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Thread: Alex Leva PID stuck at 1.04 - boiler not heating

  1. #1
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    Alex Leva PID stuck at 1.04 - boiler not heating

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    After a week of being off while I was away when I turned my Alex Leva back on yesterday the PID display is stuck on 1.04, which appears to be the display for boiler function off while water refill is on.

    The boiler is not heating.

    The tank refill can be triggered. Commences and ends - solenoid clicks on and off.
    Have done this several times.

    PID display remains at 1.04.

    The LED blinks to indicate that resistance is operating.

    Heating functions cannot be triggered and cannot be programmed (as if the heating element has been turned off and cannot be turned back on).

    I can only get into the F.03 (programming of parameters) and PrS (return parameters to default settings).

    Anyone come across this?

    PID unit itself appears to be in good condition, visually at least.

    Machine is three years old.
    I leave it on except when I go away.

  2. #2
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    Have now learnt:
    1: that 1.04 is the firmware version. So flashing 1.04 means the PID is not loading that firmware fully;
    2: most likely the PID needs replacing; and
    3. this is likely a result of me generally leaving my machine on all the time and the heat eventually killing the PID.

    So have ordered a new PID.
    338 likes this.

  3. #3
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    That's a shame after only 3 years, especially when the rest of the machine is built to handle being on all the time. Perhaps some heat shielding could prevent a recurrence?
    Last edited by level3ninja; 30th January 2020 at 03:10 PM. Reason: great>>heat

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    That's a shame after only 3 years, especially when the rest of the machine is built to handle being on all the time. Perhaps some great shielding could prevent a recurrence?
    Yes and no I'd say. Firstly, the box is tighter than that of a commercial machine, which would likely use a far more expensive and robust PID. This = more heat.

    Secondly, 3 years of 24/7 is about the same as 18 years worth of on for 4 hours a day- not to mention the energy wastage. Wonder if the OP really uses the espresso machine 24/7?
    Dimal likes this.

  5. #5
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caffeinator View Post
    Yes and no I'd say. Firstly, the box is tighter than that of a commercial machine, which would likely use a far more expensive and robust PID. This = more heat.

    Secondly, 3 years of 24/7 is about the same as 18 years worth of on for 4 hours a day- not to mention the energy wastage. Wonder if the OP really uses the espresso machine 24/7?
    Exactly...

    Trying to use a prosumer machine in the manner of a full-on commercial machine is going to have downsides.

    Mal.
    Javaphile, robusto and Caffeinator like this.

  6. #6
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    Although the Alex Leva is billed as commercial machine in prosumer clothing I do accept that I contributed to the PID death and it's not a fault of the machine or Gicar PID.
    In the end it was just too much heat for the PID to handle.

    Locating the PID adjacent to and above the boiler probably wasn't the best design decision (Profitec put theirs behind the drip tray for example).

    My previous machine was also on 24x7, but its electronics had far better separation.

    My experience has consistently been that failures occur when my machines are cycled on and off, usually only appearing after being turned off and then failing on re-start. However, that is not a lot of failures and arguably the prolonged heating contributes and the fault only evidences itself after a cooling cycle.

    There is a school of thought that the off-on/expansion contraction leads to earlier failure of some parts. However, that is not definitive and there doesn't seem to be any hard evidence one way or the other - just differing opinions.

    I'm moving to a timer now and will see how that goes.
    Dimal likes this.

  7. #7
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    I would definitly not leave machine on 24/7 unless it was being used in a commercial setting that also required 24/7 operation.

    Yes, thermal wear cycling is a thing. But so is crazy amounts of power draw. You wouldn't leave the TV on or a bunch of lights when you go out so why a big water boiler?
    Also it opens up risks like electrical fires or flooding from unattended equipment.
    If you are making coffees throughout the whole day then leave it on, but theres not much reason to leave it on all night. Schedule it with a timer if you need it to be ready in the morning.

    I think you may have just got unlucky with your PID. If everyone's were dying then maybe, but electronics sometimes just fails and it doesn't mean it would happen again with another one under the same conditions
    Dimal likes this.



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