What happened to all the reviews on various forums? Have they all overdosed on coffee or did the machines die?
Most of the suitcase cost is now a "sunk cost" because Joao and I spent a few months designing it, and I've paid for the custom molds for the vacuum form molds. And god, we spent a fortune trying out various foam strategies before we finally settled on 3mm thick vacuum formed (and spandex covered) foam. And, we have manufacturers we have tested and like, for all components.
Thus, no increased price to the customer to receive the suitcase.
Our only trouble with the suitcases is that they don't arrive flat-packed (obviously) like cardboard, so they take a huge amount of warehouse space. But that's a relatively minor issue.
What happened to all the reviews on various forums? Have they all overdosed on coffee or did the machines die?
Here is a technique we use to improve our espresso shots. Instead of dosing into a portafilter, we homogenize the grinds by dumping them into a milk jug, shaking, and then putting them into the portafilter.
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Declumping Shot Comparison
Some of the feedback from the beta testers, discussed on home barista, was that they were seeing more channeling than they were used to.
In my experience, channeling on our machines is usually caused by these 3 things (in order of importance):
1) your puck prep
2) making your shot at too high a pressure (the DE1+ goes up to 13 bar)
3) the quality of your grinder
The two shots below are identical, except that the one on the right had the milk-jug-declumping technique applied to it. You can see that the amount of spray on the sides of the cup is drastically reduced.
Both shots were 15.5g in, 30g out, in 30s, peaking at 10.5 bar. Flow profiling at 4 ml/s preinfusion, 2ml/s hold.
Last edited by decentespresso; 10th April 2018 at 03:28 PM.
Here's what we're up to at Decent HQ in terms of getting espresso machines made.
Update: we found the cause of the HiPot failure, we've fixed the two machines that were failing it, and we're shipping those machines tomorrow after they get shaken overnight and then burned in for 2h.
Soooo....What DID cause the HiPot failure? You've described the beginning and the end, but narratives have a middle too.
It took us some time, but we figured out that the Meanwell power supply was the culprit. Its specs indicate that it shouldn't leak until 3000V, but these two Meanwell power supplies were not performing to spec.
The spark was occuring between ground and the low voltage board, on one of the mounting PEMs, caused by us using metal screws to mount the low voltage board. By switching to nylon screws and nylon washers to mount the PCB, we further isolated this PC board, and now the complete hipot test passes.
We see this failure as a "technical failure" in that yes, it was failing the hipot test, but normal operation wouldn't expose the Meanwell 24V power supply to this high a voltage, so in regular use this wouldn't have been a safety concern.
Nonetheless, we've switched our assembly process now to use nylon screws and washers to mount all low voltage pc boards, so that even if a single Meanwell power supply leaks, we still pass the hipot test. The change has no impact on the machines built with Meanwell power supplies that are performing to spec.
Is that fairly clear?
It is clear...thankyou....and with a simple solution too.
Do you check all the Meanwells for significant variation from spec now, or it just doesn't matter?
Obviously, if the meanwell power supply is defective in a meaningful way, we'd not use it. However leaking a bit at 1700W isn't a failure we consider "material", now that we've worked around that reality.
Leaving the topic of espresso machines for a moment...
Scott Rao really likes this new book about sourcing green coffee. Though Scott is the author of one of the two main books on coffee roasting, he feels that there is a lack of information about obtaining good beans for roasting. Scott also really liked the poster showing coffee processing methods and funded its printing. Stocking this item is a bit off-topic for what we do at Decent, but there is significant cross-over between our audience and people who roast coffee (for fun or for a living), so I'm giving it a punt.
A pallet of this new book (and 100 posters) arrived a few days ago, and perhaps some home (or commercial?) roasters on this forum might be interested.
We just wrapped up 5 machines at 110V, but these took two weeks to finish (somewhat also due to 5 days closed around easter and grave-sweeping-day).
Today we laid out 20 machines at 220V to build at once (photo below). I'm hoping we can complete these within 2 weeks, but maybe faster, and then we'll build 20 machines at 110V.
We've been in an interviewing frenzy, and in the past 48h I have extended four job offers. As we've only had two people dedicated to building machines (and others helping in as their other duties allow) this will really help. I have two more interviews tomorrow (Saturday) morning.
