OK, so it seems that this is not a particular set of behaviours that anyone knows, so I'm going to open it up again on the weekend and see what I can see. I'd love for this thing to work, as then one coffee I got out of it was great!
So, I have an EM6910 that I bought second hand in what was supposed to be working condition, but when I got it home it took some cleaning to get the water flowing nicely from the group head, and the steam just never seemed to work. I got my money back bar $50 which I said I'd pay as I was keen to try to get it working. (The unit was a prize from Gloria Jeans, has their logo printed on the front, apparently used for 1 year, then put in storage for 1 or 2, unfortunately no paperwork was able to be found so I couldn't do a warranty claim)
So, after reading a number of posts here I decided to open the machine up and see if I could get at the steam pump/look at the switch. Found that the microswitch had pretty much disintegrated, so got a replacement from Jaycar, and switched it over. Put it back together, found the steam dial to feel much better and when I tried it again I noticed I could hear the steam pump if I put my head to the side of the machine, a faint chug chug sound. On leaving it on for a bit it suddenly sprang into life and started producing excellent strength steam. I thought everything was grand, I could turn the steam on and off and it was all seemingly fixed. Got a nice cup of coffee out of it.
Then after the machine had been turned off I went to make another cup and the steam would do the faint chug chug sound, but no steam.... waited quite some time of turning it on and off and eventually it started making steam again. But then last time I tried I never got it to make steam.
Does anyone recognise the symptoms here? Which bit is dying/clogged/feeling sorry for itself? Is it clogged? Or should it be louder if it were clogged and trying hard to push steam? Why does it start up all of a sudden and blow very strongly as if nothing was wrong?
Sorry if this exact type of behaviour has been covered here, I've been reading for a while and haven't found this particular case.
OK, so it seems that this is not a particular set of behaviours that anyone knows, so I'm going to open it up again on the weekend and see what I can see. I'd love for this thing to work, as then one coffee I got out of it was great!
Sounds like the steam side is clogged somewhere, probably with scale. Sounds like you're handy, but all warnings as usual about opening up 240V appliances ...
The best thing to try is disassembling the steam path (pump, themo-block, valve, wand and tubes in-between) and squirting descale solution through them using a syringe for example. You can leave the main parts in place and just use little containers and/or towels to catch the liquid. You could also try a short-cut and run the descaler through it while it is all assembled, but you should do this outside with the pump rate at max and steam temp at min to avoid breathing any nasties. Hope this helps.
But, being that the machine is not usable as it stands, and that it was only $50 to begin with, I don't have much to lose in trying to clean out the steam path.
No worries. The manual says that the steam side should not be de-scaled, so if its been maintained to the book, it wouldn't be surprising if it is scaled up. Hope it goes well and you have a win.
OK, so update is, I took the top, back and side off, just to see what it was doing, saw it pumping around water when using the main water path, but no movement with the steam side... filled the water tank with a vinegar descale solution and eventually got the steam side to start pumping (just left it on for aaaagees). This blew out brown water and stunk, and I hoped that's all it needed, but after having the machine off again it wouldn't push any steam. I had it off overnight (so the vinegar solution was sitting in the steam path all night) and in the morning it steamed pretty quickly, this time blowing out quite a lot of brown water/steam. I upgraded the descale solution to use cafetto with the hope that would clean out more. Ran that through (I hadn't turned the machine off in the interim and it steamed through straight away)... more browness, left it steaming for a couple of minutes, then left the machine off for 15 minutes to let it sit and soak.
Now I've turned it back on and the steam refuses to start up again. So looks like I'll have to take out a bit and soak it. I'm guessing it's the steam thermoblock, which looks to be _reasonably_ easy to get out... I hope. So I'll get that out, try to squirt some descale stuff through it and then let it soak for a couple of hours and clean it... hopefully that'll do it as it really does seem that's the issue, just blocked up. Which is great, as that'll mean a $700 machine for $50 and some elbow grease
Took out the metal piping between the steam pump and the steam block and the piece between the steam pump and the wand, flushed them both clean with descaling solution, but they seemed pretty clean already.
