EM0480 having trouble with coarser grinds, possible "fix" inside
Apologies in advance for the long post.
I bought an EM0480 a bit over a week ago and while I find it does a decent job (from what my nooblet eyes can tell) at finer espresso-type grinds, I'm struggling to get a coarse grind out of it. Since I spent as much as I could spare on a grinder (a wise choice, I'm told), I don't have nor can afford an espresso machine, and am currently a plunger drinker, so being able to get a workable coarse grind out of this machine is understandably high on my priority list (though I'm planning on picking up an Aeropress very soon, from beanbay of course).
I'd read on another, more US-centric forum relating to "geeks of coffee" that the older EM0480 units had trouble with finer grinds, and that people had taken to modding their grinders by jamming a washer or two underneath the conical burr. In that same thread they mentioned that it appears Sunbeam has started shipping these "shim-kits" pre-installed, so newer EM0480s come capable of fine grinds out of the box, at the expense of the ability to do coarser ones.
I attempted to remove the bottom burr to remove one or more of these washers, but was unable to apply enough torque to the top nut to loosen it without the burr itself spinning as well (I jammed some paper towel in between the burr and the inner wall of the grinder, but was unable to apply enough pressure to torque the nut without the burr spinning as well).
Not one to give up without a fight, I may have found an adequate workaround - simply turning the collar past the 24th "click". Of course, turning it too far will make the outer burr basket come loose from the threading and cause all sorts of horrible damage, so I was sure to be careful. With the hopper off, I turned the collar to the disassembly point, then slowly turned it back until it the top burr basket was unable to be pulled out or moved in any way, turned it back another few mm just to be safe, then marked the "point of no return" on the side of the grinder with a bit of tape.
With a not-insignificant amount of nervousness I plugged the machine back in, threw some beans in, and switched it on.
Success! I think. The machine worked with no troubles, and the grind seems much better. That said, I'm a noob, and despite much research and looking at comparison pictures and such, I'm not 100% sure what the proper grind should actually look like...
This is where you guys and gals come in: help a willing nooblet figure out if he did good.
This is the grind at 24 "clicks", the highest the machine is designed to go. This to me looks on the finer end of drip? Again, I'm a noob, so please correct me if I'm wrong.
This grind is about 2 inches past the machines default highest setting, 24. Now we're getting somewhere, though I decided to push it a bit more.
This grind is with the machine set as high as I was comfortable with. Going more than a few mm further on the collar would risk damaging the grinder. My little nooblet brain thinks that's a pretty decent plunger grind, I'd love to hear other's opinions.
And for no other reason but sh*ts and giggles (not sure on the swearing etiquette here), here's a couple beans ground up in an (unwashed) plastic pepper mill.
Here's the distance between the highest default setting and the new max. It's about the same distance as between the lowest and highest default settings - this "tweak" effectively doubles the range of the grinder.
Distance from new max and the collar disassembly point. It seems reeeeaally far along, but the top burr set absolutely will not budge when I try to move it with the hopper off. Moving the collar another 1-1.5cm or so to the right and it starts getting loose, and a cm beyond that it freely lifts out.
So, thoughts? Any other EM0480 owners tried this? Am I going to ruin my new favorite toy? Is my coarsest grind not quite coarse enough? Should I persist with trying to remove the burr nut instead?
I think work on removing the burr - running it outside the tight settings is likely to damage the grinder. If you look inside, the top slides down a ramp as you turn it clockwise from the release position - you're moving it up the ramp and introducing a lot of free play to the mechanism - that can't be good for it.
First, the burr should have a small lug sticking up. It spins around moving the beans so they enter the burr area. You can use a small screwdriver to jam that lug and so get enough torque on the nut to undo it. Don't shove the screwdriver down to far or you could damage the plastic underneath. Another way to do it is to use a 2nd spanner to sit over the lug so you can push against the tendency to move - less possibility of damage that way than leveraging a screwdriver.
There's a thread by Ray_C - http://coffeesnobs.com.au/grinders/2...lems-good.html - on how to adjust the EM0480 so it becomes a good grinder - shims aren't the only mod possible.