goodlookin1 Senior Member Joined: 12 Apr 2010 Posts: 18 Location: Sacramento, CA Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Expobar Office Grinder: Vanelis Minipro III
Posted Mon Nov 26, 2012, 5:18pm Subject: Expobar Pulsar Leaking Steam near Boiler
Been a little while since I last posted. My last post was regarding my Expobar Pulsar and trying to modify it to extract the flavors that I was looking for. Well after giving up for a long time, I had a renewed desire to get it right. I've been messing with the pstat and the brew pressure and have gotten it really close to how I like it, but my machine just started leaking steam from the inside area near the boiler. Group head temperature doesnt go above 205 after letting it sit, and since then I have actually turned the pstat back down about half a turn (counter-clockwise). But I also havent let it sit too long because it leaks so much steam. It seems that the steam wand has more pressure than usual too even after turning it down. Strange, but it's almost as if it seems like it has gotten worse since turning it down! I just bought a new pressure relief valve because I have had issues in the past with it leaking. I havent received it yet so I dont know if that will fix the problem.
I have rigged up the machine so that I can have it open and turned on to see where the steam is leaking from, but it is too difficult to tell: That steam is HOT! All I know is that the group head doesnt seem to affect the leaking too much.....I can flush the group head and the leaking steam will not stop until the vibe pump is kicked on to refill the boiler. However, if I open up the steam wand even a little, the leaking steam completely goes away until either closed or about 20 seconds after closing on a long steam draw (once pressure builds up again). Because of this, my thinking is that there is something wrong with the steam element and the leak is likely not coming from the relief valve.
In any case, I think at this point I should just take it to Vanelis in Rocklin, CA and have them take a look at it. I'm sure they've seen it all. I was just trying to avoid spending more money near the holidays.
Anyway, if anyone has any ideas, let me know.
EDIT: I should note that the steam does not start leaking until the group head is reading about 140 or so. It starts slowly and just gets worse and worse.
Haha, that would go over well: "Excuse me lady, will you stick your hand in my espresso machine and see where it's leaking?" Good chance I'd get slapped on the account of her thinking what I said was a euphamism :-)
My machine has a sensor under the water bin so that if the water bin is off it's normal position or empty, it will turn off any activation of the boiler and the pump. In order to get into the boiler area, you have to unscrew the entire top part, which normally holds the water. But I've already tried it: I got a separate bowl of water for the line and jerry-rigged the sensor so it would still activate.....I could still not tell where the steam was coming from :-( It's pretty much invisible hot vapor until it cools down to the point you can see the steam.
I ended up taking the machine to Vaneli's on Tuesday. I talked to the tech and he said for the age of the small pstat, it's likely that it is just dying. They usually only last 3-5 years or so. But he'd inspect it and see what was going on. I should find out by this Friday what the actual problem is.
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