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My Appia modding thread (was Automation of HX cooling flush?)
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Discussions > Espresso > Espresso Mods > My Appia modding...  
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ddubick
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Posted Fri Nov 30, 2012, 2:34pm
Subject: My Appia modding thread (was Automation of HX cooling flush?)
 

Since I got my Appia I've been rolling an idea around in my brain and just wondered if anyone has ever tried it before.

The idea is to automate the HX cooling flush with a micro-controller.  Likely using the PID algorithm, only to cool not to heat.

Luckily the Appia's grouphead has ports in it where I can put a temp probe before the brew chamber so I can measure the HX loop temp at the top of the loop.

My plan is to have a manually initiated sequence that flushes in pulses to accurately drop the HX loop temp to a set brew temp.  Then you would manually stop the sequence, pop the portafilter in and brew.

I've ordered some Arduino micro-controller parts to start this experiment... I've been meaning to find a good application to learn about this stuff.\

I will likely PID the boiler side of things too just for something to do.

I realize just having a temp sensor in the HX loop would be enough to more accurately flush to temp but I just thought this would be neat to try.

Any comments/input/criticism is appreciated. :)
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NobbyR
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NobbyR
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Posted Sat Dec 1, 2012, 3:02am
Subject: Re: Automation of HX cooling flush?
 

The boiler being on steaming temperature won't really profit from installing a PID. To control the cooling flush in order to get a specific brewing temperature sounds interesting though. However, wouldn't it be desireable to stop the sequence automatically once the preset temperature has been reached?

Let us know how it works out!

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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ddubick
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Joined: 1 May 2012
Posts: 146
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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Posted Sat Dec 1, 2012, 4:34pm
Subject: Re: Automation of HX cooling flush?
 

I realize that controlling the boiler temp with a pid doesn't have any advantages, just thought why not.  We'll see.  I'm going to put a sensor in the boiler anyway and monitor the temp.

I was thinking a manual end to the cycle just in case I get busy doing other things and the temp starts to creep up again, but then I probably wouldn't want to completely forget about it and be wasting water.  Probably a manual ending with a timer like if it doesn't end in 2 minutes stop automatically.  I'm thinking this part of it won't be terribly hard to change if I decide to go one way or the other.

Ordered the parts from China so they'll take a few weeks to get here... plenty of time to think about these things. :)
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
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Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012, 7:43am
Subject: Re: Automation of HX cooling flush?
 

UH, well have it and whatever makes you happy, good luck.

My personal point of view is that the flush isn't a big deal and you have to flush the machine anyway to clear spent grounds from the dispersion screen so what is the big deal about running the water a few seconds longer?

 
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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ddubick
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Joined: 1 May 2012
Posts: 146
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Nuova Simonelli Appia 1Gr
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Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012, 8:28am
Subject: Re: Automation of HX cooling flush?
 

It just seems like flushing is a guess at best and you don't really know what temp you're brewing with.  I just want to see if I can make it more accurate.  At the end I might just use the whole setup as a thermometer if it seems like it's more trouble than it's worth.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
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Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
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Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012, 9:42am
Subject: Re: Automation of HX cooling flush?
 

It might just be me but I really can't tell the difference between two shots pulled at 1 or 2 deg F different temps. I am not saying that others can not, but for me, with my ability to taste, I can't.

HX machines are designed to work at a set pace, so once it is "in the grove" you will get the same result pretty consistently. I prefer to do the flush and go style of brewing, I flush until the dance stops, lock then pull. To warm the shot, I just wait a few seconds. The rule of thumb is about one second for a deg F but your machine may be very slightly different so YMMV.

Those who have an E61 GH, have the easy option of adding the thermometer into the passage plug in the neck of the GH. (Ericks thermometer) and once upon a time I was going to buy and install one but I don't know if I got better or now I care less but I no longer have the need to add it. I am very happy with my coffee and I use the same 3 to 4 blends pretty much all the time so I know how each coffee performs and how long to wait between flush and pull, for the most part though I flush 6 oz of water (the dance stops at 4) and wait about 15 seconds then pull. I like the results, YMMV!

OH, I am not opposed to adding a PID to a HX machine but I think it is a silly mod if you expect to get more consistent shots, due to the way the machine works and the mass involved, there won't be any improvement in the shots. If the Tstat fails and the machine may have other issues like one that I have that the boiler static pressure gauge is bad, then a PID can be a less expensive way to get the machine back into service than trying to track down OEM parts. As an alternate way to repair a machine I think it is a viable option. Again, YMMV!

 
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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ddubick
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Joined: 1 May 2012
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Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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Posted Mon Dec 10, 2012, 10:33am
Subject: Re: Automation of HX cooling flush?
 

Waiting for the rtd sensors to come from China.  In the meantime I got bored this weekend and started out by trying to reproduce the PID on my Silvia with the Arduino using the Auber RTD sensor.

Luckily a lot of the code is already out there so it was really just learning

Finally got the electronics right Saturday night and went into the wee hours of Sunday morning learning the frustrating art of PID parameter tuning.

Finally got it working pretty good on Sunday.  Holds temp to within .1 degrees.
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ddubick
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Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012, 8:57am
Subject: Re: Automation of HX cooling flush?
 

Sensors came yesterday.

Installed one at the back chamber of the grouphead (before the valve) so I can get the temp inside the top of HX loop, and one in the boiler.

Don't think I've got my circuit calibrated, but I don't think it's too far off either.

Looks like temp in the HX loop can overheat to between 108-109 degrees C at idle.  My timer turned the machine on at 4am this morning and at 5:30 it was idling in this band.

Also looks like it's pretty easy to undershoot brew temp with a flush (mind you I've only been using an HX for a couple of months, haven't quite got my methods perfected yet).  My first try today the temp was 92 after the flush but dropped to 86 during the brew cycle.

Second one I flushed to 96 and it stayed within 92-96 during the brew cycle.

I don't know how well my idea of automatic flushing will work as the temp can take a while to stabilize after the flush but I'm still going to see what I can do.
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DavecUK
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Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012, 5:28pm
Subject: Re: Automation of HX cooling flush?
 

Your not really measuring this in the right place/way to get the end result you want.
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ddubick
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Joined: 1 May 2012
Posts: 146
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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Posted Wed Dec 12, 2012, 9:49pm
Subject: Re: Automation of HX cooling flush?
 

DavecUK Said:

Your not really measuring this in the right place/way to get the end result you want.

Posted December 12, 2012 link

Care to explain?

I've seen Eric's thermometers for the e61s that measure the temperature in the brew chamber, was it placed there on purpose or because that's the only place to put it in (I also have an e61 machine).

It would seem to me that if I want to make sure that the water in the hx loop is the correct temperature BEFORE I start the brew cycle the place I put it would be the place to do it.

Like I said this is the kind of discussion I want to have here.

Edit:  I was thinking about this a little more and thought that perhaps a picture would help explain where I'm putting the sensor because it might not be clear.  I took some pictures but they're blurry so I'll just point out on the grouphead diagram.

ddubick: appiagh.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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