PIDing a Rancilio Silvia

- a STEP by STEP guide BY Warren Sullivan Ok, just want to get a few points across before I start this guide, I am in no way an expert on PID’s, I’m a tradie and not in a trade associated with electricians, I do however have a good mate who is an electrician and quite a few electrical technician friends who helped me figure out the wiring and explained to me what does what. The important thing is to make sure you get all the right parts when making your own kit, PID kits supply’s a perfect sleek kit with every single thing you need and it’s all integrated and preset, it takes the worry out of the unknown, his kits are renowned across the world as being the best and cleanest looking kits available for Miss Silvia, and as he is a very valuable site sponsor, I would like to extend a congrats to Jim on producing a kit second to none, and I hope I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes here, for me the kit was a little too expensive given the current economic climate. Im sure if you are reading this guide, you have an understanding of the importance of temperature stability in the brew process and in turn the need for a PID in a silvia, you have a basic understanding of what a PID does and how it does it. If you are new to the prospect of adding a PID to a Silvia then here is a very helpful little analogy I found on the net: “Imagine you are driving your car down the street at 60 klm/h. Ahead is an intersection controlled by a stop sign. If you continue to travel at 60 klm/h until you reach the intersection, then slam on the brakes, your car is going to shoot through past the stop sign before coming to rest. If, on the other hand, you gradually apply the brakes well in advance of the stop sign, you can come to a controlled stop right at the intersection.”

The road to temperature stability
Now I “Gronked” my silvia prior to adding a PID, which if you do a search on Coffeesnobs you will find it basically involves placing a thermocouple on top of the boiler and monitoring boiler temperatures with a Digital Multi Meter(DMM) and manually flushing boiler water through brew head to get it to the right temp prior to pull the shot. This worked pretty well for me, the only disadvantages were, the time it takes to wait for the boiler to get back down to the desired brew temp and the amount of user interaction required to monitor gets a bit full on for me to produce coffee, I found I was pretty much dismissing anyone talking to me whilst I was making coffee……very anti social! but it worked well for me to produce more consistent quality shots, it was cheap as chips and it is a good interim process on the way to installing your own PID as you will need a thermocouple for a PID anyway! So lets get started with the tutorial, I will give you a shopping list, cover off on getting the parts ready, then the install itself and finally turning it all on and a guide on how I tuned my PID to my liking……Here we go!

I will outline the exact products I bought for my install, obviously you can change the basic bits and pieces for alternate brands etc but the CD101 PID has worked very well for me, and its cheap, I cannot guarantee its longevity of life as I have only had it installed for a month, but I will say that my line of work involves satellites, and as you can imagine a lot of $$$ worth of equipment, now the cooling mechanisms in one of our larger satellite dishes uses this same exact PID controller, a little simpler I must admit as it only turns on the large cooling fans within a series of control cabinets, but it has been in place for years, running 24/7……and still alive! So it probably has earnt its stripes there. So here is the list. 1. CD101 Controller 2. K-type thermocouple 3. Jaycar “Jiffy” enclosure HB-6012 4. 2 meters of Heavy Duty 240v extension cable 15AMP simular to Jaycar WB1568 but round 5. run of the mil spade connectors times 2(big enough to fit to the HD 240v extension type cable) 6. 25amp Solid State Relay(SSR) 7. a cut off lamp power cable 240v, I used a 2 prong lead from a camera battery charger.


IF YOU ARE IN ANY DOUBT WHATSOEVER GET A QUALIFIED ELECTRICIAN TO CHECK IT PRIOR TO PLUGGING IN AND TURNING ON. THE MACHINE MUST BE UNPLUGGED FROM THE WALL. the wires that are connected to the existing brew thermostat are simply unplugged then the spade connectors on the wires from the SSR are plugged into the female plugs that come off the original thermostat.WIRING DIAGRAM This is a basic wiring diagram (wiring diagram below). I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR INJURY OR DEATH RESULTING FROM FOLLOWING THIS GUIDE IN ANY WAY……YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!! PART 3 .PRECAUTIONS Disclaimer: WORKING WITH 240V CAN AND WILL KILL YOU IF YOU COME IN CONTACT WITH IT. the step by step guide follows the diagram: . as you can see I am not an electrical engineer!. which is probably a good thing for you. as looking at schematics can be confusing to the untrained eye. EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU APPROACH SILVIA IN ANY STAGE OF DISASSEMBLY. With the inset diagram. I CANNOT EMPHASISE THIS POINT ENOUGH.PART 2 . that is it! This is a visual guide only.

