How about some piccies "fabcat"... ;)
I recently picked up a second hand B.F.C. ALA di VITTORIA 1GV EL 1 group commercial machine at auction and Ive spend the last couple of weeks cleaning it up, learning how it works, and trying to adjust it.
This post is to tell you what I have found out about the machine and to ask for some help with it.
Ive been trying to find information on this machine and from what I can gather, it is quite similar to the following machines:
GRIMAC VITTORIA One Group http://www.grimac.com/vittoriaonegroup.html
B.F.C DIADEMA 1GV EL
Basically the same case and probably most of the same insides. I expect it is quite similar to a Diadema Junior Electronica internally except with a bigger boiler and a rotary pump. Similar electronics I believe.
internal rotary pump - plumbed in
4 litre boiler with hx (closer to 3 litres by my measurements)
e61 group head
lots of gicar bits - controller and volumetric parts
made in 2004
Before I bought it, it lived at an office and unfortunately they didnt take the best care of it. The shower screen was clogged with coffee residue and the boiler water stank due to milk contamination. Luckily, all the expensive bits (motor, pump, computer, element, volumetric parts) still worked so I just had to get some minor parts and from coffeeparts and do a heap of cleaning and a lot of learning. Its all functioning now.
When I first noticed the problem with the milk contaminated boiler I was quite worried and thought "what have I got myself into". But then I read a few threads in the extreme machines section about some of the amazing restorations you guys have done and that made me realise the amount of work I needed to do to get the machine running was tiny in comparison.
Some of the stumbling blocks I ran into while trying to get to know the machine:
[*] one time I was testing and I noticed that the water from the group was way too cold - ~75C. I tried to measure the boiler surface temperate and it was ~100C or less. Much too cold. At this time I also noticed that the boiler would come on for a much longer time than I had seen earlier - over a minute rather than 6 seconds or so, and the boiler turning on and off was accompanied by the loud click of the sirai pressurestat. The deadband of the pressurestat was about .5 bar or more which was much more than I noticed earlier. I tried many things including adjusting the pressurestat up to 1.4bar but that did not help.
As many of you have probably guessed by now, the too cold problem turned out to be due to false pressure (air in the boiler causing the boiler pressure to be high despite the low temperature). Of course the fix to that is to blow some steam out of the steam wand to get rid of the air and then the boiler will come up to the correct temperature - but I didnt know that at the time. I also think I need a new pressurestat membrane kit due to the large deadband shown.
After all that what I find most interesting and it is something I have not heard talked about anywhere else, and I still do not quite know how it works (I guess that is why it is interesting) is this. With the false pressure problem fixed, when the machine is idle, the element clicks on and off very quietly, is only on for about 2 to 6 seconds at a time, and comes on about twice a minute or so. The deadband is very small - less than 0.1bar I estimate. I checked the pressurestat, and its contacts are closed (power on) constantly during this time but the power to the element only comes on fleetingly. I believe I have worked out that the computer in the machine is controlling a relay in the machine, but what I have not worked out is how the processor knows when to turn the element on and off, and for that matter how it knows what pressure I have set the sirai to. By that I mean, if I set the sirai to 1.4 bar or 1.1 bar, the computer keeps it there. How does it know? I even contacted BFC to get a parts manual for the machine and I dont see a temperature probe or pressure probe(other than the sirai) that could give feedback to the processor. Really how does it work? Anyone have any ideas? All I know is it is a very neat feature.
[*] Trying to get the water distributor (or dispersion nut or whatever it is called) off. Seeing how dirty the shower screen was I thought it was essential to get that removed for cleaning. It does not seem made to fit a normal screwdriver. I tried may things including coins from various countries, with the coins held in a metal g-clamp to try and turn it but they just bent every time.
It was well stuck in there and it seems specifically designed to allow no tool known to man to be able to remove it. I searched and searched (online only) for a tool specifically sold to commercial espresso machine technicians to specifically remove the water distributor from an e61 group to no avail.
One of the suggestions I read about was to get a fender washer and file it down in just the right way and make a funny tool out of it - see http://www.home-barista.com/espresso...rew-t9378.html
I thought that would just be like using coins but I gave it a go - putting the filed down washer in my g-clamp and it worked a treat. I guess a zinc coated steel washer is stronger than a coin. For those interested, the mud guard washers in a plastic packet at bunnings are the right thickness for this job. Also - it is removed by turning it anti-clockwise (counter-clockwise).
