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PID a Gaggia Espresso
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > PID a Gaggia...  
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bman40
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Jun 2005
Posts: 130
Location: Steveston BC
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Rocky Doser
Vac Pot: na
Drip: Clever Coffee Dripper
Roaster: Poppery I / Stir Crazy
Posted Thu Apr 27, 2006, 8:42am
Subject: PID a Gaggia Espresso
 

I hve had my ebay Gaggia Espresso since last July, and am really pleased with the machine.

I was thinking about a Silvia, but can't afford it right now (ah the joys of raising kids....KA-chingg!!!).  :)

In the interest of improving what I do have, I was wondering if it's possible to PID a Gaggia Espresso??

My idea is to try and deal with temperature issues on the Gaggia, and improve the quality of the shots (which are pretty good now...I must say). In a year or two when I have saved my allowance money, and get a new paper route, I am thinking of a Silvia.  I would then install the PID on the Silvia.

Any comments? is this worth the money?? the time?? will it help?

Barry
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DigMe
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Jan 2006
Posts: 2,059
Location: Waco
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Pulser,...
Grinder: Super Jolly, Mazzer Mini,...
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos
Drip: Capresso ST600, Presto...
Roaster: Behmor, SC/CO, Poppery I,...
Posted Thu Apr 27, 2006, 8:56am
Subject: Re: PID a Gaggia Espresso
 

I'm interested in possibly doing this for my Espresso too.  I know it's possible and that people here have done it.  I'd like to see some detailed instructions.

brad

 
ch-ch-ch-ch-ch
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mybs
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Jan 2006
Posts: 479
Location: Northern CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: QuickMill Anita
Grinder: Macap M4, La Cimbali Jr.
Drip: KitchenAid, Clever Coffee...
Roaster: FreshRoast+8, SC/CO
Posted Thu Apr 27, 2006, 9:29am
Subject: Re: PID a Gaggia Espresso
 

bman40 Said:

I hve had my ebay Gaggia Espresso since last July, and am really pleased with the machine.

I was thinking about a Silvia, but can't afford it right now (ah the joys of raising kids....KA-chingg!!!).  :)

In the interest of improving what I do have, I was wondering if it's possible to PID a Gaggia Espresso??

My idea is to try and deal with temperature issues on the Gaggia, and improve the quality of the shots (which are pretty good now...I must say). In a year or two when I have saved my allowance money, and get a new paper route, I am thinking of a Silvia.  I would then install the PID on the Silvia.

Any comments? is this worth the money?? the time?? will it help?

Barry

Posted April 27, 2006 link

If you're making milk-based drinks, you're likely to see much more benefits (temperature stability/steaming performance) going from the Gaggia to a HX machine.  Means saving a couple hundred more, but in the end you're likely to be more satisfied with the upgrade.  At the lower end of HX machines presently, the Bezzera and Expobar Pulsar go for $750 and $800, respectively.

Don't get me wrong, the Silvia is a great machine but thought you might want to consider the extra step up to avoid upgrade fever at a later date.  This is especially true since you're already considering a PID for the Sylvia.  I just upgraded from a Gaggia to a HX and it was well worth it.  The difference between a HX and single boiler is phenomenal.

As far as PID'ing a Gaggia, there are several posts on the topic from people who have done it in the past.  Can use the search function to look them up or if they're still around, I'll leave it up to them to answer.
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coffee_no_sugar
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Jan 2005
Posts: 352
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: pavoni pub, brasilia club
Grinder: mazzer sj, mdf, infinity
Drip: melitta clarity
Roaster: popcorn
Posted Thu Apr 27, 2006, 7:18pm
Subject: Re: PID a Gaggia Espresso
 

The solid-state relay (SSR) needs to be attached to a heat sink.  For metal machines, like the Classic and Silvia, one can attach the SSR to a cool section of the metal case.  Since the Gaggia Espresso has a plastic case, you will have add a heat sink to your parts list.  For proper cooling the heat sink should be outside the case.    Hint, higher amperage SSRs are easier to cool and I wouldn't use anything less than a 25 amp SSR.  

