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adding a timer to a commercial espresso machine?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > adding a timer...  
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michelevit
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michelevit
Joined: 14 Sep 2005
Posts: 31
Location: san jose ca
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: rancilio z9
Grinder: commercial mazzer
Posted Tue Apr 24, 2012, 8:52am
Subject: adding a timer to a commercial espresso machine?
 

Ive got a commercial 220 Rancilio espresso machine at my house and was wondering if there simple way to add a timer to it.

Its on a dedicated 15 amp circtuit. It still is a mechanical thermostat and am also considering installing a PID controller. I heard that some PID controllers have a clocks/timer functionality built into them.
Would like to avoid something clunky like an Intermatic box and would prefer something digital.
The goal is to wake up and have a nicely prewarmed machine in the morning. Id rather not heat it 24/7.
It take 15/20 minutes to come to temp.

Thanks in advance for any advice given.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,786
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 Tue Apr 24, 2012, 11:38am
Subject: Re: adding a timer to a commercial espresso machine?
 

Any commercial machine that is not a DB is a HX. I really doubt you have a DB so you have a HX. PID on a HX is as worthless as teats on a male boar. This is because the steam boiler of a HX does not need to be maintained to within a natts back end of a degree, + or - 2F is more than close enough and you should be able to do that with a Pstat.

As it is HX it has a Pstat so it is completely different than a SBDU with a mechanical thermostat. The Pstat maintains boiler temp to within a few deg F and the the thermal mass of the GH and the HX system does the rest. It will take at LEAST 30 min if not an HOUR to come up to temp as you are heating a much larger mass to temp before it becomes stable.

If you want to put a timer on it, you could make a control box to do it. Get a 110v relay with 220v contacts and connect the espresso machine to the NO contacts of the relay. Connect 220v to the other side of the NO contacts and use a 110v timer of your choice to send power to the coil of the relay. Now you have a 110v circuit and timer controlling your 220v espresso machine, safely and easily. You could easily build all of the above into the machine as there is enough room inside it to do this, use a digital timer if you wish, or not, your choice.

The biggest problem I see though is that the info I have found for a Z9 is that it is a 220 20 amp machine so your 15 amp circuit is not going to be big enough.

 
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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ericneedham
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ericneedham
Joined: 1 Nov 2010
Posts: 36
Location: meridian idaho
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: E-61, leva 80
Grinder: mazzer sj (2)
Vac Pot: na
Drip: clever
Roaster: diedrich IR5
Posted Tue Apr 24, 2012, 12:03pm
Subject: Re: adding a timer to a commercial espresso machine?
 

I use a Silvania digital industrial time switch, it is rated 40 amp 240 volt, about $75:00

you can program it differently for weekdays and weekends.

I use it for my 2 group machines, it saves about $35:00 a month in my application.

I normally change out my contactor with a SSR witch can be controlled by a PID or a CEME pressure switch to avoid the load clunking sound that wakes my wife up.

note the CEME has to be paired up with a 220 controlled SSR, this set up for quietness and is only about $50

the PID is paired up generally with a low voltage 3-32 volt I believe and is generally $200 +

Eric
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,786
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 Tue Apr 24, 2012, 12:25pm
Subject: Re: adding a timer to a commercial espresso machine?
 

I would hate to sleep in your house, too quiet!!!!
Do you have the machine in your bedroom, or is your bedroom door next to the machine? The click should be the same regardless if the Pstat is working the heater directly or if it is working a SSR, it is the mechanical movement of the contacts that makes the noise, not the connection or breaking of the load.

That said, your way is just the same as what I said, just different LOL! A built in timer either 110 or 220v operating either a relay or a SSR, (SSRs cost a LOT more than a relay, well new anyway, you likely can find them surplus or salvage for great prices)

Independent of the timer though, a PID is of no real benefit unless the SOFT click of (any that I have heard of anyway) of the Pstat.

 
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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ericneedham
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ericneedham
Joined: 1 Nov 2010
Posts: 36
Location: meridian idaho
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: E-61, leva 80
Grinder: mazzer sj (2)
Vac Pot: na
Drip: clever
Roaster: diedrich IR5
Posted Tue Apr 24, 2012, 1:37pm
Subject: Re: adding a timer to a commercial espresso machine?
 

My timer is stand alone, only controlling the machines main power.

I believe we are simply trying to save energy and have the machine ready to use in the morning. the other comments are meant to assist with using a commercial machine at home.

To answer your questions;

The machine is in the great room which backs up to the master.

On my FB80 the separate contactor was controlled by the CEME. It was very noisy as is clunked back and forth, so I switched it out with a SSR.

the 2 group E-61, I am currently using (my wife's machine) has a  pressureswitch that is much quieter, I can only hear a faint clicking from our bedroom so I have not bothered to switch it out.

