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No Steam From Gaggia Baby Twin Steam Wand
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Discussions > Espresso > Espresso Mods > No Steam From...  
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Kex
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Apr 2009
Posts: 41
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia: Coffee & Baby Twin
Grinder: KitchenAid Pro Line
Vac Pot: None
Drip: None
Roaster: None
Posted Wed Jan 30, 2013, 5:36pm
Subject: Re: No Steam From Gaggia Baby Twin Steam Wand
 

Well, it's interesting to finally read of similar experiences from another user!

I got a "temporary" replacement Gaggia on eBay, so that I could stop drinking drip coffee, and I haven't really followed up on the Baby Twin dilemma, but the last time I tried it, it worked perfectly and I couldn't see where it ever managed to leak from. I did my testing with the machine propped up outside its housing so that everything was visible the whole time, and my conclusion has been (1) that scale must have caused blockages in the narrow passages of the the thermoblock boiler, (2) those blockages caused leaks that would not have occurred otherwise (even though I only used filtered water), and (3) descaling thoroughly must have cleared those blockages. I should have tested before descaling, I suppose, to verify the theory, but descaling is usually the first step of any attempts at troubleshooting.

I'll eventually buy the necessary replacement parts from Importika. Their prices were better than those available from web distributors. I'll just replace the boiler, which was about $70-80 or so, and maybe the corroded "foot" (which is purely cosmetic, of course). Strangely, perhaps, I still really like this machine, but I'm going to experiment with another eBay purchase, a Classic, and see if I think I need to add an adjustable OPV or not.

Using a single boiler Gaggia with no solenoid is a bit messy (too much dripping during warm up and flushing the group after use) and tedious (too much waiting before steaming) for my liking.
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TexSanity
Senior Member
TexSanity
Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 4
Location: Austin, TX
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Francis!Francis! X3
Grinder: LUX
Vac Pot: some day
Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013, 4:11pm
Subject: Re: No Steam From Gaggia Baby Twin Steam Wand
 

Autopsy photo #1 from Gaggia Baby Twin.

Top View

Note: Machine is upside down.  This is the steam thermoblock, not the hot water boiler.

TexSanity: gaggia2.JPG
(Click for larger image)
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TexSanity
Senior Member
TexSanity
Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 4
Location: Austin, TX
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Francis!Francis! X3
Grinder: LUX
Vac Pot: some day
Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013, 4:12pm
Subject: Re: No Steam From Gaggia Baby Twin Steam Wand
 

Autopsy photo #2 from Gaggia Baby Twin.

Side with corroded electrical connections.

Note: Machine is upside down.  This is the steam thermoblock, not the hot water boiler.

TexSanity: Gaggia1.JPG
(Click for larger image)
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TexSanity
Senior Member
TexSanity
Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 4
Location: Austin, TX
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Francis!Francis! X3
Grinder: LUX
Vac Pot: some day
Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013, 4:13pm
Subject: Re: No Steam From Gaggia Baby Twin Steam Wand
 

Autopsy photo #3 from Gaggia Baby Twin.

Other side of Thermoblock.

Note: Machine is upside down.  This is the steam thermoblock, not the hot water boiler.

TexSanity: gaggia3.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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Kex
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Apr 2009
Posts: 41
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia: Coffee & Baby Twin
Grinder: KitchenAid Pro Line
Vac Pot: None
Drip: None
Roaster: None
Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013, 5:25pm
Subject: Re: No Steam From Gaggia Baby Twin Steam Wand
 

Yup, TexSanity, that looks very similar to what I found in mine.

As I mentioned earlier, it'll really cost you about $100 to get it working again (with a replacement boiler). Quite a bit more than that depending on how much you replace. For example, there was so much corrosion on the lower painted aluminum base itself that I was considering replacing that as well. I never ordered, unfortunately (I just got busy, and my project stalled), but here are some of the prices I was quoted:

- Bleckman Boiler: $55
- Mounting bracket (that holds the boiler: $3.25
- Thermostat (which they recommend replacing): $17
- Shipping charge to Los Angeles, CA: $6

The boiler is OEM, I believe, and about $20-30 less than other Internet suppliers, I think. You probably need some nuts, bolts and screws that will have corroded through, if yours is like mine (which certainly seems to be the case). There may be other parts that you might want, depending on whether or not you can rescue the wiring, in particular, or wish to repair some cosmetic defects that were caused by the corrosion.

Personally, I think that machine is WELL WORTH SAVING if everything else is still working.

One question, though: have you been descaling? I use citric acid now, because it's cheap and effective, even though my water is always filtered. Filtered water may still leave some limescale deposits. I buy it on eBay, in bags that last about a year or so, for about $10.
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