place all the parts out of the way completely. Remove the drip tray cover and drip tray underneath. like a large workbench or dining table(might want to use an old table cloth to avoid flying objects from the other half!) As you disassemble Silvia. . not just turn it off. unplug it and move it to an area that you can work on it.PART 4 – THE STEP BY STEP GUIDE Step 1 – Preparation of Silvia. Unplug the machine. Removing Water Reservoir. Remove the top plate with the 4 phillips screws. Remove the group handle (portafilter in the USA) and steam knob by simply pulling out. Remove water reservoir and shake any remaining water from hoses.

Lifting and removing top plate.4 screws. .Removing Top plate .

then manoeuvring off the back cover around the inner splash guard. Removing Back Plate screws. Remove the inner splashback that sits beside the water reservoir with 2 Phillips head screws Removing inner splash guard.Remove the back cover screws using a small Phillips head screw driver angling it in from the top to gently remove the small screws. .

there are holes in the back of the mounting frame to stick your screwdriver through. . and then there is one screw holding the front plate on. leaving switches in the panel and set aside. Remove the front cover. it screws into the brew head below the cover.Remove the front cover by removing the 4 small Phillips head screws. it’s inside the cover just in front of the boiler. One of the 4 screws to remove for front panel. . Screw to remove just in front of the boiler. you need to now remove all the wires attached to the switches on the front panel. I have provided a wiring diagram below but you need to confirm that the colours don’t differ from model to model. I recommend you do a basic wiring diagram so you can correctly replace them later on.

Wiring Diagram of the front panel looking at the back of the panel You now have a stripped Rancilio Silvia. looks a little bare doesn’t she! Stripped Miss Silvia. .

now. you could fit the PID into the smaller version with a few millimetres to spare. I drilled holes with a drill all the way around the inside of the tracing then pushed out the plastic and squared it up with a Stanley knife and sandpaper until it fit in nice and tight. The cutout for the PID to slide into. remove it and set the PID and enclosure aside.Step 2 – Preparation of Parts PID and enclosure – I used the larger enclosure from Jaycar just in case I decide to install something else in the future. it gives me plenty of room to move with plenty to spare. like a shot timer. this is where the PID will slide into. remember its better to be a tighter fit than too loose so be gently and careful with the cutout. . use the white mounting brace that comes with the pid to trace the size of the hole necessary onto the front of the enclosure. after you have it mounted in nice and flush.

lets just say a little dangerous! So take care! Pull the wires out individually by this is a little bit of guess work. The crimp on the 2 spade connectors to one end of both wires as pictured below. bare one end of the cable by slicing gently to remove the outer sheath and exposing the inner wires protruding about 3 cm’s. Bare all 4 ends of the 2 wires but only about 8mm max. one end with spade connectors crimped on. and twist the inner wire tight. brown and blue. obviously. you will only use 2 of the 3 wires. Wiring – SSR to PID (control cable) – you’ll need to leave about 1 meter for this one. Brown and Blue exposed. as you will only need two of the three wires. green cut flush. . cut about 60 cms of the 240v cable off and cut the cable to remove the 3 wires by slicing the outer sheath. only expose a max of 1 cm of this wire. I cut the green wire at the outer sheath level because I didn’t use it. you must not penetrate the wires inside the outer cable. bare the brown and blue wires by cutting gently and removing their sheath’s. One end bare. discard the green wire and outer sheath.Wiring – SSR to Boiler . this WILL make the wire….

