I always say look for the obvious first did you cheak the line first, water in steem out. Number one be very carefull with live wires they Bite.
I have a Sunbeam EM6910 has been a good machine…
Steam became intermittent and weak for a few days then stopped working altogether...
I bought the machine second hand and I have had it for a few years now so.. I’m guessing I don’t have any recourse to warranty from SB.
I have a tendency to tinker with broken electrical and/or mechanical equipment.
So I pulled off the steam knob and bridged the micro switch to factor it out of the equation.
Now I’m thinking of replacing the steam pump as I have the service manual and it doesn’t look too difficult.
I have a couple of questions:
[list bull-blackball][*]Where is the best place to buy spares? This looks like a good source: spares.bigwarehouse.com.au
[*]Is there anything out of the ordinary about replacing the steam pump I should be aware of?* Could I be barking up the wrong tree and something else has failed perhaps?[/list]
I always say look for the obvious first did you cheak the line first, water in steem out. Number one be very carefull with live wires they Bite.
Your situation is quite typical for old machines. Id say youve got 1 of 3 things that could be causing the problem. 1 - steam pump like youve said, 2 - steam switch and 3 - main board. Numbers 1 and 2 are achievable fixes for a diy handy man. Number 3 is expensive and needs to be sent to a sb service centre.
So give the switch a quick check for continuity (its located near the steam knob, at the front top left of the machine). If the switch is fine then try replacing the pump. Bigwarehousespares is where i got my replacement steam pump from and I was happy with them.
I also had some frustrating intermittent steam before mine died so id be willing to bet its just the pump. good luck.
Pretty much what I was thinking… I have already bridged the micro switch…
Thanks for the reassurance, I will check for blockages then look at replacing the steam pump.
Will also avoid killing myself with 240. ;)
Hi just seen a broken machine on ebay. Just comp. broken would be good for parts have a look.
This might help you:
I scored a 2nd hand EM6910 off eBay for $50 advertised as "steam wand not working". The problem turned out to be 2 things. The micro switch behind the steam knob had fallen apart, so I just transferred the switch from the hot water tap (as Ill never use that function). That made the pump work but the output was mostly hot water with the occasional burst of steam. The solution to this problem was to de-scale the steam thermoblock. I didnt want to rig up any external devices to pump solution through it (Im lazy), plus I couldnt really find a easy procedure on CS for doing this, so I devised my own.
De-scaling the thermoblock requires pumping de-scaling solution through it without turning it into steam in the process. De-scaling solution is made up of various kinds of acids - turning this into an airborne vapor is not a Good Thing which is why Sunbeam dont recommend it in their manual.
*WARNING* Take the usual precautions when dealing with live electricity etc..
To de-scale the steam thermo block I used the following method. Remove covers to gain access to the internals. Fill tank with warm water and de-scaling solution. Turn on machine and allow it to warm up. Allow machine to stay at operating temperature for 5 minutes, then un-plug from the wall. As quick as possible remove one of the wires from the steam thermoblock heating element and turn the machine back on. With any luck it will by-pass the warm up cycle and allow the steam pump to operate just by turning the knob.
About 1.5L of de-scaling solution was pumped through the steam block which removed a lot of built up junk. YMMV.
I hope this information is useful.
You guys are legends! thanks for all the tips! ;)
Good luck with the repairs. You just have to keep the coffee flowing.
I suspect my steam pump has died too so this post is of interest. 2 questions i hope someone can help with:
1. whats the model of ulka pump that SB has used for the steam pump...i read its a 4bar pump but thats all i know. I cant quite see the tag on mine without pulling the whole machine apart.
2. could the steam pump be successfully replaced with another ulka espresso pump from a crap old breville or other donor? i mean a standard so called "15 bar" pump that any other domestic machine has. I have a working old breville sitting on my bench that could finally serve a purpose!
Thanks for the info - Im having issues too!
Oh well I have an issue too.
I thought it was a clogged steam boiler. I tried the above method of getting the decalcifier into the steamer to see if I could get the steam wand to work better. But sadly the cleaner did not help.
I thought it was going to, the pump was putting through steam, but not a full blast of steam. Then it slowed down.
