Rancilio Silvia / timer and priming

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Maxcheese

#1: Post by Maxcheese »

Hi Guys!

Newbie here! I was planning on plugging my Silvia to an intelligent outlet so it turns on for pre-heating automatically an hour before I wake up. Now I understand it's not a good thing since the boiler doesn't get automatically primed turning it on and it could lead to burning the heating elements.

However, if I prime it by turning the water on for a few seconds and fill the boiler everytime i turn it off, will it stay primed for the morning after, assuming the pressure valve is off, switches are off and I have no leaks?

I assume the water will remain in the boiler right?

Bonus second question here also...Anybody tried changing the shower head big screw to something a little flatter? I'm talking just the screw, without the whole conversion kit... Any changes?

Thanks and happy brewing!

MNate
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#2: Post by MNate »

I think that your priming technique would be fine. I never really worried about it. And I always thought a half hour was plenty of time for heating. I'm having trouble remembering my process though... but in general if you even half way think about your process on the Silvia I think you'll be quite fine.

And yes... I do think some tried flatter screws, but I'm in the camp that it doesn't matter too much. Worth a try though as it's pretty easy just to replace it with something flatter.

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bcrdukes
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#3: Post by bcrdukes »

Hi Max,

I had used a Silvia V3 for a number of years on a traditional electronic timer, not a smart/intelligent one (they did not exist back then.)

I don't recall having to prime my machine when it turned on. I recall having the timer set to turn on at around 6:30am every morning, and by the time I am out of bed and ready to pull a shot, it's at least 7:00am. I always made sure that the machine had water in the boiler at the end of each day.

If it means anything, it's still on the original boiler, heating element, and pretty much everything original with the exception of the steam wand gaskets. I never ended up selling it, but instead, gave it to a friend, so it's within close proximity. Nothing has gone amiss from what we know. 9 years and counting! On the other hand, I could have been doing it all wrong the entire time! :roll: :oops: :mrgreen:

Regards,

Mike

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baldheadracing
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#4: Post by baldheadracing »

Welcome to H-B!
Maxcheese wrote:... However, if I prime it by turning the water on for a few seconds and fill the boiler everytime i turn it off, will it stay primed for the morning after, assuming the pressure valve is off, switches are off and I have no leaks?
Priming is done on a cold machine, so I don't see a benefit in doing it at the end of a session.

The bigger question is if you need to prime. If I was running the machine every day, then I wouldn't prime every day. On the other hand, if the Silvia has been sitting for a week, then I would suggest priming out of caution.

My first Silvia had the v1 steam valve so I got used to priming as part of every start-up. My impression has been that priming is not as much a practice with the improved v3 steam wand. (One can't see easily detect a slow leak at the steam wand. Worn v1 valves would develop a slow leak.)

A flatter shower screw should accomplish little as far as improving extraction, as the impression of the screw head made on the spent puck is caused by the three-way valve pulling the puck up out of the basket at the end of the shot ... and if the screw is making an impression on the puck before extraction, then the dose is too high for that basket. That being said, I switched to a Phillips-head screw just to not need to keep a wrench nearby, and counter-sunk (flush-mounted) the screw to make cleaning the shower just a little bit easier.
What I'm interested in is my worst espresso being fantastic - James Hoffmann

Maxcheese

#5: Post by Maxcheese »

baldheadracing wrote:Welcome to H-B!



Priming is done on a cold machine, so I don't see a benefit in doing it at the end of a session.

The bigger question is if you need to prime. If I was running the machine every day, then I wouldn't prime every day. On the other hand, if the Silvia has been sitting for a week, then I would suggest priming out of caution.

My first Silvia had the v1 steam valve so I got used to priming as part of every start-up. My impression has been that priming is not as much a practice with the improved v3 steam wand. (One can't see easily detect a slow leak at the steam wand. Worn v1 valves would develop a slow leak.)

A flatter shower screw should accomplish little as far as improving extraction, as the impression of the screw head made on the spent puck is caused by the three-way valve pulling the puck up out of the basket at the end of the shot ... and if the screw is making an impression on the puck before extraction, then the dose is too high for that basket. That being said, I switched to a Phillips-head screw just to not need to keep a wrench nearby, and counter-sunk (flush-mounted) the screw to make cleaning the shower just a little bit easier.
When I said priming, I actually meant filling the boiler by pouring water the night before so it doesn't heat up on an empty belly the following day. Is there a difference between that and priming?

And for the screw, did you just replace the actual Hex with a flat one or you had to macnine anithing in any way?

Like I said, real newbie here ;)

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bcrdukes
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#6: Post by bcrdukes »

My understanding is filling up the water tank (or in your words "priming the boiler") is different from actual priming itself.

If you read the manual (and I don't mean this in a condescending way) priming the machine would mean going through the procedure of turning on the pump by pressing the water switch when the boiler is turned on the first time in a while (especially when new.)

Here was my old procedure:

1. At end of day, fill the water tank full with fresh water.
2. Triple check the steam wand is properly closed, and water and brew switches are turned off
3. Ensure timer is set to turn the machine on at the set time

The reason is to avoid the machine pumping out all the water of the boiler and killing the heating element. Some members reported turning their machines on, leaving the steam or pump on, only to discover the heating element is dead and the boiler completely drained, resulting in costly repairs.
I did that for a solid 5 years before giving it to a friend, and he does the same exact thing as I had, and no issues. Hope that helps.

Maxcheese

#7: Post by Maxcheese »

Thank you so much! Just got my WifI controlled power outlet today so I'm setting this up that way!
Thank's for the advice, it's definitely helpful... Now I just have to figure out how to pour great shots with the italian lady !

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baldheadracing
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#8: Post by baldheadracing »

Maxcheese wrote:When I said priming, I actually meant filling the boiler by pouring water the night before so it doesn't heat up on an empty belly the following day. Is there a difference between that and priming?
Definitely make it a practice to fill the plastic water reservoir, as there is no fail-safe on the Silvia if the reservoir is empty.

By priming, we want ensure that the boiler to be full of water.
1. Cold machine
2. Some kind of container under the steam wand
3. Power on, Brew switch off, Pump switch off, Steam switch off
4. Pump switch on. Open steam wand to purge air. The gurgling should last under a second and then there will be a clear flow.
5. As soon as the flow is clear, close steam wand, turn off pump.
6. Turn off power

Your boiler is now full of water. Theoretically it should stay that way if you never steam milk. On the other hand, priming gives the only early indication of the steam wand needing new seals (gurgling takes longer).
Maxcheese wrote:And for the screw, did you just replace the actual Hex with a flat one or you had to macnine anithing in any way?

Like I said, real newbie here ;)
The jet breaker 'washer' under screw needs to be countersunk, and the shower screen needs to be bent to the counter-sunk shape.

What I'm interested in is my worst espresso being fantastic - James Hoffmann

THZ

#9: Post by THZ »

I have a Silvia V3 and since a few years an itelligent (smart) outlet from TP-Link without any problem. Turns on every morning at 05:30h. Just important to verify there's enough water.
And also have a flat shower screen from here http://www.pidsilvia.com/screen.htm