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Thread: Decent Espresso Machines (DE1) - Any thoughts?

  1. #1601
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    I've tried a bunch of machines that do this, but the problem is that the thermometer needs to be thermally isolated from the steam and also located far away from the steam outlet.

    That usually means that the steam wand is quite thick in order to provide the thermal isolation.

    Breville has done the best job of this that I've seen, but I still think it's pretty unacceptable to advanced users.

    -john
    Attachment 20283
    Wouldn't it be possible to use a laser projecting out from just after the U bend in the wand? If so, you could potentially just tap a second hole into whatever pivot point you are using. Then you could place a very thin metal rod into the pivot and have it parallel the steam wand up to and around the U bend, stop just after the u bend and then have the temperature laser turn on whenever steaming is activated so that it is constantly reading the temperature just to the side of the steam wand. I imagine you would need to custom make a silicone sheath that would slide over both the steam wand and the thermoprobe wand to make it look good, but then they would be totally isolated except at the pivot point and would add zero thickness from the U point onward while allowing at minimum a secondary method of verifying temperature.

    I don't know much about laser thermometers but if it reacts quickly enough would it be possible to just bypass the whole steam pressure system and just use real time temperatures? Then perhaps an advanced option could be provided for users that wanted to select a volume of milk prior to steaming so the computer could create the appropriate steam strength in café models, if the owner decided that was better than just going by temperature alone.




    ----

    on a side note, I was a little confused about the earlier post where you were talking about how the steaming would affect the weight. If you were using a program that only needed to know the weight and starting temperature of the milk to determine steaming time, and if you assume a constant start temperature, then wouldn't you only have to know that one single weight prior to starting steaming? If so then I didn't understand the comments about how the steaming would create problems, since you would not actually need to weigh while steaming.

    I was assuming that the scale could be used to tare the pitcher and then weigh the milk, and then the weight would be done and not needed anymore. Though that might be more irritating a step than just pushing a volume button on the tablet since the pitchers have volume markings already (if they are printed accurately enough anyway), so the unless there were some way for the machine to already know what pitcher you are using and know the weight of that pitcher so the user didn't have to enter the information at all, you are right and it's probably just an obtrusive step.

  2. #1602
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    Café model shape and size

    compared.jpg

    We are currently working on the design of the chassis for the café version of our decent espresso machine.

    We need to make it larger in order to enable steam during brew, as well as twice as powerful steaming. We also want a little bit more space inside to make it easier to repair in commercial environments.

    The café version will be capable of sitting on a countertop or going into an inset bracket, where it becomes flush with the countertop. I quite like the inset look, but I don't want to require it of people since it requires a much larger cut into their work surface.

    With the café version, the tubing goes directly downwards in the back has a second panel which hides all electrical and water connections. That way the back can face the public.

    I'm also moving to a significantly higher-end Android tablet, this one featuring an 11" screen (vs 8") and 2560x1600 resolution (four times the normal tablet we use). The screen is made by Toshiba and is really clear.

    The steam wand has also been redesigned, specifically to enable faster in/out movements, and also to make steam 1 Liter easier. And this should all support hands-free steaming, too.

    The cafe model needs to be able to work unplumbed, plumbed to water tanks, or plumbed to a pressurized water source.

    Our next challenge is trying to suspend the drip tray cover on four load cells so that we can invisibly weigh espresso and not require a scale. I'm not sure yet how to do this in a way that isn't ugly. There might need to be a modification to the aesthetics of the side view.

    This model will be 220V only.

    Attached to this message are several renders of the current design in progress, compared to the current DE1 models.

    -john
    Last edited by decentespresso; 3 Weeks Ago at 12:36 AM.

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    v1.1 shipping restart : a progress report

    v11b.jpg

    As (pessimistically) expected, a few of our suppliers have asked for a bit more time. We have not yet restarted our espresso machine production line.

    There are 200 components in the machine, and all have to be here in order for us to ship one machine. That's a lot of dependencies!

    At the moment, the last parts are expected to arrive by October 30.

    However, we've also encountered three issues that we need to solve in order to get our factory shipping completed espresso machines again:

    1) the first 200 leg bases arrived with a slight twist in the front (left photos). The company that made them for us says they can be twisted by hand, without damaging the paint. We'll see.

