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Thread: At home service for 2006 model EM6910

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    At home service for 2006 model EM6910

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all I have a trusty old EM 6910 that is still going, making great coffee and I want to keep it going as long as possible. I descale using 1.5 L water and 3 tablespoons vinegar according to the manual regularly, and I add a shim, clean the shower screens and what I can of the metal circular thingy (group head?) under the screens. Iím a bit handier than I once was and Iím wondering what else I hold do for the machine at home? Not afraid of taking the cover off. Anyone ever replaced any other seals inside or anything?

    cheers
    Ellie

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    Quote Originally Posted by latte1978 View Post
    Hi all I have a trusty old EM 6910 that is still going, making great coffee and I want to keep it going as long as possible. I descale using 1.5 L water and 3 tablespoons vinegar according to the manual regularly, and I add a shim, clean the shower screens and what I can of the metal circular thingy (group head?) under the screens. Iím a bit handier than I once was and Iím wondering what else I hold do for the machine at home? Not afraid of taking the cover off. Anyone ever replaced any other seals inside or anything?

    cheers
    Ellie

    G'day Ellie

    You are very lucky - I used to say all the pre 2010 6910s are built like a Mack truck, but then I realised that, unlike the old 6910s, all Mack trucks need a lot more than a good clean every so often.

    There are three main ways to kill an old 6910:-


    1) Use Perth tap water or corrosive equivalent. Even $20K+ machines can pack up in under three months (28 of a coffee chain's new machines did a while back). Poor water will rip the guts out of any coffee machine. For other areas in Oz, I would recommend pretty pure water (whatever that means). I use twice filtered rainwater and live in a low pollution area just far enough from the ocean to not get much salt (or anything else) on my roof.

    2) Be careless and let coffee grounds get between the group head and the seal. Every time you insert the p/f you grind away a bit more of the seal, collar and group - and most of those cretinous individuals blame the machine...

    3) Flood the internals whilst power is on. A rarie but a goodie.

    I have a few current machines - 2 * 6910, 1 * 7000 (about to be moved on - I vastly prefer the 6910), 1 * 2 group La Pavoni (commercial monster - not really needed any more) and a 2 month old Decent DE1.

    Servicing: My 6910s (and the Decent) are the easiest to live with machines I know of. They keep themselves fairly clean, they need minimal TLC and they keep delivering good coffee. What more a machine could do? Answer: That is why I recently upgraded - the Decent has flow, pressure and temp control plus a fistful of other options the 6910 does not have (mind you, at a very hefty increase in cost).

    6910s only need the occasional descale plus routine cleaning - and I always use white vinegar just like you. Perhaps a bit of plumbing or a pump will fail after an ice age or two - none of the ones I set up for friends and family have failed (yet).

    FYI, a 1/2 strength vinegar solution can be used on the steaming system when you do a descale. After doing the main descale, just dilute the "espresso section's" solution 2:1 and leave it steaming until the flow is 100% consistent (or ten minutes, let it cool and repeat if it hasn't been done for a while). Poor frothing technique can cause quite a build up of gunk in the wand system. I can safely presume from the age of your machine your frothing technique is pretty good.

    Enjoy your cuppa, and be careful when / if you decide to upgrade - it is a minefield out there.

    TampIt

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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    G'day Ellie

    You are very lucky - I used to say all the pre 2010 6910s are built like a Mack truck, but then I realised that, unlike the old 6910s, all Mack trucks need a lot more than a good clean every so often.

    There are three main ways to kill an old 6910:-


    1) Use Perth tap water or corrosive equivalent. Even $20K+ machines can pack up in under three months (28 of a coffee chain's new machines did a while back). Poor water will rip the guts out of any coffee machine. For other areas in Oz, I would recommend pretty pure water (whatever that means). I use twice filtered rainwater and live in a low pollution area just far enough from the ocean to not get much salt (or anything else) on my roof.

