No announcement yet.

How to PID a Rancilio Silvia - A Step by Step Guide

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • How to PID a Rancilio Silvia - A Step by Step Guide


    Ok, just want to get a few points across before I start this guide, I am in no way an expert on PID’s, I’m a tradie and not in a trade associated with electricians, I do however have a mate who is an electrician and quite a few electrical technician friends who helped me figure out the wiring and explained what does what.

    The important thing is to make sure you get all the right parts when making your own kit, PID kits supply’s a perfect sleek kit with every single thing you need and it’s all  integrated and preset, it takes the worry out of the unknown, his kits are renowned across the world as being the best and cleanest looking kits available for Silvia, and as he is a very valuable site sponsor I would like to extend a congrats to PIDkits on producing a kit second to none, and I hope I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes here, for me the kit was a little too expensive given the current economic climate.

    Im sure if you are reading this guide, you have an understanding of the importance of a PID in a silvia, what it does and how it does it, if you are new to the prospect of adding a PID to a Silvia then here is a very helpful little analogy I found on the net:

    “Imagine you are driving your car down the street at 60 klm/h. Ahead is an intersection controlled by a stop sign. If you continue to travel at 60 klm/h until you reach the intersection, then slam on the brakes, your car is going to shoot through past the stop sign before coming to rest. If, on the other hand, you gradually apply the brakes well in advance of the stop sign, you can come to a controlled stop right at the intersection.”

    Now I “Gronked” my silvia prior to “PIDing”, which basically involves placing a thermocouple on top of the boiler and monitoring boiler temperatures with a Digital Multi Meter(DMM) and manually flushing boiler water through brew head to get it to the right temp prior to pull the shot. This worked pretty well for me, the only disadvantage is one, the time it takes to wait for the boiler to get back down to the desired temp, and two the amount of user interaction required to monitor gets a bit full on for me to produce coffee, I found I was pretty much dismissing anyone talking to my whilst I was making coffee……very anti social! , but it worked well for me to produce more consistent quality shots, and it is a good interim process on the way to installing your own PID as you will need a thermocouple for a pid anyway!

    I will outline the exact products I bought for my install, obviously you can change the basic bits and pieces for alternate brands etc but the CD101 PID has worked very well for me, and its cheap, I cannot guarantee its longevity of life as I have only had it installed for a week, but I will say that my line of work involves satellites, and as you can imagine a lot of $$$ worth of equipment, now the cooling mechanisms in one of our sat larger dishes uses this same exact PID controller, a little simpler I must admit as it only turns on the large cooling fans within a series of cabinets, but it has been in place for years, running 24/7……and still alive! So prolly has earnt its stripes there.

    1. CD101 Controller
    2. K-type thermocouple
    3. Jaycar “Jiffy” enclosure HB-6012
    4. 2 meters of Heavy Duty 240v extension cable 15AMP simular to Jaycar WB-1568 but round
    5. run of the mil spade connectors times 2(big enough to fit to the HD 240v extension type cable)
    6. 25amp Solid State Relay(SSR)
    7. a cut off lamp power cable 240v, I used a 2 prong


    This is a basic wiring diagram (wiring diagram below), as you can see I am not an electrical engineer!, which is prolly a good thing for you as looking at schematics can be confusing at best, with the inset diagram, the wires that are connected to the brew thermostat are simply unplugged and the spade connectors on the wire from the SSR are plugged into the female plugs that come off the original thermostat, that is it! This is a visual guide only, the step by step guide follows:


    Step 1 – Preparation of the Silvia.

    Unplug the machine, not just turn it off, unplug it and move it to an area that you can work on it, like a large workbench or dining table(might want to use an old table cloth to avoid flying objects from the other half!)
    Disassemble Silvia, place all the parts out of the way completely,
    - remove the drip tray cover and drip tray underneath
    - remove the portafilter and steam knob by simply pulling out.
    - remove the top plate with the 4 phillips screws
    - remove water reservoir and shake any remaining water from hoses
    - remove the back cover using a small Phillips head screw driver angling it in from the top to gently remove the small screws
    - remove the inner splashback that sits beside the water reservoir with 2 phillips head screws
    - Remove the front cover by removing the 4 small Phillips head screws, there are holes in the back of the mounting frame to stick your screwdriver through, and then there is one screw holding the front plate on, its inside the cover just in front of the boiler, it screws into the brew head below the cover, you need to now remove all the wires attached to the switches on the front panel, I recommend you do a basic wiring diagram so you can correctly replace them later on, I have provided a wire diagram below but you need to confirm that the colours don’t differ from model to model. Remove the front cover including switches and set aside.