    2) On the group head parts made of brass, three small holes that were supposed to be tapped to allow a threaded screw, were instead tapped all the way through to the other side (top right photo). That makes for a very leaky group head! Thankfully, the CNC manufacturer agreed that this is their mistake, because the sample parts they sent us did not have this flaw. They have agreed to remake these at their cost.

    3) There is a slight leak in the group brass part when under pressure, around the two water temperature probes (bottom right photo). We're not yet sure why, as this has not appreciably changed since version 1.0 (no leaks there). We think that a slightly thicker silicone O-ring will solve this. We have one group head that is tested and not leaking, and now need to test 30 more to make sure this approach works.

    Of course, the 14 people in our little espresso machine factory are busy assembling all the other parts that will go into the espresso machine.

    I still expect that we will be able to ship out the 100 already sold Pro machines by the end of December, so that we can start taking orders for the Plus machines in January, and shipping very quickly as the orders come in.

    -john

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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    v11b.jpg

    As (pessimistically) expected, a few of our suppliers have asked for a bit more time. We have not yet restarted our espresso machine production line.

    There are 200 components in the machine, and all have to be here in order for us to ship one machine. That's a lot of dependencies!

    At the moment, the last parts are expected to arrive by October 30.

    However, we've also encountered three issues that we need to solve in order to get our factory shipping completed espresso machines again:

    1) the first 200 leg bases arrived with a slight twist in the front (left photos). The company that made them for us says they can be twisted by hand, without damaging the paint. We'll see.

    2) On the group head parts made of brass, three small holes that were supposed to be tapped to allow a threaded screw, were instead tapped all the way through to the other side (top right photo). That makes for a very leaky group head! Thankfully, the CNC manufacturer agreed that this is their mistake, because the sample parts they sent us did not have this flaw. They have agreed to remake these at their cost.

    3) There is a slight leak in the group brass part when under pressure, around the two water temperature probes (bottom right photo). We're not yet sure why, as this has not appreciably changed since version 1.0 (no leaks there). We think that a slightly thicker silicone O-ring will solve this. We have one group head that is tested and not leaking, and now need to test 30 more to make sure this approach works.

    Of course, the 14 people in our little espresso machine factory are busy assembling all the other parts that will go into the espresso machine.

    I still expect that we will be able to ship out the 100 already sold Pro machines by the end of December, so that we can start taking orders for the Plus machines in January, and shipping very quickly as the orders come in.

    -john
    Oh man, that does not sound like a great supplier to say the least (twist legs supplier). Hopefully it works well, but even if it does they should give you a partial refund for the manual labor required. And twisting 200 legs and zero of them having complications?

    I would also worry that they would be structurally unsound after twisting, no chance that they twist back more easily than they would if they had not been twisted in the first place?

  5. #1605
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    Decent Accessory Customer Map

    acc-labelled.jpg

    We've sold an espresso-making accessory (tamper, milk thermometer, basket, etc) to 2834 different people worldwide. Here's where they are in the world.

    It's a similar map to our "espresso machine customers" map, but a bit more diverse.

    -john
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  6. #1606
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    Quote Originally Posted by day View Post
    Oh man, that does not sound like a great supplier to say the least (twist legs supplier). Hopefully it works well, but even if it does they should give you a partial refund for the manual labor required. And twisting 200 legs and zero of them having complications? I would also worry that they would be structurally unsound after twisting, no chance that they twist back more easily than they would if they had not been twisted in the first place?
    I have all those same worries.

    Thankfully, this was just an initial batch of 200 legs that they provided, so that the other 550 legs they still need to make should not have this problem.

    Also thankfully, the legs attached to the espresso machine with four bolts from the bottom, so if ever there is a problem, they are easily replaced.

    I'm just thankful that the list of problems we have to solve is fairly minor.

    Looking back almost a year ago, I find it to be a minor miracle that we managed to get version 1.0 out at all, given the huge complexity of the task and the myriad problems (not so minor) that we had to solve at the time.

