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Topic: Anyone have hands on experience with the GS-3? (11 msgs / 501 lines)
1) From: Mike Chester
As you may remember, I currently have a pre-order in for a new Alex Duetto II but it is not scheduled to be delivered until late September.  While waiting around I got antsy and started exploring the GS-3 by La Marzocco.  Currently there are some very good deals available on these, though they are still over twice the price of the Duetto II. If any of you have used the GS-3, I would like to know what features and controls makes them worth so much.  I know that the LM name and their reputation for professional build quality is a part, but as a home machine, what will it do that the Duetto II won't do or won't do as well?  I really can't afford the price, even though it is lower than I have ever seen it for the GS-3.  I have been looking at the books and trying to figure out how to fit it into the budget.  I have concluded that I could do it, but it would strain things a bit.  I don't know if it would be worth it.  A negative I see with the GS-3 is that you can not turn off the
  steam boiler if not needed.  That is a feature that I would like.  I could add a switch to accomplish this, but it would eliminate the brew water preheat in an HX loop in the steam boiler before the brew boiler.  Since the brew boiler is above average in size this may not be a big problem.  It might only increase the recovery time a bit. It might affect temperature stability and that is one of the big pluses that the GS-3 is supposed to have. Any thoughts on this?  
Mike Chester
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2) From: raymanowen
"A negative I see with the GS-3 is that you can not turn off the
 steam boiler if not needed.
[How do you know it's not needed?]
That is a feature that I would like.  I could add a switch...but
it would eliminate the brew water preheat in an HX loop in the steam boiler
before the brew boiler.
[What don't you like about powering the steam boiler?]
...the brew boiler is above average in size this
[Deletion of the steam boiler] may not be a big problem.
[Nothing about the GS-3 Is average]"
"It might only increase the recovery time a bit.
[How much SNAFU are you willing to abide?]
It might affect temperature stability
that is one of the big pluses that the GS-3 is supposed to have. Any
thoughts on this?"
Yes. Negative.
Has the energy Czar got to you? Do you need a PC Green machine? Just
insulate the boilers and plumbing. The temperature calibration shouldn't be
affected, and less energy will be lost through convection. Pull blank shots
into the cups to preheat.
The PID controller is + + ungood with an undersized heat source, and you
propose cutting out half of the heaters.
Other than modifying some top designs yourself, talk to Chris. Maybe you can
collaborate and get a manufacturer to alter a standard design with some kind
of warranty. Maybe not.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
Got Grinder?
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3) From: Floyd Lozano
On Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 10:07 PM,  wrote:
<Snip>
politics aside, if you can knock a few hundred watts of power consumption
off the machine, why not?  The machine is likely to be on a lot (don't many
machine owners keep these on several hours a day so they are ready to pull
shots at a whim?)  that's the equivalent of several rooms worth of green eco
friendly mercury vapor containing fluorescent light bulbs on for no good
reason.  of course if I owned energy stocks, i'd probably be inclined to
encourage higher energy use.  instead, why don't you all go to a local Whole
Foods and stock up?  their food is awesome!
WFMI shareholder,
-Floyd
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4) From: Mike Chester
Saving energy is only part of the reason that I would like to shut down the 
steam boiler when not needed.  Keeping everything in the steam circuit under 
pressure all of the time when not needed puts unnecessary wear and tear on 
the machine.  Anyway, talking to a LM vendor, I found out a compromise work 
around.  Since the steam boiler is controlled by a PID rather than a 
pressurestat, the boiler temperature can be easily changed from the front 
panel.  Setting it at 200 degrees keeps the HX loop hot enough to preheat 
the brew water before it enters the brew boiler, but is low enough to save 
some energy and not stress the steam components.  The boilers come 
insulated.
Mike Chester

5) From: Michael Dhabolt
Mike,
One of the great joys of the GS3 is being able to walk up and pull a
shot with what I believe to be un-matched consistency, every time.
Your conversation with the LM dealer did, in fact give you good
information.  The Steam Boiler (SB) PID can be reset to a lower
temperature if the power consumption is a consideration that will
dictate your decision.  Installing a switch on the power wire to the
SB is a simple matter and would keep you from having to manipulate the
machines settings on a regular basis.  That would be the option I
would consider if the power consumption were that big a problem for
me.
