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About AussieExpat

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  1. I didn't. But it's a good idea if you have a friendly mechanic and a backup plan for coffee in case it all goes south and the part becomes unusable. The thought of having no espresso at home until a new valve assembly arrived is terrifying! 😂 I posted for two reasons: To provide an example of not ultimately being able to get the valve apart -- none of the guides/forums/blogs I read made that sound likely, albeit that "you will need a vice" and "it's amazingly tight" hinted at the potential trouble ahead; and In the process I found this temporary fix, which takes literally a second to do and could give you another few years of service from the steam valve seat seal if you're gentle with it. You could put a couple of washers on there if you wanted. My plan when my workaround stops working is to buy a new valve assembly and then have no fear of destroying the old one. It can be a spare if I manage to get it apart at that point!
  2. I know this thread is super old but I just wanted to report back for the record that I finally and very belatedly tried this steam valve renovation this last week and you should be prepared for the possibility that you simply can't dismantle the valve assembly. @FilipK mentioned this above, but whereas he did manage it eventually, I didn't on my ~6yo machine. I tried everything: vice, spanner, vise grips, pipe wrench in various combinations; soaking the assembly in easing oil, heating it etc etc. I now have a few more tools in my collection and a more beaten up brass steam valve still with the original internals 😞. I'm resigned to eventually having to replace the whole assembly when the seat seal finally gives way (unless @espressotechno can suggest anything else). One thing I did discover is that to defer the need for the renovation you can simply pull the steam knob out by a few millimetres which gives you a few more millimetres to tighten the wand - useful if your steam valve seat seal is a bit old and compressed. Obviously this is only delaying the inevitable and could encourage over-tightening, so use with caution. Photos attached in case they are of use to anyone.
  3. The Silvia has a prominent bolt screw for the shower screen. My pucks look just like the OP's with an impression from it. Some people get obsessive about it and say it causes channelling so swap it out for a countersunk screw (Google it if you're prepared to spend hours reading forum opinions ;-). Others -- like me -- just get on and make tasty coffee, leaving the 'puckology' to others
  4. 16.0g is a very sensible starting point for a Rancilio Silvia using the supplied double basket. I think the issue the OP has is with the coffee - supermarket beans, over-roasted to within an inch of their life and probably high % robusta too. That combined with a still-evolving palate for coffee. OP mentions in the most recent post that they might have confused 'acidic' for 'sour' - beans have very different levels of acidity, also dependent on their roast profile, but if roasted and pulled properly I don't know of anyone who considers a sour shot 'good'. That said I agree that mastering a single shot is a skill worth pursuing, it's just trickier than mastering a double shot, particularly if OP only has the single portafilter supplied with the Silvia. In that case, it's not even worth trying IMO!
  5. Unless it's changed with later versions (I have V3) the orange light should come on whenever the element is activated, which as you say should always be the case when the machine is turned on. So it's down to troubleshooting between a blown/faulty indicator light or faulty electrics elsewhere. If the machine heats up, it suggests the former, but as you've just received this and you say new, I'd revert to the supplier as it will be covered under warranty (and possible DSR too).
  6. Silvia has a brass boiler, SO no ceramics AFAIK. As @johnealey notes the V3 has an integrated element/boiler, so if it's the element that's gone the best option is probably to replace with a V4 boiler + element.
  7. I'm not sure why you would unscrew the tip of the steam wand that often. I do it maybe once or twice a year! Anyway, my 4 1/2yo Silvia (hasn't skipped a beat, BTW) looks just the same. Secondly, running 350ml through the machine every time you switch on is, IMO, overkill. Turn the machine on, allow it to come up to temperature (~20-30 minutes should be fine), run a small amount through wand/group if you desire, then make your coffee. There will always be a bit of spluttering/hissing from the steam wand as (a) there will likely be air in the wand and (b) any water in the wand won't be heated. No problem - just bleed it out with a quick activation just before steaming. DO always make sure you bleed water through the steam wand after steaming using the hot water switch, since steaming doesn't activate the pump, so the boiler doesn't automatically refill. The quickest way of doing this, from experience, is to leave the steam wand slightly open after steaming (having turned off the steam switch, of course). This helps the machine cool faster by gently releasing the pressure in the boiler. Then bleed the water by activating the hot water switch and opening the steam wand valve until water runs through. I use the steam wand do do this as the input is right up near the top of the boiler. Finally, DO buy an Auber PID. Expensive, but totally, completely worth it. I've read loads of mixed reviews of the MeCoffee, but my Auber has been rock solid since day one, installation was easy, and the benefits in terms of both temperature stability and workflow are immense.
  8. Just a datapoint - I've have had my Silvia for coming up to 4 years doing ~1 coffee a day, and I'm still going strong on the original group seal. YMMV, but if it ain't broke...
  9. Get a decent tamper but don't bother about the basket until you're dissatisfied with the stock one. Plenty of other things to worry about first (like a decent grinder, and practice). [Edit] And get TempTags (Glenn sells them) to save yourself a world of faffing around with milk thermometers and give you a massive head-start towards well-textured milk if you like milk-based drinks.
  10. I've said it before on here, but the Auber unit is extremely easy to install. All wires pre cut and terminated, step-by-step instructions, and no drilling etc. It's really not hard to do yourself. I have no electrical experience, but I can follow instructions, and I had zero issues. Just take it slowly and you wouldn't either. It's also completely reversible, but that's a moot point since once you've got it you'll realise you never want to go back to temperature surfing.
  11. I remember reading somewhere that a vise was necessary or at least strongly recommended to disassemble the valve. Have you tried putting the valve in a vise? Found the link: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-equipment-midrange-500-1500/18984-rebuild-steam-wand-silvia-2008-a.html
  12. I've had an one (w/ Steam Control) on my Silvia for 18 months with precisely zero issues. Goodbye temperature surfing; hello consistency!
  13. Are the ebay parts decent? Never got round to doing this last year, and I don't feel inclined to do it then have to re-do a few months later...
  14. I use Volvic. Ashbeck seems tend to be a bit too acidic for my taste, but YMMV.
  15. It's really not complicated at all. With the Auber kit you just follow very detailed instructions to assemble a whole lot of pre-cut and terminated wires and a few other bits and bobs. If you can use a screwdriver you can do it. That said, you'll appreciate the PID more after you've been temperature surfing for a year or so...
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