Then put a cup under the bottom entry to the steam thermoblock (and paper under the top inlet to soak up spillage) and syringed in descaling solution, this went through the thermoblock pretty easily actually, but did push out some bits of brown muck from in there. A bunch more flushes through with the descaling solution and a bunch of clean water flushes through all those parts. I put it all back together and it just will not start pushing steam through. The pump is still making it quiet brr brr brr sounds, but nothing going through yet.
I guess this means the blockage could be _before_ the pump... urgh, that looks a bit more painful to take off and put back successfully, at least the metal pipes are all nuts, which are definite on/off... the plastic tubing is prone to not going back on properly after being taken off I fear!
Sounds like you're on the right track. Press on bravely, what have you got to lose???
Further progress (I'm hoping these are helpful for others who have similar issues). I worked out that the pump really isn't that terrible to get out and found that the pipe leading in to the bottom of it (input) is flowing freely, the pipe that comes off the side at the top (I assume escape path, as when I push water through there it comes out in the tray area under the group head) is also fine, and I already know the flow through the rest of the steam path is clear, so I figure the pump itself is to blame. I connect up the pump at it's base, but leave the top unconnected to see if it'll pump anything when told to. Fire up the machine, turn on steam, the same quiet brr brr sounds and nothing going through the pump.
So I have to assume it's the pump now. Clear pipe before, clear pipe afterwards, clear thermoblock, clear wand and pipe leading to that, and a pump that doesn't push out water when given the command.
So... I hope it's the pump as I don't want to spend $63 on a part to find I still don't have a working machine... $113 for a 6910 is a bargain (actually, 118, $5 for the microswitch), but same money for a machine that'll just pull espresso and not make steam would not make my wife happy at all. But I'm pretty sure I've made sure that's the only possibility.
Haven't done it myself, but I think I remember others cleaning up pumps to get them going again. Thanks for keeping everyone up-to-date. Someone will probably benefit someday.
Not like I can just dump it in a bath of descale solution though, being an electrical device... if only I could find the threads about cleaning one!
Continuing to try to leave some info here for others trying to fix their machines.
I know that it was pretty daunting when I first opened this thing (Which I could could do a complete rundown of how to get into it with pictures if desired), but I've come to understand the mess of things in here now. As a snapshot I took while I was running fluid through the thermoblock, I give this as a quick look at what the insides looks like. The paper towel is there to catch overflow where I'm squirting fluid into the thermoblock, and the cup catches it coming out the bottom.
Success! I took the steam pump out, unscrewed the top two screws and pulled out the center portion that moves, and then from that pulled all the bits out and gave them a bit of a clean, although nothing looked dirty. Put it back in the machine and we now have excellent steam with no delay. It'll take me a while to trust it, but it looks good :-)
Great to hear!!! Nice job. Hope you gets lots of nice coffees out of it.
Spoco2 Did u do anything with the filter, or see the condition of itand how severe is the group head seal problem sorry if I missed ur comment
The group seal seems ok, I took it out, had a look, it doesn't leak, so I'll leave it until it does.
If, by filter, you mean the bit in the group head that the water comes through, it was pretty dirty and clogged up, needed a good clean to get water to flow through it to begin with (unscrewed the shower screen and took the bits out and cleaned them, and wiped down the bit in there).
I've also backflushed with cafetto cleaning stuff and it all looks good now.
In all, I'm super happy with this machine now, for $50 (plus $5 for a microswitch), I have something that's making great coffees, quicker than the old breville Cafe Roma which we were using.
I got same problem with this machine sometimes I switch it on and it works then sometimes it sounds like it trying to pump but nothing happens. Have had this problem for a while but it getting worse now. I have tried to run de scale through steam wand this morning but it wont pump through. I cant understand the directions without pictures sorry May get DH to take it apart on the weekend to have a look as I cant even get the steam knob off!
To get at the steam pump you shouldn't have to take the top or knobs off at all, all you really need is the back and side off. So if you open the back door, at the bottom of the hinge is a large screw, that's easy to undo, then the door just comes off. Then there's four screws holding on the plastic back cover (Make sure the POWER IS OFF at the moment, and has been for a few minutes), take that off and you'll see the back of the circuit board in the photo above. Now there's the metal side on the right (the right if you're looking at the back, the side with the steam wand, so left from the front) that you have to remove. It's held on by two screws from underneath the unit at the bottom and one star screw that's up the top that you unscrew from the back. Unscrew these and you can pull the metal side off as otherwise it just hooks into the lid.
