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Rancilio Silvia and PIDs


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94 replies to this topic

#1 Jason Perlow

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 10:03 AM

So, I took the plunge into "real" espresso machines and ordered a brand new Silvia V3. On the prodding of Sam Kinsey, I'm also going to buy a PID for it.

However, the question is WHICH PID kit to get. The two cottage companies that offer them are PIDKits.com and PIDsilvia.com. Both of these are side mounts, but one uses the Watlow PID (more expensive, but supposedly higher quality devices) and the other uses Auber PIDs. Auber Instruments also offers its own PID kit now as well. However, the Auber PID kit is an undermount near the steamer wand and the espresso spout and I'm not crazy about that

So far, I haven't gotten either of these cottage businesses to answer emails. I guess whoever eventually gets back to me will get my bussiness, but I would rather know about some other choices if I have any.
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#2 rotuts

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 10:15 AM

I had a Silvia and got good use with it for about 4 years. I roast my own from Sweet Maria. I thought of adding a PID, then after lurking at HomeBarista for quite a while i took the plunge and got an Alexia PID from Chris Coffee. they make those with a cut out for the PID, and they installed it.

fantastic: but to the point the one they chose to install and still install I think it a Watlow PID. mine is single channel as I dont to milk. it has given me no problems for about 3 years of daily use.

#3 weinoo

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:18 AM

I bought mine already PID'd, from Dave at HiTechEspresso. Going on 4 years without a problem (other than a squeaky steam knob).

Perhaps look at what he uses.

Obviously, the other important issue is...what type of grinder?
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#4 Jason Perlow

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 12:48 PM

I bought my Silvia from WholeLatteLove.com and I got the Rancilio Rocky grinder with it in a package deal that is basically designed for it.
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#5 johnder

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 01:13 PM

I have the auber undermount version, installed it myself, never had any issues with it.

It does however, prevent you from turning the wand fully inward if you want to store it, but I never really notice it anymore.
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#6 choux

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 01:32 PM

I've had mine with the Auber for at least 5 years, no problems except for the install CD arriving broken, just printed pages off to use instead. Having it next to the wand is no problem at all.

#7 nickrey

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 02:02 PM

Same as Johnder and Choux. Works perfectly and its position doesn't interfere with the steam wand's operation.

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#8 Jason Perlow

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 06:15 PM

So I took the PID leap, and installed an Auber Instruments controller with pre-infusion and steam control today. I went with the Auber because the guy who sells the Watlow devices at PIDKits.com never returned any of my emails so I gave up and went with a known quantity.

Posted Image

The results have been nothing short of freaking awesome. So far I have been experimenting with different grind levels and temperatures, and pulling manual and computer-controlled shots.

What temperatures and grind level combos seem to work the best for everyone? I've only been using double shot portafilters because the single shots are stupid.

Edited by Jason Perlow, 25 January 2013 - 06:16 PM.

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#9 Jason Perlow

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 06:21 PM

The other thing I want to say is I now know what a Al Qaeda bomb maker feels like. The wiring on this thing was hairy. I got it right the first time, though.
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#10 nickrey

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:45 PM

I have mine set at 105C (221F). Works well. Fill the basket up with loose grind coffee (don't press it down at all) such that it is level with the top. Run your finger across it to make sure it is level. Press down solidly in the middle of the tamper and then roll it around in a nutating motion (how a coin rolls when it is transitioning to flat). Brush off excess coffee around the edges. Run it through and adjust your grind so it takes around 30 seconds to pour 40ml of coffee.

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#11 weinoo

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 07:37 AM

I think it all depends. Depends on the coffee. The humidity. The grind. The tamp. Keep playing - sounds like you've got a good thing going.

Next, you'll be buying a bottomless portafilter so you can really geek out.

I just went thru a bag of this Verve Street Level espresso which I was able to buy (2 days post roast) at a DC ICH. If you scroll to the bottom of the page, they give some nice instruction.
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#12 rotuts

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 07:59 AM

yar. the bottomless portafilter seem really geeky, but its not. after you get one you will wonder how you managed without it.

Now about channelling : .....

#13 weinoo

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:42 AM

Here's a bottomless in action...

IMG_1726.jpg
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#14 Jason Perlow

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 03:11 PM

Aright, you sold me. I just ordered the bottomless portafilter for the Rancilio V3 from Seattle Coffee Gear. Comes with a triple shot pan in it too.
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#15 nickrey

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 03:30 PM

Once you get the bottomless filter, you'll know whether your tamp is correct. If it isn't there will be channels in the coffee and the pour will not look like the really good one that Mitch has above.

