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Thread: Gaggia Espresso...problem

  1. #1
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    Gaggia Espresso...problem

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi CSers
    Pulled out, from GFs home, her old Gaggia Espresso. Her dad replaced the pump some time back but soon after the thing just stopped working again and was put away. Im to bad at electrics and this level of "appliance fixing" so I ventured inside.

    Basically the pump is working..if I take the inlet hose off the boiler there is plenty of pressure there, but no water comes out of the PF holder (dont know the correct term for this thing, but its the thing you put the group handle in). Pressured water comes out the steam wand if you have the pump on while the steam valve is open and the water is hot.....so

    there must be some sort of blockage between the boiler and PF holder. Thats just my guess...

    Where to go from here..

    I think the only thing to do is..
    Pull the boiler out, separate the PF holder from the boiler? try to find blockage there?

    what does everyone think??

    TIA
    SnoZ

  2. #2
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    Re: Gaggia Espresso...problem

    snooooze,

    After the water leaves the pump it goes to a three way valve which opens to let water into the PF during the extraction, closes after the extraction and allows the excess water above the puck to flow into the drip tray....

    Id say its not working and is either corroded and therefore stays closed or the coil which opens the valve is burnt out.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
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    Re: Gaggia Espresso...problem

    Hi JavaB,
    Thanks for prompt reply...On this Machine the water is piped from the pump directly to the bottom of the boiler....is there a 3 way valve in there?? the steam wand is attached to the top of the boiler.

    I take some pics in a mo to post

  4. #4
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    Re: Gaggia Espresso...problem

    snooooze,

    The 3 way is between the boiler and the group.... some gaggias my not have a three way but a "non return" valve or solenoid system....

    Can you post details of the machine (model number / name) and some pictures without the outer case would be useful.

  5. #5
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    Re: Gaggia Espresso...problem

    snooooze,

    After some searching I found there is a Gaggia model called "Gaggia Espresso" - which Ive previously not heard of.

    It has a plastic case and is quite small - their "entry level" machine.

    If thats the one you have - it doesnt have a 3 way valve - so no backflushing to clean the group is possible. There is very little info on the internet about that model. If you have the handbook, have a look at the details for cleaning the showerscreen etc (the showerscreen is inside the group assembly where the PF fits).

    If you dont have an owners manual, Ill try to give you some "generic" instructions for this type of machine (Im basing this on other similar machines as I dont know your particular model).

    The showerscreen is normally held in place with some type of central screw. If this hasnt been regularly removed for cleaning it will probably be very hard (read almost impossible) to remove. Assuming you can get it off, the screen has lots of small holes which get blocked with coffee grounds and oils - soak this in a cleaning solution like cafetto.

    There will also be some form of removable centre "bolt" - the showerscreen screw fixes to the centre of this. Under that bolt is usually a spring loaded "valve" which stops water dripping from the group when you are not extracting.... again (if you can) remove that assembly and soak in cafetto. Be careful not to lose any bits as you pull this apart and note the order they came out so you can replace them in the same order.

    Whilst all these bits are soaking try running the machine as you would to extract..... water should flow out quite quickly from the hole where the valve was.

  6. #6
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    Re: Gaggia Espresso...problem

    Thanks JavaB,
    now we are on the right track I think....yes that is the machine....thats why the thread is called "Gaggia Espresso...problem" it IS a "Gaggia Espresso" and yes plastic case, yep its old, yep entry level. The batteries for the camera needed a charge so the pics were delayed, sorry for that it may have made this a bit easier if I posted the pics in the first post. :D

    There is tonnes of pressure at the inlet to the boiler so the pump must be ok
    I mannaged to get the shower screen off all looks ok there...2 Allan Screws recessed up in behind the screen there come out also but nothing seems to come apart with some "careful prying". there are 4 Allan screws that hold the boiler to the group that come down from the top (tru lugs on the bottom of the boiler) that separate them

    I think its time to separate the boiler from the Group??
    What do you think?

    **Please note that the Terminal on the brown wire that is disconnected is one of the boiler wires, I had it off to test the pump**

    SnoZ


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    Re: Gaggia Espresso...problem

    on further thought the water does not actually enter the boiler....it enters the "block" (Group) below the boiler as seen in the pic. 2 of the 4 screws that hold the boiler to that block that I mentioned in the last post are seen in the pic also.

    this machine is an earlier model....there is a later model that has 3 switches on the front ...this one has only 2
    Link to the Gaggia site that shows the more recent version
    http://www.gaggia.com/macchine-da-caffe.asp?macchine-per-espresso-manuali_21_Espresso

  8. #8
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    Re: Gaggia Espresso...problem

    OK fixed I think...we now have water Exiting the group head...YAY

    The problem was in the lil "non-return" valve at the top of the group block, she was stuck closed, bit of scale.

