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Thread: Gaggia steam wand replacement

  1. #1
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    Gaggia steam wand replacement

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi,

    After a number of years getting average results foaming milk with my Gaggia Classic - today a revelation.

    After reading AndyCJs excellent report about installing a Silvia wand on a Gaggia machine, today I did just that...and it was just as simple as AndyCJ explained - no more horrid plastic tip.

    Instant microfoam *:) *(Still got some work to do...but hey, what an improvement!)

    Thanks to AndyCJ and all who post interesting and informative articles...a great help to experienced novices like me!

    Dave

  2. #2
    trumboli
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    Re: Gaggia steam wand replacement

    And I bet you had no trouble with steaming power or quantity of steam from your Classic as I have seen suggested to some CSers about to make this mod. As the Classic is my first espresso machine I was still trying to get my first microfoam, So now I had a new learning curve to get around, it took me about 6 tries after the mod, I just got hot milk. I was starting to think that maybe I should have left well alone and not modded my almost new machine. Now I would not even let that thought enter my head.
    I just bleed the wand and hit the steam when the light comes on, off when the light goes off, give jug a couple of taps on bench and then light comes back on and I finish the microfoam. Very fast indeed.
    I say to all Classic owners DO IT! I had Bartolis do the mod for me as I should not be let loose with a screwdriver or spanner near any appliance or machine due to past experiences!

  3. #3
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    Re: Gaggia steam wand replacement

    Hi Trumboli,

    LIke you, no dramas at all with steam quantity or pressure...in fact given that I generally only make around 3 coffees at a time I find that if the steam valve is any more than around 1/2 to 3/4 of a turn open it is too much.

    It sounds as though you are getting better results than me though...Im still a bit hit and miss. I thought that I had read somewhere that you shouldnt interupt the texturing process as you have suggested...however it is the results that speak loudest - Ill give it a try next time!

    The biggest single improvement overall has been in carrying out the pressure modification that is described in many places on this forum.

    Now that I have dialled in the grind (about 6 on the old Sunbeam) the crema is fantastic...I highly recommend this mod. Photos posted on the forum and good advice from other folk on the forum really made this very straightforward.

    These two mods have reinvigorated my enthusiasm.

    cheers
    Dave

  4. #4
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    Re: Gaggia steam wand replacement

    dave, for better results i would recommend adding either a temperature probe on the boiler or adding a pid as this makes modulating the steam much simpler. by knowing the temperature of the boiler you can allow it to reach the ideal temp at which to start steaming every single time. on my machine if i open the wand fully by 150ēC then the element remains on indefinitely while steaming. this is the ideal situation as you get the best pressure possible, consistently for the entire jug of milk.

    The silvia wand is great - i ummd and ahd as i wasnt keen to shave the external diameter down or start pulling apart piping. im an elec eng, so im cool with wiring, but i thought the wand mod would be a little hit and miss. awesome bang for your buck mod at <$40.

    but yeah, theres plenty of potential to be had with this machine. If youre useful with a few bits of wire then adding PID control is relatively easy but will cost you ~$100. pressure mod is awesome so you can get a lot more from the machine.

    happy modding

  5. #5
    trumboli
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    Re: Gaggia steam wand replacement

    Dave_D, I think 3/4 is plenty on the steam knob up until the light goes out works fine, then hit it full on when it comes back on.

    I think I will wait for my warranty to run out (11 months to go) before doing the pressure thingy and even then I think I will get it done by a pro. Sure as eggs I will stuff it up. My Silvia wand only cost $30 odd to install, peace of mind , nothing like it. No worry about stripping brass bits and pieces, leaks etc etc and then I always end up losing some part or other.
    Besides, my Classic coffee I am now drinking, is 100 times better then the stuff made in my old pressurised Sunbeam Ristretto with preground beans so I can wait a little longer for the pressure mod, then again . . . !

  6. #6
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    Re: Gaggia steam wand replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by early_morning_ link=1201063299/0#3 date=1201683592
    dave, for better results i would recommend adding either a temperature probe on the boiler or adding a pid as this makes modulating the steam much simpler. by knowing the temperature of the boiler you can allow it to reach the ideal temp at which to start steaming every single time. on my machine if i open the wand fully by 150ēC then the element remains on indefinitely while steaming. this is the ideal situation as you get the best pressure possible, consistently for the entire jug of milk.

