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Thread: It followed me home...

  1. #1
    Senior Member skydragondave's Avatar
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    It followed me home...

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Well, I finally took the plunge and bought my own unit. It's a 1996 Nuova Simonelli MAC Digit "S" 1500W. Found it listed in the local classifieds for $300, talked him down to $250 when I plugged it in and found the pump stuck.
    I had it sitting on my counter for about five seconds to take this picture before I rushed downstairs and grabbed my tools to get the covers off. It's about as crusty inside as I would expect. Group seals never changed, portafilters filthy but unworn, blind basket pristine (of course), brew gauge skewed. Nice coating of patina and coffee grounds over everything.
    Borrowed a siphon hose from the Raff, dunked it into a bucket of water, and grabbed the end of the motor shaft to unstick the pump. Was very stiff! But I got it freed up and ran the extension cord to turn it on.
    The pump came to life but wouldn't create a vacuum! I spent a few minutes trying to prime it, shut it off a few times and away it went, filling the boiler back up. Sat and waited a torturously long time for the boiler to come up to temp (obviously it's scaled pretty badly inside) but eventually it did. I bit my knuckles watching the boiler gauge, but the pressurestat obediently kicked the element off exactly between 1 and 1.5bar.
    Time to test the valves. Opened the steam wand, hot water valve and hit the brew button. Hot water valve perfect, steam wand very slow but functional, group head clogged. (Very loud buzzing sound coming from the three-way solenoid.) Boiler water contaminated with floaties. Not at all surprising since the seller said the unit has sat unused for four years. So it'll need a thorough descale and decontamination (steam wand did not smell nice at all.) But everything seems to be working, so I think we have a winner!
    I had a really great experience getting parts for the NS Appia, and I really like the standard 110V/1500W plug and play capability. Plus both hot water and steam wands are activated by a cam and lever handle which I like better than the rotary valves. It's full manual with standard illuminated buttons, which are a lot cheaper to replace than membrane switches, and the boiler is nickel plated on the outside unlike the Appia. The group head is also bolted directly to the boiler, and heated up fast. Once I get it overhauled I think I'm going to keep this one! I'll keep it in the kitchen and hone my technique on it, and offer it as a loaner if another customer needs something to fill-in while their machine is at my place getting fixed. This isn't the first machine I've worked on, but this time it's mine!

    Now, all I have to do is pretend I didn't see that 2-group Gaggia in Toronto for $300...
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  2. #2
    Senior Member skydragondave's Avatar
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    Some more action shots. I'd better get this mess cleaned-up before my better half gets home! Really looking forward to the project. Cheers
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  3. #3
    Coffee+carbon=heaven Mono's Avatar
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    Ah, a man needs a project to keep him away from harm............have fun

    Steve

  4. #4
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    Good luck Skydragondave - looks like you've got your work cut out for you though! Have to say it is pretty rewarding and a lot of fun sourcing, scrimping, researching, hunting and finding!

    Keep the photos coming!

  5. #5
    Senior Member skydragondave's Avatar
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    Thanks guys!
    I know it's not the most exciting resto project on here, but it's my first one and if I'm going to make mistakes, better on one of these than one with a pedigree. Thanks for the support!

  6. #6
    Senior Member skydragondave's Avatar
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    A couple more standard action shots. Pulled the element today to assess the damage. Lots of smelly flakes inside. Vacuumed them out with the shop-vac. Saw the element was contacting the heat exchanger and rubbing against it, will know how bad the element is when it comes out of the bath. All brightwork, panels and wiring are out of the unit now, left everything connected so I wouldn't be scratching my head later. Still debating whether to insulate the boiler or not, if I can find Cohrlastic silicone sponge for less than $300 a sheet I might give it a try for kicks. Or maybe I'll just use Insulbrite. I guess I'll decide once I have my parts ordered and I find out how poor I am!
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  7. #7
    Senior Member skydragondave's Avatar
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    "Yeah, I dunno why you weren't selling any espressos either."
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydragondave View Post
    Now, all I have to do is pretend I didn't see that 2-group Gaggia in Toronto for $300...
    Toronto, NSW? Driving past there tomorrow...

