The Espresso Machine Restoration site
A non-commercial site for those interested in espresso equipment repair and restoration.
The super geeky grinder timer
Version 1.0
Well my last little project before I leave for Seattle.  Last week I was contacted by some fanatics in the US asking
for something to replace the well used Watlow darkroom timers.  It didn't take long to find what I was looking for
and within an hour or so "shopping" I was back in my little workshop with the components required.

For those of you who have no idea what I am going on about....

This timer will control the espresso grinder to switch on and off.  The benefits are numerous and for the first time
on my site we have to mention the "V" word.  Yes Vivace in Seattle first used these timers many years ago.  He
(DS) recognised the importance of grinding to order for each customer.  Rather than have the barista stand at the
grinder turn it on, wait, flap flap flap etc....he came up with this simple yet ingenious way of getting an accurate
dose each time, freeing up the baristas time and reducing coffee wastage.

So the theory is that for my 17.8g (an example) I need to (by trial and error) find out how long my grinder takes to
grind 17.8g of coffee.  Lets say again for example it is 10 seconds.  I can program the timer to turn the grinder off
at 10 seconds.  So that means the barista pushes the button and then returns just after 10 seconds to find the
exact dose waiting in the dosing chamber.  

So yes, I have hacked into my grinder and by-passed the main switch.  The only switch you need to push is the
one on the front of the unit.

The super geeky specs.

This unit cost a fortune.  The lower display is my grind time (same as SV on a PID) and the upper display is my
counter display.  You can set it to count up or count down.  In the pictures I have it set at count down which is why
the 2 displays are the same.

Believe it or not this is the ultimate in grinder control.  This thing can be programmed to 1000ths of a second.  I
have seen some timers go up in half second increments but this thing is just at another level.

Hidden inside the box is my Solid State Relay to handle the switching power of the grinder.
The switch itself

So there I was inside the electronic components shop browsing the switches.  I thought about a simple rocker
switch, then I thought about an easy to activate mini-microswitch.  I settled on the mini-microswitch.  As I was
handing over some cash some "behind the counter" items caught my eye.  The expensive items kept away from

What sexy switch, I think it is amazing the way it fits so flush.  

Anyway I shall make a double grinder box when I get back from SCAA.  

Paul 11/04/05
This website is created by Paul Pratt, Hong Kong 2004-5. If you would like to use any of the images or text I am
sure I will say yes, but please ask first!  

Email me here.

Alumium box, same as my PID boxes.
Same DIN mounting as the PID's
2 displays.
A US$15 switch!
It was love at first sight with this switch.  It is a spring load push button switch
which is very easy to activate. It looks like it belongs on a fancy-shmancy hifi

$15 for a switch, I must be mad.