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Everything posted by ajohn

  1. They are one and the same but it's a torturous path to follow. It can also be down to a brand used by a countries agent for Breville but don't think that is the case now and may never have been. The aldi machine is a machine sold under the Gastrobak name or how ever it is spelled. It contains a BE soleniod block. It may use a thermoblock or thermo what ever. Some one would have to look. Very very poor review as it clearly has a 3 way action and is a Sage machine or Breville take your pick. Actually I think there was a world wide BE once that looked the same.
  2. I just posted how to check permanently on triacs here. That can result in things getting too hot even the group head.
  3. I got fed up with answering Sage problems. There must be a leak somewhere if brew water is just going to the drip tray. Solenoid acting up might cause it but water would go out of the 3 way pipe. It may also stop flow all together. New solenoids are even on Amazon. Buzzing can mean it just needs cleaning. I assume it's powered via a triac - something to check with a multimeter. As with the other triac drives I think those connect parts to neutral so one terminal is always live when the machine is connected to the mains. They may connect to live but don't think so. So when checking do it plugged in machine off across both terminals. If at mains voltage that means it's always on. A triac needs replacing. maybe it's drive chip too. Check the state of it's drive by measuring volts on ones that are ok. I'd say scale blocking most of the pipe work is unlikely on a DB. Might be possible on the steam circuit after the boiler and possibly into it. Definitely possible on both boiler drain pipes and at the drain valves. Scale sludge building up in the boilers as not descaled often enough. That can also cause more serious grief as the machine can think there is water in the boiler when there isn't. If there has been a large water or steam leak in the machine I would suggest baking the entire board at 100C or so for at least 1/2hr or lower for longer. I suppose the brew water preheat pipework in the steam boiler could block but difficult to see why. Well water would be delivered to it but none would come out of the other side. The way to handle any blockage - check where it is going to and note where it is no longer coming out. Not a good idea to hose down the inside of a live machine. Very brief check needed and some care. If scale is blocking a pipe it can be hard to see as just in the metal ferrule at the ends of the pipes. More common on thermothingy machines. If a pipe is removed for any reason it's best to replace the O ring with a new one.
  4. Whoops can't remember if the base fixing screws are covered with rubber feet or etc but just pop those out if you can't see the screws. I sold mine a while ago.
  5. It's a while since I had mine apart. The videos on youtube relate to replacing an impeller that swept the grinds out that has been updated so it's doesn't wear any more. However the basic casing and how it's all help together hasn't changed. If you look at the base the fixing screws can be removed and just the base taken off - easy. You will be able to see any water. Hair drier etc if damp. If you want to dismantle further the videos will help but may show different adjustment and step counting methods being used. Once the base is off a longish screw driver is needed to go any further but the screws that hold the top in place can be seen.
  6. If the electrics are wet more or less zero and probably trip out your house electrics if those are reasonably up to date. Chances of shocks from metal parts, grinds choking up due to water. Those are a few things that spring to mind as water has probably got well inside the grinder. Only way to find out is open it all up and look. I don't think there is anything likely to rust.
  7. The burrs are stainless so no problem there I washed them a few times There are videos on stripping them down on youtube. Take note of how the setting numbers work. Set it at the lowest and position the big worm wheel the same when it goes back together. The engineers calibrate them by turning the same wheel by hand until the burrs touch and then backing off a tiny amount. As you can't power up to set to min you may need to do this after you have put it back together again. Watch you haven't put it back together in a way that the burrs actually rub at min setting. They should run dead clear at a setting of 2 and may slow the motor down a touch at a setting of 1 but don't run like that for long. Going from 1 to 2 means going say to 5 and then to 2. There is some back play in them and that should take it out easily. If too close at 1 it will really slow the motor down, things warm up and it runs even slower and slower etc.
  8. I just turn mine on and use it when it says ready. I've found other methods don't offer any advantage. Set early via the built in clock - too early and it will switch itself off. How to choose in this area - as always taste. If leaving it for 1/2hr improves it do it funny feeling it will turn itself off. Preheating the portafilter adds to the usual ~3min heat up time. Maybe another 5 if it's left in. I don't as found no taste difference unlike steps needed to preheat the internals of a BE. I have mostly used a bottomless though. The OP's problem. Beans or grinder but it might also be the tuning used. I have actually used beans that needed a ratio of 5 to achieve a balanced taste. Not fresh roasted from my usual suppliers though. I'm using a bean at the moment that leaves a film of water on the used puck. Some do. In my case enhanced as I have started using lower fill levels. No more pucks sticking to the shower screen. So far anyway. The machine is happy with the grinds a good 10mm+ below the rim of the basket - sadly my tamper isn't. What happens when the dose is reduced - invariably there is a need to grind finer. What does that do in this case. I doubt if many bother finding out.
