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Mysterious Livia 90 overpressure
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Mysterious Livia...  
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sgreen
Senior Member
sgreen
Joined: 4 Apr 2011
Posts: 94
Location: Minneapolis
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Viblemme Replica E-61
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: Technivorm
Posted Sat Dec 31, 2011, 7:30am
Subject: Mysterious Livia 90 overpressure
 

My Livia occasionally vents the safety valve during long pours. I overdosed slightly this morning and it blew at about 30 seconds.

This doesn't happen when I backflush. Only when I overdose and even then very intermittently and typically during long pours.

When this happens, the gauge pegs to limit. That's scary, but the second I open the steam valve, it drops to or below normal making me question just what the heck is actually going on?

The machine then cycles normally and will hold temp perfectly for the rest of the day, or  week, or whenever I remember to shut it off.

I replaced the vacuum valve a couple of weeks ago and the pressurestat seems to be working perfectly. I have de-scaled too.

I'm befuddled by the contradiction between the overpressure release and the guage reading and it's immediate drop when I open the steam valve.

Any ideas as to what I'm missing?
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ethorson
Senior Member


Joined: 4 May 2009
Posts: 50
Location: Port Townsend
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Bunn ES-1A,  Bezzera BZ35
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Roaster: Homemade
Posted Sat Dec 31, 2011, 10:35am
Subject: Re: Mysterious Livia 90 overpressure
 

I rebuilt my Bezzera BZ35, which is essentially the same as the Livia 90.  My machine had a cracked heat exchanger that let high pressure water bleed into the boiler during a shot.  This would fill the boiler and cause an overpressure event.  I suspect that the crack was caused by storing the machine without draining it in freezing weather.

If the crack in your heat exchanger is very small then the short time for a backflush would not be long enough to fill the boiler while a long shot would.  You can test this hypothesis draining some water from the boiler from the hot water tap to a level just before the autofill turns on.  Then try a long shot and see if you get an overpressure event.  Then let the autofill top off the boiler and try again.  If you get an overpressure then you most likely have a cracked heat exchanger.

The heat exchanger can be repaired by unscrewing it from the boiler and having the crack brazed shut.
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sgreen
Senior Member
sgreen
Joined: 4 Apr 2011
Posts: 94
Location: Minneapolis
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Viblemme Replica E-61
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: Technivorm
Posted Mon Jan 2, 2012, 1:17pm
Subject: Re: Mysterious Livia 90 overpressure
 

That was a good suggestion, but wasn't the problem. I pulled the heat exchanger; it's in perfect condition -or at least isn't in any way obviously ruptured. I even pressurized it slightly to see if it would leak air. -it didn't.

The inside of the boiler is very clean too. No scale whatsoever. The only thing that's a little weird was that when I turned the machine upside down over the sink to empty the boiler, a short length (maybe 5 inches) of 1/4 or 3/16 inch hard plastic tubing fell out. I really wonder where that came from and/or what it was supposed to do.

The machine runs fine, I let it heat for maybe a 1/2 hour to check for leaks, used the blind filter and backflushed for an extended period of time to see if I could get anything to give. No dice, but I did eventually end up with a really good shot. That makes everything worthwhile.
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sgreen
Senior Member
sgreen
Joined: 4 Apr 2011
Posts: 94
Location: Minneapolis
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Viblemme Replica E-61
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: Technivorm
Posted Sun Feb 5, 2012, 6:25pm
Subject: Re: Mysterious Livia 90 overpressure
 

It turns out that the mysterious tubing was a length of teflon tube that acts as a siphon for the hot water tap. Apparently it had broken off and was replaced, but the old one had never been removed from the boiler. So that's one mystery solved.

I got to thinking that maybe my pressure test of the heat exchanger wasn't valid because it was cold. Given that I had isolated everything else, I bought a new one for $60  and replaced it.

ethorson was exactly correct.  Thanks for the suggestion. I would have never figured it out on my own.

Problem solved. Huzzah!
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sgreen
Senior Member
sgreen
Joined: 4 Apr 2011
Posts: 94
Location: Minneapolis
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Viblemme Replica E-61
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: Technivorm
Posted Wed Mar 7, 2012, 4:17pm
Subject: Re: Mysterious Livia 90 overpressure
 

Follow up post:

I was excited that swapping the heat exchanger seemed to have helped, until it started doing it again. Bummer.

After living with this for awhile, I finally emailed Pasquini support and received the following reply:

"Well if you replaced the heat exchanger then the only other way inside the boiler is the auto fill pipe. Meaning the auto fill valve.

You can try this, locate the 2-way solenoid valve aka auto fill valve. Follow the pipe to the boiler, unhook the pipe where it connects to the boiler. Leave the pipe loose and hold with your hand about a inch above the boiler aiming it into the opening of the boiler. Then hit the brew button, if water comes out of that pipe when pulling a shot then your 2-way is bad. Just remember to do this test when the machine is cold so there is no pressure in the boiler. Do all the unhooking first then start the machine and do a quick test. Once you find out your answer then turn off the machine."

Well, duh.

I took the valve apart, cleaned and lubed it -very lightly, and then stretched the spring. It works fine now. A replacement valve is about $100 and I'll probably need one eventually, but so far so good.

What is interesting is that my extractions are distinctly different. I had been dark roasting to avoid sour shots. Now, with what I think is probably a more optimal extraction pressure, I'm getting much more palatable shots out of lighter roasts. I'm actually curious to see if the problems I posted about Sweet Maria's Liquid Amber blend actually stemmed from a problem with my machine.
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mrskemp
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Jan 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Warren, RI
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jan 30, 2013, 9:17am
Subject: Re: Mysterious Livia 90 overpressure
 

Hi, I am in the process of fixing up a Livia 90. You mentioned replacing your heat exchanger. Where did you find one for $60? I am not sure I am going to need one, but that is a great price. Thanks.

Carter
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sgreen
Senior Member
sgreen
Joined: 4 Apr 2011
Posts: 94
Location: Minneapolis
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Viblemme Replica E-61
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: Technivorm
Posted Wed Jan 30, 2013, 9:37am
Subject: Re: Mysterious Livia 90 overpressure
 

Click Here (www.1st-line.com)

1st Line. They are terrific!
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mrskemp
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Jan 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Warren, RI
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jan 30, 2013, 9:41am
Subject: Re: Mysterious Livia 90 overpressure
 

Thanks for such a quick reply!

How does that one differ from this: Click Here (www.1st-line.com) ?

Other than price.

c
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sgreen
Senior Member
sgreen
Joined: 4 Apr 2011
Posts: 94
Location: Minneapolis
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Viblemme Replica E-61
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: Technivorm
Posted Wed Jan 30, 2013, 9:45am
Subject: Re: Mysterious Livia 90 overpressure
 

No idea. I'd call them and price check Pasquini. They are usually pretty reasonable too.
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