The Dirty Portafilter

My corner of the Internet, mostly espresso related but occasionally life will interfere.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Isomac Modifications, Part One, Getting Naked

I have owned my Isomac Millennium for a few months now. I decided that I have spent enough time getting to know the machine and getting all of the performance it has to offer. Now I don’t have the money to upgrade (but I really, REALLY, want an Elektra A3), so I decided to try making a few mods.

One thing I have always wanted in this machine is a brew pressure gauge. There are several vendors that sell portafilter mounted pressure gauges. While these are good for adjusting the OPV (over pressure valve), they can not be used during a real extraction. I believe that having the gauge would give me more insight as to what is happening inside the espresso puck. So I thought to myself, Self, lets put a gauge on this thing. After all, it is only plumbing, not rocket science. It may only be plumbing, but it is plumbing under a 140 psi load at 255 degrees.

So I pulled my waterline and moved the machine to the garage for some surgery. Now I have to admit, the idea of pulling this apart was a little daunting. We are talking about cutting up a $1300 peace of equipment. Thankfully, the Millennium comes apart relatively easy.

Start by removing the water tank, then the back panel. There are two screws under the bottom of the panel, and inside the water tank reservoir cavity, there are two more screws at the top corners. Remove them and the back comes right off.

Now you have to remove the inner shield. That is what separates the inner works from the cup warmer topper and forms the inside of the water reservoir cavity. This entire peace is held on with two screws. Looking at the top, you can see them on the front corners, under the cup warmer. After you remove those two screws, gently raise the entire peace straight up. Under the water reservoir base, you will see a switch with two leads. This is the water tank pressure switch. When the tank is empty, springs lift the base and disconnect the switch. Once disconnected, the power shuts down. You will need to pull the wires off in order to completely remove this inner shroud. Make note of which wire goes on which prong.

Now to remove the outer shell. Under the machine, running along both sides, you will see three Phillips head screws. Remove all six of these screws. Now the front of the machine is held on with just friction. There is a clip that runs the length of the front sides of the machine. These pinch the inside of the shell to the inside of the base and hold everything together. These take a lot of pressure to remove, work the shell forward and back while lifting, it will eventually pull off. Then simply lift the shell off. Now you have a naked machine.

Right Side


Left Side



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