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About ajohn

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    Retired design engineer

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  1. This needs to be done with some care but some background first. When these grinders are manufactured some poor person in China screw an outer burr and it's carrier into the mechanism until it touches the centre burr. They then adjust the setting mechanism to suite at what ever it's lower setting is. That part of the process is rather fiddly. The adjusting mechanism varies, the actual internals that these drive doesn't. That is a part that has a screw thread on it for adjustment and a large worm wheel on top of that to provide the drive. It carries the outer burr. There are videos on youtube relating to the Smart Grinder that show them but the one I am aware of is on a much older than current model - some things have changed since then so don't worry about replacing parts that the grinder no longer has. The grinder needs to be fairly clean and set some way up into it's coarse range. Where the manuals suggests to start for tuning shots should be ok. So brush the inner and outer burrs and put the outer back in making sure it clicks firmly back in place. Grinds trapped in the register can interfere with that. Then while the grinder is running slowly adjust the grinder finer and finer. Ideally when the grinder is at it's minimum setting the burrs should rub and slow the motor down slightly. As soon as it does set coarser again so that they run clear. That may need an increase of 2 settings coarser. There is some play so when ever making a final setting always make it in the fine direction. If it needs to be set coarser always go too coarse and then fine. All being well the motor will slow down on the minimum setting and not before that. It did for me on both a Barista Express and a Smart Grinder. If it's a used grinder thanks to numerous old youtube videos some one may have adjusted the out burr setting. In that case the burrs may rub well before the min setting is reached. Personally I would reset them to where they should be and go through the process again. One might get assembled like this as well. I'd adjust the burr coarser and try again if it was significantly away from the min setting. The arrangement can't be that precise so say the rubbed a couple of settings away from min they may as well be left like that. Just remember the setting as there should never be any reason to grind at it, only above it. The burrs may not rub at all at the min setting. Set the burrs one "notch" finer and try it again and so on. Run out of notches and something is wrong - worn out or faulty. One fault can mess this up and is what I had happen on my Barista Express. When the burrs are adjusted the threaded outer burr carrier mustn't rotate. It should just go up or down. There are parts fitted to achieve this but for some reason mine stopped meshing correctly. The net effect was that the grinder adjusted coarser from 6 or so but wouldn't go any finer. Sage fitted a new grinder for me - that's how I know how they are initially set up. I watched an engineer do it and the burrs do rub at min setting. It was easy for me to see what was happening as I measured the burr movement with a dial test indicator. If some one is sure this is what is happening on their grinder they basically have a faulty one and it needs putting together again properly or replacing. I'm pretty sure my BE grinder messed up when I was cleaning it and rapidly moved the burrs from min to max and back and forth at the same speed. I did this as it had a stiff spot at a setting of 4 from new. That went but the burrs no longer adjusted correctly. Best not to do. Rather than ever repeating all of this again I'll just post a link to it. Can't tune beans crops up now and again and bad beans are usually blamed. They may be in part but could also be influenced by the above. I've put all sorts of crap through mine to see what the beans were like and never had any problem grinding them and never ever had to use the min setting either. It's not there to be used. It's just a calibration setting really and all grinders are calibrated in much the same way. John -
  2. Biggest risk could be the sweeper so have a good look at that. John -
  3. The pressure gauge is useful and does work on these machines. The comments on what it should do in the manual are another matter. In short a decent shot usually needs to show some pressure during infusion. When the max pressure goes up past the blue sector that's when water starts getting dumped into the drip tray. A little past and a little water being dumped is ok - question is how much. The 3 way action dumps some each time a shot is pulled. Once some one has found out what is going on with this they know how high the gauge can go before it causes the machine to have problems - main one is it looses it's shot accuracy which is pretty good. Your problem may be too much coffee but you don't state how much coffee is coming out. Also as fine as possible, does that mean a setting of 1 ? If so something is wrong. The easiest way to check the weight of grinds needed is the razor tool. Different beans can change the dose of the single by nearly a gram. More on the double. I generally found that a bit more than it left was ideal but how much more needs be approached very very slowly. My favourite was 0.1g more than the point where the used pucks stick to the shower screen. The 0,1g would stop them from sticking. Some beans may need a touch more. Much past this and coffee weakens as insufficient room for the grinds to expand. Lower is also ok but at some point the result will be rather wet pucks and even less then causes poor shot control as the grinds swill about all over the place. All this then leaves is ratio and time. Edit - if the shots are pulled via the buttons the time will vary a bit as it's a volumetric machine. How much mostly depends on how consistent preparation is. John -