    2) Be careless and let coffee grounds get between the group head and the seal. Every time you insert the p/f you grind away a bit more of the seal, collar and group - and most of those cretinous individuals blame the machine...

    3) Flood the internals whilst power is on. A rarie but a goodie.

    I have a few current machines - 2 * 6910, 1 * 7000 (about to be moved on - I vastly prefer the 6910), 1 * 2 group La Pavoni (commercial monster - not really needed any more) and a 2 month old Decent DE1.

    Servicing: My 6910s (and the Decent) are the easiest to live with machines I know of. They keep themselves fairly clean, they need minimal TLC and they keep delivering good coffee. What more a machine could do? Answer: That is why I recently upgraded - the Decent has flow, pressure and temp control plus a fistful of other options the 6910 does not have (mind you, at a very hefty increase in cost).

    6910s only need the occasional descale plus routine cleaning - and I always use white vinegar just like you. Perhaps a bit of plumbing or a pump will fail after an ice age or two - none of the ones I set up for friends and family have failed (yet).

    FYI, a 1/2 strength vinegar solution can be used on the steaming system when you do a descale. After doing the main descale, just dilute the "espresso section's" solution 2:1 and leave it steaming until the flow is 100% consistent (or ten minutes, let it cool and repeat if it hasn't been done for a while). Poor frothing technique can cause quite a build up of gunk in the wand system. I can safely presume from the age of your machine your frothing technique is pretty good.

    Enjoy your cuppa, and be careful when / if you decide to upgrade - it is a minefield out there.

    TampIt
    Thanks TampIt - I'm hoping it gives me a few more years' faithful service. Funnily enough I was given another one that apparently wasn't working at all - the water pump just needed priming but the steam wand still doesn't work - hoping to get this one up and running for my parents!

    Cheers
    Ellie

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    Quote Originally Posted by latte1978 View Post
    Thanks TampIt - I'm hoping it gives me a few more years' faithful service. Funnily enough I was given another one that apparently wasn't working at all - the water pump just needed priming but the steam wand still doesn't work - hoping to get this one up and running for my parents!

    Cheers
    Ellie
    G'day again Ellie

    "few more years' faithful service" - most likely.

    The ring in...

    IF it needed only priming (not too common, however it happens) the only way I know to get all bits working without surgery is to run the hot water tap (the only time I use it) to clear the worst of the airlock. Try the steam section - listen for the pump working, if no sound - it is not an airlock, ignore the rest of this paragraph. Turn the machine off, wait for it to cool down completely (say an hour or two). Turn it back on and repeat as needed. Usually by the fourth circuit the steam starts to splutter a little - time for a steam descale as I do not think you can get a major steam airlock without also a "bonus" blocked steam wand...

    The other extreme - I have been known to pull the whole steam wand out and drop it in toluene overnight (safety: sealed container, well ventilated area, no kids around to get the lungs trashed). Some "less informed individual" had managed to get crud past the curve at the top of the wand. That must have taken years of poor technique - Gammelost or Danish Blue anyone?

    Also, check this site for the other possible steam issues. Noidle22 is your friend... He has probably forgotten ten times more about these than I will ever know. Also, this site has A to Z strip down instructions for 6910s.

    Good Luck with your second toy.


    TampIt

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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    G'day again Ellie

    "few more years' faithful service" - most likely.

    The ring in...

    IF it needed only priming (not too common, however it happens) the only way I know to get all bits working without surgery is to run the hot water tap (the only time I use it) to clear the worst of the airlock. Try the steam section - listen for the pump working, if no sound - it is not an airlock, ignore the rest of this paragraph. Turn the machine off, wait for it to cool down completely (say an hour or two). Turn it back on and repeat as needed. Usually by the fourth circuit the steam starts to splutter a little - time for a steam descale as I do not think you can get a major steam airlock without also a "bonus" blocked steam wand...

