Rough start... brown water??!??

Did you have a bad "out-of-box" experience with your Mini? Describe it here and report back with the final resolution.
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Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by KatKat » Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:25 pm

So - I got my Mini Vivaldi II from Chris Coffee a couple of days ago and was very excited. After trying the Silvano, I was sure the Mini is the machine I wanted.

I turned the machine on and it could not maintain a steady flow of water. After a minute, it went to boiler error mode (cannot pump water). The next day I called CCS. As expected, the technician was very helpful and troubleshot the issue with me. It turned out to be loose water reservoir connection. Bending the metal bracket that holds the water inlet inwards solved the problem (hope that my description here is clear.) However, not having the right tool to do this job, I managed to make a very small dent in the bottom part of the back cover - bummer! Anyway, at that point, I thought I could live with it.

Later that day, I used the hot water tap and the water that came out was VERY brown. I was in shock - it's a new machine! Look at the "before" picture - this is from the second or third cup. The next day, I called CCS again. I mentioned the back-cover mishap and the technician immediately said that he would send me a new cover - again - great service! Then, I asked about the brown water. His answer was that the machines come from Italy and they can sit there for a while before they get sold. Per him, "discoloration" or "oxidation" of the heating element is natural and can be solved by cycling the hot water until the water is clean. He said that even if he sent me a new boiler, I could spend the time replacing it only to have the same problem again with the new part.
Before.JPG
Before the flush
Before.JPG (89.9 KiB) Viewed 12308 times
I have no doubt that CCS is an excellent and honest vendor, but honestly, for a consumer/layman it's hard to accept a new machine that boils brown water. Even after 5-6 liters, I still have some rust particles (see the "after" picture below) and I can swear that the water smells like water from one of those overused/old boilers that catering services put in parties (but if one of you says that I am imagining this I ~might~ accept it :-)
After.JPG
After 5-6 liters
After.JPG (62.69 KiB) Viewed 12308 times
Any advice would be appreciated!

PS - I know that after I resolve all the issues I will be very happy with this machine... Working on the grind and tamp in parallel...
Last edited by KatKat on Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by chas » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:09 pm

If you've just received this machine, there is a good chance you have one of the new boilers that has a drain plug in the bottom. I've never been a Mini owner but I assume that if you pull out the water tray you should be able to look up into the opening and see it. Your next bet would be to unscrew the drain plug and let any remaining sediment and old water drain out. Then screw it back in and let it refill, then turn off and drain again. Do that 2-3 times. If that doesn't fix it up for you, I'd take CC up on their offer to send you a new boiler.

BTW: I know from a recent visit to CC that all their replacement boilers do have the drain plug. So if you find that your MIni doesn't have a drain plug, this is another reason to request a replacement. If you don't already have a good set of metric wrenches, it's time to invest in a cheap set.
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by KatKat » Sun Nov 14, 2010 8:27 pm

You are probably right. There is a bolt underneath the boiler... It is visible after you pull the water reservoir out. I will probably give it a try!
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by Endo » Sun Nov 14, 2010 8:51 pm

Bummer. Nobody likes problems on a new machine.

The reservoir connection sounds like it's solved. That seems pretty minor. The back panel dent....that's amazing Chris would replace it. They are not cheap.

The rust must come from the heating element since the boiler is a sealed stainless unit (does not rust, except perhaps the new drain plug). I'd guess the sealed boiler stays humid and makes a perfect environment for rust.

I don't imagine there is much. You could just run a bunch of hot water out the tap and it should go away. No danger.

If you are feeling more adventerous, you could try removing the water through the boiler drain plug, or even try descaling the steam boiler.

http://www.s1cafe.com./viewtopic.php?f=35&t=1359

That should get rid of any foul smell from trapped stale water.
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by KatKat » Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:36 pm

Well, I will call CCS and consult the technician about opening the boiler drain. I will report more tomorrow.
Arguably, such a high-end machine should have been tested more rigorously... but - I would be happy if CCS follows through on the cover and the brown water problem gets resolved.

