EM0480 grinder needing a lower setting but why?
I've had a EM0480 for about 2 years now. When I first got it I soon worked out that at the setting of 13 I got just the right grind for my 800es machine. It stayed this way for about 18 months until eventually I needed to use a setting of 12 to get the same result, I figured that maybe the burrs were getting a bit blunt or something, no big deal.
After another couple of months I needed to go down to 11 at which point I thought maybe it's blocked up so it was pulled apart and cleaned thoroughly. So far so good, it was back to a setting of 13 to get the right grind. But after less than 2 weeks of using 13 I noticed the machine was starting to regress to a coarser grind. I'm rather perplexed that it would deteriorate so quickly after the clean had made it work like new. Any ideas on what could be happening inside the machine, could something be loosening, or what else could be wrong? Any suggestions most appreciated.
If your burrs are getting blunt, then a clean will help for a short period, but then the harder work the burrs have to do will start forcing apart the adjustment.
Used to have the same issues with metal/woodworking machinery. When planing a piece of timber through a thicknesser, if the blades are sharp - no worries. Perfectly even board. As they wear, the machine has to work harder to get the length through, and the adjustment will start to creep. When they get really blunt, you end up with a wedge shaped board!
Have you run a finger nail across the burrs to check if they feel sharp?
This might not apply to your case, but I've found the grind to have sudden changes after cleaning. I.e. originally it was 16 for me, then once after cleaning/reassembling it was at 8, after another time was at 20... now its back to ~14! I have no clue why, it is always assembled exactly the same way and doesn't always change.
How much coffee would you go through in a year? I honestly doubt 2 years home use to be enough to wear the burrs out. That said, you might be right about something 'loosening' inside, after all its made from plastic! Another consideration is that replacement burrs retail for close to $100, which is the same price I got my em0480 from BigW a number of years ago! If you're no longer happy with the result it might be best to upgrade and keep the 0480 as a backup/office grinder.
I've found as my beans age I need to adjust bot my EM0480 and my EM0450 slightly - seems to be 2 notches for the SB basket and 1 notch for the VST. (I grind decaf for the missus in the SB and my beans in the VST) There was one bean I got from the local roaster and there was 3 notches difference between fresh and 4 week old in the VST. Temp also seems to make a difference - IIRC when we had the 40º+ week my normal grind was choking the machine and i had to go 1 notch higher to get a good cup.
You might be running into older beans/colder weather and that has caused the change?
Thanks for the helpful replies everyone.
Funny you should say that, I took the grinder to work today and after leaving the setting at 12 I found that it was grinding much finer than yesterday at the same setting. So a bit of bumping around in the car has caused it to change again.
Originally Posted by burr
I estimate that I use about 10 kilos of beans a year, I'm guessing that's not enough to wear the burrs out.
That's a big change, I certainly notice differences in the coffee between when I open a new pack of beans and as I'm finishing a pack (usually about 10 days later) but nothing as big as you are experiencing. I get my beans direct from a guy who roasts on site, sometimes it may be only a day after they were roasted, he's roasting all the time so the beans are never very old.
Originally Posted by Journeyman
Certainly when the machine was newer I never adjusted the setting. If I went to 12 my machine struggled to pump out the shot at all (60 sec or more), if I went to 14 the shot rushed out in 5-10 seconds. The start or the end of a packet of beans never created enough of a change to actually warrant adjusting the setting.
Phone Sunbeam and ask for a shim kit.
Hm... are you aware of the little knob sticking out the base of the bottom burr that has to seat into the hole in the base? In http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-equipment-midrange-500-1500/34352-my-new-machine.html? it was one of the issues I had with my grinder - previous owners had burred the knob by not seating it properly and I had grind issues.Bumping the machine around may have dropped the knob into the hole? Check if the bottom burr is still tight.
Originally Posted by byronator
@Barry... the shim kit would be handy for future use but I don't think he's got that problem yet - he's still grinding in mid-range.
The bottom burr was still tight but as it turns out my machine was actually in worse shape than I thought. After yet more inconsistency I tried cleaning it again and after it was put back together it stopped grinding altogether. I went to the Sunbeam seconds shop to get a new grinder and one of the people in the shop said he would look at the old grinder (which I had in the car). He compared it to a brand new one that he pulled apart and he could see some wear and tear on the bean holder where it connects to the base, he also noticed that one of the burrs was slipping a bit during grinding.
Originally Posted by Journeyman
One of the things I did with this grinder was bang on the top lid after grinding to dislodge the rest of the ground coffee that had got "stuck" inside the machine (a known problem with the EM0480). My guess is that more than 2 and a half years of doing this slowly but surely caused the wear and tear that eventually put the machine out of alignment. I think the moral of the story is do not bang on the lid of the bean holder to dislodge the grinds! I now have a EM0500 which does not seem to have the same problem but I am definitely avoid ever banging on the lid of it.
Ah that could explain it. Before dosing for a shot each day I turn the motor on and give the machine a few strong thwacks with both hands on the metal base, loosening a good amount of coffee. Since its fairly light you need to hit it on both sides simultaneously not to send the grinder flying! Its only been a work grinder for the last year but I haven't noticed any change in consistency, despite the rough handling. The plastic parts holding the hopper/burr assembly must be more prone to bending.
That's good advice burr thanks, I'll try and adopt that routine.
Originally Posted by burr
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