  9. Like all machines they need opening up and inspecting periodically really and water leaks need to be found. It's all a mixed bag as it's pretty clear that some DB's last for a long time. How many do they sell and how many fail before people might expect them not to need attention. I don't know and doubt if anyone else does. We do here from people who have had a problem. I'm inclined to look at it on a cost per shot basis and that bits fail on all so there comes a point where I would be happy to replace with a new one. The warrantee should cover early failures of any type. Then comes the question of what some one gets when they buy them and what they get if they buy another make. Tricky area. I have wondered about the machines descale interval but sadly in some ways my refurb arrived with more scale in it than a descale cycle will remove. I am at O ring replacement time probably past it so time for an engineering style descale as well. This involves looking to see there isn't any and none accumulated anywhere. A lady on here paid engineers to do this sort of thing and a total inspection every 2 years. Some Sage users chose to buy the old filter style off Amazon as it was cheaper than Sage's. Only thing is that the Amazon ones don't soften at all. The DB comes with some guidance on water hardness. Their other machines tend not to.
  10. This has already been covered - a thread about an end game machine. LOL in some ways it is.
  11. It's probably a standard part that fits Ulka pumps directly. Pass one where to find it but if one looks the same it's is very likely to be the same. It's possible to fit a metal one. Look on home barista but on the Breville dual boiler. It should be possible to use the same idea. When looking for info on Sage machines it is usually a good idea to search Breville which ever one it is. Sage buyers tend to be a bit lame when it comes to machine parts changes etc. Not so all Breville buyers.
  12. The BE solenoids are on Ebay. The seller. German, was listing them with either brass or stainless bases which are what Sage use. The stainless ones cost a little more. Highly likely that the solenoids just need opening up and cleaning anyway. Scale sludge messes them up. It's rather easy to do. Coils are on amazon. Those I suppose may age.
  13. You should be able to get a 1 to 2 ratio out of the Sage grinder but trying to get it in exactly 30sec may prove tricky. Over 30secs should be feasible. What it does to taste - find out rather than assuming 1 to 2 in 30sec or what ever is always correct as it isn't. Adjusting the dose can help. One problem is weight really. Different beans occupy different volumes in the portafilter at the same weight. It's possible to find that some beans will over fill the portafilter and others wont. One thing a number of people found is that if the weight of grinds is slowly increased the puck eventually sticks to the shower screen. Add a touch more and it doesn't. It's not a bad place to work. The only way to isolate all Sage machines from the mains is to unplug them. Or turn them off at the socket switch. Do the OPV adjustment mod as suggested and you will find the drip tray fills rather quickly.
  14. The buttons assuming they function as they do on a BE produce as much as they are programmed to do. There is no saying what they will produce as supplied. In my case the default setting of the double button produced 30g out for 10g in taking around 37sec. This suited the bean. The time varied a bit as would be expected but the 30g was held pretty closely. I left the double as it was and programmed the single button for other beans but not so successfully. Using the buttons this way and getting consistent shot weights can be tricky as a lot depends on the grinds preparation being very consistent so many people use this range of machines by weighing the shot that is coming out and ending it manually. I managed to do it but what is done to the grinds each time needs to be the same. In my case a nice even central heap which I could just tamp. The weight of grinds used can't vary much either. Say I stirred the grinds as some do - fine if I stirred them in exactly the same way every time otherwise there will be more variation. Currently I use a grinds cup. Even just altering the number of times the grinds are tapped down in the portafilter alters the output. SDB now so I use a fixed 30sec shot. Once the grinder has settled to the bean I get long runs of shots with around 1g variation and odd ones that have more. Maybe 4 or 5g more usually so just drink them.