[*] milk contamination in a boiler is nasty. The steam and hot water really stank. I did not pull the whole machine apart to clean it, but I did run descaler, special milk cleaning stuff - cafetto pulatte, dishwashing powder, etc through it multiple times (not all at the same time) and it cleaned it out eventually. Luckily the boiler has a drain plug which made flushing it out easier.
[*] eventually learned how to program the volumetric doser. There does not seem to be a pre-infusion function available. Does anyone know if there is and how to use it? It is not mentioned in the manual. Does anyone know if the Diadema Junior Electronica has a pre-infusion function available?
[*] Temperature problem again. This is the one I really need some help with. After learning about the problem with the false pressure causing low temperature, I still have some symptoms of mildly low temperature. Espresso seems to extract well, and tastes good - but a little too sour/acidic. I tried measuring the temperature of water from the group and the most I have measured is 90C to maybe 91C. I have never gotten the spluttering steamy water from the group that people often describe when a hx machine has been idle. I would definitely like to be able to get the temp up a bit higher on occasion. Here are the things I have tried so far:
- Bumped up the boiler pressure - even up to 1.5bar
- Checked the boiler water level probe - cleaned it and made sure it was as deep as it could go (lower water level)
- Raised the boiler probe a couple of centimeters (higher water level)
- Descaled the boiler and hx (not dismantled though)
- Leaving the machine on and idle for more than an hour before using
- Obtained a BFC spare parts manual to check for a thermosyphon restricter - there seems to be none
Some things I havent tried:
- insulating upper thermosyphon pipe
- insulating group head
- taking out the upper thermosyphon pipe to look for a restricter
- full machine pull apart and descale (Id prefer to avoid this if possible)
With all of the things I have tried, I have never once got spluttery steamy water (indicating over heated water) from the group. Maybe that is a blessing but I really think it might help to have the temp a touch higher than it is. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to tune this machine further? I could use the help.
There is more things I want to ask about but that is probably enough for now. I might post some pictures later if anyone is interested and maybe even if they are not interested.
How about some piccies "fabcat"... ;)
Contact Cosmorex (sponsor list to the left <<<<<<<), could be one of their imports.
As Mal says a picture would be helpful especially as BFC makes machines in different styles & names for different importers. A picture of the serial and compliance sticker will also be helpful.
Here are some pics I took earlier:
Note the very high cup clearance. Im using my Rancilio bottomless portafilter rather than one of the ones that came with it. Based on the sticker on the front I am guessing the importer is not Cosmorex. I wonder if I can get my own "fabcat" stickers made up to replace it.
This one shows how I have hooked up the water:
I rent so cant drill holes in benches. The kitchen tap connects to a combined water filter/descaler and then on to the espresso machine. Unfortunately I cant use my kitchen tap when the espresso machine is in use. I dont have a pressure limiting valve yet but for now the inlet pressure seems pretty stable at 5 bar. The drain pipe just hangs over the edge of the sink.
Internal from the top:
Top right of the pic is the electronic control unit 30 MZ - unprotected from heat. Below that is the Sirai pressurestat. At the very top cm of the picture is the cavity for a water tank that is not included in this model.
Internal from the right:
At the top we have the pressurestat and electronic control unit. Bottom right is the motor and pump. That black and white box at the bottom left near the element is the 25 amp relay controlled by the electronic control unit. In the middle there is a mess of wires.
The motor and rotoflow/fluidtech pump:
I contacted B.F.C. and after checking my serial number they sent me an owners manual and spare parts manual. These sorts of documents are always hard to find so I am making them available if anyone is interested. The spare parts manual might also be useful to those trying to help me work out my temperature problem :)
Nearly useless manual (364KB):
Very handy detailed parts list with diagrams (1.4MB):
a) Its a BFC manufactured machine.
b) you have written a fantastic detailed article but there are so many (even if small) things to address and I want to enjoy my day off at home today (Sunday) rather than write a lengthy and very time consuming "composition" in return to you *;) Suggest if you want to talk call me at work tomorrow and ask me whatever you like and I will try and answer even if it isnt one of ours.
Or, call the importer (cant quite make out the sticker on the front?) but if they are not CS people they might not be so free with their time for you (time is money).
first */ orginal CS site sponsor.
PS Come to think of it, whos to say the name on the sticker is the importer???? It could have been placed there by the previous owners coffee supplier or by anyone. *
Thats a really cute little machine, From the photos complete strip down would take about 4 hours if your "Bagging and Tagging" Everything.
A full strip down if the best thing to do. you learn your machines heart beat so to say.
It also lets you get the scale out and scrubb the boilers insides and the pipework.
As to the heat problems, it does not seem to be a HX machine, Rather a from Boiler to group, similar to my old 1960s Bo-EMA. Try running a flush of water through the head to pre-heat it then run a normall shot and test the temps then.
