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Thread: 20 amp machine question

  1. #1
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    20 amp machine question

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

    I'm an electrical novice. Just throwing that out there from the start. But I've got my hands on a new machine. It's a two group la Pavoni, which seems in reasonable condition, and should work OK according to my provider. However, I don't really have a need for it right now. But before selling it I want to give it a good once over and make sure everything is working fine. Problem: it's got a 20a plug on it. My options as far as I can tell are:
    - Find a 20amp power supply and do my work there (I can't find one).
    - Change a power point in my home (I have an emergency switch on my board) and fit a 20amp socket to the wall - just for a period of short use whilst testing (I'm reluctant to do this because I've done nothing of that nature before)
    - Change the plug on the machine to a 10amp plug, then clean/test, and then change it back before selling it. Would this even work?

    I know the other option is give the thing to a pro to look at, or have a 20 amp circuit installed in my house. But the guy who has fixed machines for me to date (a non site sponsor who works at Manly Vale in NSW) can't find the time, and I don't really want a 20amp circuit in my house for no reason.

    Anyone got any thoughts on this?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Daniel, sounds to like your in way over your depth, get some advice from a licensed sparky.
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    Member themurphs's Avatar
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    Hi Daniel,
    is it single phase or three phase?
    Are you sure its 20A and not 15A?

    15A are common. Check the nameplate of the machine, if the current is rated over 15A, then its 20A. and what the voltage is.
    20A Plugs aren't usually used (expensive!). When you start getting up around that figure in single phase items are usually hard wired on its own circuit with an isolating switch.

    I have worked at 5 industrial companies in my 20 year career and i think i have only seen two 20A single phase power point/plug combination.

    I hate to be a killjoy but;
    Please do not try to attempt any electrical mods if you are not licence to do so or even if you are questioning what to do.

    Been zapped a few times, it isn't ticklish and afterwards it is like you have had 20 shots of espresso in 2 minutes. Your heart is racing and the shakes are huge!!

    And that's if you don't die.

    Cheers

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by themurphs View Post
    I hate to be a killjoy but please do not try to attempt any electrical mods if you are not licenced to do so or even if you are questioning what to do.

    Been zapped a few times, it isn't ticklish and afterwards it is like you have had 20 shots of espresso in 2 minutes. Your heart is racing and the shakes are huge!!

    And that's if you don't die.

    Cheers
    x2. This is specialist work.

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    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    If you have to ask then you shouldnt be doing it!
    (but I'm glad you asked before you did it!!!)

    fit a 20amp socket to the wall - just for a period of short use whilst testing
    Change the plug on the machine to a 10amp plug, then clean/test, and then change it back before selling it.
    Assuming you used a 4" nail instead of fuse wire on in the fusebox both of the above will result in all the cables in your wall cavity getting hot, melting the insulation off and then bursting into flames. You will start a fire from the plug to the fusebox and will only see it when the roof falls in on top of you or the walls collapse at combustion-point and all that will be left is your insurance agent doubled over in fits of laughter when you send him the claim form.

    Don't do it.

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    an electrician should be able to install a 20a socket directly into your fuse box for a nominal fee. this is probably your cheapest + safest way out...

  7. #7
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    I agree with the above... I had a 20A circuit installed in my house and the cost was negligible. Besides.. your house will then be ready for the electric car in your very near future ;-)

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    Hey Daniel.

    Re your quote ".....I'm an electrical novice. Just throwing that out there..........I've got my hands on a new machine................ However, I don't really have a need for it right now. But before selling it I want to give it a good once over and make sure everything is working fine. Problem: it's got a 20a plug on it. My options as far as I can tell are....."

    I dont see any problem. You've advised you dont have a need for it right now and are apparently going to sell it on.....So......

    Sell it on as is and forget about the rest which is no more than a needless and costly (in the sense that to spend money on a 20 amp circuit is dead money at this stage) diversion and a headache for you, especially if you spend even more money to service it up and rectify anyhting that needs doing. To spend even 5 dollars on it, is a waste.

    It's used, you mark your receipt with words to the effect of "In Used, as is where is condition, with no guarantees given or implied".

    End of story.

    Hope that helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by themurphs View Post
    Hi Daniel,
    is it single phase or three phase?
    Are you sure its 20A and not 15A?

    15A are common. Check the nameplate of the machine, if the current is rated over 15A, then its 20A. and what the voltage is.
    20A Plugs aren't usually used (expensive!). When you start getting up around that figure in single phase items are usually hard wired on its own circuit with an isolating switch.

    I have worked at 5 industrial companies in my 20 year career and i think i have only seen two 20A single phase power point/plug combination.

    I hate to be a killjoy but;
    Please do not try to attempt any electrical mods if you are not licence to do so or even if you are questioning what to do.

    Been zapped a few times, it isn't ticklish and afterwards it is like you have had 20 shots of espresso in 2 minutes. Your heart is racing and the shakes are huge!!

    And that's if you don't die.

