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Francis Francis X1 leaking espresso before brew switch
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hiwatt25
Junior Member


Joined: 2 Feb 2014
Posts: 3
Location: Saint Paul, mn
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Feb 2, 2014, 9:06am
Subject: Francis Francis X1 leaking espresso before brew switch
 

I recently picked up a nice, used FFX1 on Craigslist.  The seller was getting rid of it because the steam wand wasn't working correctly.  I used to build espresso machines for Acorto and so a little work and I was able to get it running.  

Since then, espresso has been trickling through before I flip the brew switch and I haven't been as lucky trying to diagnose/fix the problem.  

I feel there must be a seal someplace that is allowing the hot water to pass before the switch is flipped but I don't know where it might be.  Am I correct in assuming that flipping the brew switch trips a relay that opens the valve, allowing hot water through?  If so, it seems the valve would be all the way open or all the way closed and water wouldn't just trickle through.  

Any thoughts where to look or what to check/replace?  I would love a repair manual but I can't find one online.  

Thanks, in advance
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SStones
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SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 452
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 Sun Feb 2, 2014, 1:44pm
Subject: Re: Francis Francis X1 leaking espresso before brew switch
 

I doubt it trips a relay, that would raise the production cost, but if there is a proper three-way-valve used in that machine as a brew valve, then the brew switch would energize it directly.
I'm not entirely sure I believe you that it even has a brew valve. When I look at pictures from googling "Francis Francis x1", it looks like the sort of little disposable machine that would be built with only a valvolina (Spring loaded, rubbery check-valve on the boiler outlet) and no proper brew valve at all.  Have you opened it and confirmed that there is one?  You could be right. I know Asscaso is building machines that look a lot like their old valvolina machines but now have a tiny three-way valve in them.

Anyway, if it's just that your machine drips past the valvolina when it's heating up, clean the rubber tip and seat.
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hiwatt25
Junior Member


Joined: 2 Feb 2014
Posts: 3
Location: Saint Paul, mn
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Feb 2, 2014, 6:24pm
Subject: Re: Francis Francis X1 leaking espresso before brew switch
 

I guess I made some assumptions about what's going on inside and they are potentially wrong.  I've got the cover off, so I'll take a look and see what I find.  Thanks for the quick reply.
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SStones
Senior Member
SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 452
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 Sun Feb 2, 2014, 7:43pm
Subject: Re: Francis Francis X1 leaking espresso before brew switch
 

Can you post a photo of it with the top off?
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SStones
Senior Member
SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 452
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 Sun Feb 2, 2014, 8:26pm
Subject: Re: Francis Francis X1 leaking espresso before brew switch
 

Further scrolling in the google results led to this site selling what they refer to as a boiler bottom for a FF X1.
The heat exchange pipe visible in the picture is not threaded at the top, so I have to assume it doesn't pass through the boiler, it has to be a valvolina type machine.
If you take the shower filter off and unscrew the gland that the shower was screwed into, you'll find the valvolina and the spring that tried to hold it closed against boiler pressure. If you hover your mouse over the "Bottom view" picture on that sales-site, you can actually see the little gland in the middle of the pictured one.
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hiwatt25
Junior Member


Joined: 2 Feb 2014
Posts: 3
Location: Saint Paul, mn
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Feb 3, 2014, 2:56pm
Subject: Re: Francis Francis X1 leaking espresso before brew switch
 

]So, I messed with it more last night and found that you are totally correct about the valve.  I can see the check valve you mentioned above and I can even feel it's resistance when I push on it.  So I can just unscrew the gland to get the spring out?  It looks like I need a wide, flat screwdriver to get it out unless there is some other trick that I'm not seeing.  So far, I haven't had much luck.

Click Here (i265.photobucket.com)
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SStones
Senior Member
SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 452
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 Mon Feb 3, 2014, 8:01pm
Subject: Re: Francis Francis X1 leaking espresso before brew switch
 

hiwatt25 Said:

So I can just unscrew the gland to get the spring out?  It looks like I need a wide, flat screwdriver to get it out unless there is some other trick that I'm not seeing.

Posted February 3, 2014 link

That's correct. You obviously want to be careful not to chip away the gland and make it more difficult. Easier said than done.
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