I just had a read of the Service Manual. Got to put my I-Talian to the test :P
Its not a HX machine from there description of the plumbing, but I could be wrong.
Its a 1 group heat exchanger commercial espresso machine with pre infusion "electric" (as in solenoid operated) E61 group head.
You cant scrub out the boiler. Its a sealed unit with no end plate, but you can fill it to the top with the cleaning solution of your choice and flush out.
This can be done in situ in the chassis (ie no need to remove the boiler from the machine) but remove the hot water and steam piping coming from the boiler, right through the hot water and steam valves and pipes and nozzles and soak them in the same cleaner as you use in the boiler. *The main objective here is to remove the contaminating milk scum, not for descaling athough if you are using a dual purpose agent you will be doing both (whether it actually needs descaling or *not).
By the way upon reflection. If it is not easily budged I wouldnt try to remove the slotted plug that lives in the group behind (above) the shower. There is no need. Clean the group ring thoroughly with a group head brush, fit a new shower (or clear the old one thoroughly of solidified coffee oil & scum), fit a new group seal, remove, clear & refit the group solenoid, then use group head detergent to backflush through the inside of the group. That should do it.
Leave electrickery well alone unless you happen to be a licenced electrician.
Hey Fresh Coffee,
I would scrub the boiler via the removable eletric element hole. You could pop down with the boiler to your local restraunt and ask them nicly to use there best boy pots and pans scrubber.
Its a small stiff Nylon brush attached to a handle and driven by a eletric motor. There totally awesome for getting crudd of anything. including the hard to clean corner in your tiles shower recess that you spend hours on with a toothbrush :)
Thanks for your responses.
Attilio - thanks for your offer to let me call you. I think it would be a bit rude of me to call you just to ask questions when I have not bought from you so I wont just yet. But if curiosity about my machine gets the better of me I might have to take you up on that offer.
I think my boiler is now pretty clean as I was able to soak its insides for hours with a number of different cleaning solutions. I think you are right about removing the hot water and steam piping and related valves, etc as they have not had as much of a soak. I think that will be my next task for this weekend of the following one.
Pgar - that best boy pots and pans scrubber is interesting. Sounds like a toothbrush attached to a powerdrill. I think I can make one of those :P
By the way, this is probably not the best way to do it but I tried changing my boiler pressure up to about 1.55 bar to see if it would help get the brewing water temperate up. With that pressure I measured a maximum water temperature from the group of 92.7C. It was not a particularly accurate method of measuring that I used so the temperature could be higher then that, but the important thing is that it has reduced and in some cases eliminated the sourness I was getting earlier with the cooler temperature. I can probably drop the boiler pressure down as it seems a bit high, but at least I know I have a bit of a range of temperatures I can play with in the correct range for espresso. I still have never had the spluttery steamy water thing happen but that is very likely a good thing.
No worries fabcat I was offering because of CS goodwill even if you didnt buy it from us and after all, it will be your telephone call!
The water temperature from the group can be adjusted easily enough (in this type of machine) but first you need to be absolutely sure that your thermometer and method of measurement is giving you an accurate figure.
Only large adjustments in boiler pressure will affect the temp of the brew water from the group and I would call running the boiler at 1 and a half bars a large adjustment. It raises the temperature of everything so if you were running it that way you would always be on the lookout to not overheat, particularly where the machine is left on long term (like all through day instead of just for an hour). The resulting steam power will blast your milk out of the water! I would tend not to do that and would rather run the machine at the pressure intended (usually 0.9 to 1.2 bars) and adjust the brew temperature in another way.
I am new to the forum, I registered because of this tread.
I recently acquired the same machine as mentioned here.
You mentioned in your first post that you eventually figured out how to program the volumetric doser.
Can you please enlighten me, I've been struggling with that for a few days now. ]
Martin, in case you're not aware this thread is 8 1/2 years old with fabcat's last login being 4 months ago. They may respond in minutes if they have notifications on for this thread, or it may be months or more before they see your post. Hopefully someone who can answer your question will respond soon.
Java "Welcome to the forum!" phile
Toys! I must have new toys!!!
Maybe try a pm as well Martin. That may pop up in his email notification
Hello Guys, Thankyou for the warm welcome!
I'll send him a PM just in case.
It seems that I now have one of these machines too, a little worse for wear. Nothing that cant be fixed though.
For those who have them, does the hot water dispenser run for a few seconds and then turn off again? I swear the larger triple group Diadema we had at a cafe ran until you turned it off, like the manual mode.