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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Silvia making...  
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ethom
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 65
Location: Pittsburgh
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar, Silvia broken :o(
Grinder: Vario
Drip: Bosch
Posted Tue Dec 4, 2012, 8:57am
Subject: Silvia making awful noise
 

I'm afraid I have a problem with my new (used) Rancilio Silvia.  

After buying it used on eBay, I tested it for function, backflushed, descaled, removed the brew screen and cleaned the loose bits with Cafizza.  I've been practicing pulling shots and trying to steam milk for a few days while waiting for a new grinder to arrive which will be today :o)  

Last night, I moved her from a cleaning/testing area to a more permanent location.  This morning, I went to prime the pump and, instead of the low hum, a very loud higher pitched clacking noise came from inside when the brew switch was on.  The hot water switch brings the normal hum and water flows from the wand.  With mild panic, I came here and looked for similar experiences.

I find no loose metal parts and the reservoir shelf doesnít appear to be touching anything.  I moved her carefully, so I donít see how anything could have dislodged, but who knows?  I havenít removed any panels yet to look inside.  

I let her heat up and hit the brew switch for a couple seconds and this time she gave the normal low hum and water came from the brew head.  I prepped a shot and started pulling it fine when the hum gave way to clacking.  Switching it on and off a few times got the pump to come on normally again and the shot pulled OK, but toward the end gave way to the clacking and the shot stopped flowing.  It seems that when the clacking is going on no water gets through the head.

After looking around the forums and the web in general, it seems that a solenoid valve may be going bad.  Is there any maintenance or testing I can do?  Is this the three way solenoid valve?  Any other ideas or suggestions, please?
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zedex
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 129
Location: B.C Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Spaz v2
Grinder: vario
Posted Tue Dec 4, 2012, 11:40am
Subject: Re: Silvia making awful noise
 

Probably the pump is going. My silvia did that a few times. I pulled the back off and the pump is basically hanging on rubber straps. The water line was clacking against the machine because the pump had moved a bit and was not sucking or pushing properly. Hang the pump properly so nothing is vibrating against the machine. Make sure both those water lines in you water tank are submerged. Run more water through the steam valve to make sure boiler is full of water. Try another shot. My problem like yours went away .
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ethom
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 65
Location: Pittsburgh
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar, Silvia broken :o(
Grinder: Vario
Drip: Bosch
Posted Tue Dec 4, 2012, 9:57pm
Subject: Re: Silvia making awful noise
 

Here's a theory.  Let me know what you think.  Help, please!

When I moved the machine to another room, I used a different wall outlet on a different circuit - possibly one thatís not grounded, which I never thought of until later.  Itís an old house that was wired some time ago and while Iíve been renovating and upgrading much of it, that outlet hasnít been touched.  I have been using it for other coffee and espresso machines and grinders and never had an issue.  Is Silvia more sensitive to electric feed than a little DeLonghi pump machine?  Could that ungrounded circuit have been the cause of the clacking noise?

Another thing I noticed is that if the boiler was not heating, there was no clacking; but when the heat light came on, the clacking started. Not sure if thatís significant but I thought it worth mentioning.

Figuring that only one thing really changed when I moved her, the electric outlet, I moved her back.  Well, the clacking stopped.  But new problems have arrived.

  1. The boiler light never goes off and if I leave the machine on for a while, steam will come out of the wand with no buttons switched on except the main power. Could the brew thermostat be shot or needing to be reset somehow?  The safety thermostat tripped once after I moved her back but hasnít happened since.   What should I test?

  2. Another thread about a similar noisy condition suggested removing the three way valve and soaking it in Cafiza.  With that info, I thought a back flush might help and be less disruptive (would I be able to put it back together correctly crossed my mind).  Also, having had this machine for less than a week and not knowing how it was maintained, I thought another back flush might be a good idea (I did one a couple days earlier).  The back flush went OK, though I got some steam flash and had to cool through the wand.  During the rinse, though, I never could get the water to clear.  Soap was gone, but the water was still brownish.  I then saw that the water from the brew head and wand were also brown, like weak tea brown.  So, I did another descaling, which went as expected with some pale greenish water that rinsed away.  However, now comes the second problem.  