After messing around with the cleaner for some time, hoping some block would clear, I took off 2 screws from what I think is the steam pump. It is right beside the bottom of the steam boiler. I had a hunch this unit could be blocked, I could not get it apart so I put it back together, now I get no steam at all. Most of the water that appears to get to this pump ends up going out the overflow into the tray.
Has anyone else had failures with this part.
I welcome any pointers.
Well, even though no one answered the previous posts were good pointers.
So thank you to the previous posters. :)
It turned out to be a blocked boiler!. :(
I have never had one of these apart (actually never had any coffee machine apart) but it seemed the pump was OK. It put water out when disconnected.
I tried decalc and thought I was on to something, it seemed to improve, I got some steam out. Then it stopped altogether. I tried putting compressed air through the boiler, (it was getting hot) but it seemed totally blocked. I took the boiler into the local service agent who checked it and said he couldnt get air through it either!
He sold me a near new used boiler (from another machine), for $40.00 so I was wrapped.
Got home put it in and all is good.
Now I have to learn how to use it, the steamer is so different from my Sunbeam EM4800C.
I had the techinique for making silky milk down to close to perfect on it.
The same approach does not seem to work on the
EM 6910 :D
When putting my machine back together I attempted to get the hot water knob and the steam knob to be in the off position in such a way as to immediately turn the microswitch on as the knob just starts to turn.
If I had it lined up so it was about line 2-3 before the microswitch activated the pump I would get full pressure steam very quickly.
That seems too vigorous to get nice silky milk.
Or have I got more to learn!
And my on and off settings on the knobs are not aligning with the marks on the body of the machine.
I am unclear as to what I have done wrong.
The microswitch activates only after the knob has turned a significant amount. That's not accidental - when the switch activates, the pump activates and starts putting pulses of water into the thermoblock to produce steam. The fact that the switch only activates after the knob has rotated a bit means you can release the steam pressure after steaming milk, by opening the steam valve just enough to release the pressure without activating the pump.
You mentioned you have the service manual for an EM6910 - any chance its electronic and you can share it?
Hi guys, ive got a problem so if anyone can help out it would be appreciated.
I was foolishly making a delish coffee during a big storm and whilst steaming the milk i got zapped. However my machine continued to work fine. Then another storm hit the next week and damaged a couple of lights etc. My machine suddenly acted funny that morning. Now my Sunbeam EM6910 doesnt do what it used to. It makes a strange sound when i pump the water through it. It also doesnt come out with as much force or pressure, heaps of water still comes but sort of dribbles out. I cant get any crema whatsoever. The pressure also takes ages to build up - about 5+ seconds to get any then shoots up quickly and crappy dark watery shot comes out. Any help would be so helpful. thanks
Last edited by Journeyman; 7th March 2013 at 02:14 PM. Reason: fix link
Should be able to push through water with a syringe from the bottom of the steamer to the top where I should see squirt out. If it is blocked how can I get vinegar into it if it's blocked. I can push a drill bit into the bottom hole of the boiler to a depth of 1cm. The pump works fine, the copper tube that leads to the steam tube is clear.
Hi JasonC... Don't force the drill bit - any kind of efficiency would have the tube in a spiral inside the thermoblock.You don't want to scrape metal into the line.
I just do the cleaning cycle but spend maybe 5-10 minutes running the cleaner through the steam wand. First time I did it I got a cough and splutter and suddenly had good steam. At first I used Cino Cleano (from local roaster) but more recently I have white vinegar.
If the thermoblock is blocked, try using a normal coffee machine cleaner through the steam system but let it run till it comes clean. If you have it apart, try putting the cleaner in the top and wait and see if it works through.
I am having blockage problems with my em 6900 can anyone give me a hint how I lift the top of the machine.........loosened all the required screws........top loose............but cannot remove it as steam knob shaft and the hot water shaft are wider than the top. Can't get at the steam and hot water valve without being able to get the top of the machine off..................looks like a real catch22 situation.
Also does anyone know if the main control board on an em6900 is an exact replacement for the em6910 board??
