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  • Warming up Silvia

    Hi There

    We all know that Silvia takes about 50min to warm up properly. Im an early riser to go out training and like a shot to get me going. I usually use a timer , but when i forget, I turn on Silvia, and when she reaches PID control point of 109deg, i flick on the steam switch and let the boiler rise till about 150deg, and then turn it off. I figure that the excess boiler temp will be cooled by heat transfer to the group head. When the boiler is back to 109deg, I make the shot - seems to work OK. Are there any issues with this practice as Ive not seen anything on CS re this

    cheers

    argon

  • #2
    Re: Warming up Silvia

    If you havent already seen it this page is often quoted for a quick warm up
    http://www.coffeekid.com/archived/rancilio/cheatsilvia

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    • #3
      Re: Warming up Silvia

      Yep - I had seen that before and that used to be my method - however, Ive found flicking the steam switch on works and is less fiddly - just wondering if anyone sees any issues with that practice??

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      • #4
        Re: Warming up Silvia

        Originally posted by argon link=1199143138/0#2 date=1199168447
        Yep - I had seen that before and that used to be my method - however, Ive found flicking the steam switch on works and is less fiddly - just wondering if anyone sees any issues with that practice??
        I guess the only thing that I would have some concern about is that you would have to religiously ensure that the Boiler was topped-up before doing this, just to provide optimum protection for the element. Thatd be about it though. Chris (2mcm) might have some additional thoughts about this method perhaps....

        Cheers argon ,
        Mal.

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        • #5
          Re: Warming up Silvia

          I occasionally run water through the group to heat up quickly in morning, seems to work well. I always have a milk drink in a ceramic mug with a double shot, so if the shot is not spot on the milk compensates for this if temp is not correct.

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          • #6
            Re: Warming up Silvia

            Certainly, ensuring a full boiler is very important when you do this.

            While I was doing final on-machine testing for a couple of kits for CSers (thanks!), I gathered some data.

            First, I duplicated argons procedure: switched the machine on from a cold start, let it come to setpoint of 109C, then turned on the steam switch. Once the steam reached 150C, I turned off the steam switch and left the machine alone until it cooled back down to the original setpoint of 109C. This occurred at around the 16 minute mark, BTW.

            Next, after an overnight rest, I started the machine from cold again. But this time I just let it idle for around 50 minutes, as is my normal practice.

            I have a grouphead sensor (thanks Eric S) in my bench Silvia. My criteria for a "warmed up machine" is when the group temperature has stopped rising and is stable. On this machine, in my cold shop (19C-20C normally), the warmed-up group runs at 90C.

            Here are the significant results:

            Trial 1 (using steam switch):
            grouphead temp after 16 min = 80.7C
            grouphead temp after 35 min = 88.7C

            Trial 2 (no steam switch):
            grouphead temp after 16 min = 74.7C
            grouphead temp after 35 min = 87.5C

            So, I think the bottom line is that the steam switch trick is a big help. The group will be around 6C hotter using argons method than it would be with a simple 16 minute warmup.

            But it will still not be completely to a stable situation. I cant say if the difference in espresso taste would be noticeable using this 16 minute steam-enhanced warmup vs a full 50 minute idling warmup, but it looks like the group might still be around 1.5C short of "fully warmed up."

            Probably leaving the steam switch on for an extra minute or so would bring it all the way up. I will see if I can persuade the elves to take a few minutes to run an additional test (they have been quite grumpy here after the big Christmas rush on kits).

            Below (I hope) is a graph of the data:




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            • #7
              Re: Warming up Silvia

              Hi Jim

              fantastic work - thanks for that

              cheers

              argon

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              • #8
                Re: Warming up Silvia

                One final variation to look at: in the 3rd trial, I turned the steam switch on immediately and let the light go through a sequence of on/off/on/off before turning off the steam switch.

                The graph shows this makes almost no difference from argons original procedure (except maybe shortening the "tending to the machine" time when first turning it on).

                Needs to be noted that this machine has both brew and steam temps under PID control, so results will be different for a machine with either brew-only PID control, or no PID control.

                All for now unless there are questions.

                Jim



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                • #9
                  Re: Warming up Silvia

                  Yes I do have one Jim. I was going to measure this myself but since you have all the stuff I may as well let the expert do it!