  4. Don't know. Never stuck my head under to take a look. John -
  5. LOL Yes but an advanced one. Is it worth it? Suspect it prevents a fair bit of crap being sucked back by the 3 way. It's rim is a bit thicker than the rest of it. Just about leaves an impression on the puck where I fill to. The rest is concave when it's fitted so clear of the puck. Net effect is that the dose needs reducing a touch. John -
  6. The video that knocks it just sees it as good thing to make money with - for him although people may not be aware of that. The thing itself - 10kg isn't a bad number as it's generally thought that anyone can tamp at that. Has a big knob too. 10kg breaking glass mugs / cups. Doubt if my thin single wall one would have any problem at all with that but the bottom is rounded with a small flat area .............. It "emulates" and espresso machine. Most on here know what's needed with that. Scales and a grinder. Problem there is that good hand grinders are seriously over priced. They could be knocked out in numbers for a lot less. Some aeropress people use a small battery operated blade grinder. With practice it can produce decent repeatable coffee but I find it rather weak. Then maybe a rather small airscape would be a good idea - not that these achieve anything when few beans are left in them. Few things in real terms are perfect. LOL Maybe some one will kickstart a usb chargeable lithium battery powered grinder. The stand looks like work in progress to me but pass. I'd probably be thinking of a fold up tripod or fold out type arrangement that gives 120mm mug clearance. That could very probably be done in plastic. As I don't think much of aeropresses or the 2 handled job etc that are about I'd give it a B+ as it's probably better than both and plenty of scope to play 3 stroke pre infusion for instance and how fast it's done. Getting the puck out of it might be interesting but I'd hope they have thought about that. So should give it an A really providing people are prepared to tune the shots. It's bound to be too expensive for what it is but that doesn't put people off all sorts of things in the world of coffee. One problem with coffee making is that people buy and assume they just need to stuff some grinds in and that's it. This thing is a far from that and many other methods are as well. LOL That's a view from a designer ignoring that coffee can be made with drip etc. John -
  7. I posted the best way to check it with the burrs clean here. Just run it briefly when you check. It's a reply for some one with the opposite problem. There seems to have been a few turn up new with the too coarse problem - people in china not calibrating them properly when they are made. Now we have a too fine. New one to me unless it's used and some one has watched a number of youtube videos where people alter the burrs before even using it. That was really based on an early model that needed shimming if it was out. Can only happen if they haven't been put together properly but they added the burr adjustment anyway. John -
  8. You may have wrecked the burrs running it like this but it's the best way to check all of their grinders. The burrs should rub slightly at say a setting of 1 or maybe 2 and run clear after that. I've actually seen one of their engineers setting up one of their grinders from scratch. If it's set correctly the motor will show slight signs of working at these low settings. Leave it too long and the burrs heat up and rub harder so only test briefly. If new I'd be inclined to tell Sage that you want a replacement as the burrs going on the video are probably scored and that's not your fault. Another thread with the opposite problem - not grinding fine enough - probably has exactly the same problem but the other way round. People as usual are blaming it on beans. As I have put all sorts through a couple of them I'd say that's unlikely. The easiest answer really is to check as you have but the chances in this case is that the burrs wont touch at all. It seems to be a problem that crops up from production now and again. The internal parts that actually move the burrs are the same on all of them except the one that isn't a smart grinder pro. This also applies to the ones built into machines, just the final adjustment mechanism varies. When first put together the burrs need to be adjusted to touch and then the adjustment mechanism is attached and zeroed to suite. Plus actually zeroing in a similar fashion is done exactly the same way on any grinder. Flat burrs produce chirp when they touch - not a good idea to try and get that to happen on conical. Niche is calibrated in the same way as well - that's just adjusting the burrs to touch and aligning the scale to suite - exactly what Sage do. If an engineer turns up and says just the burrs need adjusting I'd be inclined to say get knotted, you want it set up properly as they should come like that. If the burrs are scored you want them replaced. They may just fit a completely new grinder. That's what they did in my case to fix a somewhat different problem. It was set up correctly from day one. It seems most are but this has cropped up a few times on machines as well. John -