    You now have a stripped Rancilio Silvia, looks a little bare doesn’t she!

    Step 2 – Preparation of parts.

    PID and enclosure – I used the larger enclosure from Jaycar just in case I decide to install something else in the future, like a shot timer, it gives me plenty of room to move with plenty to spare, you could fit the PID into the smaller version with a few millimetres to spare, use the white mounting brace that comes with the pid to trace the size of the hole necessary onto the front of the enclosure, this is where the PID will slide into, remember its better to be a tighter fit than too loose so be gently and careful with the cutout, now, I drilled holes with a drill all the way around the inside of the tracing then pushed out the plastic and squared it up with a Stanley knife and sandpaper until it fit in nice and tight, after you have it mounted in nice and flush, remove it and set the PID and enclosure aside.

    Wiring – SSR to Boiler - now this is a little bit of guess work, cut about 60 cms of the 240v cable off and cut the cable to remove the 3 wires by slicing the outer sheath, you must not penetrate the wires inside the outer cable, this WILL make the wire….lets just say a little dangerous! So take care!
    Pull the wires out individually by hand, you will only use 2 of the 3 wires, brown and blue, discard the green wire and outer sheath. Bare all 4 ends of the 2 wires but only about 8mm max. The crimp on the 2 spade connectors to one end of both wires as pictured (pic 031).

    Wiring – SSR to PID (control cable) – you’ll need to leave about 1 meter for this one, bare one end of the cable by slicing gently to remove the outer sheath and exposing the inner wires protruding about 3 cm’s, bare the brown and blue wires by cutting gently and removing their sheath’s, only expose a max of 1 cm of this wire, and twist the inner wire tight. I cut the green wire at the outer sheath level because I didn’t use it, obviously, as you will only need two of the three wires.

    2 Prong Power Lead – power to PID – I found a power lead that plugs into a AA battery charger and simply cut the connection off the end, not the end that plugs into the wall, the other end, you could also use a desk light lead or any other 2 prong power lead laying around the house.

    K-Type Thermocouple – PID to boiler top – If you get the K-type with the end to plug into a DMM, simply cut off the connector and bare the metal wires, expose only about 4mm of this delicate wire. (Take note of the polarity of the wire colours).

    Step 3 – Install the SSR and Wiring to boiler.

    Time to mount the SSR, the best place I found to mount it, needing no modifications was behind the splashback as pictured, I simply removed the screw that holds the Silvia’s power cable on the back of the centre plate and screwed it in from the front side of the centre plate as pictured, this now serves two purposes, it now holds the SSR in place securely behind the slashplate and it still holds the power cable in place behind the plate!, perfect! Make sure the SSR is mounted so that the 2-32VDC input is at the bottom, just thought this would be a good safety measure given the DC voltage closer to the bottom of the splashback, don’t really know if it matters but oh well, it’s a thought!
    Now grab your two 60cm wires with the spade connectors on one end, as pictured connect the uncrimped ends to the top side of the SSR as it sits mounted, you can follow my wiring colours if you want, not sure if it makes a difference with this one though as I believe the SSR acts as basically a switch, I placed the brown wire in 1 and the blue wire in 2 as pictured.
    continued on next post.........

  • #2
    Re: How to PID a Rancilio Silvia - A Step by Step Guide

    Now run the wires up through the back of the splashback and along the existing wires that lead to the top of the boiler, don’t zip tie just yet, just run it along with them as pictured, you want the end of the wires with spade connectors sitting around the existing brew thermostat with a little spare length to play with as pictured.
    Now the Brew thermostat is the one sitting on the left as you look at the machine, that’s the one you want, disconnect the two cables from that thermostat and connect the brown wire from the SSR to the two red wires that you have just disconnected from the thermostat, and then the blue wire goes into the other grey wire off the thermostat, the existing thermostat is now left totally disconnected and will no longer be used at all. Now you have the SSR mounted and wired in to the Boiler wiring.

