price. :)

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 0E51495F545F535A5A5959515D523C0 link=1338355533/6#6 date=1338438558
    If you expect a plaything lever like a Pavoni to deliver the same result as a commercial lever- to quote the famous man, "tell im es dreamin".
    thanks cjn this is the kind of important feed back im looking for, so to get commercial lever quality i guess im looking at over $1000 then. Maybe ill do the pid thing.. Orrr.. maybe pid a cheaper e61.. Mmm.. i just want good espresso...

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 79263E282328242D2D2E2E262A254B0 link=1338355533/6#6 date=1338438558

    Some potential purchaser could read the comment and think the Silvia is no good.
    You might read it that way,.. but i suspect most people would simply read it as a "great machine" with some shortcomings for MY requirements..
    Useful information, i would hope for any prospective purchaser ?

    Maybe i should have mentioned how the chrome falls off the PLASTIC cover around the group head after 12 months !


    ( i knew the snipers would be around somewhere ! ;) )

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 535D545F550403310 link=1338355533/9#9 date=1338443231
    the snipers
    Agreed- the ones who wish to disagree on principle...

    Absolutely- theyre around to prevent newbs from the misinformation disseminated by those with a personal agenda..

    FWIW- I really dont care as I dont sell them. You want the fit and finish of a $2-4k machine, buy one. For $700, you can have a Silvia or a plastic appliance. Its a simple case of part up or..... :-?

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 0B2532283332646B5C0 link=1338355533/8#8 date=1338441970
    .... Maybe ill do the pid thing.. Orrr.. maybe pid a cheaper e61.. Mmm.. i just want good espresso...
    PID on Silvia is a proven mod giving known benefits for little money ( >$50 ?)..and can be done in an hour or so.
    .. but i am not sure what you expect to achieve from a PID an E61 ( presumably a HX machine ?)?

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 515F565D570601330 link=1338355533/11#11 date=1338445507
    PID on Silvia is a proven mod
    Proven by whom? learning to use the machine will give all of the benefits of this unnecessary modification. ;)

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 616F666D673631030 link=1338355533/9#9 date=1338443231

    Maybe i should have mentioned how the chrome falls off the PLASTIC cover around the group head after 12 months !
    Followed by

    Quote Originally Posted by 316E76606B606C656566666E626D030 link=1338355533/10#10 date=1338443756
    For $700, you can have a Silvia or a plastic appliance. Its a simple case of part up or..... :-?
    Just passing by and read this...

    Hmmm... sounds to me like the Silvia IS a plastic appliance..... ::)




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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 5058404A57330 link=1338355533/13#13 date=1338452515
    Hmmm... sounds to me like the Silvia IS a plastic appliance.....
    Sounds to me like to Silvia has a plastic collar ::)

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 043831293C5D0 link=1338355533/12#12 date=1338449865
    Quote Originally Posted by 515F565D570601330 link=1338355533/11#11 date=1338445507
    PID on Silvia is a proven mod
    Proven by whom? learning to use the machine will give all of the benefits of this unnecessary modification. ;)
    Proven by many.

    Why would anyone want to "learn to use" ..or tolerate... a machine with a 30 deg C fluctuation in brew temperature, when it can be corrected easily and cheaply ??

    I find it odd that some knowledgeable CSs members describe the essential adjustments to the thermo syphon circuits on high end HX machines in order to correct the group temp and reduce the need for "cooling flushes" ... yet some of those same posters seem happy to ignor a much worse problem on the silvia. ??

    Temperature surfing, timing the heater thermostat cycle, cooling flushes, etc etc ...were a necessary skill for Silvia users before the availability of decent temperature control systems ( electronic thermostats and PIDs )

    I dislike unnecessary complicated equipment as much as anyone, but if i have something to control temperature , i expect it to function as required,..not +- 10 deg or more.

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 49474E454F1E192B0 link=1338355533/17#17 date=1338454455
    Proven by many.
    Show me the proof! I was a happy owner of a Silvia for 10 years and like most other owners never saw the need to PID it. :)

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Agreed Jon.

    I had an Audrey and 2 Silvias and didnt need to PID them either. Once you learn the machine its all pretty easy.

    For those who want to spend the money, sure thing. It will save waiting for the machine to stop heating and a little water of a cooling flush. Nevertheless, the biggest learning curve for new owners is all the other stuff- grind, dose, tamp, milk etc.

    So, whilst a PID will save a cooling flush, its easy to let the machine come to top of temp, flush and then shoot.