                  Another trick I use in conjunction with the above is to run warming flushes. I.e. turn the machine on and turn the steam switch on straight away, let it sit there for say 5 minutes at steam temp, then flush say 100ml or whatever of water...er, steam through the group, then leave it a bit longer to all equalize. But Ive not really stuck to any particular timings on this. How effective is this at speeding up the warm-up process, and what sort of timings / flushes are required to get an even, stable temperature? (Sorry, this is probably going to be a laborious exercise!)

                  By the way the SD3Cs working a treat! So much less messing around than before. Thanks! [smiley=tekst-toppie.gif]

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                  • #10
                    Re: Warming up Silvia

                    Originally posted by Greg Pullman link=1199143138/0#8 date=1199968029
                    Another trick I use in conjunction with the above is to run warming flushes. I.e. turn the machine on and turn the steam switch on straight away, let it sit there for say 5 minutes at steam temp, then flush say 100ml or whatever of water...er, steam through the group, then leave it a bit longer to all equalize. But Ive not really stuck to any particular timings on this. How effective is this at speeding up the warm-up process, and what sort of timings / flushes are required to get an even, stable temperature?
                    Heres what Im thinking for another test:

                    1. Turn on machine, immediately turn on steam switch
                    2. Run for 4 heater cycles at steam setpoint (this should be around 5 minutes)
                    3. Turn off steam switch
                    4. Run water through group until boiler temp drops below PID setpoint. I usually do this using the steam wand, so Im not sure how blasting the steam through the group will go
                    5. Let PID take control at brew setpoint, and see what happens with the group temp

                    Is that sorta what you had in mind?

                    Jim

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                    • #11
                      Re: Warming up Silvia

                      Yep that sounds about right Jim. Flushing through the group is the critical part of the process as it gets the hot water / steam right into the group to warm it up quickly rather than relying purely on thermal conduction from the boiler. With the PF in place, I normally flush this into the cups to be used to help pre-heat them quickly too, and if theyre tall cups they normally contain all the spitty water.

                      Very interested to see the results...

                      Greg

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                      • #12
                        Re: Warming up Silvia

                        I cant believe noone has brought up this article: http://www.coffeekid.com/archived/rancilio/cheatsilvia, even though these instructions are for a on PID silvia, Im sure they can be roughly adapted with similar results...I guess thats basically what these last two posts have done :

                        On another note, if you juts run steam through the group wont there be some issue with the boiler not being full? I used to do something like what your talking about, except I would open the steam wand and hit the brew switch, which resulted in steam blasting from both the group and the steam wand, until I had a steady stream of water from the wand. I think this basically ensures the boiler is full... not sure of the effect this had on heating up times, but it would have to help.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Warming up Silvia

                          Hence the value of this sorta forum, I didnt even know that was there, nice find! Id be interested to see what effect the earlier steam circuit activation has though. What Im suggesting is having the boiler full of water and at steam temp then running the brew system as normal, except itll be superheated water that comes out not just brewing water. Boiler would end up as full as it would after a normal brew cycle.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Warming up Silvia

                            Originally posted by Greg Pullman link=1199143138/0#10 date=1200089308
                            Very interested to see the results...
                            One last test to see the effects of Gregs warmup scheme. I turned the machine on from a cold start, then immediately turned on the steam switch. I let the steam run through 4 PID-controlled cycles.

                            Then, at around the 8-minute mark, I turned off the steam switch and flushed water (mostly steam at first) through the group. Once the temperature had dropped below the PID setpoint of 109C, I stopped the flush and let the PID take over.

                            Compared to the 3 other warmup methods, this one had the greatest short term effect on the group temperature. During the flush, the group temperature exceeded 100C. But as soon as the flush was done, the temperature dropped fairly quickly back down to 84C before slowly starting to rise again.

                            The eventual temperature of the group, regardless how the warmup is done, is around 90C. This method did not really decrease the time it takes to get all the way to 90C - this is still around 50 minutes.

                            But it did get the group up to a more usable (if not optimum) temperature much quicker than the other methods we tried here.

                            Im not sure I can draw any conclusions as far as what you should do to warm up your machine. But if you take a look at this final graph, maybe it will give a better idea of whats going on with the machine under the 4 different scenarios.

                            Experiment over.

                            Jim



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                            • #15
                              Re: Warming up Silvia

                              Very interesting, thanks for your (obviously and understandably exhausted!) efforts. I guess there are lots of interpretations, but what it tells me is that via the steam + flush method its possible to get the group up to the right temperature in about 10 minutes compared to about 35 with the standard method. I think Ill still use the regular warm-up period when time allows, but for a quick coffee soon after arriving home the flush method may be just whats required.

                              Thanks!
                              Greg

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