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Silvia - I think she's dead! - HELP
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Frost
Senior Member
Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 2,105
Location: Sierra
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Lelit PL53
Roaster: Poppery I w/variac, MET, BT
Posted Sat Mar 10, 2012, 9:32am
Subject: Re: Silvia - I think she's dead! - HELP
 

You can test the heater element with a 'multi-meter'. Check resistance to ground/boiler (that will trip GFI) and resistance of the element.
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jgottlieb
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Oct 2007
Posts: 15
Location: Denver, CO
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed May 16, 2012, 3:23pm
Subject: Re: Silvia - I think she's dead! - HELP
 

Ok, so an update.  I apologize as I had to move and the Silvia repair had to take a back seat.

So I finally took the machine apart and pulled out the boiler.  I've included some photos.  There was probably a good 3/4 inch of sediment in the bottom of the boiler.  There is some residue on the actual heating element which I've tried to clean up (no idea on the best way).

The photos can be found here:
http://imgur.com/a/DrCgO

I also cleaned out the 3-way solenoid which had gotten completely clogged.

So to refresh everyone on the initial issue, the boiler seemed to be going crazy, overheating etc.  I have a feeling it might have gotten left on too long boiled dry.  Anyway, at some point suddenly the boiler spit out all this nasty stuff which I now realize was all the silt which for some reason or another had gotten stirred up (guessing the boiler thermostat got stuck and overheated?)  This clogged the 3-way solenoid of course and then I started having the machine trip the GFI breaker.

So, now I've torn it down and cleaned it up... My big question is, is there anyway to know whether I actually need to order a replacement boiler or not.  Before I spend $125 on a new boiler I really want to see if I can authoritatively say whether the boiler is dead or not.

Should I just put humpty dumpty back together again and see if it sorts itself out?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Joshua

And I apologize for the X-post... But there were different people offering different advice on this forum and home-barista.com.  I just wanted to update this thread as well.
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PJK
Senior Member
PJK
Joined: 21 Jan 2002
Posts: 2,319
Location: Shingle Springs CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancillo Silvia, Tonic...
Grinder: Modified Rocky, Elma side...
Vac Pot: Old Silex
Drip: Melitta BCM 4  +Some old...
Roaster: Hottop, Modified Z&D,...
Posted Wed May 16, 2012, 10:11pm
Subject: Re: Silvia - I think she's dead! - HELP
 

Carefully look at the heating element. If you see even a pin hole the heating element is gone.  If you don't see a hole but wan't to be sure before putting it together  measure the resistance from one of the heater terminals to the case.  It should be many megohms.  To be even more sure submerge the heater in some salty water while you are making the measurement.  Be sure you keep the outside of the boiler dry as you make the measurement.

Phil

jgottlieb Said:

Ok, so an update.  I apologize as I had to move and the Silvia repair had to take a back seat.

So I finally took the machine apart and pulled out the boiler.  I've included some photos.  There was probably a good 3/4 inch of sediment in the bottom of the boiler.  There is some residue on the actual heating element which I've tried to clean up (no idea on the best way).

The photos can be found here:
http://imgur.com/a/DrCgO

I also cleaned out the 3-way solenoid which had gotten completely clogged.

So to refresh everyone on the initial issue, the boiler seemed to be going crazy, overheating etc.  I have a feeling it might have gotten left on too long boiled dry.  Anyway, at some point suddenly the boiler spit out all this nasty stuff which I now realize was all the silt which for some reason or another had gotten stirred up (guessing the boiler thermostat got stuck and overheated?)  This clogged the 3-way solenoid of course and then I started having the machine trip the GFI breaker.

So, now I've torn it down and cleaned it up... My big question is, is there anyway to know whether I actually need to order a replacement boiler or not.  Before I spend $125 on a new boiler I really want to see if I can authoritatively say whether the boiler is dead or not.

Should I just put humpty dumpty back together again and see if it sorts itself out?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Joshua

And I apologize for the X-post... But there were different people offering different advice on this forum and home-barista.com.  I just wanted to update this thread as well.

Posted May 16, 2012 link


 
Philip J. Keleshian
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,947
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 Thu May 17, 2012, 4:47am
Subject: Re: Silvia - I think she's dead! - HELP
 

That heater has had a tough life.
You need to be POSITIVELY certain that there is no issue with the element.

If in doubt, spend the money and replace it, you have gone through all the trouble of taking it all apart and to put it back together with a marginal element, in my OPINION, would be a shame.

When you do reassemble, I advise using SS screws in place of the carbon steel ones that are stock. You can buy them at a good hardware store for only a couple of bucks..... much more for each screw online from a parts house from what I remember when I looked. I think I paid about 35 cents each at Mc Fadden Dale hardware (an industrial hardware store, not a big box store though a big box store MAY have the screws)

Another way to look at things is that you have had good service for a lot of years, for the same machine new or on the used market you will spend a lot more to replace it than to repair it and if you repair it, you will have a like new machine on the inside..... where it counts most.  This is the time also to consider a PID upgrade, this will drastically improve that machine.

Just a few random thoughts.
Good luck!

 
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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