  9. Several people have fallen foul of Sage's 7 secs. Forget it. The weight of grinds in the basket must be reasonably controlled, scales best but the razor tool will do a decent job and is one way of finding how many grams to use. Ideally tune for between 2 and 3 times the weight of grinds coming out as a shot via the grinder setting in roughly 30 sec. The grinder should be easily capable of chocking the machine ie - pull a shot and nothing comes out. If you can't do that there is something wrong with the grinder. There should be no reason to adjust the burrs themselves. If there is you have a faulty machine so report it to Sage. When some one posts that machines do what this one seems to be doing best response rather than the usual is that the machine is faulty. There shouldn't be any need to get the grinder to the minimum setting. John -
  10. It's well worth doing a direct access course. You should learn a lot about staying out of trouble. That's assuming they can still be done. Choice of bike for commuting is a bit tricky. Personally I would avoid sports types and while people tend to like many of the 600cc sports bikes some wont find them comfortable to ride or things like fireblades etc. Honda make some more suitable candidates. Might sound stupid but a 1200cc bandit is a nice bike to ride and up to sensible speeds will hold it's own with most things. More than quick enough for some one with little experience to kill themselves but that's true of many. 1200cc bandit problems - few providing they are serviced properly and at the right time. The valve need adjusting when they should be. Chain stretch - well if used they do tend to and best always use Suzuki parts. While you wont hear it they sound wonderful to others when the revs are up. Performance - a friend of mine that road the usual 600cc lie down sports bike tried it and was rather surprised just how powerful it was. Way more than his where it matters. Small stuff - I'm 6ft2 and head winds and hills are noticeable. The only safety aspect a bike has is speed and acceleration as they are the only way of getting out of stupid situations and creating space. Some direct access courses start people on smaller bikes so you may find that out for yourself. When I passed my test the tester told me to apply for my full licence as soon as possible. As he warned I didn't and something went wrong. DVLA aren't happy about people doing direct access coursed and then going out and buying any bike they like. Any bike in fact. Seems the application for a licence upgrade often does go wrong taking people past the time limit for doing this. DVLA just loose details of the initial application and say that people didn't apply in time. I only sent them photocopies of the relevant piece of paper and also got the post office to vet the forms. They still claimed I hadn't signed one section that didn't need signing and lost the papers when I returned them but they assumed they had the original proofs leaving me no option other than to accept the refusal. My first bike was a torquey 250cc more along the lines of a trial's bike. That sort of thing might be another option but many bikes need lots of revs to generate power and bigger engines are a lot better. I'm too old to bounce well now. John -
  11. LOL Could the moderators please create an "I want to spout on and on negatively about DavecUK etc" and make it sticky. Dave needn't even bother looking at it leaving him more time for what he likes doing. Even then though similar garbage will still crop up and pollute threads passing on nothing that is of any use to anyone at all. Maybe Mildred could simply move them to said thread - unless she has something better to do. Or some other moderator of course. I wouldn't want to be accused of favouritism. John -
  12. I've been interested in it for some time. Initially to design and make my own. Conical as it has some distinct advantages for weighing in beans. These are apparent when one is used with hopper on and a timed dose of grinds. They are less dependent on the weight of beans in the hopper than flat burr grinders. I intended to use Robur burrs for max aperture for the beans to fall in and wondered about the Ceado approach as well. Gravity more or less gets the beans to the burrs on conical and once grinding they look after themselves. Flat use remarkably high levels of centrifugal force to get beans to grind and flow. A significant weight of beans is needed in the hopper to keep them down on the burrs. A common trick to help get consistent timed doses of grinds was to fit a tube hopper and add a pretty hefty weight on top of the beans. The look after themselves aspect is more noticeable on some conical burrs than others. Take small burrs such as Sage use. There is a lot of corkscrew action forcing the beans through the burrs but it's there to some degree on all of them. As an example only the Sage grinder doesn't care about the weight of beans over the burrs. Kg's through it hopper on and off. Only problem I had was needing sufficient beans for them to fall out of the hopper onto the burrs. With checks of dose it would hold them to better than 0.2g once it settled down. This would only be apparent to some one that drank rather a lot of the same bean. Not much chance of me putting kg's through a Robur but behaviour is very similar. Then switched to flat. Hopper on needs a coarser grind setting than off and weighing in. It's pretty easy to prevent popcorning on flat by sticking a weight over the beans when weighing in. It also appears to have other advantages but no comment as not 100% sure. One thing it doesn't change is the need for a finer grinder setting when weighing beans in. That is down to grinds being compacted into the grind chamber and it's exit when the hopper is on - resulting in stale grinds in the chamber and etc often commented on. Flat tends to compact the grinds more than Niche does when weighing in and even more so