week 2 with S1-removing the steam boiler and descale

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week 2 with S1-removing the steam boiler and descale

Post by jbb » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:45 am

As a recap, I purchased secondhand a 2004 V1. Once plumbed in, after several days the pump started to go and I received great help here talking me through the diagnosis. Sorry for the following stream of question; I feel a bit like the elephant's child.

First, to help with the email exchanges with fluid-o-tech, can anyone confirm that the correct model number for the replacement pump is CA054? From the pics, my contact at fluid-o-tech says he thinks so but is not sure. I'm sending him better pictures tomorrow.

Second, it was recommended that I check the status of scale on the brew and steam boilers. Tonight I decided to go ahead and try to open up the steam boiler since I can use my old Silvia while this is going on. Here is a pic of the heater element I pulled out.
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I think Cleancaf is in the ballpark of 50 mM citric acid. I have a feeling that will only tickle it. An alternative is that I can take this into lab tomorrow and soak it in a 1M (or higher, saturation is around 3M) citric acid solution. But I want to check and make sure whether too high a citric acid concentration runs the danger reacting with the brass. I know too long in vinegar (acetic acid) will make brass turn greenish.

Third, there appears to be a fair amount of sediment at the bottom of the boiler. the pic is not great but this is what it looks like.
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I'm having one bit of difficulty in removing the boiler to clean this out. I've detached the retaining nut that secures the bottom of the boiler (is this supposed to be a drain?). I've also detached the screw that attaches the side of the boiler to the frame and the brass line to the manometer. But when I detach the nuts securing the input and output hosing the plastic tubing does not come off. My intuition says its attached to a nipple and I just need to wiggle it off. But my intuition is not exactly the best and the attachment feels pretty tight. thus, my question is what is the proper way to detach these hoses. the pic hopefully illustrates what i'm talking about.
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And thanks to everyone helping me through this. I'm becoming more familiar with my Vivaldi than I had anticipated.
Last edited by jbb on Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: week 2 with S1

Post by JohnB » Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:50 am

Wiggle the hoses & they should pull out with the ferrule attached as there are no nipples.

Do you have access to a glass bead or soda blast cabinet? This is my preferred method for removing scale from the elements. If not white vinegar works as well as citric acid solution & does not have to be kept hot. You will want to clean the pieces in hot cafiza solution afterwards to remove the vinegar smell/taste.

viewtopic.php?f=57&t=872

This would be a good time to consider insulating the steam boiler: viewtopic.php?f=57&t=860#p12484

No model info on the pump itself??

Some good info in this post: http://www.home-barista.com/espresso-ma ... ml#p186104
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Re: week 2 with S1

Post by jbb » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:08 pm

Do you have access to a glass bead or soda blast cabinet?
Not personally, but I called around this AM and turns out the machine shop over in the physics dept. has one they will let me use for free. I should probably pull the boiler on Silvia and do it at the same time.

what precautions do you take to protect the terminals on the heating element?
Your link has been primarily what I've been following for instructions. Given my limited tool set, seeing a list of tools was especially helpful to look at before hand, as were the part numbers for the replacement brew boiler o ring and steam boiler gasket. The one thing I wish I'd had was a longer extender for my socket wrench, would have helped access the bolts on the boiler cover.
This would be a good time to consider insulating the steam boiler: viewtopic.php?f=57&t=860#p12484
Good idea. Would the order of events be reassemble, leak check, then wrap?
No model info on the pump itself??

Some good info in this post: http://www.home-barista.com/espresso-ma ... ml#p186104
[/quote]

I'd seen this link with a model number for a Vetrano pump, and the idea that a "balanced bypass" pump (jargon to me) was what I wanted. Could have easily missed it however. In any case, Shawn from Fluid-o-Tech emailed me this morning confirming CA054 as the correct model number. $79 plus $12 shipping to CA.

I've been book marking many of these useful posts. Assuming this all ends successfully for me perhaps I can reciprocate in some small way to the forum by linking them all within one post so they are collected in one place. thanks John

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Re: week 2 with S1

Post by JohnB » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:32 pm

jbb wrote: what precautions do you take to protect the terminals on the heating element?
I mask off everything I do not want blasted. Make sure the cabinet you use is filled with glass beads & not a more aggressive blast media.
The one thing I wish I'd had was a longer extender for my socket wrench, would have helped access the bolts on the boiler cover.


