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  • Vario Maintenance?

    Hi all

    I have had my Vario (gen 2 or 3, not sure) for 3 years now
    and I feel it is starting to under perform.

    The shots are running quick on settings that used to be ok and on finer settings it will
    come through slower but thin.

    These are beans roasted within 1 to 2 weeks

    No more thick crema

    I have always cleaned it but no other maintenance has been carried out.
    I can hear the burrs touching at the setting 1H

    Should I be adjusting to 2Q as some videos suggest?

    Attached are photos of the 2 burr sets
    I am not sure if they are in need of replacing?

    Any help would be much appreciated
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Tampit is the forum Vario expert/fan club chairman

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by tyler_durdan View Post
      Hi all

      I have had my Vario (gen 2 or 3, not sure) for 3 years now
      and I feel it is starting to under perform.

      The shots are running quick on settings that used to be ok and on finer settings it will
      come through slower but thin.

      These are beans roasted within 1 to 2 weeks

      No more thick crema

      I have always cleaned it but no other maintenance has been carried out.
      I can hear the burrs touching at the setting 1H

      Should I be adjusting to 2Q as some videos suggest?

      Attached are photos of the 2 burr sets
      I am not sure if they are in need of replacing?

      Any help would be much appreciated
      G'day tyler_durdan

      The first thing I would do is to clean the chamber (filthy in your pic) thoroughly, and ensure the throat (i.e. the aperture that feeds into the p/f) is also clean and not blocking up. If the chamber is full, the particle spread will be uneven. Then check whether it needs adjustment by running it empty at (say) 3 W for a short while and then slowly setting it finer.

      A 1.5(?)mm Allen Key can be used to adjust the mechanism. I generally only adjust stray ones, my own are pretty stable - hence I am not 100% sure of the Allen Key size (been a while). Yep, adjusting the burrs to touch circa 2Q means that espresso grind should be about 1P (standard baskets) or 1H (VSTs). As usual, let taste be your guide after that.

      My oldest Vario has done well over 300Kgs and the burrs are unmarked, so I really doubt they need anything except checking the retaining screws are still tight - one of the strays had loose screws (how??? - who can tell what Conans of the world can achieve). Mind you, that one had also been stripped down by a true I/D 10 t (in computer jargon) so it also needed an "A to Z strip and rebuild". It is in a good home now (recuperating?).

      I hope this helps.

      Originally posted by 338 View Post
      Tampit is the forum Vario expert/fan club chairman
      Thanks 338

      Not really, I merely (cough) own three of them as I have yet to find a better grinder for home use in a micro kitchen. One for my light / medium roasts, one for either darker roasts / decaf and one for coarser grinds (i.e. with steel burrs - useless for espresso) for cold steep / modded stirrer plunger.

      Anyway, both of you enjoy your cuppa, whatever that means for you.

      TampIt

      Comment


      • #4
        TampIt,

        Would a loose screw be the reason for the burrs touching on one side (top burr for roughly a 2 cm section - bottom burr all around on edge)? I get burr scraping as I adjust the fine setting upwards from course setting 4 onwards roughly. So no scraping high in alphabet and then scraping as I move lower on 3 & 4. (I would expect this from 2Q upwards only)

        The grinder is new. Only been through roughly 750g when I have noticed the sound on my next dial in. Unfortunately I made a newbie mistake and bought from an "Australian" website that later proved to be an Italian exporter so I'm dubious as to what service I will get on warranty issues since I have read some bad experiences on here (after I purchased unfortunately - that will teach me to buy on impulse late at night). All in the price was the same as if I bought it locally which peeved me no end since I thought I was buying locally.

        Thought I better do some research while I await their response to my service request just in case I'm on my own here

        Comment


        • level3ninja
          level3ninja commented
          Editing a comment
          Is it a Mahlkoenig Vario or Baratza Vario?

      • #5
        Mahlkönig Vario Home V3. Had it roughly 2 weeks so far
        Attached Files

        Comment


        • Oracle23
          Oracle23 commented
          Editing a comment
          The above happened from setting to 3 and transitioning up from W to A. You can see the top burr contact at the bottom of pic and the scraping all around the outside of the bottom burr

      • #6
        It seems I'm on my own, the vendor simply sent me some instructions to recalibrate the grinder which will void the warranty if I remove the sticker. C'est la vie!

        Comment


        • #7
          Doesn't sound like you've got the option of a warranty

          Comment


          • Oracle23
            Oracle23 commented
            Editing a comment
            2 year warranty, as per their website. Looking at it again I can't believe how sleep deprived I must have been to think it was an Australian business. Ah well, the warranty will be fulfilled by me now

        • #8
          Don't see how that should void the warranty if the vendor instructed you to do that especially if you have it in writing.

          Comment


          • Oracle23
            Oracle23 commented
            Editing a comment
            That's what the vendor said so this weekend I'll give it a crack. Thankfully some good videos from Baratza online that walk you through this stuff. Even though it's Mahlkönig I assume they're almost identical inside.

        • #9
          Well, I gave it a shot. The adjustment screw did nothing. Still scraping from 4E then when adjusted up to 3 scrapes from around 3O. Then scraping from 2Q. The top burr is scraping at the back of the machine, slightly to the left. I assume the bottom burr is not parallel.

          Comment


          • #10
            If it's from overseas or sounds like it got damaged in transit

            Comment


            • Oracle23
              Oracle23 commented
              Editing a comment
              Possibly. The box looked fine as did the grinder when I pulled it out (aside from the euro plug of course). It was FedEx, who knows how it was treated. On the plus side it was fast.