Do you guys think that flushing/draining the boiler would bring it to a "new" condition or should I ask for a replacement?
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by Endo » Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:41 pm

KatKat wrote:Arguably, such a high-end machine should have been tested more rigorously...
Perhaps the testing (filling the steam boiler with water and not completely emptying afterward) is what actually what caused the rusting? :?:
KatKat wrote:Do you guys think that flushing/draining the boiler would bring it to a "new" condition or should I ask for a replacement?
It's only "new" for one day. :lol:

I would start by draining the water out of the steam boiler. It only takes removing the plug (something you should be doing every few months anyway as part of the routine maintenance to avoid hard water concentration). I drain mine every 3 months using a syphon, since my early model Mini didn't come with a drain plug (so you are lucky). It's a SUPER easy and routine task. If there was stagnant water in the boiler that caused rusting, then you don't want any of that water left inside. :pukeright: Get it out first.

If the brown water and smell is then gone after draining, I wouldn't worry about it. If the brown water or smell remains, I'd ask for a whole new machine.

I don't think this brown water problem is much different than what you would get in your house after you've been gone for several months. The water in my pipes is always "off" when I come back after vacation. It's even worse if you own a well. I just run the water for several minutes and clean it all out (just like removing your drain plug).
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by KatKat » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:01 pm

I will try it later today. I also got the cover a few minutes ago.
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by KatKat » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:12 am

Cover successfully replaced and water drained. The drain plug had a decent layer of rust on it and you could see that there is some inside around the hole as well. I refilled the steam boiler and pulled a cup of warm water. Water is looking better, but still a little brown with some visible sediment. I took another picture I will upload tomorrow. Getting a little tired of this game - we'll see tomorrow.

Another question - when the steam boiler refills, there are pretty big air bubbles in the plastic tube that draws water to it. Not sure why...
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by chas » Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:00 am

My S1 exposure is to the V1 and the V2 but it's hard to believe that the Mini's steam boiler is any different. I am not aware of any exposed metal inside the boiler that is not either stainless steel or copper. It doesn't seem to me that you should be seeing any level of rust there, much less the amount you are seeing. It almost makes me wonder if some non-stainless steel part like a screw, nut, or bolt got dropped inside your boiler during assembly.
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by KatKat » Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:21 am

The boiler is stainless steel and per Tim from CCS, the rust can only come from the heating element. Update - still rust particles in the cup this morning. It might be time for a replacement machine.
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Nov 16.JPG
This morning
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Nov 15.jpg
Right after draining
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Last edited by KatKat on Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by jsaliga » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:29 am

My Mini Vivaldi II is out for delivery on the UPS truck and should be here early this afternoon. Fingers crossed, as I plan to use the hot water dispenser a lot.

I'm really sorry to read about your troubles KatKat. We sort of came along together with the Silvano over at CG and we both decided on the MVII at about the same time.

Did anyone at Chris' Coffee hazard a guess as to how long it may take for water from the steam boiler to clear up? I would probably want to know how much time they expected you to give this before considering a replacement machine.

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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by KatKat » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:37 am

I just edited my post and added pics.

No - the only thing that Tim said was that it should clear after some flushes and that I should call him if it doesn't. Again - he was extremely courteous and helpful and they did send me a new cover. But the bottom line is that I still have a $2000 machine with rusty water. My 4 year old $50 electric kettle is still clean.
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by KatKat » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:17 pm

BTW - for sure - I do not have any problem with my current blood iron level - I have not stopped using the machine and making milk/rust based drinks :grin:
Steaming is great. Espresso seems a little harder to get right as the machine seems a lot more sensitive to the grind/tamp.
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by Endo » Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:06 pm

I would bet the rust is coming from the new drain boss and plug they added to the Mini boilers. That 's EXACTLY were the condensing water sits in the boiler. Perfect spot for corrosion..... IF you use the wrong metal for the boss and bolt.

