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Topic: Scace Thermofilter (22 msgs / 601 lines)
1) From: Marc
In respect to our hosts I won't be mentioning any names so I hope this post
does not offend.
I'm a newbie at making espresso, having received my Silvia mere weeks ago.
I'm using a Gaggias MDF 8001 grinder ($15 from a yard sale) which I am not
happy with (too large a step between grind settings). I also have a SMP
which I had retired when I got the Gaggia.
My plans called for (in this order and as funds became available):
1) Installation of a TC Adapter to measure brew water temperature in real
time ($)
2) A Rocky Doserless ($$$)
3) PIDing Silvia ($$)
I recently won a Scace Thermofilter in a contest. This is an expensive piece
of equipment but I will have to acquire a T-Type TC reader to use it (which
appear to be moderately expensive).
As my funds are in limited supply right now, I don't see myself buying a TC
reader before upgrading my grinder -- yet my understanding is that the Scace
can really help dial in an espresso machine.
There may also be an option for some credit towards a Rocky instead of
getting the Scace (not at par value).
Any thoughts?
- I can get the Scace and put it on a shelf. And afford to install the TC
Adapter (#1 above)
- I can get the Scace and buy the T-type reader (a little more money) and
use it. (and not install the TC Adapter)
- I may be able to credit the Scace towards a Rocky and come up with the
rest to buy the Rocky (much more money than I planned on spending right now)
I guess what I'm really wondering is how helpful the Scace is going to be -
while I enjoy the whole hands on to roasting and making coffee, my espresso
consumption will probably average 2 shots a day.
Thanks for your thoughts,
Marc

2) From: RK
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
<Snip>
rest to buy the Rocky (much more money than I planned on spending right =
now)
we always end up spending more then we planned on.
I think a good grinder should come before any other piece of equipment. =
This will improve the coffee in all brewing methods.
RK

3) From: raymanowen
"...my espresso consumption will probably average 2 shots a day. "
Hmmm- Friendly suggestion:
If you install a PID controller (#3), you won't need (#1). That's one of a
controller's readouts.
Right now, move the grinder into First Place. Other parts of your process
can be SNAFU and you wouldn't know it, if the grinder is cranking out random
sized coffee crumbs.
Then you might actually do two shots a day one day- on the way up.
There's an expression in the Philippines: "Masarap! Ayos na ang Kasunod-"
Delicious! One good shot deserves another-
Anyway, that's the idea- I may have taken a little liberty with a couple of
words...
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
Got Grinder?

4) From: Les
As Pecan Jim had said many times, "The Espresso Machine is an accessory to
the Grinder."  If you don't have a good grinder, forget all the rest of the
stuff.  Put the Scace on the shelf and get the grinder first, you will be
amazed.  Put the TC on the shelf and get a grinder first.
Les  aka Dr. Crema
On 12/11/06, Marc  wrote:
<Snip>

5) From: Michael Dhabolt
Marc,
Congratulations!
The Scace thermofilter is an invaluable tool when you are trying to 'tune'
your shot pulling process.  If you decide to keep it, an inexpensive PID
controller (Ebay for $35 or $40) that can be set for different TC types will
function as a thermometer with the thermofilter.....the response time with a
PID isn't as quick as a true TC thermometer or TC dataloger but plenty good
enough unless you get awfully picky.
If you talk to Terry at the place that is providing the prize you won, he
may be open to dealing with you on the Rocky that you covet......hell of a
nice guy......can't lose anything talking to him.  And at your stage of the
game, I'll agree with you that the grinder is your priority.
Mike (just plain)

6) From: Marc
Mike and all,
Thanks, that's the way I was heading - go for the grinder.
Ray,
"If you install a PID controller (#3), you won't need (#1)."
How much does PIDing a Silvia cost? I'm asuming that I don't need as
sophisticated (and expensive) a PID as I use for my Rosto (a Fuji PXR3).
I'll also need a TC and a SSR - anything else?
I was going to do (#1) first cause I thought ot was much less expensive but
I may be wrong on that.
-Marc
On 12/12/06, Michael Dhabolt  wrote:
<Snip>

7) From: Marc
Mike,
Thanks - Kudos to you and Les for the Espresso kit, what a great idea and
new tradition!
The altruistic part of me was thinking of taking the Scace and turning it
into a tradition -the pratical part of me wants to make good espresso!
-Marc
On 12/12/06, Michael Dhabolt  wrote:
<Snip>

