sfaticat wrote:Probably at most around $1500. Is PID even necessary for a HX machine? From what I know it maintains temperature pretty well in the group with needing a short purge before pulling a shot. When in doubt, check the pressure bar
I agree with your assessment of PID on HX. It's not bad, but it's not super helpful, either. Getting the HX thermosyphon properly restricted to minimize your cooling flush for a given boiler pressure is handy. I have mine set to function more like a dual boiler with a quick purge before pulling the shot and a 1.4 bar boiler pressure and I really like the improved work flow. No PID needed... I still use a flush to manage temperature, I just don't have several (ok, many) seconds of hissing and gurgling of flash steam before I hit my target temp. My unregulated group is a fire breathing monster at 1.4 bar. I use it as a sanity check on occasion to ensure my regulated group is hot enough for my liking.
Do look at BDB for your price range. You could get one and some SSP burrs (I 100% recommend this) for your SJ and have money left over. It's a phenomenally designed machine with killer temperature stability. You could even pick one up and bed bath and beyond and return it a month later with no risk if you didn't like it. Folks have been reporting online deals of $800 shipped lately so it's a very good deal for a very very high performing machine.