Thursday, September 27, 2012

How to adjust the temperature on a Francis Francis X1


Francis Francis X1 internals

This post is actually from January 2012 originally written by Hendrup, but I have rewritten it quite a bit and thought it would be a great read for people who struggle with their X1s in producing balanced shots.

Not many know that you can actually adjust the temperature on a Francis Francis X1. While the little machine isn't the greatest machine, being a really bad steamer and it's the lack of a three way valve, it's really not that bad at all. With a little tweaking and experience it is capable of brewing some delicious shots. Some Francis Francis machines are equipped with a PID (Proportional–Integral–Derivative) controller. In simple terms a PID is capable of controlling the temperature with a much tighter dead band (dead band being the top and low of the boiler temperature), than a traditional thermostat is. A thermostat in for example the Rancilio Silvia varies up to 20 degrees, while a PID only varies a degree or two. Some top of the line espresso machines have a adjustable PID control on the front of the machine, while that isn't the case on the X1, you can actually adjust the temperature.
I have searched the entire web (THE ENTIRE WEB) and haven't found a single solution on how to adjust the temperature on the X1 model, so I popped the hood on my own espresso machine and got going. I found my shots being overly sour, so I located the internal PID and adjusted the temperature up to about 95 degrees, which gave a much better balanced espresso. If you got a Francis Francis X1 and are brewing some sour or bitter shots it might be because of the water temperature. Here is a guide on how to adjust to temperature on a Francis Francis X1.
In the first picture of the Francis Francis X1s internals I have shown the motherboard in color, locate the blue square with temp written in front of it. This blue square controls the boiler temperature and if you turn it you can regulate the brewing temperature - clockwise raises the temperature and anticlockwise lowers it.

When I was adjusting my temperature I had the machine running while adjusting the PID. I took a screwdriver and turned the white circle inside the blue square clockwise to raise the temperature, I waited for about 10 minutes for the temperature to settle, then I activated the brew switch without having the portafilter fitted in the machine. As the water escaped the shower screen I measured the temperature using a digital thermometer. This went over and over until I reached about 95 degrees. In between I brewed some espressos, and when I was satisfied with the taste, I assembled the shell and I haven’t touched it since. The result is just like receiving a new espresso machine. The espresso shot that I brewed before was actually not very good compared to the amazing shots I can pull now.

The dissembling of the outer shell is very simple, and below is a quick guide.
Francis Francis X1 front view

The two screws on each side are all that secure the front control panel. Start by removing these and pull the control panel out from the machine, revealing a look into the machine. Then proceed to the next picture.
Francis Francis X1, view from a frog-perspective

When you have removed the control panel on the front, insert your screwdriver in the hole beside the steam wand. You are able to watch your screwdriver through the front of the espresso machine. There is a screw holding the adjuster for the steam wand, which you need to unscrew. After you have completed that, unscrew the adjuster for the steam wand, you can do this by simply turning it as you would for steaming milk. Four screws, two on each side, are holding on the top hood. These screws are visible on the picture above. Unscrew these and remove the top hood backwards. Congratulation you now have access to all the goods, just remember to unplug the machine!

This modification may violate your warranty and the newer models of the Francis Francis X1 might not have an adjustable PID. But if you have an old X1 that just isn’t preforming as you like, try adjusting the temperature.

2 comments:

  1. That little blue square with a white center is called a trimmer potentiometer or just trim pot for short.

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  2. I just popped the hood on my X1, only to find it's a newer model with no PID. Damn. It's quite annoying as the water is running at only 79, 80 degrees. My shots are bitter and I'm trying to figure out why… I don't suppose you have any idea how to adjust temp on newer models?

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