Lelit MaraX - Page 2

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?
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skansen

#11: Post by skansen »

Hi Jim,

Thank you for you feedback. Mara is marketed as silent machine. How will you describe noise level?

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another_jim
Team HB

#12: Post by another_jim »

If the pump is properly isolated, it is fairly quiet. However, the case is so small that it's easy for the pump to transfer vibrations to the case (as it did in my test unit). At this point, you have to open it and tweak around until the vibrations are damped. The noise level in a vibe pump machine also depends on the OPV. Their claim is based on using a more refined set up for the OPV, so that there is no tendency to screetch when it opens, and so that the overall pitch is lower and more mellow. I would give this claim a 50% mark -- they've done some refining, but it's still a vibe pump machine.
Jim Schulman

casgam777

#13: Post by casgam777 »

do you guys know if it's being sold in the USA and for how much?

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skansen

#14: Post by skansen »

Mara X is scheduled for sale from March 2020.

cskorton

#15: Post by cskorton »

Here's an interesting thought as I'm thinking about the proposed design of the MaraX:

Couldn't it work better, in theory, on the BZ electronically heated group?

Since the BZ group is electronically heated, grouphead temperature could be monitored and adjusted via some sort of offset or algorithm.

And, since the BZ group has less thermal mass than the E61 group and electric group heaters, couldn't the temperature be adjusted better without affecting boiler water temp since there is no thermosyphon loop?

Just an idea.

raimo_81

#16: Post by raimo_81 »

I sincerely hope this made available for purchase in Canada...been eyeing the Mara PL62T for years and have not had a reason to upgrade to it until recently. Going to jump on this asap. Any thoughts on how the X compares to the T?

drH

#17: Post by drH »

another_jim wrote:I've been reviewing a beta version of the machine for the last three months. The claims are mostly correct:

This is a very basic, small boiler, HX, vibe pump E61 box with specs mostly identical to the base Mara. What's different are the controls. There is a PID in the steam boiler which switches between two set points, one at around 2 bar, one at 1 bar. The setpoint chosen depends on the the temperature of the water returning from the thermosyphon into the boiler. This approximates the group temperature, and since this is a massive E61 group, it is also close to the same as the shot temperature, whether the boiler is at 2 bar, 1 bar, or somewhere in between.

The result is that you can make a no flush shot that goes as long as you like without worrying about temperature. But you aren't going to get a whole lot of precision either, roughly 90 to 92 at the low setting, 94 to 96 at the high, and 92 to 94 for the middle setting. This is about the same as you can get with Eric's group head thermometer and a flushing regime. Personally, I much preferred using this control to having to do it myself. But I've been spoiled with the Strega and Bianca, which are no fuss machines when it comes to managing temperature.

The three position switch is an honest control, since the nature of group makes anything more precise than about a 2C range on shot temperature impossible. For instance, on dual boiler E61s, the precise adjustablilty of the brew boiler is to some extent an illusion, since the shot temperature will also vary up or down in a two degree envelope or so. A three position switch would work just as well on an E61 DB.

On a historical note: Over the last fifty years, many companies have patented thermosyphon based active controls; and none, as far as I know, have made it into production. They've all been too finicky. Us hobbyists also have not come up with anything stable. What Lelit is doing, switching the boiler between a low and high setting based on the thermosyphon return, may sound really simple, but that is very good engineering in my book, a simple, stable solution to a fairly tricky controls problem.

In addition, Lelit has tweaked the group jet and and expansion valves so that you can use very fine grinds on this machine without choking it. It isn't quite as versatile as having a needle valve kit installed, but it does get close. Note: I have not used the regular Mara, so I don't know if that has the same fine grind tweaks. I am instead comparing it to older E61 boxes I've used.

Steaming is trippy, since you get close to commercial speed performance when the steam is up at 2 bar; and rockaby-baby-HX performance when it's down at 1 bar. There's also an initial warm up accelerator in the controls (similar to the Bianca), so if you catch it just right after start up, you'll see the steam up at 2.75 bar (!), and get a real rush on your cappa. (or a near heart attack the first time you see it, when you expect to get blown across room -- I'm sure the updated manual will clearly note this tweak)

I don't know what the price premium is on this version of the HX, but in terms of stability and no fuss, it gets you to about the same place as a double boiler E61, in a fairly compact, counter space friendly package.

I enjoyed using it. But people should note, this is not a "high tech" machine; it is a basic espresso machine that has been polished so it works like a simple tool, making no fuss shots. It's not a machine for people who want a lot of precise adjustments, or a lot of during-the-shot control.

Jim, can you comment more on the pump? Is it just a silent Ulka or is it rated for higher load? And can you also say a bit more about the ability to use very fine grinds?

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another_jim
Team HB

#18: Post by another_jim »

I'll be posting a review of the production version this weekend.
Jim Schulman

christosjr1

#19: Post by christosjr1 »

Any news on that review? So looking forward to change my Oscar simonelli

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another_jim
Team HB

#20: Post by another_jim »

My bad. Real life has been rudely interfering with my coffee work. It'll be another week before I have complete results. If you have any specific questions, I'll answer here.
Jim Schulman