Rancilio Silvia weird behavior with PID (solved)

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.
jlongster

#1: Post by jlongster »

Hello, I'm in a really weird situation. I've had a Silvia v3 for ~7 years that has worked great. About 5 years ago I installed a PID. It's model # is SYL-1512BW-F. Again it's worked great up until tonight.

All I did was I went into the settings of the PID and changed the temperatures. I did that by pressing SET and entering 1 and configuring the shot temp to 210, the changed the steam temp a little too. I was curious about playing around with the preinfusion settings, so I also changed that to do a preinfusion for 2.5 seconds instead of 1.

That's all I did, but after doing that the machine won't heat up at all anymore. The PID isn't telling it to heat. I've reverted the settings changed I made and nothing changes.

I opened the top and checked the safety valve of the boiler (the red knob). It wasn't out but I push it in anyway and didn't fix it.

I've seen "auto-tuning" being mentioned, which sometimes fixes problem. I pressed down the ">" button and indeed the OUT started blinking, so I'm assuming it put it into that mode. But it's still not heating, but I'll sit it sit in that mode for a while.

I can't find the instruction manual anywhere for this model #. The closest I found was SYL-1512A: https://www.auberins.com/images/Manual/ ... %202.2.pdf. That seems a bit off though, as \'outy\' is 3 on my machine (the default) which I'm sure it correct. I bet that's a minor difference between the models.

Is there anything else I can check?? It's so weird because it was working perfectly until I tweaked the PID temps. It feels like the PID is stuck in a bad mode and I don't know how to reset it.

jlongster (original poster)

#2: Post by jlongster (original poster) »

Well, I figured out the root problem. The boiler is shorting. When I continued trying to figure out the PID problem, the machine started tripping the GFCI breaker. I disconnected everything and connected the hot wire coming in from the outlet directly to one side of the heater element (no neutral wire connected to the other side). Plugging it in immediately tripped the GFCI too, so power is going from the heating element to the ground.

I have no idea why before the machine would turn on fine but the PID wouldn't heat it. These seem completely unrelated. I kept playing with the settings of the PID and it's almost like I was finally able to reset it and get it working so it's trying to heat the machine, but now that is shorting. The coincidence here seems extremely unlikely. How are these related?

jlongster (original poster)

#3: Post by jlongster (original poster) »

Yep, it's the heating element. I took everything apart and tested the heating element and there's a complete circuit from one of the prongs to any of the outside part of it. The element looks good; I don't see any cracks so I don't know what happened. I'm assuming water somehow got into it?

I've ordered a new one. I hope that's the end of it. I still don't understand why the PID controller wouldn't heat it. I'm guessing that whatever was going wrong with the element was causing issues and it eventually shorted. I hope the PID controller is OK.

jlongster (original poster)

#4: Post by jlongster (original poster) »

Although I wonder if I somehow shorted the heating element while diagnosing the PID issues. I remember seeing a little water on top of the boiler around the top of the element (probably dripped on it while moving around the plastic tubes). Is there any chance that was bad, and if so it could just eventually dry?

What I don't want to happen is replace the heating element only to find my PID still isn't working.

jlongster (original poster)

#5: Post by jlongster (original poster) »

OK, here's my current theory. If anyone with more electrical experience can tell me I'm wrong, please do!

The faulty heating element must be the root cause, and short might have fried the RTD sensor. I re-wired everything up and I noticed a strange tint to the exposed end of the RTD sensor wire, almost like it was burned. Maybe it's always been like that, not sure. But I'm thinking it killed the sensor which is why the PID isn't working.

jlongster (original poster)

#6: Post by jlongster (original poster) »

Posting a final update in case anyone else comes across it. I solved it!

It was a stupid mistake on my part, and I'm surprised I didn't find any notes about this online when researching. I knew it had to be something with the settings since it happened right after I changed stuff. Turns out, on the auber PIDs AL1 must be HIGHER than AH1. If it's not, the PID just refuses to heat the machine at all, even for brewing.

Switching the numbers immediately worked.

So what about the short-circuiting? Once I was confident that the PID was the root of the problem, I figured I probably got some water around the boiler where it wasn't supposed to. Probably at the base of the heating element. I'm guessing water soaked in there and doesn't dry quickly and short-circuits it. I forced the boiler to come on (this was before I fixed the PID) and let it get up to 300 and let it cool some. After that it didn't short-circuit any more, so whatever water was causing the problem just burned off.

_Ryan_

#7: Post by _Ryan_ »

jlongster wrote:Posting a final update in case anyone else comes across it. I solved it!

It was a stupid mistake on my part, and I'm surprised I didn't find any notes about this online when researching. I knew it had to be something with the settings since it happened right after I changed stuff. Turns out, on the auber PIDs AL1 must be HIGHER than AH1. If it's not, the PID just refuses to heat the machine at all, even for brewing.
If your PID is configured to use SSR+alarm (OutY = 2) your alarm setting shouldn't impact brew performance. If you're in limit mode (OutY=6), then it would.

I don't have steam control configured so disabled both alarms by setting AH1=AL1, AH2=AL2.
Is AL1 or AL2 in use for your steam temp?

This image is from the brew-only PID manual, but explains how the alarms are configured. Note how to disable the alarm configs not in use.



This image is from the Gaggia steam kit from Auber, an older kit though. The explanations might be useful for you.

jlongster (original poster)

#8: Post by jlongster (original poster) »

Thanks for the reply!

I was suspicious about limit mode when I read about that in my research. But I hadn't done anything to set that mode, and the problem was what I described above.

My specific PID model is slightly different. OutY = 3 on mine. I contacted auber about the problem and they sent me back the default settings for my model:



I'm not exactly sure that OutY = 3 means in terms of the alarms, but looks like it won't turn on if the AH1 > AL1. So mine is slightly different.