Introduction: Rancilio Silvia PID

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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!

Picture of 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.

Comments

redlace (author)2017-05-20

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!

AbdullahA270 (author)redlace2017-05-20

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 ?

AbdullahA270 (author)2017-05-19

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 :(

redlace (author)AbdullahA2702017-05-19

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!

AbdullahA270 (author)redlace2017-05-19

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 ?

redlace (author)AbdullahA2702017-05-19

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.

AbdullahA270 (author)redlace2017-05-19

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

HardeeA made it! (author)2017-02-19

I want to thank mimmo and especially redlace for sharing their internal-chassis mounting project ideas and photographs. I went with the whole shabang from Auber - steam control, pre-infusion, blue LCD display - and followed mimmo's model of keeping the mounting plate as a finishing detail. Of course, though, we owe our greatest thanks to redlace for first hazarding this experiment on his Silvia, presumably without internet inspiration. Thanks!

ugot1 (author)2016-07-29

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

antonc81 (author)ugot12016-10-19

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.

redlace (author)ugot12016-07-29

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.

redlace (author)2016-05-11

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 . . .

rtreasure (author)2016-04-14

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.

rbarbarita (author)2014-12-05

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?

redlace (author)rbarbarita2014-12-06

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?

rbarbarita (author)redlace2014-12-06

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!

redlace (author)rbarbarita2014-12-06

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.

rbarbarita (author)redlace2014-12-06

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.

redlace (author)rbarbarita2014-12-06

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.

rbarbarita (author)2014-12-05

I love the install btw. Might do that at a later time. I am also using the auber pid with the works. To add, I followed all of the manual install and had no wires touching. The wires in the controller were also nice and snug.

jcran17 (author)2011-01-09

Great post! Now that you have been using it for about a year, have you had any overheating issues? Did you end up drilling the vent holes you mentioned above?

redlace (author)jcran172011-01-09

I have not had any overheating problems with the PID since I installed it. That includes the day I forgot and left the "steam" switch on for a few hours. No malfunctions for the PID, no weird behavior from Sylvia - nothing.
If it was going to be a problem, I figure that day would have put a fine point on it. As things stand now, there doesn't appear to be a need for cooling holes.
Thanks for checking out my instructable, and thanks for the comment.

mimmo (author)redlace2014-10-13

hi there

great post, I'm about to buy the PID and plan to install it internally (thanks for your instructions). I'm just checking to get an update if you've created any ventilation holes to dissipate the heat? There's a post in the forum in Auber's website where someone suggests using a boiler insulation kit (whatever that looks like) to minimize heat from the boiler onto the PID

thanks

redlace (author)mimmo2014-10-13

I am delighted to hear that you got so much from my post. As it happens, I've never had to drill any additional ventilation holes in the front of the machine. I have forgotten to turn off the steam switch on a couple of occasions, leaving the boiler at 297 for hours on end, but the PID has suffered no ill effects. Essentially, I have no plans to include additional ventilation. That Auber unit is rock solid, and seems to handle the temperature extremes without an trouble

at all.
That said, if you desire greater piece of mind you can't go wrong adding them or the boiler insulation kit. Can't say as I've heard of a boiler insulator, so if you find one please send a link Good luck with the installation, and please send pix when you get it done. I'd love to see one that doesn't have the permanent scratch on the front that I put on mine!

mimmo (author)redlace2014-11-17

hi, finally got my PID (they sent me the wrong one the first time !!), so I have all the wires in place and tomorrow I'll do the great cut and drilling :) actually what I just thought I'll do is to put masking tape across the front and mark all the holes and the part to be cut right on the tape and then cut through it and hopefully that will avoid scratches. One question I have is, where did you connect the ground wire from the controller onto to? I'm guessing to one of the screws that hold the PID in place? I'll post photos when I'm done. cheers

redlace (author)mimmo2014-11-18

Since I put the PID housing around the PID on the inside of the Silvia housing, I threaded the ground wire through the back of the housing along with the rest of the PID wires. I wanted the PID housing flush with the inside of Silvia's front panel, so I just connected the ground wire to the spot indicated in the PID installation instructions.

Good idea on the masking tape. Wish I'd done that! Be sure to cut slowly so as not to overheat the metal and discolor it.

mimmo (author)redlace2014-11-18

Success !!! Just finished and as a bonus, everything seems to be working. Just so you know, the temperature is in Celsius (I'm in Canada) and I just turned the machine on. Finally get to make my coffee tomorrow morning. Couple of notes: I didn't use the project housing on the inside, I had a very snug fit for the PID unit using the expandable plastic tabs, but I did use the plate on the outside just as a finishing detail and I used small bolts and nuts to affix the plate. Using masking tape over the whole face worked well, I made the marks on the tape and then cut with the Dremel tool. The other thing I did was to use the face plate to drill one hole, then I bolted the plate down so it wouldn't move, and drilled the other three holes. thanks again for inspiring me to mount the PID on the Silvia.

redlace (author)mimmo2014-11-19

Holy monkeys - that's beautiful! I'm right now enjoying a fresh mocha from my own machine - I hope you get as much satisfaction from the mod as I have over the years.

