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What Sunbeam dosent want you to know...

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  • What Sunbeam dosent want you to know...

    Considering forking out around $600 for a new Sunbeam e6910?
    Well so was I when my 6900 gave up after over a year of service (and alot of home done mods too), so I went down to my local store so I could have a look at this "Much better, updated machine".

    To my surprise, it didnt look any different, except for the blue seal around the group head and a gloss coating over plastic buttons (as oppose to silicon or rubber or something on my original "red gasket" 6900.
    Asking Price was $650 or something, a bit too much for what it was IMO.

    I then saw the 6900 updated model, which also interested me and it was only $399 (guessing because its a discontinued model) and looked EXACTLY the same as the 6910 with the more standard filter baskets, blue gasket and plastic buttons, however still said 6900 on the back. I had a suspicion about this so I bought the machine to play with it a little more.

    When I fired it up, I Immediately noticed that the machine got a bit hotter than my old 6900, and the steam was a little faster and the pump was pumping a little different. It also took a little longer to warm up and backflushed the 3way valve one or two times in the process. It was obviously different firmware than my 6900, but came in the same box with the same manual, and nothing at all on changing the temperature and steam settings.

    So off to the sunbeam website I do to have a look at the 6910s manual.
    After reading the process of programming the brew temp and steam settings, it looked more like a service dept. thing (an undocumented setting on machinery than only service people know so they can set the stuff up and you wont go and change that setting, simply because you dont know how or that it even exists.)
    So I pressed the magic buttons on my old 6900 and.... nothing (as I expected).
    Now the new one, again pressing those 2 keys and "beep beep" light comes on (exactly like it says in the 6910s manual), so I change the steam to +10 and timing to -0.2 then fire it up again. What a difference! The steam can now burn me and it powerful enough to blow stuff off the bench! I also put up the brew temp +4 just to see if it actually did anything, and yes, the coffee came out slightly burnt/bitter tasting, +2 and default were very similar in taste with default being a little sweeter with the beans I am using. All the negative settings proved useless in my opinion, making it alot more difficult to get a nice tasting shot.

    Anyway enough of my ranting! I have obsiously had too much coffee this morning playing with the machine, so in short:

    You can get an E6910 brand new in a box for $399 at the moment with full warranty, support, etc.. You will just have to put up with you new 6910 not telling you how to change the advanced settings (just get the "magic codes" from the sunbeam manual link I posted earlier) and off you go! You also miss out on the extra set of pressurised filter baskets they include with the 6910 (what a shame ).

    My (forgive me for jumping to conclusions without all the information varified) reasoning for this is all the old dodgy 6900s that got sent back to sunbeam, which mainly either failed because of the software, or the weak joining bolts from the thermoblock to the rest of it, got a quick overhaul - The old firmware which was buggy was replaced with the newer one and the TB/group head as well replaced with the most recent ones without problems. To do this, they could make a whole new firmware etc.. which would cost alot and take time to test, or use the one from the 6910 which is proven stable(r) now. Its obvious the latter is a much better option. They then re packed them as a new 6900, changed the baskets to the more standard ones and sent them all back for resale (insted of just writing them off and using for parts etc..)
    The fact that when I heated my machine up for the FIRST time, there was a slight trace of coffee grinds in the part where the backflush water comes into the drip tray just srengthened my suspicion.

    I think its a bit dodgy on sunbeams behalf that they are selling the same maching for $100 more RRP saying it has more features and is better, whereas it is EXACTLY the same as the more recent 6900s.
    Then I guess it all comes down to "The less the buyer knows, the more profit can be made."

    Thanks for reading all the way to here and I really hope this saves at least one of you $$$,
    I Paid $570 (LESS than the RRP on the 6900!) and have a 6910 AND an EM0480 grinder (RRP 898?) new from a big retail chain.
    All with full warranties, etc... Even though the new 6900s have some parts from the returned ones (the back door with 6900 laser engraved on it?) Sunbeam are selling them as new items with full support and warranty.


    By The way if there is any spelling mistakes, punctuation problems or just poor use of the english languge in this post, my excuse is the post is so long and im so jumpy right now from too much coffee I really cant be bothered reading back over what I type... At all... :P

    Feel free to ask any questions, I know this machine inside and out

  • #2
    Re: What Sunbeam dosent want you to know...

    An interesting find John.


    • #3
      Re: What Sunbeam dosent want you to know...

      I would like to know if this is a one off...I would just caution anyone who is thinking of doing this to be careful about that....wouldnt want to be stuck with non-programmable steam because upping the steam temp and reducing the pump duration makes a hell of a difference.



      • #4
        Re: What Sunbeam dosent want you to know...

        Yes good point ozscott - I might have just been lucky thinking about it.

        I would be interested to know if any one out there with a 6900 that came stock with the blue gasket and standard size filter baskets could try the following:
        (Your machine must be turned OFF to begin with)

        To turn the steam up 10 degrees:

        Hold down the "double cup" button,
        while doing this press and release the "Power" button,
        then release the "double cup" button.

        If the light above the single cup button lights up, you have a programmable machine. Press "PROGRAM" The machine will beep twice (indicating your settings have been changed) then proceed to warm up. This alone makes a VERY noticeable difference in the time taken to steam milk (down to about 30 sec from 40 or 50 for a half full jug)

        If nothing happens when you try this, then I guess you are not as lucky. What colour is the gasket in your machine and when did you purchase? Are the control buttons shiny and hard or more like matte soft rubber? There might be a way to tell which machine is which revision.

        If you find your 6900 to be programmable, the link in my first post to the 6910s manual pdf will tell you everything you need to know about the service settings.

