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Found 6 results

  1. Thought I'd share my restoration project here to maybe inspire some others as well as to get some pointers from Gaggia veterans! I wasn't satisfied with my old Breville BES830XL machine and some searching led me to either the Gaggia Classic or the Rancilio Silvia. After watching a couple of teardown videos on the classic and seeing how mechanically simple the machine was, it was the route I decided to take. I found a used Classic from the late 90's for sale and began the project. To say it wasn't well maintained would be a serious understatement! I forgot to take a pic of the machine prior to tearing it apart, but the gold coating on the case was in pretty rough shape and while it seems some folks like the gold look of the older models, it wasn't my cup of tea! Got the machine torn apart here. The bolts holding the boiler to the group head were seized quite badly. Had to use a torch to try and expand the brass on the group head and then I was able to thread out the bolts with some vice grips attached to them. Here's everything laid out and organized so I don't lose track of things As you can see, the boiler and group head were in pretty rough shape. All metal parts ( boiler, group head, OPV, solenoid valve, etc.) got a nice soak in a citric acid bath and I hand sanded the surface of the boiler down to get rid of the pitting. A little more sanding with some 150, 400 and 800 grit and I got the boiler face cleaned up pretty nice. I also did a bunch of hand sanding inside the boiler I ordered up an ebay gasket set and and got everything back together. Now onto the case. I stripped it down to the bare metal and was contemplating leaving it like this, but there was just too much pitting on the front and in the bottom where the water reservoir and drip tray sit. Painted it a "stainless steel" tremclad colour. Turned out alright. We'll see how it holds up over time. Now onto the next phase. Adding a PID controller. I didn't like the look of the external boxes everyone is using, so I decided to use a small arduino + SSR setup and will keep all of the components inside other than a small OLED screen that will sit outside the case. Here's a shot of the boiler with a thermocouple with M4 threads that screwed into the old coffee thermostat location. Testing out the solid state relay with an arduino board I had already made up for another project. This is what the current arduino board looks like. It's not the final state either, but it's much smaller. As is stands right now, I've got the machine up and running and have been using it daily for about a week and it's been running great. I need to finished up the arduino bit and get it all mounted inside. The PID control is working quite well. I also ordered up a bottomless portafilter from ebay and splurged on a nice VST 18 gram basket. Additional things I have planned. Not all of them are high priority: Create multiple pages for the OLED display and cycle through them Read the status of the steam switch to crank up the boiler setpoint for the steam wand. Either add an analog pressure gauge to the front of the machine or use a pressure transducer and use the MCU and OLED to display it Read the status of the brew switch so that the OLED displays a second timer to time the shots Add a second SSR to PWM control the water pump to add a pre-infusion stage The code running on the arduino is here. I'll keep the thread updated as things progress.
  2. I am considering a product to turn a Gaggia Classic into a high-tech, internet connected, touch-screen IOT device. I would like to make a kit which you can buy to easily retrofit your pre-2015 machine. It would require only some re-wiring and plumbing and not significantly change the machine's external appearance. Possible ideas/features: Replace the front switch module with a box containing a powerful microcrontroller and a full-colour touchscreen interface with Wifi connectivity - no cutting, no external boxes!!! Full PID temperature control Full closed-loop pressure monitoring and control - you will be able to dial-in any pressure from 4-14 bar Full closed-loop water flow monitoring and control - millilitre control of shot-size Full remote control of heating, pump, steam, etc via web or mobile app Descaling and backflushing cycles Animated pictures Touch-buttons for all controls (could add 0.5-second press-hold to prevent accidental touches) Remote software upgrades Remote espresso brew - simply load your portafilter the night before, then press the button on your mobile app - it will heat up the machine and make your coffee for you! Compatible with Google Home, Alexa, etc Possible additional features: Ultrasonic water level measurement (might require case cutting) Mains water plumbing with a solenoid valve control (case cutting) Option of replacing the internal water tank with a thermoblock steam boiler (case cutting/modding) External power output for your bean grinder, bluetooth scales connectivity and power control to measure the precise amount of grinds via time and/or weight (case cutting and/or extra wires hanging out) Very interested in who might buy such a kit and how much you would be willing to pay for it!
  3. I recently found that the KitchenAid Artisan espresso machines used mainly Gaggia Classic parts inside and that they were dual boiler so I managed to pick one up from Ebay at £41 in a nice fetching "Medallion Silver" finish. It would be a great starting point for a project. I did have in mind re-casing the whole project but the KA casing is in fantastic condition and does look a lot better on the counter-top that it does in photographs. Anyway, It all worked absolutely fine on testing and produced a decent espresso. The steam boiler I could hear a slight hiss from and upon inspection noticed a little weeping between the top/bottom boiler sections. The plan is to completely strip, clean, re-seal and rebuild the boilers, 3 way solenoids, OPV etc. Clean up the casing and framework. Add all the Arduino gubbins. Features/Mods: 1. I've already modified a V1/V2 Silvia wand by cutting and welding the "ball joint" section from the old wand onto the Silvia wand - So now it articulates! 2. Arduino controlled PID's with PT100 sensors and SSR's. I'll program the steam boiler to go into Idle mode after 5 mins of no activity and reduce temp to save the seals. 3. An SSR to PWM the pump so I can add pre-infusion and possible pressure profiling at a later date. 4. Volumetric flowmeter so I can switch between volumetric shots, time-based, or manual 5. Possibly add pressure sensors for boiler pressures (and brewhead pressure if I can figure out how) 6. Will add other features like On/off for service boiler, descale/backflush programs, steam boiler auto-refill etc 7. Remove the two useless temp gauges and replace them with OLED displays 8. Original switch gear will be replaced, possibly a d-pad/joystick type for scrolling through menus Photos of the machine in it's various stages of disassembly below: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1B3v_CZkXpclEsZ6LjCiI0q16ndA4oxRd Any ideas of features that I've missed or would be a good addition please let me know. Any information of any kind would also be appreciated, always good to ehar other people's experiences of similar projects. Cheers, Kev.