It seems that when the boiler is heated, the water comes out brown to greenish brown; itís really pretty dark and unappetizing.  Some white sediment like fine sand also collects in the bowl Ė not much but itís easily visible.  If I flush with the boiler cool, I can eventually get the water to come out clear.  But as soon as I heat her up, here comes the ugly brown water.

What is going on?  Do I need to just keep flushing under heat or am I doing damage because the thermostat may be shot?

Please help.  I was so looking forward to learning to make good espresso and my Vario arrived today, which is a story for another thread, but I seem to be stuck in a downward spiral.
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ethom
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 65
Location: Pittsburgh
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar, Silvia broken :o(
Grinder: Vario
Drip: Bosch
Posted Wed Dec 5, 2012, 12:06pm
Subject: Re: Silvia making awful noise
 

Hereís hoping that a photo will help.  This water came from the brew head after the machine was on for about 10 minutes.  Leaving it on longer will make the water darker.  It is the same from the head and the wand.  A series of cool flushes can clear it, but the color comes right back after heating.

Again, the boiler light never goes off and, if left on for while, I can get steam from the wand while no buttons are on (except main power).

I've flushed at least five full reservoirs after descaling, some hot and some cool.

What steps can I take, or is she toast?

Thanks,
Tom...

PS  If my posts are too long or otherwise annoying, please let me know.

ethom: photo2_low2.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,051
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Wed Dec 5, 2012, 12:41pm
Subject: Re: Silvia making awful noise
 

ethom Said:

What steps can I take, or is she toast?

Posted December 5, 2012 link

Definitely not toast.  There are enough people on this board who've done full breakdowns and replaced just about every part inside to help you through this, so just be patient with that part of the process and you'll be up and running before you know it.

I had a Silvia for several years (in fact, at one point owned two), but never had any similar issues. I have had other internal machine problems, so I understand what you must be going through.  I am happy to have been able to call on some of the guys here (even via private email) for help...recently in fact.

The guys in the service department at Chris' Coffee Service are also really helpful.  They are just a phone call away, so if you can describe your problem to them over the phone, they can probably help.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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ethom
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 65
Location: Pittsburgh
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar, Silvia broken :o(
Grinder: Vario
Drip: Bosch
Posted Wed Dec 5, 2012, 12:57pm
Subject: Re: Silvia making awful noise
 

Thank you for the encouraging words, emradguy.  

I found a post that suggested seeing if a GFCI outlet trips.  Indeed, the instant I turn on the main switch the GFCI trips.

Bad, huh?
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Frost
Senior Member
Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 2,090
Location: Sierra
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Lelit PL53
Roaster: Poppery I w/variac, MET, BT
Posted Wed Dec 5, 2012, 1:07pm
Subject: Re: Silvia making awful noise
 

ethom Said:

................ the instant I turn on the main switch the GFCI trips.

Bad, huh?

Posted December 5, 2012 link

The heater element has fried.
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zedex
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 129
Location: B.C Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Spaz v2
Grinder: vario
Posted Wed Dec 5, 2012, 2:31pm
Subject: Re: Silvia making awful noise
 

Yea. I would agree with this.^^^^ Since the boiler light stays on ,the water looks the way it does and the machine trips the gfi. Absolutely fixable though.
You will have to pull the boiler out and since its out clean it up real good, replace the element. Good as new.
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Frost
Senior Member
Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 2,090
Location: Sierra
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Lelit PL53
Roaster: Poppery I w/variac, MET, BT
Posted Wed Dec 5, 2012, 2:44pm
Subject: Re: Silvia making awful noise
 

Time to switch a thread over to 'mods and restorations'.  I believe the current Silvia heater element is a one-piece with the upper boiler housing.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,734
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 Wed Dec 5, 2012, 3:25pm
Subject: Re: Silvia making awful noise
 

The tripping circuit and the white powder are a dead give away. Bad heater. All one piece like said above. For a pretty through review of my rebuild on a Sylvia and some prices, check out the thread,
http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/547829

When all cleaned up I expect you will see.
Click Here (coffeegeek.com)

 
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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