        It also might be that Sunbeam got so many returns from people complaining about the steam pressure etc from the early 6900s.. that they made the revised edition programmable so it could easily be changed at a service center, then released the 6910 at $100 more and included a few extra accessories in the box and aimed it at the "prosumer who wants to tweak the advanced settings and is willing to fork out the extra to do so" (something very common and been done for many years in the world of computer hardware)

        This has got me interested now...


        • #5
          Re: What Sunbeam dosent want you to know...

          its very interesting John...look forward to the latest updates from people. Have you got youself dialed into this baby yet...they are a nice beast, particularly with the steam powered up where it should be!



          • #6
            Re: What Sunbeam dosent want you to know...

            Yes it makes so much of a difference with the steam - and only took me little bit of playing around to get used to the new baskets from the giant ones I had been using for a bit over a year. All in all I am very happy with what I got
            It just adds to it that I have a spare group handle and water tank and, well all sorts parts from the old one if something does wear out after the warranty period is up.

            I also noticed how much less coffee you had to use (although at a slightly finer grind and lighter tamp) and get the same, if not better quality shot.
            Off the top of my head I settled on a fairly light tamp, about 10k, and ends up about 5mm or a bit more from the rim, pour is about 40-50 seconds for double and the needle sits about 1mm past the "recommended" zone.
            I havent actually measured all that yet, just estimating right now, but ill do a bit more tomorrow and place the results in one of the big 6910 settings posts.

            Need to get another tamp ASAP, the new sunbeam baskets are an even worse fit to the stock tamp than the old deep ones!
            I also get the puck sticking to the group head sometimes (never did with the deep baskets), but am hoping this will be a thing of the past once I find tamp that actually fits...


            • #7
              Re: What Sunbeam dosent want you to know...

              40-50 seconds? wow...usually the recommended zone is a horrible place to extract espresso want to be in the darker brown area....

              What you want to aim for is approximately 25-30 second extraction with 25-35mL of espresso.

              Also you are correct in saying that the 6900 got an overhaul with new group head and seal....however what you will find is that even though the hardware is exactly the same a the 6910, you will find you do not have the programming options of the 6910...if you can program it....well then....youve got yourself a bargain.



              • #8
                Re: What Sunbeam dosent want you to know...


                I just wanted to confirm this.

                We had a 5800 and we wanted to upgrade to the 6910 but its was a bit expensive at $699.
                We saw the 6900 for $399 we though bargin. My friend said he will buy the 5800 for
                $200 so a $200 upgrade is worth it

                We got it for $399

                A few of the stores said these are runout models and they will only be stocking the 6910 once all the
                6900s are sold ??

                i was searching for more details about the 6900 and found this thread and i tried the program sequence from the 6910 manual and it works !!

                it also has the blue gasket and the plastic glossy buttons

                so it looks like we are getting the 6910 in the 6900 chassis.

                There was no Paul Barret DVD in the box like our 5800.

                There was a bit of paper that was included in the box that looked like it
                it was printed out it says

                " This em6900 is new and has been tested with filterted water to verify correct operation
                 water droplets may be noticed within the packaging as a result of this process"

                im very happy with this buy.. now to suss out the grind settings on the 480..


                • #9
                  Re: What Sunbeam dosent want you to know...

                  I cant officially speak for Sunbeam, but the information I have is that Sunbeam introduce rolling improvements on their models as such improvements become available. For example, features to be introduced officially on the 6920 if thats what they call it, will more than likely surreptitiously find their way onto late run 6910s (I could tell you what some of them are but Id have to kill you! ). Its their way of firstly getting happier customers earlier, and also I guess testing the waters with the new features before they go into full-scale production.

                  So I wouldnt be at all surprised if these were simply late run 6900s which had most of the pre-release 6910 features.



                  • #10
                    Re: What Sunbeam dosent want you to know...

                    Wow what a seller! lol :P
                    When I went to the Chadstone store and got mine it was from a pile of about 10 only 2 days ago!

                    Exactly the same as what I got whoistheg, with no DVD and the water droplet warning.

                    This and previous posts have been edited. We refer posters to Andys site sales and posting policy which states: "Links to ebay ads or other similar off-site promotion to any sales related material are not welcome here."

                    Best to keep specifics to PM


                    • #11
                      Re: What Sunbeam dosent want you to know...

                      My original 6900 (over a year ago) had the water droplet notice about the thing having been bench tested, so I dont think that same is anything to get excited about....



                      • #12
                        Re: What Sunbeam dosent want you to know...

                        One of the differences between the 6900 and the 6910 is that the filter baskets are much bigger on the 6900.

                        Do you have the over dosing baskets on your 6900 or is it the same basket as the 6910? I guess its a bit hard to tell unless you have seen the baskets on the 6910.


                        • #13
                          Re: What Sunbeam dosent want you to know...

                          Has someone tried flashing these machines? Decompiling the firmware? It would be interesting what kind of hooks you have into the machines hardware. w


                          • #14
                            Re: What Sunbeam dosent want you to know...

                            Might be worth a try on my old 6900,
                            If something can be hacked I say do it :P
                            *imagines himself making coffee on a 6900 that is being PC controlled, with all the different hardware variables being displayed and manipulated in real time... steam +50deg, pump on constant etc.. so when I open the valve the machine actually lifts off the bench *

                            I will completely take apart my 6900 when time allows and see what I can make with it... If I completely fry the board I guess ill hook it up as a manual or something and see what I think.

                            tempestv8, my old 6900 came with the giant baskets and my new 6900 came with standard ones (the same as the 6910).
                            Also, the milk jug for the new 6900 is smaller (300ml I think).


                            • #15
                              Re: What Sunbeam dosent want you to know...


                              i just want to confirm again i can do all the programming of the 6910 on my 6900.

                              I just added +10 to the steam and it works fine..