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ECM Technika won't heat up - Stumped :(
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > ECM Technika...  
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sat Mar 8, 2014, 2:18pm
Subject: ECM Technika won't heat up - Stumped :(
 

Okay, I know there's an active thread right now with someone who has a Wega, but this problem may be different. First of all, my machine is less than a year old. A month ago, I came downstairs to make my morning lattes and the machine was on, but was stone cold. Pump worked, water level was okay, and the lights came on, but the boiler just wouldn't heat. I opened it up for the first time, peeked around and couldn't get to the thermostat button (the Technika is like a Chinese puzzle box, very hard to fully open). Later on, it suddenly came to life and has been running perfectly ever since. Fast Forward to a week ago, after my kitchen remodel was done, I decided to plumb in. This went very smoothly and my shots have been coming out fine (though my brew pressure is now up to like 10.5 bar, not sure if this is normal).

This morning the same thing happened. Now the machine is cold, even though it's getting power. It's not the vacuum breaker, as I tweaked the steam lever. It's not the water level sensor in the reservoir because it's now bypassed when I switched it over to plumbed. The only things I can think of are:

- PSTAT is stuck (It's a brand new Sirai) Tried gently banging on the side of the case. Nothing
- Brain has a fault (please don't let it be this)
- Some sort of power issue with my circuit?

Naturally, this happens on a Saturday when I can't call 1st Line and ask for advice. But I figured our collective brain trust here could have some ideas. Thanks!
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skydragondave
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Feb 2013
Posts: 167
Location: Ontario, Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Commercial Only
Grinder: Commercial Only
Roaster: Has Garanti HG5
Posted Sat Mar 8, 2014, 5:48pm
Subject: Re: ECM Technika won't heat up - Stumped :(
 

If there's a fitting on top of the boiler that you can remove to stick a wooden chopstick through to check the water level in the boiler, that would be a good start point.
You can pull the autofill probe wire to call for water and see if the pump activates and the autofill solenoid opens.
Sometimes if the autofill solenoid fails the machine will call for water, the pump will run continuously, and the brain will time-out the autofill sequence. If you pull the autofill wire and nothing happens, this could be it.
Not familiar with your machine exactly, but some solenoids come with an adjustable restriction or orifice to slow down the filling speed and prevent temperatures from plummeting. If this orifice or restriction is plugged, the autofill may not keep up with demand, exposing the element and overheating the thermal cutoff.
If the autofill is fine and this happened randomly with no other symptoms, check the thermal sensor for continuity across terminals. You'll need a good digital multimeter and a good familiarity with it to diagnose the problem quickly. When the machine is on, but cold, is a very good time to trace a power failure as it's difficult to discern what happened after the machine comes to life again.
Of course, if your machine is still under warranty, you can check with ECM Germany to see if there's an authorized dealer/distributor near you and get it fixed for free. A lot of people buy new machines online to get the best price but may not know there's a storefront selling them in the same city they live in that can provide service. Check with ECM, you may get lucky.
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sat Mar 8, 2014, 5:48pm
Subject: Re: ECM Technika won't heat up - Stumped :(
 

It was the high limit thermostat. I'm a dumb@ss. It was the first thing I suspected but since I was looking near the heating element I couldn't find it and gave up. I actually had to look at an exploded parts diagram to see that they were RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY FACE the whole time. Interestingly enough, ECM Germany put two thermostats on there and they had both tripped. This is the second time now and I'm kind of curious if this is cause for concern or if this just happens on HXs from time to time?
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skydragondave
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Feb 2013
Posts: 167
Location: Ontario, Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Commercial Only
Grinder: Commercial Only
Roaster: Has Garanti HG5
Posted Sat Mar 8, 2014, 6:01pm
Subject: Re: ECM Technika won't heat up - Stumped :(
 

No, I think they both tripped due to an overheat. I think you should get a look at the actual level of water in the steam boiler - it may be low causing the heating element to overheat. For extra fun, if there's still a little bit of water in there and you jostle the unit while the element is hot, the coils can explode destroying the element. So I'd get a look at the water level and go from there.
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1stline
Senior Member
1stline
Joined: 24 Jan 2002
Posts: 496
Location: Freehold, NJ USA
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Undisclosed
Grinder: Indisclosed
Vac Pot: Bodum Electric
Drip: None
Roaster: None
Posted Mon Mar 10, 2014, 9:12am
Subject: Re: ECM Technika won't heat up - Stumped :(
 

Markarian Said:

Okay, I know there's an active thread right now with someone who has a Wega, but this problem may be different. First of all, my machine is less than a year old. A month ago, I came downstairs to make my morning lattes and the machine was on, but was stone cold. Pump worked, water level was okay, and the lights came on, but the boiler just wouldn't heat. I opened it up for the first time, peeked around and couldn't get to the thermostat button (the Technika is like a Chinese puzzle box, very hard to fully open). Later on, it suddenly came to life and has been running perfectly ever since. Fast Forward to a week ago, after my kitchen remodel was done, I decided to plumb in. This went very smoothly and my shots have been coming out fine (though my brew pressure is now up to like 10.5 bar, not sure if this is normal).

This morning the same thing happened. Now the machine is cold, even though it's getting power. It's not the vacuum breaker, as I tweaked the steam lever. It's not the water level sensor in the reservoir because it's now bypassed when I switched it over to plumbed. The only things I can think of are:

- PSTAT is stuck (It's a brand new Sirai) Tried gently banging on the side of the case. Nothing
- Brain has a fault (please don't let it be this)
- Some sort of power issue with my circuit?

Naturally, this happens on a Saturday when I can't call 1st Line and ask for advice. But I figured our collective brain trust here could have some ideas. Thanks!

Posted March 8, 2014 link

Sorry, we are closed on the weekends. In addition, we are were exhibiting at Coffeefest NYC 2014 this past weekend. We just had another customer get a burned wire on the thermostat on this same machine. Sometimes, we have seen the electrical circuit cause these thermostats to trip OR cause the wire to burn the wire at the thermostats or the heating element. Power protection of 1080 joules is strongly recommended. However, an electrician can probably better speak to the best way to condition the electrical line.

 
Sincerely,
Jim Piccinich
Business Partner
1st-line Equipment, LLC
www.1st-line.com

Follow us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/1stline
Twitter: http://twitter.com/1stline
Blog: http://1st-line.blogspot.com/
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/1stlineespresso
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