ECM Synchronika/Profitec Flow Control Kit

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Nunas
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#1: Post by Nunas »

I just received and installed the Flow Control kit for my Synchronika. I fired up the machine and tried it out. But the the shaft is a bit hard to turn, due to the spring inside the E61, and because the handle supplied with the kit is minuscule. Not thinking, trying for a better grasp, I grabbed both the knob and the shaft...Yeow, that shaft's hot...burnt my fingers. Nothing major, mostly injured my pride :oops: I can see why the ECM designers used such a knob, as it somewhat matches the levers on the steam and water wands, and it allows the shaft to rotate 360+ degrees. Alas, for me, it makes the kit unstable...money not at all well spent :(

In comparison, the Bianca has a nice big flat lever...much more practical (easier to grip, easier to turn, and to accurately position). I think if I were designing the thing, I'd have put on a big, round fluted knob atop the shaft...something one can get a hold of easily. I think such a knob could be made to just clear the top edge of the machine. Of course, it would not match the 'flippers' on the Synchronica's water and steam valves. But putting form over function, in this case, simply does not work.

Any other upgraded Synchronika owners out there who have experienced this problem, and who have come up with a fix?

EthanL

#2: Post by EthanL »

When I saw the redesigned version first time, I already imagine myself grabbing the knob and shaft with three fingers to manipulate...then thinking about the 90ish degree temperature I want desperately from the E61... Somehow we need a thermal insulation between the group head and the handle, the plastic knob was supposed to do it

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BaristaBoy E61

#3: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Nunas wrote: I think if I were designing the thing, I'd have put on a big, round fluted knob atop the shaft...something one can get a hold of easily. I think such a knob could be made to just clear the top edge of the machine. Of course, it would not match the 'flippers' on the Synchronica's water and steam valves. But putting form over function, in this case, simply does not work.
EthanL wrote:Somehow we need a thermal insulation between the group head and the handle, the plastic knob was supposed to do it
Sounds like a job/challenge for 'cannonfodder'!
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

Nunas
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#4: Post by Nunas »

Update:
For some reason the flow control turns much more easily when the machine is cold. So my theory about resistance from the spring in the e61 is probably wrong.
I lubed the threads that control the needle valve, but don't notice much if any change.
Pulling my shots this morning using the flow control was a challenge in dexterity so as not to burn my finger tips.

I understand the first version of this kit had a different handle. Questions:
What does the old handle look like?
Does it make turning the needle valve any easier and safer (I'm guessing it does and is)?
Event though it restricts the motion of the needle valve to much less than 360-degrees, is this really a problem?

I'm beginning to wonder if I should have put a Bianca kit on the Synchronika instead of the ECM one. While I hate the look of the wooden knobs and needle valve paddle, it looks infinitely easier and safer to operate.

While I applaud ECM/Profitec for making these retrofit kits available, I honestly think the one for the ECM is just not ready for prime time.

Thanks for any help!

jgood

#5: Post by jgood »

I am looking at the Lelit and Profitec flow control kits for my QM. Re: the Profitec -- how is the little knob attached, for example is it threaded or does it have a threaded shaft that screws in? I am wondering what would be involved to improve/change out the handle to avoid the "burn the fingers" issue. Certainly don't want to start the day with a burnt finger!

speedplay

#6: Post by speedplay »

I don'y have this issue and I installed the Profitec Flow valve kit on my Alex Duetto IV Plus.
Never burnt my finger and I have full off to full on (2 1/4 turns counter clockwise) un-impeded movement of the knob....but this is thanks to the grouphead on the Alex being located high up on the face of the machine.
BTW the design of the knob is why I ultimately went with the Profitec, I find the Lelit's wood paddle ugly (and it would dictate replacing all the other knobs on the machine to match), plus it impedes the full movement of the valve.
Also the Profitec is one integrated part in stainless steel and cheaper. But this is just my opinion and experience YMMV.

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EthanL

#7: Post by EthanL »

The old Profitec/ECM control handle is sufficiently longer than the new one as seen in speedplay's pix, but may conflict with the espresso machine body when some machines' group heads are located low, preventing free 360 rotation, hence the new design.

Not sure if the increased resistance from hot machine is due to thermal expansion and consequently tighter fit.

speedplay

#8: Post by speedplay »

Yes the new round knob is a dumb idea/implementation to solve the "rotation issue". Had not seen it until now since I still have not received it to replace my original....which it will not BTW.
A better solution would have been to keep the original longer handle and just angle it up 45 degrees. The valve sleeve would have just needed the hole and threads where the handle goes through and threads through and presses on the valve stem to be drilled at an angle instead of perpendicular to the sleeve and valve stem (and maybe the threads/screw part on the handle would need to be a bit longer to account for the angle and to be long enough to be able to clamp tightly on the valve to stay in place).
I'm glad that my Alex has a high placement grouphead that allows me to use the original handle with full un-impeded rotation of the flow valve.
I understand now why people if not super careful and precise can burn their fingers on the top part of the sleeve (since it would be at the same temp as the grouphead) with the "dumb" new round knob.
It might be posible to drill the hole on the sleeve to end up with the original handle pointing up 45-60 degrees up from it's original position affording clearance and full rotation.

def
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#9: Post by def »

speedily wrote:... full off to full on (2 1/4 turns counter clockwise) ...
Ugh. OK, the hot fingers and 2 1/4 turns is kind of a deal breaker for me. The poor handle design will likely get fixed, however 2 1/4 turns seems overly cumbersome. What if it took 9 turns from off to 100% flow? Forget it. I think it would be ideal to be no more than 3/4 turn. The LM Strada manual paddle does not require 2 1/4 turns, right?

Looks like I will eventually keep my pro 800 over my Synchronika unless ECM fixes both this handle and reduces the range between off and 100% flow.

speedplay

#10: Post by speedplay »

On my Alex 2 1/4 turns gives me a flow rate of 37 ml/s at a 9 bar brew pressure setting. I've pulled shots at 2 turns and they have been excellent, and NO they don't gush out because at that flow there is a lot of resistance from the puck (just like in any extraction, the puck controls the flow). At a given grind actually the flow out into the cup is faster with a slower flow rate than it is with a super fast flow rate based on my machine and my experience....again YMMV and your machine might be different.
1 and 1/2 turns gives me 12-12.5 ml/s and 1 full turn gives me 7.3-7.5 ml/s.
Again this is in my particular machine, others might be different.
To actually profile you in reality can not go beyond one turn to do it effectively.
But having full range allows you to pull shots at defined flow rates for the whole shot at a given pressure.
I can pull a shot at 12 ml/s at 9 bar or one at 9 mls/s.... or start at 6 or 7.3ml/s and use the valve to profile the shot like a Lelit that goes to only 6 ml/s or so at the max with stock paddle position, and lower the flow and pressure with the handle.