We saw the exact same corrosion problem with the fix they did on the metal float cover in the reservoir....so I'm not too surprised. :x

Seems to me the engineers working on the original Vivaldi design knew how to spec the proper material to avoid corrosion. But the engineer (or tech) working on the retrofit solutions is just picking any cheap metal for his design fixes, trying to cut cost since the price is already fixed.

Just like buying regular bolts or screws on your boat. It doesn't work! USE STAINLESS.

OK....rant off....

For a fix, I would see it I can reach inside the hole with a then L-shaped rod wrapped with sandpaper and spin it around. Then flush it out good, several times, to remove the brown rust that is loosened. Keep flushing and sanding until no more rust shows up in the flush.

In the end though...I'm sure it will go away. So don't get too stressed over a little extra iron. :lol:
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by jsaliga » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:27 pm

Well...my machine has been delivered but there won't be any espresso today. They sent me a 58mm tamper instead of a 53mm. :cry:

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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by jsaliga » Tue Nov 16, 2010 5:11 pm

I have my machine setup. When I initially filled the steam boiler and then dispensed some water it came out a little brown. I then ran about a tank of water through it a little bit at a time. The brownish color went away pretty quickly, and then there were little rust specs here and there in the cup. It's coming out clear now.

Is this machine a steaming dynamo or what? Holy smokes does this thing make some powerful steam!

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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by oton » Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:59 pm

jsaliga wrote:I have my machine setup. When I initially filled the steam boiler and then dispensed some water it came out a little brown.
:shock: You too. I never saw brown water or rust specs in my Mini. (It's the old model without the drain hole) So, as Endo said, it must be the new drain components added to the boiler. This kind of things are really absurd; how a 40 y/o espresso machine company can make this mistakes?

I hope everything goes right, guys, and you enjoy the machine.
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by jsaliga » Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:32 pm

In my case I think it's a non-issue. All I had to do was flush the steam boiler out with a couple of liters of water and now it is running clear.

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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by Endo » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:52 pm

I would guess some are worse than others. Depends on how much standing water is in the steam boiler and how long its been sitting on the shelf.

Maybe Chris should consider draining the steam boiler at the same time they calibrate the machine with the Scace (i.e. before it's shipped).
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by chas » Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:21 am

Normally they siphon water from both boilers and even remove the solenoid valves behind the group and steam wands and blow out all the water they can with compressed air. But that still leaves enough to cause rust if there is some iron in there.
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by Endo » Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:06 am

Well. Sounds like Chris is doing all the right things.

I guess the change will need to come from the La Spaziale on the boiler drain parts.
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by KatKat » Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:14 pm

Spoke with a different technician today. They offered that I either descale the boiler or send the machine back (using their return label) - my choice. I am away for a couple of days, so I will decide over the weekend.

I have this product at home: http://www.amazon.com/Durgol-Swiss-Espr ... B000FTO9E4 which I guess will be good for descaling?

Again - exemplary service! It's not fun to have issues with a newly purchased machine, but I am surly happy that I chose to buy from CCS.
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by KatKat » Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:50 pm

Update: the machine was sent back after I found another problem: inside the water tank, the metal part that covers the float was rusty!?!??!
It is now at Chris' coffee and I am waiting for the final report. So far they confirmed my rust problems and found a hole in the silicone tube leading to the steam boiler (which explains why I saw air bubbles). I think I got a lemon.
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by Endo » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:58 pm

Man. That's a real bummer. :evil:

Sounds like your machine was build on a Friday afternoon and sat in the La Spaziale warehouse for 1/2 a year. :-(

My machine had none of these problems. (Then again, mine has none of these so called "improvements"). I expect Chris will be blasting them for their half-baked fixes.

