2 year old Lucca- troubleshooting questions

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Yerma
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2 year old Lucca- troubleshooting questions

Post by Yerma » Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:52 am

Moving to a rental house for a year while we build precipitated a search for a good used tank machine. I've been a happy Reneka Techno V2 owner for 12 years and will plan to re-plumb it in our new house. I though of going the FloJet/tank routine but didn't want to fool with it with the move.
So...I found a 2 year old Clive's Mini Lucca with all the goodies, walnut sides, porta-filter handle, etc. listed on CL. After talking to the owners- a young couple who wanted to try home espresso- I discovered that they had only used the machine a few dozen times. Then never drained the boilers and between the rare use it sat on their countertop.When I saw the machine it certainly looked new. While I was testing it the water flow to the group head was diminished and then quit entirely a few cycles later. We agreed to a lower price and now it's on my bench and I'm troubleshooting. No evidence of scale or other contaminants, I took off the brew head solenoid and everything is fine. Checked the spring plunger for tank connection- fine. Took apart the pump, tested and water flows fine from the pump output. Getting ready to take out the flow meter to inspect. I thought I'd put this out to members for any other ideas. Thanks in advance!

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chas
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Re: 2 year old Lucca- troubleshooting questions

Post by chas » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:20 am

Leaving an espresso machine unused for long periods of time w/o draining the boilers and water lines doesn't constitute disuse so much as misuse. I also had a lightly used Dream that was stored for a while with boilers drained but water left in all the lines. It did not work when "de-mothballed" either. Turned out that output port of the flow meter was blocked by a small particle of something. It was jammed so tight I actually had to take a very small bit and drill it out.

Since the water line from the output of the flowmeter goes directly to the coffee boiler, you can disconnect the line from the coffee boiler, stick the end of that line into a small bucket or pan, and try to pull a shot. If water doesn't come shooting out of that line, then the problem must be in the flowmeter since you've already confirmed the operation of the tank and pump. Otherwise, the only thing left is the 3-way solenoid valve which you also indicated that you checked.

I assume since you didn't mention it that the Hot Water works OK? If so, then the tank and pump operation was already proved without checking them further.
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Re: 2 year old Lucca- troubleshooting questions

Post by Yerma » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:35 am

Thanks Chas, your suggestion on the flowmeter was going to be my approach. Yes, only the group head has the problem. I wanted to check the pump to see if there was any scale or deposits on the mushroom plunger. I figured while I have the panels off I'd go through everything. There's evidence of a leak from the PRV on the boiler so I plan to disassemble and give it a citric soak. Other than that everything looks new under the hood. The cosmetics with the Walnut make my Reneka look plane Jane!

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Re: 2 year old Lucca- troubleshooting questions

Post by Yerma » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:01 am

Flowmeter was the culprit. Cleaned inflow orifice and all is good. Now I have to transition from the plumbed, pre-infused, 58mm porta-filter of the Reneka! I better buy some extra beans :-P

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Re: 2 year old Lucca- troubleshooting questions

Post by Yerma » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:24 pm

Update on my Lucca a53. I've been pulling consistent singles but still struggling to get the doubles dialed in. My Reneka Techno had the same issue where I couldn't use the same grind for both the single basket and the double and get consistent results. A bit frustrating since doubles are the order of the morning (x2) and a singles in the afternoon. Steam output is nice and dry and I'm getting used to filling and emptying the reservoir and tray, but plan to return to a plumbed in machine when we get our house built. The over pressure valve was leaking (this machine was produced in late 2015) and I've replaced it with a higher quality one from CC. I did run into an issue with the new valve though. Trying to be a bit "green", I decided to turn off the steam boiler one night since it comes up to temp so quickly in AM. In the morning I turned it back on and when I returned to the kitchen 10 minutes later, a large amount of water was below the machine spreading out on the counter. It seems that the new valve was leaking the water until it reached a sufficient pressure to close it. I've not had an issue since but I'm reluctant to turn the boiler off overnight again. Has anyone else experienced this?

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Re: 2 year old Lucca- troubleshooting questions

Post by chas » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:14 pm

A couple of things:

1) You specified that the problem was the over pressure valve, but what you described is the Vaccum Breaker Valve.
2) Water will not come out of the VBV ever if the water level sensor is working properly.
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Re: 2 year old Lucca- troubleshooting questions

Post by Yerma » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:29 pm

Rechecked, I could be wrong but isn't the vacuum breaker on top of the boiler? The valve I'm describing is located at the end of a copper run behind the water tank. Pretty sure this is the OPV.

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slo
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Re: 2 year old Lucca- troubleshooting questions

Post by slo » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:08 pm

I do not have a Mini but I can try to help.
Are you referring to the valve seen in the left of this picture?
Mini_V2_Owners_Manual_RevG 26.pdf
(258.04 KiB) Downloaded 15 times
Part 8582 of the parts catalog.
RICAMBI S1 NEW 15.pdf
(210.62 KiB) Downloaded 14 times
Yes this is a pressure relief valve.
And no, there should not be water coming out of it unless the boiler is over-pressurized. What is you pressure gauge reading when the valve drips?
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Re: 2 year old Lucca- troubleshooting questions

Post by Yerma » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:36 pm

Thanks slo! Correct. I've owned 4 machines in the last 22 years. e61 Expobar,a Giotto, a Reneka Techno and now the A53. I've worked on or rebuilt all of them myself. I knew that I was correct on the valve ID but on forums I'm careful in my wording :)
The original, like shown in your photo with the holes around the middle, was leaking as the steam boiler cycled on and off. Leaking more as the pressure increased, but still leaking all the time. The pressure gauge needle only moved into the red slightly and I understand this is normal for the A53 so overpressure was not the issue. After reading about numerous machines with this problem, I called CC and Chris sent a replacement. After installing the replacement and checking for leaks all was well. The next evening I turned off the boiler simply planning to turn it on in the AM and allow it to come up to temp while I readied for work. When I came back into the kitchen 10-15 mins. after turning the boiler back on, I found a pool of water underneath the machine. I checked the reservoir and it was seated properly, I pulled the top cup warmer off and the brass cup around the VRV was dry. I checked the bottom of the new PRV and it was wet so I assumed it was the problem- even though I know that's not how that valve works! But thinking on it I believe the expansion valve is the culprit. Since I've left the boiler on since then I've not had an issue. From the Clive zendesk procedure- does tightening the valve raise the pressure needed to "activate" it?
Thanks again for responding. S.

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Re: 2 year old Lucca- troubleshooting questions

Post by slo » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:47 pm

I noticed something looking at the plumbing in the parts catalog, the expansion valve on the Mini does not drain in the drip tray like the VII but rather is plumbed back to the water inlet path! I guess it makes sense if you have to fill the water reservoir manually.
Furthermore the expansion valve releases pressure from the brew boiler, not the steam boiler.
From what I understand of you explanation it cannot be the cause of the puddle on your counter.
At this point I would suggest you stay and look at the machine while it is warming up the steam boiler and see if you can witness the source of the leak.
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