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Another Boiler Issue

Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2019 3:19 pm
by bikerdude
Hey folks, maybe someone can provide some insight on my new Mini Vivaldi issue. My steam boiler pressure has become fairly anemic and it sputters quite a bit of hot water with the steam. A couple times it has caused the machine to shut down with only the boiler light blinking and everything else goes inactive until I unplug the unit.

Second observation is that the boiler sits solidly in the red, varying between 1.4 and 1.6 bar (above the 1.35 bar threshold into the red zone). About once a minute the boiler heater element quietly kicks in and raises the pressure to 1.6 bar, and then it drops back to 1.4 bar when the heater element starts up again.

Layman’s first thought is that the boiler thermostat may be wonky, and it’s running slightly below normal temp. But perhaps it’s a bigger issue.

Any thoughts or recommended troubleshooting next steps are welcome.

Re: Another Boiler Issue

Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:37 am
by chas
The deal with the Boiler light blinking, but the machine turning off, is a standard error situation. It occurs when the pump runs for longer than one minute without the controller board receiving a signal from the water level sensor indicating a boiler full condition. Many folks, myself included, have seen this on older machines that have built up mineral deposits in the water line between the pump and the steam boiler. However, you indicate that this is a pretty new machine, so that can't be the case.

In my case, the water was still flowing into the boiler. It was just so slow that I was getting the boiler blink error. So the boiler was still filling up. In your case, perhaps the high pressure is due to not having enough water in the boiler so that the heater element is not completely submerged.

Before checking this possibility more closely, can you confirm that the pump runs for at least one minute before the machine shuts off with the Boiler light blinking? I've ever seen this error for any other reason, but I suppose there's always a first time.

Re: Another Boiler Issue

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:20 pm
by bikerdude
Hey Chas, thanks for the response. Not sure why I didn’t see it earlier. A couple of clarifications.

1) The boiler issue is new; the machine is seven years old. Bad wording on my part in the original message. I’m sure my boilers are a mess inside.

2) When I’ve seen the error situation, the pump definitely ran for an excessive amount of time; probably a solid minute. But I think it was only witnessed during a start up routine (my machine stays powered on virtually all the time). I think it’s probably the same cause as you suggest. However I’ve only seen this occur a couple of times.

The steam boiler still delivers a lot of sputtering water in the steam. Still no further ahead in understanding why that occurs. As a next step I shall disconnect and clean the feeder lines either side if the pump as you suggest and see if that helps.

Cheers and thank you!

Re: Another Boiler Issue

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:56 pm
by chas
Spitting water in the steam is usually a sign that the boiler is overfilling but not overflowing. This usually happens if there is mineral build-up on the end of the water level probe or if the probe has gotten pushed up.

There is a plastic sleeve around the water level probe to insulate it from the boiler where is goes through the nut on top of the boiler. Over time this plastic gets compressed so that the nut doesn't squeeze hard enough on the probe. Try pushing the probe down. If it moves down, then tighten the nut up a bit so that it doesn't pop up again.

If this is not the issue, loosen the nut enough that you can pull the probe out. Then check it to see if there is a mineral despoit on the end. If so soak it in hot white vinegar for a couple of hours, then scrape the remaining deposits off.