  15. There has always been a number of people on here that use a Sage DB. Some an Oracle. Seems a big boys machine must have shiny bits and pieces and a lever to brew coffee. No solenoid at one point but they appear to be changing that. Some wont hold a stable brew temperature. If some one wants to make their brewing even more complicated buy an HX machine. There is a nice post on here concerning using a fan to control the group head temperature. Some might see that as preferable to flushing. Some might like the taste if they just use the machine and not worry about this area at all. Seems there is no need to mod them and the usual mod looses steam. Just use the hot water supply instead. I've not tried it yet but ...........do I want to. Inspired by a Decent video I have gone some way down that route just by altering settings. Extended infusion. What it does depends on the bean. Some loose all taste relationship to the ratio used. Some retain a bit and keep their tasting notes. Ok I get a darker flow and stronger coffee but I have to wonder if there is any point in working this way as I could just use a larger dose and retain more control of the taste. This whole area is a bit weird really as it can change the taste of what comes out pretty dramatically. The bean can finish up bearing no relationship to it's tasting notes at all. Some similar machines can emulate different machines. Ok but that route means a taste change otherwise there is no point in emulating them.
  16. Many people have had similar experiences. Electronics to fail has never really been a reason for not buying. Loads of the stuff lasts far longer than people choose to use them in many many areas far removed from espresso machines. The stuff just needs to be designed and rated correctly and generally doesn't do that badly even when that isn't done that well. Mechanical bits fixed to them are more likely to fail, buttons and switches etc. Solenoids too at some point, pumps, opv's and etc. NTC's are usually used in most machines - a cheap option. Not much evidence that they are a problem though. Then what is an end game machine. Brew temperature control, a brew pressure and steaming ability. The DB seems to score on all of these from the info that is around. The BE can steam 500ml of milk in a not too unreasonably time. The DB would do that a lot quicker. They introduced the first DB is 2011. This shows where they differ from other makers - money and how much they are prepared to put in upfront. Pity they don't publish tooling costs for cases etc. https://www.applianceretailer.com.au/acdzivszpw/#.YNcRViV7l7U My end game is the coffee that comes out so given the DB what could I buy to improve it. Maybe an Eagle One, seems to use the same heating idea. I'd like true volumetric control. That can be obtained at a heavy on cost but what about the other features? Scale and thermo machines are a known problem. Takes longer to cause grief on a boiler machine but can be just as bad. Many people with higher end machines take direct steps to avoid scale all together. These aren't the people who have generally bought their first machine and Sage sell so many it may well be one of those. It seems there was a DB version where some people managed to get the steam boiler to heat during descale with no water in it. Might be them or a Breville problem. This sort of thing can crop up in some area or the other on any machine. Might be down to a batch of parts that were used to build them. Might be down to a new design. Usually ironed out swiftly as replacement reduces profit. Sage do replace of fix. For 2 years anyway and any of their engineers are likely to say scale often figures. 2 years of use is significant. It's a rather long proving period for various bits in the machine. Some bits will wear out eventually on all machines. Solenoids and pumps for instance. Joints may start to leak. Electronics/electrics of any sort and water don't mix well. I am rather critical about the PCB material they use on the triac board. Few use it these days but maybe it has been upgraded on newer machines. So some of the parts that may need replacing are not easy to get and may have to be done by an engineer. That is an expensive route on all machines but they need to fail in the first place. Breville also do not make all of the parts in any of their machines. Some are probably available from elsewhere. The usual bits that wear are.
  17. It is for me especially when I read about some of the faults that crop up on machines that have been mentioned. Nothing else compares with it.
