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MeCoffee PID kit for Silvia - first thoughts

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Hi, about the steam temperature. I set it to the max of 140c via Settings/Temperature.

 

What I did notice is when the steam button is switched on and the machine heats up to the desired temperature, you should NOT try to change steam temperature from the home/brew screen using the + and - buttons. If you do next time you power on the machine, brew temperature will be as high as steam temperature without knowing it.

 

 

Hi. I've sorted what was causing the app crashes and writing to the wrong settings and falling to set steam temperature entirely.

I am using ble version from android. I had enabled ble from within Bluetooth setting but also disabled the regular bt2 classic settings. From that moment on crash central (even if you re-enable the classic bt setting) until you wipe data/uninstall and start again from scratch.

The trick is to leave regular bt2 and just additionally enable ble on the first application start and then don't touch it again.

 

Trying to change temperature using the+/- buttons when in steam mode seems to save into brew temp as you said, and for me additionally breaks app permanently in the same way until I wipe data and start from scratch.

 

In detailed temperature pid settings I've enabled a minimum integral of 2% to keep the boiler going a little. The default is documented as being 3 but for some reason mine was on 0. This helps reduce some oscillations of the brew temperature.

 

Last tip: just as the boiler begins to reach the steam temperature I've noticed the pid gives a little blip of boiler power. I suspect this is an undocumented feature intended to be surfed, if you miss that the steam temp overshoot and then if you start steaming once the boiler has turned back off when it's on it's way back down that's when the pid is slow to respond and turn back on and undershoots presumably because the integral component is affected more by that historic slow decline than taking into account that the valve is now open and temp taking fast. I'd imagine tuning of Integral and derivative could refine that but could affect brew temp stability.

 

To sum up I've now got control of all the settings so much happier now.

 

Chris

Edited by crypticc

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Hi. I've sorted what was causing the app crashes and writing to the wrong settings and falling to set steam temperature entirely.

I am using ble version from android. I had enabled ble from within Bluetooth setting but also disabled the regular bt2 classic settings. From that moment on crash central (even if you re-enable the classic bt setting) until you wipe data/uninstall and start again from scratch.

The trick is to leave regular bt2 and just additionally enable ble on the first application start and then don't touch it again.

 

Trying to change temperature using the+/- buttons when in steam mode seems to save into brew temp as you said, and for me additionally breaks app permanently in the same way until I wipe data and start from scratch.

 

In detailed temperature pid settings I've enabled a minimum integral of 2% to keep the boiler going a little. The default is documented as being 3 but for some reason mine was on 0. This helps reduce some oscillations of the brew temperature.

 

Last tip: just as the boiler begins to reach the steam temperature I've noticed the pid gives a little blip of boiler power. I suspect this is an undocumented feature intended to be surfed, if you miss that the steam temp overshoot and then if you start steaming once the boiler has turned back off when it's on it's way back down that's when the pid is slow to respond and turn back on and undershoots presumably because the integral component is affected more by that historic slow decline than taking into account that the valve is now open and temp taking fast. I'd imagine tuning of Integral and derivative could refine that but could affect brew temp stability.

 

To sum up I've now got control of all the settings so much happier now.

 

Chris

 

 

Well that didn't last long. A few truly wonderful brews with my new PID+open basket combo. And now the PID has died. No orange light when I turn on but no heat/pump action and the app doesn't connect now either. Nothing changed except decreased brew temperate from 102 back down to 101.5. one moment it was working, came to use it this afternoon, power on. NADA.

 

Opening it up the red led is on inside the device but there's no other led alive. Uninstalling by filtering the steps in reverse the pump and boiler are fine, it's just the PID even on the first steps to connect power are no longer a "success".

 

A ble monitor app on the Android store shows the mecoffee Bluetooth chip is active at least. But that's about it.

 

Sent email/contact form and time will tell I guess about what happens next.

 

Chris

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f... that's really weird


The peculiarity of espresso beverage is the simultaneous presence of three dispersed phases coexisting within a matrix, namely a concentrated solution of salts, acids, sugars, caffeine and many other hydrophilic substances. These phases are: an emulsion of oil droplets, a suspension of solid particles and an effervescence of gas bubbles, which evolves into a foam.

