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Francis x5 - no pressure
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Francis x5 - no...  
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DennisBod
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Joined: 16 Feb 2014
Posts: 4
Location: MD
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Francis Francis x5
Posted Sun Feb 16, 2014, 2:28pm
Subject: Francis x5 - no pressure
 

Hi, after descaling my Francis x5 no longer has enough pressure to push water through a filled portafilter. Grinder settings have not changed, so the problem is the machine. I took off the gasket from the boiler and cleaned the four spout holes with a needle. I have de scaled the machine twice more, all to no avail. Does anybody here have any further troubleshooting suggestions?
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fnacer
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Joined: 25 Feb 2007
Posts: 465
Location: Denver
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Salvatore E61, Vivaldi Mini...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini, Gaggia MDF,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sun Feb 16, 2014, 9:31pm
Subject: Re: Francis x5 - no pressure
 

When you pull a shot, do you see any water going back into the water reservoir or flowing into the drip tray?
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DennisBod
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Joined: 16 Feb 2014
Posts: 4
Location: MD
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Francis Francis x5
Posted Mon Feb 17, 2014, 5:04am
Subject: Re: Francis x5 - no pressure
 

No.$
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,864
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 Mon Feb 17, 2014, 6:38am
Subject: Re: Francis x5 - no pressure
 

I think we have some term differences going on.

You said you removed the gasket from the boiler, did you disassemble the machine with tools or did you remove the group gasket from the brew head where the Portafilter fits?

What 4 spout holes? Where are they located?

When you descaled the machine, that was with a chemical such as Citric acid, right?

Did you take any of the machine apart using tools (covers and sheet metal panels)?

What prompted you to descale the machine? How was it operating before you descaled it?

Have you forced water through the pump so that we know for a fact that there is no trapped air in the pump?

Is ANY water moving through the machine with a coffee filled portafilter and coffee basket in place?

Is any water moving through the machine without the portafilter and coffee basket in place?

 
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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DennisBod
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Joined: 16 Feb 2014
Posts: 4
Location: MD
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Francis Francis x5
Posted Mon Feb 17, 2014, 7:28am
Subject: Re: Francis x5 - no pressure
 

Hi Wayne - please see below.

You said you removed the gasket from the boiler, did you disassemble the machine with tools or did you remove the group gasket from the brew head where the Portafilter fits?
What 4 spout holes? Where are they located?

  • I started from the portafilter side and used a screwdriver to remove the circular, perforated screen. There is a brass water outlet part which has several smaller holes. I figured that these could be clogged maybe so tried to clean them.

When you descaled the machine, that was with a chemical such as Citric acid, right?
  • Yes. I first used cleancaf, then a citric acid solution ( 1.5 tsp/1 liter of water). First time I quickly ran it through two reservoirs of water, 2nd time, with the citric acid, I let it run through 1/3d of the reservoir, wait 20 mins, run again, etc. to give the solution time to soak.

Did you take any of the machine apart using tools (covers and sheet metal panels)?
  • Yes. I opened the machine's top metal lid to see if there was anything obviously wrong. There was some coffee residue on the bottom but overall the machine looked fine. No leaks.

What prompted you to descale the machine? How was it operating before you descaled it?
  • I try to clean my machine regularly, and thought it worked fine beforehand.

Have you forced water through the pump so that we know for a fact that there is no trapped air in the pump?
  • No. That's a good idea. How do I do this - open the steam knob an let the machine run?

Is ANY water moving through the machine with a coffee filled portafilter and coffee basket in place?
  • Yes, but just drips come out. (and the coffee has not changed!)

Is any water moving through the machine without the portafilter and coffee basket in place?
  • yes.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,864
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 Mon Feb 17, 2014, 8:56am
Subject: Re: Francis x5 - no pressure
 

Hi again, well lets see what we can do.

So you removed the dispersion screen from the group head and had access to the water channels behind it. I could not hurt to try to clear them but it is unlikely they were clogged.

It sounds like the descale went to plan. I am not doubting you, just more info was needed :D

It is great that you are taking care of the machine, so often owners don't have a clue.

So it was working fine before the descale and the descale was just normal maint not an attempt to repair a problem. OK.

You are getting some pressure but not enough it seems. As you can move water through the puck proves. I suspect that without the PF in place, the water flow is much better..

I do not remember if there is a OPV or pressure regulation valve in that machine. If you get a gauge from the hardware store, even Harbor Freight, something that reads in bar is best but PSI works too, connect it to the outlet of the PF or put a block (back flush disc) in the PF and attach the gauge to the steam wand, even slipping a hose over the arm and holding with a hose clamp is OK, then see how much pressure you are making in the pump. If using the wand, open the steam valve at brew temp, with the block in the PF (back flush disc) turn the pump on to brew, you should get at least 8 but 9 bar is better,  you should get about 130 or so if using PSI.

This will test the pump. It is possible that a bit of scale or something is lodged in the pump valves thus preventing the proper build up of pressure, I doubt the pump has failed in one big shot, most often, they slowly fail, getting weaker and weaker. If it happened all at once, I suspect scale or dirt in the valves.

As the water is flowing through the pump with no PF in place, it is very unlikely that there is any air trapped in the lines.

 
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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DennisBod
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Feb 2014
Posts: 4
Location: MD
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Francis Francis x5
Posted Mon Feb 17, 2014, 9:09am
Subject: Re: Francis x5 - no pressure
 

Thanks for your reply! I will look to try the back flush test but don't have the equipment lying around. Would it be possible to take the pump out and clean/inspect it manually?
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,864
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 Mon Feb 17, 2014, 1:31pm
Subject: Re: Francis x5 - no pressure
 

Well, sure. I was just trying to help you check the pressure without taking the machine apart.

It really is a simple device to make. Some tube that slips over the steam wand and a barb fitting that fits inside the tubing and a couple of hose clamps, so far about $5. To this, an inexpensive gauge that can be bought from places like Harbor Freight for $10 connect the barb hose fitting to the gauge and you have the tool you need to check pressure. This is for a liquid filled gauge to minimize pulsation but a dry gauge can be bought at the same place for about half that.
http://www.harborfreight.com/200-psi-filled-gauge-68251.html

The pump may or may not have issues, the gauge will tell you how much pressure it is making. Oh, btw, a small disk of rubber to place in the PF under the coffee basket and inside the PF so the water can not get out is need too.

Or you could take the pump out and check it manually but that is  a much bigger job and if the problem is someplace else then you did a lot of work for not much gain. Most machines use the same Ukla pump, or one of the very similar slight variations, nearly all are interchangeable with each other.

 
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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