Then, the pump is the blue thing at the bottom in my photo above. It's a pain in the arse to get out, everything is in the way... First pull the water tank out, this closes the valve and stops water just emptying out of it when you unplug pipes. Then unscrew the metal pipe that attaches to the top of the blue pump... this is really annoying as there's a thin pipe that connects to the pressure gauge on the front, and I'm forever thinking I'm going to break it. With that off, it's pretty easy to slide off the escape path plastic pipe that goes in the front top of it, and then you've got the joy of trying to slide it down under the top black rubber piece that holds it and get it out and the bottom pipe off. (getting that one back on is a huge pain in the butt).
Once you've got it out, you can unscrew the top two screws on the pump and it all just comes apart.
And all of this I will have to do again as my unit is taking a few seconds to start pumping... so I haven't really 'fixed' the problem. Seeing as I did little more than take the pump apart and put it back together, I'm not surprised. My thought as to the problem is this. The pump works by there's a metal ring holding part of it that is moved up and down by the large coil around the outside of it (via magnetic induction). This moves a portion up and down, with the downstroke pushing a small black thing into the waterpath to block it going backwards, so it only goes one way. And I think the metal ring is getting stuck and not moving. So the coil is being powered correctly (the quiet brr brr brr you hear), but the pump doesn't do anything because the metal ring isn't sliding back and forth.
So when I take it out again I'm going to properly inspect the path it takes and see if I can maybe sand it a slight bit wider, or if there's a part I can grease (although if it's in the waterpath, can't do that).
I'll see if I have any useful photos on my phone (I'm at work) to put up...
Not super useful photos, these were ones I was using to make sure I knew where things went putting it back together.
One of the four screws holding the plastic back (the bit there with the label on it
The hidden star screw, there's one on the other side too, but to get to the pump you won't need to remove that
The Steam pump in situ, with one of the power leads off, I was reminding myself which way they went on.
Again, there's 240Vs in there, that pump runs off 240V, so it's not stepped down... so make sure there's no power to any of it while you're trying to get at it.
I'm hoping to work out a more permanent fix for this pump when I get some time (don't get much with 4 kids and a heap of other projects my wife wants me to be working on)... and I'll photograph it as I go for that too.
My issue was similar symptoms but in my case it was a clogged boiler.
I took the boiler in to the local service agent to get him to check it, he checked it, asked me a few details, said it wouldn't be that.
I asked if he had tried to blow air through it, he said NO.
He went back and came back with a used boiler for me, NZ$40.00 I was right, but best of all my used boiler was basically new.
It had come out of a new machine with another fault.
All is well over 6 months later, and a cup of great coffee every morning, on what has cost me 140 for the used machine with a new boiler.
Nice work with the boiler (thermoblock), but I know that's not my problem as I've run water through it easily manually, plus it works fine once the pump kicks in... I'm in the middle of attempting to make it less prone to sticking right now, hopefully it'll work
Ok, here's a quick guide to getting the pump out and 'fixing' it. I say it like that as while mine is working ok again, it takes a second or two for the pump to start, which suggests it's going to get worse and die again eventually. I _think_ I know what the problem is, but am unsure how to fix it properly.
Here's how you get to it:
Undo this large screw that holds the door on, then pull the door out at the bottom and away from the top.
Take out these four screws holding on the plastic back.
You should now see this. You should NOT be plugged into the power at this point as the back of that circuit board is live.
Location of secret star screw. After doing this, I'm actually pretty sure you don't need to take this out just to get the side off... so only do so if you can't get it off.
View from under the side, showing the two screws that hold it on...
Next post will show more.
Just a reminder which screws go where
The view from the side, showing the pump at the bottom. You'll need to unscrew the metal pipe that leads into the top, take off the plastic pipe leading into the top also. Then you can get the pipe off the bottom (I find a flat head screwdriver works well to slide them off) and pop the pump out of the bottom bracket, then lever it down and out of the top bit.
