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Thread: Breville BES900 Dual Boiler - Owners thread

  1. #5401
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    1
    Hello,

    I'm new to this board and thread. I live in the US (Colorado). I purchased a BES900XL in August of 2014. Loved it so much, I bought my son a BES920 a few months later. Wish I could trade. I use it daily. It has been working quite well for these 3.5 years though the steamer seem to gradually be weakening. I believe we have high quality tap water. I'm quite handy and would like to find the definitive run-down on descaling and maintenance. I greatly appreciate any help.

    Thanks,

    Douglas
    Last edited by dgennetten; 1 Week Ago at 02:13 AM.

  2. #5402
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    southern california, usa
    Posts
    161
    Quote Originally Posted by dgennetten View Post
    Hello,

    I'm new to this board and thread. I live in the US (Colorado). I purchased a BES900XL in August of 2014. Loved it so much, I bought my son a BES920 a few months later. Wish I could trade. I use it daily. It has been working quite well for these 3.5 years though the steamer seem to gradually be weakening. I believe we have high quality tap water. I'm quite handy and would like to find the definitive run-down on descaling and maintenance. I greatly appreciate any help.

    Thanks,

    Douglas
    While our Aussie mates are sleeping...

    Both your -900 and your son's -920 are well past due for some maintenance. Here's what I know so far from having had the BDB since it's USA launch in November 2011...

    This is a quote from me in the -920 thread:
    Hi guys, been a member here for a few years but stopped visiting as much as the USA web sites caught up with 900/920 growth and adoption...

    I was an early USA adopter having got my -900 in November 2011. About two years later, it got replaced under warranty with a -900 /B which was the last version before the -920 came out, and uses the -920 brew group and notched portafilters and all. So I'm kind of in between the -900 forum and the -920 forum. So my -900 is basically a -920 save for the ability to drain the boilers, with is moot to me, because I use a commercial espresso machine filtration system that does not produce scale.

    So now, many years off warranty, a little over six years into BDB ownership (for Breville Dual Boiler), and being active on the forums, these are the things that seem to commonly arise:

    1) o-rings: need replacing every 2-3 years, particularly the steam boiler o-rings under the fittings where there are water tubes. Failure to replace these when they are leaking can cause all manner of strange behavior, from constant heating past the set temp, to popping the circuit at the wall outlet as leaking steam wets the triac circuit board under the warming tray. $10USD from Amazon or ebay gets you 100 size #007 o-rings, which is more than you will need for the rest of your life. I used silicone, because I think that's what Breville used. Some use EPDM, and some use regular nitrile. They all cost about the same and I wouldn't be surprised if they all work about the same in this application, despite having different duty ratings.

    2) solenoid: seems good for about 3-4 years. I have not had much luck trying to rebuild one that no longer works. Under $50USD delivered for a new one. I have kept my old one though, in case something comes up where I find good information on how to revive it. But if I had to guess, I'd say the electric bit, the coil, is what is bad, and not leaks or blockages.

    3) steam ball valve: these eventually begin to leak either through the ball in the middle or out the side of the on-off handle. It is oriented vertically in the machine. the bits that screw into the top and bottom of it are unique to the BDB. the bit in the middle, the valve unit itself could be an off the shelf item from about anywhere (probably China), as the world is awash in g1/4 British thread ball valves, which is what this uses. Problem: most of the parts houses I'm aware of are out of these and may be discontinued. Solution: keep the top and bottom Breville bits and find an off the shelf ball valve from somewhere that uses female-female g1/4 British threads that is about the same length as the Breville one and use it instead. Might have to bend up a new clamp to clamp it to the the machine if the Breville clamp is too small or too big. USA 1/4 NPT female-female ball valves may work too in this type of application. They are the same thread pitch as the British g1/4, but are tapered thread. Many people in the automotive hobbies exchange USA NPT with British BSPP and BSPT for mild applications.


    -Peter
    If you haven't done the o-rings on the water/steam tubes coming off the top of the steam boiler, you are on borrowed time for some very disconcerting things happening. I shudder to think how many people have thrown out perfectly good BDB's in the past because these strange things were happening and didn't [I]seem{/I] fixable. If you haven't replaced the solenoid there are no dire consequences from that, other than extra noise and possible inconsistent operation. The steam ball valve will eventually develop leaks that present as drips out of the steam want tip, or worse, out the side of the ball valve, where the handle screws into it. This has become an issue of late, since the parts houses are running out, and listing them as "discontinued". Read above for the state of that situation. As for descaling, this is a controversial area in the BDB community. Most commercial-like machines like the GS/3 do not have boiler drains, as it is assumed that by the time you reach the level of commercial type machines, you are using scale-free water. Descaling a GS/3, should rarely if ever need to happen and when it does, it requires major disassembly and removal of the boilers. It's best to use conditioned water and never have to worry about it again. In the case of the BDB, I have elected to use conditioned water, so I never have scale and never have to worry about scale. But even with the -900 version, you can descale it without removing the boilers. Since I've never had to do it, I won't go into much more detail than I have, but I get the idea it's been done by people here on CS. It would be interesting to read how they have done it.

    There are a couple of very useful links in the USA forums (CG and HB), talking about o-ring replacement and some other common maintenance items. there may well be the same here too. but I haven't visited in here in a while so I could easily be missing it.

