Wayne99Rob Senior Member Joined: 29 Nov 2012 Posts: 2 Location: southern ontario Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: R58 Grinder: mini mazzer electronic
Posted Thu Nov 29, 2012, 6:06am Subject: Electrical Shocks from a Gaggia
I have a one year old CSA approved Gaggia Classic that was giving me shocks when I touched the metal body. It is a 120 volt machine with a two pronged plug (no ground) I measured the voltage from the metal cover to ground and recorded 70- 72 volts A/C. My electrical outlets were checked out by an electrician and they were wired correct. I took my machine into the authorized service depot and it was found that the hot and neutral wires were reversed during assembly from the factory. The tech simply swapped the wires and all is good. Shame on Gaggia! That is a deadly amount of stray voltage. Has anyone else felt the same shocks?
Posted Thu Nov 29, 2012, 6:59am Subject: Re: Electrical Shocks from a Gaggia
I'm not sure why your machine doesn't have a 3 pin plug and cable (it should do - anything with mains and water in it should!), which would have shown this problem up very quickly. My (UK) Gaggia Classic is earthed internally, and the IEC connector on the back should also be earthed (it's a three pin connector) via the plug. The contacts to the IEC connector inside the machine are spade terminals, and it's easily fixed though. Also an easy mistake to make on assembly, so I guess it should have been checked!
OTOH, 72 VAC is only dangerous if you make a good low resistance contact to it, and the source resistance is low enough to supply a lethal current - I've had several 240VAC shocks (bad UK light switches and sockets) and a few 14 kV DC ones, with no damage and 72 VAC isn't particularly dangerous. Voltage doesn't kill, current does (but current increases with voltage for a given resistance) - hence the safety of static shocks, which can exceed 3 kV with a 1 mm spark gap.
SStones Senior Member Joined: 24 Nov 2012 Posts: 518 Location: Canada Expertise: Professional
Espresso: Giga 5, ECM Giotto, Rocket... Grinder: Anfim Milano-Best Vac Pot: No :( Drip: Some $30 thing from Walmart Roaster: I buy pre-roasted.
Posted Thu Nov 29, 2012, 6:41pm Subject: Re: Electrical Shocks from a Gaggia
I don't think I can believe "The hot and neutrals were reversed from the factory" is the complete answer. I don't believe that any metal bodied kitchen appliance should be grounded by its neutral conductor... Re-measure the AC voltage from body to ground with the new set up and ensure it is zero. Additionally, measure resistance from both element connections to boiler-body-brass with your ohmeter set to at least 2 million ohms maximum... If that element is cracked and shorting through boiler-water to ground, simply switching the live contact to the connector further from the crack is NOT the correct fix.
If I am wrong, I apologize for my ignorance. I am certainly not familiar with the Gaggia, but since the late 70s or so, I would be surprised to find "Lamp-Cord" kitchen appliances being stickered UR for sale in North America. Even if the element does prove to be perfectly insulated, I would want to replace the power cable (Or the machine) with something properly grounded with a three-prong plug.
Posted Thu Nov 29, 2012, 7:01pm Subject: Re: Electrical Shocks from a Gaggia
I am not sure of the answer, but my year old Classic has a 2 prong plug. It looks like they have used 2 and 3 in the past and are back to 2. I am on GFI outlet. The Gaggia Classic elements are totally external and would have to have a strange leak to contact water.
Markarian Senior Member Joined: 27 Jun 2012 Posts: 658 Location: Seattle Area Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60 Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Fri Nov 30, 2012, 3:32am Subject: Re: Electrical Shocks from a Gaggia
Found out my Oscar was hot, hot, hot after my friend was helping me install my single-hole steam tip and touched it and his elbow to my steel sink. It zapped his arm. We tested the outlets and they were good, so the bad ground must be in the machine. It still runs okay.
Posted Fri Nov 30, 2012, 6:07am Subject: Re: Electrical Shocks from a Gaggia
Hmm, the wiring diagrams here show the 230V version with a ground wire running from the plug to the boiler (which is what is in my ~2003 European Classic), but no ground wire at all on the 120V version. However, the case should not be live, even with the wires reversed, as there's no connection from neutral to the boiler or chassis.
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