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Discussions > Espresso > Espresso Mods > Isomac Relax...  
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ebprod
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Joined: 22 Oct 2002
Posts: 80
Location: St Paul, MN
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Vivaldi S1 VII
Grinder: vario
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Sat Feb 8, 2014, 10:56pm
Subject: Isomac Relax problems
 

Several years ago I upgraded to a Vivaldi II and gave my Isomac Relax to my daughter.  The Relax worked fine until recently, when she informed me the machine was not heating the water.  Without looking at it, I ordered a heating element.  I had replaced the element at another time and assumed the problem would be the same.

After replacing the element the machine seems fine at first- green light came on, but again the water didn't heat.  I went back and checked the old element and it was fine.  So next I removed the in-line fuse and checked it, again it was fine.  However, after putting the fuse back in, now the water pump won't shut off.  Water flows out of the top of the boiler through the expansion valve.

I'm thinking that it might be the control board.  Before I spend the money, what else should I check out?

-Joel
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dana_leighton
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dana_leighton
Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 1,938
Location: Little Rock, AR
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Relax; Caferina...
Grinder: Macap MXK; Baratza Vario-W;...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: Technivorm; CCD; Melitta
Roaster: Poppery I w/PID controller
Posted Sun Feb 9, 2014, 7:22am
Subject: Re: Isomac Relax problems
 

ebprod Said:

After replacing the element the machine seems fine at first- green light came on, but again the water didn't heat.  I went back and checked the old element and it was fine.  So next I removed the in-line fuse and checked it, again it was fine.  However, after putting the fuse back in, now the water pump won't shut off.  Water flows out of the top of the boiler through the expansion valve.

I'm thinking that it might be the control board.  Before I spend the money, what else should I check out?

Posted February 8, 2014 link

Joel - The most likely candidates for the first problem are the pressurestat, Giemme box, and the SSR. It is tempting to assume the water level problem is related, but I wouldn't be so sure. For the lack of heat, the two candidates in the Giemme box are the transformer and one of the 2 relays. The transformer can be replaced if you're handy with a soldering iron. I tried removing the relays and they were a lot of work. In my opinion, it's not worth the work, but you may feel differently.

Have you checked output from the PStat? Assuming you have the original CEME PStat, if it is stuck, there would be no continuity between the COM and NC terminals (when the machine is cold). See the diagram at:
Click Here (www.home-barista.com)

Otherwise, when the machine is powered up and should be heating, you should see an LED on the SSR. If it's not lit then the SSR is bad or not getting power from the Giemme box. If you want to check to see if the Giemme box is sending current to the SSR, Pin 5 from the box should have line current on it.

The overfill problem could be the Giemme box, but could also be scale, but I presume you've been descaling...

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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dana_leighton
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dana_leighton
Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 1,938
Location: Little Rock, AR
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Relax; Caferina...
Grinder: Macap MXK; Baratza Vario-W;...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: Technivorm; CCD; Melitta
Roaster: Poppery I w/PID controller
Posted Sun Feb 9, 2014, 7:25am
Subject: Re: Isomac Relax problems
 

PS: Personally, I like having spare parts on hand, so if I have the money, I go ahead and order the suspect parts, and try replacing them and if they're not bad, just keep the spares for future failure.

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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ebprod
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Oct 2002
Posts: 80
Location: St Paul, MN
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Vivaldi S1 VII
Grinder: vario
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Sun Feb 9, 2014, 9:14am
Subject: Re: Isomac Relax problems
 

Dana,

Thanks for the help.  The pressurestat reads good.  The LED on the SSR doesn't light up, so its either bad or not getting power?  How do I test pin 5- voltage meter between it and ground?

It hasn't been descaled for a while, but it always used a water softener cartridge and the boiler looked good inside.  I'll descale it again just in case.  

-Joel
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dana_leighton
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dana_leighton
Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 1,938
Location: Little Rock, AR
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Relax; Caferina...
Grinder: Macap MXK; Baratza Vario-W;...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: Technivorm; CCD; Melitta
Roaster: Poppery I w/PID controller
Posted Sun Feb 9, 2014, 9:42am
Subject: Re: Isomac Relax problems
 

ebprod Said:

The LED on the SSR doesn't light up, so its either bad or not getting power?  How do I test pin 5- voltage meter between it and ground?