              During my realignment attempts I did feel that the belt may have been a little tight. Perhaps that was what was pulling it out of alignment?

          • #11
            Just read a review by Scott Rao - BARATZA FORTE VS EK43: WHICH IS BETTER?

            In it he says


            "While the first EK43 I owned happened to produce impressive results, I’ve since used about one hundred EK’s and I’ve realized that I was lucky: that first machine happened to have been well aligned. Only about 10% of the Ek43’s I’ve used since then have had such good alignment. Poorly aligned Ek43’s are the norm, a problem Mahlkonig has chosen not to resolve, and a problem that has caused their quality-oriented users endless grief and wasted time, as users have had to personally realign the burrs both out of the box and upon each burr change, a frustrating process. There is no excuse for selling such an expensive grinder that usually underperforms right out of the box. Nor should customers have to spend so much precious time bringing the grinder’s performance up to a reasonable standard.

            Because of the Ek43’s alignment issue, I desperately wanted to avoid overpaying for a machine that would give me fits. I’m pleased to report that the Forté extracts higher than any EK43 I have ever used, makes tastier coffee than any EK43 I have ever used, and can grind much finer than most EK43’s."

            A long bow seeing the EK43 and your Vario are both made by Mahlkonig, was wondering if your Vario is suffering from a very poor factory alignment that was not picked up in QC.

            Comment


            • Oracle23
              Oracle23 commented
              Editing a comment
              Great points in that review. I have no experience with Mahlkönig prior to this so I can only go by my experience albeit with a dodgy grey import too. I'm most of the way through pull down, re-align and reassemble. I haven't gotten perfect alignment but at least with the hand rotation test I have managed to invert the wear pattern so now only a small portion is not contacting. Unfortunately I was called away by a baby crying so I will have to leave the crucial spin up till the weekend.

              From my research into alignment I have found a good blog post on how to achieve good results, not sure if I can paste links here but Google "Baratza Vario super alignment owner experience" if you're curious. The Baratza and Mahlkönig are similar enough that I was able to follow the steps.

              I have found at least 1 other Mahlkönig Vario V3 user with similar alignment issues on that post that had similar before and afters to me, could be coincidence or could be a lack of proper alignment out the factory.

              This experience hasn't soured me on the grinder but having gone through all this and having watched the helpful Baratza videos on their website and seen the tools etc they come stock with for their Vario I kind of wish I had gone with my first choice of the Baratza Sette 270Wi. Ah well, I've made my bed now.

          • #12
            Originally posted by Ted2013 View Post
            Just read a review by Scott Rao - BARATZA FORTE VS EK43: WHICH IS BETTER?

            "While the first EK43 I owned happened to produce impressive results, I’ve since used about one hundred EK’s and I’ve realized that I was lucky: that first machine happened to have been well aligned. Only about 10% of the Ek43’s I’ve used since then have had such good alignment.
            That review is horribly uneven in its comparison. As per the quote above the first EK he owned was well aligned and a huge number aftet that were not. He then goes on to sing the praises of the Forte for being incredibly well aligned. If you read the review how many Fortes was he using for this comparison? One. A single Forte that was very well aligned. He then goes on to basically say that you should get a Forte if you want a well aligned geinder. What's to say that Forte wasn't a unicorn in its alignment like his first EK? The other thing he mentions is that Baratza sent him the Forte directly after he had a bad experience with another grinder of theirs (think it was the Vario), so they knew exactly who they were sending the grinder to. Whats to say they didn't go the extra mile and make sure it was super well aligned before they sent it to him?

            Anyway this is a little off topic, the grinder OP has is obviously very poorly aligned, this is not to say otherwise but just to take anything SR says with a grain of salt the size of Uluru.

            Comment


            • 338
              338 commented
              Editing a comment
              Well said Ninja. Can't comment about the grinders but my SR reading exercise was when looking for reviews on the Decent machine. Read a glowing review about it on SR blog, then saw a little later that he is listed on the Decent website as co product designer! It wouldn't be unreasonable to think he could be the tiniest bit biased towards his own product and to be honest with his readers should have mentioned that.

              Love the grain of sand the size of Uluru description!

            • Oracle23
              Oracle23 commented
              Editing a comment
              Also a great point

          • #13
            Surprisingly I haven't heard back from the retailer when I informed them that adjusting via the hole did not solve my issue.

            Was at a local store today and saw the Sette for $100 less than the Vario. I was a little crushed

            Even though the contact is better than before when they touch, I still cant work out why 3H touches but 2W doesn't or 2R for that matter. I assumed 3A would be further apart than 2W. I am struggling to dial in too. I nail a dose for one shot and the very next is too fine a grind. Nothing changed.

            Going to cost me more in coffee than the grinder is worth soon. Went through 250g this morning to get it perfect only for the next one to be too fine, lucky I bought 1kg from my local roaster. I guess Vario means "highly variable particle size" for my grinder.

            Comment


            • 338
              338 commented
              Editing a comment
              Oracle, sorry to read your story. I would see if Tampit chimes in with a solution, if that doesn't solve it maybe sell it for filter use and take the $200 or whatever loss. Advertise it honestly and buy what you want, might be better than being reminded of a late night purchase every morning for the next few years

            • Oracle23
              Oracle23 commented
              Editing a comment
              338 I think I'll give it another shot at calibration and if that doesn’t work I'll cut my losses as you say and chalk it up to another life lesson.

          • #14
            Having some luck single dosing so for now I'll see how it goes. Takes a little longer to make a few coffees but at least the results have been consistent. Less chance of clogging up the grinder too.

            Comment

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