Pick one up, they are cheap & you will use it regularly.
Good idea. Would the order of events be reassemble, leak check, then wrap?
I'd wrap it while you have it out. The inlets/outlets will stick out through the wrap so you will see any leaks there & can deal with them. Leave whatever insulation you plan to place over the top open until you fire it up & check for leaks. If you use a foil backed insulation peel it back away from any electrical connections.
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Re: week 2 with S1-removing the steam boiler and descale

Post by jbb » Sat Feb 19, 2011 2:25 am

One thing I'd wondered while removing the boiler was whether the nut at the bottom was supposed to be a drain. the answer turns out to be yes, mine just happened to be completely cemented over with scale. As per JohnB's suggestion, the blast cabinet was a great way to clean up the heating element.
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But the boiler itself, on the other hand, turned out to be a real PITA. The blast nozzle on the cabinet I used was too big to be inserted very far into it, and the scale was thick enough that it really wasn't cutting it anyway. So I found a ~10 L tank and filled it with 5 L of a 1M NaCitrate solution, which I then buffered down to pH 2.0 with HCl and heated to near boiling on a hot plate stirrer. I then submerged the boiler and monitored the descaling reaction with a pH meter. During the first couple hours the pH would gradually creep up above 3, at which time I'd pour off the solution, reheat it, and add more HCl to bring the pH back down. After 6 hrs it seemed as good as it was going to get without a substantially longer acid treatment. I was initially worried that this treatment might tarnish the outside finish on the boiler, but this did not seem to be a problem. Overall, it looks a lot cleaner
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Re: week 2 with S1-removing the steam boiler and descale

Post by jbb » Sat Feb 19, 2011 3:07 am

"The first thing you must learn is to call everything by its proper name"-John Malkovich in Dangerous Liasons

i'm now planning to open up the group boiler this weekend. I'm really hoping I only need to clean the element, since removing the boiler itself looks difficult. As I remove the cap, should I expect a fair amount of water to pour out? In the picture...what are these things? Sorry if this is posted elsewhere; plus, I found a complete parts list but it was in Italian.

A) Looks like a hex wrench might fit in here? Is this where the progressive preinfusion chamber would attach?
B) Is this a thermostat?
C) Maybe similar type of attachment as A, but on the side.
D) Brass line out to flow detector for volumetric dosing?
E) Water level or temp sensor?
F) Contact for heating element.
G) Contact for heating element.
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Similar questions come up for the electronic dowitchies stuck into the top of the steam boiler. My wife tells me "I'm pretty sure you can take it apart. But I'm worried about you putting it back together..."

A) Steam overpressure valve
B) Heater element contact
C) Heater element contact
D) ?
E) Water level sensor?
F) Water temperature sensor?
G) Thermostat?
H) Grounding terminals?
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Thanks again everybody.
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Re: week 2 with S1-removing the steam boiler and descale

Post by Endo » Sat Feb 19, 2011 7:41 am

I think the blue thermostats on both boilers are the resestable hi temp limit safety (to avoid the boilers becoming bombs if the temp sensors (E) fail). The steam boiler (item D) looks like the vacuum breaker.
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Re: week 2 with S1-removing the steam boiler and descale

Post by JohnB » Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:20 am

My advice is to lay a towel on the counter or bench where you are working & flip the Vivaldi onto it's front section using a box or books under the upper section so it sits level. The brew boiler opening will now be facing up & you can use a turkey baster/large syringe to remove the water & add/remove descaler.

Under the steam boiler parts you have the water level probe & water temp sensor reversed. Brew Boiler B & Steam Boiler G look like reset (overload) buttons that will pop if the boiler temp gets too high cutting power to the heating element. Isn't D the fill (input) water line for the brew boiler?
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Re: week 2 with S1-removing the steam boiler and descale

Post by chas » Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:30 am

jbb wrote:"The first thing you must learn is to call everything by its proper name"-John Malkovich in Dangerous Liasons

i'm now planning to open up the group boiler this weekend. I'm really hoping I only need to clean the element, since removing the boiler itself looks difficult. As I remove the cap, should I expect a fair amount of water to pour out? In the picture...what are these things? Sorry if this is posted elsewhere; plus, I found a complete parts list but it was in Italian.

A) Looks like a hex wrench might fit in here? Is this where the progressive preinfusion chamber would attach?
This is allows you to insert a tube and siphon out the water, Preinfusion chamber attaches to top, left side of group head. Check photos in the first post on this thread: viewtopic.php?f=45&t=828
B) Is this a thermostat?
Circuit Breaker
C) Maybe similar type of attachment as A, but on the side.
Can't see what you're pointing to
D) Brass line out to flow detector for volumetric dosing?
Actually it's water flow in after passing through the volumetric flow meter. The boiler is connected directly to the group head.
E) Water level or temp sensor?
Temp
F) Contact for heating element.
Yes
G) Contact for heating element.
Yes
DSCF1092 copy.jpg
Similar questions come up for the electronic dowitchies stuck into the top of the steam boiler. My wife tells me "I'm pretty sure you can take it apart. But I'm worried about you putting it back together..."

