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Silvia making awful noise
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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, 5:29pm
Subject: Re: Silvia making awful noise
 

Rats!  I just got this machine.  C'est la vie.

Here is a photo of the inside showing the boiler type.  Can I assume it is the one with the brazed-in heater coil?  Is there such a thing as a rebuilt unit?

I found a thread that suggested testing various parts with a multimeter.  Is there any point in this case or should I just consider disassembling the boiler to have a look inside?

What is the white powder and where it is coming from exactly?

ethom: photo_low.jpg
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Frost
Senior Member
Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 2,089
Location: Sierra
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Lelit PL53
Roaster: Poppery I w/variac, MET, BT
Posted Wed Dec 5, 2012, 6:04pm
Subject: Re: Silvia making awful noise
 

You can unplug the heater element and put an ohm meter on the element & measure across to the boiler body. If there is any measurable resistance...
The white powder is the insulating material from inside the heater element.
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JGG
Senior Member
JGG
Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 1,377
Location: Kentucky, US
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: PID Silvia; PID Alexia
Grinder: Mazzer SJ
Roaster: Hottop D w/HTC+TC4C
Posted Wed Dec 5, 2012, 6:12pm
Subject: Re: Silvia making awful noise
 

Your boiler is the newer style with the heating element integral with the boiler shell.

My suggestion would be to take things apart first so that you can get a visual on the heating coil before spending money on a replacement boiler.  If you are seeing white powder, though, I agree with what others have said about a probably-fried heater.

The white stuff is some kind of mineral insulation.  The insulation lies between the inner nichrome wire element and the outer metal shell of the heater coil.  On a failed element, that metal shell will split.  This releases the mineral insulation as well as providing an electrical path through the water from the nichrome wire to the brass boiler.  The fault current passing through the boiler shell is what trips your GFCI.

Probably not needed to say here, but under the right conditions there is a potentially lethal shock awaiting someone who touches metal on your machine while it's running in this condition.

Jim
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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, 6:39pm
Subject: Re: Silvia making awful noise
 

Thanks for your great replies!

Frost, here is a photo of the measurement.  From the other terminal the reading is 1 which I assume is infinite on this meter.  The multimeter is pretty cheap and Im not entirely sure that Im using it correctly.

JGG, your safety comment is entirely needed.  Thank you.  Lethal yikes.

Calblacksmith, your rebuild images and descriptions are going to be indispensible.

Many thanks to come, I'm sure,
Tom...

ethom: photo4_low.jpg
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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, 7:12pm
Subject: Re: Silvia making awful noise
 

Here is another issue I noticed.  During the meltdown, I saw leaking from what I thought to be the wand connection.  However, looking at the mark in the photo, it looks like the valve was or is leaking.  Before the photo, I wiped it with my finger.  I recall wiping this up once before, so it is newer.  Does this portend another part possibly needed?

ethom: photo5_low.jpg
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,047
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, 8:36pm
Subject: Re: Silvia making awful noise
 

ah, glad to see you got so much great help with your boiler/heating element problem.  

The steam wand valve I have repaired.  There are a couple of o-rings inside. Take off the wand, pull the steam/water knob off from the front of the machine (it just pulls right off, and there's a small metal clip you don't want to lose), then loosen the nut holding the copper tubing coming into the valve, and last take off the nut holding the valve in place on the frame.  Once you have the valve off, it's easiest to disassemble if you have a bench vise.  Another option is to take this opportunity to upgrade the wand to the articulating type, that's even easier, although it costs you a little bit of money.  There's a nice video on www.seattlecoffeegear.com

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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JGG
Senior Member
JGG
Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 1,377
Location: Kentucky, US
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: PID Silvia; PID Alexia
Grinder: Mazzer SJ
Roaster: Hottop D w/HTC+TC4C
Posted Thu Dec 6, 2012, 6:21am
Subject: Re: Silvia making awful noise
 

ethom Said:

Frost, here is a photo of the measurement.  From the other terminal the reading is 1 which I assume is infinite on this meter.  The multimeter is pretty cheap and Im not entirely sure that Im using it correctly.

Posted December 5, 2012 link

The multimeter seems to be reading ~180 ohms between the heater terminal and the brass boiler.  If the meter's working then this is confirmation of a damaged heater.  The resistance from either heater terminal to boiler ought to be enough megaOhms that the meter can't measure it.

Something that still bothers me, though, is the noise you reported.  A bad heater doesn't explain that.  If the noise happened while the brew switch was on, but not while the hot water switch was on, then the solenoid that operates the 3-way valve becomes the main suspect in my mind.

Jim
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,726
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 Dec 6, 2012, 6:40am
Subject: Re: Silvia making awful noise
 

The white is the insulation from the heater, I posted this above but I will put it here too, notice the white that is exposed, this is the powder you are seeing in the water. This heater did work to heat the water but as in your case, it was not safe to operate.

calblacksmith: sylviaheater.jpg

 
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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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 Thu Dec 6, 2012, 5:22pm
Subject: Re: Silvia making awful noise
 

JGG, yes I found another post somewhere that associated the noise with a badly operating 3-way valve.  But I do know that the noise started when I used the possibly ungrounded outlet, or it might have been the plug strip that couldnt handle 1100 watts.

Once I went back to the outlet that I know to be grounded, the noise never returned even after an evening of back flushing, descaling, and rinse flushing.  On the bad power, she was only brewing for 30 seconds or so total which seems to have been enough to fry the boiler.  Could the pump motor have been making the noise due to a faulty power source?   I couldnt locate where inside it was coming from.
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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 Thu Dec 6, 2012, 5:24pm
Subject: Re: Silvia making awful noise
 

I started opening her up but realized that the boiler likely still has water in it.  Is there a way to drain it before dismantling the boiler?
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