  18. One way to get Slayer type shots out of the DB is by dribbling hot water while the shot is being pulled. The other is to use the infusion settings. Very similar results and from playing around the bulk of that effect occurs during the early parts of infusion. There is a limitation on infusion power - the pump can stall so puck pressure drops until the pump can run again. That can happen several times with low power and a 15sec infusion time. Temperature control? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTTKEKfWqkY The achieve it by using PID on the brew boiler and the group head. These interact. A rather expensive machine uses a similar approach. Also preheat via a small HX in the steam boiler. The usual few seconds flush to make sure the water circuits are full takes care of that if it overheats. It takes several mins to overheat. It can be used 3mins after it's turned on. As I use fixed 30sec shots and check weigh it takes me nearly that long to prepare the grinds. Steam is available too with a but relating to descale. A hot portafilter if wanted doesn't extend the time by much. It's easy to descale. Some have reported that steam takes a little longer to be available from when it's ready for brew. Going on mine this is due to scale. Easy descale makes the machine rather attractive if use of tap water is feasible. My machine was a refurb and it's turned out that it had more scale in the steam boiler than a single descale can remove so can't comment on how good the machine's built in descale indicator is. If the machine shows signs of scale then like all it really needs and engineering style descale and inspection. As piping is small etc checking these are clear of sludge will probably be more difficult than others. It can be back flushed how ever often some one feels like doing it. The solenoid is a type used in many machines and the Sage variant is easily available. One design flaw maybe. The 3 ways action goes vertically out of the solenoid. I'd suspect some machines mount them upside down or side ways. An IMS competition shower screen helps keep grinds out of the internals. O rings needing replacing at some point. A rather well known feature. They are generally expected to last >3years A 48w Ulka can be fitted when the Sage one wears out. NTC sensors are available from Oz but not from the UK. Seems they were until Sage put a block on Coffee Classics selling parts. The TRIAC board uses dead common parts. People who understand how this area works and can use a soldering iron shouldn't have any problem repairing them. It seems engineers often replace them if solenoids act up - just in case. My solenoid acted up - scale sludge so I cleaned it out. This does happen at times on all Sage machines. Several things that may fail are covered on the web. Thermal fuse for instance. The boilers aren't used as part of the level sensing circuits so there are 2 in the brew boiler. The steam uses 3. On high level and the other low. This seems to be to avoid adding water to the boiler while steam is being drawn. These may need cleaning at some point. 🤕Volumetrics don't work too well because of where they stick the flow meter. It's before the OPV so also measures water going that way. It should still work if prep is constant enough. Reason - the meter wont take 9bar or 10 which is where the machine is sometimes set and probably should be. A new brain may be costly. Pass but gicar units with similar features are not cheap. It's a totally different animal to the other machines that have been mentioned. Extensive use of stainless too which is unusual. Even the vac valve.
  19. It's a subject that can get rather complicated that more money can always fix to some degree and added complications of what is ideal for coffee. Outfits like the SCAA will state that and probably relates to taste more than anything else. Some machines will take filters. On those they will usually state replacement intervals. One may extend life based on tap water hardness. Sage do. Probably the cheapest option with these is to monitor what is coming out periodically as they will have assumed some average hardness. One maker say above a certain level use an alternate source and also test that. This is to cover choosing an unsuitable bottled water. It might also apply to a domestic softening set up, RO etc. Some people on here have been known to blend brands of bottled water. There are basically 3 ways of softening water. Filters, RO and salt based ion exchange resins. Filters are often used on commercial machines. It's a cheaper area these days as more general interest. Data on what actually comes out is usually scant. People worry about salt on the resin ones but if the did some sums I think they would find it makes negligible difference to their intake. The output from these can be blended with raw tap water. Some units have that facility built in or it can be added. They are in more common use these days in all sorts of places. The same could be done with RO units. Those can be fitted with remineralisation cartridges or raw RO water can be hardened to some degree with soluble compounds. Not sure but think @Rob1 can fill you in on that. Not sure but I think he adds 2 compounds. You may find posts on here about the various ways of reducing and even avoiding scale all together. They can sound rather complicated but aren't really. Rehardening is just adding small amounts of soluble compounds. A comment on the web but I couldn't quickly find a recipe It involves bicarb (baking soda), epsom salt and distilled water. Mix up the concentrate, add it to your water in small amounts, off you go! Use of certain brands of bottled water is pretty common. Scaling should be negligible. Bear that in mind. Get as carried away as far as you fancy. Problems can be fixed. It really is simple. Some do use distilled. I think @DavecUK had or has a web page mentioning use of just baking soda on RO water but not sure where it is. Both distilled and RO water are likely to show some conductivity. It needs to be enough to allow the usual boiler level sensors to work. HX or DB. Steam