  4. Just thought I'd show my compact little coffee corner with the finally 'finished' (for how long?) Rancilio Silvia V3 with integrated homemade Arduino controller. I am aware this is comparable to a Vauxhall Nova with go faster strips and an MDF spoiler, but I enjoy making things as much as I do drinking the coffee. Would probably hesitate at hacking into anything much more expensive! General Mods: - Insulated boiler and grouphead (kit from PID Silvia plus Rad Flek reflective outer) - Recessed screw showerscreen - Pressure gauge (plumbed in by the pump outlet) - Adjustable 'pressure' (more flow rate I think) using low load leading edge dimmer on pump Arduino controller with 16x2 character LCD screen: - PID controller - 3 permanent temperature sensors (LM92 ICs rather than thermocouples) - Boiler Top - Grouphead Top - Remote ambient (~30cm lead out of case) - Home made thermofilter with 4th temperature sensor for calibration with PC logging on all channels (work-in-progress) - Live calculation of the boiler temperature offset from brew temperature, based on remote ambient temperature - Shot Timer & Memory - Total and 'Trip' Shot Counter and Hours Machine On - Water tank low water level warning - Timed preinfusion period and pressure step down at end of shot
  5. Hi All, It bugged me that I couldn't find any scales mods out there as I really like using weight as my constant target variable and adjusting everything around this. So I hacked together something for my classic. It's ugly as sin and the video is terrible but you get the gist. Adapted some 3 quid ebay scales with an analogue to digital converter, hooked up to 8 quid arduino switching pump circuit via an SSR. I hope to tidy everything up over the coming weeks and will post an update when I have done so. Nothing clever in code or electronics...but good clean fun! Matt. Update: Since a couple of you asked for more details about what's going on, here's the story so far - please don't feel obliged to read this, it will get pretty geeky. Usual disclaimer - I know very little about electronics, please do not take my advice as accurate, coffee machines run at mains voltage and can kill. Even when everything is wired up and ready to go I still use an RCD adaptor just to be extra safe (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000RZDNZM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00) 1. Scales At first I was thinking about USB scales as they easily interface to a small programmable computer e.g. Raspberry Pi, but they are all postal based things and way too big for our needs. Then I read some blogs that claimed it was fairly simple to strip the load cell bits out of any scales and hook them up to a chip that can do the analogue to digital conversion and then of course you need something on the software side. I used these from good old ebay: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/361579373883 For some reason they have gone up 2 quid since I bought them a month or so ago (they cost me £2.89). I ripped all the build in electronics out so I was just left with the load cell (the weighing bit) and 4 wires. Then I purchased a chip known as a HX711 which does the analogue to digital conversion (£3.19). http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/111970281034 2. Arduino I started using a Raspberry Pi but it turns out that for a couple of reasons that wasn't a great choice: i) Because it's running a full operating system and getting interrupts all over the place accurate interface to analogue device such as HX711 can be a bit hit and miss especially coding in a high level language. ii) The 3.3v pins on the Pi can't reliably switch an SSR (despite the spec of the SSR suggesting it should be possible). So I switched to an arduino, they again are dead cheap - I got this one, abot 8 quid. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sintron-ATMEGA328P-Cable-Reference-Arduinos/dp/B00CGU1VOG/ref=sr_1_1 (You can later replace this with the tiny Arduino which you can pick up for around a quid) 3. SSR You will probably be familiar with these if you use a PID, essentially it's a switch that can be triggered from low voltage signals and then switch mains voltage. This is used in the pump circuit to be able to switch it on and off using our arduino. I used this one http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/252599211929 Bear in mind that most of the SSRs sold on ebay are fake and although they work are potentially very dangerous (can actually only cope with half the advertised current). Again see disclaimer and never ever leave a machine on for extended periods with these SSRs in place. 4. LCD Simple lcd that requires no soldering and easily interfaces to Arduino, I used this one. https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01GPUMP9C/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00 5. Software My code is incredibly simple and crude at the moment: https://gist.github.com/mcrmfc/8f724d9891c0d4d5abc8a38fb37f87ad Of course I am not clever enough to write the code to read the scales so we just use an existing library for this: https://github.com/bogde/HX711 Essentially the logic is: i) calibrate scale ii) when button is pressed tare the scale and trigger ssr to start pump (also start a timer) iii) loop continually reading the weight and incrementing our timer iv) when we hit our target weight trigger the ssr to stop pump That's pretty much it. Sounds more complicated than it really is and feel free to shout if you want any more info!
  6. So, I had a friend help me over the weekend in making an automated shot timer. Basically it's an arduino controller that uses a hal-sensor to measure the on/off of the solenoid and then starts counting up. Once the solenoid is shut off, it stops and holds the time until next shot (unless you cycle the power) Here's a short video on the prototype we're working on. https://imgur.com/a/rMH7bUw
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