Some time back I lived near Durham where the water is blissfully soft. Five years of sparkly clean kettle and coffee machine that just don’t scale up! Since moving to a harder water area, I have often wanted to recapture those halcyon days. And now I think I may have…
I’ll spare you the long sob story about fruitless googling for simple effective answers to scale and jump to the solution I am now trialing: citric acid.
When modding a coffee machine, it is easy to overlook questions around just how to connect up the wiring. The space the wiring occupies can be very hot. Just the air can easily be over 70°C and if the wire touches the boiler itself, that can be well over 100°C. Some wires also have to carry fairly large currents and mains voltage. The large currents cause extra heating and the large currents and voltages both cause electromagnetic interference.
Here are some wiring tricks I have learnt over the years. Continue reading
I have struggled for years to find a good way to mount the flow meter on my pimped Gaggia Baby Class. Eventually, when I bought an old Gaggia Baby Twin, I had a look a the metal bracket Gaggia uses and that immediately gave me an idea. An old PC expansion card blanking plate, bent over, a notch filed on the end and a cable tie. A little bit of silicone glue for stability and viola! Continue reading
I recently got (and fixed) a broken Baby Twin off ebay. I want to experiment with the extra boiler. Anyway, it turns out the Twin talks to its front panel using a TWI based protocol. Here are my notes (which I made in an ASCII editor – enjoy the ASCII graphics and sorry about the scroll bar at the bottom): Continue reading
A little idea suddenly occurred to me whilst stripping the coffee machine’s brewhead to replace the gasket. Why not try to reduce the backflush that happens after a brew so that less gunk ends up refluxing into the brewhead? Continue reading
[Update: in my rev 2 PID controller board, I am going to move the logic below onto the PCB. But for any controller which was not designed with this in mind, including the disc thermostats, the design below should work. As long as the controller can handle double the current through its switching circuit.]
Some time back, I pondered whether it might be possible to increase the boiler power of my Gaggia Baby Class so it heats up more quickly. I subsequently carried out the plan and love it. Here is what I did…
Just in case anyone needs to know (and for my own reference if I ever want to go back to the original wiring), here is a schematic for the factory wiring in my UK Gaggia Baby Class coffee machine (PDF here):
I am very pleased. For years, now, I have striven to develop a clean and simple temperature control algorithm for my coffee machine which gets it to a stable temperature in the minimum possible time. This weekend, I cracked it: two minutes to a stable 95°C on my Gaggia Baby Class with no oscillations at all.
This is how I did it…
So, here’s an interesting thought experiment. Before I go on, I should say that actually implementing this idea would possibly be very stupid. So, let’s just keep it as a thought experiment for now.
[Update: I’ve done it. It’s great. It’s documented here.] Continue reading
So, you’re obsessed with implementing the perfect temperature controller for your Gaggia Baby Class (or Classic or any other derived model). You’ve realised that you really need to know the values of some important parameters and the only easy way to get those is to take the boiler apart. And you don’t want to do that. The good news is I’ve done it for you. Here is everything you need to know: Continue reading