My La San Marco leva 80, has a mercury switch which is completely silent.

our FB80 had a weekly timer built in, but i use the stand alone timer now, which is hard wired between the machine cord and the 220 power source. It only controls the power to the machine.

the back of the machine is on a wall to my wife's garage, so I have shelves where the pump sits, as well as the timer and water filtration so I don't have to use up any cabinet space or hear that either.

and yes, you probably could not sleep at our house! lol with the IR-5 in my garage we have plenty of coffee, I digress!

calblacksmith Said:

I would hate to sleep in your house, too quiet!!!!
Do you have the machine in your bedroom, or is your bedroom door next to the machine? The click should be the same regardless if the Pstat is working the heater directly or if it is working a SSR, it is the mechanical movement of the contacts that makes the noise, not the connection or breaking of the load.

That said, your way is just the same as what I said, just different LOL! A built in timer either 110 or 220v operating either a relay or a SSR, (SSRs cost a LOT more than a relay, well new anyway, you likely can find them surplus or salvage for great prices)

Independent of the timer though, a PID is of no real benefit unless the SOFT click of (any that I have heard of anyway) of the Pstat.

Posted April 24, 2012 link



ericneedham: IMAG1701.jpg
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faaparasite
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Joined: 19 Jun 2003
Posts: 290
Location: Dallas Metroplex
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ99
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: Technivorm
Posted Tue Apr 24, 2012, 7:57pm
Subject: Re: adding a timer to a commercial espresso machine?
 

calblacksmith Said:

Any commercial machine that is not a DB is a HX. I really doubt you have a DB so you have a HX. PID on a HX is as worthless as teats on a male boar. This is because the steam boiler of a HX does not need to be maintained to within a natts back end of a degree, + or - 2F is more than close enough and you should be able to do that with a Pstat.

Posted April 24, 2012 link

I disagree completely here, but I suppose it really depends on what you're doing with your machine.  If you're drinking mostly milk based drinks, most probably aren't going to see much benefit, but this is really true for a single boiler or a HX machine.  If your goal is drinking shots, then the benefits of a PID on a HX machine can be significant.  For one thing, if you're using more than one roast, and want to change your brew temp, disassembling the machine to adjust the pstat is a royal pain to the point of pretty much not being worth it.  So first and foremost, the PID gives you versatility and the ability to easily change your brew temp.  I have never seen a pstat with a hysteresis of less than 5 degrees and many seem to be a degree or two higher.  That's not to say that there aren't any, but I haven't seen them.  Even if you were lucky enough to get one with a plus or minus 2 degree swing, that's still a 4 degree variance, which can translate to a 3-4 degree variance in your shots.  So if your goal is any sort of repeatability, you're going to have to temp surf, which is another pain, especially if you've got a decent sized boiler that's going to take a while to swing.  Combine that with a flushing routine and your life gets very complicated, especially if you're trying to do more than one roast that likes a big variance in brew temps.

Personally I think the benefits of a PID on a HX machine are much the same as a single or dual boiler machine.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,786
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 Apr 25, 2012, 11:57am
Subject: Re: adding a timer to a commercial espresso machine?
 

You are welcome to disagree. The fact is that what I said is none the less true.

A HX machine is very consistent without the need for a less than 1 deg f control system. The brew head temp is not the same as the boiler temp which is not the same as the HX temp. This is the reason for the large amount of thermal mass in the gh,  to moderate the slight difference between the top and bottom of the Pstat cycle.

Temp surfing is something that needs to be done on SBDU machines and not on HX machines. A HX machine is very stable once you clear the over heated water from the HX system.

Every machine requires a flush regardless of design type. Some to cool and some to warm and all to clear the spent grounds from the GH.

As a HX starts out hot, a slightly shorter flush will give you a warmer shot and a longer than normal will give you a cooler one without any adjustment of the Pstat needed and without falling below the lower end of the brew temp range.

Some people forget that just because the PID readout has reached a set number, the machine is not ready to pull a shot, you need to wait for the machine to reach a new stable temp. This can take from 5 to 15 minutes, not the instant change that some think they are getting.

The Mano, or skill of the operator trumps tech. This is the reason a Superauto machine can not pull a shot as well as a skilled person with the most basic of equipment.

There are too many transfers of heat in a HX machine to need more than the 6 deg window (plus or minus 3 deg F) (heater to the steam water, steam water to HX tube, HX tube to the brew water, brew water to the GH (and the GH to the brew water) and then brew water to the coffee puck. Each stage has a lag in affect to the next and as such there is a midigating effect on temp swings.

If you set the boiler temp to brew temp then you loose the ability to pull more than one shot at a time without a long wait between shots to allow the whole machine to stabilize again and you are better off with a SBDU machine and its much lower thermal mass or with a DB as the PID directly controls the temp of the brew water and only the change in temp through the brew system to account for.