    Do it well and you have great coffee regardless.

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Just get a lever, you will never look back! There was a nice Caravel on the sale sub-forum which was well under your budget.


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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 774B425A4F2E0 link=1338355533/18#18 date=1338455342
    .. I was a happy owner of a Silvia for 10 years and like most other owners never saw the need to PID it. :)
    Quote Originally Posted by 1C435B4D464D4148484B4B434F402E0 link=1338355533/19#19 date=1338457865
    ....I had an Audrey and 2 Silvias and didnt need to PID them either. .
    * So , neither of you have owned a PIDd Silvia ! ??

    That puts your comments re the* benefits into perspective then !

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Lets keep it civil folks.


    Java "Dont make me pull the car over!" phile

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 152920382D4C0 link=1338355533/16#16 date=1338455342
    Show me the proof! I was a happy owner of a Silvia for 10 years and like most other owners never saw the need to PID it. :)
    Given that so many manufacturers of machines are including PIDs and they are a heavily advertised feature Im not sure why anyone is arguing a PID is a bad thing as a retrofit to a Silvia? ;)

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    I dont think anyone is saying that a PID is bad David...just not required.

    My guess is that this comes about due to the fact that PIDs were not so common, and were a fairly expensive addition to the machine. Not the case nowadays as they seem to be used everywhere - I even cook with one!


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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 09282323243E4D0 link=1338355533/22#22 date=1338508892
    I dont think anyone is saying that a PID is bad David...just not required.
    Sure. That could apply to a lot of shiny coffee making toys too.

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 6742554A4774121A1513230 link=1338355533/23#23 date=1338509650
    Quote Originally Posted by 09282323243E4D0 link=1338355533/22#22 date=1338508892
    I dont think anyone is saying that a PID is bad David...just not required.
    Sure. That could apply to a lot of shiny coffee making toys too.
    I suppose so David though havent noticed too many modifcations made to other shiny things stuck on the outside of the machine, or costing as much as the original PIDs that were installed on a Silvia. Did you miss the rest of my comment?

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    I think youre misunderstanding me Dennis. I agree with your comment.

    There is much I have in my coffee gear that is optional and couldnt be considered essential. Such things make the experience more rewarding though and the PID for the Sylvia while clearly optional would fall in this category no?

    And of course youre right - PIDs are more common and cheaper today for sure.

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??


    Quote Originally Posted by 4B6E79666B583E36393F0F0 link=1338355533/25#25 date=1338513016
    I think youre misunderstanding me Dennis. I agree with your comment.
    Oh, well thats ok then. ;D

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 74414C4B7F634F46464545200 link=1338355533/14#14 date=1338452998
    Sounds to me like to Silvia has a plastic collar
    +1 on this, thats the only real problem I have with the fit-and-finish of the Silvia.

    Sure its not as pretty as say a Rocket, Izzo, VBM, et al. but its not exactly ugly, especially the price point ;) More importantly though internally its a pretty solid little machine, sure it has shortcomings but then so does every machine, to a greater or lesser degree (I consider absolute perfection unattainable, some of the more pricy units get pretty close though).

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    While I love my Europicola to bits, especially for the price and supreme improvement over my old Saeco. I would recommend you look at a spring lever machine as the little pav is so limited in its ability to make more than 2 shots at a time.
    Since purchasing it two more people have moved into my house that enjoy coffee and its just not up to the task. I want my commercial to be up at running but thats months off yet :(.

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    What patric said. The Europiccola is perfect for one or two shots. There is also a steep learning curve. You learn a lot about how bad coffee tastes.

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    On that topic, I had a bit of a win the other day when I learnt that I could very quickly knock ten degrees off the group temperature of my europiccola just by pouring cold water over the group into a special patented tupperware container.

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    I would just rather turn mine off and back on when needed :) 2 shots and maybe a 3rd if your quick but it is what it is.

    Thermal shocks on metal arent a great idea. Also reducing the outside temp wont cool the inner evenly.

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 2F282C232B213424232A4D0 link=1338355533/31#31 date=1339294029
    Thermal shocks on metal arent a great idea
    and yet, heat exchangers are a pretty bloody great idea.

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 405B51596D505D5C56320 link=1338355533/32#32 date=1339303408
    Quote Originally Posted by 2F282C232B213424232A4D0 link=1338355533/31#31 date=1339294029
    Thermal shocks on metal arent a great idea
    and yet, heat exchangers are a pretty bloody great idea.
    Dont actually have one in use currently. I like my levers natural and used as appropriate (got a Z9 HX lever to rebuild). Surface temps on the outside of a group after a cold bath will have little to do with the internal temps where the shot and or beans are sitting.

