The Dirty Portafilter

My corner of the Internet, mostly espresso related but occasionally life will interfere.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Disaster Has Struck

Well, I had a setback. I did the final assembly, bench tested all of the electrics, and everything looked good. I moved the machine to the kitchen and powered it. Everything worked perfectly. I filled the boiler and turned on the heating element.

The machine heated up, it took two hours, and I was off and steaming, incredible steam power. Then I went to set up the brew groups. When I engaged the pump, the boiler filled more. I double-checked the manual boiler fill valve. It was the one part I did not rebuild. It was leaking. So I drained the boiler and pulled the valve. It was green and crusty inside. I de-scaled the valve and replaced the gaskets, put it back together and repeated the process.

I was still getting water into the boiler, not a good sign. One of the heat exchanger tubes is ruptured. So when I try to brew, water is forced into the boiler via the broken heat exchanger tube. Not good.

I moved the machine back to the garage. It may never see the light of day. A broken boiler is a death sentence. A couple of days later I was disconnecting the HX lines. The left group had no pressure but the right group sprayed me with water.

I was under the incorrect belief that both groups are supplied with one large boiler. They are not. Each group has its own HX tube. I am going to cap the left group HX input and plug the supply line. That will isolate the broken left group; I can then use the right group. That will give me the world’s largest boiler for a single group machine.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Faema Rebuild, Putting It Back Together

OOOO boy. I am getting anxious. My parts arrived Friday (thanks Barry) so I started piecing it together. Got the heating element in (fit perfect, I think the previous owner had the wrong element in it) put on the pressure stat and hooked up a few aftermarket lights.

This machine has no power light, boiler light or accent lights. I rummaged around a surplus parts dealer and found a few small panel mount green and amber 220V lights. I hooked one up the Pstat so I have a heater energized light, and the green to the main power. I am gong to remove the amber cover from another and mount it above the boiler sight glass. The sight glass is recessed and very dark when the top is on so this will give me a backlight.

I put the groups back together with all of the new parts and mounted them. I organized the wiring, put some split loom tubing around some of the bundles to keep them organized and tidy.

I put the new innards in my steam and water valves, sealed them up and mounted them in the frame. Dropped in the pump and hooked up the water lines and ground lines. I put the feet on (Yaaa!! I finally have Feet!).

Last on the list. I had to polish the front panel of the machine. I got it polished up and mounted it to the front top assemble and then bolted it onto the machine. Then I could put in my new switches. Originally the machine had two switches with a light beside each switch. The old switches were mismatched and one was even held in with place with electrical tape wrapped around the back and attached to the stainless panel. The lights were just power indicators for the switches. Both lights were also in very sorry shape, they had actually started to melt from hundreds of hours of use. The new switches are push button instead of rocker, and they are backlit so there is no need for the light.

Now I have two holes in the front of the machine. I have some scraps of stainless so I am going to cut a couple of small squares and mount them behind the openings. I will drill a hole in the filler and mount my boiler light in one.

I think it is really starting to look good. A couple more parts and hookups and she will be ready to try out.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Faema Rebuild, Powder Coat

It has been a busy week. I have striped and powder coated the frame.

I picked up some aircraft stripper to take the paint off. That paint was stubborn, it took a couple of hours of work to go from red and crusty…

To almost completely stripped bare steel.

The powder coater uses a 7 tank prep to clean, strip and condition the steel. Then they plate it with an anti rust coating so it should almost never rust. Then it gets a powder coat and bake.
When it is all finished, you get something like this…