Boiler Automatic Refill System Failure

If something breaks post warranty, let us know about it. Tell us how you fixed it. Let us know how much the parts cost.
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mswanson
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Boiler Automatic Refill System Failure

Post by mswanson » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:41 am

Yesterday after pulling two shots a water for my americanos, my machine shut down and led 13 (boiler) was blinking. I looked this up as a Boiler Automatic Refill System Failure. I pulled the plug on the machine and waited for a few hours to tackle it later.

As of today, the machine is back to operating as before. My steam boiler is working. What is going on? Is this like a computer where I need to reboot it once in a great while or is something going bad on my machine? Or maybe just a blockage somewhere?

I do notice that it seems like my group boiler recovery is slower than I previous remembered it. Could someone tell me after pulling a 2oz blank shot, how long it takes to go back up to 94 degrees after the press of the double pull button? It takes 30 seconds on mine.

Thanks!

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chas
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Re: Boiler Automatic Refill System Failure

Post by chas » Tue Nov 03, 2009 1:41 pm

It sounds to me like the Gicleur valve in the water path to your steam boiler is mostly blocked by mineral deposits. This alarm occurs if it takes longer than one minute to refill the boiler. After cleaning the mineral deposits off, the steam boiler will refill in 5-10 sec.

The yellow arrow points to the gicleur. There is an adjustment screw in the middle. Leave that alone. You just want to unscrew the nut and pull out the valve assembly. The mineral deposit should be readily apparent partially blocking the orifice. I reamed mine out using a metal dental pick but a push pin, safety pin, or other small pointy object should work fine. You can have that part done in 5 minutes. As usual getting the covers off and back on is the painful part.
gicleur.jpg
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mswanson
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Re: Boiler Automatic Refill System Failure

Post by mswanson » Tue Nov 03, 2009 2:04 pm

Awesome as always Chas!

I'll take a look at that today and report back.

What do you think about my second question about recovery of the group boiler. I'm I imagining that my group heating element might not be heating as quickly as before?

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chas
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Re: Boiler Automatic Refill System Failure

Post by chas » Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:12 pm

mswanson wrote:Awesome as always Chas!

I'll take a look at that today and report back.

What do you think about my second question about recovery of the group boiler. I'm I imagining that my group heating element might not be heating as quickly as before?
30 seconds seems OK. However, given the time in service, if you have never cleaned the group boiler you might consider it. JohnB is the master of that procedure.
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JohnB
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Re: Boiler Automatic Refill System Failure

Post by JohnB » Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:34 pm

I agree that 30 seconds is pretty good recovery time. 30-45 seconds is average from what I've seen on my machine. Have you ever descaled the boilers/elements?
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mswanson
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Re: Boiler Automatic Refill System Failure

Post by mswanson » Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:52 am

I haven't descaled since I have owned the machine (when the VII came out). I was planning on doing a good job of doing all that on a cold day this winter. I read your write-up on descaling and it seemed like you bead blasted everything. Did you find a chemical solution instead of that? I have alot of tools, but I don't know anyone that owns one of those.

I was planning on looking through the archive and figure out things to do for my 2-3 year maintenance. Also was going to ship my board off to CC so I can get preinfusion.

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Re: Boiler Automatic Refill System Failure

Post by JohnB » Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:48 am

mswanson wrote:I haven't descaled since I have owned the machine (when the VII came out). I was planning on doing a good job of doing all that on a cold day this winter. I read your write-up on descaling and it seemed like you bead blasted everything. Did you find a chemical solution instead of that? I have alot of tools, but I don't know anyone that owns one of those.

I was planning on looking through the archive and figure out things to do for my 2-3 year maintenance. Also was going to ship my board off to CC so I can get preinfusion.
Along with P/I you will get the expanded offset range & you should definitely check your temps with a Scace once you have that done. Many of the older S1V2s aren't set correctly as you could only go up to 0°C & they really required +1-+2 or +3 settings.

I only bead blasted the heating elements, not the boilers. I haven't found any scale or mineral buildup in the steam boiler itself that couldn't easily be scrubbed off with a nylon brush & rinsed out. You can do that with the boiler in place if you put a pan under the drain plug. When I recently checked the brew boiler there was some ugly green buildup that required soaking. I ended up using white vinegar but many use a hot citric acid solution. This is how you would descale your elements if you don't have access to a blast cabinet. It is S-l-O-W but the c/a will eventually dissolve the scale although you may need to reheat/strengthen the solution after a few hours. Just remove the covers/elements(get new gaskets first) & soak the elements/level probe tip only in a bucket of boiling hot c/a solution keeping the cover high & dry.
I flipped the machine on its front & used a turkey baster to fill & empty the brew boiler when adding/removing the vinegar & when flushing with clean water.

You must have really soft /low mineral content water if you can get 2-3 years out of a descale.
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mswanson
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Re: Boiler Automatic Refill System Failure

Post by mswanson » Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:56 am

Thanks for the additional info.

To make it clear, I've never done the descale either out of laziness or stupidity. I kept checking the hardness and it wouldn't even register on my test strips. I now own a TDS meter and have measured my water, but that doesn't exactly help as those numbers could reflect other solids which wouldn't account for scale. Being in Iowa and reading the water quality report, it seemed we had very low levels of mineral content but high amounts of organic solids which I suspect show up on the TDS reading.

I change out my filter and softener yearly.

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