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Frustration with EM0480

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  • Frustration with EM0480

    When I first had a Sunbeam EM4820 espresso machine, I purchased an EM0480 grinder to go with it. The EM4820 machine broke within 15 months, so it was replaced with an EM7000.

    At first the EM0480 was going OK, I would often get great shots. Nowadays I only get a decent shot every so often. This morning no amount of adjustment would help and I went through 7 shots that blocked the EM7000. Other days I have the coffee gushing through and takes me several finer adjustments and wasted shots just to get somwthinf useable. I have cleaned the machine regularly,

    Is this common for em0480 owners for it to start well then just be so goddamn inconsistent? I roast my own coffee with a popper/corretto setup. I am seriously eyeing off a BCG820 from the good guys for $220 at this point....

  • #2
    When you say 'cleaned regularly' do you mean you've taken off the top and cleaned the burrs or do you mean you took off the brown plastic part that covers the sweep arms?

    I was getting inconsistent grinding with one of my 480's and found the previous owner had locked the tiny stud at the bottom of the bottom burr away from the little hole it is meant to click into. Not saying you've done that but good to check.

    I'd start by stripping it down till you can see the sweeps arms. Note when taking off the brown plastic plate part there is a stud and spring that might fly off - I nearly put my back out diving for the sink the first time I removed that plate. Also the thread on the bottom burr nut is reversed. I use a ring spanner to hold the lug that stirs the beans and another spanner to undo the nut.

    Also note the microswitch the spring/stud sits on must be exactly in place when you are reassembling. Check the spindle the burr sits on for side play.

    Clean everything fully and reassemble and see how you go.

    Also the top burr unit has a flat spot where the metal under it meets the plastic - that goes to the rear of the grinder. I think getting it wrong can also give uneven results.

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    • #3
      How many shims are there in place? I'd follow all the above advice, but it might help to add one more shim too. Mine now has four shims in place and is grinding like a boss.

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      • #4
        I did think about mentioni9ng shims but s/he mentioned inconsistent grinding - normally if it is a shim issue the symptom is being unable to grind fine enough. But good idea - while it's apart check everything.

        @Neifirst - the grinder should give a good grind somewhere between about 6 and 14 on the scale. If it is below 6, and particularly if you have to grind at 1 or 2 to get good coffee, a shim is needed. eBay has them or sometimes Sunbeam will simply send you a couple if you ring their help line. Each shim gives about 7 points up on the scale. (i.e. grinding at 4, add a shim and 11 is about right)

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        • #5
          I found the EM0480 to be perfectly consistent, except on a few occasions after taking it apart and cleaning. I don't understand how but it would jump several (~5) clicks in either direction, but then stay at the same point until a few cleans later. Is this what you are experiencing?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Journeyman View Post
            I Sunbeam will simply send you a couple if you ring their help line. ......
            ...anybody have that help line number handy ?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by burr View Post
              I found the EM0480 to be perfectly consistent, except on a few occasions after taking it apart and cleaning. I don't understand how but it would jump several (~5) clicks in either direction, but then stay at the same point until a few cleans later. Is this what you are experiencing?
              Mine seemed to take a bit of time to 'bed in' as well, but is good as gold now.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by blend52 View Post
                ...anybody have that help line number handy ?
                I'm sure Google does. [emoji1] Just be aware that last I heard Sunbeam wouldn't send out any shims unless you provided proof of purchase. If you don't have a receipt then they're readily available on eBay Australia for a few bucks each.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Journeyman View Post
                  the grinder should give a good grind somewhere between about 6 and 14 on the scale. If it is below 6, and particularly if you have to grind at 1 or 2 to get good coffee, a shim is needed. Each shim gives about 7 points up on the scale. (i.e. grinding at 4, add a shim and 11 is about right)
                  Journeyman - how many shims is acceptable in your opinion? As I said above I've got 4 in there now (2 factory fitted, 2 fitted by me), but I feel I'm at the tipping point of adding one more as I'm pretty much between 1 and 4 on the scale to get a fine enough grind? Thoughts?

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                  • #10
                    Sorry for the late replies, I've had to play around a bit more to know how to respond.
                    Cleaning wise, I am removing the top burr and the metal cone itself (bottom burr?), which means sweeper blades are visible.
                    There are 5 shims on there at present.
                    It seems that there are a few vairables involved that mean a constant adjustment of grind settings. Perfect shot 10. As I use more beans in the storage, I have to increase the fineness otherwise it is just watery. Eventually gets to setting 7 with the storage holding half the beans. I then top up the beans, and 7 chokes it, so I have to drop back to 11. I put in a darker roast, and at half capacity, and I had to go to 12 to not choke the em6910.

                    So it seems that bean age, amount of roast, and the amount of beans in the storage are all having an impact and I have to account for each of these variables to try and get a decent shot

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Neifirst View Post
                      So it seems that bean age, amount of roast, and the amount of beans in the storage are all having an impact and I have to account for each of these variables to try and get a decent shot
                      Yes, these factors actually affect the flow rate regardless of which grinder you are using

                      Keeping the hopper > 1/2 full or just single dosing might make it more consistent, but the age and darkness of the roast will always affect the grind. I normally found that the small difference caused by bean age wasn't enough to justify a change of the (large) steps - at most perhaps going from a firm tamp at #12 to a gentle tamp at #11 after a week or two.

                      As for all of these variables affecting your ability to get a good shot, well... one man's frustration is another man's satisfaction! I expect that most of us struggle to get great shots, but the mediocracy we put up with makes the elusive god shot all the more satisfying.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks Burr, that is a bit more relieving to hear. Not so great news here though, my em0480 is now making high pitched noises when attempting to grind and nothing coming out. Grind number 10 and plenty of beans in the hopper. I have to shake the whole unit to get some grinds. That bcg820 is looking so tempting

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                        • #13
                          Just gave the em0480 a dismantle and decent clean again. Put beans back in. Same issue. High pitched and nothing being ground. Just saw a baratza preciso on Gumtree for $250 (warranty return) or the bcg820 is still 199 at myer

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Neifirst View Post
                            Thanks Burr, that is a bit more relieving to hear. Not so great news here though, my em0480 is now making high pitched noises when attempting to grind and nothing coming out. Grind number 10 and plenty of beans in the hopper. I have to shake the whole unit to get some grinds. That bcg820 is looking so tempting
                            It sounds like you're trying to grind too fine. Start at the course end of the scale and see what happens, then slowly work your way towards where you need to be for espresso. I had a similar experience and had success doing this.

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                            • #15
                              It is at the sweet spot (currently) at 10. Anything coarser results in gushing in the cup. It is though something is stopping the beans going into the burrs, hence why I have to shake the unit, but I can't find anything. Just annoying and over the dramas of this unit.

                              Edit. Just tried at grindness 14. Same thing again, it grinds some beans then high pitched whirring. A shake of the machine gets things in order. End result was still a gusher :/ . now debating between the breville SG and a Compak K3. Different price points, but I am becoming skeptical of consumer grade products
                              Last edited by Neifirst; 19 April 2015, 05:09 PM.

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