point me in the right direction fellow exchangers!
I am looking to find out what the cost looks like pertaining to the equipment...power source etc. for a coffee mobile truck. I would like to use a LM gb3. I need to learn about the plumbing and power source. propane vs. generator.
thanks...
I have reached out to la marzocco, a manual coffee truck biz in Canada and a local Charcuterie truck here in Rhode Island. anyone out there with info and leads to share please pass them along...much appreciated.

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I built out two mobile coffee trailers and a push cart in the last three years. There are a lot of things to keep track of, but in all honesty, your most essential resource is in the RV industry. Those companies have been building silent generators, water pumps, filter systems, and power systems for decades, and they definitely have all of the kinks dialed in.

As for specifics with your system, you will need plenty of amps to run a LM gb3. it's doable, but the generator you'll need will be pretty big. One option that my company followed is to switch the heating elements in the boilers from 220v to 110v, then add supplemental heat by placing a propane strip underneath the boiler. The propane is a cheap and cost effective way of building up plenty of heat for the water, and the heating element inside is strong enough to control the specific temperatures needed. 

I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have!

hi Evan..thanks for reading. won't lowering the heating element to 110v pose a problem when producing a high volume of drinks. will the machine be able to recover in time?

Evan said:

I built out two mobile coffee trailers and a push cart in the last three years. There are a lot of things to keep track of, but in all honesty, your most essential resource is in the RV industry. Those companies have been building silent generators, water pumps, filter systems, and power systems for decades, and they definitely have all of the kinks dialed in.

As for specifics with your system, you will need plenty of amps to run a LM gb3. it's doable, but the generator you'll need will be pretty big. One option that my company followed is to switch the heating elements in the boilers from 220v to 110v, then add supplemental heat by placing a propane strip underneath the boiler. The propane is a cheap and cost effective way of building up plenty of heat for the water, and the heating element inside is strong enough to control the specific temperatures needed. 

I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have!

Clever idea, but sounds pretty sketchy.

Evan, did you add a neutral to the machine then? Tie the propane burner in to the heating element control? Utilize the existing hi-limit? What are your internal component temps like? Those propane strips are approved for use in enclosed spaces without a hood, right?

Yes, some manufacturers sell a propane kit. I'd be ok installing one of these OEM kits for a customer. No way I'd modify one like you've described though - my liability insurance agent would kill me. Actually, if I walked up on one that had been modified like this, I'd walk away without touching it for the same reason.

To clarify, Victoria... are you talking about a GS/3 or a GB/5? If GB/5, what size? That'll tell us a lot about your amperage requirements.

victoria fallon said:

hi Evan..thanks for reading. won't lowering the heating element to 110v pose a problem when producing a high volume of drinks. will the machine be able to recover in time?

Evan said:

I built out two mobile coffee trailers and a push cart in the last three years. There are a lot of things to keep track of, but in all honesty, your most essential resource is in the RV industry. Those companies have been building silent generators, water pumps, filter systems, and power systems for decades, and they definitely have all of the kinks dialed in.

As for specifics with your system, you will need plenty of amps to run a LM gb3. it's doable, but the generator you'll need will be pretty big. One option that my company followed is to switch the heating elements in the boilers from 220v to 110v, then add supplemental heat by placing a propane strip underneath the boiler. The propane is a cheap and cost effective way of building up plenty of heat for the water, and the heating element inside is strong enough to control the specific temperatures needed. 

I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have!

Ok, as for the heating of the machine: The propane was added by the person I purchased my machine from. This machine HAMMERS out drinks. It will only slow down if i'm pulling water off of the boiler for americanos or teas. Not ideal, I know, but in some cases space and power is an issue. The propane is not regulated by the machine, just the electric element. The advantage here is that when things slow down your electrical pull becomes next to nothing, as my boiler pressure can stay at a comfortable 1.1 - 1.2. Keep in mind the machine i'm using is a single 13 liter boiler. I don't believe this would work as well if you have multiple water volumes to heat.

That all being said, there are Contis and Rancilios on the market now already outfitted with propane heat. You'll just need to look for them.

And Brady, yes these are all approved for indoor use. The amount of propane actually used costs us pennies an hour. It's far smaller propane volume than a standard kitchen flat grill. A 20lb tank usually lasts us about 45 hours of operation, with a refil costing aproximately $15.
what kind of amperage would a gb5 with a two group head need?

Brady said:

Clever idea, but sounds pretty sketchy.

Evan, did you add a neutral to the machine then? Tie the propane burner in to the heating element control? Utilize the existing hi-limit? What are your internal component temps like? Those propane strips are approved for use in enclosed spaces without a hood, right?