    On reduced power my 3grp Izzo takes around 50 minutes to get properly stable. Some flushes through one of the heads and I can pull shots at 35-40 but they are better left until later, the outside of the group is still cooler to touch until then even though the shots are OK earlier they are lacking.

    I still love my Pavoni for a quick morning brew however, but use it to get the best possible outcome from it given the limitations then shut it down and do it again later as required. And yes I have read a lot of how to make my Pavoni stable but its just not worth it.

    Like the PID part of this thread helping the limitations of the Silvia it is a help to getting toward a great shot but my personal view of PIDing a Silvia is maybe that time has passed and better options are out there these days.

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 25222629212B3E2E2920470 link=1338355533/33#33 date=1339324180
    [ my personal view of PIDing a Silvia is maybe that time has passed and better options are out there these days.
    Such as ??? ( in the same price bracket )

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    well well well......just surfing around minding my own business and whalla....blow me down if I dont stumble across another great CS academic discussion which of course is now way off track.

    I would like to answer the question first and foremost.

    Should I buy a lever or pid my silvia?

    Impossible question. Thats like saying, should I buy a ute or fit a rotary engine to my holden commodore sedan.

    There is no comparison between any of them...and noone but you can answer the question. So the answer is, what do you want to do. Do you want to buy something completely different (lever) because your interest has been aroused and you might enjoy a journey dowbn a different path for a while, or do you want too make your silvia a little easier to manage?

    Only you can answer that and I hope my comments help you in your decision.

    As to the seemingly never ending "to pid or not to pid" discussion, ask yourself what you want to achieve, particularly if you are already well versed and experienced in using the silvia and you are already making great coffee. The pid may make it little easier to use, but will it make better coffee if you are already making great coffee and can manage it well without the PID? No. It will just be easier to manage.

    Most people that discuss tuning their HXs in these forums afe only regurgitating what theyve read. Only one part of tuning an HX is to do with thermosyphon restriction, and the ternms seems to rolls off peoples tongues as if everyone was doing it to their machine on regular basis.

    Every action has a re action. If you cool your thermosyphone by adding a restriction, so that you can make your coffee without doing a cooling flush, the fact is, that when you next have ten people over and you run a few coffees off in quick succession, you will OVERCOOL most of the coffees. That is, what most people dont realise, is that to play "boy espresso machine techs" and cool a machine so that it doesnt need much of a cooling flush to make your 2 coffees in the morning, is to cause it to ove4rcool when it is run at your next dinner part.

    The idea is, there is a lot more than meets the eye to all these endless discussions here, ending in people placing unrealistic demands on the equipment as well as their suppliers, to make the equipment do what they read it should do. Trouble is, a lot of the stuff they read, is not strictly correct, ending in the tail wagging the dog.

    Cutting back to the chase. The answer to the question is, decide what you want. A lever or a silvia ( no matter how well controlled the silvia is if you pid it). Abd only you can answer that.

    Hope that helps.

    Ah and in answer to the question immediately above and yes, not in the same budget.

    If the cost of pidding a silvia runs out to say somwehere around a thousand dollars, you would have to question whether it might not be a better idea to add not much more and buy an oscar (I dont sell oscar so this is not a "commercial" insert) OR, make it double and get into a good small end HX. They really are MUCH easier to use (to get consistent great results) than a silvia or to put it another way, people that have (realy have) mastered their silvia find good small end HXs very easy to use to get consistent great results. They are simply, more "forgiving" of poor management & technique by the operator.

    And after that, it just comes down to budget.

    Hope that helps.


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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    If the cost of pidding a silvia runs out to say somwehere around a thousand dollars,
    :o :o ;D ;D ;D
    Vast majority of PID installs are done by owners /friends.
    Considering you can buy the PID parts for <$50 , your estimate seems a little excessive ..
    ...even on top of a new $650 machine !
    So the Oscar ( nice idea..but).. is still $600 more ...or nearly double $$$s :( :(

  38. #38
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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 7F71787379282F1D0 link=1338355533/36#36 date=1339385045
    If the cost of pidding a silvia runs out to say somwehere around a thousand dollars,
    :o :o ;D ;D ;D
    Vast majority of PID installs are done by owners /friends.
    Considering you can buy the PID parts for <$50 , your estimate seems a little excessive ..
    ...even on top of a new $650 machine !
    So the Oscar ( nice idea..but).. is still $600 more ...or nearly double $$$s :( :(
    Hes talking about the cost including that of the Silvia.....

