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Thread: Anybody ever repaired a volumetric unit?

  1. #1
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    Anybody ever repaired a volumetric unit?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I have one 2 group Le Cimbali standing around where the volumetric unit is broken. One comment I heard was that it is most of the time the capacitor. Great comment...
    I also have a friend that would love fixing this and has the knowledge and everything to do so. He is even happy to build an entire new machine controller (if I let him he will probably also design a computer interface just for fun).

    I have searched the net to find the function of this volumetric measurement explained but couldnt find anything.

    Does anybody know where to find an explanation of the measuring method and the parts involved? Has anybody ever repaired or build a volumetric control unit?

    Cheers,
    Edward

  2. #2
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    Re: Anybody ever repaired a volumetric unit?

    Edward,

    The volumetric measurement is done by the onboard computer (under the drip tray). There are also small water volume measuring "brass blocks" in the pipe to each group - again under the drip tray. These have a small vane which is turned by the water and sends pulses to the computer board.

    The board is several hundred dollars to replace.... and whilst you could build a microprocessor based replacement (basically what it is) - this would not be easy.

    Mine was replaced just before I bought the machine (it had failed)..... but for quality coffee I dont use it in any case (except to program cooling flushes)....

    Why not dispense with the electronics and convert the machine to a semi-auto.... which I will be doing if the board fails..... a relatively simple task..... and your machine will produce better coffee as well!!

  3. #3
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody ever repaired a volumetric unit?

    Edward, the volumetric system consists of several parts -- including the touch pads, flowmeters and electronic unit-- or --computer. When you say the unit is broken, are you sure which component?

    How is it not working?

    Diagnosing a dead electronic part like transistor, capacitor, resister or processor is not easy, especially without a wiring diagram. If your friend reckons he can do it -- happily give it to him.

    I thought mine was broken, when the problem was the wiring loom wasnt firmly pushed into the computer socket. Instant cheap fix.

    --Robusto







  4. #4
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    Re: Anybody ever repaired a volumetric unit?

    Quote Originally Posted by robusto link=1184319298/0#2 date=1184321179
    Diagnosing a dead electronic part like transistor, capacitor, resister or processor is not easy, especially without a wiring diagram. If your friend reckons he can do it -- happily give it to him.

    --Robusto
    Agree with your comments re "which bit is broken?"

    However if it is the computer board which has failed (which is quite common - water, steam and heat are all enemies of electronics) there are few options....

    Especially with the la Cimbali where many of the bits are "proprietary" and as far as I can tell, circuits for the unit are not available. Two authorised La Cimbali repairers here throw the board when it needs to be replaced.... it is apparently sold as a "black box" and is not intended to be repaired.

    I guess several hundred dollars to fix a $7000 machine isnt bad if it is in commercial use - but for home use..... Semi automatic seems to be the best option!

  5. #5
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody ever repaired a volumetric unit?

    Yes JavaB, throwing out boards appears to be the industry standard. Faster to throw out and replace than spend hours systematically looking for a fault.

    And I dont mean just with coffee machines. This applies to car trip computers, boat depth sounders, computer printers....
    Its a pity the replacement board isnt priced to be disposable.

    --Robusto




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    Re: Anybody ever repaired a volumetric unit?

    Quote Originally Posted by robusto link=1184319298/0#4 date=1184322571
    Its a pity the replacement board isnt priced to be disposable.

    --Robusto
    They are when they leave the factory (in China?).... its just the middle men along their path to us who want/need to make an unreasonable profit ;)

  7. #7
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    Re: Anybody ever repaired a volumetric unit?

    I personally like the manual button. If Ive spend that much time roasting, grinding and tamping why on earth should I then rely on a computer to time the perfect shot. Doesnt really make sense to me. Maybe nice for my other half that just wants a cuppa but she can also stop the machine if she wants to (I would put money down that I can teach that to the Kookaburra that visits me).

    The reason I asked is because my friend had this glow in his eyes and is apparently looking for a new challenge. Then I think it is nice to restore machines to their original functionality.

    Thanks for your feedback.
    Edward

  8. #8
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody ever repaired a volumetric unit?

    Youre not alone there Edward, many prefer the manual or emergency button as one manufacturer calls it.

    But the volumetric unit does enable you to do two things at once (otherwise an impossibility for men in a kitchen). For instance, concentrate on steaming milk while the coffee is automatically extracting.



    --Robusto

  9. #9
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    Re: Anybody ever repaired a volumetric unit?


    I dont think that project is too difficult for the right person. Most of the electronics can be sourced and the signals it needs to respond to are just a pulse train from the flow meter. There are quite a few options around for small processor chips with non-volatile registers. That said, I wouldnt hold your breath waiting for it. For the amount of time and money spent getting it to work, youd save money buying a replacement.

    Fixing a broken part may be easier, as electronics are quite robust and the capacitor that is spoken about would usually be an electrolytic in the power supply part of the board. Thatd be easy to spot and replace.

    Just a few ideas for your friend.

    Cheers,

    Mark.



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