    The other extreme - I have been known to pull the whole steam wand out and drop it in toluene overnight (safety: sealed container, well ventilated area, no kids around to get the lungs trashed). Some "less informed individual" had managed to get crud past the curve at the top of the wand. That must have taken years of poor technique - Gammelost or Danish Blue anyone?

    Also, check this site for the other possible steam issues. Noidle22 is your friend... He has probably forgotten ten times more about these than I will ever know. Also, this site has A to Z strip down instructions for 6910s.

    Good Luck with your second toy.


    TampIt
    thanks so much TampIt. Definitely pump noise. Regular and rhythmic but v quiet especially compared to my older machine. Thanks for the tip wet A to Z strip down. Will use that on weekend. Have removed the wand and water goes through it no worries.

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    Sounds like the steam system needs to be descaled. While the 6910 isnít set up to do this like the 7000 it can still be done. Use a descale solution about half the strength you would for the brew system. Turn the steam temp down to the lowest and steam pump rate down to the lowest then turn on the steam for 5-10secs. Let it sit for 10min. Have another go. Repeat. Keep going like this and you should get there eventually.

    Descaling the steam system is a good thing to do every now and then on these machines. Also are you regularly back flushing your machine? You didnít mention it in your original post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    Sounds like the steam system needs to be descaled. While the 6910 isnít set up to do this like the 7000 it can still be done. Use a descale solution about half the strength you would for the brew system. Turn the steam temp down to the lowest and steam pump rate down to the lowest then turn on the steam for 5-10secs. Let it sit for 10min. Have another go. Repeat. Keep going like this and you should get there eventually.

    Descaling the steam system is a good thing to do every now and then on these machines. Also are you regularly back flushing your machine? You didnít mention it in your original post.
    Thanks will do once I put it back together I took it apart much to husbandís horror! Iíve tried to attach some pics of what I believe is the steam thermo block and the steam pump. It all looks clean in there but there is one connection (copper pipe pictured) that looks like its leaking a bit. Looks like scale too so I will def try the suggestion people are giving to keep trying with the descale. I use vinegar - a 50% concentration compared to what goes through the rest of the machine?

    the steam pump just sounds so quiet compared to my other (much older) model.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Any other suggestions before I put it back together? Have attached more pics. There is one other point that looks a bit like water is getting out. Can anyone see it in the pic? I was wondering if I should manually descale the steam thermo block (thatís the long silver thingy right?) before I put it back together?
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    The steam pump is so quiet because it's broken.

    There's an o-ring between the top of the pump and the copper pipe that hardens over time and causes water to leak down over the pump. This can either damage the coil or damage the pump internals, both of which make the pump not work properly.
    Sometimes when the pump has not completely quit, if you leave it on for a while, the pumping noise suddenly gets louder and steam starts to flow. This is an indicator that it's on the way out, in your case it's already gone.

    For the purpose of further troubleshooting, you could just try to get the pump working enough to verify that the rest of the steam system is functioning. You can try disassembling the pump and cleaning the internals, sometimes this will get it going again.
    If you do get it going well enough, I'd still recommend a new pump. The corrosion damage is not conducive for long term health. You'll also need a new o-ring for the top of the pump, viton or silicon is what you need, standard rubber will just perish quickly and leak again.

    I can't see any water leaking in the last photo. Looks normal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by noidle22 View Post
    The steam pump is so quiet because it's broken.

    There's an o-ring between the top of the pump and the copper pipe that hardens over time and causes water to leak down over the pump. This can either damage the coil or damage the pump internals, both of which make the pump not work properly.
    Sometimes when the pump has not completely quit, if you leave it on for a while, the pumping noise suddenly gets louder and steam starts to flow. This is an indicator that it's on the way out, in your case it's already gone.

    For the purpose of further troubleshooting, you could just try to get the pump working enough to verify that the rest of the steam system is functioning. You can try disassembling the pump and cleaning the internals, sometimes this will get it going again.
    If you do get it going well enough, I'd still recommend a new pump. The corrosion damage is not conducive for long term health. You'll also need a new o-ring for the top of the pump, viton or silicon is what you need, standard rubber will just perish quickly and leak again.