MildredM's towels, joey24dirt's tamper, Norvin's dosing ring, Portaspresso Rossa PG Air and HC-P, Kinu M68, Feld47 travel, Aergrind, Bellman steamer, IMS baskets, Hario Syphon TC3, Java Maestro dripper, Chemex, French press, Gnali & Zani moka pot, Bonavita kettle & scales, BWT Bestmax Premium

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Jan assisted me very closely on the meCoffee first install on a Gaggia Classic. A second meCoffee is on its way, trying to install it on another Gaggia Classic. We have a good communication, except some interruptions now and then, like reported by other customers. Jan is simply overwhelmed by the demands of his small business, he is not willing to upsize it, he avoids the forums, he should take some good decisions before the troubles escalate. I am happy to have the meCoffee box and the meBarista software as they are. There are still software bugs, like the preinfusion or pressure profiling issues. But the main functions are working and my shots taste incredibly better and are more consistent than before having meCoffee.In the worst case scenario, there will be a solution to repair a defective meCoffee or to continue the software development. For instance, I bricked meCoffee while updating the firmware through Bluetooth. Jan very kindly sent me a backup meCoffee, but meantime I learned how to flash meCoffee using an AVR programmer.I am posting here the resources I used to flash meCoffee, might help somebody: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9825https://www.sparkfun.com/products/12807https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/pocket-avr-programmer-hookup-guide#using-avrdudeOn a last thought, the community could make more to relieve the pressure on Jan. We could share more from our meCoffee user experience.
Hi MirceatI'm not hopeful of Jan getting back to me at all on my brick.. since the original purchase emails he hasn't seemed interested in helping me, or indeed acknowledging even where I found the root cause of the steaming temperature issue. Exactly what file did you flash and how please? Terminal points on the device board, Byte locations/firmware files used, etc. You can see the Bluetooth is active but presumably the last tweak of temperature caused some firmware issues.CheersChris Edited by crypticc

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Hi Chris, I am sorry to hear about your faulty meCoffee.

Based on your described scenario, I would rather suspect a hardware fault.

The weak point were the fuses back in the time. The latest meCoffee boards come with auto-resettable fuses, but are they failproof? Not sure.

On firmware flashing - you'd need the firmware file from the meBarista apk file.

How do you get it: use an apk downloader or APK Share to extract the apk file from Android devices.

Unpack the apk file into a folder and look into the "assets" subfolder. I am assuming the current firmware is stored into "meCoffee-V9.hex". On previous versions, the file name used to be "firmware.hex".

You need the already mentioned tools: an AVR Programmer and a 2x3 male PTH header.

If you take a look at a picture of an older meCoffee board here, you'll notice the 6 holes on the lower left corner. This is the place to insert your PTH header. Pay attention to pin 1 marked with a square.

Then follow the instructions from the Sparkfun tutorial.

In case it helps, please see below the log from my firmware flash operation:

 

C:\Program Files (x86)\programming\Arduino\hardware\tools\avr\bin>avrdude -c usbtiny -p atmega328

avrdude: AVR device initialized and ready to accept instructions

 

Reading | ################################################## | 100% 0.02s

 

avrdude: Device signature = 0x1e9514 (probably m328)

 

avrdude: safemode: Fuses OK (E:FF, H:D0, L:E2)

 

avrdude done. Thank you.

 

C:\Program Files (x86)\programming\Arduino\hardware\tools\avr\bin>avrdude -c usbtiny -p atmega328 -U flash:w:firmware.hex

 

avrdude: AVR device initialized and ready to accept instructions

 

 

Reading | ################################################## | 100% 0.02s

 

 

avrdude: Device signature = 0x1e9514 (probably m328)

avrdude: NOTE: "flash" memory has been specified, an erase cycle will be performed

To disable this feature, specify the -D option.

avrdude: erasing chip

avrdude: reading input file "firmware.hex"

avrdude: input file firmware.hex auto detected as Intel Hex

avrdude: writing flash (21586 bytes):

 

 

Writing | ################################################## | 100% 13.19s

 

 

avrdude: 21586 bytes of flash written

avrdude: verifying flash memory against firmware.hex:

avrdude: load data flash data from input file firmware.hex:

avrdude: input file firmware.hex auto detected as Intel Hex

avrdude: input file firmware.hex contains 21586 bytes

avrdude: reading on-chip flash data:

 

 

Reading | ################################################## | 100% 11.79s

 

 

avrdude: verifying ...

avrdude: 21586 bytes of flash verified

 

 

avrdude: safemode: Fuses OK (E:FF, H:D0, L:E2)

 

 

avrdude done. Thank you.


Gaggia Classic with meCoffee firmware V4, meBarista v4.beta22, Honne Home, Kinu M47, Bezzera BZ09, ito controller

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Hi Chris, I am sorry to hear about your faulty meCoffee.