Any stress to the machine (steam boiler) resulting from an extra 25
degrees F and 23 psi or so is negligible and should not be a
consideration for you.  The machine is built to take it well into the
lives of your grandchildren.
I've lived with a couple of GS3 machines, one for a couple of weeks
and one for four months.  I've also had a new Duetto on my counter for
a couple of weeks and currently do preventative maintenance etc. on it
(as well as both of the LM machines) every six months or so.  All
three machines were customer purchases who had them delivered to me
for set-up and tuning prior to my delivering and installing (Plumbing,
drain and power).  I've been supplying these folks with roasted coffee
for several years.
When I set up a semi-auto machine I program one button to give me a
pre-shot flush, a habit from using HX machines.  With the GS3 it is
totally un-necessary.  I do program a 1/4 Oz. flush to the first
dosing button for clearing the screen, post shot. I use the short
pre-shot flush even on full sized commercial LM, three and four group
machines to give a flatter intra-shot temperature curve (quite a bit
of time with a Scace device provides enough evidence for me).  Time
with the Scace and a GS3 convinced me of it's uncanny temperature
stability.
The GS3 machines temperature stability is a product of a lot of
engineering, not the least of which is the basic design of the brew
boiler and group head arrangement which has proven its superiority
with very little change over the years.  The pre-heat heat exchanger
and mixing valve arrangement in the brew boiler water supply of the
GS3 is the change that moved the basic La Marzocco design to the
higher level that results in the temperature stability I referred to
above.
Does it make a difference?  I'm spoiled and frequently question
whether I'm actually tasting what I think I am.  I can tell you that
both of the folks who bought a GS3 were immediately more than enthused
(I would certainly hope so - given the cost), more importantly within
several months they were tasting influences in their shots about which
they have both commented with statements about never realizing that
espresso was capable of such subtlety.  Both of these folks are
personal friends and comment to me regularly that they feel it is the
most satisfying purchase that they can remember, and that the feeling
is reinforced every morning with their first 'spro'.
This reply to your post is probably a bit much but as you can tell - -
- I'm a believer.
BTW.  The Duetto is a really nice machine also.
Mike (just plain)
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6) From: miKe mcKoffee
FWIW IMO (and that of about all espresso techs I've spoken with) heating and
cooling and heating and cooling and heating and cooling ad infinitum puts
far greater stress on an espresso machine than 24/7. Haven't turned off my
LM Linea 3grp in something like 21 months...
Substantially lowering the steam boiler to 200f would in fact effect the HX
operation since the pre-brew boiler HX loop is tuned for normal steam boiler
temps. How much it would effect performance at a leisurely home pace? Don't
know, but suspect no much if at all. Start hammering shots entertaining and
I'd want the steam boiler up to temp.
Slave to the Bean Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://www.NorwestCoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/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.
Pacific Northwest Gathering VIIhttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/">http://www.norwestcoffee.com/PNWGVII.htmSweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/
<Snip>
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7) From: Mike Chester
Mike,
Thank you for the detailed and insightful comments.  That is exactly what I 
was looking for when I asked the question.  Don't worry about providing too 
much information as I feel that you can never have too much. I would rather 
be told something that I already know or don't need to know than to not be 
told necessary information.
The tech told me that the water in the HX loop only needs to get to 185 or 
above for the brew boiler to function properly.  (I don't know if this is 
accurate) Of course, the recovery time would be longer at lower temps.  I 
agree with what miKe said about having it on full power if hammering out 
shots.  Besides, If I were hammering them out, I am sure that some would 
want milk drinks.  Also, what he said about turning the machine on and off 
matches my experience with my ex Vetrano.  I had a lot more problems with it 
running on a timer (the timer was rated for the large load of the machine) 
than when I left it on 24/7.
Mike Chester
---- Original Message ----- 
From: "Michael Dhabolt" 
<Snip>
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8) From: Scace, Gregory E. Mr.
I have substantial experience with the pre-production GS3.  The GS3 has a mixing valve that mixes cold makeup water with water from the feedwater preheater.  The valve is temperature sensitive, so the level of feedwater preheat ends up being the same over a fairly wide range of steam boiler settings.   So you can prolly reduce the temp of the steam boiler to some degree without affecting shot quality.
