I'm starting to get really mad now!

Did your new Mini work fine initially but have an in warranty (year one) problem later. Post here for advice. Later report on your fix. Posted photos documenting repairs are encouraged.
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zoey
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I'm starting to get really mad now!

Post by zoey » Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:47 pm

I had my machine on all day, with the boiler on only in the morning. Three times, during the day, I hit the shot button, the motor would run but no water would come out.

I checked the tank fill and it was full. I pulled the PF out, turned the machine off/on and it would work. Then it started pulling 1oz shots for some reason.

I went to pull my final evening shot and noticed that there was very low water pressure. I took the group head apart for a cleaning (as I do every Monday). I put it back together and I still had the same problem. I thought it was because I changed to a different bean so I changed the grind setting to a finer grind. This raised the pressure but only to 7bar.

Then I noticed the water pouring down the cabinet into the drawer. :evil:

I took the top off and could see that there was water overflowing the evaporation cup on top of the boiler....AGAIN!! :evil:

I had a problem about a month ago with a metal flake getting caught in the fill valve (or whatever you call it). So, I took the machine apart again. Sure enough, there was another flake stuck in the rubber stopper.

I cleaned it out and put it back together. The evaporation cup still overflows when I turn the machine on. :evil: To make things worse, now when I turn on the boiler, it pops the breaker. When I just have the group head on it doesn't pop the breaker.

I checked the ground wire and it's attached. I wiped out all of the water from the inside of the machine. It still pops the breaker.

It pulls shots just fine now but I can't use the boiler.

I'm getting tired of this. I guess I will have to call Chris again. :evil:
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Post by JohnB » Thu May 01, 2008 8:06 am

Sounds like the boilers need to come off & be thoroughly cleaned out so there are no more flakes to gum up the works. Combined with the breaker issue you might want to send it back to CC & tell them to sort it out or replace it. The factory has had plenty of time to "clean up" this issue with brass chips & it shouldn't be the owners responsibility to tear the machine apart as they shouldn't be there in the first place.
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Post by zoey » Thu May 01, 2008 11:52 am

Well, this morning I fired up the boiler and it didn't pop the breaker but it still fills the evaporation cup with water.

Since I've bought the machine I've been running about 7.5-8bar. I noticed that I'm now running about 9bar. I'll call Chris today and see what's up.

It's probably a good thing that I kept the packing box for the machine.
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Post by bbqnut » Thu May 01, 2008 1:03 pm

I am NOT an S1 hater, but this is the sort of stuff that made me sell mine.

The saving grace is Chris' Coffee service. But even that only goes so far.

You have only had this a couple months right? If so, I would ask they ship you an entirely brand new machine, and a label for the old one. That is about the only thing I would accept at this point.

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Post by JohnB » Thu May 01, 2008 4:09 pm

[quote="zoey"]
Since I've bought the machine I've been running about 7.5-8bar. I noticed that I'm now running about 9bar. I'll call Chris today and see what's up.
/quote]

It should have been running at 9 bar from day one.
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Post by zoey » Thu May 01, 2008 4:45 pm

I forgot to mention that the boiler was overflowing when I had the boiler turned off.

While looking around the machine I noticed that the two bolts/nuts that hold the inlet to the mounting bracket had fallen off into the bottom of the machine. I replaced them and Loc-Tited them in place.

Yes, I bought the machine in February.

I called Chris's and they are sending me out a new inlet valve. The only thing I can figure is that the rubber seat was damaged by the metal flakes.

They said that they are putting screens in the lines of new machines to prevent flakes from damaging the seats. The new machines are apparently "on the boat".

They didn't have any specs on the screens or the screens themselves so they couldn't send me one.

If this doesn't fix the issue, it's going back for a replacement. :evil:
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Post by JohnB » Thu May 01, 2008 4:55 pm

I don't understand why the factory can't clean out the boilers before installing them instead of adding a screen to keep the crap in. A good pressure/steam clean should blow out any machining debris.
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Post by zoey » Thu May 01, 2008 11:32 pm

I wonder what will happen when the screens become clogged?

I've noticed that my shots have HUGE crema at a higher pressure. I actually prefer the lower pressure. I'm considering dialing it back down after I get the replacement part.
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Post by JohnB » Fri May 02, 2008 8:57 am

What percentage of the shot is crema at 9 bar? How is the taste compared to the lower pressure setting?
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Post by zoey » Fri May 02, 2008 1:44 pm

I would say, before settling, it's about 80%. It gives off an odd odor, somewhat like CO2. The taste is weak and somewhat acidic. The crema is more blond than usual and lacks the leopard markings.


