I must apologize to Pavoni-philes who are wondering what has become of the esteemed unidentified Pavoni machine that has found itself in my grips.  I’m here, finally, to update the story…this will be a work in progress.

Shortly after the overhaul, I ran into electrical issues with the Pavoni’s automatic water refill solenoid – it just didn’t work.  I deduced several theories:

a) The  balance of the water in Putnam Valley is outside the range of operability and therefore the water valve will not trigger; or

b) I had made mistakes when I re-connected the copper plumbing and mistakenly by-passed a valve that would give the solenoid a proper water level reading; or

c) the water refill level sensor was not making proper contact with the water (testing this hypothesis produced a low-voltage shock that discouraged me from meddling with the Red Lady while electrified); or

d) the water refill solenoid was clogged; or

e) the only on-board electrical circuit board was fried (a common problem according to Home Barrista); or

f) the water refill solenoid was just…simply…broken.

Turns out, based on my amateur sleuthing and diagnostic skills, the issue was a hybrid between (e) and (f).  I replaced the water refill solenoid and spent considerable time researching the proper wiring match-up for the GIAC ECU control module (which does not exist for my configuration).  I utilized some simple deductive reasoning and the fact that I am not color blind to properly power the water solenoid and when I clicked on the machine, the solenoid made its productive clicking noise, opening the valve to allow water into the boiler.  These machines were way ahead of their time, and the water refill solenoid, when active, cuts off power to the heating element, so that the heatingelement does not generate steam that will combat the incoming cold water and cause interference.

I spent the next several weeks perfecting the proper balance of grind coarseness, dosing quantity, and brew group pre-heating to obtain the zeldaof espresso shots.  I promise a video of the Red Lady in action, producing an awesome stream of caffeinated greatness from the bottomless (aka naked) portafilter.

Fast forward 2 months and the interference of other of life’s obligations and I find myself in the process of moving out of the parents’ house to my own apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn.  Of course, when inspecting the apartment for the basics- working faucets, sturdy wood floors and ceiling, and basic aesthetics, I also investigated the potential for installing a 220-volt outlet and plumbing for the Red Lady.  This machine has become an appendage much like a pet.  The apartment has a washer and dryer in the unit, so I knew I could split the water line for the washer into two lines; one for the washer machine and one for the Red Lady. 

I will spare readers the tedium of hearing about the moving process and the details of the remainder of my life…frankly, I realize the Pavoni is the only interesting thing going for me.

The Pavoni needed a station, and so I researched commercial stainless steel work tables, which provide a superior spill-proof surface and a sturdy platform for barrista-ing.  I settled on a good deal; an Aero table measuring 30″x48″.  The table features a lower deck, for the wine cooler (courtesy of woot.com) and bar tools.  On top of the table, I placed the Red Lady and the grinder.  This absurdum is the first thing guests and visitors see upon entering my apartment – a testament to my relative insanity or level of commitment to the bean.

Moving day was busy…to say the least.  On top of orchestrating painting, moving, boxes, neighborly welcomes, the cable/internet installer, I also had an electrician provide an estimate for wiring a 220-volt outlet.  He quoted $400 for the job, including all parts and labor.  The electrician, we’ll call him “Enabler,” came a couple of days after the dust settled (literally and proverbially) from moving day.  His work took only 3-4 hours to run 220-volt juice from 2-30 amp breakers to a space on the wall adjacent to the Barrista station.  The plug is a typical 3-prong dryer plug, which will look awfully out of place if I ever move.

To plumb water to the Red Lady, I purchased a brass Y-splitter, which will split the cold water between the washer machine and the Pavoni.  There is a water shut-off on each, as extra protection for when either machine is not in use.  I snaked 1/4″ rubber tubing from the laundry area through the kitchen and around the wall to the Pavoni. 

Red Lady lit right up on the first try…which is not surprising since it requires only the flick of a switch.  But, more importantly, turning the Pavoni on does not dim the lights of the apartment, or interfere with the electrical load of the rest of the building.  The electrician simply cautioned me against using the air conditioners and the espresso machine simultaneously. This may trip a breaker for the whole building. I guess duringthe summer I’ll be sipping espresso while sweating, or cooled by the de minimis cross-breeze.

Again, I promise pictures and further maintenance best practices…check back for updates.

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