    My hope is that in another year we will be able to stop/restart the production line without any major issues for us to solve. That may however be a pipe dream. :-)

    -john

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    Plumbing kit progress

    plumkit1.jpg

    We today received a dozen handbuilt plumbing kits, for us to fully test before 500 more of these are assembled for us.

    These are for connecting a decent espresso machine to a pressurized water source. A special-purpose valve is inside the box and which does several things:
    - lets water flow into the espresso machine when the water tank gets low, and stops automatically when the water level is acceptable again. There is a 30-second timeout mechanism to prevent overflowing in the unhappy case where the water level sensor failed. This timeout can also happen if the tap has been manually shut off and no water is entering. In either case, the user is asked to confirm and tap on the screen to restart another refill attempt.
    - The valve has a flow constrictor which lowers the pressure and flow, because "city" water can be much higher pressure than we want
    - has a safety mechanism in it which absolutely guarantees that water cannot circulate back into the tap. This is required as part of the EU compliance.

    As part of our design, we wanted all the electronics on one side of the box and all the water connectors on the other. To do this, we needed a specially designed U-bend tube. This wasn't something that we could simply buy and we had to have it molded. The top right photo shows a six cavity mold that we had made to create this tube. Since it was made for us, it even as our name on the tube. :-D

    The bottom left photo shows you the tubing that we will be including with this. There is a quick connect that automatically clicks onto the back, and fittings are included for both European and English/American taps.

    Just a bit of nomenclature to clarify something:
    - the box that connects to pressurized water is called the "plumbing kit"
    - the box that connects to a tank of water is called the "catering kit"
    - these two things together, along with a plumbed drip tray, is what we call the "refill kit" and will shortly be supplied to all these Decent espresso machine pro customers.

    The whole box is made of metal, with rubber feet identical to the decent espresso machine there is a bracket which allows it to be firmly attached to the back of the espresso machine, or hung on a wall.

    We've given the go-ahead to have the rest of these made now for us. In the past, we have hand build everything ourselves, but for these refill kits, we are experimenting with having someone else do the assembly for us. It's much more time-consuming on the startup side, but once everything is in place it's great to have someone else do this work for us so we can focus on espresso machines, which are much more difficult to build than this part

    -john
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    A bit off topic from espresso machines....

    milljugs2.jpg

    Decent Milk Jugs Around the World
    Big version: http://magnatune.com/p/milljugs2.jpg

    I thought I'd collect photos from Instagram of people using our milk jug.

    Once I started searching, I was really surprised (and flattered) by these photos, many of which are funny, clever or artistic.

    The story behind the milk jug is this:

    - I was slowly improving my coffee-making skills and found that the taste of milky drinks was extremely sensitive to dilution. I started weighing my milk, and my girlfriend liked about 10% more milk than I did.

    - I also found it easier to regularly get the same latte art, if the milk quantity in the jug was also regular. The end of the latte art pour is where all the action is, and it's over in just a few seconds. That last foam needs to be reliable.

    - and milk waste in cafes is terrible. Rao did an experiment weighing the total wasted milk in a day, at his Montreal cafe. I think I remember him saying it was around 20%.

    - and I was trying to get precision lines in my art. Jessica Rice helped me get a private forum together of latte art competitors, to advise on the design. They all wanted the pointed tip, which is how that came about.

    -john

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    knocking off a great design

    I’m working with Lisbon-based Joao Tomas recently to create short movies of our espresso machine and accessories. Here’s a short one of our knockbox. He’s the reason that everything we do has a very European, modern aesthetic. https://decentespresso.com/knockbox



    The knockbox design was a particularly difficult challenge, because a knockbox is basically a trash can with a bar across it. How to make that attractive?

    knockmoet.jpg

    I ended up stealing a page out of the book "steal like an artist" https://austinkleon.com/steal/ and nicking the Moet Chandon champagne bucket designs, but modified to be wider, stronger (for banging on), and cut out more in front.

    -john
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    Unbending legs



    A week ago, I reported that 200 espresso machine legs arrived here, for our version 1.1 machines, with an outward bend to them. https://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-e...tml#post639160

    To fix this, they made this jig for us, that allows careful re-bending so that they're straight. They're sending this jig to us, and they made this video for us, showing us how to use it.

