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Adding SSR to Cuadra, notes and experiences Sec 7/7
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t3chiman
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Dec 2011
Posts: 16
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Cuadra
Grinder: hand
Drip: Brazen
Posted Sun Jun 23, 2013, 11:41am
Subject: Adding SSR to Cuadra, notes and experiences Sec 7/7
 

Firing it up
Operationally, things should be the same with the SSR in place of the former EM relay. With the side panels off, and the water reservoir filled (don't forget to put the hoses back in place), plug in the line cord and flip the switch. You can safely touch the steel frame, or whatever you used for a mount/heatsink. As the Cuadra boiler warms up to its steady operational state, the SSR's heatsink should get uncomfortably warm, but not unbearably hot, to the touch. After 10 minutes or so, the boiler should be all warmed up, and Cuadra will maintain pressure by heating the boiler for 10 seconds every 35 seconds or so. The heatsink should be touchably warm at this point, and remain so indefinitely. If no disasters, button it up, and put it back into service.

Epilog
We're not done. Cuadra works now, and I am getting good espresso. But I am not entirely happy with the situation. There are a lot of situations I have not yet explored, such as making a series of cappucinos back-to-back, that could stress the SSR more than I have so far. And the SSR fails closed, a hazard. The mounting location puts 120VAC uncomfortably close to poured water (Pic 7). A 40A relay rating would be more comforting. Etc, etc. But I have learned a lot about the Cuadra in the process of replacing the relay. And for now, I have a machine that looks good and works fine.

Hope this helps others in the same situation.

t3chiman: 7_with_reservoir.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,947
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 Mon Jun 24, 2013, 2:58am
Subject: Re: Adding SSR to Cuadra, notes and experiences Sec 7/7
 

To keep in the 7 threads together, it is best to make all the posts in one thread rather than 7 different posts.
Please combine all into one thread for continuity, otherwise they will quickly become lost. :-)

 
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Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

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TimEggers
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TimEggers
Joined: 3 Oct 2004
Posts: 2,946
Location: Tiskilwa, Illinois
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: QM Anita, Cappuccino Amore
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Mazzer SJ
Vac Pot: Antique McKee, Santos
Drip: Pour Over, Bodum Presses
Roaster: RK Drum
Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013, 7:31pm
Subject: Re: Adding SSR to Cuadra, notes and experiences Sec 7/7
 

calblacksmith Said:

To keep in the 7 threads together, it is best to make all the posts in one thread rather than 7 different posts.
Please combine all into one thread for continuity, otherwise they will quickly become lost. :-)

Posted June 24, 2013 link

Yes, please...

 
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SStones
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SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 506
Location: Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Giga 5, ECM Giotto, Rocket...
Grinder: Anfim Milano-Best
Vac Pot: No  :(
Drip: Some $30 thing from Walmart
Roaster: I buy pre-roasted.
Posted Tue Jun 25, 2013, 5:17pm
Subject: Re: Adding SSR to Cuadra, notes and experiences Sec 7/7
 

Very nicely documented, Jim.
Good job, thanks for sharing.
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pfn
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Apr 2013
Posts: 64
Location: Santa Clara, CA, US
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra II
Grinder: KA Proline w/ Mazzer Mini...
Posted Fri Jun 28, 2013, 6:05pm
Subject: Re: Adding SSR to Cuadra, notes and experiences Sec 7/7
 

t3chiman Said:

Firing it up
Operationally, things should be the same with the SSR in place of the former EM relay. With the side panels off, and the water reservoir filled (don't forget to put the hoses back in place), plug in the line cord and flip the switch. You can safely touch the steel frame, or whatever you used for a mount/heatsink. As the Cuadra boiler warms up to its steady operational state, the SSR's heatsink should get uncomfortably warm, but not unbearably hot, to the touch. After 10 minutes or so, the boiler should be all warmed up, and Cuadra will maintain pressure by heating the boiler for 10 seconds every 35 seconds or so. The heatsink should be touchably warm at this point, and remain so indefinitely. If no disasters, button it up, and put it back into service.

Epilog
We're not done. Cuadra works now, and I am getting good espresso. But I am not entirely happy with the situation. There are a lot of situations I have not yet explored, such as making a series of cappucinos back-to-back, that could stress the SSR more than I have so far. And the SSR fails closed, a hazard. The mounting location puts 120VAC uncomfortably close to poured water (Pic 7). A 40A relay rating would be more comforting. Etc, etc. But I have learned a lot about the Cuadra in the process of replacing the relay. And for now, I have a machine that looks good and works fine.

Hope this helps others in the same situation.

Posted June 23, 2013 link

Thanks for sharing this information and photos of how you have it installed. Personally, I think the SSR is located too high up in the machine; isn't there anywhere else lower, toward the bottom of the chassis this could be installed? As long as my machine is running, the ambient temperature in the area where you installed it seems to be easily upwards of 120F, add the heat dissipated by the relay itself, and you're looking at the very top end of its operating range.

My machine is still new to me (<3 months) so I haven't really taken the time to open it up and explore; I'm waiting for the relay to go flakey, considering I run it about 7am to 9pm every day. I'm not really looking forward to finding a suitable SSR as they seem like a relatively risky device in terms of failure modes and operating temperature ranges.
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SStones
Senior Member
SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 506
Location: Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Giga 5, ECM Giotto, Rocket...
Grinder: Anfim Milano-Best
Vac Pot: No  :(
Drip: Some $30 thing from Walmart
Roaster: I buy pre-roasted.
Posted Sat Jun 29, 2013, 7:08am
Subject: Re: Adding SSR to Cuadra, notes and experiences Sec 7/7
 

You could put it between the back wall of the machine and the reservoir carrier. Same height but potentially cooler. Leave the machine on for 2 hours, pull the reservoir out and pinch the back corner of the reservoir carrier down in there. It isn't terribly hot.

You could also put it in front of the reservoir carrier, right at the bottom. You'd have to cut the insulation sticker at the bottom of the wall, just higher than the width of the reservoir. Carerfully remove that narrow strip of insulation to mount it horizontally above the relay and below the boiler once the relay is mounter where the insulation used to be. This position would be much lower, though also closer to the boiler.

As for locations down in the very bottom of the machine, there isn't space without relocating things. I also would upgrade the cheap plastic Push-Connect F fitting and the cheap plastic hoses that go to the heat exchanger inlet and solenoid valves. Everytime one of those hoses goes or the connector cracks you get a good soaking of the bottom of the machine.  A good waterproof box/heatsink would be a good idea but space down there really is limited.

Replacing the powerboard with one that cuts off element power when the boiler is low on water means you have a powerboard that also monitors reservoir level.  Therefore you can remove the plunger microswitch that weighs your reservoir and that creates more space below the mounting plate, there. With that switch out and the plasticcy F connector and bubblevalve replaced with a small plastic bubblevalve and brass T all closer to the front wall of the machine, there's plenty of space for your relay back there on the floor...
Option 1, mounting the relay inside the back wall is a much quicker job.
Feel free to e-mail me if you want to see pictures of it in that position.
Apparently they're too high resolution to post here...
t3chiman...  You seem brilliant.  You'd figure it out. If you want my pictures, please feel free to email me.
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