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Sunbeam 4800c Gauge & OPV Upgrade! Making very good shots now!

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  • Sunbeam 4800c Gauge & OPV Upgrade! Making very good shots now!

    I am a self confessed coffee snob after getting right into the art of coffee making since my wife bought me a sunbeam 4800c. The 4800c took me a long time to figure out how to get descent shots of espresso from it. My journey so far...

    I started off with ground coffee beans from the supermarket (yuch!). Then bought a Kyocera hand grinder for $70 online and I think its pretty good at grinding, I know there is a lot of discussions about paying big bucks for a good grinder and admmitedly I havent tried an expensive grinder yet, however I recommend the Kyocera that Im using and think it works very well.

    After a fair bit of searching and advice from this website from other people trying to get good coffee from their machine, I purchased a descent tamper (the plastic one that comes with the 4800c is fairly useless) and an unpressurised basket (also recommend). I also bought espresso shot glasses so I could easily measure the extraction volume within the 25-30 seconds

    The biggest thing I noticed was getting freshly roasted coffee beans from Newtown and the taste was so good as compared to the store bought beans. Then I was given a Tempo popcorn maker as a present and found out about roasted coffee beans with them at home. Bought green coffee beans so cheap and wow!, for anyone not roasting at home, please do -  it has made the biggest difference to my home coffees!!

    Now, i make pretty decent enough shots but found my machine wasnt consistent as it relied on my tamping pressure to adjust the pressure at the brew head. One coffee would be nice, then I would maybe not press slightly as much and the next shot would not be as nice. It frustrated me so much I nearly gave up on it. I think the sunbeam 6910 is the same on its extraction functioning, then I found info about OPV valves.

    I decided to buy a Vibiemme Domobar bypass valve and also a gauge so I knew what pressures I was adjusting to, and piped them in after the pump and before the Thermoblock (the thread was the same). I have now set the pressure to 10 bar and so far, the bitterness is gone and the shots are consistent and very nice. It costs only about $60 odd bucks to upgrade and makes a big difference. Also, the pressure drops immediately after extraction and stops spurting out when removing the portafilter (must be the valve letting air in?). I made an access hole at the side where the valve is and i can easily slide a screwdriver in and can now adjust the pressure without stripping down the machine again.

    Many people seem to go for name brand machines and say to save up to get a Silvia, but I cannot afford to pay that much for a coffee machine for starters and on a technical level, its a machine that has valves pump etc so can be modified to at least get better shots. Im not saying my machine pulls shots like a silvia or anything but Im happy with the results and am posting this to show other cheap model espresso machine owners that this is a cheap, easy mod that can make a big difference to their machine. I was so fed up with getting inconsistent shots that were always slightly bitter due to the high pressures from my machine but am now very happy with the results. I havent really found anyone modifying cheapish machines and recommend this.

    If anyone wants any more info please ask and here are some pictures of it fitted to my 4800c. Also, if anyone has an advice for me on bettering my coffee making, please let me know !!











  • #2
    Re: Sunbeam 4800c Gauge & OPV Upgrade! Making very good shots now!

    Neat modification.
    Where did you get the gauge from ?.. most of the ones i see cost $65 - $80 for the gauge alone.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Sunbeam 4800c Gauge & OPV Upgrade! Making very good shots now!

      I got the the Vibiemme valve for $39.75 online from stefanos espresso care. However, I was later contacted by Disave espresso parts in Vic, I could have gotten an expobar valve for $25.50 + $5.50 postage.

      Stefanos sell gauges from $30 upwards but you can get 16 bar pressure gauges online from RS components in NSW for $14.50 upwards. I got mine on ebay for $20 which is another option.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by karl_2020 View Post
        I got the the Vibiemme valve for $39.75 online from stefanos espresso care. However, I was later contacted by Disave espresso parts in Vic, I could have gotten an expobar valve for $25.50 + $5.50 postage.