from a AA battery charger. expose only about 4mm of this delicate wire. note polarity of wires to colours. the other end. you could also use a desk light lead or any other 2 prong power lead laying around the house. Power cable for PID. .2 Prong Power Lead – power to PID – I found a power lead that plugs into a AA battery charger and simply cut the connection off the end. K-Type Thermocouple – PID to boiler top – If you get the K-type with the end to plug into a DMM. (Take note of the polarity of the wire colours). simply cut off the connector and bare the metal wires. not the end that plugs into the wall. Cut off DMM connector.

don’t really know if it matters but oh well. it now holds the SSR in place securely behind the slash plate and it still holds the power cable in place behind the plate!.Step 3 – Install the SSR and Wiring to boiler. I simply removed the screw that holds the Silvia’s power cable on the back of the centre plate and screwed it in from the front side of the centre plate as pictured. perfect! Make sure the SSR is mounted so that the 2-32VDC input is at the bottom. tighten well. . Attach SSR with Screw. this now serves two purposes. Time to mount the SSR. the best place I found to mount it. it’s a thought! Undo this screw from the back of the machine and screw it in from the front to hold SSR. needing no modifications was behind the splashback as pictured. just thought this would be a good safety measure given the DC voltage closer to the bottom of the splashback.

don’t zip tie just yet. follow existing wiring loom. . not sure if it makes a difference with this one though as I believe the SSR acts as basically a switch. as pictured connect the uncrimped ends to the top side of the SSR as it sits mounted. you want the end of the wires with spade connectors sitting around the existing brew thermostat with a little spare length to play with as pictured. I placed the brown wire in 1 and the blue wire in 2 as pictured. you can follow my wiring colours if you want. Now run the wires up through the back of the splashback and along the existing wires that lead to the top of the boiler. SSR to Boiler wires in place. Guide the wires up to top of Boiler.Now grab your two 60cm wires with the spade connectors on one end. just run it along with them as pictured.

Wires all the way up. disconnect the two cables from the brew thermostat and connect the brown wire from the SSR to the two red wires that you have just disconnected from the thermostat. temp zip tied to keep in place. Now you have the SSR mounted and wired in to the Boiler wiring. the existing thermostat is now left totally disconnected and will no longer be used at all. and then the blue wire goes into the other grey wire off the thermostat. (the other one is the steam thermostat). . Now the Brew thermostat is the one sitting on the left as you look at the machine from the front. that’s the one you want. All as pictured below Disconnect this one which is red red on thermostat and connect to Brown wire from SSR.

.Red Red wire from Boiler Thermostat connected to Brown from SSR with spade connector. Disconnect this one which is Grey on thermostat to Blue from SSR.

Grey wire from Boiler Thermostat connected to Blue from SSR with spade connector.on the left……on the right???? So I just picked a happy medium and mounted it in the middle. be really careful not to crack the bead on the end of the TC. This is quite simple. we’ll deal with the rest in the next step. there are a multitude of opinions on where the TC should be mounted…. .. zip tie the Boiler to SSR wires and the TC cable to the existing cables so its nice and neat with no excess wire hanging around…. simply unscrew it. if you need a better pic just email me and ill send it to ya.. Run the TC cable down the same wires you ran the Boiler to SSR cables along before but poke the cable down through the hole in the centre wall and out to the back of the machine. I have a picture indicating the screw I used to attach the thermocouple to the pictured below. separate the wires just behind the thermocouple bead. place the thread of the screw through the gap in the wire and reinstall the screw into the boiler. soft hands! The mounted TC is visible in several photos. Step 4 – Installing the Thermocouple.

Separate the wires and place in screw. .Unscrew this one.