Stick with it though. The Vivialdi is worth it!
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by KatKat » Thu Dec 02, 2010 2:56 pm

A new machine is on its way. I bet that the coffee will taste a lot different without all this iron ;-)
Wish me luck!
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by expy98 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:47 pm

Long time lurker, first time poster...

but if there's that much rust buildup on a new machine, wouldn't it continue to
build up at about the same rate over time as it's being used? Or is it being flushed out regularly so it's not
really noticeable?

I'm considering a Mini as my next and hopefully my last machine, at least for a while...

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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by Endo » Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:01 pm

I've never heard anyone mention this before, so for now, I really think we must assume this is a rare occurance.

I would think this is caused by a small amount of water pooling on the regular steel drain boss and plug after a prolonged period of time (during the months of storage in a humid stockroom I'd guess).

I'm sure it would go away quickly and probably never return once the boiler is filled and used regularly.

Still, they should strongly consider fixing it by using all stainless parts. I expect Chris is on this already and telling La Sapziale to fix it (and the rusting float cover too!)

They read this forum occasionally. Perhaps they'll make a comment to re-assure other potential customers?
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by expy98 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:15 pm

ah, good point Endo.

I googled for rate of rust under water and it should be slower than if not completely submerged.

I was assuming that the boiler was partially filled, plenty to cover the boss/plug. If that's the case,
then the rate of rusting would be about the same as a filled boiler.

But if it was only wet and not completely submerged then it would likely to rust more quickly. Perhaps
this is the case with new machines???

That said, it would still rust under water, albeit at a slower rate.

Has anyone used the drain plug, if so how often and what did it look like after that time interval?

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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by KatKat » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:01 pm

I got the new machine. CCS has rigged the float cover - they replaced the metal plate and the metal screws with 2 glued, crossed plastic bars.
However, I pulled some hot water and got VERY few rust specks... maybe 3-4... amazed... not sure what to do now... it is something that I would never have noticed if I had not had the extremely brown water problem with the old machine - but still, not sure why there should be any rust at all!
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by Endo » Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:51 am

KatKat wrote:I got the new machine. CCS has rigged the float cover - they replaced the metal plate and the metal screws with 2 glued, crossed plastic bars.
However, I pulled some hot water and got VERY few rust specks... maybe 3-4... amazed... not sure what to do now... it is something that I would never have noticed if I had not had the extremely brown water problem with the old machine - but still, not sure why there should be any rust at all!
Does the new machine also have the steam boil drain plug on the bottom? I suspect that is where the rust happens and I expect all machines with that plug will have a little rust. (MIne had none since it has no drain plug....but that's another issue).

Sounds like CCS gave you the older reservoir. The one before the removable metal float cover was introduced (same one I have).
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by JohnB » Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:12 am

Following this forum in the year since I sold my S1V2 it certainly does seem like La Spaziale has dropped the ball as far as their quality control goes. Way too many new machine problems being reported. There is no way the heating element should be rusting unless they've switched to a steel element which seems unlikely so I think Endo is right about the drain plug. If it is steel or very poor quality stainless take it to a local plumbing supply shop & see if you can replace it with a brass/bronze/stainless plug.
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by KatKat » Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:22 pm

I will post a pic of the water tank later. The technicians at CCS kept telling me that the rust is coming from the heating element. However, the old machine's drain plug definitely had a layer of sediment which looks like rust on it. I did not drain the new one yet.

Endo - yes, the new one has a drain plug too and the manufacturing date of the steam boiler is the same: May 09.
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by JohnB » Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:56 pm

The heating element in my S1V2 was copper which certainly doesn't rust. Why would any reputable company install a part that rusts inside a steam boiler?? :roll:
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by Endo » Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:43 pm

You should be able to isolate the source of the rust if you simply remove the drain plug and see it it has rust on it. Or if you can't see any rust on the plug, you can remove the vacuum breaker and look inside the hole with a flashlight. You can definitely see the heating element coils well, and perhaps the drain boss too.