        Stefanos sell gauges from $30 upwards but you can get 16 bar pressure gauges online from RS components in NSW for $14.50 upwards. I got mine on ebay for $20 which is another option.
        Very neat. I'm tempted to do this to my machine. Can you remember what you searched for on ebay to find the temp gauge? I'm guessing that the thin copper pipe in your picture leads to the temp gauge? did you need to buy that extra? and did you need to buy a T piece or any adapters?

        Have you thought about doing a PID temperature controller mod to your machine?

        Comment


        • #5
          Pics.pdf

          Yes, the thin copper pipe does lead to the temp gauge and it came with the temp gauge. I searched for espresso pressure gauge on ebay but i might have been lucky as i don't see any there at the mo. You can find my temp gauge with a pipe from stefanos espresso care with pipe for $44.95. But you can easily get one a lot cheaper from rs components.

          I got a 3 Ways 1/8" BSP Tee female brass coupler adapter and two 1/8"Bsp Male to 1/8"Bsp Male adapters which were a couple of bucks each. The threads are a perfect match. I then had some plumbing pipe sealant which goes around each thread and dries quickly to prevent leaksge. Then just some return hose and cable ties which were both about $1 from hardware store.

          NOTE: i had to very slightly cut the male part of the valve down a fraction so when i screw it into the pump it doesn't press against and damage the pump (I learnt that from someone's post who modified their 6910)

          I've deffo thought about how i can temp adjust but because it's a thermo block system and not a boiler i'm not sure if it can really be done well but i'm open to suggestions.!!!!

          The thermoclock system has a fairly quick path once heated to the group head and I've gotten an accurate temp gauge and measured the temp directly coming out during an extraction and i get 92 degrees which i think is fairly good. I froth my milk first and then run water through the group head for about 5 secs and then extract. Once extracted the milk is ready to be added straight away which keeps a nice flavour to the espresso.

          I am now measuring the amount of ground coffee i use which is another factor that once i keep constant can help me find the right flavour i like. I've found 18 grams works well for my taste.

          The beauty with this mod is I can adjust the pressure easily for my taste and have consistent shots. Let me know if you need anymore info !!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by karl_2020 View Post
            [ATTACH]144[/ATTACH]

            Yes, the thin copper pipe does lead to the temp gauge and it came with the temp gauge. !!
            Err?....that is a PRESSURE gauge,..isnt it ?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by blend52 View Post
              Err?....that is a PRESSURE gauge,..isnt it ?
              Woops...Sorry, yeah i meant to write pressure gauge !!!

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi karl_2020,

                This is my first post on this forum.

                The best thing about this thread is that I love it when people modify 'el-cheapo' machines (coffee machines or otherwise) to perform better than their intended purpose - congratulations and 11 out of 10.

                The reason I came across this thread is that I purchased a 4800c yesterday on evilbay for $23.30 aus - a good buy I thought, but I can't seem to get a decent cappuccino out of which is my preferred drink.

                I already have been using a crappy little Breville ESP2 which I thought I had mastered and got some bloody good cuppa's from, but the 4800c is something else.

                Sorry I can't offer anything else but to acknowledge that 'Life is too short to accept drinking sh*t coffee' and it doesn't have to cost the world!

                Steve.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by stixstudios View Post
                  Hi karl_2020,

                  This is my first post on this forum.

                  The best thing about this thread is that I love it when people modify 'el-cheapo' machines (coffee machines or otherwise) to perform better than their intended purpose - congratulations and 11 out of 10.

                  The reason I came across this thread is that I purchased a 4800c yesterday on evilbay for $23.30 aus - a good buy I thought, but I can't seem to get a decent cappuccino out of which is my preferred drink.

                  I already have been using a crappy little Breville ESP2 which I thought I had mastered and got some bloody good cuppa's from, but the 4800c is something else.

                  Sorry I can't offer anything else but to acknowledge that 'Life is too short to accept drinking sh*t coffee' and it doesn't have to cost the world!

                  Steve.