    Cheers
    When you say 20A plugs aren't usually used, you are probably referring to the larger I.P. style plugs with the threaded retaining collar. Take a look under the counter at your local cafe and the espresso machine will most likely have a 20A plug/socket with the same pin layout as a 'regular' power point, but with wider pins. This setup is only a bit more expensive than a regular power point and 10 Amp mains plug.

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    Yes GT well said. Those large threaded abominations are overly large and rare and costly and no one I know in coffee industry uses them.....they seem to be the domain of sparkies that are unfamiliar with coffee / cafe equipment. The "common" 20 amp single phase plug is very common for coffee machines and we dont usually go hardwire until we hit 25 amps and over, and they are always on their own circuit (if done properly) from 15 amps up.

    In any case Daniel....dont go there it's a waste of your time and energy and money.

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    OK. Response overwhelming here. The plug indicates 20 amp, and it looks like a 20amp plug, although it could be 15 obviously. One electrician told me that simply changing the plug to a ten amp plug would be fine for a short period of use. But I'll disregard that advice. Much as my landlord would LOVE the place to burn down and take the insurance (honestly, they would) the circumstances of the fire could jeopardise the claim conceivably!

    I'll wait until I've got access to a 20a socket and check what the rating of the machine is in the meantime. I'd rather know that it's working OK before I sell it on.

    Thanks one and all...

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    Quote Originally Posted by MorganGT View Post
    When you say 20A plugs aren't usually used, you are probably referring to the larger I.P. style plugs with the threaded retaining collar. Take a look under the counter at your local cafe and the espresso machine will most likely have a 20A plug/socket with the same pin layout as a 'regular' power point, but with wider pins. This setup is only a bit more expensive than a regular power point and 10 Amp mains plug.
    Incidentally, yes, this is the type of 20a I'm talking about. It has the wider pins like a 15a plug. But on it, it indicates 20a.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel78 View Post
    ........One electrician told me that simply changing the plug to a ten amp plug would be fine for a short period of use. But I'll disregard that advice....
    ...

    Sigh......Does this "electrician" trade with an actual electrical trade licence or just a marriage licence? From the comment I would say the latter. The moment you switch on a 20 amp appliance in a 10 amp circuit, the circuit breaker will trip out and leave you...."poweless". There is no "short period of use", but there is an "instant off".


    A 15 amp plug has the same size active and neutral pins as a 10 amp plug, but a larger earth pin that wont allow you to plug it into a 10 amp socket.

    A 20 amp plug has all three pins the size of the earth pin on the 15 amp plug, and therefore cant be plugged into anything smaller than a 20 amp socket. Repeating, 3 pins the same size.

    The electrical rating of the machine is on the compliance plate and will read in either watts or amps. There shouldnt be any surprises as no service provider in their right mind would put a 20 amp plug on a 15 amp or 10 amp appliance because....a) the plugs cost more, and b) you would need to have someone fit the appropriate socket (spend more money).... Unless of course you call a sparkie that trades with a marriage licence instead of an electrical trade licence.

    Hope that helps.\

    Oh I should have mentioned:
    Coffee equipment (includes espresso machine) service and repair is a SPECIALISED TRADE in itself and most "regular" sparkies are not familiar with the finer points. That is a simple fact of life. And ofcourse, most coffee equipment repairers are correspondingly not familiar with wiring up electrical circuits in buildings.......they are different trades. So if there is a problem with a coffee machine, you call a coffee machine repairer not a sparkie.
    Last edited by Fresh_Coffee; 16th November 2012 at 12:32 PM.
    coffee_machinist likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee View Post
    Sigh......Does this "electrician" trade with an actual electrical trade licence or just a marriage licence? From the comment I would say the latter. The moment you switch on a 20 amp appliance in a 10 amp circuit, the circuit breaker will trip out and leave you...."poweless". There is no "short period of use", but there is an "instant off".
    technically, he'd only trip that circuit - any other circuits, such as a 2nd or 3rd outlet circuit, the kitchen circuit, the air con circuit and the lighting circuit would all stay on... but yes, you would turn the machine on and as soon as the heating element kicks in (which is probably going to be straight away), it would trip the circuit.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    We see this type of thread over and over, a constant barrage of misinformation, here say, supposition and guess work, all stuff to literally make your hair stand on end.
    It's just a matter of time before one of the trusting souls acting on information given by one of these clowns fry's themselves.
    Threads or posts offering advice on carrying out 240 volt electrical work should be flagged for automatic deletion.
    People can get themselves into enough hot water without any help from other unqualified experts.
    I very much doubt a qualified electrician would ever venture an opinion in an open forum such as this

