The following table lists the possible features, description and required hardware mods. Green ones will be implemented in release 0.1 – the others will be available in┬áthe next releases.

Feature Description Required Hardware Mods
PID water temperature control PID is a control loop feedback algorithm that allows to efficiently and accurately control the temperature of the water in the boiler. By reading the current temperature, it will set the boiler power to reach and maintain the target temperature. For best results, 3 parameters need to be fine tuned by each modder. This is a rather popular mod because of the cost/benefit – most normal espresso machines do a terrible job at controlling the temperature, specially during a shot! If you add a display and buttons, you can also have per shot temperature control so you can experiment with different temperature settings on your brews!
  • high precision temp sensor on boiler
  • SSR on heaters
  • micro-controller

Optional:

  • display + buttons
Pressure profiling This is the holy grail of espresso geeks – being able to control the pressure during a shot. Normal espresso machines run the pump at full power (usually 15 bars) and then an OPV is used downstream to set the actual shot pressure by releasing the right amount of water back into the tank (some OPVs are fixed, others can be manually adjusted by the user with some tinkering). Pressure profiling allows to set a pre-defined fixed pressure for all shots or to have a different pressure per shot (requires display/buttons) or to vary the pressure within the shot (also requires display/buttons). How much of a difference and how pressure profiling affects the shot flavor is a very popular subject among espresso geeks. Implementing this feature will allow you to experiment yourself and contribute to the discussion.
  • fast SSR on pump
  • zero-cross detect circuit
  • electronic pressure meter
  • micro-controller
  • OPV adjustment

Optional:

  • display + buttons
Automatic shot volume control Manual espresso machines lack the ability to perfectly measure a shot, you need an external scale or markings on your cups. Letting your machine automatically measure your shot is great for consistency and workflow. You can set any volume you wish and change the volume between shots! In addition, the display gives you the ability to monitor your shot volume in real-time.
  • SSR on brewhead circuit/valve
  • micro-controller
  • flowmeter
  • display + buttons
Automatic shot clock control Manually measuring shot time is easy with an external clock, but having the machine do it automatically enhances your workflow and consistency. You can set an automatic timed stop per shot. Whenever a shot is being pulled, the display will show a shot clock in real-time.
  • SSR on brewhead circuit/valve
  • micro-controller
  • display + buttons
Brew pre-infusion There is nothing more harmful to your shot of espresso than channeling. Normal espresso machines running on vibratory pumps start pushing water into the puck at a jittery full pressure, which increases the chances of carving those ugly channels. Pre-infuse is the soft injection of water at low pressure to fill up the puck – then once the puck is nice and full and the coffee grind fully saturation with water, the normal shot pressure can be engaged. In addition, you can maintain the full pre-infused puck for a configurable amount of time before pulling the shot – which in some cases could enhance your flavors. You can set/unset the pre-infusion per shot.
  • fast SSR on pump
  • zero-cross detect circuit
  • electronic pressure meter
  • micro-controller
  • OPV adjustment
  • display + buttons
Auto-pressure set & grind size assistant This feature lets you set a fixed shot time and fixed shot volume, and automatically adjusts the flowrate (via pressure profiling) to achieve those targets. It will then calculate the average pressure used and compare it to your ideal shot pressure and give recommendations as to how much you need to increase or decrease your grind size. This should help accelerate achieving your ideal recipes when you try new beans.
  • fast SSR on pump
  • zero-cross detect circuit
  • electronic pressure meter
  • micro-controller
  • OPV adjustment
  • display + buttons
Brew soft-stop Your espresso machine has a solenoid valve (between your brewhead and the boiler) that is switched off as soon as you finish pulling a shot – since this happens at high pressure it creates a pressure differential which forces coffee grinds and water back into the brewhead and out of the pressure release valve. Not only does this eventually clog your brewhead but you also get a nice splash of brown liquid all over your tray! This feature ensures that the pressure is always gradually reduced before shutting off the valve.
  • fast SSR on pump
  • zero-cross detect circuit
  • electronic pressure meter
  • micro-controller
  • OPV adjustment
  • SSR on brewhead circuit/valve
Enhanced boiler performance Enhancing the performance of your boiler provides many benefits: speed, accuracy, power saving and longer life. This is a list of hardware mods that will improve your boiler performance via better thermal conductivity, increased insulation and efficient use of energy!
  • Pre-heat coil wrap
  • Thermal paste between boiler/brewhead
  • Wool boiler insulation
  • 240V power boost
Enhanced milk frother Most regular espresso machines suffer from low quality milk frothers. It’s possible to enhance your milk frother by better controlling the boiler temperature (via PID). Small boilers also suffer from reduced steam time; by injecting a well dosed stream of water into the boiler during steaming, the steam time is extended. In addition, replacing the steam wand and upgrading it with teflon tube cover (better insulation and less milk burn in) are easy mods that make a big difference!
  • high precision temp sensor on boiler
  • SSR on heaters
  • micro-controller
  • fast SSR on pump
  • zero-cross detect circuit
  • electronic pressure meter