    Hope this is enough to get you started.

    -Peter
    Last edited by pcrussell50; 1 Week Ago at 06:32 AM.

  3. #5403
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    49
    Ooookay... Last weekend I took the time to upgrade/repair my trusty and faithful BES900. Over the past 12 months it has been getting more and more sluggish and difficult to come up to the normal 9bar pressure, and even without the portafilter in place, the volume of water was diminished. As such - I decided it was time to fix her up good.

    I purchased a new Ulka EP5 pump for replacement (about $30 AUD) and I already had a proper brass OPV which I never installed (due to repairs of the OPV under warranty)

    It took me about 3 hours to swap the pump and the brass OPV but it was very easy work. Also - thanks Nic for a well written procedure: » BES900 and the brass OPV… Nic's Stuff. For the record - that is the same OPV I used, but the press-in tube connector was a straight not angled one.

    Gotchas:
    • need to make sure the OPV does not crush the rubber valve inside the pump - so, that means that you need to shorten the length of the thread by about 2.5mm - use the old OPV for guidance.
    • need to make sure you clean all metal shavings from inside the OPV thusly adjusted and round off all the cutting edges on the thread so that by screwing it in you don't damage the plastic thread on the pump
    • top silicone seal on the plastic OPV is re-usable if you don't have one.
    • temperature cut-off device is re-usable - you can pry it loose without damaging it. If you already have a cut-off component - make sure it cuts off at 85C not 130C (as I got one sent to me with the pump)
    • the 4mm pipelet which comes out of the OPV into the tank needed to have its end cut as the brass collar which presses against the o-ring in the old OPV is compression fitted and it did not come out willingly (dipping that end in hot water did not help, and I was running the risk of damaging it at both ends). Cut flush with the collar as you don't have enough length to spare. Lightly de-bur the freshly cut end before inserting it the new connector.
    • inserting the 4mm pipelet into the connector fitted in the brass OPV is more difficult than initially thought: length of the pipe is barely enough and you need to really push on it with some force to make it go past the o-ring inside the connector. Probably a little bit of silicon grease on the outside of the pipe would have helped - but I didn't have it at the time.
    • careful not to crush or bend the pipe at an angle as you force-insert it, if you need to get better purchase with a pair of needle-nose pliers.
    • have a good supply of paper-towels in case you spot a leak as you warm up the machine. Around 45C it starts putting a bit of steam pressure in the pipelet, and if it is not pushed completely in, it will leak. If you see it leak, turn off the machine, unplug it and try to get the pipelet in completely. Dry thoroughly any leakages.
    • If all is good, start the machine, test with the blind disk, and adjust the brass OPV. Mine was already set to open at 11bar, and it was a nice confirmation that the pressurised components held just fine.
    • exhaustively test the system under pressure to make sure it does not leak from anywhere. There was a minor leak as the OPV opened from the tank-return hose - easily rectified with a small zippy-tie.
    • re-assemble the machine, clean the work-bench and enjoy a well earned coffee.



    Ah - I also replaced the solenoid 3-way valve silicone-membrane-come-o-ring. The old one was still OK - however, it had quite a bit of lime deposits underneath and on the bottom metal part. Cleaning those deposits off the metal part was a challenge. CLR did not work on the old silicone membrane - so there was no point in trying it on the metal part (which is aluminium alloy and you shouldn't try anyway). Once re-assembled, the solenoid valve was tested, and declared functional as no leaks were observed.

    So she lives again for many more coffees!
    Last edited by inorog; 1 Week Ago at 06:02 PM.

  4. #5404
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    southern california, usa
    Posts
    161
    Well done! I have not done the OPV upgrade as I haven't needed to. But I keep up with others who have, as well as everything I can find related to repairing and maintaining the BDB. If you are also replacing your pump anyway, you might as well get the version of the Ulka with the brass outlet, and use it instead of the one with the plastic outlet. That way you have brass against brass when you screw your new OPV to the new pump. Some pics and procedure here: https://www.home-barista.com/repairs...od-t43690.html

    By the way, did you guys in Oz ever get the /B version of the -900? Here in the USA, not long before the -920 was released, we started getting a version of the -900 that was labelled on the box as -900 /B. It has the -920 group and portafilter, but otherwise is a -900 with the -900 firmware and no boiler drains (which is of little consequence to me, because I use scale-free water like they do in the top notch Melbourne coffee shops).

    My current -900 is the /B version with the -920 group and portafilters.

    -Peter
    Last edited by pcrussell50; 6 Days Ago at 05:09 AM.

  5. #5405
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    49
    Hey Peter,

    I think mine may be a /B version. I can't tell for sure as I don't have the big box anymore. Thing is - mine's had a serious "group-head job" - when I took it in for the porta-filter spinning out by itself, and severe rust in the shower screen screw receptacle. Breville replaced the group-head with an upgraded one for (I think the one for BES 920 (square lugs) ). Never had issues with it since.

    They guys also did a firmware upgrade - and how I noticed that is that the previous version would use to say "clean me" all the time once the timer was up. The version they put on, only says "clean me" during the warmup period - then it goes away.. Go figure!

    Yeah - I'm inland for a while - New England water is uh... well... let's just say that you won't have problem with your recommended daily intake of calcium and magnesium

    Oh well - I'll cross that bridge when I get to it! She served me well since 2012

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