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  1. #1
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    Single Boiler PID Upgrade

    I came across the PID Upgrade for the Rancilio Silvia (which as far as I understand is a single boiler).

    My question is, can any single boiler machine be upgraded with a PID unit?
    If yes, does anyone have general schematics / guides / how to ?

    P.S. the upgrade is mean for a Fiorenzato Colombina I recently purchased. Although I can't find a lot of information online about the machine, so far I know it uses 3 thermostats to keep the temperature within range, and its a Single Boiler E61.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    May 2014
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    Kansas City
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    Yes - the Silvia is a single boiler. And yes, I guess in theory you could put a PID controller in any unit. You are simply replacing the thermostat with the PID controller. However, I think the schematics of the machine and PID controllers would be necessary. That's the extent of my knowledge

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    I am trying to contact official resellers to gather the schematics, but it really seems a long reach... the company itself deals mostly in commercial equipment, and despite being 2019, I couldn't find an official website (the existing one lists only grinders).

    However, while I try to gather info and decide whether the upgrade is worth it, I ordered a group head thermometer.
    Even if its not as accurate and controlled as a PID, I can surf until I find the sweet spot right?

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    1st Line carries that brand. If its got multiple thermostats its probably pretty temp stable already. What are you trying to gain from adding the PID? The Silvia is a bit different being a single boiler and poor stability... that's why people started adding PID's.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    I emailed 1st line and currently waiting for a response. On their technical data section there is nothing for the colombina specifically, but I thought I'd try contacting them.

    With regards to thermal stability, today I received the E61 Temp sensor, and yes the machine has pretty good stability on 205F at the group head on idle or brewing mode, but once the pump engages it goes up to 210F before going down to 200. I still have to quantify the volume required to go down.

    The PID was a technical curiosity and the opportunity to brew (possibly better) some single origin beans that are hard to extract.
    Last edited by Stine; 06-07-2019 at 07:58 PM.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
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    My research for diagrams regarding the machine is still inconclusive...

    However, today I was curious to verify the claims regarding the Colombina not having an adjustable Expansion Valve (OPV)... When I disassembled the opv during the cleaning process I noticed a notch that suggested regulation was possible, and I was right, the OPV is in fact adjustable. It was set to 16 Bar (basically inoperative) which required a flawless grind, distribution and tamp (and sadly I don't have tools and technique strong enough to achieve that yet). Now that I set it to the proper 9 Bar (diy portafilter measuring device is now in production to double check lol) I am pulling much better shots on average.

    At this point, between the ability to regulate pressure and the group head temperature sensor to surf, I have a lot of control (and IMHO no real need for a PID upgrade)... any thoughts and suggestions?

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    You may want to dig into the 16 bar standard... that seems odd that it would be set that high since industry standard identifies 9 bar's as optimal. Next time I run into my espresso tech I'll see if he has any thoughts.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
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    I purchased the machine second hand, so I don't know if the previous owner adjusted it (tho I don't think so, as the opv screw was so clogged with scale that it was impossible to get regulated prior to a deep clean).

    And as far as I understand, grind size, distribution and tamp determine the brew pressure (I was able to pull maybe 2 or 3 very good shots with no channeling and brew pressure spot on 9 bar, before setting the opv).

  9. #9
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    How are you measuring pressure - just off the machine or do you have a Scace device?

  10. #10
    Junior Member
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    I am relying on the machine gauge until I finish assembling the portafilter gauge.
    I set the machine to 10.5 Bar, so in theory I get 9 Bar for brewing (accounting for the loss of E61 groups).
    I tried to verify the return flow from the opv (WLL suggests 1 Oz of water in 12 s) and I thought something was wrong since the output was double that (2 Oz in 12 s), but after doing some research, it just means the water pump is strong.

 

 
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