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Upgrade of a lifetime
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Apeck
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Jun 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Mariposa Ca. U.S.A.
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Jun 15, 2013, 7:44pm
Subject: Upgrade of a lifetime
 

Hi all, I've been Looking around here for about 1/2 a year,looking for tips and tricks to better espresso. Finally decided to sign up, as I need to sit down with you over a cup, and ask a fiew queries. I had been using a de Longhi $110 unit with a vibratory pump. As expected, a year out it died. Tore it apart and squeaked it by another year, then started to look at upgrading the pump. I happened acrossed a Reneka on fleabay, for sale as 'parts,not running'. Well I took a chance and won the thing!
 Now after tearing it apart, and figuring out how it works, and descaling the boiler with lye, I managed to find out why they gave up on it. The boiler wouldnt fill. No power to the solinoid. Traced that to the controll box. Once I popped it off and apart, I realised the relays were corroded. unsolder them to get the covers off, and sand the points down, and back together.... and IT WORKS!
I flushed the hell out of the boiler with water after the 32hour lye soak. Then another 6-7 boiler fulls of water thru the steam, and hot water tap. (I Did take the heating element out of the boiler to inspect the inside, so I was also sure to be rid of the lye crystals too) It took that many cycles to remove the loose scale from the tubes.
I finally couldn't wait and had to try a shot. OMFG I havn't had a shot of espresso that tasty in over 10 years! Straight with no sugar or milk And im a milk and sugar with coffee guy too. Really changed the whole game of epresso for me, and my mate.
Now for the questions....
I cant seem to find much info on these Reneka single's made apperantly in '95 as the brainbox says. It appears to be missing its pump, as I see 2 wires that only are energized when a shot button is turned on for a cycle. And there is a 90* elbow hooking 2 different plastic tubes together,that seem to head to the same location as the wires. Pulling a double now takes a sickly 2 mins, So I have to assume there is a pump missing. Currently running just off the house main. Now if anyone knows if the pump is supposed to be on the water inlet before the boiler fill solinoid, or as it is now, 'T'd off at the inlet to the boiler fill solinoid, and feeding the HE. Ill have to post some picks. Thanks in advance for the help! And OMG coffeeeeeeee!
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Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,271
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Sun Jun 16, 2013, 12:11am
Subject: Re: Upgrade of a lifetime
 

I cant wait to hear what people wise in espresso years have to say about this whole thing.I mean seriously its going to be a first read tomorrow for me. Lye....a machine I've never heard of  before,
the frozen contacts...this might just be one of the most interesting things to come down the pike in awhile. Thanks for posting this.I cant wait.Cool stuff...oh yeah my hats off to your fortitude.
Is it French??? I found this just now....am I close????

http://www.reneka.com/en.html

Iluvdabean: $(KGrHqF,!jUE8DfiGepiBPN!2Bz01g~~60_3.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,786
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 Sun Jun 16, 2013, 7:11am
Subject: Re: Upgrade of a lifetime
 

Well where to start?

First, I would not use lye to descale the machine, there are many other choices such as citric acid, it is food safe and works well if a little slower.

I suppose if you do flush well you will be OK, lye is used in food processing but........ It would not be a choice I would make.

On that specific machine I don't have any info but if you can't find a pump then it uses an external rotary pump. See if your two wires are energized when the boiler fills, my guess is that they are. Most commercial machines use the pump on the boiler fill. If they are, then my guess is that the pump hooks up to the same inlet that you have hooked into the water feed.

You will likely have to replace the points as they have a hard surface and once filed or sanded, they quickly fail again but they will work for a while.

Congratulations on your trouble shooting skills, many an old machine can be saved with some care.

 
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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Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,271
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Sun Jun 16, 2013, 8:09am
Subject: Re: Upgrade of a lifetime
 

I find this stuff fascinating thanks Wayne.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,031
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sun Jun 16, 2013, 11:04am
Subject: Re: Upgrade of a lifetime
 

I see this machine around shops and craigslist.  It is a small commercial machine that I believe Boyd's coffee supplies when you buy their coffee.  I believe they have some support and parts for it. I believe the portafilter is not 58mm but I think if it is run well it could make good espresso.  Good job on finding the issue and fixing it.  It is probably made to be plumbed in and external rotary pump as Calblacksmith said.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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Apeck
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Jun 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Mariposa Ca. U.S.A.
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jun 19, 2013, 9:35pm
Subject: Re: Upgrade of a lifetime
 

Thanks for the suggestions. I used lye as it is a fast acting descaler, especially if heated near boiling. I would Not use this if I was not going to remove the heating element. Have to be sure to remove any trace of it. and a ph test agenst the local water as a standard, assures its neutral.
I managed to find a pump, and worked on installing it tonight. I also came to the same conclusion of waterline into the pump, then out to the machine( Its a rotary) This will also make installing it a ton easier as it is 1/4 " compression on the line in, and bs on the inside of the machine. I am going to look for a 'T' fitting so I can install a gauge to know the pump is actually pushing what its capable of, as I need a new boiler gauge as well, so a dual gauge is in order shortly. The old one actually blew the bordon tube open. Amazingly the safety valve seats, without leaking, and the pressure cuttout works good too. so not sure why the gauge failed so drastically.  I was looking around the inside tonight and one of the lined blew off the compression fittings,so i had a quick replumbing, and eliminated that 90* fitting and another tube to nowhere.Tomorrow i need to pick up a 1/4" flex line, and install an external plug into the bottom of the Reneka, so I can just unplug the pump if service is needed.  I am also wondering how much load the relays in the brainbox can handle. 1/4 hp is a lot more load than a vibe pump.debating installing a relay too.
And a Ps. As far as upgrade of a lifetime, I never thought I would manage to save enough to get out of the De longhi that this unit replaced. I know there are much better machines than the Reneka out there. This just happened to be in my price range.
We We! why indeed it is French! lluvdabean.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,786
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 Jun 20, 2013, 5:40am
Subject: Re: Upgrade of a lifetime
 

It sounds like you have a handle on things. The machine was designed for a rotary pump so no worries about it being able to handle it, commercial machines do not use a vibe pump.

 
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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Buckley
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2011
Posts: 423
Location: Internet
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Jun 20, 2013, 6:04am
Subject: Re: Upgrade of a lifetime
 

Dear Apeck,
Good job and good luck.
You will have to educate me about lye as a descaler because it is exactly the opposite reagent on the acid-base axis that you want to be using.

Apeck Said:

I used lye as it is a fast acting descaler, especially if heated near boiling..

Posted June 19, 2013 link

Still...if you examined inside the boiler and the heating element and you are satisfied with your restoration of these surfaces, who am I to disagree?
Do you have plumbing experience?  Lye is a fast acting unclogging agent because it dissolves organic matter in drain pipe clogs.
Without going into the chemistry, scale buildup is the deposition of inorganic ionic salts on surfaces and these are dissolved back into solution with acids, not alkalies like lye.  I tend to think the boiling was what accelerated the release of the scale, not the lye.
Teach me something if I am wrong.  Again, I would not argue with your success, but for maintenance purpose, you might want to read up on standard water treatment for espresso machine boilers and standard descaling techniques.

Buckley
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