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Thread: Frustration with EM0480

  1. #1
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    Frustration with EM0480

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    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. #2
    Senior Member Journeyman's Avatar
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    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. #3
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    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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    Senior Member Journeyman's Avatar
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    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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    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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    Quote 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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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote 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.

  8. #8
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blend52 View Post
    ...anybody have that help line number handy ?
    I'm sure Google does. 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.

  9. #9
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote 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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    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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    Quote 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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    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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    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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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote 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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    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; 19th April 2015 at 04:09 PM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    It sounds very strange. Sorry I can't be of more help. An upgrade could be in order for sure. Whatever you do don't bin the Sunbeam as even if it's not gonna do espresso anymore it will be a great grinder for other brew methods. I'm sure someone here will take it off your hands if you don't want it. Good luck, happy shopping.

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    I'll definitely be keeping it, possibly as a plunger grinder. Has anyone got any further ideas on what could be causing the whirring without grinding? I had to shake the unit 5 times today just to get one shot of grounds.

    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    It sounds very strange. Sorry I can't be of more help. An upgrade could be in order for sure. Whatever you do don't bin the Sunbeam as even if it's not gonna do espresso anymore it will be a great grinder for other brew methods. I'm sure someone here will take it off your hands if you don't want it. Good luck, happy shopping.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neifirst View Post
    I'll definitely be keeping it, possibly as a plunger grinder. Has anyone got any further ideas on what could be causing the whirring without grinding? I had to shake the unit 5 times today just to get one shot of grounds.
    Hi Neifirst

    As a previous owner of two 480's, both reliable for some years after routine maintenance, it sounds as if your 480 is not put together properly. The high pitched sound is trying to tell you something is quite remiss... BTW, I sold both of them and regretted it as they are brilliant for my summer iced coffees (via a heavily modified plunger).

    FYI, the feed on my 480's needed a 250g weight or had to be over half full of beans (earlier post also stated this) or the grind spread was poor. It would still feed "properly" in terms of the mechanism down to the last bean.

    My guess - the bits JM warned you about are out of alignment / missing / whatever. The basic mechanism should work well with just gravity helping, shaking not required.

    If you decide you really want a better grinder, I would suggest a Mahlkonig Vario. Look up Baratza (US) or Mahlkonig (rest of world) reviews to see why. My older one has done well over 100Kgs (spent a few weeks in a cafe) and the burrs are still unmarked. Quiet, better particle spread than a 480 (and 90% of other grinders out there IMO) and brilliant for espresso (especially into a 6910 / 7000 which are my home machines - or a Linea / Strada which are the main two I play with elsewhere). Downsides - around $700, not as good as the 480 at coarser grinds. In WA Grand Central handle them, just avoid getting the parallel imported Baratza with no Oz warranty.

    Good luck with your 480, IMO the Smartgrinder is around the same level so probably not worth the swap.

    TampIt
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    Thanks for the advice TampIt. The good news is I solved the issue. It turned out to be the roast (oily), and beans were sticking together near the base of the hopper where the raised guard is. Which explains why no beans made it to the grinding section. A new roast that wasn't as dark has shown no problems.

    So now I'm back to basic grind adjustment frustration. On the em0480. Will take the above tips into account, but as a result of my extensive reading, an upgrade is still tempting. Makes me wonder what I'm missing. I'll be waiting to find a cheap but decent model second hand locally
    Last edited by Neifirst; 23rd April 2015 at 09:07 PM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Damnit! My EM0480 has just died this morning. It's completely kaput. It was working fine yesterday but when I flicked the switch this morning nothing happens. I'll start a new thread to see if anyone has any advice, but as it appears to be an electrical issue if say it's terminal. Or at the very least not worth the expense of fixing.

  21. #21
    Rbn
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    Interesting comments on EM480.
    I bought mine second hand, for NZ$100.00 thought I wonder if it will be any good.
    I use a single shot VST basket, on an EM6910.
    The grinder must have a shim or two, I have never checked!
    It is set to 4 or 6, depending on the age of the beans.
    Makes a good grind every time, I guess I should get around to cleaning it,
    But I don't want to mess it up when it is going well!
    I have never touched anything on it except the start button and the hopper lid,
    to put in beans, it seems to keep running out of beans!

  22. #22
    Senior Member prydey's Avatar
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    my 480 worked ok, but i couldn't stand the mess, even with the rubber elbow on the spout. the steps between each setting are quite large as well, and often resulted in one setting being too fine and the next setting down being too coarse. there's also no dose control so wastage was higher than it needed to be.

    i'm on a tight budget so only upgraded to the bcg800 and the improved cleanliness alone made it worth the money. add to that the dose control works pretty well, and i was not looking back. i still have my 0480 in the cupboard but i'll be surprised if it ever sees the light of day again.

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    I got a 480 for the gfs place and I got over its slow speed and mess after a day, I ended up using a porlex hand grinder with a battery drill attached to the top so I didn't have to hand crank it. Seemed far more consistent

  24. #24
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Frustration with EM0480

    I should add that my EM0480 is working again really well now. It was the safety switch that was the problem but I got it going again by giving it a good clean. I've now got 5 shims in place which is probably one too many as I'm up around 20 for espresso. But as its working really well I won't mess with it. I now prefer it by far over my Nemox Lux. It's faster, quieter, provides a more consistent and even grind, and it's less messy as I use both the supplied rubber sleeve and a home made portafilter funnel that works really well. So for now I'm quite happy. (The BSG820 is half price here in NZ at the moment at Harvey Norman so I could well end up with one of them. We'll see).



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