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Discussions > Espresso > Espresso Mods > Electrical shock...  
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irrelevancy
Senior Member


Joined: 10 May 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Singapore
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Tue Oct 18, 2011, 9:46pm
Subject: Electrical shock from machine
 

Hi there

I bought an Andreja Premium a few months ago and it has been working fine. However, when I touched the machine this morning (after about 1 hour warmup via timer), I got a small electrical shock.

I thought it was some static of sorts, but continued to get shocked the next 3 times I touched it (from any part of the metal shell). Even after switching it off and on, the electric charge was still there. The machine still worked fine, just that I couldn't touch any metal parts with my bare hands.

I haven't moved it at all so there's no reason for something to have come loose. It's a european machine (240V) using a 2 pin plug.

I assume the next step is to open it up and look for a loose/bare wire?

Any other advice?

Thanks
Sing
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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,427
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
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Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Tue Oct 18, 2011, 10:26pm
Subject: Re: Electrical shock from machine
 

If it was a bare wire you probably would have been electrocuted. First, the machine should probably be grounded. I wonder if it had the incorrect plug installed? Was it new? I know many European appliances (at least in England) are sold without plugs due to lack of standardization.. at least it use to be that way.

Ungrounded... 240 volts.. no GFCI? I would have someone who knows what they are doing check it out. While it could be an inductive charge, it could also be a faulty heating element or other problem that will kill you. I have had a LOT of great coffee, but none I would literally die for.

 
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Ian
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Ian
Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 1,471
Location: England

Espresso: Euro2000,Rancilio
Grinder: Mazzer,La Cimbali
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Drip: Belgique for emergencies
Roaster: Primas with variac
Posted Wed Oct 19, 2011, 1:28am
Subject: Re: Electrical shock from machine
 

frcn Said:

If it was a bare wire you probably would have been electrocuted. First, the machine should probably be grounded. I wonder if it had the incorrect plug installed? Was it new? I know many European appliances (at least in England) are sold without plugs due to lack of standardization.. at least it use to be that way.

Ungrounded... 240 volts.. no GFCI? I would have someone who knows what they are doing check it out. While it could be an inductive charge, it could also be a faulty heating element or other problem that will kill you. I have had a LOT of great coffee, but none I would literally die for.

Posted October 18, 2011 link

^ Yeah that.

As you're still getting shocks with it turned off, I would suspect it is static especially if you have synthetic flooring. Maybe try some different footwear and if that doesn't make a difference then you really need a voltmeter.

Ian

 
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Ian
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Ian
Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 1,471
Location: England

Espresso: Euro2000,Rancilio
Grinder: Mazzer,La Cimbali
Vac Pot: Cona-->CraigA
Drip: Belgique for emergencies
Roaster: Primas with variac
Posted Wed Oct 19, 2011, 1:36am
Subject: Re: Electrical shock from machine
 

frcn Said:

I know many European appliances (at least in England) are sold without plugs due to lack of standardization.. at least it use to be that way.

Posted October 18, 2011 link

Hi Randy, it used to be like that until the H&S nannies got their way... it was a gauge of your manhood how fast you could wire up a three-pin plug. Now they come moulded on (and probably inspected by someone in a hard hat, flouro vest and government licence).

 
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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,427
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
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Posted Wed Oct 19, 2011, 6:22am
Subject: Re: Electrical shock from machine
 

Ian Said:

Hi Randy, it used to be like that until the H&S nannies got their way... .

Posted October 19, 2011 link

I kind of thought so, but then wondered why an appliance that "mixes" water and line current wasn't grounded. With all the H&S concerns, laws, and regulations, it seems odd in this case. I wonder if the machine was purchased used, and the PO messed with it for some reason...?

 
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MattINLA
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Joined: 2 Oct 2009
Posts: 93
Location: Glendale
Expertise: Professional

Posted Sun Nov 13, 2011, 8:13pm
Subject: Re: Electrical shock from machine
 

LATE FOLLOW UP  I BET you are running into a very subtle problem I have run into as a professional espresso machine technician.  You may very well have a HEATING ELEMENT that is slightly shorting to ground - but still works FINE!  The TEST of this is - see if a GFCI trips with this machine, sure it does.  Disconnect the heating element if it no longer causes a shock, THIS is definitely the problem.
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WobblyGoblin
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Joined: 6 Jul 2005
Posts: 14
Location: London, UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Nov 18, 2011, 4:11am
Subject: Re: Electrical shock from machine
 

You have probably solved the problem by now, but if not I may be able to help.

I think I had a similar problem - EU (2-pin) plug but plugging into UK (3-pin) sockets.  When my machine was turned on at the plug, but turned off on the machine I received a mild shock from the metal of the machine.  Just an unpleasant tingling.  When the machine was turned on the problem didn't occur.  After a bit of research online it seemed the most likely cause was a poorly grounded plug.  Sure, enough, I changed the plug adapter and the problem stopped.

I think this would be worth a try for you.  However, if in any doubt I would definitely call in an electrician - as someone previously said, coffee is great but probably not worth dying over.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,853
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
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Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Fri Nov 18, 2011, 7:30am
Subject: Re: Electrical shock from machine
 

Like I posted in my rebuild silvia thread, it still worked and heated the water but it isn't exactly isolated from contact with water anymore, causing a real hazard to anyone working with the machine.

calblacksmith: can i use it again.jpg
(Click for larger image)

 
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__________
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Joined: 12 Sep 2006
Posts: 919
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Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Machine now fixed ;o)
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Posted Fri Nov 18, 2011, 5:56pm
Subject: Re: Electrical shock from machine
 

Hello, irrelevancy

Using a 2 pin plug for this machine is not a good idea. However - is it a "Schuko" type plug, which has the earth (ground) connectors not as pins but on the edge of the plug ? - if so, not all plug converters on the market (especially the "travel" ones) connect to these properly, and it leaves you with an unearthed appliance.  Fully connecting converters can be bought though.

Best solutions (in no particular order):-

Have the plug replaced with a proper 3-pin plug. I think the standard in Singapore is a 3 flat pin fused plug the same as we use in the UK ? If you live in a country that uses fused plugs (they are fused for a very good reason which is to do with the type of cabling structure used in those countries), you must never use a non-fused plug on an appliance, unless it is used via a fused plug converter.

Have the machine checked over by someone with a meter that is able to detect even tiny current leakages (from the heater element in particular).

Run the device only from a socket which is RCD (Residual Current Device) protected, or use a plug-in type RCD unit between the socket and the plug of the appliance. If this trips, there is definitely a current leakage somewhere which has to be fixed.  Most likely suspect is the heater.

Please don't take risks with 230v - or any voltage for that matter - I was always taught "Volts only jolts, it's mills that kills".

Hope you get it all safely sorted out.
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Wayne99Rob
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Nov 2012
Posts: 2
Location: southern ontario
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: R58
Grinder: mini mazzer electronic
Posted Thu Nov 29, 2012, 7:14am
Subject: Re: Electrical shock from machine
 

My Gaggia 120 volt was doing the same thing.
Service tech said the hot and neutral wires were reversed.
Not sure if this would apply for the 240 volt.
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