At the same time, you should realize that while the heating elements are rated for a certain power, they don't use anywhere that much when the thing is idling.  A GS3 prolly draws around a hundred watts or so when sitting around idle.  Reducing the steam boiler temperature might knock that down by 10 or 15 watts, but not by a whole helluva lot.
-Greg

9) From: Michael Dhabolt
Mike,
All of the points that miKe commented on are perfectly valid.  The
issue of timers and turning a machine off/on on a daily basis is
exactly as he presents it.  I presented these same concerns and
arguments to both of the folks I was talking about in the previous
post.  Both of them have opted (over time) to only keep the machine on
during the 6 or so hours a day within which they quaff espresso,
periodically keeping it on at different times during family weekends
and during entertaining etc.  The machines onboard electronics
includes a programmable on/off timer so either 24/7 or daily on/off is
easily accomplished.
I will admit that during the summer when the added heat load presented
to my houses marginal air conditioning by my espresso machine is a
concern, I have it on for about six hours a day.  During the winter I
have it on 24/7, the heat added to the house is electrical power
neutral (the heat would come from the electric furnace if not from the
espresso machine).
The appropriate underlying concerns of the off/on issue must be
leavened with an understanding of the machine design, build quality
and inherent system integrity of the equipment being used.
The newer La Marzocco machines (including the GS3) use a stainless
steel group casting which is welded to the brew boiler.  The older
machines used a brass group casting and were flanged, bolted and
gasketed at the attachment that is now welded, this is the only
location that seemed to develop problems after prolonged on/off use.
The vast majority of commercial machines are powered 24/7, most of
these are HX machines which is an entirely different subject. The few
LM machines I've had experience with that have been powered on/off on
a daily schedule have been older single and dual group GS1's, GS2's
and Lineas.  Approximately half of these machines have exhibited
weepage/leakage requiring dis-assembly and regasketing at the group to
boiler attachment point, this is not an insubstantial repair .  All of
these machines, in my experience, had provided 20 plus years of
service prior to presenting this particular problem.  My appraisal of
the current welded structure is that I won't live long enough to see
any problems develop with it.
I'm, obviously, a hardware geek so take that into account when reading
my attitudes about these things.  Being a hardware geek (for me) means
that there is substantial value in developing a relationship with
machinery which was designed, engineered and implemented within a
philosophical environment that makes no compromises.  I still cherish
the memory of what a brand new 4.2 liter XKE did for my psyche every
time I sat in it, felt it, smelled it, started it and drove it.  The
GS3 is that kind of machine.  When I take the body work off and look
at the guts of the thing I find it impossible not to smile and thank
the gods that there are still folks who have a commitment to this
level of craftsmanship.
I buy absolutely the best beans I am able to find (thanks Tom), I do
the best job I am capable of while roasting and blending them and I
make sure that whichever machine I'm using to pull shots with is tuned
to it's maximum capabilities.  Any shortcomings will be (as miKe says)
on the handle end of the Porta Filter.  Espresso is an experience
that, for me, deserves a no compromise commitment and when I don't
provide that, I feel guilty.  I think that a lot of folks have a
tendency toward 'Lunatic Fringe' cultural vectors, I've become pretty
comfortable with the real estate I've homesteaded out on that
'Fringe'.
I don't own a GS3.  I am currently quaffing shots pulled with a CKE
single group Astoria.  I am still in the middle of a ground up
restoration of a La Marzocco GS2 paddle group (two group) which will
become my kitchen machine when finished.  I expect the GS2 will be my
final permanent machine, unless I luck out and find a single group
that is within my budget (or slightly outside of it).
The shots I'm currently enjoying are a 2:1:1 post roast blend of
Brazil Yellow Bourbon, Ethiopian IMV and Sulawesi Toraja Sapan-Minanga
roasted to City++, City+ and Full City.  The shots absolutely sing to
me and I couldn't get the smile off my face if I wanted to.  Again,
thanks to Tom and all the folks at Sweet Marias.
Sorry about the excessive verbosity, hopefully I have it out of my
system for a while.
Mike (just plain)
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10) From: denis bordeleau
 Hi both Mikes,      That is a one of a kind excellent testimon=
y.   I loved it.    Thank you.      Denis
--- En date de : Mar, 25.8.09, Michael Dhabolt 
Objet: Re: [Homeroast] Anyone have hands on experience with the GS-3?