boilers generate more scale than brew. It's a temperature effect. Straight HX machine boilers are always at steam temperature. They tend to be harder to use consistently due to brew water temperature variations from a heat exchanger in the boiler. Left standing and it will overheat. No personal experience on the effect that has. A bit too hot and finally a bit too cold I do have experience of. It can make good coffee but other set ups will change taste. Both can be good. It's a tricky area really. The flow rate out of a simple RO unit depends on the water main's pressure. In B'ham needing lots for a fish tank I feel it would be acceptable for an espresso machine. Units can be bought with a storage tank that is constantly topped up. Basic units without that are not expensive. The ones for aquarium use the same cartridges. Remineralising - test the water. I'd be inclined to suggest doing that what ever you use. So some one is going to scale their machine how often to descale. Not much around on that subject but Sage for instance program a hardness reading taken from a test strip into the machine. There is a set procedure for descaling. Problems crop up if there is too much scale for that to remove. The only way to be sure really is to look into the boiler. My DB was a refurb and clearly my descales have been winning. The previous owners wasn't. Sad really as I wondered just how good Sage's idea was. One lady that was on here, expensive machine used to send hers of at some interval for an engineer service. This included checking the boiler for scale. She reckoned they never found any and was going to provide photo's to prove it next time. Bottled water at the time if I remember correctly - a blend. Scale does 2 things. Alters heating rates of the boiler which can spoil the way PID functions and forms sludge which can get into various parts of the machine and cause problems. Changes to how PID function is what tells me that I have removed scale. Initially by doing 2 on the trot as I thought I hadn't drained the brew boiler. The noises from the steam boiler changed rather a lot. Tinkling sort of sound that petered out very slowly. A more recent one well ahead of schedule and now just gentle boiling noises that fade away. To check for sludge in the boilers I need to take a look and will at some point. Might be a clue that others can use but my excess seems to have been on the extreme side of things. Long post. Hope it helps. TBH I suspect all machines need a look and see at some point to be sure or await problems and fix properly. It's called an engineering descale. Make sure it's all gone.
  20. What machine do you have and how easy is it to descale?
  21. I found the pressure gauge very useful to make the volumetrics work as they should. It's reading needs to be related to water flowing out of the over pressure valve. That has to be kept on the low side. I managed push button coffee that way with constant weights out. The grinder was tricky to set to maintain the dose. The time adjustment is rather coarse for sub 1/2g accuracy. Best add with an edit - unlikely to be achievable unless there is always the same bean in the hopper.
  22. TBH I can't see why you can't insert the portafilter while the machine is off and then turn it on.
  23. The DB is a dual boiler - sort of end of. There are many of them around with all sort of names that have the same pump pressure, temperature and etc. The DB is pretty good in that respect. Remarkable value really. People use the DB in different ways. I for instance use it as soon as it's ready. Flush briefly - this is to ensure the hydraulics are full and discharge any overheated brew water in the preheater the machine uses. That may cause the flush to spurt very briefly. End the flush as soon as the flow is even. 2 to 4secs usually achieves that. If you want to preheat the portafilter simply fit it and wait until you can only touch is very briefly. It doesn't take long. I don't as I have found it makes zero difference to taste. Best way to find out if it's needed.Try it, some might detect a change. I drink americano so lots of hot water is added and the shot temp doesn't alter that much at all. Milk based may work out the same. An straight espresso shot drinker probably will want to preheat it. On the other hand with these and americano taste is more apparent when cooled. I use borosilicate mugs, not dual wall. They don't take up much heat especially if thin wall. I use some thick ones now. The drink cools to a sensible level in a few mins. Sounds like you have either a bean or a grinder problem to me. Grinders can take several kg to run in. A couple of kg of anything can help. Start coarse and do the last 500g or so at espresso levels. Time depends on the grinder - don't let it overheat. The manual may mention on to off times but more can be ground at coarser setting in one go. Beans really need a link to see what you have bought. Some especially none fresh roasted can be impossible to tune. They tend to turn to dust and even more so as the grind is set finer. By the time you get to soggy pucks the machine is probably near choking and ratio out should be very low in 30secs. If ratio doesn't respond to setting it probably is the beans providing your grinds are level before you tamp and you use a reasonable amount of force >10kg. With some experience you will get an idea how much the grinder needs to be adjusted to correct a ratio. Most grinder need very small adjustments to tune exactly but I am not familiar with yours. It sounds like steps plus a micro adjustment. If you are using it with a hopper full of beans you will need to waste grinds each time you change the setting. How much depends on the grinder. It can do if you are weighing beans in as well. We all struggle when we start. Some of that can be not being careful enough about what is done to the grinds.
  24. MM isn't the only bean that can clump. I agree 100% with your egg comment. Due to no NFC disk. No comment. I just shake my head in sorrow. Whoops that wasn't from DFK of course.
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