    The silvia wand is great - i ummd and ahd as i wasnt keen to shave the external diameter down or start pulling apart piping. im an elec eng, so im cool with wiring, but i thought the wand mod would be a little hit and miss. awesome bang for your buck mod at <$40.

    but yeah, theres plenty of potential to be had with this machine. If youre useful with a few bits of wire then adding PID control is relatively easy but will cost you ~$100. pressure mod is awesome so you can get a lot more from the machine.

    happy modding
    Thanks early_morning_

    Im maxxing out on allowable expenditure by her indoors at the moment...so the mod of which you speak will be a little way off :(

    As an old fridgey I think that I could manage it - but Im a real novice on the coffee...so forgive the question, but what is a "pid" ::)??

    Dave

  7. #7
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    Re: Gaggia steam wand replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by trumboli link=1201063299/0#4 date=1201683967
    Dave_D, I think 3/4 is plenty on the steam knob up until the light goes out works fine, then hit it full on when it comes back on.

    I think I will wait for my warranty to run out (11 months to go) before doing the pressure thingy and even then I think I will get it done by a pro. Sure as eggs I will stuff it up. My Silvia wand only cost $30 odd to install, peace of mind , nothing like it. No worry about stripping brass bits and pieces, leaks etc etc and then I always end up losing some part or other.
    Besides, my Classic coffee I am now drinking, is 100 times better then the *stuff made in my old pressurised Sunbeam Ristretto with preground beans so I can wait a little longer for the pressure mod, then again . . . !
    Hey Trumboli...

    When your warranty is up...go for it!! Follow the advice and pikkies on the forum...youll be right.

    The biggest danger was burning myself...which I did frequently during the process.

    Dave

  8. #8
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    Re: Gaggia steam wand replacement

    A PID controller - proportional+integral+derivative control.

    its reasonably straightforward to install. you replace the existing thermostat which has a massive deadband of 15-20ēC with an SSR that is controlled by the PID. the pid has a little thermocouple that you can stick where the thermostat was, the pid has "auto-configure" software in it for optimal control, and roberts your fathers brother.

    temperature stability (and hence, brew consistency) is massively improved as is steaming because you can see the temp of the boiler and can optimise when you open the steam wand accordingly.

    also, a pullman tamper to round out the upgrades and youve probably done just about everything you could possibly do to get the best from your classic.

  9. #9
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    Re: Gaggia steam wand replacement

    Thanks for that early_morning_...

    Any pictures of where on the machine you installed it?

  10. #10
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    Re: Gaggia steam wand replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_D link=1201063299/0#8 date=1201762184
    Thanks for that early_morning_...

    Any pictures of where on the machine you installed it?
    theres a few pics of detailed install on the forum. below is a couple of links that i googled for you, and attached is my finished product.

    http://www.thedomesticbarista.com/index.php/Adding_a_PID_to_a_Gaggia_Coffee_espresso_machine.
    http://www.toomuchcoffee.com/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=3316
    http://coffeetweek.blogspot.com/2007/11/adding-pid-to-gaggia.html

    basically, you get some disconnects, some wire and a project box from jaycar, get an ssr and a pid from ebay and then get to it. out comes the lower thermostat which is replaced by the ssr, the thermocouple goes in in place of the thermostat and you tag into the supply voltage to power the pid unit.


  11. #11
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    Re: Gaggia steam wand replacement

    Hi guys,

    If you want to get into a detailed discussion of how to install a PID Controller into a Gaggia Classic can you please start a new thread in the appropriate category listing.....

    Thanks :),
    Mal.

  12. #12
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    Re: Gaggia steam wand replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by early_morning_ link=1201063299/0#9 date=1202022956
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_D link=1201063299/0#8 date=1201762184
    Thanks for that early_morning_...

    Any pictures of where on the machine you installed it?
    theres a few pics of detailed install on the forum. below is a couple of links that i googled for you, and attached is my finished product.

    http://www.thedomesticbarista.com/index.php/Adding_a_PID_to_a_Gaggia_Coffee_espresso_machine.
    http://www.toomuchcoffee.com/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=3316
    http://coffeetweek.blogspot.com/2007/11/adding-pid-to-gaggia.html

    basically, you get some disconnects, some wire and a project box from jaycar, get an ssr and a pid from ebay and then get to it. out comes the lower thermostat which is replaced by the ssr, the thermocouple goes in in place of the thermostat and you tag into the supply voltage to power the pid unit.

    Cheers...thanks for that early_morning_

    (sorry Mal...Im new to all this)

    Dave

  13. #13
    cremakid
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    Re: Gaggia steam wand replacement

    I have had great results with my Classic and Silvia wand. Slight learning curve but well worth it!

  14. #14
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    Re: Gaggia steam wand replacement

    yep...me too!

    I have now had a little more time to practice, and the results are getting quite consistent...although I bought a 300ml jug and it was a bit of a challenge to start with.

    It would be nice to achieve a little more integration between the microfoam and the milk...but the results are now good enough to keep me satisfied as I learn more :)

    Dave



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