                  Thanks Steve,

                  I agree that life is too short to drink crappy coffee at home, i'd rather go out and buy a descent coffee. The 15bar machines can be very temperamental with the bitterness so that's why i modded it to get 9.5 bar and it tastes a whole lot better and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Actually the Rancillio silvia has the same ulka vibe pump as the 4800c so when modded it should extractat exactly the same pressure at a fraction of the cost.

                  Do you roast at home?? i recommend an el cheapo popcorn popper and roast at home and wow, tastes better than some coffee shops when you get the knack right!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by stixstudios View Post
                    Hi karl_2020,

                    This is my first post on this forum.

                    The best thing about this thread is that I love it when people modify 'el-cheapo' machines (coffee machines or otherwise) to perform better than their intended purpose - congratulations and 11 out of 10.

                    The reason I came across this thread is that I purchased a 4800c yesterday on evilbay for $23.30 aus - a good buy I thought, but I can't seem to get a decent cappuccino out of which is my preferred drink.

                    I already have been using a crappy little Breville ESP2 which I thought I had mastered and got some bloody good cuppa's from, but the 4800c is something else.

                    Sorry I can't offer anything else but to acknowledge that 'Life is too short to accept drinking sh*t coffee' and it doesn't have to cost the world!

                    Steve.
                    I agree with the mods to cheap machines, like beating the system!

                    the first thing you need to do to a 4800 is toss the pressurized baskets and get a Krupps double with a Krupps group head seal, you will start getting decent shots right away.

                    The pressure mod is unreal! I like the sound of that!

                    OH yeah, then you need to spend way more $$ on a grinder with the money saved withg the cheap modded machine.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by C-man View Post
                      I agree with the mods to cheap machines, like beating the system!

                      the first thing you need to do to a 4800 is toss the pressurized baskets and get a Krupps double with a Krupps group head seal, you will start getting decent shots right away.

                      The pressure mod is unreal! I like the sound of that!

                      OH yeah, then you need to spend way more $$ on a grinder with the money saved withg the cheap modded machine.
                      Thanks C-man,

                      I apologise to the op if I have hijacked this post but the "Coffee God" said it should be ok.

                      I did a fair whack of research (mainly on this forum) and soon realised that 'I don't know Jack'!

                      Thanks for the info on the pressurized baskets - I had no idea, but has been confirmed upon further reading. I'll take your advice, and from many others on the benefits of a decent grinder, as at least a good starting point.

                      I just hope the tax man and child support agree.

                      Steve.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by karl_2020 View Post
                        Thanks Steve,

                        I agree that life is too short to drink crappy coffee at home, i'd rather go out and buy a descent coffee. The 15bar machines can be very temperamental with the bitterness so that's why i modded it to get 9.5 bar and it tastes a whole lot better and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Actually the Rancillio silvia has the same ulka vibe pump as the 4800c so when modded it should extractat exactly the same pressure at a fraction of the cost.

                        Do you roast at home?? i recommend an el cheapo popcorn popper and roast at home and wow, tastes better than some coffee shops when you get the knack right!!
                        Hi Karl_2020

                        Too many red wines for me right now to respond with proper sense - bitterness yes I have, but masked with milk and sugar?

                        A lot t0 learn.

                        steve.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          could you have just drilled the hole for the screwdriver and adjusted it by taste?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            looks good, i've just OPV'd my Breville BES820 but have yet to set the pressure and still need to fix the leaks.
                            a problem i'm having now that i'm wondering if you encountered is that my steam pressure is now much lower, as the OPV is still drawing pressure away from the pump output when steaming.

                            did you notice this effect at all? i'm not sure what to do to rectify it without implementing a split output from the pump that i can switch from one side to another to either use or bypass the OPV.

                            cheers

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hey, C-man

                              It' just just my opinion but i think it would be fairly hard to adjust by taste to get the exact pressure as only a very slight adjustment on the valve screw makes a large pressure adjustment, but it could be possible to do. I mean taste is the main thing and if you adjust and it tastes better, sure. It would take a few trial and errors. Actually, if you placed the hose coming from the valve pressure relief into a measuring glass and measured the amount of water filling the glass each shot, you could use this as a method of measuring how much you adjustment (if that makes sense).

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