The SSR datasheet may give you an idea about the minimum size of the heat sink.  I used a simpler method. Attached the SSR to my Classic's metal case and carefully monitored the SSR temperature.  Since the SSR temperature was well within design specs, I kinew the case was disappating enough heat.

Wesley
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JGG
Senior Member
JGG
Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 1,377
Location: Kentucky, US
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: PID Silvia; PID Alexia
Grinder: Mazzer SJ
Roaster: Hottop D w/HTC+TC4C
Posted Thu Apr 27, 2006, 10:56pm
Subject: Re: PID a Gaggia Espresso
 

I've seen all the current derating curves and have always been careful to provide a nice path for the supposed heat from the base of the SSR (including thermal grease).

Then I did a funny thing:  I did a PID install and temporarily left both the controller and the SSR sitting on the counter top with wires running back into Silvia.  Left it running for hours and hours.  Periodically, I checked the SSR by picking it up, touching the top and base.  The thing never, ever got above room temperature.  The controller generated much more heat than the SSR - it at least made a little warm spot on the counter.

I will probably quit worrying so much about heat sinking in the future.

FWIW.

-- JGG
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coffee_no_sugar
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Jan 2005
Posts: 352
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: pavoni pub, brasilia club
Grinder: mazzer sj, mdf, infinity
Drip: melitta clarity
Roaster: popcorn
Posted Fri Apr 28, 2006, 4:27am
Subject: Re: PID a Gaggia Espresso
 

JGG,

Doesn't Silvia only have a 800 watt boiler compared with the 1400 watt Gaggia?  Assuming the heating of the SSR is I*I/R, then the peak heating of the SSR will be 1400^2/800^2 (~3) times greater for the Gaggia.

The heat generated by the SSR is proportional to the % of heater-on time.  That is low while the machine is idling.  It would be higher when the machine is heating up from room temperature or you are making drinks for a party.  However, I would agree with you that the SSR datasheets are conservative as they assume a higher duty cycle and for low duty cycles, the internal heat sink may suffice.

As for trying to run the SSR without an external heatsink on a higher wattage Gaggia, YMMV.

Wesley
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JGG
Senior Member
JGG
Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 1,377
Location: Kentucky, US
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: PID Silvia; PID Alexia
Grinder: Mazzer SJ
Roaster: Hottop D w/HTC+TC4C
Posted Fri Apr 28, 2006, 4:56am
Subject: Re: PID a Gaggia Espresso
 

Wesley -

I believe you are correct about the Silvia's wattage - I estimate it draws a little less than 8A.  Perhaps the SSR would show some heat problems if the boiler drew that 8A on a 24/7 basis.  But it only draws peak current for a few minutes on initial heating, then just a very small average current while on idle.  After pulling a shot, it runs at 100% again for an even shorter time than initial warmup.

Moral of the story = not enough "t" in "t * I^2" to amount to much heat coming from SSR (on Silvia).

If you triple the I^2 term (1400W Gaggia), and also have some "t", then a SSR for a Gaggia could get much warmer.  That is the sort of thing I would want to know before mounting the SSR to plastic (ouch)!

Maybe someone will repeat my countertop experiment and tell us.

-- JGG
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TomP10
Senior Member
TomP10
Joined: 31 Dec 2005
Posts: 419
Location: East Coast
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: LaSpaz S1
Grinder: mini E-B; Virtuoso
Vac Pot: Yama; balance brewer
Drip: Aeropress
Roaster: Hottop
Posted Fri Apr 28, 2006, 6:37am
Subject: Re: PID a Gaggia Espresso
 

The advantages of Silvia relative to the Gaggia Espresso are probably not worth the extra money --- so don't regret not having the money.  If you didn't have *any* machine, I could easily see opting for Silvia over the Gaggia, but given that you already have the Gaggia, starting thinking about an HX if you are going to upgrade.  Let me second the earlier recommendation that you would be better off saving for an HX machine, especially if you like milk-based drinks.  

My suggestion would be to set aside the money required to PID in you sock drawer.  Five bucks here, ten bucks there... soon you will have an HX machine.

- Tom

 
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Three Musketeers?? Nah... Four M's.
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