  9. #9
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hildy View Post
    Toronto, NSW? Driving past there tomorrow...
    The "other" Toronto... about 16,000kms east northeast
    skydragondave likes this.

  10. #10
    Senior Member skydragondave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hildy View Post
    Toronto, NSW? Driving past there tomorrow...
    Thanks for the offer, Hildy! Unfortunately Vinitasse is right.

  11. #11
    Senior Member skydragondave's Avatar
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    Well, having quickly outgrown my current workshop I decided to step things up a notch. Some good fortunes in the classifieds landed me a 6ft stainless washdown sink and drainboard, and two 54" T5 grow lights for a very good price. I cleared a corner in the basement, pitched my laundry tub and wired and plumbed-in my new wares. So much easier to work now. Gave the internals a good washdown once I had the electrics stripped out and set aside, and in the process of descaling now. Once that's done I'll remove the group and give it a good soak in JoeGlo detergent so I can get a better look at how the dispersion screen is mounted, I have to get it off to replace the o-ring and troubleshoot that nasty buzzing sound coming from the three-way solenoid. Not perfect yet, but looks way better with all that nastiness cleaned off! And I absolutely love my new workspace.
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  12. #12
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    Were you able to get this restored?
    I am also in the Toronto area and picked up the same unit. I just opened the boiler tonight and see lots of scale to be removed. Looking to get mine up and running shortly

  13. #13
    Senior Member skydragondave's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I've been very busy with some other machines, but I'm expecting my order of genuine Simonelli parts for this unit to come in any day now. I still have to work out a tool to get the dispersion screen out, but I have a Scace Thermofilter coming with my order so I can fine-tune the pump, pressurestat and gicleur orifice size as much as I can. As you probably know the group is bolted directly to the boiler, so there's no thermosyphon adjustment and it will need long cooling flushes if left idle, or turn the boiler temp down so it doesn't cook the hell out of the HX water.
    I'm updating the steam wand to the stainless Appia 360* swivel type and rebuilding all valves and replacing all seals. I'll be back at it in the next week or so. Good luck

  14. #14
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    Good to hear
    I like the idea of switching out the steam wand. The gauge went on mine (leaking) so I have to get that replaced before I can properly test my machine.
    You had mentioned in another thread you found a local place for Citric Acid. I have been looking with no luck yet. Are you able to share your source?

  15. #15
    Senior Member skydragondave's Avatar
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    PM sent, thanks

  16. #16
    Senior Member skydragondave's Avatar
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    Updating this thread. A lot has happened but it still is not finished. I talked to a local cabinet maker with a CNC router who expressed an interest in duplicating my machine's side panels in an exotic wood. So it's been languishing over there for about a week, with probably another two to go. Up until then, I did a few things. I took the nickel plated boiler and after carefully descaling it to preserve the nickel plating, I decided to kick it up a notch and polish it to a mirror shine on the buffing wheel. It looks great! I also replaced the stock linear-swivel steam wand with an Appia stainless spherical swivel wand. Unfortunately I then ran into clearance issues with the stainless group cover, so I took the adaptor fitting to a local hydraulics shop to get a combination of fittings to extend the swivel base by about 30cm. The fittings are at a machine shop getting hogged-out so the swivel spring will fit inside. Then, my clearance problems should be over. On with the pics. It should be noted that the first picture is with the firewall blasted and coated with POR-15, and the second picture is a before-and-after, with polished on the left, and raw on the right. The entire surface of the boiler other than the cast endplate are gleaming:
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  17. #17
    Senior Member skydragondave's Avatar
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    Pictures of the modified steam wand. Works much better than the linear swivel wand and stainless too!
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  18. #18
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    coming along nicely, thanks for sharing

  19. #19
    Senior Member skydragondave's Avatar
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    Testing on this unit is complete and everything is running flawlessly and leak-free. Just waiting for the side panels to come back from the cabinetmaker and this one will be a wrap. Can't wait to see how the woodgrain looks under a matte finish.



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