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Quest for a cheap electric grinder...and eventual adventures with a Bregant DSQ
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dwRK
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Sep 2013
Posts: 92
Location: Houston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Jan 14, 2014, 12:39pm
Subject: Quest for a cheap electric grinder...and eventual adventures with a Bregant DSQ
 

Hi everyone and happy New Year. I thought I'd share my (mis)adventures and also try to learn along the way. Hope to hear from y'all, please feel free to correct me and forgive in advance my stupid questions which will come soon enough :)

I started my espresso journey 9 months back, first getting a can of Illy powder coffee in the bargain bin, two months later a used Gaggia Classic, and a few more months after that a used grinder assembly part from Breville which I had it sitting on the Illy can as a base! I think I broke every rule there is to good espresso. I solemnly swear I will be a good boy next time.

Hope I can be saved and forgiven by posting my first topic in the grinder section :)

The Gaggia is now fully tricked out with manual controls of everything and the grinder with their smart grinder burrs are also modded as best as I can.

Now that I'm into the espresso lifestyle (i.e., washing up and such) I am ready for my first REAL espresso grinder. I wanted it to be memorable. I decided to go as cheap as I possibly can with a deadline for a winter project. I also wanted direct drive 63+mm burrs which looks like the sweep spot for value (taste vs $$$). I am thinking perhaps a "bad to average" 63mm burr set could be just as good as an "average-good" 54-58mm burr set. It also has to be counter friendly! Yes I know...I’m asking too much...

So for next 7 months I've been checking eBay, CL and auction houses once or twice every hour, every waking moment…talk about OCD!!! My wife can confirm...

During that time, I passed on some superb items...on hindsight I should also have gotten...a nice Grimac (Anfim Lusso) sold at $180, a nice Astoria (SJ) at $200, a Wega (Compak K6) at $120, a pair of SJ and Major at $400, and a single owner mint condition mini at $250. I still beat myself for not getting any of the Mazzers.

I eventually found and did a BIN for "NR1400 Commercial Coffee Grinder" in "working condition" for $20 + $70 for shipment. Why seller wanted 2-day delivery I didn't ask, but he did put it on the plane. UPS sent it to Dallas right AFTER the snow storm hit and of course it got stuck there for a week! It could have been a much cheaper and  faster delivery…a potential $50 grinder!

Anyway, it is a Bregant DSQ grinder with 63mm burrs, sold under many other brands...Obel, Carimali, Nuova Ricambi, Mr. Espresso, WMF, etc. In my case, "NR" stands for Nuova Ricambi and 1400 is the r.p.m. There is also a NR900 model. The same burr set goes into the La Pavoni Zip. I think this particular unit is 15-20 years old at least...I can't tell for sure, the sticker is all faded.

Here is the eBay picture…nothing much to look at...$90 out of pocket and counting...

dwRK: front.JPG
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dwRK
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Sep 2013
Posts: 92
Location: Houston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Jan 14, 2014, 9:23pm
Subject: Quest for a cheap electric grinder...and eventual adventures with a Bregant DSQ
 

The grinder was very dirty with coffee powder and oily stain. Paint work was surprisingly OK. A few parts arrived broken or bent. The alloy side "panel" has a few cracks...Seller said it was in good condition when he packed it...

Since it is not crucial to the running...I didn't pursue this further...

dwRK: broken.jpg
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dwRK
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Sep 2013
Posts: 92
Location: Houston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Jan 14, 2014, 9:25pm
Subject: Quest for a cheap electric grinder...and eventual adventures with a Bregant DSQ
 

Before powering up, took the top burr off just to make sure the burrs don't get damaged in case something got into it...plugged in power cord and turned on...grinder made a "hummm" sound but didn't turn...semi-dead on arrival...

Unplugged the cord and tried to turn the bottom burr carrier...totally seized and wouldn't move an inch.

Looked over the grinder inch by inch and notice the top case and bottom casing were just so slightly off...I'd say about a few thousandth of an inch. Tried to move the casing but it wouldn't budge. Ended up gently "dropping" it on the side to try align it. After knocking it a few times...I was able to rotate the shaft. Power it up to make sure it runs...good...time for a complete tear down for cleaning.

Here are the main grinder parts...

dwRK: main.jpg
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dwRK
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Sep 2013
Posts: 92
Location: Houston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Jan 14, 2014, 9:36pm
Subject: Quest for a cheap electric grinder...and eventual adventures with a Bregant DSQ
 

Top bearing was shot...need to be replaced...

Bearing removal with a proper extractor...2 minutes. Since I didn't have anything but a few spanners...took me about 45 minutes to knock it out...