Newbidrinker, there is a small screw in the centre of each shaft, take out the screw and pull the shaft off.
Top of the machine will lift off, sometimes have to give it a firm tap at the back to release some metal tabs that go into recesses in the side panels. Be careful of lifting it past the microswitches for the steam and hot water, you can break them if you're not careful.
Side panels are secured by 2 screws in the bottom of each. Remove them and they'll lift off.
This machine had everything except the group handle, gaggia handle works perfectly well,I interested in your trouble shooting progress.
What a good find, you will be well pleased.
Notice my mistake above, calling it a blocked boiler, instead of a thermoblock
After much frustration with scale in the steam wand, I did what davek near the top of this thread suggested, using a vinegar solution.
Great steam ever since
Where On Tgis Thing Is The Serial Number? Im Getting Leaking Over The Top During Pour, No Matter How Firm I Lock It Into Place. Its Only 2 Months Old. I Have Tried varying Levels Of Coffee And Tamp.
First thing to try is to dose less. I dose to about 4mm below the rim, maybe even 5mm. That puts about 15g - 16g of coffee in the basket and gives excellent results.
Next thing to ask is, have you removed the showerscreen/blue seal to clean? I had an unstoppable leak at one early stage and found I had somehow messed up putting the seal back in so it wasn't tight to the group head.
When you say 'all over' do you mean all around the top or is it coming mainly from one place? If it is all over you should take off the showerscreen and blue seal (use back end of a teaspoon to lever out the seal - you don't want anything sharp gouging it) clean them and make sure they go back in properly. Note there are 2 screens, and both 'slot' into grooves in the blue seal, the smaller one is the inner (closest to machine) one and the larger one is the one you see when you look up at the group head.
A friend just gave me her old EM 6910. It has never been cleaned as far as I can tell as the cleaning disc was still taped inside the back door.
I cleaned the externals and I am getting some tablets and descaler to clean the rest today. Two things I noticed when making a coffee.
The pressure gauge isn't working at all.
The steam is very weak it heats the milk but I am not getting the nice whirlpool needed to create good milk
The shot has no crema granted I am still saving up to buy a grinder so these are preground beans and not too fresh but there isn't even a hint of crema.
Hubby will take a look at it tonight as he is quite handy (takes apart planes for a living I hope this is a little more simple)
any hints on what to look for?
Just give it a proper cleanup and see how it goes. 6910 is a real espresso machine: pressure gauge is unlikely to do much movement with supermarket coffee "universal grind" anyway as it is far too coarse. The watery coffee will just flood through giving almost no resistance.
Speaking of the pressure gauge, it may be blocked. Tell your hubbie to be very, very careful as it is very easy to break the thin pipe which feeds into the pressure gauge.
You need a No2 philips to remove the showerscreens: 6910 has two of them and coffee tends to build up between them. Checking and cleaning the seal is also a good idea.
Other than that, check the portafilter handle: if the plastic part under the basket is in place, it is essential to remove it (you will not believe the junk underneath it).
Have fun watching him toil...
Thanks so much. I cleaned it with a tablet and descaled it the water came through quite clear I have to say. Even when the group head was unscrewed that seemed pretty clear and the seal looked good. The pressure gauge moves but only slightly so might wait on freshly ground coffee to make a call on that. It still tastes ok (better than instant anyway) just weak. The grounds come out of the filter after use compact and firm.
The steam wand is annoying me no end it is so weak any advice on how to check that properly?
Hi again Pennyc
Check the following for more info about a 6910 than you will probably ever wish to know (this was my first CS post, which is why I stored the link):-
My New Machine
Basically, the 6910 will steam brilliantly IF it is clean. Unfortunately, as I know I posted (prob on same thread) "correctly steam the milk or the wand will clog". I have seen quite a few shockers. Get your hubby to try cleaning it "properly", if that fails then take the wand off altogether and soak it in a good solvent (he should be able to use toluene safely: it has worked as a last resort on the worst ones I have seen).
Do you have the SB 6910 DVD? It actually has the correct way to steam milk plus a few other 6910 tips worth knowing.
