Rancilio Silvia PID

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Introduction: Rancilio Silvia PID

I wanted to add a PID to my new Rancilio Silvia (V3) espresso maker. After doing a bit of research, I settled on the Auber Instruments Model: KIT-RSP

Available here:www.auberins.com/index.php

NOTE: Updated in May of 2017 to include PDF documents from the CD I received with the Auber PID. Lots more information and full-color installation photos in these 5 documents, so please check them out.

In addition to getting better brew temperature control, I wanted to have better steam temperature control than the standard Silvia offers. This controller does the job. It also comes with a "pre-infusion" option, which is maligned or desired, depending on your preference.

The Auber kit is meant for installation between the group head and the steam wand, so comes with an aluminum "project box" with double stick tape. I wanted a cleaner installation so decided to go internal. I was concerned about exceeding the operating temperature range of the PID so I planned the installation around the inclusion of the project box to provide a degree of thermal protection.

Auber's kit includes detailed disassembly instructions for Silvia and installation instructions for the PID, along with detailed color photos of both. If you follow them you will not have any difficulty. I followed them to a "T" and Silvia fired up perfectly at the end of the installation. I would highly recommend Auber's kit for anyone else interested in this sort of thing.

I will add a minor caveat here: I am not a shill for Auber. I paid for my kit just like anyone else, and they aren't giving me anything to include their name here. I looked at several different companies that offer PID kits, and depending on your needs any one of them will work well for you. Because of this abundance of great products, I had a hard time deciding on which one would work best for me, but I ultimately assessed that this one most closely matched my needs/wants, so it's the one I went with. Here's a link to some other kits I considered: pidkits.com/. Look around, you're sure to find some neat mounting options.

Step 1: Trace and Cut

I opened Silvia's top and determined that the space between the Rancilio badge and the steam pipe was adequate for the project box installation.
Then I traced the outline of the project box front face's center cutout onto the front of Silvia.
3/32 holes drilled at each corner of the cutout tracing, then off to the races with my Dremel and a reinforced cutoff wheel.
I put a cloth inside to catch the brunt of the steel shavings, and covered the face of the machine as well.
Cut the rectangular hole a little small and use a flat file to open the hole up to fit the Auber PID.

Step 2: Install the Project Box

Using the PID to hold the project box faceplate in position on Silvia's face, I marked the screw holes, then drilled them with a succession of bits from 1/16" to 3/16". I found it was easier to start with a tiny bit in order to prevent the bit from wandering around the surface of the faceplate.
These pictures show the project box in position, as seen from the front, top, and back.

Step 3: Finishing

Wire everything according to Auber's instructions.
Thread all the wires through the back of the project box, and attach the leads to the back of the PID (again, according to Auber's excellent instructions).
Gently pull the excess wire back through the hole on the back of the project box as you guide the PID into the hole you cut out for it.
Use the zip ties in the Auber kit to secure the new wires away from Silvia's hot internal parts.

Step 4: Enjoy!

Your new PID will display the current boiler temperature. It takes a surprisingly short time to warm up to its preset operating temperature of 221.
The numbers are very easy to read, and there is no question about the boiler temperature any more.
As a side note, I'm contemplating adding some vent holes above and below the PID face in order to ensure some airflow and reduce the possibility of overheating. That would likely show up as a series of 1/16" holes parallel to the top and bottom edges of the PID.

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41 Comments

Advice? Installed PID and all working fine. Being that Rancilio is single boiler, do you A) make espresso and then wait for steam temp to create a latte? or B) Steam mild, and then blow off steam to make the espresso at proper temp?

1 reply

Congrats on the successful installation!

I follow process (A). Silvia heats up from espresso temp to steam temp pretty quickly, so you won't be waiting too long for that. My experience from years of use is that it takes longer for Silvia to cool down from steaming than it does to get up to steam temp. Blowing out the steam will certainly decrease that time, but it's messy . . . and anyway you won't be able to refill the boiler (necessary for pulling a shot) until it drops below 220 deg.

My process:

I'll pull a shot and put it on the top tray for (minor) heat retention, and flip the steam switch on. Once it's back up around 210 deg (watch close, it moves up quickly) I'll hit the pump switch for a second or so (with the coffee switch still on) to blow any excess grounds off the screen. I'll also take moment then and run the brush around the rubber group head gasket to knock off any grounds there.

When the temp levels out at the top end for steam, I'll open the steam valve to clear the liquid water from the wand, then steam the milk. Once steaming is complete, I'll turn off the steam switch and enjoy my drink while the system cools down. Once it's back around 220 deg, I'll turn off the coffee switch, and turn on the hot water switch while simultaneously opening the steam valve to refill water into the system.

Based on my interaction with AbdullahA270, I realized that some people might benefit from having the documentation I received with the PID. I have now updated the Instructable to include the 5 PDF documents I received on the CD that came with the Auber PID.

Thank you, AbdullahA270, for providing the catalyst to improve this Instructable!