Based on your described scenario, I would rather suspect a hardware fault.

The weak point were the fuses back in the time. The latest meCoffee boards come with auto-resettable fuses, but are they failproof? Not sure.

On firmware flashing - you'd need the firmware file from the meBarista apk file.

How do you get it: use an apk downloader or APK Share to extract the apk file from Android devices.

Unpack the apk file into a folder and look into the "assets" subfolder. I am assuming the current firmware is stored into "meCoffee-V9.hex". On previous versions, the file name used to be "firmware.hex".

You need the already mentioned tools: an AVR Programmer and a 2x3 male PTH header.

If you take a look at a picture of an older meCoffee board here, you'll notice the 6 holes on the lower left corner. This is the place to insert your PTH header. Pay attention to pin 1 marked with a square.

Then follow the instructions from the Sparkfun tutorial.

In case it helps, please see below the log from my firmware flash operation:

 

C:\Program Files (x86)\programming\Arduino\hardware\tools\avr\bin>avrdude -c usbtiny -p atmega328

avrdude: AVR device initialized and ready to accept instructions

 

Reading | ################################################## | 100% 0.02s

 

avrdude: Device signature = 0x1e9514 (probably m328)

 

avrdude: safemode: Fuses OK (E:FF, H:D0, L:E2)

 

avrdude done. Thank you.

 

C:\Program Files (x86)\programming\Arduino\hardware\tools\avr\bin>avrdude -c usbtiny -p atmega328 -U flash:w:firmware.hex

 

avrdude: AVR device initialized and ready to accept instructions

 

 

Reading | ################################################## | 100% 0.02s

 

 

avrdude: Device signature = 0x1e9514 (probably m328)

avrdude: NOTE: "flash" memory has been specified, an erase cycle will be performed

To disable this feature, specify the -D option.

avrdude: erasing chip

avrdude: reading input file "firmware.hex"

avrdude: input file firmware.hex auto detected as Intel Hex

avrdude: writing flash (21586 bytes):

 

 

Writing | ################################################## | 100% 13.19s

 

 

avrdude: 21586 bytes of flash written

avrdude: verifying flash memory against firmware.hex:

avrdude: load data flash data from input file firmware.hex:

avrdude: input file firmware.hex auto detected as Intel Hex

avrdude: input file firmware.hex contains 21586 bytes

avrdude: reading on-chip flash data:

 

 

Reading | ################################################## | 100% 11.79s

 

 

avrdude: verifying ...

avrdude: 21586 bytes of flash verified

 

 

avrdude: safemode: Fuses OK (E:FF, H:D0, L:E2)

 

 

avrdude done. Thank you.

Awesome thanks

 

Have the new version. Don't know how to reset the fuse but doubt it's that else the mini red light wouldn't be on and it wouldn't respond to the third party ble diagnosis app. Although looking at the white case there is a little distortion at around the area of the orange discs on the circuit which suggests something got a little hot. (It's not the rancilio as the nearest component is the cold water inlet)

 

Only got it a couple of weeks ago., 3 test coffees and 6 real coffee old. Zoiks

 

Chris

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The 2 orange discs must be the resettable fuses. Are they located on the lower right corner, when looking at my picture?

Please consider my board sports old style fuses, I drew red arrows pointing to them.

I don't think you can reset the fuses, they should be replaced when blown up.

Send a picture of the board to Jan and ask his opinion.


Gaggia Classic with meCoffee firmware V4, meBarista v4.beta22, Honne Home, Kinu M47, Bezzera BZ09, ito controller

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The 2 orange discs must be the resettable fuses. Are they located on the lower right corner, when looking at my picture?

Please consider my board sports old style fuses, I drew red arrows pointing to them.

I don't think you can reset the fuses, they should be replaced when blown up.

Send a picture of the board to Jan and ask his opinion.

 

yes - the orange ones. confused whether these are resettable or not.

 

anyhow - yes. would love to discuss with Jan but he doesn't answer his emails. Had a request going with mecoffee in one form or another since end-Jan when I got it and couldn't figure out why changing steaming temp didn't work. in fact the only email I got from him personally was when I ordered a device and then emailed to correct delivery address which somehow ended up as London - London.

 

Anyhow, going to give until the end of the week and then will be raising dispute with credit card company.

 

Chris

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I wont give up in case Jan doesn't answer. meCoffee pushed my home barista life on a higher level, I couldn't have got it by with any manual technique.

Somebody with electronic skills could try to measure the fuses or other meaningful components from the board, even he could replace the faulty components.