I won’t gabble on too much with this as the pictures do most of the talking. This can be done in a variety of ways. no thanks! . I have changed this since). Step 5 – Installing the SSR to PID wire. I have the cable exiting the machine in the little gap in the rear corner of the machine. and some even drill holes in the stainless!. I’ve seen variants with holes drilled in the back of the black mounting frame and the cable coming out of there and up to the PID. best to place it directly on the brass under the thermostat brackets(unlike mine. All wired up and Zip-tied. which works well as it is totally reversible if I ever decide to sell.Thermocouple installed.

run the extension wire through the machine behind the pump. you don’t want anything in this install to vibrate and move. tip tie the cable to the water line at the back of the wall. loop the cable around under the SSR and connect the blue wire to negative (-) and the brown wire to positive (+) as pictured. get rid of any extra slack on the cable running through the machine. and zip tie the rest of the cable so it is held off the boiler and Is quite solid. Entry for PID to SSR wire (tight squeeze).I will just briefly run over the connection to the SSR. Make sure all connections are tight on the SSR and place on the clear plastic cover. through hole and over wall. . up through the hole then over the centre wall of the machine and head down to the SSR. Run behind pump and up water line. it should look like the pictures below.

Over wall and loop down under SSR. make sure the pump is not interfered with. . Zip Tied in place. Connect and tighten well.

note where it is running in the above picture. . they vary from model to model. move cables around to suit. simply reverse the two TC cables around and all will be good!(if you cut the DMM connector off the TC take note of the polarity) Control Cable: Brown to connection 5 Blue to connection 6 Power cable: Brown to connection 1 Blue to connection 2 Thermocouple: Red to connection 12 Yellow to connection 11 Now simply push the PID back through the hole so it fits snug. the TC cable and the light extension cable with the 2 prong wall plug. Step 6 – Wiring up and installing the PID. drill a hole or holes big enough to fit the cables through the back. Grab your enclosure. and the TC cable through these holes and right through the PID hole you drilled and filed out at the start. Place on the cover of the enclosure. we will deal with this later on. now I also chose at this stage to have the TC cable exit the machine as pictured below. that is the control cable. this was mainly because of the length of the TC I used. and connect as follows: (These will only apply if your wiring is the same colours as mine. I’m looking at installing a RTD sensor soon so I did this as a interim measure. if you connect the TC incorrectly the PID will display temps in reverse. Push the control cable. remember the sheaths on TC cable can be different colours. you can drill the holes where ever you want it to go. I choose to enter from the top rear panel to allow for additions. the power cable (tie a knot to prevent cable strain on the pid). so when it is heating the temp will appear to decrease. leave the TC cable hanging out the back for now.Now as it sits you have the SSR installed and wired up to the boiler and a Control cable zip tied safely running through the machine exiting out the back left hand corner of the machine.

power and TC cable running into enclosures rear. Tie a know in the power cable to provide tension relief.Control. .

Push PID back into hole and replace cover on enclosure. .All wired in as per instructions above and the user manual.

all connections are tight and nothing is where it shouldn't be. ready to go! . some may choose to bolt on the enclosure. remember the exit site of the TC wire if you choose to go down that road. get it all checked by an licenced electrician if you are not too confident.something missing. make sure everything is secure. her clothes! You now have a PIDed Silvia! Step 7 – Refitting and cleaning up Reconnect the switches on the front with the supplied wiring diagram and replace all panels. Your PIDed Silvia. Step 8 – Check and re-check and re-check again! Check everything.Your PIDed Silvia……. not showing any signs of falling off. oh yes. I used heavy duty double sided tape from bunnings to stick the PID to the side of Silvia and it has worked really well. but as I said before I prefer the process to be reversible.