1 reply

the thanks to you for provide such an importen deitals

regardinig my case i got all the wires right but still when i press extract on pid the water pass through drain only view times through the basket , i think i have valve problem not from PID system any i dea how to fix it ?

i get every thing right as per the video but the when i start the machine the light indicator for hearting not show and boiler not get it warm please advise me what to do :(

4 replies

I'm disappointed to hear that. I think your best option is a detailed troubleshooting process. You may need to verify that each of the many wires are connected correctly.
I'm somewhat colorblind, so I asked my daughter to help identify the correct colors of wires for me at times.
Further, I found it was easy to transpose the positions of the wires on the back of the PID unit itself. Once I got the correct orientation sorted out (left and right, top and bottom) I was able to get the wires in the right place.
Good luck!

i'm glad to tell u i only twist the wires , i re-arrange them then it work fine !

but unfortunately , i got an issue when i start extraction, water passing through drain water valve all the time any clue why ?

One problem worked out, only to find another . . . very frustrating. I immediately think of 2 possibilities:

1. I <think> you may still have a wire in the wrong place. It appears that the electrical signal for activating the the vibratory pump (extraction) may also be activating (opening) the drain valve. I think you might have the drain valve wire connected in the position of the pump wire. Or the wires may be connected to the PID in the correct positions, but you might have them connected to the Silvia wiring harness in the wrong place.

solution: confirm all wiring connections and attachment positions are in the correct location

2. It is possible that the PID programming may be incorrect - that is, the PID may be sending signals on the correct wires, but is concurrently sending the signal to open the drain valve while activating the vibratory pump (extraction).

solution: conduct step-by-step assessment of PID programming, according to the guide that came with the PID.

i will check the wiring again :( , i open the valve for some leak but it was look new , however my PID not contain any maual to program it i only took some advise programing from youtube videos , kindly if u have some ready PID seeting share it it will be usfual

please change the name of this instruction to:" install auber pid in silvia" . if i dont have auber this instruction is useless.

2 replies

The Auber is a standard 1/32 DIN size unit. These instructions will work for ANY 1/32 DIN sized PID unit. If you have a 1/16 DIN, you might just have to adjust the placement, but the principles and steps will be the same. If you can't take the steps redlace used and transpose them to a slightly different unit, you probably shouldn't be opening up any kind of appliances.

I offered the brand and model of PID in the Instructable's first line of text.

Did you read that line? If so, it's likely that you didn't waste more than a few moments of your time before you realized if the Instructable would work for you or not.

You assert that the Instructable is "useless" unless one has an Auber PID. Did you find no useful information in the Instructable?

Per Instructable's comment policy, I will ask you not to comment further unless you have something positive or constructive to add to the conversation.

I'm glad you were able to get some benefit from my instructions here. Happy to report that in May of 2016, a little more than six years since installation, the PID is still working like a champ, and with no faulty functioning. I was also concerned about elevating the operating temperature of the PID by placing it inside Silvia, but so far so good.

I expected that the internal temperature of Silvia would be pretty high, but hoped that the aluminum job box around the PID would moderate that somewhat. I suppose one could cut some holes on Silvia's side panels to help with heat dissipation as well . . .

Thanks for sharing! I found the pictures and instructions easy to follow.

I have just installed a similar PID unit with the front cover plate on the outside which proved very useful as I messed up a bit with the Dremel. I measured the inside working temperature of Silvia at about 80 degC, which is 30 degrees higher than recommended by the sales person at Auber who said the higher temperature would "shorten the lifetime" of the controller.

All is working very fine so far and I am hoping to get a few years out of this installation.

I am pretty much 100% sure I wired and installed everything correctly. I fired up Silvia and the brew temp went to 225 but continued to rise. I did a shot test and everything came out great. I even steamed at 287. Now the boiler won't heat up. Is there a setting I'm missing?

5 replies

It is also possible, of course, that you simply have a bad PID unit. If the troubleshooting doesn't work, can you return your present unit for a replacement?

It was a user error. I installed the sensor upsidown. Luckily the grease must have protected it. The side was not damaged nor were the wires surprisingly. The directions don't talk about a particular side but the pictures describe it. Now I have everything working properly. My mazzer also has new blades. Brewed a perfect cup of espresso at 215 and steamed at 265. Life is good!

Brilliant! I'm glad you were able to get it all figured out and put together correctly. Must be very satisfying. Now you can really enjoy the fruits of your labors.

Thanks for the quick reply. The boiler actually automatically shuts off when the steam is too high. I'm thinking I may have used too much grease. I checked all of the connections and the wires are all in tact. I might take the sensor off and then remove some excess grease. I was able to reset the thermostat by pushing that red button. my theory is that too much silicone is throwing the sensor off. Other then that everything works fine. It just seems to be 10-15 degrees off.

It sounds like the PID is getting no - or incorrect - temperature data.

If I were you I'd go step by step and make sure all the connections are secure and in the right position and location. Some of mine were difficult to properly fit into position.
Next, make sure the SSR and the RTD temperature sensor are firmly in place and have copious amounts of silicone heat transfer compound between them and their mounting points.
Then check to see that the wires are all in the correct location on the back terminal of the PID.
If that doesn't fix the problem, try accessing the PID's configuration menus. It is possible that the PID came from the factory mis-programmed. This can be tedious, but may proved fruitful.

Good luck, and please let me know what you find out.