8) From: Greg Scace
Hi:
Sounds like you aren't afraid of tools and you have some ability to 
use them.  Given this assumption I'd modify your progression to the following:
I'd skip the Rocky and buy a used Mazzer Super Jolly off ebay and 
change out the burrs.  The motors live forever and the grinders are 
rugged as hell.  Doser / doserless argument is pretty irrelevant imo 
and I own both (Mazzer mini E without doser, and two conical mazzers 
with doser).
I'd grab the thermofilter up, get the cheapest Fluke readout device 
(the single channel one without datalogging) and learn how to surf 
the Silvia.  I think you're talking about the same amount of money 
for the readout, compared to the cost of installing the thermocouple 
adapter and buying a type K readout.  You'll prolly get a better 
answer out of the Scace and you can take it with you when you upgrade 
in the future.  Plus you're gonna be real popular.
I'd PID the Silvia in the future.  PID control of Silvia is a big 
performance boost.  The thermofilter will be very handy for dialing 
in temperatures for various coffees.
If I decided I liked pouring milk drinks as well and if I did some 
entertaining, then I'd consider upgrading to a small hx machine with 
an e-61 group at some point in the future.  This path could be either 
the purchase of a new machine, or purchase of a used commercial 
machine and rebuilding it - a completely doable and worthwhile 
project for someone who knows the business end of a wrench.
Since you're a self-proclaimed newbie at espresso, I'd concentrate 
very hard on refining your technique and try not to get hung up on 
available gadgets.  They won't substitute for sound practices in both 
brewing and frothing.  The Silvia is a very good tool for learning 
these skills.  You do need a very good grinder right now.  You prolly 
don't  need PID right now, but you will want it in the future if you 
stick with it (or do the hx thing).   I'd consider winning the 
thermofilter as a serendipitous event that gives you diagnostic 
capability that you don't need right now, assuming that your 
technique is evolving.  But you'll find it very useful in the future 
if you dig into espresso.
-Greg
At 07:28 PM 12/11/2006, you wrote:
<Snip>

9) From: raymanowen
Marc,
I do not know how much you might spend to set up a Silvia with PID
temperature control. The installation can be pretty comprehensive and a
failure if it's not done right.
MiKe has done it to a Silvia, and the results sound spectacular. Talk to
MiKe.
You have to anticipate the temperature difference from the sensing (t/c or
RTD) point to the filter basket which is your only point of interest.
Unfortunately, the point is at the end of a rope. Talk to MiKe.
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
Got Grinder?

10) From: Sandy Andina
--Apple-Mail-223-814900157
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There's a guy in Wilmington, NC who sells PID mods (including  
shipping costs) on eBay for either $200 or $250, I forget which. You  
supply the Silvia, of course. He builds the LED readout flush into  
the facade, so it looks like a factory-install.
On Dec 12, 2006, at 10:44 AM, raymanowen wrote:
<Snip>
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
www.sass-music.com
--Apple-Mail-223-814900157
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There's a guy in Wilmington, NC =
who sells PID mods (including shipping costs) on eBay for either $200 or =
$250, I forget which. You supply the Silvia, of course. He builds the =
LED readout flush into the facade, so it looks like a =
factory-install.
On Dec 12, 2006, at 10:44 AM, raymanowen =
wrote:
Marc, I do not know how much you might spend to set = up a Silvia with PID temperature control. The installation can be pretty = comprehensive and a failure if it's not done right. MiKe has done = it to a Silvia, and the results sound spectacular. Talk to MiKe. = You have to anticipate the temperature difference from the = sensing (t/c or RTD) point to the filter basket which is your only point = of interest. Unfortunately, the point is at the end of a rope. Talk to = MiKe. Cheers -RayO, aka Opa! Got = Grinder? Sandywww.sass-music.com
= = --Apple-Mail-223-814900157--

11) From: Marc
Thanks Greg,
(I'm assuming your the Scace of the Scace Thermofilter). I agree with a lot
of what you say - I'm not PIDing my Silvia yet. I want to learn as much as
possible hands on. On the other hand I really like my PIDed Rosto for
roasting (thanks to Mike Dhabolt and miKe mcKoffee for help with that) but
realize I am a better roaster for having used poppery's and my Rosto
unmodded first.
As for the Mazzer - it just will not fit under my cabinets (18" clearance) -
I know that sounds a little strange but I do have to share my kitchen with a
very special woman and we've agreed to a certain amount of counter space for
my obsession.
I think for my expected degree of espresso involvement, the Rocky would
serve me fine for the time being (though there are a couple of Mazzers on
ebay right now - I'd expect the prices will go up pretty quickly at the end
- looks like they've been selling for $200-$300).
Still I like your tought that " I'd consider winning the thermofilter as a
serendipitous event" and get it even if it sits on the shelf for awhile...
Thanks,
Marc
On 12/12/06, Greg Scace  wrote:
<Snip>

12) From: Marc
Sandy,
Yes I've seen his pages on eBay - I'm very much a do-it-myself type and with
some guidance and/or diagrams I'm not afraid to open up the Silvia. I've
already PIDed my Rosto with help from Mike Dhabolt and miKe mcKoffee.
Thanks,
Marc
On 12/12/06, Sandy Andina  wrote:
<Snip>

13) From: miKe mcKoffee
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Marc,
 
If you do decide to get a Rocky I'd urge you to get a "grinds dispenser"
model (aka dozer) rather than dozerless. Utilized as a grind per brewing
grinds dispenser, grinding into catch canister, much neater AND much less
clumping of grinds for espresso than dozer model. http://home.comcast.net/~mdmint/coffee/Rockycanister.htm 
Also, if you entertain OR end up making milk based espresso beverages often
I'd completely forget about PID'ing Missy and apply cost to future upgrade
to HX or DB. While you'll recoup a goodly % of Silvia's cost when selling
you won't a PID.
 