    It's a bit of work, but it'll allow us to avoid delays in getting our v1.1 production started again.

    The next 550 legs they're making for us, shouldn't have this issue (I hope).

    -john

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    Skale Stands now for sale

    skale_stand_detail.jpg

    Skale Stands now for sale
    https://decentespresso.com/scale

    As I previously reported https://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-e...tml#post638825 I have been working with a friend of Scott Rao’s, namely Dan Eils https://www.instagram.com/dan_eils/ to 3D print the scale stands for us, allowing you to make weighed espressos with the scale underneath the drip tray.

    Dan has also put a lot of computer time in redesigning the stand to prevent warping and to make it lighter. He has sent me two prototypes that I’ve tested for him.

    I don’t really have a good feel for how many people want this, so I have put the stand up for sale here: https://decentespresso.com/scale

    In a few days, I will ask Dan to 3D print some quantity of these stands to match the order quantity and then some.

    I’m estimating that it will take a few weeks for them to get 3D printed in Los Angeles, sent to us in Hong Kong, and then sent out to people who have bought them.

    -john

  12. #1612
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    Quote Originally Posted by day View Post
    Wouldn't it be possible to use a laser projecting out from just after the U bend in the wand? <snip>

    I don't know much about laser thermometers
    The laser part of a "laser thermometer" is just a laser pointer so you know where the actual measuring part (an infra red detector) is measuring.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyrebird View Post
    The laser part of a "laser thermometer" is just a laser pointer so you know where the actual measuring part (an infra red detector) is measuring.
    I have an infrared thermometer gun, and it can't get an accurate read on foaming milk. Perhaps because of the foam on top or the white color.

    We can get an accurate infrared temperature read off the black metal milk jug, but it's a quite a few seconds behind the milk temperature.

    So, neither approach works all that well.

    -john

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    John’s openness about issues is a big lesson to other manufacturers in general. The fact that he is so upfront, I am always left with the impression that if there is an issue it will be fixed - as opposed to the fight you have to have with many other businesses. (I was pleasantly surprised recently when Samsung fixed my fridge even though it was 18 months out of warranty - they recognised a design fault and could not be more helpful - guess which brand is top of my list next time I buy a fridge?)

    Congratulations on your approach John - I hope it builds a loyal customer (fan) base and that you get rich off this machine.... well at least don’t lose money and that you get recognition for being a pioneer.

    Now if I hadn’t bought that ECM 18 months ago....... Maybe when you hit v2!
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    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    I have an infrared thermometer gun, and it can't get an accurate read on foaming milk. Perhaps because of the foam on top or the white color.
    It might be doable, turns out La Cimbali patented the idea a few years ago: EP2389848A1

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyrebird View Post
    It might be doable, turns out La Cimbali patented the idea a few years ago: EP2389848A1
    Indeed. I'm used to reading US patents, which have clear "claims". This patent seems to describe the claimants thinking, which I find odd reading:

    https://patents.google.com/patent/EP2389848A1/pt-BR
    [0012] The Applicant has realized that a device forheating and foaming milk, in which the control of the temperatureof the milk inside the container in which it isheated and/or foamed is effected by means of a temperaturesensor outside the wand, remedies the drawbacksdescribed above.[0013] According to a principal feature of the presentinvention, the device is provided with a temperaturetransducer without contact with the liquid to be measured.In the preferred embodiments, the temperature transducercomprises an infrared sensor. Preferably, the detectionof the temperature of the liquid contained in the containertakes place via detection of the temperature of atleast one portion of the outer surface of the container.
    However, the description previous to this describes their foam creation device, which this patent seems to be an extension of:
    Inparticular, the device described in WO 03/092458 comprisesa steam generating boiler, conveying means, (i.e.wand) provided with an open end immersible in a jugcontaining the milk to be heated and foamed, a first pipefor feeding in steam, connected between the boiler andthe conveying means, an intercepting device placed onthe first pipe, a compressor for generating pressurizedair, a motor for operating the compressor, a second pipefor feeding in pressurized air, connected between the aircompressor and the conveying means, a temperature sensitiveelement associated with the immersible end ofthe conveying means for detecting the temperature ofthe milk in the container, a control unit connected to theintercepting device, to the pressurized air generatingcompressor and also to the temperature-sensitive element.
    I'd have to ask a lawyer, but it's not clear to me if the infrared claim depends on this sort of frothing design or not.

