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Thread: Should I repair Silvia V3 to sell or not?

  1. #1
    Senior Member CafeLotta's Avatar
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    Should I repair Silvia V3 to sell or not?

    I would appreciate some thoughts on whether I should repair a Rancilio Silvia V3 before putting it up for sale?

    Originally I wanted the grinder from the package and had intended to sell the Silvia which had been advertised as being in 'mint' condition.

    When received it was not in 'mint' condition (should have been as new and unmarked.) The top was covered in wear scratches from cups and a filter basket which came loose in the box scratched up the back splash plate. Also a few other marks from use.
    Worse still the heating element appears to be shot as it trips my safety switch part way into heating up for steam.

    I am debating whether to sell it as is, disclosing the issues as above. What would be a fair price for a V3 in this condition?

    I considering replacing the boiler myself and keeping it but haven't decided yet. If I sell it I would get it repaired commercially to avoid any possible liability issues.

    What do you think?

    Last edited by CafeLotta; 31st October 2012 at 10:28 AM.

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    I suspect you'll get less nett from the sale if you get it repaired commercially, parts for a boiler fix on a Silvia run ~$140 retail (IIRC), I'd be extremely surprised if you got out of a commerical repair for less than $200, finger in the air guestimate ~$250.

    I doubt you'd get $250 extra selling it working vs not, particularly given your description of the cosmetic condition of it.

    If you're interested in keeping it and you're somewhat DIY minded the boiler swap is pretty straight forward (search the forum, I posted some instructions for another user maybe 6 months back, there are also some YouTube videos around for it)

    EDIT: Hmmm, just re-read your message, it heats but it trips your RCD when you turn it to steam? Is it OK if you just leave it sit there (turned on but not to Steam)? If so would tend to suggest that the boiler is probably OK, my suspicion would be the Steam thermostat or the wiring thereof, though I can't think of a fault mode there that might cause it to trip (particularly since IIRC the current for the element routes via the steam thermostat normally and the steam switch just bypasses the "brew" 'stat, which would imply the fault occurs when the steam 'stat opens, which would be rather weird)...

    I suppose it's possible there's a split in your element which is opening up and allowing ingress of water as the element expands, but only does so at the higher temperatures of the steam function, very unusual failure mode though, try leaving it turned on for a long time and see if it trips, I expect if there's a crack in your element I'd expect the water to eventually get in there even at the lower temperature.

  3. #3
    Senior Member CafeLotta's Avatar
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    Parts cost is $160 just for the boiler/element or around $200 to replace boiler/element and thermostats.
    No issue doing it myself if I wanted to keep it but wasn't planning on doing so originally as I only wanted the grinder.

    Had thought to advertise as is for around $250 so someone who could repair it themself would have a new boiler in a V3 for aound $450 instead of taking pot luck on a 2nd hand one like I did. Most of the surface scratches would polish out I imagine. Local metal poisher quoted $50 to do all panels.

    Brew and hot water seem to function okay but trips while heating up for steam, some time after switching on steam button.
    Last edited by CafeLotta; 31st October 2012 at 10:34 AM.

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    i second jbrewster's suggestion. is there any possibility that the element is wet? water trapped around the element could be completing the circuit to the boiler. perhaps leave the device switched on in brew mode for a few hours to see if that dries the steam element.

    have you compared the resistances of the 2 boiler elements? what about resistance to earth of both elements?

    also, since you have an earth leakage fault, if you do choose to work on this yourself, ensure that you don't forget to hook up all the earth wires - leaving one disconnected could cause the chassis to become live and would be extremely dangerous...

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    Quote Originally Posted by early_morning_ View Post
    have you compared the resistances of the 2 boiler elements? what about resistance to earth of both elements?...
    ?? I believe the Silvia has only 1 element. ! ?

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    orly? sorry, i'm relaying experiences from small, domestic gaggias which run a second element for steam. whoops...

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    Silvia definitely only has one element.

    Given the described failure mode resistance tests with a standard meter are unlikely to tell you anything useful, you'd need a megger to test it properly.

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    unless you were to test it cold and then hot... regardless, it's a bit of a moot point as the boiler element's not exactly going to just magically fix itself, it just needs to be replaced :\

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    Still likely wouldn't tell you anything particularly useful, something that looks like a dead short at 240V can look like it's wide open at the ~9V your average multimeter uses for resistance testing.

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    Senior Member CafeLotta's Avatar
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    Assuming the boiler/element needs replacing, what is a fair price if I choose to advertise for sale in this condition?

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    I'd suggest starting out at about $250.

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    Not a Shoe Jimmytheboot's Avatar
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    IMO If someone offers 200 or higher take it, its borderline whether you could get more $$ by fixing it first, but it is sure that its more trouble, and the scratches would be a big deal to alot of the people in the market for silvias, if theres rust on the frame too sell it for scrap metal (jk kind of)

  13. #13
    Senior Member CafeLotta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmytheboot View Post
    IMO If someone offers 200 or higher take it, its borderline whether you could get more $$ by fixing it first, but it is sure that its more trouble, and the scratches would be a big deal to alot of the people in the market for silvias, if theres rust on the frame too sell it for scrap metal (jk kind of)
    Gee, sure makes my Via Venezia look appealing. No rust body and trays, $80 element replacement, stainless steel quick heat boiler...........

    Probably will end up keeping the Silvia it if I can't get $250. For me to get it polished up and put a new boiler in it will put it in the price bracket of a really good 2nd unit except I'll have a new boiler. Wasn't intending to own a Silvia though. Just as well I received a decent forced partial refund from the seller after they lied through their teeth about it being in 'mint' condition!

    Makes you wonder how many more 2nd hand Silvias are sold with such an exaggerated description of their condition.

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    Silvia Heating issues

    EDIT: Hmmm, just re-read your message, it heats but it trips your RCD when you turn it to steam? Is it OK if you just leave it sit there (turned on but not to Steam)? If so would tend to suggest that the boiler is probably OK, my suspicion would be the Steam thermostat or the wiring thereof, though I can't think of a fault mode there that might cause it to trip (particularly since IIRC the current for the element routes via the steam thermostat normally and the steam switch just bypasses the "brew" 'stat, which would imply the fault occurs when the steam 'stat opens, which would be rather weird)...

    I suppose it's possible there's a split in your element which is opening up and allowing ingress of water as the element expands, but only does so at the higher temperatures of the steam function, very unusual failure mode though, try leaving it turned on for a long time and see if it trips, I expect if there's a crack in your element I'd expect the water to eventually get in there even at the lower temperature.[/QUOTE][/I][/I]

    --------------
    jbrewster - I notice that this is quite an old conversation, but it appears that I am having similar issues with my 9 year old Silvia. Over the past 2 days the Silvia has tripped the RCD half way through brewing (but the circuit(?) breaker in the Silvia hasnt tripped or needed resetting). I've waited for the unit to cool down and put it back on again and all goes well until about half way through the brew and the RCD trips again.

    I've opened it up and noticed that there appears to be a very small leak(?) in the boiler - I'm not sure if this is related to the issue above or a second one. Given the level of calcification around the bottom of the boiler I can only assume that this has been there for quite a while. We did replace the boiler a number of years ago (a friend house-minded our place when we were away and didnt follow the instructions properly - I'm sure we've all been there).

    I'm handy enough to be able replace valves and simple parts, but not sure if I'm handy enough to take on 240V, so any fix would likely need to be done commercially.

    How bad is it doctor?
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