Rancilio Silvia - Cheap PID on Auber Website - too good to be true?

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
HelloEspresso

#1: Post by HelloEspresso » Dec 03, 2019, 11:10 am

Hello all,

I apologize if this is a silly question. I'm relatively new to the Espresso scene, and have started out my journey with a Breville Duo-Temp and a Breville SGP around 5 years ago. Now, the BDT has sprung a leak somewhere, and I really don't care for fixing it, so I thought it was time to upgrade a little. I've been using the non-pressurized baskets on the BDT and have had some success, so I picked up the Silvia after some extensive research.

Backstory aside, I am well aware of the fact that the machine does not have a PID and that the boiler temp fluctuates quite a bit, so temperature surfing is required to achieve consistency. That aside, I know that aftermarket PIDs are not uncommon and are easy to install, but seems like the price of the PID (on average) is $300 for the Auber Instruments one. So I was quite surprized to find it here https://www.auberins.com/index.php?main ... ucts_id=36 for $145. Am I missing something?

Thanks!

NISMO_Juke

#2: Post by NISMO_Juke » Dec 03, 2019, 11:22 am

Totally legit as that's where I ordered mine from. Even though they seem to sell on other sites for a higher cost it's still the same thing. Do keep in mind that's the 'basic' model and if you want preinfusion and steam control it does cost more, but worth it if you want a very nice all-in-one unit.

HelloEspresso

#3: Post by HelloEspresso » Dec 03, 2019, 11:57 am

Awesome, thanks!
In terms of steam and pre-infusion, it seems that the jury is hung on the pre-infusion, so I am not sure if I really care, but is there a benefit to the steam? I heard that the Rancilio has some impressive steam output out the gate, so what would really be the benefit of the steam control?

Thanks for the reply!

NISMO_Juke

#4: Post by NISMO_Juke » Dec 03, 2019, 12:15 pm

Yes I agree on the preinfusion as I've never seen the need for it. Some swear by it when going for very fine/light roasts to give a higher yield, etc., but to each his/her own. The Silvia in stock form is quite good with steam pressure/volume. If using in stock form the best thing to do is once you kick it into steam mode purge the wand and wait. Kind of time it so you know next time, but you want to catch it right before the element kicks off and start steaming right away. That will help maintain pressure throughout the process as it heats as you go. Always be sure to purge the wand/refill the boiler after each steam use by opening the valve and run the pump via the hot water switch. With the PID steam function the preset is 285 degrees and if you wait until it kicks off then start steaming once the temp drops to 284 degrees it kicks back into heating the element so there's no high/low points. The steam temp can be adjusted on the advanced PID, but I haven't seen the need to bother with it. I don't steam often, but it's a steam demon for what it is.

I will say that I don't agree with the Auber recommended PID box location as it's next the group. That area is rather warm and is subject to splashing, etc. I had just enough wire length to install mine on the right side where it's much cooler and nowhere near water.

myso

#5: Post by myso » Dec 03, 2019, 4:48 pm

My pt100 class a rtd sensor was ~7€
My DIN 1/16 pid controller (knock-off) ~17€
SSR and heat sink 4€
Aluminum case ~8€
With terminals that I crimped myself etc it was under 50€.

baldheadracing
Supporter ♡

#6: Post by baldheadracing » Dec 03, 2019, 5:17 pm

NISMO_Juke wrote:... I will say that I don't agree with the Auber recommended PID box location as it's next the group. That area is rather warm and is subject to splashing, etc. I had just enough wire length to install mine on the right side where it's much cooler and nowhere near water.
If water is splashing on the PID housing where Auber says to put it, then there are other issues that need to be addressed :). OTOH, Auber's SSR location isn't ideal, but there aren't a lot of choices without modifying the case.

As for buying the parts, you can DIY for less, but Auber's kit is complete and easy to install - and one may not have the tools, especially as a crimper that will give safe lasting results in this application will cost more than the entire Auber kit. The Auber kit also has a custom temperature sensor, which is particularly useful for the V1 boiler, as it is the only version of the boiler that has a 'proper' thermowell (and a metal group garnish instead of the plastic one that peels). Schematic for DIY, with steam: http://www.skenedesign.com/Silvia/
What I'm interested in is my worst espresso being fantastic - James Hoffmann

ira
Supporter ♡

#7: Post by ira » Dec 03, 2019, 6:21 pm

baldheadracing wrote:especially as a crimper that will give safe lasting results in this application will cost more than the entire Auber kit.
There are plenty of perfectly useful crimpers for this application for less than $40 and I've never been so confident in Auber after someone here posted a picture of an Auber kit that died due to bad crimps. The basic Auber kit is certainly easier, less clear to me that it's always better.

Ira

NISMO_Juke

#8: Post by NISMO_Juke » Dec 04, 2019, 4:53 am

baldheadracing wrote:If water is splashing on the PID housing where Auber says to put it, then there are other issues that need to be addressed :). OTOH, Auber's SSR location isn't ideal, but there aren't a lot of choices without modifying the case.

As for buying the parts, you can DIY for less, but Auber's kit is complete and easy to install - and one may not have the tools, especially as a crimper that will give safe lasting results in this application will cost more than the entire Auber kit. The Auber kit also has a custom temperature sensor, which is particularly useful for the V1 boiler, as it is the only version of the boiler that has a 'proper' thermowell (and a metal group garnish instead of the plastic one that peels). Schematic for DIY, with steam: http://www.skenedesign.com/Silvia/
Regarding the 'wet' location, during backflushing/portafilter wiggle it'd be rather easy for a bit to splash on the housing if placed right next to the group as they suggest. I slid a piece of high temp heat shrink tubing over the wiring harness and installed the PID on the right side panel with the display facing upward. Had just enough wire length to do it with no modifying needed.

NISMO_Juke

#9: Post by NISMO_Juke » Dec 04, 2019, 5:02 am

ira wrote:There are plenty of perfectly useful crimpers for this application for less than $40 and I've never been so confident in Auber after someone here posted a picture of an Auber kit that died due to bad crimps. The basic Auber kit is certainly easier, less clear to me that it's always better.

Ira
Totally agree on this as well as I found a tool made by Klein to strip/crimp. That combined with the high temp female connectors I found at Home-Depot have held up perfectly fine with the heating element connections I had to re-do when I installed the PID kit. The original connectors were fine, but of course the plastic insulating covers were brittle. Actually originally bought some of the often recommended factory type female connectors, but found the Tyco brand from Home-Depot to crimp much more securely and have a good bite on the element connections, so that's what I'll buy if needed in the future.