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Thread: Help with La San Marco Practical-E

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    2

    Help with La San Marco Practical-E

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi All,

    New here, but gotten some good info browsing over the years.. My experience with espresso machines comes mostly from servicing/cleaning/maintaining the San Marino Lisa Junior at my last workplace, learnt a lot from that, at least enough to know I wanted a machine at home..

    so last year I was on the lookout for a Rancilio Silvia, mentioned I was looking for a machine to my brother in law, and he said "Theres one here you can have if you want it".. Its a La San Marco Practical-E.. He had it in his bar, and decided to pull it out because they had limited table space in there, and they make more money selling cocktails than coffee..

    its missing a few bits, and since he pulled it out of the bar had been living outdoors under the back steps so its a little dirty and whatnot..

    when i got it:


    dirty insides:


    so, in the process of cleaning it up etc., cleaned most of the dirt and crap out of it checked and retightened all the earths inside the case, bought the plumbing fittings I need.. The watermark inside the case suggests that there hsouldn't be any dirt and stuff inside the pump, so i'm hopeful its all good to go.



    I'll definately need to change everything in teh group head (seals, screen, probably the screen holder) and give it all a good clean out.. any other suggested maintenance while I've got it all apart? I'll also need to buy a group handle, some filter baskets, a drip tray, and hopefully thats it.. a new control panel would be nice, but not 100% necessary I don't think once i work out which button is which..

    so I'm at the point now where I'm looking to put it all back together, plug it into power and water, check that it will fill, heat up, get pressure, give me steam, and that the valves and stuff work, and then assuming that all works, start looking at buying the other bits for it...

    Then I noticed a wire that runs off the element, and down to the power distribution on the side panel, which is coiled and has no insulation on it in the middle.. this looks deliberate, and how it would have come from the factory, but I can't work out what it does for the life of me, and the wiring diagram for the element in the manual doesn't show it at all... Any advice on what tha twould be? I'm assuming its for a thermal cutout or something, and that its not actually a live wire.. do i need to keep it away from the inside of the frame or anything? any tips on what it does?



    Looking forward to some great coffee in the future with the help of the good people on this forum!

    Cheers

    Nick

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    The Hamptons
    Posts
    294
    Hi Nick,
    I had one of these for 17 years and they are great machines. I bought from "Rio Coffee" in Adelaide.
    Their contacts are:

    info@riocoffee.com.au

    T: (08) 8362 3376
    F: (08) 8362 3331

    I'm sure they will offer advice or help. Good luck
    Cheers
    Dr Dave

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    357
    If you carefully pull that wire out of the tube in the element, you'll find a thicker solid metal piece on the end of the wire - it's the temp sender for the thermal cutout, which is just visible at the bottom of the pic to the right of the white box that contains the CPU.

    Might be worth getting a new element gasket - looks like that one's had a bit of a leak. You'll also need the missing front touchpad panel, which is a black plastic moulding fitted with red plastic buttons.

    And since it looks like the missing panel had been held on with gaffer tape, you may also need to replace the plastic panel it fits into if it has been damaged.

    Whereabouts are you? I may be able to suggest a source of parts (my boss used to distribute these, and still has a quantity of spare parts and panels).

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr_Dave View Post
    Hi Nick,
    I had one of these for 17 years and they are great machines. I bought from "Rio Coffee" in Adelaide.
    Their contacts are:

    info@riocoffee.com.au

    T: (08) 8362 3376
    F: (08) 8362 3331

    I'm sure they will offer advice or help. Good luck
    Cheers
    Dr Dave
    Fantastic, thanks! I've been tring to get an idea of how old this machine would be... the boiler has 2001 stamped on it, but my brother in laws bar wouldn't be that old (about 2004-5 i think) and it was new when he got it... So these things were in production for a long time then? fairly solid machine then yeah?

    Quote Originally Posted by MorganGT View Post
    If you carefully pull that wire out of the tube in the element, you'll find a thicker solid metal piece on the end of the wire - it's the temp sender for the thermal cutout, which is just visible at the bottom of the pic to the right of the white box that contains the CPU.
    Cool, thats what I thought it would be, so its not actually carrying any voltage though, and the coiled exposed section would just be to dissipate heat?

    Might be worth getting a new element gasket - looks like that one's had a bit of a leak.
    I was considering that.. would it be worth changing the element while I was at it? Might just inspect it anyway, its quite possibly the original one and I'm not sure how old the machine is.. there is a date stamp on the boiler for 2001, but my brother in laws bar wouldn't be that old, so I'm not sure..

    You'll also need the missing front touchpad panel, which is a black plastic moulding fitted with red plastic buttons.

    And since it looks like the missing panel had been held on with gaffer tape, you may also need to replace the plastic panel it fits into if it has been damaged.
    Close... the PCB with the buttons is there (laying down in the hole in the first pic), but the fascia is gone.. They used it like this in the bar for a while apparently. I've looked at getting a replacement one, but I'll focus on getting the machine to work first... if valves/solenoids/boilers/pumps (i really hope not!) need replacing they will have to come first, and I'll make it look pretty later.. I'd really like to do away with the auto dosing thing anyway and just have an on off switch like the lower models have given that I'll only ever be making one or two coffees at a time, but I suspect working out how to remove it from the equation will make this a more difficult process than necessary, and you can run it in manual mode anyway (or so the manual suggests)

    Whereabouts are you? I may be able to suggest a source of parts (my boss used to distribute these, and still has a quantity of spare parts and panels).
    I'm in Sydney, that'd be great!



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