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Machine Repair:  Cleaning Boiler, oops?
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yagobob
Senior Member
yagobob
Joined: 5 Sep 2002
Posts: 12
Location: coffee world
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: rancilio l6
Grinder: isomac
Drip: gevalia special :-(
Roaster: i-roast 2
Posted Fri Sep 6, 2002, 10:21am
Subject: Machine Repair:  Cleaning Boiler, oops?
 

Hi,

This is a follow-up to my post about replacing the heating element...

In preparing to replace the element, I opened up the boiler and found everything covered with a black "soot" like powder.  I'm guessing this is due to running the machine dry (it's 15 years old).  

I used a 'scotchbrite' pad to wash the inside of the boiler, Now the black stuff is mostly gone, but the color is now a mixture of copper-color (brass?) and silver (zinc?  nickel?).  

So my questions are:

  1.  Did I damage the inside of the boiler by scouring?
  2.  Why would there be a coating that comes off so easily? I don't want to be drinking that stuff!
  3.  What's the right way to clean the insides of the boiler and pipes?  I've heard talk of muratic acid, etc., which I don't want to use.

Cheers,
-yagobob
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jim_schulman
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jim_schulman
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,772
Location: Chicago
Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Fri Sep 6, 2002, 10:33am
Subject: Re: Machine Repair:  Cleaning Boiler, oops?
 

I'm really no expert on this. But the lack of limescale either on the heater or in the boiler in a fifteen year old machine indicates that it was used with very soft water. So the "soot" could be minor oxidation from nickel plating that was corroded over the years by that very soft water.

However, I urge you to post these questions on the alt.coffee newsgroup. Several regulars there restore machines either for a living or as a hobby, and know a heck of a lot more than me.

 
Jim Schulman
www.coffeecuppers.com
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ianicbrisson
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Joined: 3 Nov 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Montréal, Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Nov 3, 2013, 11:11am
Subject: Re: Machine Repair:  Cleaning Boiler, oops?
 

I know the thread is very old but I ran into the same issue with a NS Mac 2000 1 group that I'm cleaning up and am curious as to the cause of this black soot. I also concluded that it had run dry but envy body would care to chip in to confirm or explain? I cleaned it up thoroughly but I'm surprised by the complete absence of material deposits aside from the black soot.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,786
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Sun Nov 3, 2013, 12:31pm
Subject: Re: Machine Repair:  Cleaning Boiler, oops?
 

Jim is pretty much spot on. It is oxidation.
You will find it on the inside of brass porta filters too.
Unless there was damage I doubt it was ran dry. Many commercial machines have a safety built into them to prevent damage to the heaters if the water is too low. It ls a thermostat probe located in the element bundle.
The mixture of colors indicates that the boilr once was lined and now is missing some of the plating, possibly accelerated by your scrubbing, however it likely was thin as it was so easily removed.
You may taste some metallic taste until a thin oxidation forms on the surface of the brass.
The only danger I can see is if you are overly concerned with lead as bare brass is exposed. I sincerely doubt there will ever be any ill effects at all but in full disclosure I had to say it :-)

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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