meCoffee App-Controlled PID For the Silvia

The meCoffee is a control module of small size, which is installed in espresso-machine. It helps to control the boiler, valve, and pump – everything in one box because. It is all simple, and you don’t require any outside or permanent modification.

A PID for Silvia looks extremely tempting. And the installation is super straightforward because you can control everything from an Android / iPhone app.

Have you ever tried it? Did you have any problem with this PID? Read this article, explore what meCoffee is? What are its features and functions? You will also get detailed information on meCoffee PID Controller.

Let’s go ahead!

What is meCoffee?

A meCoffee is a small PID that can be used to add new capabilities to an Espresso machine. It is a compact control module that goes into your espresso machine and manages your boiler, pump, and valve all in one place. It requires no permanent or external adjustments and is extremely simple to set up. It primarily aids Rancilio Silvia.

The meBarista App allows you to keep track of and handle all of your meCoffee’s functions. The app is no longer required for day-to-day operations because your meCoffee is meant to run independently.

Features & Functions of meCoffee

Meet meCoffee and meBarista, a charming pair. Both work together to provide you the most control over your espresso machine:

  • Precise temperature control with PID
  • Instead of interval switching, the boiler can be dimmed.
  • Controlling and profiling the pressure
  • Timer for pre-infusion wake-up and shutdown
  • Everything is controlled via your tablet or phone (Android or iOS / iPhone / iPad ).
  • For espresso machines, a generic solution is available. It is specially designed for Rancilio Silvia V1, V2, V3, V4, and V5/E.
  • Universal solution for mains voltages of 110-120V / 220-240V and 50 or 60Hz.

Review of the Rancilio Silvia With the meCoffee PID Controller

The Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine has one central flaw: the preset thermostat’s extreme volatility. The espresso taste differs with temperature variations as minor as 1°C, while the Silvia V3, V4 thermostat provides a range of 20°C (30°C for Silvia V1, V2).

To make a good espresso, one must estimate the heating phase of the boiler, a process known as temperature surfing. However, this wastes water and requires precise timing, which is particularly challenging for novices.

● Temperature Controlled Via PID

The Replacement of the basic thermostat with a digital one is a better option. It entails the addition of a microcontroller that will use the PID algorithm to monitor the temperature. You’ll always be at the appropriate temperature — without having to surf. The microcontroller can also add fancy features to the machine, such as pre-infusion or a shot timer.

Because the Silvia is such a popular machine, pre-configured kits containing a micro-controller, a thermo-element, and the appropriate cabling are available, requiring only the device to be opened and cables to be plugged in.

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● The PID Kit for meCoffee

The meCoffee Kit is the most recent and consequently most modern. It’s made up of a Bluetooth-enabled microcontroller included inside the Silvia and the meBarista control app, available for Android and Chrome.

For the Kit, there was a Kickstarter campaign. It promised to supply the controller in September for $139. Despite the failure of Kickstarter, they were able to preserve the pricing of $139 and are now shipping. In comparison to the “successful” ZPM Espresso Machine Kickstarter, and this is a success.

● Installation

The controller, housing, and all necessary cables for installation inside the Rancilio Silvia are included in the Kit. The 5th Version of the meCoffee board was included in the Kit. The HC05 Bluetooth Serial Transceiver, the ATmega328PU CPU, and other parts required for PID functioning are found on the board, which appears to be a bespoke version of an Arduino Uno.

Building a similar arrangement using an Arduino would cost roughly $58-70 just for the hardware – and then there’s the software to create. MeCoffee’s custom printed PCB, on the other hand, is likely to be more expensive because it must be made in small quantities.

Using a bespoke PCB offers the advantage of allowing everything to be neatly integrated on one tiny board, whereas using an Arduino would have additional cabling to link the components, resulting in a much bigger package.

The installation is simple; all that is required is removing Silvia’s top cover and the subsequent plugging of specific wires. This procedure can be finished in around 45 minutes.

The housing is then fitted behind the power switch, elegantly concealing it without producing any wired clutter.

● Usage

Bluetooth is being used to control me wirelessly. In comparison to earlier Kits that used external display modules, Coffee has a more attractive appearance. The external display is just needed to set the temperature and check that everything is working from time to time. The thermostat LED offers you all the information you need to make an espresso.

A smartphone or a laptop, on the other hand, are far better options for configuring and monitoring the temperature. As a result, omitting an external display simplifies installation while simultaneously lowering costs and improving usefulness.

But there’s a catch: the current Kit isn’t compatible with iOS. Apple demands Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy or the purchase of an MFi license, while the HC05 Transceiver only supports Bluetooth 2.0. However, according to the Kickstarter page, a Bluetooth 4.0 version will be available in November for $174.