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 38232921152825242E4A0 link=1338355533/32#32 date=1339303408
    Quote Originally Posted by 2F282C232B213424232A4D0 link=1338355533/31#31 date=1339294029
    Thermal shocks on metal arent a great idea
    and yet, heat exchangers are a pretty bloody great idea.
    I dont see how a heat exchanger is a thermal shock.

    A thermal shock can cause cracking in the steel, depending of course of the quality of the casting.

    I see it at work all the time, albeit at higher temps, but I wouldnt pour cold water over a hot group.

    Just my opinion

  40. #40
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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    What do you think enters a heat exchanger then? Hot water?

    Steel is another thing, Im talking about brass (pavoni and nearly all groups), which has excellent thermal transfer properties and is very resilient.

    If thermal shocks weakened components in coffee machines, youd never see a functioning old one :-?

    Sorry, this is ludicrously OT.

    I would look into adding a thermocouple to your Silvia (see also gronking). Its cheap and very effective at allowing you a modicum of control over shot temperature.

    Domestic levers of the Pavonis size have just as bad if not worse thermal management issues.

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 53554957524D51503E0 link=1338355533/37#37 date=1339385503
    Quote Originally Posted by 7F71787379282F1D0 link=1338355533/36#36 date=1339385045
    If the cost of pidding a silvia runs out to say somwehere around a thousand dollars,
    :o :o ;D ;D ;D
    Vast majority of PID installs are done by owners /friends.
    Considering you can buy the PID parts for <$50 , your estimate seems a little excessive ..
    ...even on top of a new $650 machine !
    So the Oscar ( nice idea..but).. is still $600 more ...or nearly double $$$s :( :(
    Hes talking about the cost including that of the Silvia.....
    so was I..

    New V3 Silvia = $650 ( or less !)
    PID parts = $50 ( or less)
    TOTAL = $700 (or less)

    New Oscar = $1300

    Difference = $600 (or more !)

    Not really in the same price bracket !

  42. #42
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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Yes....and no.

    We differ in our opinions.

    "Most people" who are interested in pidding will buy a new silvia and have it pidded before delivery with a PID kit. So the bare cost of the parts to a tinkerer is not relevant. I can buy a muffler and have it delivered to my hand for $50.00, but when I buy it fitted to my car its atleast $300.00. Some others will buy a PID kit and install that, because they dont hae the foggiest where to buy what components, or after that, what to do with them/.

    My opinion, is these pages give readers a false impression. It seems that "everyone is doin it" (whatever "it" is) when in fact, a very small number of people are doin it and the rest actually...are not and get professionals to do it for them. Wghich increases (rightly) the price.

    Off topic yet again, and I hope that helps.

  43. #43
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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Oh and while were at it. I have another consignment of Silvia /Rockys coming shortly EX FACTORY.

    As usual, none of them will be sold for the silly price mentioned above. At risk of repeating, most clients want us to set up and show them how to use, and that means they pay a premium and not the silly "here is the box but dont talk to me as I am not being paid to talk back to you " price.

    The box movers have moved in, but they havent taken over. Again, this forum giving a false impression of the real state of affairs which is, most people are not paying "box price" for the silvia. That would be...the silent majority.

    Those that do, are usually the first to return because they blew the element which is not covered by guarantee (because it is mostly caused by the operator).

  44. #44
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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Well, certainly if we are considering those interested only in "buying" a good coffee with minimal personal input .....then yes, a PIDd silvia will cost more than $700.
    However, you cannot ignore the fact that it is possible for an "interested " coffee enthusiast to have a new PIDd Silvia for $700, BUT not likely for him to find any other comparable new machine for similar money ..
    ..OR have i missed some hidden bargain gem somewhere ? :-[

  45. #45
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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Still OT but whatever.....

    Perhaps it is a peculiarity of our showroom, but very few clients that come in (whether they buy or not) want to or for that matter know enough to buy new equipment, and want to start modifying it.

    That is, my experience of clients, is they want something that just works, straight up, and gives them what they would like. The equipment is a means to an end...classic example....cafe equipment.

    I dont think our clients consider that to be "buying" a good coffee in that they could have bought a lesser type of equipment then modded it up. Its not what regular (the majority if you like) of clients look for in a new machine.