    Ill post later when I get some coffee to try her out

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    Re: Gaggia Espresso...problem

    Quote Originally Posted by snooooze link=1175847187/0#7 date=1175928817
    OK fixed I think...we now have water Exiting the group head...YAY

    The problem was in the lil "non-return" valve at the top of the group block, she was stuck closed, bit of scale.

    Good news... :)

    Id be giving her a good descale:

    citric acid 10g per litre in the tank and run about one third through the boiler via the group and the steam wand.....
    switch off and let stand for 20 minutes....
    switch back on and allow to heat up....
    flush the rest through the group and the steam wand....
    refill the tank with fresh water and repeat the above.... (but no need to switch off and wait)

    should get rid of any more loose scale and clean the valve etc.

  10. #10
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    Re: Gaggia Espresso...problem

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1175847187/0#8 date=1175929436

    Id be giving her a good descale:


    NO NO NO NO

    DO NOT USE CITRIC ACID ON A GAGGIA MACHINE, YOU WILL DESTROY THE BOILER.


    Get Cafetto clean @home available at any of the site sponsors or at a good coffee suppliers.


  11. #11
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    Re: Gaggia Espresso...problem

    Im intrigued Cindy.
    Why do you say that citric acid will destroy a Gaggias boiler?

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    Re: Gaggia Espresso...problem

    Ah...

    Yep forgot they are aluminium boilers...... :-[

    The real problem is that anything strong enough to remove "built up" scale will also attack the aluminium......

    So if it hasnt been regularly descaled with the Cafetto@home or similar mild descaler :-/ :-/

    Some sites in America do recommend citric acid (and commercial de-scaling products which generally contain citric acid) for Gaggias - but not to be used regularly ;)

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    Re: Gaggia Espresso...problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1175847187/0#10 date=1175932335
    Im intrigued Cindy.
    Why do you say that citric acid will destroy a Gaggias boiler?
    Not Cindy.... but Ill try to field that one.....

    Because HALF of the boiler is made of Aluminium.... and it would be badly attacked by acid in any case!

    But Gaggia saw fit to make the other half out of brass.... so you get electrolytic action and corrossion with just water containing ions..... any ions....

    But add acid..... and you have galvanic corrosion paradise..... with the aluminium being the sacrificial anode.....

    So the only thing which will remove a carbonate build up - i.e. acid..... will also destroy the boiler :( :( :( :(

    For those of us who are techno geeks ::)

    Galvanic voltage:
    Aluminium 0.95V
    Brass 0.4V

    and metals more than 0.15V apart should not be joined in a wet, slighly corrosive environment, 0.25 for reasonably dry environments and 0.5V in a controlled temperature and low humidity environment...

    And in the boiler - wet and corrosive - we have 0.55V :( :( :(

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    Re: Gaggia Espresso...problem

    Thanks for explaining that JavaB.

    The cafetto is very good at removing any built up scale, it may take a couple of applications to do it, it just depends on how bad the build up is. Basically, if the water in your area is okay then there shouldnt be too bad a build up.

    As for what Americans recommending things, I take that with a pinch of salt. I seem to remember them recommending rice to clean grinders and all sorts of things. iItend to keep away from old husbands tales.

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    Re: Gaggia Espresso...problem

    Quote Originally Posted by lucinda link=1175847187/0#13 date=1175935112
    The cafetto is very good at removing any built up scale, it may take a couple of applications to do it, it just depends on how bad the build up is. Basically, if the water in your area is okay then there shouldnt be too bad a build up.
    The problem becomes worse when a coffee machine (any coffee machine including commercials) are stored for any period. The scale dries out and becomes harder - some even peels off and finds its way into valves etc (especially 3 way valves) and causes all sorts of problems......

    Its worth remembering to descale fully before storing a machine (and draining it as well). There was recently a discussion re a la Cimbali 2 group which had only been used for about 3 months from new - and then stored for years..... and exhibited problems because of poor preparation prior to storage (Evilbay buyers of these machines be warned!! :-/ :()

    As for what Americans recommending things, I take that with a pinch of salt. I seem to remember them recommending rice to clean grinders and all sorts of things. iItend to keep away from old husbands tales.
    Yep, I think that is wise advice. ;) :)

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    Re: Gaggia Espresso...problem

    Hey I come home to a hijacked thread.......


    for one very good reason.... thanks guys, Cafetto clean @home it is, Ill order some tomorrowz. We will get the MM out tomorrow and grind some beanz to try.....the new2us (2nd hand) Lux grinder on the way, will arrive next week.



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