Boz Senior Member Joined: 26 Oct 2013 Posts: 10 Location: Minneapolis MN Expertise: Professional
Espresso: Isomac Venus, La Pavoni Eur,... Grinder: Rancilio Rocky
Posted Sun Dec 15, 2013, 2:59pm Subject: two element or one? custom
I have obtained a 1998 Brass Romantica, basically a pro. However-it was a parts rape machine I found in our warehouse; missing element, among other things.
I have a 1976 (3 position rocker switch) Europiccola, which has two elements and no pressurestat; I like this very much. Not wanting a debate on it, I dislike the pstats. I also enjoy the two element experience, have that 'coasting' mode I find more stable than the pstat set up. May not be, but I've gotten used to it.
So in looking at fixing the Romantica, what are people's thoughts on using an old SS 2 element, (1000va and 200va) with an old two element switch? It works, using it right now. This configuration has no pressurestat, once I hit 1 bar of pressure I flip it two the single element mode, and it stabilizes there. It seems well under pressure limit for the boiler cap (this model lacks the release valve, has a spring loaded cap). ample steam. Plus, nobody else has one.
(I have the original 1000va element and tube, but were are out of stock on the pressure stats)
hankbates Senior Member Joined: 2 Feb 2012 Posts: 46 Location: Yarmouth Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: La Pavoni Professional... Grinder: LaPavoni Jolly Roaster: Hottop
Posted Mon Dec 16, 2013, 6:48am Subject: Re: two element or one? custom
The use of a double element in a large boiler machine is unusual, as all pro models were made with pstats. Pavoni did, in the 80's, make a large boiler machine with all the functions of an EP, it was called Ambassador, and was made only for the US market. One just sold on eBay, item 231111869716. See at Click Here (www.ebay.com) it can still be viewed.
There is no reason why what you are proposing would not work, as long as you keep in mind that the boiler cap pressure release is not designed to continually leak steam. Should this occur for any significant length of time, the plastic knob will probably crack or come loose. The insides of this boiler cap are shown in this Click Here (www.home-barista.com) and other posts. Note that the cap, once disassembled (they come glued from the factory) is adjustable. I would think that the sealing element in this cap ( see Click Here (www.home-barista.com)) is also a weak point if you use it to control boiler pressure.
Using the gauge reading works fine for me for boiler control, I routinely use it at ~ 0.6bar to reduce temperature of inlet water after the first cup, when making multiples. These gauges are certainly not calibrated well, but are usually quite repeatable as long as you keep calcium deposits out.
Pressurestats are still readily available for these machines, if you ever decide to convert it back.
Bleu405 Senior Member Joined: 6 Dec 2007 Posts: 30 Location: Oakland Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: La Cara Lever, Starbucks... Grinder: Le Lit PL 53
Posted Tue Dec 24, 2013, 2:37pm Subject: Re: two element or one? custom
I have a couple old "La Cara" lever machines, they are essentially La Pavoni copies. The ones I have now are both fairly large boilers, perhaps not quite 1.6 liter, but I haven't measured yet. Both use a dual element boiler setup without a pstat. I am only beginning to dial them in, but so far it is a fun ride!
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