Gaggia Classic with meCoffee firmware V4, meBarista v4.beta22, Honne Home, Kinu M47, Bezzera BZ09, ito controller

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I wont give up in case Jan doesn't answer. meCoffee pushed my home barista life on a higher level, I couldn't have got it by with any manual technique.

Somebody with electronic skills could try to measure the fuses or other meaningful components from the board, even he could replace the faulty components.

This product is a lost cause. The silence and poor communication is a sign that the guy knows his product is flaky and he can't handle the burden of development and support that is required. He's ducking his responsibility and hoping the whole thing will go away. No-one should be buying this product.

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The poor communication with Jan was a permanent issue.

I had my fears when I ordered meCoffee 2 years ago, I was aware it could be a total waste of time and money.

There were ups and downs, the balance is definitely positive on my case. I can't imagine me working on an espresso machine without a minimal digital control like meCoffee offers.

Sure there are more doubts on the reliability of Jan's latest products, hardware and software-wise.

I still prefer to stay on first meBarista version I installed on April 2016, having bad experience with the next meBarista versions or hearing bad feedback on them.

My advice: buy this product only if you afford to risk wasting your time and money for a possible better home barista experience.


Gaggia Classic with meCoffee firmware V4, meBarista v4.beta22, Honne Home, Kinu M47, Bezzera BZ09, ito controller

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I wont give up in case Jan doesn't answer. meCoffee pushed my home barista life on a higher level, I couldn't have got it by with any manual technique.

Somebody with electronic skills could try to measure the fuses or other meaningful components from the board, even he could replace the faulty components.

 

Agreed but I'm confused that the little red led is on which suggests there is power to the device. I don't recall ever seeing a blue led on this ble version so I'm not going by that...especially as the ble answers a third party diagnostic tool.

 

I'm concerned that trying to set the steam temperature bricked the device but I'll measure the resistance across the orange discs when I take it out this weekend and if they're just blown maybe try replacing them. Where's maplins when you need them? Love that place. Such a shame

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So the orange disks are RM 005 6207S. (Yes RM)

Assuming they're both the same but I have no idea what they are..cannot find them on RS website

The outside one is live.

The inside one has no (or immediately to zero) voltage. Anyone know where that feeds, is there mains voltage into that one? Both terminals have no voltage so I'm not thinking it's fixed.

Guessing on the tracks a little I'm wondering now if that 450V 2.2 micro fared capacitor is to blame if that is toast. (Capacitors tend to short I before they go south).

Edited by crypticc

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Hi, I'm new on here, so please excuse any ignorance on my part. The next two paras are background, so if you're short on time, please skip them.

 

I've bought a MeCoffee (new Bluetooth model) for use with my Rancilio Silvia. It's not been an enjoyable process so far... My first issue was with the blue-tooth - my phone (and LG G5, which has BLE) couldn't find the MeCoffee, but eventually it did, after several hours, and entirely on its own. Then I moved on to the pre-infusion settings, but couldn't follow the instructions (and after 3 blown fuses) I reversed those steps and was content to live with the basic functionality.

 

In closing it up, I accidentally disconnected the sensor (attached to the top of the boiler) from the cable that leads to the MeCoffee. There are 3 pins and 6 holes so there were 4 possible combinations. One gave a boiler temp of about 400c so that was wrong, so I tried all combination. Sadly I managed to snap the 3 pins (stupid brute force on my part). So I ordered a new sensor, which took 3 weeks to arrive. In the meantime, I left the machine so all I needed to do was re-attach the new sensor to the boiler, and connect to the MeCoffee.

 

The new sensor arrived 2 days ago, so today I attached it to the boiler, and connected it to the MeCoffee and turned it on to test.

 

The solid red-light on the MeCoffee is working fine, but the flashing green light is not working. And again, the MeBarrista app won't "find"/connect to the MeCoffee.

 

Does anyone have any clues as to what I should do? It was connecting and reading (albeit skewed) temperature readings when I damaged the old sensor, now it's not doing anything.

 

Help!

 

PS - If anyone is confident to rectify my snafu and lives in London (SW), I'm happy to drive to you and pay you for your time...

 

thanks, Garry

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I'm having the same issues here with meCoffee BLE I just received. It appears to bricked out of the package. Got to the second step to test power and all I get is the red LED lit up. No blinking green activity LED like there is supposed to be and I can't see the device with my phone or computer. I sent Jan a message and we'll see what he says.