    Step 4 – Installing the Thermocouple.

    This is quite simple, I have a picture indicating the screw I used to attach the thermocouple to the boiler (pic. “where the TC attaches to boiler”), there are a multitude of opinions on where the TC should be mounted…..on the left……on the right???? So I just picked a happy medium and mounted it in the middle, simply unscrew it, separate the wires just behind the thermocouple bead, place the thread of the screw through the gap in the wire and reinstall the screw into the boiler, be really careful not to crack the bead on the end of the TC, soft hands! The mounted TC is visable in several photos, if you need a better pic just PM me and ill email it to ya. Run the TC cable down the same wires you ran the Boiler to SSR cables along before but poke the cable down through the hole in the centre wall and out to the back of the machine, we’ll deal with the rest in the next step, zip tie the Boiler to SSR wires and the TC cable to the existing cables so its nice and neat with no excess wire hanging around… pictured (pic 040, 043)

    Step 5 – Installing the SSR to PID wire.

    This can be done in a variety of ways, I won’t gabble on too much with this as the pictures do most of the talking, I have the cable exiting the machine in the little gap in the rear corner of the machine, which works well as it is totally reversible if I ever decide to sell, I’ve seen variants with holes drilled in the back of the black mounting frame and the cable coming out of there and up to the PID, and some even drill holes in the stainless!, not for thanks!
    I will just briefly run over the connection to the SSR, run the extension wire through the machine behind the pump, up through the hole then over the centre wall of the machine and head down to the SSR, loop the cable around under the SSR and connect the blue wire to negative (-) and the brown wire to positive (+) as pictured. Make sure all connections are tight on the SSR and place on the clear plastic cover, get rid of any extra slack on the cable running through the machine, tip tie the cable to the water line at the back of the wall, and zip tie the rest of the cable so it is held off the boiler and Is quite solid, you don’t want anything in this install to vibrate and move, it should look like pictures 040 and 043.

    Now as it sits you have the SSR installed and wired up to the boiler and a cable zip tied safely running through the machine exiting out the back left hand corner of the machine, leave the TC cable hanging out the back for now, we will deal with this later on.

    Step 6 – Wiring up and installing the PID.

    Grab your enclosure, drill a hole or holes big enough to fit the cables through the back, that is the control cable, the TC cable and the light extension cable with the 2 prong wall plug, you can drill the holes where ever you want it to go, I choose to enter from the top rear panel to allow for additions, now I also choose at this stage to have the TC cable exit the machine as pictured in pic 051, this was mainly because of the length of the TC I used, im looking at installing a RTD sensor soon so I did this as a interim measure.
    Push the control cable, the power cable (tie a knot to prevent cable strain on the pid), and the TC cable through these holes and right through the PID hole you drilled and filed out at the start, and connect as follows:
    (these will only apply if your wiring is the same as mine, remember the sheaths on TC cable can be different colours, if you connect the TC incorrectly the PID will display in reverse, so when it is heating the temp will appear to decrease, simply reverse the two TC cables around and all will be good!(if you cut the DMM connector off the TC take note of the polarity)

    Control Cable:
    Brown to connection 5
    Blue to connection 6

    Power cable:
    Brown to connection 1
    Blue to connection 2

    Red to connection 12
    Yellow to connection 11

    Now simply push the PID back through the hole so it fits snug, move cables around to suit. Place on the cover of the enclosure.

    You now have a PIDed Silvia!

    Step 7 – Refitting and cleaning up.

    Reconnect the switches on the front with the supplied wiring diagram and replace all panels, remember the exit site of the TC wire if you choose to go down that road (pic 051)

    I used 3M removable double sided tape to stick the PID to the side of Silvia and it has worked really well, not showing any signs of falling off, some may choose to bolt on the enclosure, but as I said before I prefer the process to be reversible.

    Step 8 – Check and re-check and re-check again!

    Check everything, make sure everything is secure, all connections are tight and nothing is where it shouldnt be, get it all checked by an licenced electrician if you are not too confident.

