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The Starbucks Sirena Thread
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > The Starbucks...  
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beerbaron
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Mar 2012
Posts: 3
Location: Markham
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Mar 2, 2012, 7:15am
Subject: Re: The Starbucks Sirena Thread
 

Mine is still going strong after about 3 years.  Only thing I dislike is the difficulty in getting the right temperature.  Given that its a thermoblock machine I'm not sure exactly how to temperature surf on it.  The thermometer on the front seems to be a reasonably good gauge of the temperature if the machine is already stable, but I'd love to PID it...
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hotwasabipeas
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hotwasabipeas
Joined: 19 Aug 2011
Posts: 183
Location: New Albany, Ohio
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1, NS Oscar,...
Grinder: Baratza Vario 886
Drip: Flavia SB100 (makes a hot...
Posted Fri Mar 2, 2012, 12:07pm
Subject: Re: The Starbucks Sirena Thread
 

Just me having some fun making lattes on my Sirena : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c49nt1LnapY

I am a bit latte-art challenged but I am learning!
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EricBNC
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EricBNC
Joined: 22 Jun 2010
Posts: 1,869
Location: North Carolina
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: QM Silvano, LP Stradivarius,...
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Posted Fri Mar 2, 2012, 1:22pm
Subject: Re: The Starbucks Sirena Thread
 

beerbaron Said:

Mine is still going strong after about 3 years.  Only thing I dislike is the difficulty in getting the right temperature.  Given that its a thermoblock machine I'm not sure exactly how to temperature surf on it.  The thermometer on the front seems to be a reasonably good gauge of the temperature if the machine is already stable, but I'd love to PID it...

Posted March 2, 2012 link

The thermoblock is for steam - the large round shape with the "V" marked on it in black is the stainless steel brew boiler...

EricBNC: sirena2.jpg
(Click for larger image)

 
I chew coffee beans with my teeth while gargling with 195 F water to enjoy coffee. What is this "coffee brewing" device you speak of?
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beerbaron
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Joined: 2 Mar 2012
Posts: 3
Location: Markham
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Mar 2, 2012, 2:21pm
Subject: Re: The Starbucks Sirena Thread
 

What I meant was that:
Given that its a thermoblock machine, pressing the steam button would do nothing to increase the boiler temp.  
Is there any other way I can influence the boiler temperature?
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hotwasabipeas
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hotwasabipeas
Joined: 19 Aug 2011
Posts: 183
Location: New Albany, Ohio
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1, NS Oscar,...
Grinder: Baratza Vario 886
Drip: Flavia SB100 (makes a hot...
Posted Fri Mar 2, 2012, 2:34pm
Subject: Re: The Starbucks Sirena Thread
 

This post does a great job in explaining how to temp surf a Sirena: http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/341553
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AndyPanda
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AndyPanda
Joined: 12 Jul 2010
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Posted Fri Mar 2, 2012, 5:25pm
Subject: Re: The Starbucks Sirena Thread
 

First ... a disclaimer ... I didn't read this whole thread, I just noticed the last few posts.

When I had a non-3-way machine, I could use the steam switch --- but now I use a machine with 3-way, I can't kick the heater on with the steam switch during a shot (because it would backflush the shot  into the drip tray). Puts me in the same boat as you.  

So I wired up a new switch (I put it on the back where it wouldn't hurt the appearance should I decide to sell the machine someday) - I wired it so it bypasses the brew thermostat without triggering the 3-way.   It works great for me --- I usually blip the heater on a few times during the pull and I can hold the temp really flat with a little practice.  For me it's heater on for 3-4 seconds before I start the pull - then off for 3 seconds and on for 2 off for 3 on for 2 and so on --- thats for a 2.5 oz double ... if I'm flowing a slower shot there are much fewer and briefer cycles of the heater on to hold the temp steady.
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1stindoor
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Joined: 14 May 2008
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Location: north carolina
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Sirena
Grinder: Krupps
Drip: Krupps
Posted Thu Mar 15, 2012, 2:43am
Subject: Re: The Starbucks Sirena Thread
 