À: "A list to discuss home coffee roasting. There are rules for this list=
,  available athttp://www.sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html"
Date: mardi 25 Août 2009, 15 h 21
Mike,
All of the points that miKe commented on are perfectly valid.  The
issue of timers and turning a machine off/on on a daily basis is
exactly as he presents it.  I presented these same concerns and
arguments to both of the folks I was talking about in the previous
post.  Both of them have opted (over time) to only keep the machine on
during the 6 or so hours a day within which they quaff espresso,
periodically keeping it on at different times during family weekends
and during entertaining etc.  The machines onboard electronics
includes a programmable on/off timer so either 24/7 or daily on/off is
easily accomplished.
I will admit that during the summer when the added heat load presented
to my houses marginal air conditioning by my espresso machine is a
concern, I have it on for about six hours a day.  During the winter I
have it on 24/7, the heat added to the house is electrical power
neutral (the heat would come from the electric furnace if not from the
espresso machine).
The appropriate underlying concerns of the off/on issue must be
leavened with an understanding of the machine design, build quality
and inherent system integrity of the equipment being used.
The newer La Marzocco machines (including the GS3) use a stainless
steel group casting which is welded to the brew boiler.  The older
machines used a brass group casting and were flanged, bolted and
gasketed at the attachment that is now welded, this is the only
location that seemed to develop problems after prolonged on/off use.
The vast majority of commercial machines are powered 24/7, most of
these are HX machines which is an entirely different subject. The few
LM machines I've had experience with that have been powered on/off on
a daily schedule have been older single and dual group GS1's, GS2's
and Lineas.  Approximately half of these machines have exhibited
weepage/leakage requiring dis-assembly and regasketing at the group to
boiler attachment point, this is not an insubstantial repair .  All of
these machines, in my experience, had provided 20 plus years of
service prior to presenting this particular problem.  My appraisal of
the current welded structure is that I won't live long enough to see
any problems develop with it.
I'm, obviously, a hardware geek so take that into account when reading
my attitudes about these things.  Being a hardware geek (for me) means
that there is substantial value in developing a relationship with
machinery which was designed, engineered and implemented within a
philosophical environment that makes no compromises.  I still cherish
the memory of what a brand new 4.2 liter XKE did for my psyche every
time I sat in it, felt it, smelled it, started it and drove it.  The
GS3 is that kind of machine.  When I take the body work off and look
at the guts of the thing I find it impossible not to smile and thank
the gods that there are still folks who have a commitment to this
level of craftsmanship.
I buy absolutely the best beans I am able to find (thanks Tom), I do
the best job I am capable of while roasting and blending them and I
make sure that whichever machine I'm using to pull shots with is tuned
to it's maximum capabilities.  Any shortcomings will be (as miKe says)
on the handle end of the Porta Filter.  Espresso is an experience
that, for me, deserves a no compromise commitment and when I don't
provide that, I feel guilty.  I think that a lot of folks have a
tendency toward 'Lunatic Fringe' cultural vectors, I've become pretty
comfortable with the real estate I've homesteaded out on that
'Fringe'.
I don't own a GS3.  I am currently quaffing shots pulled with a CKE
single group Astoria.  I am still in the middle of a ground up
restoration of a La Marzocco GS2 paddle group (two group) which will
become my kitchen machine when finished.  I expect the GS2 will be my
final permanent machine, unless I luck out and find a single group
that is within my budget (or slightly outside of it).
The shots I'm currently enjoying are a 2:1:1 post roast blend of
Brazil Yellow Bourbon, Ethiopian IMV and Sulawesi Toraja Sapan-Minanga
roasted to City++, City+ and Full City.  The shots absolutely sing to
me and I couldn't get the smile off my face if I wanted to.  Again,
thanks to Tom and all the folks at Sweet Marias.
Sorry about the excessive verbosity, hopefully I have it out of my
system for a while.
Mike (just plain)
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11) From: Allon Stern
On Aug 25, 2009, at 3:21 PM, Michael Dhabolt wrote:
<Snip>
Electric furnace, or heat pump?
If it's purely resistive heat, then yeah.
If it's a heat pump, then no. A heat pump is far more efficient than  
running a dozen or two espresso machines to keep your house warm.
On the other hand, while it produces waste heat, in the winter it  
isn't necessarily UNWANTED waste heat.
-
allon
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