nile13 Senior Member Joined: 29 Jan 2013 Posts: 61 Location: Boston Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013, 8:36am Subject: Help! Problem with Elektra MCAL
OK, so I tried to use my 1983 Elektra for the first time today. The seller told me that seals were changed recently by a professional shop in NYC and that machine has worked very well for them.
When machine started warming up water was dripping significantly from the bottom of the grouphead and from the seal between grouphead and boiler. The dripping subsided somewhat, but it kept dripping.
After 3-4 minutes the pressure started rising from 0 and continued to go up until it pegged out beyond 3 bars. At this point I got scared and turned the machine off.
Pressure dropped in about a minute. I turned teh machine back on and bled the rest of the pressure slowly through steam wand until it showed 0.
Turned steam wand off. The pressure rose within a couple of minutes or less to 2+ Bar and kept rising.
At this point I've turned the machine off in sheer terror. I have a nasty feeling that pstat might be stuck and this thing can simply blow up. What am I missing here? I'm beginning to think that as much as I like this machine it might not be for me. Help the newbie, please!
SStones Senior Member Joined: 24 Nov 2012 Posts: 506 Location: Canada Expertise: Professional
Espresso: Giga 5, ECM Giotto, Rocket... Grinder: Anfim Milano-Best Vac Pot: No :( Drip: Some $30 thing from Walmart Roaster: I buy pre-roasted.
Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013, 6:45pm Subject: Re: Help! Problem with Elektra MCAL
Start by adjusting the pressostat to see if you can get it to regulate a reasonable boiler pressure. Worry about the leakage at the brewhead after the pressure issue isn't frightening. If the boiler pressure is rising even after the pressostat is off, then the heating element is cracked, shorting to boilerground through your water and the element needs to be replaced.
jroach Senior Member Joined: 6 Jul 2011 Posts: 19 Location: Chesterfield, VA Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Elektra Micro Casa,... Grinder: La Cimbali 6S, Baratza... Drip: EVA Solo, Moka, Press Pot,...
Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 6:53pm Subject: Re: Help! Problem with Elektra MCAL
The red light on the side of the base should be on when the heating element is on, when the pressurestat trips it will shut off the element and light. When the pressure drops enough the element will come back on.
Think of the pressurestat as a little plunger that goes up as the pressure builds and back down as it decreases. Put a little microswitch in front of the plunger so when the pressure gets high enough it trips the switch.
I would recommend looking at the exploded drawings on Stefano's espresso care website so you can look at it and easily find it in the base. The adjustment should be self-evident. Extending the plunger will cause the p-stat to trip sooner (at a lower pressure). I think the recommend pressure is 1 bar but check to make sure. I know it's posted somewhere.
As for it leaking, you might get away with greasing them up (NSF rated) but my gut says the seals are going to need to be replaced. They shouldn't leak at all but especially at low pressure. If they replaced the seals and didn't work the piston and seals into the grouphead (i.e. if they just pushed it in) they might have cut the lip of the seal. There are two seals, a lower W and an upper V. They run about $10 each. Between the boiler and the grouphead is technically a gasket. I don't know what they run but it shouldn't be much.
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