Getting started with MACAP M4 Stepless

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
cmeisel

Postby cmeisel » Apr 12, 2006, 4:12 am

I got my new Andreja Premium and MACAP M4 Stepless grinder yesterday and I love them.
I unpacked them, set everything up and I think in a few weeks I will make good coffee. There are two things I am very unsure off and need some advice.

1. I set up the grinder as instructed (find zero point and then move 1.5 steps back for espresso. But I was not sure if they meant 1.5 rotations or 1.5 numbers (goes from 0-9 total)

2. The bigger problem is the Andreja. When I put in the coffee basket and screw it in (moving to the right to tighten it) this seems to activate the machine for a split second (while I apply pressure to tighten). The dip switch seems way too sensitive and too close to the handle.

thanks

claus

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HB
Admin

Postby HB » Apr 12, 2006, 6:57 am

1. For espresso, they mean 1.5 numbers (or around 1/8th turn above the zero point).

2. Sounds like the cam is too close to the activation switch, or you're torquing the portafilter so hard, the machine body is flexing (a bad habit of my own). I would have to check, but I think the switch is "sandwiched" by two nuts and the amount of protrusion can be adjusted. If not, a washer should increase the switch's distance from the cam enough to prevent false starts on lock-in.
Dan Kehn

cmeisel

Postby cmeisel » Apr 12, 2006, 11:10 am

sorry for wanting more details but for the grinder this means that if my zero point is 0 (on the 0-9 wheel) I will roughly end up at 1.5 ?

thanks again

claus

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HB
Admin

Postby HB » Apr 12, 2006, 11:21 am

You can safely ignore the numbers on the dial, they rarely align with the true zero point, which is defined as the setting where the burrs begin to touch. To find the true zero point, run the grinder until the chamber is clear of any grinds. Turn it off and spin down the burrs until they touch; if you don't want to turn the incremental adjustment, you can simply remove the small screws holding the black plastic "ring" on and then the upper burr will spin freely (hint: put something in the throat of the grinder so you don't drop those tiny screws in there!).

You can carefully turn the upper burr in the finer direction (collar should rotate counter-clockwise) while the motor is running and listen for the sound of the burrs touching too, but the sound of metal-on-metal makes some people nervous. If the chamber is clear of grinds, the motor off method is accurate enough. Once you've marked the real zero point, rotate the collar slightly over 1/8th turn coarser and you'll be in espresso territory.
Dan Kehn

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Fr. John

Postby Fr. John » Jul 11, 2006, 1:34 pm

Original post:

This has probably been posted but I haven't found it.

My M4 stepless will arrive today. To save some time I'd like a hint at where I might start the grind settings, i.e. with my Rocky dialed into zero, I was usually grinding in the 9-10 range. Can someone give me a rough idea of where to start?


OK, so I set the zero point just fine. After some more reading here I see that 1.5 is a good place to start. However, I have a couple of questions I can't figure out.

1. Obviously the numbers on the dial are all but useless, both from a cosmetic standpoint and technical (as the zero point is rarely on zero, of which this machine doesn't show a zero anyhow). My question is is there a mark or arrow somewhere on this machine, am I missing it? Regardless of the number on the dial, there should be a reference line or mark fixed somewhere or are you all just eyeballing the center of the machine as your mark? I'm not talking about marks on the ring here for various grinds, I'm talking about a set fixed point to line those points up with. (that was long winded but I hope clear enough, in reading it, it sounds more like a tutorial ala Zaphod Beeblebrox).

2. The hopper gate obstructs view of the already hard to see dial (I will be marking it soon enough with grease pencil or other). Can it be removed?

3. The counter on mine was already around the 900 mark, should I wonder if it's been used?
Fr. John

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CakeBoy

Postby CakeBoy » Jul 11, 2006, 8:05 pm

My M4 counter was also on a highish number when it arrived. It might have been a testing thing, but you are not alone in having a fairly high number on your doser. Sorry, I cannot help with your other question as my Macap is stepped and presumably the collar housing is completely different. If by chance it is similar, my setting is just below 4.
Coffee & Cake, a UK coffee blog
http://www.CakeBoy.co.uk

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HB
Admin

Postby HB » Jul 11, 2006, 8:13 pm

Fr. John, I merged your question with a related topic. Not sure it's an exact fit, but let's see how it goes...

A0. The "start here" setting for espresso depends on the particular blend, how much grounds you're using, the basket type, etc. As you found, the recommendations are somewhere around 1.5 numerical steps on the Macap dial.

A1. No, the Macap doesn't have a notch like the Mazzer Mini:
    Image
I took the low tech solution and marked the dial and grinder face with a grease pencil.

A2. Sure, but you'll disable a safety feature. It's to prevent someone from sticking their fingers (or other implement) in a running grinder. Yes, it happens.

A3: They test at the factory, I think the evaluation model was in the low hundreds. I doubt it's used, 900 thwacks isn't as much as it sounds (no snide comments, please).
Dan Kehn

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Fr. John

Postby Fr. John » Jul 11, 2006, 10:17 pm

Thanks Dan, merge successful!

To be blunt, I think it's rather asinine for MACAP not to put a line or mark or notch or anything really front and center to give the user something to register off of. I realize that once you have it dialed you will rarely be moving it much, but still a mark would have been nice.

Maybe I'll just drill a small hole there and wire up an LED front and center!
Fr. John

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HB
Admin

Postby HB » Jul 11, 2006, 11:03 pm

Fr. John wrote:Maybe I'll just drill a small hole there and wire up an LED front and center!


My wife pointed out that a dot of white nail polish would work nicely too.
Dan Kehn

mtnwoman

Postby mtnwoman » Jul 11, 2006, 11:17 pm

The dial on the macap stepless is my only complaint about that grinder! Since I'm experimenting with numerous beans, I do find myself having to adjust about .5 either way at times. I agree, they need some kind of alignment mark on the housing...and incremental marks on the collar!

To answer the original question, as I look at my hopper, the 7 is front and center on the dial. I find that a few turns of the screw either side of 7 seems to work for the beans I have tried thus far.