I found the same issue when I went to pull shots at another Spaz members house a few weeks ago. His machine was also running about 9-9.5 bar. He thought that the beans were too fresh.
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Post by JohnB » Fri May 02, 2008 2:38 pm

Are you grinding finer for 9b then you did at 7.5-8b? Normally you would wait 3 days or so after roasting for the beans to gas off.
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Post by zoey » Fri May 02, 2008 4:06 pm

The grind is the same. The pressure changed after I removed the metal flake for the second time. The first flake extraction made no difference in the pressure.
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chefbear

Post by chefbear » Tue May 06, 2008 9:25 pm

Hey Zoey. I got my Mini II yesterday and set it up and everything. Just pulled a couple of shots this afternoon (about five for me and the family this morning) returned from walking the dog to find water all over my counter!

Do you think I'm having the metal flaking/evaporation cup problem already? This is my 24th hour of operation. Can it be happening this fast? There was no hint of a leak or overflowing until just about an hour ago.

Do I need to unplug this thing and tear it apart?

Anybody? Advice?

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Post by zoey » Tue May 06, 2008 11:03 pm

If you pull the water reservoir out, is there visible water around the 'walls' of the machine? What I'm trying to find out is if the water appears to be coming from the left hand/rear of the machine.

If so, I'm guessing that you have the same issue.

You can easily check to see if you are having boiling over problems (in the evaporation cup) by simply removing the top grate off of the machine. It only has one phillips head screw that holds it in place.

You will see the boiler on the left hand side of the machine (rear). It will have a small copper cup on the top of the boiler, which has a stainless nut/relief valve in the center of it.

Turn your machine on (with the boiler running) and watch for water to fill the cup. A little will go into the cup but it shouldn't be excessive and it shouldn't over fill.

____________________________

Well, Chris sent my part out and I got it today. It's not quite the same part but functionally, it's the same.

I spent the time to replace the old one and fired up the machine.

The cup overfilled :evil:

It also managed to pop the breaker before the cup could fill up. :evil:

I know it's not Chris's fault BUT I'M PRETTY UPSET.
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Post by zoey » Tue May 06, 2008 11:09 pm

Another thought: While you have the top off, take a flashlight and search around for other sources of water. You might have a leak at a connection.

Disclaimer: I'm not an electrician nor am I a Spaz mechanic. Opening up your machine may void your warranty, kill you, burn down your house, kill your parakeet, devalue the peso, and raise the gas tax. Enter the machine at your own risk as I cannot be held liable for anything stupid or tragic that may happen to you, your loved ones, an ex-wife, or people at the Mall of America.

I'm simply a stupid paramedic who's in college to become an even more stupid nurse. If you have a nose bleed, I might be able to help. If not, I have a cell phone and can call 911 for you (unless of course you live in Jamaica, in which I would call 119).
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chefbear

Post by chefbear » Tue May 06, 2008 11:35 pm

I appreciate the advice AND the disclaimer. I just unplugged the machine and let it cool down for a bit. while it was unplugged I took out the water reservoir and noticed a little bit of water around where the unit slides in.

I've since lit a candle and walked around the machine backwards three times and plugged it back in. I'm hoping that this fixes it because I'm not a mechanical guy (I cook right?).

I've got the machine programmed to shut off in a few minutes and when it cools down, I'll try pulling the top off and have a peek inside.

Based on your continuing problems/frustrations, if this is the problem do you think I should just ask chris to send me a new one?

I want to get this sucker running 'cause I'm eager to give your "happy spider" a run for its money!

Thanks again for sharing.

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Post by zoey » Tue May 06, 2008 11:57 pm

:lol: :lol: Just wait until I perfect my frolicking giraffe!


Well, it's hard to say what you should do. If it's something simple, like a lose connection, sending it back would be quite a hassle for something so simple to fix.

If it's a metal flake, it might just be one flake. Although time consuming, it's not hard to fix if you have a phillips screwdriver and a 14mm box wrench.

On the other hand, there could be more than one flake.

If you are not mechanically inclined, I wouldn't suggest diving in.

Before you make any decisions, I would at least find the source of the leak. Then make a decision on what to do. You can always call Chris for advice on how to proceed.

How much water was leaking? Did you find any water on the inside walls of the machine? When the water over fills the cup, it hits the top of the hot boiler and tends to splash around. The water also percolates out of the cup on the boiler and splashes about.