This is exciting news. How can I know if my wife's suitcase (DE1) is in the 20
However, if you've bought a DE1, sorry, bad news. We aren't making that model yet, as we are prioritizing the DE1+, and will shortly be discontinuing the DE1 (these 50 or so that were prepaid are the only ones we'll make).
The Coffee Compass today published a short interview with me.
And of course, if you choose to upgrade to a DE1+, you can do so at the old price, before the planned increase as we move the the v1.1 batch.
Last edited by decentespresso; 14th April 2018 at 12:15 PM.
The machine is for my wife, mainly because she loves the suitcase it comes in so the heart rate monitor and other gizmos on the DE1+ are rather superfluous.
And by the time the DE1 becomes a collectible my ashes will be in orbit.
Once in a while, someone writes us at tech support, asking for a "water flow diagram". Ben Champion redid our ugly-because-it's-for-internal-use diagram, into this accurate-and-attractive version.
Pressure and temperature sensors are also shown in this diagram. If you can understand this chart, you understand how our espresso machine works.
Brilliant! Thanks for the diagram. It's an easy summary of dozens of pages on different forums. I'm sure I'll refer to it a lot. Now..... For the electrical schematics.......
This new feature appeared in our espresso machines today.
When you pack your Decent Espresso Machine into its suitcase, it would be nice for all the water inside to be pushed out, so that it doesn't leak all over the inside of your suitcase.
So... first you slide your water tank forward in preparation. Then, the espresso machine closes the appropriate valves and runs the water pump through each section where water might be hiding. Because the pumps are "self priming", they're actually fairly good at blowing air forward as well. The whole process takes about 30 seconds.
My apologies for the amateurish photo-graphic that I used to implement this feature. Joćo is rendering something attractive to replace it in the next tablet revision.
Here's an update on our progress in putting together a lean, mean, espresso building machine.
The "ADVANCED PROFILE" editor, which allows you to create virtually any espresso program you like, has been the big remaining unimplemented feature in our espresso machine.
As of today, it (mostly) works, as it's available as a free "app upgrade" inside the tablet software to the Decent Espresso Machine.
Advanced shots can do some interesting things:
- different goal temperatures at different steps in the espresso
- pauses, with no water flow (for preinfusion, or for making a pour-over coffee)
- espresso with more than 3 steps (which can be created in the easier-to-use Pressure and Flow profile editors)
- mixing flow and pressure control strategies, inside a single espresso
- a step in espresso making can conditionally move onto the next step when a certain flow or pressure "exit condition" is met.
I'm attaching some screen pictures of samples of my testing the DE1+ in different ways.
PS: I wrote "(mostly) works" because there are two aspects which aren't yet working, but should be next week:
1) ending an espresso step based on total volume (for now, use "seconds" to control a step)
2) setting the water at a constant temperature (not adapting to the puck temperature sensor) is not yet implemented.
Everything else about the Advanced Shots seems to work, though I do expect that there will be bugs for us to fix, as real users make espresso with this new technology.
Is there an updated download to familiarise ourselves with the shot editor in the windows/Linux environment? I'll be interested in how long it takes me after my machine arrives before I start fiddling with the shot editor. It will happen, but there's lots to learn and adjust to first.
That being said, I have uploaded the "advanced shot" changes to the latest desktop versions as well, so you can :
Major proviso: it's 7pm here, and I'm going home now. I see at least one GUI bug (loading the new "Pour Over" profile is very slow) that I will fix tomorrow.
There are probably more GUI bugs, as I've just finished stomping out a half dozen bugs, and I'm certain more will pop up in the next 48h.
And for your amusement, here is a GIF animation I made of a "Pour over" program, which is potentially a useful application of this new feature.
Thanks for that info John. As it's 10:30 pm here I'll give us both a break and look into it tomorrow on a bigger screen and also try the update button. Enjoy your evening.
In other news, there's real factory progress to report this week.
3 new people started this week, and we pulled all the engineers away from their desks, so we could have 10 total people working on building machines. That's a big increase from 2 people in the factory previously.
We believe we will have all the "sub assemblies" for 20 machines built by the end of Friday (today), and on Monday we will start final assembly of them all. We should have shipped all 20 220V machines by the end of next week.
If so, that will represent a 4x increase in assembly speed (from 0.5 machines/day to 2 machines/day), but we think we should reach 3 to 4 machines a day very shortly, because quite a bit of the past 2 weeks has been us cleaning and organizing. That's mostly done now, and we can start to reap the benefits.
