Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Converting 15A Machines to 10A

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Converting 15A Machines to 10A

    As I continue my slide down (up?) into coffee snobbery Ive become increasingly disappointed with the quality of coffee available at the airport were I work. Quality aside, the fact that the coffee vendors arent open at 2:30am when I really feel like something other than blend 43 is a huge issue.

    Ive decided the best option is to find my self a little old commercial machine that I can fix up and have set up permanently at work, problem solved!

    It seems that commercial machines come in either 3 phase or single phase 15A. Whilst a 3 phase machine is a possibility, it would be a bit of overkill, so Im thinking a 15A machine is the go. Theres no 15A outlets at work though. Bugger.

    I understand it is possible to convert a 15A machine to 10A, is this just a matter of changing the heating element in the boiler to one with a lower wattage? If so, are different heating elements available for most machines, or will I have to keep my eye out for a few specific models? I assume that the only downside of this modification is that it will take longer for the machine to heat up, and I suppose you would not be able to make a lot of drinks in a row due to the boiler temperature not keeping up.

    Is there anything Ive missed, or anything else I should know?

  • #2
    Re: Converting 15A Machines to 10A

    Hi prc6of7

    Most (if not all) commercial machines have three elements - one per phase when connected to 3 phase power or all three in parallel on single phase.

    For example mine is about 7 amps per phase (or as it is now 20 Amps on a single phase with all 3 elements connected.

    I could also have just one - and that would be 7 amps - plus a couple of amps for the pump etc (so can be used on a 10A outlet - which I did when rebuilding) or connect 2 elements and that would be OK on a 15A run (just)....

    A friendly sparky can reconfigure the element cabling for you (no need to purchase a new element).... or your local commercial machine repairer could do it as well.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Converting 15A Machines to 10A

      PRC6or7, Im guessing your next question will be if they can run on 1 why have 3 and the answer is that you may be able to get the right temp water from 1 element eventually, but itll take longer to both heat up initially and to recover between shots. This isnt so much of a problem if its on 24/7 and only used here and there, but in a commercial environment where theyre designed to be used you need quick recovery, hence the 3 elements. IIRC, the Azkoyen machines often have a 3-way switch which allows 1, 2 or 3 elements to be used, nice touch.

      Greg

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Converting 15A Machines to 10A

        hi prc6of7
        the majority of machines are single phase, 10, 15, 20 and 25 amp.
        some people refer to the larger plugs 15, 20, 25amp, as three phase because they are unfamiliar with the different sizes. it is mainly 3 and 4 group machines and super automatics that are wired three phase, this increases the machines potential
        if you downsize any element you will have a problem with group temp, steam recovery,incresed element failure and incresed wear on the pressure switch. the larger the boiler the bigger the problem.


        if you intend to do this look for a machine that has a smaller boiler size 6 or 8 lt not a 12/14 or bigger.

        AND get an electrician to do the modification.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Converting 15A Machines to 10A

          Originally posted by prc6of7 link=1200611871/0#0 date=1200611871
          Ive decided the best option is to find my self a little old commercial machine that I can fix up and have set up permanently at work, problem solved!

          Is there anything Ive missed, or anything else I should know?

          A Commercial machine would sure be fun, but why not just get a good quality domestic machine eg Silvia/6910/Gaggia et-al.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Converting 15A Machines to 10A

            Originally posted by reubster link=1200611871/0#4 date=1200616325
            A Commercial machine would sure be fun, but why not just get a good quality domestic machine eg Silvia/6910/Gaggia et-al.
            Of the research Ive done so far, it seems that if youre patient, you can pick up a little secondhand commercial for a few hundred dollars. Sure itd need work, but thats half the fun isnt it?

            The plan would be to have the machine running pretty much constantly while Im there (11 hour shifts, 4 on 4 off), I dont think Id be game to trust any other shift with it! Itd probably be required to make around 8 drinks at a time, a few times a day/night.


            To clear one or two things up for me... assuming were talking about an older one or two group machine;
            • Am I correct in saying that generally it will have a single boiler with three elements, hence the larger current requirements?
            • How does such a machine acheive the two temperatures required (ie. steam and extraction), does it have multiple boilers or use a heat exchanger...or something else?
            • Does anyone have, or know where I can get, a wiring diagram of a similar type of machine? An illustrated parts list would also be handy, just to help clarify a few things.