If it isn't obvious, make sure your machine is unplugged from the wall socket when you peek inside. I would hate to see you get the shock of your life.


Might I also suggest waving some cooked (al dente) vermicelli around the machine. I've done this with my Ducati and it miraculously cured a small hiccup it was having at 7000rpm.
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chefbear

Post by chefbear » Wed May 07, 2008 12:06 am

Hard to tell if there was water all over the inside walls of the reservoir area. There wasn't a ton of water on the inside but quite a bit on the counter and floor of my kitchen.

I will take a look inside and see if there is something obvious (unplugging the machine first) and then give Chris a call in the morning.

I'm willing to give the repair a try (is a box wrench the same thing as a hex key?) if the Chris coffee people can convince me that I'm up to it.

Short of that - I'll put water on the boil for the vermicelli.

Good luck with your ongoing issue - hopefully a resolution is in the near future. Your latte art can't be held down by this!

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Post by zoey » Wed May 07, 2008 12:18 am

Here's a link to some photos I took:

wforum/viewtopic.php?t=768

In the 4th picture you can see the copper evaporation cup on top of the boiler.

In the 7th photo you will see where the source of the problem is (if in fact you have metal shavings causing the water issue). Speaking in simple terms, the black box with the cord attached to it is a electromagnetic device that pulls a valve open, which allows water to flow into the boiler.

The valve is simply a metal plunger with a rubber tip. The 'magnet' pulls the metal plunger back against a spring and water flows.

Metal flakes from the machining process find their way to the rubber tip and get embedded into the tip, which allows water to constantly bypass the valve.

It's easy to take apart. It will be 100 times easier to work on this if you remove the bodywork. However, the bodywork is a PITA to take off. I would start with the top grate. Then the plastic side panels. Last, the back. No need to remove the front.

1. Find a 14mm box-end wrench. The black box with the wire attached to it (photo 7) has a nut and a washer holding it onto a shaft. Remove the nut and washer with the 14mm.

2. Retract the black box off of the shaft.

3. The shaft is threaded into the main valve, which is brass. The shaft is attached to the main valve (which is brass) by a machined-in 14mm bolt. Carefully and SLOWLY remove the shaft. As you do so, look for metal shavings. They can be very small. Look at the rubber tip of the plunger as there might be a flake embedded in it. The rubber tip is actually a green, round rubber piece that is recessed into the end of the plunger.

***Caution! There is a small spring inside the shaft, which the plunger rests on. The plunger and spring will fall out if you are not careful. If it does, it's not a big deal unless you lose either part. There is no specific way that the plunger must be put back in.

4. Look inside the main valve (brass piece that you removed the shaft from. Look for more metal shavings.

5. Put it back together in the reverse order and fire up the machine. Check for leaks again.


Again, I would suggest that you talk to Chris's about this before you do anything. I'll be calling them tomorrow about my problem.

I plan on making sure that they send me one of the newer generation machines.
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chefbear

Post by chefbear » Wed May 07, 2008 12:33 am

This is great help! I took the top off and the copper cup looks to be dry as a bone. Hard to tell at this point if the evaporation cup was the source of the problem since everything inside looks pretty dry right now.

I'll let it fire up tomorrow and if I walk into my kitchen to find a puddle of water I'll get in the queue behind you at Chris' service department.

Taking the top off was easy and with the help of your photos I'm feeling pretty confident of going further - with CC's blessing of course.

After what you've been through, I think they should send you the first "screened" model that hits the mainland. Good luck.

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Post by zoey » Wed May 07, 2008 12:37 am

If the evaporation cup is bone dry, I'm inclined to think that the water is from another source.

When this is all said and done, Chris's might be referring people to me for repair issues. If it keeps up, I should know this machine inside and out. :roll:

I'll check in with you tomorrow after I call Chris's. I feel bad for the folks at Chris's because it's not their fault. On the other hand, I did drop 2 G's for a machine in February and have had to tear it apart twice now.
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chefbear

Post by chefbear » Wed May 07, 2008 12:53 am

I don't blame Chris for this per se but they did kind of talk me into this machine (I was between this one and the Quick Mill Andreja) and, oh yeah, I've owned it for 28 hours now.

We all buy from Chris primarily for their legendary service (the La Spaziale North American distributor is about 10 miles from my house) so I'm not feeling too sad about asking them to come through for me now.

Good luck tomorrow. Please let us know what you find out.