Just my $0.0253 worth having used Silvia ~2&1/2 years before PID then ~1
year post PID now ~1 year HX.
 
Yeah keep the Thermofilter, exellent tool for dialing in an espresso
machine's shot temps. OTH it's not something you'd use daily and the vendor
IS coming out with a rental offering. And of course "taste" is the ultimate
guide.
 
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee 
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc: http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htm
Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.  
From: homeroast-admin
[mailto:homeroast-admin] On Behalf Of Marc
Sent: Tuesday, December 12, 2006 2:49 PM
Thanks Greg,
(I'm assuming your the Scace of the Scace Thermofilter). I agree with a lot
of what you say - I'm not PIDing my Silvia yet. I want to learn as much as
possible hands on. On the other hand I really like my PIDed Rosto for
roasting (thanks to Mike Dhabolt and miKe mcKoffee for help with that) but
realize I am a better roaster for having used poppery's and my Rosto
unmodded first. 
As for the Mazzer - it just will not fit under my cabinets (18" clearance) -
I know that sounds a little strange but I do have to share my kitchen with a
very special woman and we've agreed to a certain amount of counter space for
my obsession. 
I think for my expected degree of espresso involvement, the Rocky would
serve me fine for the time being (though there are a couple of Mazzers on
ebay right now - I'd expect the prices will go up pretty quickly at the end
- looks like they've been selling for $200-$300). 
Still I like your tought that " I'd consider winning the thermofilter as a
serendipitous event" and get it even if it sits on the shelf for awhile...
Thanks,
Marc

14) From: raymanowen
When I did the instrumentation on some Oil Shale pilot plant projects at the
Colorado School of Mines Research Institute in the 70's, I was often asked
if there weren't a more accurate temperature sensing device than a type K
thermocouple.
Yes, indeed- how much money do you want to waste?  I was able to demonstrate
a 1000:1 increase in precision with just a little forethought in the
thermocouple's physical installation.
If you don't have a good installation and if you haven't calibrated the
thermocouple junction against its reference junction in the installation,
you can just kiss off 2-3 orders of magnitude of supposed accuracy. (That's
2-3 decimal places- and you paid extra to get just 1- that have no meaning!)
Bottom line- you don't care what particular temperature you have- you just
want it the same, shot after shot. When I get a real espresso maker, I've
got some ideas I'll try out- like ribbon thermocouples. They're a little
tender, but they're Extremely fast responding. I couldn't even get a 0.010"
dia. probe in where I put ribbons all day long.
A PID controller in a good installation can give you a virtual Kewaunee
boiler.
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
"The indisputable truth is that no coffee is fresh if it isn't fresh
roasted." - - Martin Diedrich

15) From: Ed Needham
The Scace unit is a wonderful tool for tweaking your shots.  I'm guessing 
though that the quality grinder would be a prerequisite for using the Scace, 
so get the grinder first if you can.
Greg Scace used to be on this list.  He may still be here.  A great guy.
*********************
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)
*********************

16) From: Marc
Ed and all,
First of all when I posted the message I wasn't sure i'd get any response at
all - but in about 24 hours in come about a dozen responses. All thoughtful
and helpful members, and yes Greg Scace is one of them.
The bottom line seems to be: get a quality grinder, learn how to pull shots
and then add the electronics. (Actually I knew this before I started this
thread.) I don't know enough and haven't had enough experience pulling shots
to truly benefit from the Scace now - but it would be very helpful in the
future.
-Marc
On 12/12/06, Ed Needham  wrote:
<Snip>

17) From: Ed Needham
Hi Greg.  I was hoping you were still around.  Good advice.
It doesn't get any better than this.  Well, maybe...
*********************
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)
*********************

18) From: Ed Needham
So I guess you'll have to send it tooooo....me?
*********************
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)
*********************

19) From: Marc
Ed,
Maybe... do you have a spare Rocky you want to send to me?
On 12/13/06, Ed Needham  wrote:
<Snip>

20) From: Greg Scace
Yep yer right on the precision thing - a little thought goes a long 
way.  Fluke's ref junction / temp compensation is pretty good and the 
thermofilter uses type T junctions with better wire than ASTM 
spec.  ASTM accuracy spec for type T is 0.8C at 100C.  Precision is 
much better than that if one uses a decent readout.  I'm using a 
probe with a response time of 0.5 secs, which is fast enough for the 
measurement that we are interested in.   You can certainly do faster, 
but there are tradeoffs in robust construction vs. speed.
-Greg
At 06:58 PM 12/12/2006, you wrote:
<Snip>

21) From: Greg Scace
Why thank ya.  Thank ya vurry much.  Hi Ed!  I'm 
still here.  I'm not as prolific as I used to be, 
but I read the list every day.
-Greg
At 07:48 PM 12/12/2006, you wrote:
<Snip>
 piece
<Snip>
 (which
<Snip>
 now)
<Snip>

22) From: Ed Needham
...and a Bullwinkle.


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