Attached are some photos I took today.
Is there a straight android apk of the DE1+ software available for sideloading and without androwish? Or is androwish required even for running the DE1+ software in final release form on th tablet?
I find myself paying very close attention to machine assembly updates now. I can hardly wait.
To use your own tablet, you do need to use Androwish and follow the instructions at https://decentespresso.com/downloads
I decided not to go down the APK route, for a bunch of reasons. The decision was discussed on various forums and consensus was "stay open source" and "don't give google control over your app distribution".
Most recently, Google has been adding rules that bar new updates of apps to old Android OSes, unless the app supports all the latest Android tech. That sort of thing makes me very nervous, as I can envision Google deciding we are no longer allowed to issue updates to the Android 5.1 app (what you guys are getting) unless we also support the latest Android 8.0 tech (which is costly to do, and mostly irrelevant to our coffee-oriented needs).
You'll also find it pleasant to find the entire DE1+ app located in an easy to find directory of:
so that you can use a USB cable and easily move things to/from the tablet.
Have to agree with your reasons re: Google.
I've just ordered a new battery for my old 7" nexus 7 (2012) to use as a backup if the DE1+ tablet goes belly up for some reason. Gotta keep that coffee coming.
Is there an init or config file to edit so I don't have to manually load the DE1+ program into Androwish each time?
Do we have any information about when more pre-orders will be accepted? The website says:
Since it's already getting close to May, I wondered if there was any update on this.Once shipping, we will take orders for our February 2018 manufacturing run, delivering those machines in early spring.
If my memory is correct, the specs on our tablets are almost identical to the Google Nexus 8.
FYI the DE1+ tablet app works best on tablets with one of these resolutions: 1280x800 (720P), 1920x1280 (1080p), 2560x1600 (name?) but will auto-resize itself to other dimensions.
https://decentespresso.com/downloads you will be hand-loading a script only once, which then puts a DE1+ icon on your Android desktop.
Alternatively, if you're technical and you have "adb" installed on your computer (while your tablet is usb connected), you can install the icon by running this command:
adb shell am start -n tk.tcl.wish/.AndroWishLauncher -a android.intent.action.ACTION_VIEW -e arg file:///sdcard/de1plus/create_de1plus_icon.tcl
1) we actually are able to make machines, on a fairly dependable schedule
2) some detailed user reviews came out.
Thus far, we've shipped 15 espresso machines out (all 110V), and there have been some reviews, but nothing really detailed. 10 days ago, we were able to make 0.5 machines per day, this week we should be at about 2 to 2.5 machines made per day.
I'd rather not take money from people until:
1) they can read real reviews of the machine for themselves and not have to (as prebuyers have done) depend on our claims about how "super-awesome" our machine is
2) we would be able to give people a realistic delivery date.
Those two conditions haven't yet been met, but hopefully in the next 4 weeks, they will be.
20 machines at 220V should ship this week.
Shin (our man in Korea) was demoing to some serious baristas, who were unimpressed that the water coming out of the shower screen was so uneven. After a bit of head scratching, we found that taking out the shower screen and cleaning the coffee off of it fixed the problem.
(n.b.: this is an example of how we're planning on doing most tech support. A short video shows the problem, and the solution. Few words or language necessary. The next revision of this video will show the parts being cleaned. Great for our many customers for whom English is not so easy)
Thanks for the detailed response John. This is a great way to do business.
I am assuming I can just use a terminal on the nexus (it's rooted and I can do what I like with system files) instead of adb shell to install the icon.
We had to go to BLE (aka Bluetooth 4) as that is the only bluetooth standard that Apple supports on its iDevices.
Update: Just tried connecting the nexus to a BT4.2 device (speaker) and it worked fine. So I guess there is still hope.
Last edited by gc; 23rd April 2018 at 11:31 AM.
A challenge for home espresso machines is to decide when they're out of water. Some machines wait until the very last drop, but that might be in the middle of steaming or making an Americano when you least want this to happen. Drinkus interruptus.
With our espresso machine, we decided that once you started making your drink, we should let you use the last drop. However, if you haven't started your drink, we should try to anticipate the amount of water you might need and ask you to refill if we're worried you don't have enough for the drink you might make. The idea is to save you from yourself.