A computer control helps to determine the quality of the shot that is pulled in a SBDU oe DB machine but it is of no real value in a HX machine

If you are more

 
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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faaparasite
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Jun 2003
Posts: 290
Location: Dallas Metroplex
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ99
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: Technivorm
Posted Wed Apr 25, 2012, 10:04pm
Subject: Re: adding a timer to a commercial espresso machine?
 

calblacksmith Said:

You are welcome to disagree. The fact is that what I said is none the less true.

A HX machine is very consistent without the need for a less than 1 deg f control system. The brew head temp is not the same as the boiler temp which is not the same as the HX temp. This is the reason for the large amount of thermal mass in the gh,  to moderate the slight difference between the top and bottom of the Pstat cycle.

Temp surfing is something that needs to be done on SBDU machines and not on HX machines. A HX machine is very stable once you clear the over heated water from the HX system.

Every machine requires a flush regardless of design type. Some to cool and some to warm and all to clear the spent grounds from the GH.

As a HX starts out hot, a slightly shorter flush will give you a warmer shot and a longer than normal will give you a cooler one without any adjustment of the Pstat needed and without falling below the lower end of the brew temp range.

Posted April 25, 2012 link

Your results are considerably different than mine.  Temp surfing in a HX machine can produce significant differences in average brew temps, as well as significant differences in the linearity of the brew curve, so the notion that you can simply disregard where the pstat is in its hysteresis cycle and still produce consistent results just doesn't match what I've found using a Scace to verify what's actually going on in the brew cycle.  While changing flush volumes may have an affect on the average brew temp, it also dramatically affects the linearity of the brew curve and can easily translate to differences detectible in the cup.  And while machines other than HX might benefit from a flush, they are certainly not as critical as in the HX machines where group head temps are going to be dramatically higher than brew temps prior to the flush.  The cooling flush in a HX machine is done primarily to cool the group head.  It has very little to do with the water temp in the HX itself which is going to heat back up in a matter of seconds, unlike the group head which will take several minutes to come back up to static temps.  Changing flush volumes has a dramatic effect on the beginning of a shot, and less of an effect on the end of a shot.  So while you might be able to affect the average shot temp by changing the flush volume, the obvious tradeoff is a change in the linearity of the curve, which can be dramatic.  So if consistency is your goal, it makes a lot more sense to change the boiler temp itself to change brew temps, which allows you to more closely maintain the linearity of brew temps from start to finish.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,786
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 Thu Apr 26, 2012, 6:19am
Subject: Re: adding a timer to a commercial espresso machine?
 

I must disagree with the statement that the flush is to cool the group head, in fact the flush is to dump the steam temp water (about 280F)  from the HX SYSTEM to restore the system to the design balance it was created with.

The reason for a large mass in the Group Head is to moderate the brew water through the brew cycle. Adjusting the STEAM water temp to a 1 deg stability really is not going to do much if at all to the brew water. One of the reasons for 8 pounds of brass in a E61 group head is that once it hits temp, it is very stable regardless of a few deg difference in the steam water temp, it is slow to change, MUCH slower than the variance in the steam water temp and thus is very stable to both heating up and cooling down. The temp of the Group Head in an E61 (one of the most common in HX designs but other mass heavy designs are out there) is actively heated, with a thermosphyon system from the steam boiler, this is what regulates the temp of the Group Head and the temp is set  by the designer to the expected volume of service duty. Other designs are in service too and are also designed to keep the group head at the desired temp of the desinger, such as active electrical heating of the group head.  

The design of the HX system is to heat a specific volume of water in a specific period of time, the designed service of the machine in cups per hour. The heating period is not instant nor is it random and once the system is to the designed flow rate, it is VERY consistent. The ONLY reason for the flush is to drop the temp of the water in the brew circuit from a static, over heated state, to the designed service condition.

The water in the HX system is at steam temp and the reason for the flush is to purge it from the brew system. The effect, literally is the same as the affect an egg would have on a bowling ball, yes the egg WILL bump the bowling ball but the impact of the egg (about 2 oz of weight (USDA Extra Large)) against the bowling ball (8 pounds in regulation balls) but the impact will have such a small affect as to not have happened at all, 2 oz water vs 8 pounds of brass (1 fl oz of water weighs one oz A) The thermal mass of the over temp brew water against the stable temp of the group head will not change the temp of the group head to any meaningful degree, however the mass of the group head WILL affect the temp of the water to a much greater extent.

If you are not comfortable with a HX machine or are more comfortable with a PID on it, that is great, but the math tends to disprove the advantage of a PID on a HX system.

I can not tell you what you taste, after all I do not have your mouth. If you detect a difference then by all means spend your money anyway you wish to improve what you taste. The design basics though are not on your side.

EDIT: this thread has drifted away, a LONG way from the OPs question about adding a timer to a commercial machine, a built in timer, not a stand alone one if I read his question properly.

 
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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