etherealbeats Senior Member Joined: 14 Dec 2012 Posts: 1 Location: London Expertise: Just starting
Posted Fri Dec 14, 2012, 7:30am Subject: Gaggia Classic Priming
I have a new Gaggia Classic (about a week old) and when priming the machine by opening the steam valve and turning the brew switch on, water is also coming from the group head. Should this be happening or am I doing something wrong here?
The steam wand is not large enough diameter to take the full flow of the pump. With air/steam in the boiler top, the tank vents through the wand and fills. You can hear a change in pump sound as the tank fills and water comes out the wand, and out the group. The pump loads slightly when it stops moving some air/steam. I do not get water out the group/head until water is coming out the wand and the tank is full.
Standard operation when turning on the brew switch is the solenoid to the group head opens, so water should come out of the head and the wand.
Some machines have a "hot water" button, which operates the pump but leaves the solenoid closed, so the boiler can only expel water through the steam wand.
To ensure I have primed my Classic fully, (and I have one of the older ones without a "self priming steam valve", a valve which most Classic owners plug up anyway because it malfunctions and dumps hot water back into the reservoir), I hit the steam and brew switches together. The steam switch is a double action switch, it both triggers the higher temperature loop for steam temp in the boiler, AND disables the solenoid from activating when the brew switch is flipped.
The flow of water is much greater than the boiler can heat, so you'll get steam out of the wand for a few seconds as the boiler fills, then water/steam, then water. When water comes out, the boiler is full.
Short version, hit both the steam and brew switches, open the steam valve, and after a few seconds water will flow. Your boiler is primed.
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