water conductivity issues in prosumer machine sensors

ron45

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May 4, 2005
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New Mexico
Hi, anyone up on this subject? About the only good water available to me is RO or distilled. Some machines come with warnings against using these waters because their boiler/tank sensors don't see it. Does anyone know if the Expobar machines will shut down because of this or is it just an idiot lite problem.

thanks,

Ron
 

CCafe

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Aug 11, 2004
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Des Moines, Iowa
Really you never use RO on any espresso equipment unless you post treat the water. RO water can be slightly aggressive or as some put it acidic. So over the course of a few years you can wreck your machine. If your RO is working the way it is supposed to then the water will be nonconductive and water sensors such as level probes will not work. Distilled water is better but it too can be nonconductive.

Just use tap water and run it through a prefilter system that filters down to .5 microns, and make sure it removes chlorine and all the other additives to your water. Slap a water softener on if you have hard water.
 
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ron45

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New Mexico
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Thanks, I didn't want to get into a filtration system. The one I tasted I didn't care for the taste. I someone suggested adding a small percentage of tap water to the RO.

Ron
 

cafemakers

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Nov 3, 2004
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If your machine ever "locks" up again with distilled water, you can also try adding a very small pinch of salt, which will provide the conductivity necessary to resume operation.
 
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ron45

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New Mexico
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Thanks Andrew, I like that idea even better. It may be that I can get away with the small pinch or nothing. I ran some continuity tests on our RO water and was surprised that I got a reading of a few ohms with my fluke 87 multimeter. It was nearly the same reading I got on my tap water. We buy our water in Ruidoso NM which is one of those `take the money and run'mountain turist towns near texas. Nearly everything there is pretty half assed. Many of the people who come there are pretty undecerning so I'm not surprised the RO is a little `dirty'. All the power scum there are hellbent for turning the place in to Dallas Jr.

Ron
 

cafemakers

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Ah yes, Texas homestyle water; the kind of water that a man can eat with a fork! I'll be on the opposite side of that border from you opening a shop in about 2 weeks. The last time I was there, I had to brush my teeth in the morning with bottled water from a Coke machine.

We tested the local well water supply at over 1200 ppm TDS - had to design a custom RO system to feed the brewer and espresso machine. Fun stuff.
 
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ron45

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New Mexico
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Where are you going to be? I should have my Expobar and Rocky doserless by then. El Paso is pretty close [a few hours] from where I am in NM [near Carrizozo NM but at about 6800 feet] anywhere else is pretty far away. Do you live in Texas?

Ron
 

cafemakers

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Unfortunately, the map tells me that it will be too far for any kind of meeting. I'll be working on-site with a customer in Midland, TX, which Mapquest claims is about 6 hours away. Big state.

I live in Hawaii but get back to the mainland regularly; the closest jobs we have scheduled out that way in the next 6 months are also in Texas, but given the spike in demand for people wanting to open new coffee shops that I've seen from the entire southwest this quarter, I would not be surpirsed to be heading to New Mexico somtime soon.
 
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ron45

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New Mexico
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Hi Andrew I wasn't sure if both replys were from you or not there were two different names. No biggy tho. I've been to midland once that was enough for me. Went to buy some used water pumping gear. There should be some good music around there as north texas state has a pretty good music program there. Like jazz? My email is ron45@tularosa.net if you every get near Ruidoso. That would be Roswell, Alamogordo, Las Cruces, Socorro. Ruidoso used to have a great roastery. A friend of mine started it and sold it to a succession of texans who should have hired you. The coffee quality is spotty now but for hillbilly heaven it's still not too bad. My friend came up with some good blends for everyday coffee and espresso. Still as good or better than almost everything I've tasted. The espresso from the local version of Sacred Grounds [organic coffee] is not to bad either but a bit pricey. Do growers of good quality coffee use alot of pesticides and other agribusiness/industrial horrors to grow coffee? Thanks again for the help and good luck in Midland.

Ron
 
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