    I can't see any water leaking in the last photo. Looks normal.
    thanks so much I hoped it wasnít broken but there you go. Should I syringe out the thermoblock with vinegar solution while I am here? And how? And the pump is the blue thing right? I had a laugh

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    Quote Originally Posted by latte1978 View Post
    thanks so much I hoped it wasnít broken but there you go. Should I syringe out the thermoblock with vinegar solution while I am here? And how? And the pump is the blue thing right? I had a laugh
    iPhone typed that last sentence I had a laugh I am not laughing just yet!!

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    Ha, the forum changes it... l o l becomes I had a laugh, r o f l becomes giggled like a schoolgirl, but it can't convert pmsl
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    Update

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster View Post
    Ha, the forum changes it... l o l becomes I had a laugh, r o f l becomes giggled like a schoolgirl, but it can't convert pmsl
    For anyone still reading this thread I flushed the thermoblock and no blockages all good and still heating properly. So I am off to eBay to buy a new pump and a few of those o ring seals for the top. I probably will replace the I ring on my old machine which is somehow still going despite being 4 years older at least and ten times more beat up! Also re: age of the machine, the numbers on the back are 330 is that 2013 or 2010 or neither?
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    Quote Originally Posted by latte1978 View Post
    For anyone still reading this thread I flushed the thermoblock and no blockages all good and still heating properly. So I am off to eBay to buy a new pump and a few of those o ring seals for the top. I probably will replace the I ring on my old machine which is somehow still going despite being 4 years older at least and ten times more beat up! Also re: age of the machine, the numbers on the back are 330 is that 2013 or 2010 or neither?
    G'day latte1978

    Noidle22 may correct me here, however if I remember correctly that is the 33rd week (August / September?) of 2010. Considering SB changed virtually everything in 2010, if the red drip tray indicator is rectangular it would be the newer version. SB also made the whole unit a little lower with less "cup clearance" (I smashed one of my favourite cups the first time I used a newer one, about 4mm difference) and also changed the brass p/f to stainless steel. My original one (still working well) is 318 - August 2008 - it has a round red drip tray indicator. Your 2006 one should be xx6. FWIW, the older ones seem a lot more solid in most respects and also have a little more shot grunt. The newer ones are about the same grunt as the 7000.

    FWIW, I would not replace anything on your old machine unless it is actually needed - "when it ain't broke, don't fix it". A friend's 2006 has never had any issue as he always keeps it clean.

    Sorry to hear the steam pump is US - much more common than a mere airlock.

    TampIt

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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    G'day latte1978

    Noidle22 may correct me here, however if I remember correctly that is the 33rd week (August / September?) of 2010. Considering SB changed virtually everything in 2010, if the red drip tray indicator is rectangular it would be the newer version. SB also made the whole unit a little lower with less "cup clearance" (I smashed one of my favourite cups the first time I used a newer one, about 4mm difference) and also changed the brass p/f to stainless steel. My original one (still working well) is 318 - August 2008 - it has a round red drip tray indicator. Your 2006 one should be xx6. FWIW, the older ones seem a lot more solid in most respects and also have a little more shot grunt. The newer ones are about the same grunt as the 7000.

    FWIW, I would not replace anything on your old machine unless it is actually needed - "when it ain't broke, don't fix it". A friend's 2006 has never had any issue as he always keeps it clean.

    Sorry to hear the steam pump is US - much more common than a mere airlock.

    TampIt
    Thanks TampIt I think what you say about age is correct- 33rd week of 2010 and yes machine does seem lower and porta filter lighter and different metal. I will but devastated when my older machine finally packs it in! New machine seems pristine on the inside so will try a new steam pump and see how we go. Noodle obviously right about the failing o ring!



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