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.

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