Due to a snafu I have a few spare DVDs here in Rockingham: pay for postage and one is yours... (applies to any CSr's until I run out).
Last edited by TampIt; 1st October 2014 at 02:19 PM.
DVD's sent. TampIt
well the other half pulled it apart and it is still weak as anything here is what he looked at and found.
took out pump and check internals and flushed the thermoblock everything looked clean no floaty bits chunks of discolouration put back together but steam is still weak as.
when you turn it on you can hear the pump throbbing it takes awhile for any steam to come out when it does it is a small weak amount which seems to get a little stronger then weaker again.
for a while when I had my hand on the steam control it would stay on but if I took my hand off it stopped so we thought it might be electrical but now it is going without keeping my hand on it.
The back housing is still off while we are testing it and looking at the inlet tube into the pump it seems there is little flow into the pump there are a few bubbles in there and they aren't moving. The pump seemed to function ok when he tested it it didn't feel like it was catching anywhere the action seemed smooth.
not sure if the pump action is supposed to be constant or if it is supposed to be throbbing.
any tips or advice on what to look at next? Or is it a lost cause
Get some cleaner fluid - I used Cino Cleano from my local roaster but white vinegar will do it as well - the thermoblocks are stainless steel lined so no worries - and add 60ml to about 1 litre of water in the tank. Run the steam until some comes through. Turn it off and let it sit for a while (10 minutes or so) then turn the steam on and let it run. Give it maybe 15 minutes or so - put a container under the nozzle to catch effluent.
In my case there was an almighty spuuter and spitting and suddenly the steam was MUCH stronger and I had brown gunk in the container.
TampIt is right about the incorrect steaming process in the manual - turning off the knob with the tip buried in milk is a good way to suck milk up into a very hot metal shaft, where it hardens and builds up. To get around this issue, turn the knob off and almost immediately, while there is stills team issuing from the tip, withdraw the jug smoothly from the wand. Do it so the movement is straight down the line of the wand and you won't have any issues with splattering milk.
You could try using the larger wire bit on the probe thing attached to the rubber disk to poke up into the nozzle and see if there is blockage, but realistically, it's not going to be long enough to clear everything that's up there. A length of wire the same size might help, but still do the cleaner/let-it-run thing to make sure you get it all.
Would the sunbeam de scale liquid I have work?
Should do - another source of problems is the crap they add to our water, so descale will help with that as well.
Do you have the descale filter in the water tank? If it is there and looks dark brown you can soak it in salt water for a day then let it dry out and put it back in.
Remove the upper copper tube connecting the thermoblock output to the steam tap then turn on the steam.
If you have a section of silicone hose or something else to put over the thermoblock outlet to direct the steam away from the machine that would be ideal.
If you have sufficient steam leaving the thermoblock then you know the blockage is in the copper pipe, steam tap or steam arm.
Blow through the copper pipe and see if you encounter resistance. I have seen a few machines where this pipe is clogged.
Clean it in descaler and with some wire to poke through it.
Once reinstalled, unscrew the steam adjustment pin from the steam tap body. You will require a 13mm spanner to undo the retain ing nut that holds it in place. With it removed, press down on the steam microswitch to turn on the steam.
Does sufficient steam come out of where the steam dial used to be? If so, the blockage may be in the steam wand. I doubt it though.
If the blockage is not in the tip, shine a light up the steam wand and see if there is any contaminants.
I've repaired at least 15-20 EM6910's with poor steam power and it has never been a blockage in the wand that has been the problem.
The pump is meant to pulse and it doesn't output much water. Sometimes even if the pump looks and sounds right it is still the problem. I replaced a broken pump the other day with a brand new one from Sunbeam, looked and sounded perfect but the steam was weak and wet. Replaced the pump again, problem solved.
Pumps aren't that expensive though. If you have exhausted every other option, maybe try replacing it.