Optional:

  • steam wand replacement (Rancilio Silvia v2)
  • steam wand replacement (Rancilio Silvia v3)
  • teflon coating
Water level monitoring Is there anything more annoying than starting your shot and then running out of water halfway through? In addition, it’s not great for the health of your pump to run it on a dry tank. Installing a water level sensor prevents this problem by providing warnings on low water levels before shots and automatically stopping the pump when water runs out (requires SSR on brew circuit). If a display is available – it can permanently display your water level.
  • water level sensor
  • micro-controller

Optional:

  • SSR on brewhead circuit/valve
  • display + buttons
Automatic backflush Backflushing is a cleaning technique that consists of blocking the portafilter with a blind basket (no holes) and running the pump at full power. This builds up pressure in the brewhead until you release the valve – creating a stronger than usual backflush of clean hot water back through the brewhead -> pressure release circuit -> drip tray. This can be done with plain water or with espresso machine detergent placed in the portafilter. Not only will you be notified when it’s time to clean your machine (by counting the number of shots taken since last cleaning), but the automatic backflush feature will also execute the cleaning cycle. If you have a display – it will guide you through the different steps of the cleaning cycle to ensure you don’t skip any!
  • fast SSR on pump
  • zero-cross detect circuit
  • electronic pressure meter
  • micro-controller
  • OPV adjustment
  • SSR on brewhead circuit/valve

Optional:

  • display + buttons
Automatic descale Minerals from the water you are using will eventually build up all over your water circuit (using filtered water helps, but doesn’t eliminate the problem entirely). Every few months, it is important to run a descaling cycle with some commercial descaler or citric acid. This feature will notify you when it is time to descale and will run the descaling cycle for you. If you have a display it will guide you through the steps of the descaling cycle to ensure you don’t skip any!
  • fast SSR on pump
  • zero-cross detect circuit
  • electronic pressure meter
  • micro-controller
  • OPV adjustment
  • SSR on brewhead circuit/valve

Optional:

  • display + buttons
Sleep/Power save mode This feature will turn off your boiler when the machine has not been used for a pre-set amount of time. This helps save power and extend the life of your boiler. It will also dim the display backlight and put the micro-controller in sleep mode.
  • SSR on heaters
  • micro-controller

Optional:

  • display/buttons
Recipes/Flavor profiles/Rating Espresso geeks love to try new coffees – but each time we have to spend a bit of time to test out the best parameters to enjoy that coffee, and different people might enjoy the same beans prepared differently. This feature allows you to save your recipes, enter flavor profiles and rate the different beans you try. This way, next time you buy them, you don’t need to restart all over again, you simply use the display/buttons combo to select your recipe (which will also display the saved grind setting for your grinder).
  • micro-controller
  • display + buttons
Advanced visualization Drawing graphs of temperature, pressure, flowrate and other setting over the time a shot is taken is a great way to better understand what is happening. It’s also very useful for debugging, testing and trying out new recipes. These graphs can be displayed on a laptop connected to the micro-controller or on the espresso display itself.
  • micro-controller

Optional:

  • display + buttons
Android app control/visualization via Bluetooth Being able to control the espresso from a phone is a cool feature to have. A phone provides the possibility yo have a very advanced UX instead of a small LCD display and navigation stick. In addition, it makes it easy to have advanced visualizations such a graphs. Having an Android app could be useful for those who don’t want to setup a screen and navigation stick on their machine.
  • micro-controller
  • bluetooth module
Pump vibration dampening Vibratory pumps are quite loud and cause all kinds of vibrations on the water circuit, making pressure and water flow gauges less accurate and potentially increasing the chances of channeling in your puck. By adding a pump pulse dampener or even improving the rig on which your pump is installed to absorb the vibrations.
  • pulse dampener on pump
  • custom pump rig
Random useful part upgrades Shower head replacement, naked portafilter, precision basket, distributor
PID auto-tune
Tom’s water temperature controller Tom, a true espresso geek and scientist, designed his own temperature controller. Whilst the PID is a generic system, Tom’s algorithm is specifically designed based on a thermodynamic model of “single boiler/brewhead” style espresso machines. It is meant to offer better performance than PID (speed and stability). This is totally insane stuff, definatly worth a trying! http://tomblog.firstsolo.net/index.php/solved-temperature-control/
  • high precision temp sensor on boiler
  • SSR on heaters
  • micro-controller

Optional:

  • display + buttons
Water plumb-in Are you tired of having to manually refill your espresso machine? This feature allows you to plug your espresso machine directly into your plumbing. It uses the water level valve to turn on-off the electronic input valve. But be warned, if your water source is heavy in minerals – you will need to invest in a water filtration system! (It is much cheaper to use a brita-style filter + tank in that case).
  • water level sensor
  • micro-controller
  • water intake valve kit
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