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  1. #11
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Toronto, ON
    Status Update: after the Gicar Box in my Fiorenzato Colombina (2006) broke down, and it seems impossible to find a replacement (Cod., I decided to rewire the machine and install an Auber PID controller, an RTD sensor replacing one of the Thermostats, and an SSR.

    I have the machine stripped to the bone, and all the components ready to go.

    The components list is the following:

    Power Switch
    Power Light
    Steam Switch (With light)
    Water Switch (With Light)
    Safety Thermostat
    Brew Thermostat
    RTD Sensor
    PID Controller
    Heating Element
    E61 Brew Switch
    Ulka Pump
    Reservoir Tank Switch

    Re-wiring the machine sounded appealing to clean up the wiring and approach it as minimalist as possible.
    I use the machine exclusively for espresso and hot water, I never use the steam function, so the auto-refill for the boiler is not essential (I ensure the boiler is filled to the top when I turn on and before turning off the machine.

    The original Siemens Contactor Relay (which I supposed to be faulty alongside the Gicar Box) is fully functional. Good thing, I'll have it as a backup since it can't be bought anywhere anymore, and the new circuit with the PID controller and SSR makes no use of this.

    The Gicar box is back as well, fixed as best as we could. The issue was the 120-12v transformer. We were not able to buy the single component, so we adapted a different power supply for the 12v circuit. However I decided not to use the Gicar Box either, but if I ever need/decide to revert the machine back to stock, the components and wiring needed is all there ready to go.

    Now back to the actual project:

    -Even though I could use the mounts from the Siemens Contactor, the location was too close to the boiler and up high in the machine frame, so I decided to drill 2 holes and fit the SSR behind the pump, as far away from the boiler as possible.
    Installed the silicon mat to help dissipate heat, and secured it in place.

    -I also made temporary pump supports to try and lower the vibrations (ideally allowing more movement to the rubber mounts by eliminating the L shape, and swapping it for a solid L shaped metal support). if the concept works, I'll make better looking mounts.

    -The RTD sensor has been secured in place of the lowest thermostat. So now I really need to start wiring.
    I decided to keep the PID controller external (as I don't want to cut the front and side panels of the machine, so I'll just fix it to the bottom front of the frame and have the cables exit through the window to access the boiler heater.

    Searching for previous attempts to PID this machine I came across this:
    It includes a detailed circuit on how to wire the machine, and as far as I can tell, the components are the same.

    However It turns out that the circuit needed some adjustments, so I drew it out specific to this machine, and added a ground for the PID controller as well.

    Once I double checked it, I made the wiring from scratch, using cable rated at around 390 degrees, brass female spade crimps, heat shrink insulation, and that was that.

    Now I have to figure out the parameters for the PID. does anyone have some reference point for an E61 0.8L boiler?
    Last edited by Stine; 08-21-2019 at 03:44 AM.

  2. #12
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Near Philadelphia, PA
    Hello Stine,

    Wow! That was the best progress report post that I've ever seen posted here on the Coffee Forums.

    Thanks for taking the time to give us so much information. I'm sure a lot of people will find your photos and descriptions to be very helpful - for years to come!

    ~ Rose

  3. #13
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Toronto, ON
    Thank you Rose, hopefully this will make someone's life easier eventually.

    BTW hold on because upon first attempt to turn the water switch on, something shorted and the wall outlet fuse jumped.
    So now I am trying to figure out if my circuit is wrong, or if my "translation" from paper to cable is to blame...

    I'll keep the updates going.

  4. #14
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Toronto, ON
    So it seems I added an unnecessary connection from the - Main Switch to the + in of the W (Water) switch, and that's why it shorted.
    Its now time for testing, so to make sure the boiler is full before plugging in the machine, I primed the new water pump (which also needed a fair bit of adjustments on the pump supports, to fit without touching anything) and run it until water came out the steam arm and the brew head. shut the steam valve off, then the brew head, allowed the pump to run up to full pressure (which went high up to 15bar with this new pump, while the old one pushed 9 bar with this OPV setting... curious) and the shut it off, and opened the steam valve to relieve pressure.

    Its all ready for testing!

  5. #15
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Toronto, ON
    Staus Update: Understanding how to operate the Auber PID Controller was easier than I thought, once I got past the learned helplessness approach
    I managed to set the proper input and output, and the machine heated properly, so I decided to do a final deep cleaning of the internal components with a water and citric acid solution.

    Unfortunately I wasn't considerate enough to protect the pid controller from steam and possibly water droplets (I was still working on its enclosure at the time), I assumed being under the machine was enough, but midway through the descaling process, the controller display was showing U.U . PID #1 down.

    P.S. Meanwhile I received the IMS 200 Nano Quartz reinforced shower screen, which just looks so cool, and I am curious to try it out a bit more long term...

    While I wait for a new 1/32 Din controller to arrive, I couldn't resist and I ordered a 1/16 din MYPIN PID controller from amazon (ahh the beauty of same day delivery ) wired it up, figured out the parameters and how to operate this temporary controller, and back to testing. (This time I wrapped the controller in clear plastic, so it stays protected temporarily)

    As of now I am not worrying too much about fine tuning, since the final controller will be different, but I am taking notes of temperature ranges and differences between the PV from the boiler, and the E61 Group Head Thermometer value, which usually is about 6-8 degree C lower.

    Right now the SV is 98.5 C at the boiler, which translates to 90 at the brew head during shots. I will try to gather more data, but what temperature setting do you guys use (single or double boiler PID machine owners) ?


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