when the hopper is on. Afraid I have increased my tamping pressure for Niche but a lot of that is down to wanting used pucks to knock out cleanly.Not entirely though. Taste as well. I'm not going to do it as visual evidence is enough for me - but. Maybe some one will fit some sort of pressure transducer at the bottom of a basket and another on top of the grinds and tamp at X kg and see how much pressure is lost due to friction by the time it gets to the bottom. That can be increased by a rapid invert when the grinds are put into the portafilter so that they literally fall in. It also probably loosens up the stuff that finishes up in the top section of the grinds a little. Enough. Could go on an on and having used several grinders all show the same. What this disc is probably actually doing is evening up the beans application around the burrs and not leaving a lot of this down to chance especially towards the end of a grind. That could help produce more consistent tastes if some one hasn't found some other way of doing it. It isn't going to do anything about the grinds compaction aspects IMHO but will wait and see. That does seem to be the fundamental reason for differences when weighing beans in on any grinder. Weighing in eases problems. Niche eases yet more. No point in doing my own Niche now so my thoughts drift towards how to make a flat burr Niche that doesn't have any problems when in practice compared with normal commercial grinder operation it can't be the same if it's to offer near zero retention as Niche does. John -
  13. I await the disc but things seem to have changed in respect to Niche. For instance comments made where I can say I found this too. Have to stir to dispel static. Initially I found no static was produced later static caused grinds to stick the the can. Silly me I banged the grind cup onto the tamping mat to knock them off. Silly me as I have ground into a can before and then stopped doing it and doing this made things worse. Later no more static that matters, just very loose clumps late in a grind. A minor shake breaks them up. More recently stirring with a dissecting needle. And other things. A feeling that this just removes air and allows the grinds to settle. That is clearly visible in the can when this is done. Another way of looking at this is that it tends to even out compaction in the grinds. Now suddenly things have moved on to the disc evening out grinds distribution. I found that it clearly produced too many fines for a while but that was only really apparent after I reduced my usual dose - essentially Niche grinds take up more space - reduced by stirring. Then comes popcorning. Blamed for taste changes usually when flat burr grinders are used for weighing in. While it probably does have a tiny effect it not by any means the main one which results in normal use of the grinder needing a coarser setting than when used for weighing in. This coarser setting is reckoned to provide a better taste as the particle distribution is different. It's very easy to stop popcorning - just add a weight over the beans as people do when they use tube hoppers. The coarser settings are needed because in normal use the grind chamber is packed with grinds and the grinds are more compacted when they actually come out of the grinder - does vary a bit by make but they all do this. So along comes a mod that needs and even finer grinder setting for weighing in. LOL ????? It's up to users to decide if the results are good or bad. All I object to is popcorning comments as it doesn't do what people seem to think it does to any significant level. Actually on Niche I have used some beans that need to prebreak a bit before they are likely to get into the burrs. Maragogypes. I doubt if I will be grinding 4 marks finer when I get a disc. My current setting is 7. I suspect that really some one needs to do rather a lot of tedious sieving to see what the effect of the disc really is. A full set of sieves of course. Super tedious so probably wont ever happen and may even be impossible to do with the full range. Maybe laser particle analysis but that is well known for having problems with none spherical particles. John -
  14. Where are the control results without the disc? Just to make that more difficult I don't stir for the simple reason it gives a larger variation in output with a fixed 30 sec shot time. All I do is a rather gentle side to side minor shake to part disrupt some very slight static clumps that tend to come out at the end of a grind followed by a rapid invert and at times some careful grooming. What you seem to have done above is "proved" what you believe when there may or may not be a problem in the first place. Anyway something that stops bits getting past the lid is useful. The rest afraid i am inclined to believe it's bunkum without a clear demonstration that 1/2/s 1/3s etc or what ever cause changes without the disc. i also feel that fixed shot times are more meaningful. John -
  15. Yes. Entirely the opposite of conventional grinders where hopper off weighing in usually requires a finer setting than when the hopper is on and it's used in the normal way. Then some pundits reckon that the best taste is with hopper on because of the particle size distribution it produces - ie the coarser grind setting that is then needed is best. Coffeechap has posted the reasoning for this. I used a weight and it's not down to popcorning it's down to having to force grinds out of the grind chamber - something that Niche is designed to completely avoid. Hope there is space when the disc is fitted for elephant species beans to grind correctly. Niche takes noticeably longer to grind those. John -
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