    Step 9 – Turning it all on!

    TO BE CONTINUED TONIGHT>>>>>>getting there!


    • #3
      Re: How to PID a Rancilio Silvia - A Step by Step Guide

      more pics......


      • #4
        Re: How to PID a Rancilio Silvia - A Step by Step Guide

        more pics.....


        • #5
          Re: How to PID a Rancilio Silvia - A Step by Step Guide

          more pics again.....


          • #6
            Re: How to PID a Rancilio Silvia - A Step by Step Guide



            • #7
              Re: How to PID a Rancilio Silvia - A Step by Step Guide

              and then some more.......


              • #8
                Re: How to PID a Rancilio Silvia - A Step by Step Guide

                ALMOST DONE>>>>>>>>>

                Thanks very much.......pppppffffffeeeeewwwww what a job!  


                • #9
                  Re: How to PID a Rancilio Silvia - A Step by Step Guide

                  Last part of the guide coming soon!


                  • #10
                    Re: How to PID a Rancilio Silvia - A Step by Step Guide


                    This is an excellent Guide. I did a lot of research on PID controllers from companies in Aust and overseas models and the wiring involved when I had my Silvia. When I saw what PID kits had I purchased a kit. This guide is excellent for those that have the time and the adventure for a nice and rewarding challenge.

                    I think this guide would really be best as a single PDF. Its a bit big for a thread and many people would prob love it as a PDF as they print it out and follow it easier when doing an actual install.

                    Anyhow this looks good. Congrats.


                    • #11
                      Re: How to PID a Rancilio Silvia - A Step by Step Guide

                      Will make this a "sticky" so the thread is easy to find and for others to provide feedback. I reckon Mikes suggestion to convert into a PDF file down the track, is a goodn. Great stuff WSully... [smiley=thumbsup.gif]



                      • #12
                        Re: How to PID a Rancilio Silvia - A Step by Step Guide

                        You did a great job WSully... probably not for everyone to take this quest.... certainly I couldnt do it... hehehe...  Thanks for the hard work .. [smiley=thumbsup.gif] [smiley=dankk2.gif]  

                        If youre planning on doing another Guide... show us how to adjust the OPV pleaseeeeee.. :P  ;D


                        • #13
                          Re: How to PID a Rancilio Silvia - A Step by Step Guide

                          WOw that is a project. Silvia is looking good!

                          Could you please give us an estimate on costs and time it took all up?

                          Just curious. Looks like a HUGE project.


                          • #14
                            Re: How to PID a Rancilio Silvia - A Step by Step Guide

                            WSully -

                            Very accurate and thorough set of pictures and instructions.  Allow me to point out a few additional things that we try and address in our kits:
                            • I think it is a very good idea to add an insulating cover over the SSR.  There is not enough room between the stainless steel lower panel and the high voltage terminals on the SSR for me to be comfortable without having an insulating barrier.
                            • Along these same lines, be sure that there is no exposed metal where the new wires connect to the old thermostat wires above the boiler.  We use a fully jacketed connector here in our kits, just to be sure there is no way for high voltage to come into contact with the cup warmer surface once things are closed up.
                            • As an alternative, you might want to consider adding a short piece of heat shrink tubing around these connections.
                            • I think you will get better response from your thermocouple if you mount it directly against the brass boiler surface, rather than above the mounting brackets.
                            • I really like your use of a simple beaded t/c probe this way.  Ive rigged up one of our test machines here with that kind of sensor, and it works very well.  My only caution is to avoid flexing the wire once it has been mounted this way, since there is no opportunity for strain relief, and the solid t/c wire can easily break.
                            • For wiring inside an appliance, I think it is best to use wire that has the proper UL or CSA listing.  The original wiring inside the machine carries a UL 1015 AWM listing.  This is a tinned, stranded copper wire, with fairly thick PVC insulation.

                            Sorry if this sounds like nitpicking, but attention to small details like this can mean the difference between a successful project and a noisy, flashy one  



                            • #15
                              Re: How to PID a Rancilio Silvia - A Step by Step Guide

                              thanks jim, I will make those changes asap, as I stated at the start, Im in no way an expert,you clearly are an industry professional,thanks for the tips