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Pasquini Livia 90
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Step by step guide for easy brewing and steaming with the Rancilio Silvia
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Joined: 14 Sep 2013
Posts: 92
Location: Houston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Feb 24, 2014, 12:26am
Subject: Pasquini Livia 90

The machine I had not planned on buying.

Few months back, I was going to get an ECM Technica IV pair with a K30, then the project I was working on got canned and I was asked to look for another job...eventually found work in 230v country in the far east...so I will be moving in few months time.

During the same period...i got tired of steaming milk with my Gaggia...coincidentally there were lots of discussions on Oscars, Bezzeras and Livias, so out of curiosity and frustrations, I went and bought a used Livia 90 Automatic for $600.

It was well loved and used...good shape inside and outside, some brass showing through the portafilter ears...dated 2006...so I think the price is OK...not great but prices have been creeping up lately...

I've not decided if I want to convert it to 230v or just get a big step-down transformer for it. Anyone has a wiring or electrical schematic for this? Thanks. I've looked but can't find one...it is simple enough without it. A reason I got the Livia is also because of "much" space inside the machine to fit a small transformer for the electronics and pump if I go the conversion route.

The OPV setting "does not work"...I put a blind filter and the OPV doesn't even lift...the OPV thread is also "sealed" with what looks like lacquer to prevent adjustment. Brute force wins, opened and cleaned it up and had to unscrew so many turns to get to the "right" setting...I adjusted based on overflowing about 200-220ml in 1 minute, so about 10 bar static. The OPV does not have any o-ring seal, is quite loose and leaks...maybe that's why they used lacquer...had to use teflon tape to fix it...it chatters quite loudly now when pulling shots...i may upgrade or mod this in future...

The machine came set at 1.4 bar!!! Lots of flash boiling. I've since changed it to "0.9-1.0" bar...tune based on flash boiling and steam...it still feels too high. I probably will tune it down a bit to 0.8 later. What's the typical setting y'all have tried?

Has anyone tried changing the brew temp characteristics by adjusting the injector length? I've tried to search and do some research but didn't find any. Anyone knows any white papers on this topic? Thanks.

What I don't understand is the OPV overflow goes to the drip tray and not back to the pump inlet like the old design...wastes so much water during every shot...about 100ml worth. Anybody know the reason why? For now I've replanted my light dimmer mod from my Gaggia to slow down the pump and not waste so much water.

The flowmeter and the OPV overflow design means inconsistent volume to the cup...tamp harder and more goes to the drip tray and less to the cup...needless to say changing beans affect the volumetric dosing too...I will probably route the OPV overflow back to the pump in a later mod. My concern is that sometimes the flowmeter needs certain flow to be accurate...too low and it is not good...

The 4 holes on the steam tip is too big...I've plugged two of them...it is OK but I feel it is still too big...I prefer more holes but smaller. Anyone tried other tips on the Livia? Any extras, spares I can try? I only found a 2-hole aftermarket...but I'm thinking any female type 10mm diameter with 1mm pitch ought to be OK...then again I can be wrong

The boiler connected group, the dragon characteristic, limited group/water contact, means not much room to maneuver. actually no room at all is more like it. to an extent it is a good thing...and I will try to see if I can maintain the stability but shift the characteristic a bit to have a dropping temp profile. I've not found much info on Livia 90 mods...so any pointers to the machine and mods are most welcome.

The Livia is obsolete...Bezerra no longer makes the BZ99 and Livia 90 for Pasquini. I consider it a relic of the past...but I think it is still relevant today as a used machine...between a new Silvia, any hybrid up to $1K or a good working Livia/Oscar, I will choose the Livia any day...the Oscar I feel needs more work to get right but is more temp flexible...the boxy Livia is growing on me and I planned on keeping it for a bit longer...much longer...
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Joined: 25 Nov 2007
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Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
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Posted Mon Feb 24, 2014, 6:55am
Subject: Re: Pasquini Livia 90

The easiest route is to use a step down transformer, it is a lot easier to use one of those than a step UP transformer, the requirements are much less power wise to step down. Otherwise, you will need to change every solonoid, relay, light, heater, and possibly switch and wiring to "upgrade" to 220 v.

There is nothing obsolte about the 90, it is still a quality HX machine. It SHOULD be set to 1.3 to 1.4 bar and was correct before you lowered it. Anything below 1.0 bar and you will NOT generate any steam at all and the group head is too cold and the HX will not operate properly, If you want to just walk up pull a shot, not bleed excessive temp water from the group head before pulling shots, get a SBDU or a DB with a PID but then, nearly always you will need to pull warming shots to warm up the group head and brew system. It is flush if you do or flush if you don't, take your choice.

You MIGHT be able to get away with a 1.1 setting if you do not make many or any milk drinks that you need to use steam with, otherwise, keep it set to ~1.3.

OPV, are you sure you are adjusting the correct thing? You should have about 10 bar static against a back flush device, when brewing you should have about 9 bar.

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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Senior Member

Joined: 14 Sep 2013
Posts: 92
Location: Houston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Feb 24, 2014, 1:34pm
Subject: Re: Pasquini Livia 90

Thanks Wayne. Yeah I probably go with a step down instead of messing with the internal. The conversion plan I was thinking is really quite straight forward...just rewire and run a new 220v element...the rest are still 110v powered through a small 100W step down wired inside the machine.

I still get very good dry steam and power at my setting...and still get flash boiling at the group and water spigot...so I know the temp is above boiling...as you know its not much of a gauge so I'm not really relying on it. But I'll try other settings too to see what are those like...at 1.4 bar i get burnt coffee so I just started at the lower end.

They don't call it an OPV but it is what it is...its actually a combo check valve on one end to the HX...and "OPV" the other to the drip tray. It has a spring/plunger and you can adjust like any OPV. Its probably set for pods...and mine was stuck close due to some scaling. I don't have a gauge...so currently relying on flowrate test at 10 bar against a blind...and "benchmark" pull of 60mg against my normal dose/tamp...not perfect but i think is ok for now.

Just saying obsolete because they don't make them anymore...that's about it. I agree it is a quality machine and I did say it is still relevant. At one time I was thinking of getting another one as a backup! The internals for all the new Bezzeras still about the same...some cosmetic changes, and some tweaks here and there is all.
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