    Well, whatever, I don't think this is a great technical solution anyway (too much latency, and that latency depends on the color & thickness of the milk jug). We're preferring to measure the heat output of our steam, and indirectly calculate the milk temperature that way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve7 View Post
    is a big lesson to other manufacturers in general.
    There's a bit of simple maths that I like to refer to when thinking about "taking care of customers".

    If 10% of our clients need their machine repaired, and it costs us 10% of the purchase price to get the machine and repair it....

    Then it'll cost us 1% of the total purchase price to repair those customer's machines (at no cost to the customer).

    So... a 1% cost on revenue, gives us happy clients who refer us to their friends.

    Seems like a "no brainer".

    With our first version espresso machine (the version most likely to have issues), about 8% have thus far experienced problems needing a repair. It costs us USD$225 to ship the machine from/to the client, plus a few hours of labor on our part to repair it, and communicate with them. Even if you double the repair incidence, you still have a nice looking spreadsheet.

    -john
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    So... a 1% cost on revenue, gives us happy clients who refer us to their friends.

    -john
    Anyone writing a marketing text book - here is your quote for the chapter on customer loyalty and the cost of not providing good service.

    Sounding like a fan boy here - but I do have a separate question - on your 10 gram basket.

    I am mostly making a single cup for me on an E61 machine and bought your 10g basket to try as an alternative to the single that came with my machine. Given yours does not have the funnel shape that most smaller baskets have, I am finding it hard to get a pour that lasts more than about 12 seconds - unless I grind the coffee into a very fine powder and tamp very hard. I'm putting about 11.5 grams into the basket.

    I couldn't find any suggestions on your website - but happy to be pointed in the right direction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve7 View Post
    on your 10 gram basket. I am mostly making a single cup for me on an E61 machine and bought your 10g basket to try as an alternative to the single that came with my machine. Given yours does not have the funnel shape that most smaller baskets have, I am finding it hard to get a pour that lasts more than about 12 seconds - unless I grind the coffee into a very fine powder and tamp very hard. I'm putting about 11.5 grams into the basket
    I'm not a great expert on the 10 g baskets, as I don't use them very often.

    However, I'm wondering what the problem is with the solution you offered in the middle of your question. :-)
    "unless I grind the coffee into a very fine powder and tamp very hard"

    I have generally found it to be the case that the lower the dose in the basket, the better your preparation has to be. My everyday basket is 15 g, by the way.

    On a separate point, if you have manual control on your E 61, then five seconds of flow, then five seconds of pause, might help you make better shots. When I used to have a two group E 61 as my main machine, that was my routine.

    – John
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    Decent Scale Progress

    scalewhite2.jpg

    The plastic molds for our Decent Scale https://decentespresso.com/scale are now complete. We're working on the PCB and firmware now.

    In the middle-left photo you can see what the scale will look like in the end. White plastic is used in this prototype model instead.

    Detail photos show:
    - the USB charge port, which I put underneath the scale, to protect it from water from above/sides
    - the single piece of plastic that covers the entire scale from all sides, except from the bottom. The aim is perfect waterproofness from everywhere except below
    - there are no physical buttons: a proximity sensor behind the cover senses your finger near the O and [] buttons

    This scale will be BLE capable, sell for AU$136, be 0.1g accurate, and 2kg capable. The BLE spec will be published and open so that other apps can work with it.

    Over time, my intention is to write a variety of apps for this scale. Initially, these will be for Android (same as the DE1+) but with time, they'll work on Linux and eventually iOS.

    Use of this scale when not BLE connected is very simple:
    - O button tares weight
    - [] button starts/pauses/restarts the timer

    More fancy "wizard" functions, like those that Brewista and Acaia do on the scale itself, will here be transferred to the app.

    From reviews (and my personal use) it's my opinion that multi-step operations (such as pour-overs) would be easier to follow (and configure) on an app.