Yes, some manufacturers sell a propane kit. I'd be ok installing one of these OEM kits for a customer. No way I'd modify one like you've described though - my liability insurance agent would kill me. Actually, if I walked up on one that had been modified like this, I'd walk away without touching it for the same reason.

To clarify, Victoria... are you talking about a GS/3 or a GB/5? If GB/5, what size? That'll tell us a lot about your amperage requirements.

victoria fallon said:

hi Evan..thanks for reading. won't lowering the heating element to 110v pose a problem when producing a high volume of drinks. will the machine be able to recover in time?

Evan said:

I built out two mobile coffee trailers and a push cart in the last three years. There are a lot of things to keep track of, but in all honesty, your most essential resource is in the RV industry. Those companies have been building silent generators, water pumps, filter systems, and power systems for decades, and they definitely have all of the kinks dialed in.

As for specifics with your system, you will need plenty of amps to run a LM gb3. it's doable, but the generator you'll need will be pretty big. One option that my company followed is to switch the heating elements in the boilers from 220v to 110v, then add supplemental heat by placing a propane strip underneath the boiler. The propane is a cheap and cost effective way of building up plenty of heat for the water, and the heating element inside is strong enough to control the specific temperatures needed. 

I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have!

A GB/5 2 group draws 4600W, which is on the higher end for 2-group machines. That's right around 21 amps. For the record, Aurelia draws about the same. High power is usually considered a benefit, so you'll see similarity at the top end of most lines.

There are other 2 groups that use less power, though you might see a reduction in capacity, stability, and recovery ability. These are all 208-240V machines.

110 compact versions are available, but you'll see even lower capacity.

All of the major manufacturers will have spec sheets available for their equipment on their websites. These will give you data like height, width, depth, weight, amp draw, etc. Important stuff for designing a bar.

Good luck.

victoria fallon said:

what kind of amperage would a gb5 with a two group head need?
thank you Brady,this info will help me ask the right questions.

Brady said:

A GB/5 2 group draws 4600W, which is on the higher end for 2-group machines. That's right around 21 amps. For the record, Aurelia draws about the same. High power is usually considered a benefit, so you'll see similarity at the top end of most lines.

There are other 2 groups that use less power, though you might see a reduction in capacity, stability, and recovery ability. These are all 208-240V machines.

110 compact versions are available, but you'll see even lower capacity.

All of the major manufacturers will have spec sheets available for their equipment on their websites. These will give you data like height, width, depth, weight, amp draw, etc. Important stuff for designing a bar.

Good luck.

victoria fallon said:

what kind of amperage would a gb5 with a two group head need?
Have you considered using a lever machine? They are easily converted to 110v and/or propane. I'm currently using an astoria 2 group that will run off a 20amp 110v circuit and recovers extremely quickly. I run a catering service and we are able to pump out 40-50 drinks an hour with it running on 110, more if we switch back to 220. Email me if you have any questions, or are interested in buying one, as we have an extra sitting around.
Mike,
Michael@mastcoffeeco.com

Michael makes a great suggestion. Lever machines require hardly any power, as they just need to heat the boiler. no extra pumps or anything inside the machine to draw. This also means that, should your power cut out for a second, you can still finish shots.

OK, since we're talking about them, here are a couple of lever machine considerations:

Most of the power that an espresso machine consumes is to heat the boiler. For example, the Astoria Rapallo 2 group semiauto uses 4400W compared to the lever version's 4000W. So don't plan on saving much in the way of power just by eliminating the motor pump.

Yes, propane conversion kits are available. This enables the machine to run completely without electricity. I know they are available for Astoria, and believe for the Victoria Arduino Athena as well.

Since the groups require a little while to bleed out pressure after each shot, you are not able to quickly pull shots back-to-back on the same group. For that reason, it is recommended that you go with one more group than you'd need in a semi-auto to have the same production capacity. So if you were planning to use a 2-group GB/5, you should spec a 3-group lever.

Lever machines do take a little "understanding". Brew temperature management is the biggest challenge. I love lever machines but am not sure I'd want to count on one as the heart of a quality-focused espresso bar.

Hope that helps.

Have you looked at models of other mobile cafes? Our Roaster has a coffee truck. It "coffee cake kc." Look him up and email him with questions he is usually open for responses.
thank you Laura...will do.

Laura Clark said:
Have you looked at models of other mobile cafes? Our Roaster has a coffee truck. It "coffee cake kc." Look him up and email him with questions he is usually open for responses.

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