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Izzo Alex mk1 - boiler heats but no steam?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Izzo Alex mk1 -...  
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StuffAndNonsense
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Mar 2013
Posts: 2
Location: England
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013, 10:56pm
Subject: Izzo Alex mk1 - boiler heats but no steam?
 

Hi all,

My precious Izzo Alex mk1 has developed its first fault!

The boiler comes on and the machine heats up as normal.  However, there is no steam - nothing - not even a dribble.  The valve head extends from the body when then knob is turned.  Machine run on RO water and looked after.

This only happened yesterday, and I've not had a chance to do anything other than swear about it.  Going to investigate later today.  Want to be more prepared when I do.

I assume the steam feed is taken straight from the boiler through the manual valve then out the wand with nothing else in the way.

My current guess is that the steam wand assembly is blocked / gummed up / washer crushed or something.  Are they serviceable?  Are they a pain to remove?

Is there anything else I should be looking at that could cause this fault?

Thanks,

Andy
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DavecUK
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Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,331
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Mar 8, 2013, 6:39am
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex mk1 - boiler heats but no steam?
 

The Mark one uses the older style compression steam valve (not the modern no compression ones) used gently they rarely give problems. 3 questions

  1. Do you get hot water OK from the hot water wand
  2. If you remove steam tip (just unscrew it do you get steam
  3. Do your steam valves look like the ones in the picture below

The feed is from the boiler (top) nothing in the way as you correctly assume. Answer the above 3 questions and we will be on the way to solving your problem. Steam valve disassembly is easy, so no problems there.

DavecUK: alex.JPG
(Click for larger image)
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,759
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

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Posted Fri Mar 8, 2013, 7:00am
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex mk1 - boiler heats but no steam?
 

Dave,

Do you think it's worth converting the steam valve on these machines to levers (Duetto II also)?  Or is it more just a user preference issue?

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


Joined: 7 Mar 2013
Posts: 2
Location: England
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Mar 8, 2013, 11:48am
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex mk1 - boiler heats but no steam?
 

Hi all,

I had a chance to do some more diagnostics with the machine tonight...

Everything heats fine.  Boiler water nice and warm, not too hot or cold.
Still no steam though.
Remove steam tip (yup - its hot gloves on kids!), open valve, and after a bit of a woosh noise, some small flakes (of presumably dry milk?) are blown out.
Inside of tip also has some smallish bits in.

I am pretty fastidious about keeping the machine clean, and like to think it is.

What I do; after each use I thoroughly wipe the wand, and blow out well with steam, then run through with cleaner every month or so, and descaler and a pipe cleaner maybe once a year.  Pipe cleaner comes out clean.  Is this reasonable?

Clearly, this hasn't' been enough to clean it out sufficiently (or its debris from somewhere else? Scale from the valve maybe?).  Have I just been unlucky?

I've had this cleaning routine since I got the machine around 5 years ago.

I changed to semi-skimmed around a year ago.  hmmm.

In a nutshell, crap in steam wand and all fixed now.

And yes, Dave, your picture looks incredibly like my machine :)

Thanks all,

Andy
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DavecUK
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,331
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Mar 8, 2013, 12:12pm
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex mk1 - boiler heats but no steam?
 

emradguy Said:

Dave,

Do you think it's worth converting the steam valve on these machines to levers (Duetto II also)?  Or is it more just a user preference issue?

Posted March 8, 2013 link

No, it's only user preference, the main reason levers are used in the commercial environment is speed.

As for the no steam problems and crap in the wand. I suspected a blockage in the tip or body of the wand. When steaming milk there's a couple of things that are incredibly important to keeping the inside of the wand clean....ESPECIALLY if you steam 2 lots of milk. When steaming most people purge the wand, then close it...plunge it into cold milk milk, then open the steam valve. This sucks a wand full of milk into the steam wand and is not a great way to do it. This happens of course because the steam in the hot wand condenses, reduces in volume and milk is sucked in to replace it. This is nothing to do with the  function of the vacuum breaker....it's just physics.

When purging the wand,  don't close it completely when putting it into cold milk, get into the habit of having a slowish flow of steam as you plunge the wand and try not to plunge initially too deep then go back to the surface, get it to a couple of cm in, then bring it up to surf.

When you have finished steaming, get a jug of clean cold water, blow steam out of the wand for a few seconds, close valve, plunge wand deep into cold water, you will hear it suck up the water, then turn valve on again to blow out water, raise wand out of water and repeat a few times (you won't need to fill the jug again). This will prevent a crap build-up in the steam wand. This manoeuvre can also be performed once every 6 months with a cleaning solution (whatever you deem appropriate) e.g. detergent.

Dave

This of course doesn't work that well with no burn wands, so you have to use other methods to clean those.
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