    I'm also thinking of having a "Tablet + Decent Scale" more expensive combination package for sale, where all the apps are pre-installed and the scale is pre-paired. Much like our espresso machine. I could then include a LOT of interesting weight-based functionality.

    What do you think?

    -john
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    Ideally the scale and thermometer should be blue tooth and talk to the app to complete the level of control this machine is capable of. It’s all integrated in the way smart phones/smart watches etc have become.

    The Decent is going to be the bench mark other companies will try to duplicate. You can see this modern approach is the way it’s logically going. Just look at the new Rocket. . .

    Decent will get there first! The quality and reliability have to be excellent to keep the lead, but I’m sure John is well aware other companies are joining the race.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mekanik View Post
    Ideally the scale and thermometer should be blue tooth and talk to the app to complete the level of control this machine is capable of. It’s all integrated in the way smart phones/smart watches etc have become.
    I'd love to have a bluetooth milk thermometer.

    Unfortunately, high quality thermometers are surprisingly hard to make, which is why I work with the German company "Mingle". They modify their roasting thermometer for us, to make it into a milk thermometer.

    Mingle hasn't yet gone into Bluetooth, so I'm waiting for them to do so.
    https://www.mingle-instrument.de/digital/

    I'm more concerned with accurate and fast temperature readings, than I am with having bluetooth, which is why I stick with Mingle, instead of going with a lower quality thermometer that might have bluetooth.

    -john

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    Don't have a meltdown

    One of the more annoying problems we had with our v1.0 espresso machine came from an unlikely place: our short USB charging cable had a tendency to melt.

    About 20% of our customers had this problem. It turns out that the attractive and unusual design I chose for our USB connector had a failure-prone internal design.

    meltedcable.jpg

    In retrospect, that's not surprising, as this USB connector design was exceptional slim.

    We ended up building a custom high-amperage USB circuit, to stress test our cables, and weed out the iffy ones. About 40% of our existing cables failed this test.

    This was a somewhat expensive problem for us because besides replacing the cables, we also replaced the tablets when the cable melting also melted a bit of the tablet chassis.

    We tried to get the internal design improved with our existing supplier, by adding additional insulation around the connections. In the end, though, I lost confidence in them, and I decided to find a new supplier who had a problem-free design.

    There was also a slight other problem, that the insulation on the USB-A side was a bit thicker than we wanted, and so the USB cable didn't plug in solidly to the espresso machine. It was prone to falling out if you moved the tablet a bit.

    meltdown1.jpg

    In the attached photo you can see the new cable. The connector to the tablet is more traditional. We cut back the insulation and were pleased to see large, well-isolated terminal points. All of the samples we've received have passed our home-made stress test.

    On the USB-A side of this cable, the insulation stops about 2mm earlier, allowing a secure, solid connection to the espresso machine.

    I went with a fabric mesh cable because it bends elegantly. Normal insulated USB cables looked like ski accident victims, with awkward bends in this position.

    I've also added 5mm to the length, to allow a bit more tablet maneuverability, without the cable protruding too much in an ugly way.

    I'm preparing an "update pack" that will be sent to all existing v1.0 customs. Among other things (such as an electroplated drip tray cover), it will have this new cable. And all v1.1 espresso machine customers will have this new cable.

    I would have loved for the v1.0 machines to be problem free, but so far I'm thankful that the problems we've found have been with easily replaced, external components.

    -john
    Dimal, matth3wh, RavenMad and 1 others like this.

  24. #1624
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Meltdowns suck!


    Java "Staying cool" phile
    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

  25. #1625
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post

    … I'm preparing an "update pack" that will be sent to all existing v1.0 customs. Among other things (such as an electroplated drip tray cover), it will have this new cable. ...
    Another reason to love my DE1+
    gc likes this.

  26. #1626
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    Pro steam wand option

    prowand.jpg

    Some Decent Espresso customers have asked if it’s possible to have the steam wand I designed for the upcoming DE1CAFE model, but on the DE1+ or DE1PRO machine.