You'll be left with this thing, undo those two screws holding the black plastic portion inside the blue part.
The 'pump' bit. You can see in the middle a little notch. If you hold it at both ends and twist it you can separate the two halves
Then all this stuff falls out.
I'm pretty sure the problem lays in a little black grommet behind that white disc (sorry, didn't get a photo). It seems to hold the brass coloured bit to the aluminium coloured bit too tightly, and they're supposed to move back and forth in relation to each other. If I take out that grommet the pump seems to move no problems when put back and powered, but no water pumps (I guess as the seal is lost), so you need the grommet, but just need to to still allow the inner metal piece to slide in and out ok.
I put all the pieces in some cafetto to clean them, I tried giving the inner rod a good sand to try to make it ever so slightly thinner... and the pump does work, but still will 'stick' for a second or so before kicking into life when you first turn it on.
Maybe someone trying this can work out the real root cause and work out a better fix, because I'd hate to have to spend over $60 on a new pump when this one really seems fine except for that bit of 'sticking'.
Dont take this as a troll, but if you look within the 500-1500 section of the forum, half of the posts seem to be issues with this model machine. I too wasted time and expense on this unit before selling it off for parts on this very website. If you enjoy your coffee enough to warrant the hours you have spent on repairing the 6910, get yourself a decent machine, because you WILL have more problems with the Sunbeam - and I do speak from experience. I now have a siliva which touch wood, is doing well....similar price range....light years better machine.
Last edited by tony8028; 2nd December 2012 at 07:58 PM. Reason: spelling
So, it's now been running fine for a week after my repair, now doesn't take any time at all to start the steam up, so seems to have settled after my repair. If this things continues on fine now then I have an awesome machine for $55, can't say fairer than that.
Also, while you'll see a lot of issues with the machine, I'd love to see the relative number of machines actually out there. If there are but a few Silvias vs many more Sunbeams then you'll always see more with issues just through virtue of how many there are.
If it keeps working as it is now, then I'm a happy camper.
Hello I am new to this site .... Looking for a way to net a new post.... I have a sunbeam EM6910 with steam pressure issues, it is maybe 2 years old and over a period of time it has lost steam pressure , just doesn't seem to froth the milk smooth like it used to... With the wand in the bottom of the mug it used to make a high pitch sort of noise... Not now.... Has been in for a repair twice... 2 steam pumps have been replaced and no difference what's so ever ... Can any one help... Please
If so, this can be fixed _relatively_ easily. In some of the photos above, the steam thermoblock is the silver block sitting up high in the machine with a brass connector at top and bottom. If you unscrew the pipes going into both of these and then get a syringe (I used just plastic medicine ones we have for giving the kids medicine) and push through descaling solution of one form or another into the top inlet, with a cup under the bottom one... then you may get it to flush out some crud. Do it a bunch of times, then maybe cover the bottom one and squirt in enough so that it fills the thermoblock up, leave it for 15 mins or so to let the descaling solution do it's work, then unplug the bottom and do a bunch more flushing with the descale, then with just water for a while to clean it.
I think this would make your steam path work better.
You can also push through descale solution through the pipes to and from the thermoblock as well to see if they're clogged up.
It's a complicated machine when you open it up and look at it, but focus on the bits you're interested in, and it's not too bad.
Can someone take a look at my video. My em6910 is taking time to build up pressure and does not reach a good pressure while pouring (blocked ??). I have descaled it a few months ago (and regularly before that). I have replaced the group handle seal, water filter a few months ago.
Any ideas, I really don't want to go out and get yet another machine if iI don't have to.
After trying some other store bought coffee as an interim till after christmas, and giving the machine another clean, I think it was the crap beans.
AMD, thanks for the quick response.
Spoco2' did you finish up replacing the pump? I have just gone the same route as you, cleaned the pump components, but still the same, steam but not enough. I will order a pump Monday. I think the problem is wear on the rubber (perhaps neoprene) seal adjacent to the nylon washer. As it wears the contact surface becomes larger and causes the piston to bind. A new o ring would sort it but I can't find one so a pump it is.
