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Date: 06 Nov 2006 11:10:40
From: phreaddy
Subject: waffling on PIDing Silvia
Should I really get a PID for Silvia? And if so, should I go all the
way and get steam control too? While I enjoy striving to be "one with
the machine," I've never had any interest in learning temp- or
time-surfing. There is indeed some variation in the quality of the
shots, but we rarely drink straight espresso, so the variations'
effects are somewhat muted. I usually make a hot, skim-milk double
cappuccino with no sugar for myself, and an iced, sugared one for my
wife. I do notice a quality difference from the espresso, but even more
so, I notice a difference from the steaming of the milk. Sometimes I
have lots of microfoam, but more often, I get a lot of hot milk that
pours first, from underneath the microfoam. And no latte art. And
I've noticed that when I run out of skim, and use the kids'
full-fat milk for steaming, that it is a lot easier to get more
microfoam, more consistently. (No, I never end up with stiff foam
requiring spooning.) If I do get a PID, I know that with a
single-setpoint PID, you can still control the steaming temp simply by
starting the steaming shortly before the t-stat turns itself off. Is
that enough?





 
Date: 06 Nov 2006 20:45:38
From: Randy G.
Subject: Re: waffling on PIDing Silvia
"phreaddy" <phreaddy@gmail.com > wrote:

>Should I really get a PID for Silvia?
>
Are there any reasons other than financial that would seem to indicate
that the answer should be "no"?

If your technique is good and consistent, and you are using good
quality, fresh coffee, the value of the PID will be apparent
immediately to you and you will wonder how you lived without it.

As far as the steam function, it shorten the time it takes to do back
to back pots of milk, and it eliminates the long dead time between the
of and on cycle of the stock thermostat. You could manually change the
setpoint each time, but trust me in that it will get old before the
first week is up. if you can afford the dual setpoint model, go for
it.


Randy "worked for me" G.
http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com




 
Date: 06 Nov 2006 12:55:21
From: jggall01
Subject: Re: waffling on PIDing Silvia
phreaddy wrote:
> Should I really get a PID for Silvia? And if so, should I go all the
> way and get steam control too?....
> ........If I do get a PID, I know that with a
> single-setpoint PID, you can still control the steaming temp simply by
> starting the steaming shortly before the t-stat turns itself off. Is
> that enough?

There are some PID controllers that come already configured to accept
external "event input" that causes them to switch to a second setpoint.
If you already have, or buy for independent reasons, a controller with
these features then I would recommend doing the very small additional
work required to control steam, too. To me, that is a no-brainer. Five
more wires (one is a short jumper across the steam tstat), a simple
relay, and you are in business.

If you would otherwise be satisfied with a different controller, i.e.
one that does not have this second setpoint capability, then there is a
decision to make.

Using the PID to control steam is mostly a matter of convenience.

Any PID installation greatly improves your ability to time the steam
session just right to maximize available steam. If you get
delayed/distracted and miss the target temp, then the tstat shuts down
the heating element and you have less than maximum steam power (quite
possibly still enough, though, for your needs). A steam-controlling
PID avoids this problem because it will maintain the steam set point
while you are fidgeting with milk and pitcher.

There is also some benefit in replacing both of the mechanical tstats
(leaving only the overtemp cutoff) with electronic control, just from
the maintenance standpoint. And there is some variability in the OFF
temps of the mechanical tstats that sometimes results in below-normal
steam temps (I have one that cuts off at 285F). But you probably
wouldn't want to make the decision on this factor alone.

I don't disagree at all with what others say about the steam control
not being "needed." Like most other conveniences, you just have to
decide if it is worth what it costs.

BTW, the "it takes longer to get to steam temp" argument is a red
herring - it doesn't take longer if you learn how to use the system to
best advantage.

Jim



 
Date: 06 Nov 2006 20:25:05
From: Ian Smith
Subject: Re: waffling on PIDing Silvia
On 6 Nov 2006 11:10:40 -0800, phreaddy <phreaddy@gmail.com > wrote:

> Should I really get a PID for Silvia?

Yes.

> And if so, should I go all the way and get steam control too?

No.

regards, Ian SMith
--


 
Date: 06 Nov 2006 11:55:00
From: daveb
Subject: Re: waffling on PIDing Silvia
Hell yes!

you will be rewarded with great temp. consistency in the making of the
shot. -- YOU control one of the most important variables

And steaming? the stock thermo is just fine for that -- the temp for
steaming is NOT critical! in spite of what others claim.

Dave
151 pid silvias.
www.hitechespresso.com


phreaddy wrote:
> Should I really get a PID for Silvia? And if so, should I go all the
> way and get steam control too? While I enjoy striving to be "one with
> the machine," I've never had any interest in learning temp- or
> time-surfing. There is indeed some variation in the quality of the
> shots, but we rarely drink straight espresso, so the variations'
> effects are somewhat muted. I usually make a hot, skim-milk double
> cappuccino with no sugar for myself, and an iced, sugared one for my
> wife. I do notice a quality difference from the espresso, but even more
> so, I notice a difference from the steaming of the milk. Sometimes I
> have lots of microfoam, but more often, I get a lot of hot milk that
> pours first, from underneath the microfoam. And no latte art. And
> I've noticed that when I run out of skim, and use the kids'
> full-fat milk for steaming, that it is a lot easier to get more
> microfoam, more consistently. (No, I never end up with stiff foam
> requiring spooning.) If I do get a PID, I know that with a
> single-setpoint PID, you can still control the steaming temp simply by
> starting the steaming shortly before the t-stat turns itself off. Is
> that enough?