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ECM Giotto Premium...major problems?
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Joined: 17 Mar 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Seattle WA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia & ECM Giotto
Grinder: Starbucks Barista
Posted Wed Jan 9, 2013, 6:07pm
Subject: ECM Giotto Premium...major problems?

Hi! I have a 2006 ECM Giotto Premium....it has been doing strange things.

1) when starting up in the morning, the pressure gauge goes up to 1 and when going to steam milk for the first time, there's a big "whoosh" and it goes down to zero and then it has to re-build again

2) after eventually being able to make coffee...the machine loses pressure, and seems to "idle" at zero pressure....it only starts to build up again if i do something like pull water from the grouphead or knock the machine

I took it in for repairs...they hit me with $160 claiming it's fixed---I WILL be taking it back there...they replaced an O-ring on the vacuum breaker initially thinking that would fix it..then 2 groundwires?!

...but it has the exact behaviour as when I took it in..nothing is fixed....any of you gurus have any ideas what this is?...very frustrated :(

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Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,265
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 Jan 9, 2013, 9:13pm
Subject: Re: ECM Giotto Premium...major problems?

1) It sounds like the vac breaker is stuck closed.
2)which gauge is at zero? This sounds normal for a pour over machine (except for the knock thing) when looking at the brew temp gauge.

In real life, my name is
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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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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 Wed Jan 9, 2013, 10:25pm
Subject: Re: ECM Giotto Premium...major problems?

I think you ought to physically look at your vacuum breaker valve when this happens.  Is it closed when the machine is off (Or just turned on but still cold)?
I believe a 2006 is as simple to look in as taking the 4 philips screws out of the corners of the top cover and lifting it away, then two more screws, lust loosened a couple of turns to slide the watershield under the lid out from covering the boiler.
Right on top of the boiler you'll see a large, brass safety valve and a smaller (Probably nickel-plated, silvery looking) vacuum breaker valve.  If you push down on the tip of that vacuumbreaker with the machine cold and off, you'll feel it move down (And stay down) if it had been stuck closed (Up is closed). If it was already down when cold, it is working properly.
If your dealer has already replaced the little o-ring on that vacuum breaker and it hasn't fixed the problem, do take it back. $160 seems like a lot of money for a tiny o-ring and a minimum labour charge.  
The issue is that when the machine is turned on, if the boiler is less than full, the pump comes on the top up the boiler.  If that valve isn't open, the air in the boiler is compressed by the inflow of water. The boiler pressure gets to the shut-off point before the water is actually at a boil and the moment you let that pressure out through the steamer, you're back to step zero.

Alternatively, if the issue isn't your vacuumbreaker, it could be the power board.  Once the powerboard gets hot the transformer inside drops in output voltage. That low voltage output is what it uses to check the water level in your reservoir and boiler.  If it gets too low it can't "See" that there is water in your reservoir and shuts off the boiler and/or it's own voltage drops too low to close it's internal relay to power your heating element... Tracing this out would require a multimeter and/or more testing tools.  If it "always happens", then it should be repeatable and possible to trace the problem.
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