My 6910 steams just fine but it takes a second (as in 'one-onethousand') to turn on then about 4 - 5 seconds to get rid of the water and start producing steam. I'm interested in your comments Spoco2 that you had a delay in steam - as in, do I have a [problem coming up or does your new set up have similar performance to mine?
Excellent thread, BTW, good detail and well put together for anyone wanting to investigate their ineternals... well, their coffee machine internals...
Oh... and if this was a prize from Gloria Jeans, what was 2nd prize... TWO non-functional machines? 24.gif
It now starts properly making pumping noises as soon as it's switched on, it's about a second before anything comes out, and then will spit out water for a little bit (couple of seconds I guess) before blowing steady steam. I think that's pretty standard, you'll always have a little delay as the pump pulls water through itself.
Thanks, that's what I figured but just wanted to check. Sounds like mine is just fine.
Just an update.........
After having enough frustration over my machine deciding when it would pump steam I finally took it to our local service agent. He charged me $50 to have a look and said it was the steam pump and also needed to replace an O ring. One quick call to Sunbeam and all was well..... got my pump replaced and all it ended up costing me was $68.........
Not bad to say my machine is now 4 years old! Very happy bunny So glad Sunbeam offers the 5 year warranty on pumps.
We make at least 2 coffees a day everyday so this machine has more than paid for itself, makes great coffee to by the way as long as I fill the group head well, I use more coffee but small price to pay for having coffee you enjoy.
Will just have to read up on posts regarding if steam pump goes again whether to fix it as it will be out of warranty by then or upgrade to the new version.
This machine was only going to be a step to see if we would use it enough and could justify spending over $2000 on the next one but so happy most prob will stick to this brand for good value for money
hi, which store did you go to fix the steam pump?
I have also had the experience of the steam pump failing on my EM6910.
My machine is about 3.5 years old. The steam wand played up about a year ago and seemed to improve after a descale but maybe that had nothing to do with it
Last week the steam stopped completely, although I could hear the boiler and the switch working .
I found your detailed reports on the repair by accident and as a result will go ahead and try repairing it myself.
I have ordered the part, after being knocked back by Sunbeam for a warranty claim. ( The guarantee is 5 years for steam pumps but they wouldn't come to the party because I had opened up the machine ).
I will report back on how it goes.
And as for our 6910, some 7000 approx coffee later, after a new thermoblock, and a thermal cut out fuse (just recently) it can not be all bad.
And it does make good coffee, and quite quickly.
I unbolted the outlet copper pipe at the top of the pressure vessel and no steam comes out, even though the vessel is hot. That eliminated the steam switch as the problem. Maybe the vessel is blocked up inside.
The group head water and the hot water wand both work OK.
As an aside,I find typing to this site is very difficult. Key strokes are missed 50% of the time. Anyone else have this experience?
Is there any water in the steam 'boiler'?
Stewart, I had precisely the problem you describe. Remove the copper pipe from the top of the thermoblock (heating unit) and soak it in cleaning fluid for several hours, use a fine wire to ensure it is clear.
Remove the bottom connection on the thermoblock and get something under it to catch the liquid. Use the fine wire and work it through from the top, the blockage will be close to the outlet. Once you have an opening flush a strong cleaning mixture through from the top. i used a syringe with a flexible tube on it. once you have a flow of liquid seal the bottom opening of the thermoblock, I used blutac, and pump fluid into the thermoblock and leave it there for 8 hours, then flush with more cleaning fluid. You will get lots of gunk out. When you are satisfied it is clear flush with clean water and reassemble.
Since performing this on my machine I have only used tank water ( our tap water is rated as medium hard) and have had no further issues.
Hope this helps.
[QUOTE=alexm1;520854]Stewart, I had precisely the problem you describe.
Thank you to alexm1, yelta & others. You were spot on. The lack of steam was down to a blocked steam thermoblock, not a defective steam pump . The thermoblock was difficult to clean. I used a combination of descaler, wire, plastic tubing and a car tyre air compressor . Eventually the blockage gave way. The pipe size in the thermoblock is small, maybe 2-3 mm so easily blocked by a piece of scale.
Great to have a functioning coffee again!