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#16 rotuts

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 04:02 PM

Yar. save the triple until you completely master the double, lets say at 90 % perfect for the double. you decide 'perfect' as its your cup.

the triple is a completely different matter. it will only (eventually) work on the RS with a lot understanding on your part. a project for the future after you have completely mastered the double.

Edited by rotuts, 26 January 2013 - 04:03 PM.


#17 Jason Perlow

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 11:31 AM

By George, I think I've got it.

 

http://vine.co/v/b67ji5u9EnL

 

14 grams, 205F. 25 seconds with pre-infusion.


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#18 Jason Perlow

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 11:52 AM

Here's another one.

 

http://t.co/wHZDsJAU


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#19 rotuts

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:08 PM

do you do the 'Weiss" stir ( or what ever its called on HomeBarrsta )   Channeling?

 

looks delicious.

 

time to move to that triple basket!



#20 Jason Perlow

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:25 PM

Right now I am trying to get exactly 14g into the basket, and then LIGHTLY tamp so that the coffee is just beneath the measuring level.

 

205F seems to be a good temperature for the PID. Now it's futzing with the grind levels seems to be my next thing. I am at like the 8-8.5 setting or so on the Rocky, whatever that means. I'm using very fresh beans, I went to the Rowland Coffee Roasters factory in Doral FL on Monday of last week and bought 8Lb of their Bustelo Supremo which was roasted within hours of me purchasing it, so I think I have all the variables set.


Edited by Jason Perlow, 18 February 2013 - 12:58 PM.

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#21 rotuts

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:34 PM

 exactly 14g

 

fun to do, not as important as the tamp.

 

how do you plan to store that 8 LBS?



#22 Jason Perlow

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:57 PM

Well, I am going through it at a pretty decent clip. Each bag is vac sealed, in 1Lb bags. I'm already almost finished with the first pound.

 

At the moment the other 7lbs are shoved in the bottom of a chest in my kitchen. Should I freeze it instead?


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#23 Jason Perlow

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 01:05 PM

 exactly 14g

 

fun to do, not as important as the tamp.

 

how do you plan to store that 8 LBS?

 

If you exceed 14g on the standard double basket for Rancilio, you are overdosing big time, especially if you are talking like 17 or 18g which is way too much. After doing a lot of research and talking to a lot of geeks about this (including the guy who runs PIDSilivia.com and wrote a whole treatise on this) 14g is -the- capacity for that basket. You might be able to get 15g out of it. Any higher than that the coffee is gonna touch the group head and it becomes a total lockup. I've gone through hell and wasted a lot of coffee until I came to this.

 

An interesting video on double basket dosage here


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#24 rotuts

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 01:27 PM

meant

 

'about 14 g'  which is not 15 etc.



#25 Jason Perlow

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 01:38 PM

meant

 

'about 14 g'  which is not 15 etc.

 

Right.


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#26 rotuts

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 01:52 PM

Channeling?

 

in thinking about the triple basket, the RS might not be able to go this justice.  one might need a 

 

E-61 group head

 

but youd have a good time!



#27 Jason Perlow

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 01:55 PM

I had a lot of early channeling problems and I still get a little bit of it, but the cone "merge" happens within a half a second so I'm not getting that concerned about it. The better I tamp I figure the less it will be an issue, now that I am focused on the measurement,


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#28 rotuts

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 01:58 PM

do the 'stir' first?  I use a thin skewer.

 

go for the triple basket some time.

 

but beware:  you might have to move to a E-61 group head!

 

:cool:

 

 

$$$



#29 Jason Perlow

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 02:16 PM

I'm not going to an E-61 like a La Marzocco for a very long time, if ever. I don't have the space, and I am not sure if the quality of espresso shot would be that much higher than the system I have in place now. But it's good to fantasize about. :) I'd have to really justify that $7000 or so!


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#30 rotuts

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 02:25 PM

nope:    Alexia PID +  ComPak K3 doserless:

 

 

http://www.chriscoff..._Mill_p/970.htm


 


http://www.chriscoff...t_p/k3touch.htm

 

I dont do milk.

 

1700.     Big Bucks.  I had and still have the RS.

 

took me many months to take this plunge.

 

 

you would have to motor up to Albany and go to Coffee University.

 

as the song said:   tossing and turning all night!

 

4 years: thats what it takes

 

:biggrin:   
:biggrin:

:biggrin:


Edited by rotuts, 18 February 2013 - 02:26 PM.