Nice resurrected thread, as I haven't posted in here since I first joined the site...I'll just say that I'm going on my fourth year with my Sirena.  It's deployed with me to Afghanistan twice, and moved a couple of times across the country.  Still haven't had any issues with it and it still pulls a great shot.
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hotwasabipeas
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hotwasabipeas
Joined: 19 Aug 2011
Posts: 183
Location: New Albany, Ohio
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1, NS Oscar,...
Grinder: Baratza Vario 886
Drip: Flavia SB100 (makes a hot...
Posted Thu Mar 15, 2012, 11:28am
Subject: Re: The Starbucks Sirena Thread
 

I wanna say a big THANK YOU to you and the Sirena for serving our fabulous country!  :)
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jgunn
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Joined: 25 Mar 2012
Posts: 2
Location: Seacoast, NH
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Mar 25, 2012, 1:23pm
Subject: Re: The Starbucks Sirena Thread (and PID)
 

To the couple of posts above about PIDing a Sirena, I have a few thoughts as I'm in the process now.

I got my Sirena a few months back from that place in Seattle that does all the funny youtube crew review videos (not posting the name as not to endorse).  They addressed the hose kink and loose steam knob issue before I got it, and so the only typical Sirena issue I've encountered is the intermittently misbehaving water level sensor.  I've pulled some pretty good shots.

My reasons for looking into a PID are not so much about temp stability (although increasing that would be nice) - as someone pointed out to me recently, trying to get stable temp on a boiler that tiny is probably futile.  The reason I'm looking at putting in a PID is because I want a good way to set the boiler temp, and considering you can get cheap PID units on ebay for about $40, it seemed like an easy way to go.  the boiler temp on a stock unit is controlled by a cheap click thermostat, they're not always accurate, not configurable, and they can have a temp swing of 20F or more before kicking the boiler back on.  Not ideal.  Water exiting my brewhead is often about 185, and I would like to crank up the boiler temp to compensate, hopefully getting the water hitting the grounds at 202F.

If you crack the Sirena open and look at the boiler, you will see two thermostats held on by a metal bracket.  The bracket also holds a vapor bulb temp sensor that controls the thermometer readout on the front.  One of the thermostats is a high temp cut-off that will trip if the boiler temp runs away - you can ignore that one.  The other thermostat is the one that keeps the boiler heating to about 190-200F and then clicks off.  The plan is to pull the wires from that click thermostat and connect a solid-state relay in its place.  The relay will be controlled by the PID.  I'm connecting a thermocouple to the PID and I'll tuck the TC under the little metal tab that is currently holding the vapor bulb in place for the front read-out.  A TC inside the boiler would be better but that has a higher risk of me pooching my boiler. :)

All in all, the setup will be pretty close to setting up a PID on other basic espresso machines.  The only detail I haven't sorted yet is how to power the PID from a switched power source inside the unit.  Right now I can tie into the 120V mains connection in the lower back of the unit, but then the PID is on all the time.  Ideally I'd like to have it come on when the Sirena is turned on but I haven't found a switched power source inside as of yet.

I hope that's helpful or inspiring to someone else on the thread.  I'll post pictures when I have it up and working.

-Jeff

P.S. - it looks like there's room on the left-hand side (opposite side from the steam knob) if I wanted to cut a hole in the casing for the PID.  For now it'll be in an external box but eventually it might have a more finished look if I could mount the PID flush on that side...
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hotwasabipeas
Senior Member
hotwasabipeas
Joined: 19 Aug 2011
Posts: 183
Location: New Albany, Ohio
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1, NS Oscar,...
Grinder: Baratza Vario 886
Drip: Flavia SB100 (makes a hot...
Posted Mon Mar 26, 2012, 8:12am
Subject: Re: The Starbucks Sirena Thread (and PID)
 

Thanks jgunn for that great post.  I would love to see pics of the Sirena with a PID when you get a chance to post some.  I also have a Sirena and I would like to know how you go about installing a PID on one and also how well it can work to control the boiler temp.  

You said you got yours from SCG.  What modification do they make to the steam tube to prevent a leak from developing?  Also what modification do they do to the steam knob??    Here's a video showing what I did to prevent that notorious steam tube leaking problem from developing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxYzMoyGprY
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