Adequate plumb in pressure from RO water system (ECM Synchronika)

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OverThinker
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#1: Post by OverThinker »

Just purchased an ECM Synchronika this black Friday after much research. I plan on plumbing it and am wondering about the pressure situation. I live in Jersey City where chloride levels are through the roof so I ordered an ispring 7 stage filter (the one that includes remin) but read that the tank only outputs 6-10 psi. The recommended pressure for the machine is between 1-2 bar. Do I need to purchase a booster? Am I overthinking this? Would a 6-10 psi water line be enough for the machine without causing weird cavitation issues?

ggcadc
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#2: Post by ggcadc »

Have been running both of those for the last year and the system works incredibly well. The pump on the ispring system kicks in once in a while but really only works to fill the tank so probably isn't necessary. I regularly used the first lever position for pre infusion at 2bar, also worked well for coffee shots, never used the machines pump.

You're in for a great setup!

ggcadc
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#3: Post by ggcadc »

Oh, I highly recommend getting the coffee sensor flow control if you didn't order the machine with flow control.

Also I think some of the filtration system output pressure is dependent on the input, so whatever your water pressure regulator puts out.

OverThinker (original poster)
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#4: Post by OverThinker (original poster) »

ggcadc wrote:Have been running both of those for the last year and the system works incredibly well. The pump on the ispring system kicks in once in a while but really only works to fill the tank so probably isn't necessary. I regularly used the first lever position for pre infusion at 2bar, also worked well for coffee shots, never used the machines pump.

You're in for a great setup!
When you say pump, you're talking about a booster device between the main line and the RO system/tank right? I'm not too concerned about that. Just the pressure between the tank and the machine.
ggcadc wrote:Oh, I highly recommend getting the coffee sensor flow control if you didn't order the machine with flow control.

Also I think some of the filtration system output pressure is dependent on the input, so whatever your water pressure regulator puts out.
By flow control, you mean the addon to the machine that regulates flow profile? If so, def ordered it! Do you get 2 bars out of your tank straight to your machine?

ggcadc
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#5: Post by ggcadc »

Yup, I get just over 2bar, I think you'll be alright.

philarious
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#6: Post by philarious »

I was literally thinking the same thing yesterday as I was looking at the ECM and staring at my RO system.

Pausing the ECM for possibly the Profitec Drive.

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homeburrero
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#7: Post by homeburrero »

OverThinker wrote: . . . but read that the tank only outputs 6-10 psi.
May be worth pointing out here that this is the tank bladder precharge pressure, which is always lower than the pressure you get out of the system. As the RO unit fills the tank it starts out at this low pressure but as it fills it compresses that bladder and the pressure goes up. As the pressure in the tank gets closer to the tap water line pressure (3 bar or more) then it stops filling and gets no higher. When the tank is emptying the pressure declines. If you want a consistent pressure to the machine it's wise to put a pressure regulator on the line to the machine, especially if you have variable tapwater pressure or are using a booster pump in front of the RO.
Pat
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Nunas
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#8: Post by Nunas »

OverThinker wrote:Just purchased an ECM Synchronika this black Friday after much research. I plan on plumbing it and am wondering about the pressure situation. I live in Jersey City where chloride levels are through the roof so I ordered an ispring 7 stage filter (the one that includes remin) but read that the tank only outputs 6-10 psi. The recommended pressure for the machine is between 1-2 bar. Do I need to purchase a booster? Am I overthinking this? Would a 6-10 psi water line be enough for the machine without causing weird cavitation issues?
I have quite a bit of experience with RO units, both in the home and as desalinators. I have iSpring units in our home, and our cottage.
In my opinion, you don't need a booster pump; you need a pressure reducing valve. As Pat points out, the pressure output from the iSpring is equivalent to the city mains water pressure, when first drawing water. It then slowly descends to the bladder pressure in the (empty) accumulator tank, which I think you mistook for the max output pressure. When you reach bladder pressure, the output ceases, or nearly so, you'll get only dribbles as the system attempts to refill the accumulator tank. You should set the pressure reducing valve to about 1.5 bar. The output from your iSpring will be constant at this level until the accumulator drops below this level. In practical terms, this is way more than enough pressure and flow to keep up with a home espresso machine.