After running the autotune. now the first thing to do is an auto tune.4.6. then hit menu again. hold down the menu button for about 4 seconds till the display shows the configuration menu.2. good idea to avoid leaving the steam switch on! Hit menu again and it will display ARU. fill the reservoir. to be able to do this you need to have a basic understanding of what does what. it will now go through its autotune function. So now I can compensate for time error in the above loop. Integral action. . P “The Proportional band is proportional to the error measurement (set temperature minus actual temperature) essentially your margin of error. Now I sit here while my temperature carries over another 1. Oops. I and the D settings.6 seconds) I will heat the stuff to 205. Hmm. So I know that if I apply heat for 1 divided by I (lets say 0.9.6 and the medium being monitored is 205.4 again. But I know that if I heat for 0. that is out of my Proportional band range (error). Autotuning.7 and stop instead of running up to 206. make sure all the switches on the front of Silvia are turned off. Now with the auto tune. turn it on at the wall. Basically doing the opposite of the above action. Now I sit here.7. hit the up arrow to set it from 0 to 1. Ooops. I Now the I comes in. Or reversely.5 but I know there will be carry over heat for another 0.0 degrees and then starts to fall. which is Celsius by default. over and over and over. then it will display the range of the device.6 but not go over (reverse the process for cooling).6. the first setting you will see is the alarm. You want me to heat this stuff back to 205.9.6. Ooops. Basically a measurement of time. I am at 205. D Now the Derivative jumps into the party. so give it 45 mins. plug in the machine and the PID. Ok.x seconds once I am beyond my margin of error I will get where I want to be. my temp setting is 205. but I know I am going to cool Z fast so instead of waiting until I get past my error setting I am going to kick in the juice to minimize the drop.2. it was the best in regards to helping me understand what I was adjusting. time to stop. you will have to wait for silvia to warm up completely. this covers off on the P. So now my little brain says Ok. you should see the PID spring to life and display a settings screen for 2 seconds this will show you what type of TC you have connected and the temperature measurement. now I am at 205. The Integral portion controls the response time of the heater in response to the Proportional band. all I did is tweak the PID settings a little to get the desired result. Little more than a thermostat at this point. my probe says the medium being monitored is 205. you want me to run at 205. time to juice it up again. oops. I am back at 205.Step 9 – Turning it all on! Now that your 100% sure everything is hooked up correctly. you told me to run at 205. this will take about 7 mins. I heat for 0. with a K-Type it will be 400. I found this on the net.5 seconds so I will turn off the heater even though I am under the error margin and the temperature will coast up to 205. I am set at 205. I set this to 150 Degrees.5 and my end error will be 205.x seconds and turn off I know my temperature will stop at 205. I don’t use it but I believe you can hook something up to it as an audible alarm. I need heat. time to heat.

I did my Autotune. here are my current setting from top to bottom. after about 5 or 6 changes and a bit of trial and error I got it. the temp would overshoot the set temperature by about 8 degrees. can be hooked up for audible alarm Proportional Band As per above description Integral Time As per above description Derivative Time As per above description Reference Value Set Automatically After Autotune Heat-Reset Proportioning Cycle Cool side proportional band Deadband Default Setting 50 My Setting 150 P 30 34 I 240 165 D 60 20 Ar 25 100 r 20 3 Pc 100 2 db 0 0 B Cool side proportional cycle PV Bias/Offset 20 20 P6 0 0 . Parameter ALM 1 Description Alarm. so I raised it to compensate. I. and I found that after pulling a shot. Set to Desired Degrees. tells the brain how long to apply juice before I need to turn off to keep a tighter band and D tells the brain how long to wait after before I give it more juice to keep the temperature from falling too much” Now I read a tonne of stuff on the net about PID settings but that was the best explanation I could find. so after reading the extract above I realised I needed to tweak the I in PID.Summary So P tells the brain I am beyond my error margin.

trying a setting eg setting 50 for Integral. Basically what you want to end up with is a machine that will return to the Set temperature without overshooting or taking too long. the difference in my shots is GOOD LUCK! . DO IT. its so worth it. and that’s important. you can catch me at warrensullivan1@gmail. its working really well for me. In conclusion. any questions at all please email me as Ill be more than happy to answer them. a bit of trial and error and you’ll get there. its incredible the different tastes I can get with different temperatures. i can now change the temperature depending on the bean im using at the time. this project has been tonnes of fun.I Found that Bracketing was the best method to get to the right settings. and it cost next to nothing. I would recommend anyone contemplating installing a PID. Best of luck in your install. which for me was 165. and within 30 secs the temperature will return to the set point and I am able to pull another. my setup allows me to pull a shot. then changing it to 300 and then pulling another one and working toward the perfect number. don’t know what I did without it! After steaming and purging the boiler to a temp below 100 degrees it will take about 2-3 mins to return to the set temp without overshooting. and by bracketing I mean. it will do this by turning the boiler on and off so it arrives at the desired temp without overrunning. pulling a blind shot.

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