Definitely worth the effort to keep everything inside the Silvia housing. Very nicely done.

mimmo (author)redlace2014-11-19

thanks for the compliment...just wondering, have you messed around with changing the settings? The only thing I would like to try is to change the extraction time from two shots down to one shot, when I need to, but I haven't looked at the instructions in much detail yet.

redlace (author)mimmo2014-11-20

I only adjusted settings a little bit when I first installed it. After that, I had no need as I had found the sweet spot. Wasn't too difficult, and I think I recall that you can factory reset without too much trouble.

mimmo (author)redlace2014-10-13

thanks for the quick reply!! I just ordered the PID unit with the works, pre-infusion and steam temperature, will definitely post pics for you to see (unless I really screw it up :)
cheers

mimmo (author)2014-10-13

hi
this is the first time I posted on the site and I just realized I may have posted my reply under the wrong thread...oops sorry

opomie (author)2013-04-11

I'm about to embark on a similar venture with the Silvia. Any regrets mounting it on the face, any drawbacks? Would you mind giving me some advice on the Auber's - you purchased the one that does everything (pre-infusion etc.) - has this worked well for you? I like elegant simplicity so am not sure if perhaps the basic one with temp control only would suffice.

redlace (author)opomie2013-04-12

I have had absolutely no issues with the Auber PID. It has been a pleasure to use, no hiccups, no problems. I turn it on - it works.
I did buy the dressed burger. I have tried it with pre-infusion and without, and I like it with pre-infusion. With a mod like this, I was reluctant to artificially limit myself from the start, so I wanted to have everything available (under the view that it's better the have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it).
Finance was another concern - in the long run, it was cheaper to get the Auber with everything - first - than it would have been to initially get a lesser model and later on upgrade to the full monty. Less work, too.
If you plan to do the install the same as I did (internally), be sure to cover the internals to protect from metal shavings and dremel dust. Even more important, tape off the front of the machine before you cut the opening. I should have put duct tape around the hole, and now I have a permanent reminder that two minutes worth of taping is a key consideration!
Internal heat has not been a problem either. The PIDs are solid state and have a wide environmental temperature operating range. I have said before that I might consider drilling some holes around the face of the PID to allow air in the PID box to circulate from the front, but since the PID isn't showing overheating problems there's really no reason to increase the complexity.
Just think about how you plan to use it before settling on a PID model. If you like to tinker around with things constantly, and you anticipate experimenting with a wide variety of coffees, you'll probably be happier with the fully dressed model. Without all the bells and whistles, you may find yourself wondering how your espresso could be better, if only you had "x." The beans make a huge difference from shot to shot. Each brand/roast/bean type has its own qualities that you'll need to account for to achieve the best result.
I like your phrase "simple and elegant." That's my watchword as well, and I try to adhere to those principles in my physical hacks. In reviewing some of the other PID installs, the tech looked good, as did some of the solutions - but I wanted something that did not look "added on." I wanted something that seemed to be an organic element. So, no regrets about mounting it in the face. It was a bit more involved than some of the other installation options that people have shared, but ultimately very satisfying to me from a design standpoint.

cpreovol (author)2010-10-08

Your install is way slicker than mine, which is just a plastic box slapped on the side. What are you setting this thing at? Just curious, I've been playing around with the temp for a while.

redlace (author)cpreovol2010-10-08

It's a funny thing - I spent all that time and effort installing the PID so I could have precise control of the variables . . . . and I found that grind consistency and tamp pressure made more of a difference in my final product!

Honestly, I left the PID at the factory settings - it seems to work very well for me there. If I feel the need to branch out to a different bean someday, I might have to play around with the temp and time settings. As it is, I'm working full time and playing with the kids the rest of the time, so I just figure "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

My primary goal was to eliminate the temp fluctuations inherent in the stock Sylvia and I accomplished that - it's been well worth my effort for both me and my coffee drinking friends.

cheers

08techgrad (author)2010-02-20

What does PID stand for?

redlace (author)08techgrad2010-02-20

Sorry, should have addressed that in the original post. PID stands for "proportional, integral, derivative." I'm not a tech guy, so I can't speak to what that specifically means. I can sum up what it does for me: a PID is an electronic thermostat. In this case, it is also adjustable based on operator preference. Here is a great Wikipedia link that explains it pretty well: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PID_controller
For most of the PIDs available to add onto espresso machines, you're getting something that allows a much tighter temperature control band for the brewing cycle (primarily) and the steam cycle (if included in that PID model). Theoretically, this should enable you to be more consistent in pulling good shots, since you are removing some of the variability from the process. As I understand it, the built-in thermostat allows boiler temperature swings up to 30 or 40 degrees, which could lead to inconsistent results, even with everything else - type of coffee, grind, water type, tamp - being as consistent as you can make it.
Thank you for your interest!

lebowski (author)2010-02-11

Sweet, thanks for sharing! I love my Ms. Silvia.

redlace (author)lebowski2010-02-11

I'm happy to share, and glad you like it.
I had a great time with the project - after I got past the part about "oh crap, I can't believe I am actually going to cut up my expensive new espresso maker." After seeing some of the other projects here, I thought this would be a good demonstration of what is possible, and it served as motivation to do a good job. I am very happy with the results - both with Ms. Silvia and with my first Instructable.

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