    I had our steam wand supplier make a short run of these, and they’re now available for sale:
    https://decentespresso.com/de1plus#prowand

    We’ll be making a video and instructions for existing Decent clients to retrofit their machines. All they’ll need is two wrenches. For new clients that buy a machine from us, we’ll pre-install the steam wand if they buy it at the same time.

    I priced this at USD$179, as compared to the equivalent concept for the La Marzocco GS/3 which costs USD$263 (47% more expensive) and which is not "cool touch" as ours is. They write "Once you have switched to the Pro Steam Wand, remember that the metal on the steam wand will get extremely hot." https://home.lamarzoccousa.com/produ...onversion-kit/

    -john

  27. #1627
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    James Hoffmann reviews DE1+ Decent Espresso machine


  28. #1628
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    For discussion: New Yorker article

    This fascinating article by the New Yorker discusses what happens when a formerly low-tech discipline (medicine) becomes computerized.
    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2...heir-computers

    The title is misleading (the original published titled was "The Upgrade"), because the direction of the article is much more nuanced. Much of this article spoke directly to what we are trying to do in the world of espresso.

    A few takeaways from this article:

    • When you computerize medecine, you suddenly have many more things you can accomplish. The original goal of servicing doctor's needs is no longer the single goal.
    • Better care, avoiding mistakes, cost management, and transparency all become doable.
    • All these new goals are compelling and virtually everyone wants them to happen.
    • However, all these new goals depend on good data, well entered into the system.
    • This expansion of what the doctors visit becomes, suddenly causes more work for doctors.
    • The impact (on many fronts) of that doctor's visit are now significantly greater.
    • Initially, all this new data is overwhelming to the doctor, and the tools need to evolve quickly to assist. If they don't, the new data becomes noise quickly and the computerized system self-destructs.
    • Data entry needs to be made as easy as possible. Unclean data is worse then useless: it obstructs.
    • "evolution" and "selection", at the same time, as the key to success.


    Here's how I think this applies to the decent espresso project:

    • decent is computerizing an old occupation that has been low data, low-tech for a long time
    • The goals are all things people want: a better average espresso, your worst espresso being still very good, and occasionally the best espresso of your life. Some people have specialized goals, such as getting good extractions from very difficult ultralight roasts. Or very high percentage extractions to use less coffee and save costs.
    • The current decent tablet software gives you a lot of data, but I've tried to balance that because I have a fear of information overload for the barista.
    • However, the current software falls more on the "too much information" side than the "not enough information" side.
    • I've made this choice, as the interface designer, because experts don't yet know how to interpret all the data in a way that makes better coffee.
    • As human beings start to understand what this data means, I will start to program these insights into the software, and reduce the amount of data shown to users.
    • Sometimes, the computer can act on behalf of the barista to solve problems without them needing to intervene. Automatic "channel healing", For example.
    • Another example: because our temperature regulation has been getting significantly better this past year, I will soon not show by default the temperature of your espresso as it progresses. It will be available as a tap but not as default information that you have to visually screen out.
    • The article calls out "evolution" and "selection" as the keys. Evolution, in the Decent project, is a combination of my being heavily involved with users, and also open sourcing the software so I can get out of the way. Selection is through feedback on the forum, but also by implementing features as optional "skins" so that people can select what they want.


    Toward the end, there is a bit of a case study of the same technical situation in the construction industry, where many of the same insights emerge.

    A really thought-provoking article.


    Dimal and tinkerfrog like this.

  29. #1629
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    I attended quite a few "Human SIG" meetings when I was in Colorado. They specialise in human interfaces (i.e. the "looking glass" project is probably how most users would like to interface with their computer system).

    My first thought is to program a very, very limited basic interface with just a few choices - I recall your "make it OK no matter what" suggestion earlier in this thread. Then an intermediate interface (similar to your current "basic beginner" one) and then an advanced one with all options configurable and available for display / download in various formats.

    Allowing any user to "pick and choose" to display any item over and above that on the standard tablet should take care of most user's needs (including me, when my DE toy arrives).

    Some (bad hair) days you just want to press "start" and receive a reasonable caffeine fix.


    TampIt
    decentespresso likes this.

  30. #1630
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    Tech tip: how to remove a portafilter basket.


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