Control apps are only available for Android and Chrome, but meCoffee does not support Linux because Chrome does not support Bluetooth. The Android app is more polished in general. The shot timer and firmware upgrade, for example, are currently only available on Android.

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The settings are kept inside meCoffee, and the thermostat LED dims when the goal temperature is reached, so there’s no need to keep a smartphone near the coffee machine.

● Functionality

MeCoffee’s prominent feature is traditional PID during coffee infusion, often known as brew control. It works flawlessly, as shown in the screenshot below. With a maximum variance of 2.9°C, the average absolute temperature deviation is lowered to 0.25°C.

Because your boiler has a temperature sensor, meCoffee can also manage the steam temperature. This one is also beneficial. If you want to make a single cappuccino, the default Silvia Thermostat heats up to 150°C for steaming, which is far too hot.

As a result, by default, meCoffee cools it down to a more manageable 135°C. However, according to the specifications of the meCoffee temperature sensor (LM35DT), the top limit of its operating range is 150°C.

Then there’s the programmable pre-infusion, which is used to wet the grind before brewing. It effectively puts a stop to the brewing process. I start the pump for 2 seconds, then wait 5 seconds before continuing to brew. I was no longer able to channel in the puck as a result of this.

Then there’s the shot timer, which starts as soon as you turn the brew switch and tells you if your shot is within the recommended 20-25 second range. Finally, the Firmware may be upgraded through Bluetooth using the Apps. It allows you to quickly deploy new features and fixes without removing the board and connecting it to a computer.

The disadvantage is that you must currently install updates because the Apps and Firmware are still in active development. A glitch in the meBarista Android app was fixed during the authoring of this text, which prevented the boiler from heating up for steaming when the steam temperature was changed. (This feature is only accessible in the Beta version)

● Alternatives

As previously said, meCoffee is the most recent in a series of PID Kits for the Rancilio Silvia. Arturo Kit is the one that most closely resembles meCoffee. It’s also designed to be installed within the machine and works with Bluetooth (just 2.0). Although an external LCD is not necessary, the Kit was designed with one in mind.

Many functionalities require the presence of a display, and the access control software is nothing more than a Virtual LCD screen that requires you to browse the same menus using virtual buttons as you would with a hardware LCD screen. Furthermore, because the software is written in Java, it can only be used on PCs.

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The hardware, on the other hand, is more capable than meCoffee. The ATmega1284P is used in the Kit, which has more significant memory and an additional ADC on the board that enables higher resolution temperature measurement.

The Arturo Kit allows you to use up to 8 sensors simultaneously to control Silvia’s LEDs separately. Furthermore, you can connect more than two sensors, which is the meCoffee limit. The disadvantage is that the fundamental – PID only – Kit starts at $354, which is already more than half of Rancilio Silvia’s price.

Then there are the older external display alone kits from Auber Instruments (from $162) and PID Silvia (from $121). While these are in the same price range as meCoffee, they have more minor functionalities because they are fixed electronic circuits rather than programmable microcontrollers.

meCoffee App-Controlled PID For the Silvia – An Overview

The Rancilio Silvia is like a feral beast without a PID controller; it takes a lot of skill to get it to do what you want, and even then, it is unforgiving of mistakes. The beast can be tamed with the meCoffee Kit. It provides fine-grained control over the system via a user-friendly interface.

It makes the machine considerably easier for newcomers because the Apps explain precisely what’s going on and provide a short-timer (at least on Android). Compared to competing Kits, meCoffee offers the most value for the money – even merely in terms of hardware costs, it is a terrific deal.

However, the installation instructions are currently unclear, and the software is still in development, so that you may run into bugs. In addition, the present Version is incompatible with iOS devices. In the end, the Kit has not matured. You can purchase it right now if you are capable of dealing with it. Otherwise, it would help if you continued to give the Kit some time.

However, consider a chicken-and-egg problem: if everyone waits till the Kit matures, the Kit will not grow since there will not be enough people using it.

It was updated on August 26, 2015. meCoffee has changed the installation documentation to make it easier to follow.

Our Summary

The meBarista App helps you to control and monitor the functions of meCoffee. Its configuration is super easy, once you have reconfigured, you don’t need to exert effort in this App for day-to-day operations. This meCoffee features a standalone design.

So, read this article, enjoy the features of this app, and learn the ways of its installation. This all-inclusive guidance will provide you with detailed information on MeCoffee App-Controlled PID For Silvia.

So, are you ready to install it?