A) Steam overpressure valve
Yes
B) Heater element contact
Yes
C) Heater element contact
Yes
D) ? Vacuum Breaker Valve
E) Water level sensor?
Temp Sensor
F) Water temperature sensor?
Water Level Sensor
G) Thermostat?
Circuit Breaker
H) Grounding terminals?
Yes
DSCF1085 copy.jpg

Thanks again everybody.
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Re: week 2 with S1-removing the steam boiler and descale

Post by Endo » Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:15 pm

chas wrote:B) Is this a thermostat?
Circuit Breaker
Chas, I'm almost certain these are resettable hi limit thermostats. No? I think they are rated at 125C.

http://www.espressoparts.com/S_383
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Re: week 2 with S1-removing the steam boiler and descale

Post by chas » Sat Feb 19, 2011 2:11 pm

Well it's called a resettable thermostat because it's triggered by over temperature condition, but it really cuts the current flow to the boiler until the temperature falls back within limits and the button is manually pressed. To me that's a circuit breaker even if it's triggered by temperature rather than current.
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Re: week 2 with S1-removing the steam boiler and descale

Post by jbb » Sat Feb 19, 2011 4:54 pm

John B (Chas and Endo too)-in your previously reference thread, you mention that after you remove the screw cap that secures the back of the group boiler, you loosened up the insert that lies underneath, making sure not to rotate it until you removed a pin.

I finally got the cap off, although required bracing the S1 in a corner, putting a hefty metal rod against one of the fins, and tapping it a few times with a 20 lb sledge. But it eventually came loose. Anyway, I'm now trying to remove the cover, and it does not easily dislodge if I tap it with a hammer. On the parts diagram it looks like it might be threaded?-although this seems unlikely to me. When you mention tapping the insert to loosen it, is the arrow on the picture where you are tapping? And then the pin to which you refer-which part is that?
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I imagine that, like the steam boiler cover, this is just simply locked down with scale and I just need to be more forceful.

Thanks. Well OK my son wants me to add one of the smilies. :cat:

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Re: week 2 with S1-removing the steam boiler and descale

Post by JohnB » Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:56 pm

I had to reread that post to jog my memory. The cover has a pin or protrusion that indexes with a cut out in the brew boiler so it will not turn. Tap the cover out away from the B/B & it should fall off. It is a tight fit into the B/B with the o'ring seal so it can end up "glued" in place from scale or corrosion.
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Re: week 2 with S1-removing the steam boiler and descale

Post by jbb » Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:11 pm

the flu came calling to our household, but now i'm back on my feet and back to the S1.

After getting the securing ring off the group boiler, what ended up working to loosen the underlying boiler plate was that I put a new blade into my boxcutter and worked it into the crack. compared to tapping, this was very effective, had it loose in a couple of minutes. the yellow arrows show the pin and groove on the housing.
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Question 1: JohnB, in your group boiler post it looked like you detached the electrical wire to the temp sensor in order to free the plate with the electrodes for descaling, perhaps at the blue arrow mark in the above picture. Are there "pull apart" connections under there, or will I have to cut and re-splice when I put it back together?

As an alternative to cutting/re-splicing, does the temp sensor pull out of the plate? the parts manual makes it look like it might, but mine seems pretty tight. By the way, Google translate does a pretty good job of converting the Italian names in the parts manual into English.

The next two pictures shows down inside the group boiler, together with scale and the little hole that I take it is where water exits the boiler into the group. Right now I have the boiler soaking in situ in clean caf, but, as with the steam boiler, I have my doubts about how effective this will be.
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So, question 2: would anyone have reservations about putting a stronger descale solution into the boiler? For instance, would this cause the caustic solution to get into the solenoid or parts within the group that could be damaged?

thanks

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Re: week 2 with S1-removing the steam boiler and descale

Post by JohnB » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:57 pm

The wires just unplug from each other. Most folks use a citric acid solution, I tried that but found white vinegar more effective for the stubborn mineral deposits I was trying to remove.
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Re: week 2 with S1-removing the steam boiler and descale

Post by jbb » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:36 am

I ended up performing the brew boiler descale, as well as descaling the heater element, in the same Na-citrate solution that I used for the steam boiler.