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    Ok - from an electrician - do not touch anything that involves 240V wiring - there is a high probability you will kill yourself - just look at how many sparkies die each year due to them becoming complacent.
    without getting technical there are a myriad of things you can do to make a machine dangerous without tripping a circuit breaker.
    dabbler and Yelta like this.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    misinformation, here say, supposition and guess work
    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Daniel, sounds to like your in way over your depth, get some advice from a licensed sparky.
    Quote Originally Posted by themurphs View Post
    I hate to be a killjoy but;
    Please do not try to attempt any electrical mods if you are not licence to do so or even if you are questioning what to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Andy View Post
    If you have to ask then you shouldnt be doing it!
    ...
    Don't do it.
    Quote Originally Posted by early_morning_ View Post
    an electrician should be able to install a 20a socket directly into your fuse box for a nominal fee. this is probably your cheapest + safest way out...
    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee View Post
    Coffee equipment (includes espresso machine) service and repair is a SPECIALISED TRADE in itself and most "regular" sparkies are not familiar with the finer points. That is a simple fact of life. And ofcourse, most coffee equipment repairers are correspondingly not familiar with wiring up electrical circuits in buildings.......they are different trades. So if there is a problem with a coffee machine, you call a coffee machine repairer not a sparkie.
    all seems to be pretty sound advice to me :\

  18. #18
    Member themurphs's Avatar
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    Early morning you beat me to it!

    my apology, i did say i was from an industrial background and was thinking of the 56 series gear.

    Yelta, next time i won't be so subtle, I am new here.

  19. #19
    Senior Member brettreaby's Avatar
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    I don't see a problem with any of the responses - all good sound advice so far. Get off you high horse yelta. And why can't people discuss 240v issues? I didn't realize there was a taboo on this. Sigh.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    We see this type of thread over and over, a constant barrage of misinformation, here say, supposition and guess work, all stuff to literally make your hair stand on end.
    It's just a matter of time before one of the trusting souls acting on information given by one of these clowns fry's themselves.
    Threads or posts offering advice on carrying out 240 volt electrical work should be flagged for automatic deletion.
    People can get themselves into enough hot water without any help from other unqualified experts.
    I very much doubt a qualified electrician would ever venture an opinion in an open forum such as this

  20. #20
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee View Post
    Oh I should have mentioned:
    Coffee equipment (includes espresso machine) service and repair is a SPECIALISED TRADE in itself and most "regular" sparkies are not familiar with the finer points. That is a simple fact of life. And ofcourse, most coffee equipment repairers are correspondingly not familiar with wiring up electrical circuits in buildings.......they are different trades. So if there is a problem with a coffee machine, you call a coffee machine repairer not a sparkie.
    Too true - I have seen espresso machine techs get themselves into trouble fiddling with mains circuitry on the 'wrong' side of the plug/socket interface (even ones with connect/disconnect licences that should know a thing or two) and I have also seen electricians get themselves in trouble fiddling with espresso machines. I was installing a San Marino once in a new store - the electrician was fitting an isolation switch rather than a socket, and after I put the machine on the bench and ran the wires and hoses through the benchtop, I went back to my van to get the rest of the fittings I needed. When I came back he had jumped the gun and connected the wiring and powered the machine up - problem was, there was no water connected yet, and he had wired both the main power lead and the lead for the external pump into the isolation box and pumped a whole lot of silicone sealant around the wiring because he didn't have a cable gland that would fit the wires! Fortunately nothing was damaged as a result.
    But it did make one thing clear about the relative responsibilities of the electrician and the coffee equipment tech - the tech should be responsible for specifying what sort of power supply is required (single or 3 phase, plus amperage requirement) and how close it should be, and it should then be up to the electrician to provide that, safely and within legal specs. Unless the tech has a connect/disconnect licence (which I don't yet) he should go no further than plugging in to the provided outlet, but he should also be smart enough NOT to modify things to suit if the wrong (underpowered) circuit has been provided. This is often an issue in my job, as the coffee companies we work for often don't communicate the technical requirements to their customers very well, so it's a common issue to turn up to install a 20 amp or 25 amp machine and find the customer has only provided a 15 amp circuit. They often don't like to be told we can't plug the machine in until they upgrade the power, as often they have had the previous machine running off that outlet without burning the place down, but it may well have been running right on the safety margins of the circuit. That's the real reason for the different size plug pins for the different amp ratings - I installed a machine last week that was 20 amp, and there was only a 15 amp circuit. I told the customer they had to get an electrician to upgrade the circuit to 20 amp - in the meantime, the fact that the 20 amp plug physically wouldn't fit the 15 amp socket means they can't plug the machine in by themselves and trip a circuit or start a fire. And when the electrician attends, he can change the socket, fit heavier gauge wiring if required, and upgrade the breaker. Of course, I have seen many cases where the 'upgrade' was done solely by replacing the socket, but the responsibility for any consequences falls onto the electrician, who ought to be trained well enough NOT to take such short cuts. The ultimate dodgy short cut I saw was where we needed an outlet upgraded from 10 to 15 amps for a temporary relocation of a machine due to renovations. The onsite 'handyman' couldn't find the switchboard that circuit was running from, so without knowing the breaker or wire ratings, or even what else was on that circuit, he just replaced the 10A outlet plate with a 15A one - and because he couldn't find the breaker, he did it LIVE - the sole concession to safety was to handle the wires with pliers (not even proper insulated pliers!) rather than his bare hands!
    coffee_machinist likes this.



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