You can see how to remove the vacuum breaker and look inside in my descaling post here (3rd picture):

http://www.s1cafe.com./viewtopic.php?f=35&t=1359
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by KatKat » Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:06 pm

I already did it with the old machine... could not see any rust on the heating element. Will drain the new one soon...
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by oton » Tue Dec 07, 2010 4:51 am

KatKat wrote:The technicians at CCS kept telling me that the rust is coming from the heating element.
I don't understand well the situation. So you purchase a machine with rusty water problems, you returned it to CC and they send you a new machine. The new machine have rusty water too, and the techs say the rust is coming from the heating element... well, so what? Do you have to repair a new machine yourself? Get used to drink rusty coffee? If CC techs knows the problem is the heating element, why don't replace it with a cooper one calling La Spaz or whatever?
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Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by KatKat » Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:14 pm

I agree. Just did not have time to call CCS again. The problem with the new machine is very minor and there is no chance I would have noticed anything if I hadn't had the problem with the previous machine; however to me the acceptable level of rust in a $2,000 machine is ZERO.
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Endo
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Posts: 2072
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 11:18 pm
Location: Montreal, Canada

Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by Endo » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:49 pm

KatKat wrote:to me the acceptable level of rust in a $2,000 machine is ZERO.
Agreed.

I guess it's not a good time to tell you about the plating problem on the reservoir water inlet adapter. :lol:
Endo

LaSpaziale Mini Vivaldi w/progressive p/i
HG-one, B.Vario, Quest M3

"It's the coffee, stupid."

KatKat
Macchiatto
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 10:32 pm

Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by KatKat » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:45 am

I am getting a new boiler tomorrow. I guess that I will learn a lot about my new machine very soon... I really don't mind working with CCS...
I will be able to swap only in about 2 weeks... will keep updating.
The Iron Man

LaSpaziale S1 Mini Vivaldi II with SA-027WQ timer hack
B. Vario

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Endo
S1 9th Degree Black Belt
Posts: 2072
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 11:18 pm
Location: Montreal, Canada

Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by Endo » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:41 am

You're doing your own steam boiler swap? Cool. Let me know how it goes (you are the first person to do this that I know of).

Just make sure CCS treats it with the "Rust-eze Medicated Boiler Ointment". :lol:

Want to sell me your old boiler? I wouldn't mind swapping mine for one with a drain plug. (Trace rust doesn't worry me).
Endo

LaSpaziale Mini Vivaldi w/progressive p/i
HG-one, B.Vario, Quest M3

"It's the coffee, stupid."

KatKat
Macchiatto
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 10:32 pm

Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by KatKat » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:04 pm

I am away, but planning to do it soon, after I get back... CCS promised to provide super clear guidance.
The old one will go back to CCS...

I will report soon.
The Iron Man

LaSpaziale S1 Mini Vivaldi II with SA-027WQ timer hack
B. Vario

KatKat
Macchiatto
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 10:32 pm

Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by KatKat » Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:19 pm

Happy end: I installed the new boiler, using super clear instructions from CCS. It went very smoothly and the brown water issue is officially a thing of the past!
It is time to start fully enjoying my new machine!
The Iron Man

LaSpaziale S1 Mini Vivaldi II with SA-027WQ timer hack
B. Vario

jpt
Latte
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:19 am
Location: Finland

Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by jpt » Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:00 am

Good to hear that everything went well in the end.

I got my Vivaldi (not Mini) this Monday. I haven't noticed any brown water/rust problems. So I guess you were just unlucky with your first boiler. I ordered my machine directly from Italy. The shop where I bought it from received the machine from La Spaziale sometime during the Christmas. So there is a good chance that my machine hasn't been sitting in a warehouse for a very long time.

I really like the machine; my coffee consumption has at least doubled during the last days. :lol:

KatKat
Macchiatto
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 10:32 pm

Re: Rough start... brown water??!??

Post by KatKat » Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:29 pm

:-)
Enjoy your purchase! it is a great machine...
The Iron Man

LaSpaziale S1 Mini Vivaldi II with SA-027WQ timer hack
B. Vario

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