Where do you have your pressure range set on Elektra Microcasa a Leva? - Page 2

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Rustic39

#11: Post by Rustic39 »

"Vacuum Valve". I don't have one either on mine. What does that vacuum valve do for a machine?

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IamOiman

#12: Post by IamOiman »

When the machine is cold/off there is air in the boiler since it is not filled with water to the brim. When heating up this air cannot escape normally if sealed off, and causes the pressure reading to be off and keeps the machine at a cooler temperature through activating the pressurestat prematurely. A vacuum valve allows the air to escape as the boiler heats up and keep the steam pressure inside (there is a plug that seals the valve when this occurs). Elektra MCAL machines had this part added in 2005 and later.
-Ryan
Using a spice grinder violates the Geneva Convention
LMWDP #612

jwCrema
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#13: Post by jwCrema »

IamOiman wrote:Elektra MCAL machines had this part added in 2005 and later.
Thanks for this - just ordered one from Stefanos at a bargain v what I paid for one for the Cremina.

Dr Pavlis did the Fellini on his MCAL, but I've yet to put that in my game.

Chwecgn

#14: Post by Chwecgn »

Rustic39 wrote:I think I'm not doing something right or timely with regard to bleeding off the air pressure. When you leave the steam wand open during initial pressure rise, at what point do you close the steam valve?

Thanks, I believe this will get me closer to a viable routine!

If you don't mind saying, what coffee recipe are you using? Thus far, I've only tried a few grocery store medium roast, single origins, while waiting on my order of fresh roasted beans to arrive. Perhaps that has something to do with the lower temp sour I'm getting.

I also seem to be getting a low volume for two pulls. First pull gets a PI of about 10s while waiting for the sound of water coming into grouphead subsides. Upon releasing lever, it goes up faily quickly without much discharge, so I do a full second pull at about the half way up point. End result appears to be an ample single shot vs double. Wondering if I should hold a while longer on the second pull to refill cylinder.

This is the total from a double pull:
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This is beginning second pull, with lever going back down:
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Beginning to End:

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What Portafilter ist that?

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IamOiman

#15: Post by IamOiman »

Just note if you do intend to add a vacuum valve to your MCAL you will need to drill and tap a hole in the top of the boiler since this part screws in. Most vacuum valves are 1/4" BSP Thread but some can be 3/8" BSP and I even saw a 1/8" BSP once time.
-Ryan
Using a spice grinder violates the Geneva Convention
LMWDP #612

Rustic39

#16: Post by Rustic39 »

Ok I'm clearer now on how to manage the pressure build up on mine, thx much.

That portafilter is from CreativeWerks. Terrific piece of kit I think. It's helping me with my technique for sure and very well made.

jwCrema
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#17: Post by jwCrema »

IamOiman wrote:Just note if you do intend to add a vacuum valve to your MCAL you will need to drill and tap a hole in the top of the boiler since this part screws in. Most vacuum valves are 1/4" BSP Thread but some can be 3/8" BSP and I even saw a 1/8" BSP once time.
For anyone else thinking about this upgrade, Randy is spot on. This part is not denoted on the 2005 MCAL schematic at espressocare.com - you have to look through the entire parts list to find it. The boiler cap doesn't contain the vacuum value, only the safety pressure valve.

Rustic39

#18: Post by Rustic39 »

I searched for a thread on upgrading to the vacuum valve, but haven't found one yet that documents the process details. Does anyone know of one they could post a link for here?
Wondering how thick the boiler wall is at the valve installation site.

Rustic39

#19: Post by Rustic39 »

Update...

1. Since I started this thread, I have replaced the pressure gauge on my Mcal, and it responds as expected.
2. Even though the seller of this machine told me that he had replaced the piston gaskets recently, I went ahead and replaced them again. The new ones clearly provide a greater seal, and I am now getting a sufficient volume of water per pull. The cylinder and seals were found very dry, so I also lubed them which seems to have smoothed out overall function during the pull.
3. I have discovered that the sour shots I was getting early on, were not from water temp too cool, instead, were because the grind for that particular coffee needed to be finer.
4. I have discovered that the heat strips I put on the headgroup are about 5-10 degrees cooler than the actual brew water. I was actually brewing too hot for some version beans, and about right for others that like hotter water.
5. I have good success with the grouphead reaching brew temp in a 30 minute warm up time, as long as I vent the false pressure when it reaches the first element cutoff point.

Overall, I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of this machine, and am more confident with it. I've found that I prefer the single shots from about 8.5 grams of dose, and as an added bonus, noticed that the shower screen doesn't get as fouled by grinds following each shot, as it does using the larger doses.

Now that I have a better feel for what's going on, I look forward to going back and trying some of those earlier bean varieties tried originally, and were mostly sink shots.

boren

#20: Post by boren »

Pressure set to 1.0, which is what I use when I steam milk. I brew espresso when it's at 0.7~0.8. This is the process I'm using.