Posted February 9, 2014 link

Yes, that's what the LED is telling you.

Caution: I am not an electrician. But what I would do is NOT go to ground but rather to neutral. In my understanding of AC current (limited and probably dangerous!), the current flows between Line and Neutral. Ground provides a path for the current to flow (aside from through you) if it somehow comes in contact with the case or some other grounded part. In that situation there is an arc and a flash and lots of burning metal. I once severed a steam gauge line by accidentally shorting line current to it. :)

So you could run an alligator clip line from the neutral connector on the terminal block coming into the machine to your multimeter's black lead, and then touch pin 5 with the red lead. BE CAREFUL! (I hope someone with more electrical knowledge corrects me if I'm wrong).

The same could be done by connecting the neutral line (blue) going to the SSR's A2 terminal to the multimeter and making the connection to pin 5. If you do that, the heater should come on and you should see 120v. If not, then the box is bad (but does not also rule out the SSR).

Have you seen Eric's excellent schematic of the Millennium? It's functionally the same as the Relax except for the brew switch activation.
http://users.rcn.com/erics/Illustrations/IS_ELEC3.jpg

NOTE on his diagram, the power to the SSR is pin 6 - not sure whether it's marked 5 or 6 - look for the black wire going to the SSR.

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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ebprod
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Oct 2002
Posts: 80
Location: St Paul, MN
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Vivaldi S1 VII
Grinder: vario
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Sun Feb 9, 2014, 10:23am
Subject: Re: Isomac Relax problems
 

Dana,

I don't get any reading between pin 5 and the neutral.  So it is a bad control box?  That would also explain the pump running too- right?

Thanks.

-Joel
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dana_leighton
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dana_leighton
Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 1,938
Location: Little Rock, AR
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Relax; Caferina...
Grinder: Macap MXK; Baratza Vario-W;...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: Technivorm; CCD; Melitta
Roaster: Poppery I w/PID controller
Posted Sun Feb 9, 2014, 10:46am
Subject: Re: Isomac Relax problems
 

ebprod Said:

Dana,

I don't get any reading between pin 5 and the neutral.  So it is a bad control box?  That would also explain the pump running too- right?

Thanks.

-Joel

Posted February 9, 2014 link

I think that's right. Did you try also pin 6 on the box? It seems ambiguous from that diagram which it should be (although Stefano says pin 5).

I do not know enough about the vagaries of the box's internal schematic to say the pump running is also related. There is a guy (James Boyt) who runs a business fixing these boxes - He's over on H-B: http://www.home-barista.com/member/jpboyt/

(edit) Looking at the schematic, it is possible that the two relays inside the controller are getting stuck in opposite modes - the heat stuck open and the pump stuck closed...

The cost of these boxes is not bad - around $150 so it might be worth knowing you have a new unit especially if you are expecting this machine to be around for a while. You could contact Boyt to see what it would cost. Otherwise, Stefano's EspressoCare has good stuff at a good price and will likely help you troubleshoot as well.

I will note that the copper boilers are prone to failure at the pipe fittings. Mine failed not long ago and I had to think really long and hard about putting a $500 stainless steel boiler (now the only kind Isomac makes) into the Relax. Ultimately, I found a used copper boiler at a good price so went with it.

If you keep replacing parts, the machine will last forever. :)

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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ebprod
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Oct 2002
Posts: 80
Location: St Paul, MN
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Vivaldi S1 VII
Grinder: vario
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Sun Feb 9, 2014, 2:00pm
Subject: Re: Isomac Relax problems
 

I ordered a new control box.  I'll let you know how it works.

-Joel
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ebprod
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Oct 2002
Posts: 80
Location: St Paul, MN
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Vivaldi S1 VII
Grinder: vario
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Wed Feb 12, 2014, 2:49pm
Subject: Re: Isomac Relax problems
 

I replaced the Giemme Control Box, and it's working great!  Thanks for all the help.

-Joel
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