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Want to Buy: pressure gauge that attaches to portafilter on Rancilio Sylvia
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jpc
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Jul 2008
Posts: 22
Location: madison, ct
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: rancilio sylvia
Grinder: la cimbali, adapted by chris
Vac Pot: cona
Roaster: alpenroast
Posted Sun Jan 27, 2013, 9:24pm
Subject: Re: Want to Buy: pressure gauge that attaches to portafilter on Rancilio Sylvia
 

dear D4F, thanks for keeping me thinking about this with your thoughts and ideas. i think i've adjusted the pressure to close to 9 bars. but what a trip it's been. i think i figured out some of the puzzles though one remains.

i still don't understand why the result of just a quarter to one half a turn of the pressure valve adjustment would result in such a difference in pressure readings -- 30 psi at 1/4 turn looser and 130 psi at 1/4 turn tighter. seems strange, but i kept going back and forth between those two readings . seemed very hard to fine tune. have others seen this?

i think i really screwed myself up on my first pressure adjustment, loosening by several full turns, then tightening by similar amounts. i believe that my inability to get a seal between pf and brew head was because i had tightened down too much and when the pressure went above 150, it would leak. once i brought pressure down below 150 the seal held. and yes, D4F, using the backflush basket caused no leaking other than the expect dripping into the drip pan.

i figured out why it was leaking all over the place and had given me a scare that i had broken or cracked something. as i had described, after each pressure test it was leaking from the housing around the brew head, down the steam wand, and all around the PID box installed under the "hood" or shelf. i'm embarrassed to say that i had taken the shortcut of not re-attaching the overflow hose, so the back flow was dripping from the pressure valve onto the shelf and making its way -- as water will -- to everything beneath that shelf!!

getting that damn soft hose cinched back onto the pressure valve was a pain. like some others i had to sacrifice about an inch of hose and couldn't get it done without using hot air gun to soften the hose, a locking pliers to hold the damn wire spring tightener, a head lamp, not to mention multiple tries before getting it attached without putting a hole in the hose in the process!

it was especially helpful to understand that the more accurate pressure was probably where the needle on the gauge settled and not what it spiked up to.  once i understood that i could begin to bring the pressure down enough that water didn't leak around the portafilter. and yes, D4F, i replaced the rubber brew head seal just a month ago.

SO, i feel pretty good with machine reassembled and a little more confidence that pressure is as it should be. it's too late tonight to make a caffeinated espresso to see if there's any benefit to spending two week ends on this.  i feel good enough just returning from the uncertainty of it all!!

thanks again to all who gave me guidance, especially you, D4F and Rapidcoffee.

jpc
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,897
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Sun Jan 27, 2013, 9:57pm
Subject: Re: Want to Buy: pressure gauge that attaches to portafilter on Rancilio Sylvia
 

Happy to hear that it works.  A good lesson, remember to look under the hood if you cannot explain water leaks. I look in my machine occasionally just to make sure that all is well, no heated insulation, no leaks...  Just a quick peak and all is well.  I would use it and then recheck inside in a couple days.  Post about any brewing differences you have given it a good test.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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jpc
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Jul 2008
Posts: 22
Location: madison, ct
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: rancilio sylvia
Grinder: la cimbali, adapted by chris
Vac Pot: cona
Roaster: alpenroast
Posted Fri Apr 26, 2013, 9:01pm
Subject: new problem after adjusting pressure valve on Rancilio Sylvia-- Help!
 

i am hoping someone (D4F and RapidCoffee are you helpful guys still out there?) will be able to explain to me why my rancilio sylvia is behaving differently than it did before i re-adjusted the pressure valve.

the curious new behavior is that the boiler does not seem to stay filled. when i want to make a shot, no hot water comes through portafilter. i have to prime it by either running the brew head or the steam wand for about 45 seconds until water finally comes out. then have to wait for PID temp to return to where i have it set so i can do shot. once i do this, i'm usually pleased with how the shot comes out. ALL THAT WORK TO ADJUST THE PRESSURE ACTUALLY HAS IMPROVED MY SHOTS! but i fear i screwed something up. i never had to fiddle with this priming business before. it seemed like the brew head was always ready to go.

maybe i'm imagining it but i think i hear what sounds like a slight releasing of pressure when machine is idle. machine is not obviously leaking water anywhere. when i fooled with the pressure valve, i ended up destroying about 1 1/2" of overflow tube so that it sometimes pops up out of the water reservoir.

hoping someone can explain, or even better, tell me how to repair.

thanks in advance.
jpc
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