    Just because a client is not interested in the specific workings of, or in modding equipment, doesnt mean he is not an "interested coffee enthusiast". I would call someone that is in addition to being interested in the coffee, also interested in the equipment, as an equipment enthusiast and the two dont have to run together.

    I also dont consider expecting equipment to work well straight up, as meaning you only want minimal personal input.

    Silvia in its ex factory standard form, in fact is a prime example of equipment that works extremely well as is, and nevertheless requires the client/operator to make more than a minimal personal input.

    Just my 4.5 cents worth.

  46. #46
    Senior Member speleomike's Avatar
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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Hi Wynton87

    So should you buy a lever or PID your Silvia?
    Its nice that you have had quite a lot of advice above. Ill throw in my second crack worth.

    First off ... I PIDd my Silvia many years ago, I also have a LaPavoni Europiccolo Lever machine & a PontVecchio Lusso dual lever machine so I can talk from experience with all three.

    My first machine was a Silvia and I PIDd it with the PID kit that you can buy. It was about $700 many year ago but came with the PID unit, all the wires, fittings, mounting and instructions. Even though I have designed PID gear in the past getting it all as one kit saved me lots of time and effort. (PS. You cant get good a PID unit for <$50). After this I didnt have to "temperature surf" and I could just come up to the Silvia and make a cup fast with no frigging around. I could also experiment with slightly different temperature settings for fun. But it does not make better coffee compared to spending time on the Silvia to get it right. It can help you make good coffee more consistently. I sold the PID Silvia to a CSer many years ago. It is a nice machine with PID.

    Levers ... LaPavoni and the PonteVecchio Lusso have small portafilters and baskets (48mm dia) and you will really notice that coming from a Silvia. You wont get as big a shot.

    The LaPavoni, as people have mentioned, will give you one or two shots, then you will need to cool it or leave it. By then you will have run out of water in its small boiler and you will have to leave it to cool before filling up.
    But if you practice and are lucky those LaPavoni shots can be really luscious. Its a machine "just for you".

    The PonteVecchio is nice as it has two levers and it does not over heat, you can leave it on all day. Its got a big boiler so you can do several shots at least. I can do a nice shot for myself and my wife but for her I do a machiatto and there is not enough coffee in the shot for a full sized cup. It makes quite good espresso, again like all lever machine after a bit of practice.

    What would I really like? A lever machine with a 58 mm portafilter!

    Summary for you. A PID is not needed to make a better shot - it will make it easier to use the Silvia and will add techno-bling. A lever wont make nice big cappuccinos for guests but it will be fun to play with. It gives real coffee-cred. They are apples and oranges. Of course this probably hasnt helped you make the decision :-)

    Mike

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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Actually Mike I think youve brought in the little bit of extra info needed & tidied it all up nicely. Good post ;)

  48. #48
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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Quote Originally Posted by 2A293C353C363430323C590 link=1338355533/45#45 date=1339418158
    (PS. You cant get good a PID unit for <$50)
    This is a true statement .. but only because "good" is a relative term.
    An industrial control technician , or military procurements agent, might well argue that you cant get a "good" PID for under $2000, .
    ..It all depends on the application requirements and specification you require.
    To control the temp on a Silvia, you dont need a very sophisticated PID, infact you dont really need a PID at all...a simple $10 digital thermostat will do the job very nicely within 1 -2 degrees, but i have yet to find one with the same small form factor as the miniature PIDs.
    So whilst a $20 PID may not be "good" for controlling industrial equipment, it is infact grossly over spec for keeping the Silvia boiler at any temp you may wish to set, and give you a visual temperature display as a bonus.
    Its certainly a much better piece of control equipment than the stock thermostat !

  49. #49
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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    "Its black"

    "No its not, its white"

    "Black"

    "White"

    Repeat ad infinitum ::) ;)


  50. #50
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    Re: Should i buy a lever or PID my Silvia??

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by 596D7A6C77405C7079797A7A1F0 link=1338355533/35#35 date=1339380047
    Cutting back to the chase. The answer to the question is, decide what you want.
    Sorry fresh coffee that doesnt really help..* :-?

    But i really liked speleomikes comments about his exprerience with both a pidd silvia and his pvl now, im pretty interested in the pvl now. I hate to bang on but speleomike, but could you answer me this, given the same bean/circumstances ect, will your pvl make a better ristretto than your old pidd silvia?? thanks



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