            Thanks for the info thus far, I knew I could count on you guys for quick and helpful advice.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Converting 15A Machines to 10A

              I just had a thought, if youre only using 1 element, that means youve got 2 spares! And dont say anything about false economies....

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Converting 15A Machines to 10A

                * Am I correct in saying that generally it will have a single boiler with three elements, hence the larger current requirements?

                Yep

                * How does such a machine acheive the two temperatures required (ie. steam and extraction), does it have multiple boilers or use a heat exchanger...or something else?
                HX or dual boiler

                * Does anyone have, or know where I can get, a wiring diagram of a similar type of machine? An illustrated parts list would also be handy, just to help clarify a few things.

                These may help, not wiring diagrams as such but they explain the different types with some illustrations.

                http://www.home-barista.com/forums/espresso-machines-101-t368.html
                http://www.home-barista.com/hx-love.html#_heatExchangers
                http://www.coffeegeek.com/opinions/javajim/07-14-2003

                HTH
                Greg

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Converting 15A Machines to 10A

                  To tell you the truth prc6of7, I reckon for the amount of time your going to spend and the money taken doing it, youd be way better off getting a Silvia setup or equivalent. I guess once you start changing amperage and de-elementing boilers, you kinda lose the point of having a commercial machine in the first place. I agree that tinkering with these kinda things is fun, but I dont think I could take knowing that I have a machine that is running at a third its capacity. I guess if it was a home machine it might be a different story too.

                  Just my 2 cents anyway!

                  Hope it goes well!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Converting 15A Machines to 10A

                    have a look around for an expobar megacrem compact, they are a two group and run on 10a

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Converting 15A Machines to 10A

                      Personally, I agree with yeeza prc6of7.....

                      I think for the situation you have described, anything bar a Single Group Commercial is not going to be a very good fit, and these are hard to come by 2nd-hand. Think you would be better to consider a decent domestic machine like a Silvia, Vibiemme Domobar Levetta, etc. Much easier to pack up and lock away between shifts too....

                      Now, for a home project..... Sure, any decent commercial 1/2 Group machine would be a worthwhile consideration, especially given that you can arrange to install a 15A Outlet to allow for at least two elements plus the pump to run quite comfortably (1,200-1,300W Elements) and thereby having to sacrifice little in the way of overall systems performance. After a decent resto job you would then have a beautiful machine to sit proudly on your benchtop at home 8-).

                      All the best mate ,
                      Mal.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Converting 15A Machines to 10A


                        I mentioned this to Ray just a week ago...

                        What would happen if you put a "brick" in the boiler to reduce the volume of water? Not a real brick, maybe a lump of stainless or similar suspended near the middle of the boiler so as not to block any feeds.

                        In my head, a "cheap" 20A machine could then have half the boiler, half the element (10A) and not loose performance on a few cups of coffee in a row.

                        Of course it would no longer do commercial volumes but for the domestic or handful of cups with quick boiler heat times it makes sense to me.

                        Ill try it one day when Im looking for a new project.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Converting 15A Machines to 10A

                          Yep,

                          I reckon that would work ok Andy. Even better if it could be made easily removable in the event that circumstances change and a return to full capacity is desired. I guess it would come down to individual boiler design re: easy access to the innards, etc. Ive noticed that some of the newer 2/3 Group machines no longer use boilers with a removable end-plate, which would make life difficult for this type of fix.

                          Anyway mate, believe it or not, Im going to bed now so catch you later on today

                          Mal.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Converting 15A Machines to 10A

                            Originally posted by Andy Freeman link=1200611871/0#11 date=1200663964
                            I mentioned this to Ray just a week ago...

                            What would happen if you put a "brick" in the boiler to reduce the volume of water? Not a real brick, maybe a lump of stainless or similar suspended near the middle of the boiler so as not to block any feeds.
                            Depending on the material used heat up times could be drastically affected by doing this. It takes a lot more energy to heat up the same volume of metal than water.


                            Java "Sinks in water" phile
                            Toys! I must have new toys!!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Converting 15A Machines to 10A

                              Some heat-stable plastic maybe?

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X