Mini won't pump water...

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TiggerMark
Latte
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Mini won't pump water...

Post by TiggerMark » Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:27 am

posted this in the VII forum and then realized this should be over here because it's a mini ... sorry 'bout that.

Friends had a big get together last night so they asked me to set up a coffee bar. Took the Mini over and made lattes, cappas, etc. A good time was had by all. I had prolly made 10 lattes or so and then... suddenly it wouldn't pump water through the porta filter. Nada. Barely a dribble. Then it shut itself down and the boiler light flashed. Let it rest, unplugged it and then tried again later. The steam wand side worked fine. But no water through the portafilter. No water without a portafilter. That big satisfying "chugging" noise we get when the pump is pushing just wasn't there. YUCK.

Get home and try again and this time it made a few espressos. Seemed like it was okay. Now I'm thinking I was just choking it with too tight a grind but that doesn't explain why it wouldn't send water without a portafilter on the head. Something's not right. But it was late.

Get up this morning to make the usual Americanos for the wife and I and I get that nice pump sound for a few seconds and then it quits. I get a dribble and 58 second shot that only gets to 1.5 ounce. I turned her off at 58 because something is obviously wrong.

The machine hasn't been descaled. I'm the second owner. It does some heavy duty evenings at get togethers like this a couple of times a year but mostly she makes two Americanos in the morning and takes the rest of the day off.

Really really do not want to ship it. Would like to see if I can bring her back online with a little TLC. Suggestions and thoughts?

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chas
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Re: Mini won't pump water...

Post by chas » Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:42 am

Well the blinking Boiler light you got indicates that the Steam Boiler tried to refill itself and, when it wasn't done within 60 seconds, the machine shuts off. However, you are also having issues with getting water through the group . The only common parts of the hardware for both issues would seem to be either the pump or something in the feed line between the tank and the pump inlet. Do you have a tank filter than may have gotten clogged? In the early days of Mini availability a number of folks had this issue, but no one has mentioned that issues it the last 2-3 years.

I don't own a Mini so, hopefully, some Mini owners will chime in.
Chas
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TiggerMark
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Re: Mini won't pump water...

Post by TiggerMark » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:08 am

Chris Coffee thinks it's the pump. Ordered new one. Any and all who have done a pump replacement are very welcome to chime in with tips and tricks...

Tobias
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Re: Mini won't pump water...

Post by Tobias » Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:19 am


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chas
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Re: Mini won't pump water...

Post by chas » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:21 am

I couldn't help but notice that when either of the included links are clicked, the left side of the page that comes up includes additional "How to" links with descriptions and photos about doing most all common maintenance items. These cover probably 90% of the issues reported on this forum.

They are equally applicable to the stock LaSpaziale machines. As far as I can tell the "Lucca A53" machines are different only in front panel design - same functionality, just different looks.
Chas
LM GS/3 & LaSpaziale Dream v 1.23 (US 120V)
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Re: Mini won't pump water...

Post by TiggerMark » Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:15 am

These are some great great resources! Thanks so much!

Is there anything to be done with descaling when you've got the pump off? Is that something that I could do better with the pump off? Run some vinegar up into the boiler?

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chas
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Re: Mini won't pump water...

Post by chas » Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:09 am

Here is my preferred method to descale - assuming you don't want to do the option where you remove the boilers for descaling.

1) Remove a fitting from the top of each boiler, inserting a thin vinyl tube, and siphoning the water out of each boiler. Best option for the group boiler is the threaded plug on the rear top of the boiler. For the steam boiler I recommend removing either the temp sensor or the water level sensor.

2) Reinstall the fittings removed for siphoning. Teflon tape may be needed to seal the fittings. MIx a solution of Food Grade Citric Acid (~2tbsp / liter of water) You will need enough to refill both boilers which will probably take at least two tanks full. Use the Mini's prime function to pump the solution into the boilers. Once they are full, turn off and unplug the machine. After about an hour.

3) Again remove the fittings and siphon the solution out. This isn't a super strong acid but you still want to try and not spill it on anything.

4) Rinse out the water tank and refill with plain water. Refill the boilers. Let the Mini heat up. Once at temp pull a lot of shots and hot water - at least two tanks worth to flush out all the solution and any remaining particles. At the end you should also do a backflush to be sure you don't have any solution or mineral flakes in the 3-way valve or its tubing.

BTW: Assuming you have a beer/wine brewing store nearby, they will have citric acid and vinyl tubing as well, if you don''t already have it. You can also use commercial descaling products such as Dezcal, Jurgol Decal, or CleanCaf. However, if you have a beer store nearby you can get a several lifetime supply of food grade citric acid for $4.50 (1lb)

If you use vinegar in your boilers it'll be hard to get the vinegar flavor out of your espresso, so don't do that.
Chas
LM GS/3 & LaSpaziale Dream v 1.23 (US 120V)
Mazzer Kony E, Customized Rocky
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TiggerMark
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Re: Mini won't pump water...

Post by TiggerMark » Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:57 pm

Wow!! Thanks for great info!!! Plan to get the pump installed Saturday and then we'll see about doing some descaling after the holidays. Thanks again!

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