ECM Synchronika steam power: does this look right?

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somakusha

#1: Post by somakusha »

Hello. Long time lurker, don't think I've ever posted before.

I bought a Synchronika recently. From day 1, I've had doubts about the steam power. I have been able to get ok results in steaming milk, but it just seems to be under-powered. For the price and reputation, I had far higher expectations.

Below is a link to a video from the first day of use, brand new out of the box. Steam boiler temp is set to maximum. Steam tip and wand are both clear of obstructions. The teflon sleeve in the wand isn't protruding abnormally.

Is this normal for a Synchronika, or should I expect more?

https://www.dropbox.com/s/3cnhhupu0yp0zkj/Day1.mov?dl=0

cibby

#2: Post by cibby »

I'm not where my machine is setup at the moment, but that does seem quite more subdued than mine. When I steam for a typical 10oz of milk, I notice that the steam pressure dial will lower. I was worried that was a problem, but based on what I read on HB, it's normal. That said, I'm surprised in your video by the noise and amount of visual steam I'm seeing.

Have you seen this YT channel? While there isn't any voice over instruction, there are some interesting videos that show how his machine's steam is working. It looks to me like his steam pressure is lower than yours, but also that more steam is coming out and staying at that higher output rate for longer.

Nunas
Supporter ♡

#3: Post by Nunas »

Yes, it seems anemic. If you'd said that this happened recently, I'd say you need to ream the tip to remove hardened milk. But, since you mention suspecting this from the beginning, I'd be more inclined to suspect a defective tip. In either case, have a close look at the tip and ream it if necessary with a fine drill bit.

Now, as for getting lots of steam on a Synchronika, Once you've maxed out the boiler pressure by turning the PID fully on, the next step is to go to a tip with more holes. After having tried many tips, I settled on a 4-hole ECM tip. You'll get gobs of steam at the onset, but the manometer will drop lower more quickly. But, the Sync has a decent heater and boiler, you'll still have plenty of steam to finish the jug, no matter the size.

somakusha (original poster)

#4: Post by somakusha (original poster) »

Thanks for the replies.
cibby wrote: Have you seen this YT channel? While there isn't any voice over instruction, there are some interesting videos that show how his machine's steam is working. It looks to me like his steam pressure is lower than yours, but also that more steam is coming out and staying at that higher output rate for longer.
Looks like that person is using a four-hole steam tip?
Nunas wrote:Yes, it seems anemic. If you'd said that this happened recently, I'd say you need to ream the tip to remove hardened milk. But, since you mention suspecting this from the beginning, I'd be more inclined to suspect a defective tip. In either case, have a close look at the tip and ream it if necessary with a fine drill bit.

Now, as for getting lots of steam on a Synchronika, Once you've maxed out the boiler pressure by turning the PID fully on, the next step is to go to a tip with more holes. After having tried many tips, I settled on a 4-hole ECM tip. You'll get gobs of steam at the onset, but the manometer will drop lower more quickly. But, the Sync has a decent heater and boiler, you'll still have plenty of steam to finish the jug, no matter the size.
That video was taken when the machine was new. I might have steamed two or three jugs of milk with it. I checked the steam tip again yesterday, and still there are no obstructions in the wand.

The steam seems powerful enough when opening the valve with the tip removed altogether. I am going to try drilling out the existing holes to 1.2mm, and see if that yields an improvement. I might even try drilling a third hole.

The retailer hasn't been particularly helpful so far. They are trying, but were very slack on initial response; they did not respond for a week and half after I spoke to them on the very day I received the machine to raise this issue. Eventually, I had to contact them, and it looked like I'd been forgotten. Then, on the basis of the above video and a phone discussion, I was told that any examination carried out on the machine might not be covered by warranty because they aren't convinced that there is anything wrong with the machine. I also have a feeling that there is nothing wrong with the machine, and that it is has more to do with the tip, but they didn't suggest that. Not a happy customer at this point.

cibby

#5: Post by cibby »

I saw this video today and thought of you. Doesn't seem likely since it sounds like it's fine without the tip installed. Bummer to hear about the retailer not helping you out! I would think they'd send you a new tip to try at least.

somakusha (original poster)

#6: Post by somakusha (original poster) »

cibby wrote:I saw this video today and thought of you. Doesn't seem likely since it sounds like it's fine without the tip installed. Bummer to hear about the retailer not helping you out! I would think they'd send you a new tip to try at least.
Thanks for that, Cibby.

A few days ago, I drilled out the holes in the tip. At first I drilled them out to 1.2mm each. Steam was not emerging equally from both holes, so I expanded one of the holes to 1.3mm. It's still slightly uneven for some reason, but the results in the milk are so much better: less spitting, more power, plenty of movement in the jug, and quick engagement and disengagement of steam. I'll run with it like this for a bit and see how I go before perhaps expanding one or both holes a bit more, but the results I'm getting are much improved, and more in line with the expectations that I had of this machine.

I'm very surprised and somewhat irritated that the shop folks, who seem very knowledgeable otherwise, did not suggest that the steam tip might be an issue in the first place.

ShotPull

#7: Post by ShotPull »

Mine is stock and it seems fine to me but I'm far from an expert!