As of today, I've made "how much water is enough" configurable by you.
For example, the new "Pour Over" profile use a lot more water than espresso, so it's easy to run out mid-pour-over (whoops). We've also heard from some of you that you like a Big Americano, using more water than most other people do.
On the other hand, nothing seems to irritate people more than a machine that declares "out of water" when there's still plenty in the water tank, so there's a balance to be struck. You get to set the balance that works for you.
As of today, you can indicate how much water there needs to be in the tank (in terms of millimeters of water depth) before the espresso machine asks you to add more.
Those of you who have bought our PRO model will find that your espresso machine remains automatically topped up to whatever level you set using this new feature. It's the point at which the Refill Pump turns on.
The support you need for connecting to a Decent machine is support for BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). BLE was introduced as part of the Bluetooth 4 standard, but Bluetooth 4 also includes "Classic Bluetooth," which is almost certainly what your speaker supports. Moreover, a BT4.2 speaker could well be backward compatible with, say, BT3.
So a BT4.2 speaker doesn't necessarily use BLE, and connecting to a BT4.2 speaker doesn't necessarily mean your connection is using the BT4.2 protocol.
We're doing the final assembly of 20 espresso machines at once. This is the first time we've done such a large batch. Because of its complexity and small size, this last step is a bit more fiddly than we'd like. It took us 7 day work days, starting at zero, to get to this point. There is probably another half day of work left to move these machines over to testing and burnin.
Besides programming, my job is also to prepare Android tablets for use with an espresso machine. We hadn't expected it, but Shin's USB cable actually melted when he brought his machine home. We hadn't thought to test each cable.
Also, some beta testers found their tablets to be out of battery power so they couldn't make coffee right away with their new toy. Major Bummer.
After I update and load each tablet, I'm plugging each into a "smart USB charger" to keep it fully charged. This has the advantage of testing the USB cable that we'll be sending you. One cable (of 40) was defective today (the USB charger screen went blank when I plugged it in).
This new approach also lets me test each tablet's charging and battery, because the next morning, each tablet should be 100% topped up and no longer charging.
In the attached image, you can see that the tablet on port #6 is acting crazily. Sadly (sort of), the problem turned out to be the USB charger: the tablet, plugged into another port, was fine. Sigh.
I have enough chargers for 24 tablets "ready to ship", and just ordered enough chargers to up that to 80 tablets (make that 79, due to a defective port, argh)
Our goal is to plan for 40 machines made and shipped per week. That's 8 per day. We're currently at 2.5 machines made per day, but I think that our next batch will be at 4 machines made per day.
Between now and the end of June, we need to achieve 6 machines made and shipped per day, in order to hit our goal of shipping the remaining 265 machines people have already paid for.
DE1+ owner Damian Scisci has made a video showing his experiments making a "pour over" inside a portafilter basket, with a aeropress filter in the basket, and the "advanced profile" editor on his Decent Espresso machine.
20 espresso machines
This was the first time we've built 20 machines at once (previous time was 5 at once). We were pretty excited to get them all done, and 3 new hires started last week, helping with this.
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85% failure rate
Our rejoicing at having built 20 espresso machines in 8 days didn't last long.
This morning, only 3 of the 20 machines passed the hipot safety tests: the other 17 failed. "hipot" runs 1700 volts (!!!) through the machine to make sure that the insulation is everywhere sufficient to prevent a potential electric shock. If any wires are too close, or not sufficient insulated, this test complains. Loudly. Literally: it's in the standard that the test gear should fail with a piercing sound.
I'm annoyed at myself because as I poked my head this morning to try to offer a helpful tip, I saw something that didn't look right to me, but I thought "no, that can't be it" and didn't speak up.
Four hours later, Johnny figured out the problem, and it indeed was what my hunch had told me.
On the 220V water heaters, one of the electrical connectors is soldered on by the factory at a different rotation than on the 110V water heaters. On 17 machines This caused the cable that plugged into it to push against the "flush diffuser" box.
Under normal 220V power, this probably wouldn't cause a problem. But at 1700V, even with the silicone insulation, electricity would jump through the insulation.
Thankfully, the solution is really simple and doesn't require us to take apart the machines. Some pliers inside the machine to bend the steam connection counter-clockwise, so it doesn't touch anything, and now the hipot test is happy.
Now I know why the safety standard requires every single machine to be hipot tested.