However, I suggest that you may want to use the reservoir and not plumb the machine into the output of the iSpring. Remin cartridges produce a variable output. When the iSpring is idle, the mineral concentration rises. When you draw water, this highly concentrated water goes into the accumulator. If you draw a lot of water, then the concentration of minerals drops drastically, and the concentration in the accumulator tank is the average of all the little shots of water entering it. If you're only using a bit of water a few times a day, as most folks would be if the iSpring were hooked up to the espresso machine, then the espresso machine will receive a high concentration of minerals. In any case, the concentration will be of an unknown amount. You'd be better off drawing the water into a pitcher, testing it for TDS, adjusting the mineral content if necessary, and pouring it into the reservoir.

BTW, you can increase the efficiency of your RO system by adding a permeate pump. They are passive, like a turbocharger in a car. This greatly reduces the amount of waste water from the RO unit, increases the quality of the water, and reduces recovery time. Here's an example https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00SD7 ... NHAK&psc=1
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OverThinker (original poster)
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#9: Post by OverThinker (original poster) »

homeburrero wrote: If you want a consistent pressure to the machine it's wise to put a pressure regulator on the line to the machine, especially if you have variable tapwater pressure or are using a booster pump in front of the RO.
Yeah, I also ordered a pressure gauge and regulator. These were what I found.
(Gauge) https://a.co/d/cBh4KDI
(Regulator) https://a.co/d/7BavaVs
Nunas wrote:It then slowly descends to the bladder pressure in the (empty) accumulator tank, which I think you mistook for the max output pressure.
Yup! Totally read it wrong.
Nunas wrote:When the iSpring is idle, the mineral concentration rises.
Even if that's the case, it wouldn't rise to 'hard water' territory right? I do intend to use the RO for both espresso and drinking water. Will def be careful to not run the RO faucet while operating the machine. Will also periodically check for hardness every few weeks. I wanted to plumb in mostly because I wanted to experiment with pre infusion and the synchronika is so tall that I'd constantly have to swivel it out of my cabinets way in other to pull out the reservoir (but I would gladly do that in exchange for possible scaling issues despite using RO water). Also, thanks for the tip on the permeate pump!

Nunas
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#10: Post by Nunas »

OverThinker wrote:<Snip>Even if that's the case, it wouldn't rise to 'hard water' territory right?
Sorry, I don't know. It's been about ten years since I tried remin, which is how I know roughly how it goes. Alas, I didn't keep any notes as to the specific TDS values.
I do intend to use the RO for both espresso and drinking water. Will def be careful to not run the RO faucet while operating the machine. Will also periodically check for hardness every few weeks.
That would be good. At home, I have RO to the coffee bar, the bathrooms and the kitchen, all run through an additional 1/2" PEX line. I have noticed that there is a significant drop in pressure/flow if I open two spigots at the same time. I don't know if this would mean that the pressure would be below 1.5 bar, as I've never measured it. So, you may be right about not opening another spigot while pulling a shot. Since you'll be using much more water than you would for only espresso, the remin won't be nearly as big an issue. Measuring with a simple TDS meter would quickly tell the tale.
I wanted to plumb in mostly because I wanted to experiment with pre infusion and the synchronika is so tall that I'd constantly have to swivel it out of my cabinets way in other to pull out the reservoir (but I would gladly do that in exchange for possible scaling issues despite using RO water). Also, thanks for the tip on the permeate pump!
If you like to experiment with preinfusion, I highly recommend adding a Flow Control Device kit to your Synchronika. You can also profile with it. I added one, and love it. Also, look here on H-B for threads discussing using the FCD with the new spring (totally manual) or with the stock EM spring (gives a hybrid operation that starts with variable preinfusion, then works manually). I went back to the ECM-supplied spring after growing tired of having to profile each shot manually to get preinfusion.

As for filling the reservoir, I too have a shelf above the Sybnchronika that makes this difficult. Since I have an RO spigot on the coffee bar, my solution was to get some clear food-grade tubing, the ID of which is the same as the OD on the ispring Spigot. Now, when I need to fill the reservoir, I simply push one end of the tubing over the spigot and shove the other end in the reservoir. I only have to open the trap door a small amount to do this (and to see when it's full). There's a post from me here on H-B about this with a photo.