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Post by JohnB » Wed May 07, 2008 8:08 am

Where is the water showing up under the machine? It could be drips from the 3 way valve missing the drip tray. Make sure the 2 tubes hanging over the extension on the rear right side of your drip tray are angled so that the water falls in the tray. Some of us have added a short length of rubber house to the inside tube to better direct the drips.

Could also be a loose fitting. Remove the front & top covers & fire up the machine so you can see where the water is coming from.
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Post by zoey » Wed May 07, 2008 12:02 pm

I called Chris's today. I'm not a happy camper.

First, I talked to service. Once again, we were unable to figure out the problem. So, I got transfered to Mary to see what we could do about this problem.

I want a new machine and I would like one of the new batch, which have the in-line filters.

They are unwilling to switch machines until they see if they can fix mine. They want me drain the water out of the machine and ship it back to them for service.

This means that I will be sans machine for (more than likely) several weeks. It's just my luck that I sold my backup espresso machine a few weeks ago.

With a 20+ shot/day habit and finals week in college, I'm going to be a very, very unhappy camper.
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Post by JohnB » Wed May 07, 2008 12:42 pm

zoey wrote: With a 20+ shot/day habit and finals week in college, I'm going to be a very, very unhappy camper.
20 shots a day!! :shock: Even on decaf you could catch a buzz off of that much Espresso.
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Post by zoey » Wed May 07, 2008 3:38 pm

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
I DON'T HAVE A CAFFEINE BUZZ
I DON'T HAVE A CAFFEINE BUZZ
I DON'T HAVE A CAFFEINE BUZZ
:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
:lol:

Just think about what I was like when I used regular coffee. :wink:
funny thing: I could pull my last shot just before bed and would promptly fall asleep without a problem.

It's the supraventricular tachycardia, premature ventricular and atrial contractions that finally did me in.
________________________________-

Anyhow, I just couldn't let things alone. No way in hades was I going to go without my machine over finals.

So I called Tim, the Mini tech at Chris's. Unknowingly, I had accidentally put the Parker valve assembly in backwards. It's a unidirectional valve. Thank God Tim figured this out.

So, I tore the valve apart and turned it around.

I fired up the machine and the expansion evaporation cup didn't overflow........IT SHOT WATER OUT LIKE A GEYSER!! It was Old Faithful in my kitchen.

I just about blew a gasket myself. :twisted:

So, I went back to studying for finals. While reading about the exhilarating (meaning I was nodding off) topic of hemochromatosis, a thought popped into my head. "I wonder if the boiler is overfilled?".

I removed the temperature sensor from the boiler and used a 60cc syringe with tubing attached to it to suck some H2O out of the tank.

I replaced the temp sensor, fired up the machine, and she is back in working order. But, just to be on the safe side, I'm going to leave the bodywork off for a while and watch for leaks/geysers.

Tim is really "the deal". He's my newest hero.
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chefbear

Post by chefbear » Wed May 07, 2008 7:35 pm

Zoey, I'm putting on a fresh pot of vermicelli in hopes that your machine issues are now resolved.

I may have had a "breakthrough" of my own on the dripping water issue. It sat on all day with no dripping. I came home and pulled a couple of shots for me and my son, refilled the reservoir and went on with my business.

I noticed the leaking again shortly after that. Pulled off the top to eye the evaporation cup - dry. Looked all around inside with a flashlight - dry, dry, dry. Pulled out the reservoir and the dripping stopped immediately.

It seems that if you don't push the reservoir into the back of the unit very firmly then it won't seat properly and the dripping will ensue.

Has anybody else had this problem?

I want to add that, except for this leaking issue, I am absolutely loving this machine. Delicious espresso! Still getting the hang of it (day three of ownership for me) and my latte art shots are coming. Have nearly perfected the "mushroom cloud" but it's not quite there yet. Baby steps..

Cautiously optimistic.

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Post by zoey » Wed May 07, 2008 8:05 pm

I hope that is the end of your problems (and the end of mine as well).

Chris's is sending me a couple of bolts that were missing from the new flow valve. The new valve has something like 6mm bolts that hold the valve to the frame-mounting bracket (the old one was 7mm). I looked at the hardware store for new bolts but they didn't have anything with the right pitch.

So, my valve is basically floating in the wind right now (probably not a big deal).
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terry

Post by terry » Sun May 18, 2008 8:49 pm

Yes I have had the same problem.
You must push the resevoir in completely. It makes a connection sound.
Nevertheless, I have started checking for leaking right after I seat the resevoir and as long as I seat it with the connecting sound I have had no leaking.
Everything else is working perfectly.

Terry

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