The first thing I tried was Cleancaf. Didn't do squat. Checked the pH and discovered it was above 8. Hmmm...To my own embarrassment, in all the times I've used Cleancaf I'd actually never looked at the ingredients; just assumed it was dilute citric acid with a detergent :oops:. The active ingredients listed on the pouch are sodium tripolyphosphate and sodium carbonate-yes, friends, that's right, Cleancaf is, for all intensive purposes, good ole TSP. On the MSDS it also contains EDTA, a chelating agent for divalent cations, Na-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate, an ionic detergent, and the blue dye. The only thing that's going to do anything at all to CaCO3 in there is the EDTA, and not much at that. To Urnex's credit, on their website they emphasize that Cleancaf is a "preventative" descaler. I guess its possible that the chelating agent might be able to draw some Ca++ back out of mild scale deposits, but its really only going to be "preventing" scale for the brief time its actually in your machine. So that explained a lot.

This conceptual spanking led me to read up a bit more on vinegar and citric acid, the other two obvious descaling choices. For something straight off the shelf that's likely to quickly available in your average kitchen, white vinegar, as mentioned in above posts, is definitely a good choice. the active ingredient here is acetic acid, with a single carboxylic acid group that has a pKa of 4.76. The thing that vinegar has going for it is that the concentration of acetic acid is pretty high, in the ballpark of 1M. The thing going against it is the smell and that some find it lends a greenish tint to brass.

Compared to vinegar, on a mole to mole basis citric acid should actually be the harder working descaler. It has three carboxylic acid groups with pKa's of 3.09, 4.75, 6.41. The coffee threads I've seen, however, call for making a pretty dilute citric acid solution. For example, Jim Schulman's water FAQ thread gives 8-12g/L as a working concentration, which is around 50 mM. If you buy "citric acid" from a brewing store, health food store, etc. make sure you get "anhydrous" citric acid and not the Na salt of citric acid. If you get the Na salt, effectively you will be putting the conjugate base of citric acid into solution, and in order to descale you will need to titer the pH down. At the local place I checked what was labeled as citric acid was actually the Na salt.

So I went back to lab (where I've got lots of Na-citrate on hand) made a 1M solution as before so that mass action could be my friend, pHed it to 2.0 with HCl and brought it home along with a pH meter. For "anhydrous" citric acid, the equivalent would be 192 g/L, and in this case you would not need to add any extra acid, it would just be ready to go. this solution was not especially caustic or irritating, although if you have small cuts on your hands you will know. Heated it up to near boiling and dumped it in, changing solution every time the pH creeped up to about 3.0. It seemed pretty done within an hour, which is not too bad time wise, and the results looked OK.
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Re: week 2 with S1-removing the steam boiler and descale

Post by jbb » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:55 am

The replacement pump is supposed to be here tomorrow, so time to start putting things back together.

If you've ever bought coffee from vivace, you know it comes in those bags that say "please reuse this nice little bag". So, if you're like me you end up feeling guilty and keeping them in a drawer but are not sure what to actually do with them. One good part of this project is I've finally found a use for them; they are great for putting parts into.
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Here's what I ended up doing for insulating the steam boiler. First two layers of "Insul Bright", a craft fabric heat barrier rated to above 200C. Got it at Joe Anne Fabrics. Then I wrapped the lower 75% with cotton batting duct insulation with an aluminum facing. I hope that by keeping this wrap lower I keep the foil far distant from the electrical connections up on top of the boiler (this is the one part that has me worried a bit). Then a loose skirt of the Insul-bright on the bottom. Hopefully the house does not burn down.
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One thing to ask before moving on to installing the new pump-is this the heat shrink tubing that was recommended for protecting the terminals on the steam boiler? As opposed to the old plastic boots that came with the V1.
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Re: week 2 with S1-removing the steam boiler and descale

Post by chas » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:28 am

If you are talking about the heat shrink option I mentioned, the heat shrink is integrated in with the connector and is a much better solution for this use than the typical stand-alone heat shrink tubing shown in your post. http://www.amazon.com/JT-Products-2376H ... B003HUND8G

ON the other hand if you want something like LaSpaz uses now as shown in Endo's photo the other day, check these out: http://www.electerm.com/quick.html
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Re: week 2 with S1-removing the steam boiler and descale

Post by JohnB » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:44 am

Look at the photos in this post & you'll see the clear sleeves that L/S used on the later S1V2 steam boiler element terminals.
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Re: week 2 with S1-removing the steam boiler and descale

Post by jbb » Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:22 pm

Chas, JohnB, thanks for the info on what to use to protect the connectors. I'd seen the other threads and felt what I had was not likely to be what people were talking about. I could not find anything like what you guys linked at Lowes but I'll try going by my local Ace Hardware with the pictures and see if I can find them.

On my S1, the heater element connections under the older style boots were still in good shape. The plastic pieces surrounding the circuit breaker connections, however, are getting yellowed and brittle. It should be possible to use the protective insulators linked above on these connections, yes?

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