 

I did a quick visual inspection and all solder joints look okay. I may dig into it more this weekend to see if the Bluetooth module is even getting power.

 

Anyone have any areas to look at? Is it worth trying to flash the firmware?

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Bizarrely, once I posted above my PID worked fine. I wasn't getting the green light, but then I (gently) twiddled the two orange capacitors (is that what they are?) and then, hey presto it worked. It's odd. The last time, when I first installed it (and before I broke the sensor) it was broadcasting blutooth but wouldn't show or log on via my phone (LG G5, BLE enabled). I called a mate over with an iPhone to try that, and when showing him my issue it worked fine.

 

It also refused to work on Monday when I tried to show my (disinterested) mother-in-law.

 

In short, I think it's trying to gaslight me.

 

Now its working fine. I would try a VERY GENTLE touch to the orange bit and see if that helps. Don't expect any replies from Jan...

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Bizarrely, once I posted above my PID worked fine. I wasn't getting the green light, but then I (gently) twiddled the two orange capacitors (is that what they are?) and then, hey presto it worked. It's odd. The last time, when I first installed it (and before I broke the sensor) it was broadcasting blutooth but wouldn't show or log on via my phone (LG G5, BLE enabled). I called a mate over with an iPhone to try that, and when showing him my issue it worked fine.

 

It also refused to work on Monday when I tried to show my (disinterested) mother-in-law.

 

In short, I think it's trying to gaslight me.

 

Now its working fine. I would try a VERY GENTLE touch to the orange bit and see if that helps. Don't expect any replies from Jan...

 

Sounds like it could be a dry solder joint to me. Tricky to remedy, if you don’t have the skills and correct tools etc. If you do have a small soldering iron and know how to use it, then reflow any suspicious looking solder joints. If this won’t void any warranty! (Unlikely!)

A new replacement is the best option, though.

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Hi everyone,

 

A couple of weeks ago I had a mishap with my mecoffee Pid, which sadly resulted in the melting of what I believe to be the switching transistor (see pics attached). I've tried contacting mecoffee, to no avail. My only options are either to go for another PID with a better heatsink on the chips, or try a cheaper solution, which would simply mean replacing the melted chip and crossing my fingers that it would pop back to life....

However, since the chip is kinda FUBAR, I don't know which chip to get, and there are hardly any high-res pics of the board online from which I could get the model of the wayward chip.

So...Does anyone have any thoughts on this/ can someone perhaps post a high-res pic of the board or chip involved?

Huge thanks,

 

Nitay

[ATTACH=CONFIG]34934[/ATTACH]

[ATTACH=CONFIG]34935[/ATTACH]

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It looks like a voltage regulator. Unlikely to be fixable without the manufacturer engaging.

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It looks like a voltage regulator. Unlikely to be fixable without the manufacturer engaging.

 

Thanks GaryM,

 

I've pretty much given up on the manufacturer ever engaging, after two unanswered emails sent quite a while ago... Perhaps someone has a better way to get in touch with them, other than the "contact" form on their website.

In the meanwhile, would you happen to have a fresh board from which I could read the fine print on that chip, so I can know for certain if I can fix it?

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Hi, no I don't have a MeCoffee. I was interested at one time, but the lack of reliability and support put me off. Good luck.

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After Jan has recently disclosed on this blog post his struggle to keep the meCoffee project alive, he uploaded new meBarista versions, stating on v7.beta36:

[ATTACH=CONFIG]36879[/ATTACH]

Jan talked since long time about releasing the meBarista code as open source, the great moment might be close, finally.


Gaggia Classic with meCoffee firmware V4, meBarista v4.beta22, Honne Home, Kinu M47, Bezzera BZ09, ito controller

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the last paragraph of his latest blog is promising - fortunately

"I have been working on meCoffee full time again for some weeks now and will restore operations like shipping, support and warranties on September 11th, 2018."


The peculiarity of espresso beverage is the simultaneous presence of three dispersed phases coexisting within a matrix, namely a concentrated solution of salts, acids, sugars, caffeine and many other hydrophilic substances. These phases are: an emulsion of oil droplets, a suspension of solid particles and an effervescence of gas bubbles, which evolves into a foam.

MildredM's towels, joey24dirt's tamper, Norvin's dosing ring, Portaspresso Rossa PG Air and HC-P, Kinu M68, Feld47 travel, Aergrind, Bellman steamer, IMS baskets, Hario Syphon TC3, Java Maestro dripper, Chemex, French press, Gnali & Zani moka pot, Bonavita kettle & scales, BWT Bestmax Premium

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