Hi again all,
As suggested, we cracked the copper line at the thermoblock outlet to test the flow of steam and there was really not much happening there which pointed at a problem upstream (thermoblock / pump). To test the the pump we cracked the copper line just prior to the inlet of the thermoblock and re-tested. True to Noidle's description for the normal function of the pump, it didn't transfer a huge volume of fluid (maybe 120ml over a 5min period) but it did function, which now makes us think that the problem is downstream of the pump, probably the thermoblock itself, which is confusing 'cos on a previous occasion we syringed descaling fluid through it which seemed to flow through it fine. Still somehow suspect the thermoblock though.
Now just wondering whether anyone can point out something we may have overlooked otherwise we'll be focusing on further cleaning of the thermoblock and possible pump replacement.
The thermoblock can flow fine and seem to have the same flow as a brand new thermoblock but scale can still be the problem.
What happens is the thermoblock no longer has the ability to recover its heat from the cold water being pumped into it. This means less than powerful and sufficient steam comes out of your steam arm as most of it is still just water not fully converted into super heated steam.
I've soaked a thermoblock in a powerful descaling solution (with the element connectors NOT submerged) for a day and a half and got a small improvement in steam power. It would take regular cycling of the water path in the block to have the best chance of success.
If you don't want to spend the money on retail costs for a new pump or thermoblock, send me a PM as I have access to the full range of Sunbeam spare parts at trade price.
Thanks so much noidle22 have sent you a PM
Any suggestions on where to start when diagnosing my machine. When powering up, the lights just keep flashing, never reaching operating temp. Prior to this happening the steam became very weak. I have had the sides off and the steam thermoblock is not getting even remotely warm. I am assuming it could be anything from circuit board to thermofuse to thermoblock itself. Any tips would be much appreciated.
likely to be the thermo-fuse.
I blew a few on the steam TB
Test it by bypassing the fuse with a piece of insulated wire.
otherwise it may be a relay issue (i had those too) but the relay usually sticks on,
so the TB is always heating whenever the power-point is on
Finally it might be a thermostat issue or even a dead heating element.
But fuse is most likely.
so we broke the line so the descale was just being pushed through the pump and thermoblock and we did get some very disgusting sticky brown stuff coming out. The steam was still not strong but got stronger and weaker. We turned the steam off for a few minutes and turned back on and very little came out we turned it off again then some more brown gunk so it looks like there is definitely a blockage probably in the thermoblock.
we saw a thread on here where someone filled up the thermoblock using a syringe and let the solution sit in the thermoblock for about 7 hours and then used wire and pressure to get the blockage moving. I think that is what we are planning next (this is of course the royal we as it is hubby doing all the fiddling while I stand there looking disgusted and what is coming out and dreaming of a new machine on interest free )
Quick update on my machine, blown thermo-fuse. $4 from Jaycar and machine is up and running again.
Thanks for the help.
Hi all i'm baaaacck
I have been absent as we ordered some new parts and they took until Friday to arrive. Finally the machine is back together and appears to be working although I am yet to try it with coffee but the steam was very good when tested.
The other half got me the Breville smart grinder for my birthday so I am all set off to get coffee today and watch the DVD before I start.
Can anyone advise what settings the grinder should be on and the best basket for me to start with? As this was bought second hand the single pour attachment was missing so I only have the dual pour.
I have a used sunbeam em6910 which my husband got for me at a garage sale. It was working well except that it leaked around the seal. I did run some cleaning fluid through the machine and flush with fresh water prior to removing the water tank so I could lay the machine on it's back to access and replace the seal. I got a new seal and after replacing it, the machine won't turn on. all I get is one flick of the first green light (on left) and then nothing. No clicks or pump noises. Could there have been a short of a wire or board? There didn't seem to be any water on the bench when I finished installing the new blue seal. Nothing zapped or smelled like burning plastic. Are there fuses in the machine that I can check? I don't know if it is normal for the machine, but it did seem to be a bit noisy when it was running and the pressure gauge didn't register much even though it produced a reasonable crema and frothy milk.. Very frustrating, I'm dying to have another good coffee out of it. Thanks in advance for your help.
FYI: I am rarely online these days (too busy), so PM is the main "faster" method as I get an email notification.
PS: How is your 6910 going? Please add a little more to the PM about that AFTER seeing my first few posts on the Journeyman link (above somewhere in this thread). Which 6910 (older / newer) is essential to assist.