Bearing is $2.50 on eBay...but I was anxious to get it fixed...went to a nearby shop...man, charged me $6.15!...oh well...

Total out of pocket $96.15 to-date

dwRK: bearing.jpg
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dwRK
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Sep 2013
Posts: 92
Location: Houston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Jan 14, 2014, 9:44pm
Subject: Quest for a cheap electric grinder...and eventual adventures with a Bregant DSQ
 

Doser tear down...it was really really dirty...

The plastic lens have scratches from prior cleanings using scouring pads...also bad stale coffee smell.

Are there plastic polish that I can use to remove the scratches? Also are there chemicals that can remove the smell permanently or do I need to get a new one?

dwRK: doser.jpg
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dwRK
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Sep 2013
Posts: 92
Location: Houston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Jan 14, 2014, 9:53pm
Subject: Quest for a cheap electric grinder...and eventual adventures with a Bregant DSQ
 

Small parts need cleaning too...the contacts side was full of coffee...

Putting this back was fun :)

dwRK: switch.jpg
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,842
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Jan 15, 2014, 7:05am
Subject: Re: Quest for a cheap electric grinder...and eventual adventures with a Bregant
 

Welcome to the wonderful world of used grinders :D

They are ALL filthy, it seems that it never dawns on owners to clean them. The damage was likely on the grinder before the seller packed it. It is very common for that to happen and the damage is blamed on shipping.

For anyone who may be reading this, at today's rates, a SJ, shipped from Cali to Main by UPS 5 day service, fully insured and properly packed is $52. That is what I just paid to send a SJ cross country, as I type this, it should be getting to the buyer today.

The plastic, well, not much to do about it. Smell, well just clean it and eventually it will fade away.

That Major/SJ was a DEAL! Basically, they sold the SJ and gave the Major away for free!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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dwRK
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Sep 2013
Posts: 92
Location: Houston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Jan 15, 2014, 8:28am
Subject: Re: Quest for a cheap electric grinder...and eventual adventures with a Bregant
 

Thanks Wayne.

You right...my sentiments exactly that it was damaged before shipment. It takes some force to crack the aluminium alloy. The screws for the legs were bent long before that as I can see the rubber feet have lopsided wear due to it.

The Major/SJ was a steal...it was buy it for $400 or offer...someone offered and I think seller sold it at $350 with free shipping within the hour! Seller was from a restaurant auction house and looking at their auctions grinders on average go below $100 each.

I've came across similar twin grinder deals before...early last year a NS MDX/MCF was sold around $400. They do pop up now and then.

I wasn't thinking right at the time :) I didn't want to deal with the hassle of selling one off...if I did it would be like what you've said...I would have a free Major! Oh well...we learn :)
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dwRK
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Sep 2013
Posts: 92
Location: Houston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Jan 15, 2014, 8:01pm
Subject: Adventures with a Bregant
 

The electricals are quite basic, thermal protection non-existance.

If you all look at the grinder carefully...it is basically a funny shape motor with a grinding chamber. The top housing has the grinding chamber...the bottom housing has the coils. the two parts come together and aligned as the top and bottom bearings get driven into the housing making a complete motor.

Taking the bottom shaft off was very easy, taking the top burr carrier and shaft from the top housing was very painful. I didn't have proper tools...ending up resorting to brute force using hammer and a block of wood.

Putting the grinder back together was the reverse and easy enough. The burrs doesn't centered "automatically"...need to move them about a tiny bit for perfect alignment. Before powering up, manually turn the shaft to make sure everything lines up properly and free turning.

Now that it is completely cleaned...no biohazards from old coffee...time to take if for a spin. Ran about half pounds of stale coffee...took off the top burr for complete cleaning again...reinstall to the "zero" point...backed out 4 steps from "zero" and grind some costa rica Llano Bonito Natural...choked my Gaggia...backed out another 4 steps...choked again...another two steps...27 seconds pull...great!

tastes in cup...strange...fuller body but less fruity and less layer/complex compared to the Breville...I prefer the Breville! time to look for burrs...
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dwRK
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Sep 2013
Posts: 92
Location: Houston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Jan 22, 2014, 11:56am
Subject: Re: Adventures with a Bregant
 

the grinder must be really old...the paint has uneven color fading! time to give it a new coat...stripped it down again for rattle can paint.

picture shows 2 coats of hammered dark bronze...should have painted it ferrari red. while the better half is sleeping these get shoved into her oven to help with drying...will give it 3 more clear coats for protection...

Total cost to-date $96.15 + say $8 for two cans = say $104

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