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Thread: Pickin Your Brains!

  1. #1
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Pickin Your Brains!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I dont usually ask for help on this sort of thing but I want to arm myself a bit to "encourage" the boss to fix my machine!! So, any help, advice etc on my little problem will be appreciated!

    The Question:

    My Brasilia has a OPV on top of the boiler. At the moment, that OPV is hissing like a cut snake. Evidently, there is either a problem with the valve itself and hopefully not something else that weve missed. But that is not the question I put to you, as the boss has something to fix it (he says!), just has to get around to doing it. Of course, everytime Ive come to work over the past few days, it seems to be hissing louder!

    My question is...whilst this is not being repaired instantly, how much potential damage are we doing to the boiler by not repairing it? If any at all.


  2. #2
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    Hi scoota,

    Ahhhhh.... OPVs are there for a purpose.... to protect the machine (and the operator)....

    It could be that it is releasing pressure at less than its design value.... and that is no biggy - other than it is annoying.

    But it could also be that the pressurestat is faulty and allowing the pressure to build up beyond the 1.2 Bar )or whatever the machine normally runs at (does it have a steam pressure gauge? and is that higher?)...... if that is the case, it is doing its job correctly - but that is also a potentially dangerous situation - stressing the boiler and eventually something might give ----- not good!!!

    But as the OPV is a safety device - it should be working correctly in any case - and should be fixed ASAP...... something has a problem on the machine..... and there is a potential for injury to you or a customer....

    Not getting it fixed is just slack!!!!

  3. #3
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    Thanks Java for your words! And yes I agree, not getting it fixed is slack!

    The gauge appears to be at its normal level. However, I say that but if the valve is constantly releasing pressure, I wouldnt actually be seeing if its really over pressure in the boiler on the gauge, would I?

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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    Quote Originally Posted by scoota gal link=1195510074/0#2 date=1195540583
    The gauge appears to be at its normal level. However, I say that but if the valve is constantly releasing pressure, I wouldnt actually be seeing if its really over pressure in the boiler on the gauge, would I?

    Scoota,

    Yep the valve would reduce the pressure.... but they generally only open at a pressure noticeably higher than the normal boiler pressure...... but because it is working now (when it shouldnt be) there is a very real possibility that it could become damaged and then if ever really required to work..... might not function....

    Anyone who takes risks with large boilers containing lots of water well above boiling point (just dying to become steam at many times the volume) is a fool..... considering the potential injuries.... and the relatively small cost to have it fixed..... Maybe you need to mention OH&S!!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Lizzie's Avatar
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    i second that, JB...

    could it be that your heating element is not shutting off when it should, Scoota...?

    scary stuff...sounds like you need some protective gear....leather jacket, full face helmet and riding gloves! ;D ;D

    L

  6. #6
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    hit the top of the OPV with your temp and it should reseat it self. if this dosnt work have it replaced by a qualified teckh.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lizzi link=1195510074/0#4 date=1195542247
    i second that, JB...

    could it be that your heating element is not shutting off when it should, Scoota...?

    scary stuff...sounds like you need some protective gear....leather jacket, full face helmet and riding gloves! ;D ;D

    L
    I am SO dressing like that tomorrow...maybe that will scare him into doing something! Good thing hes got a great sense of humor! ;D ;D

    Quote Originally Posted by no BS Coffee link=1195510074/0#5 date=1195542247
    hit the top of the OPV with your temp and it should reseat it self.
    I seriously suspect that this was the bosss first response to the leaking valve... ::)

  8. #8
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    Its called percussive maintenance.


    I think the helmet will give him the hint.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Lizzie's Avatar
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    Quote Originally Posted by scoota gal link=1195510074/0#6 date=1195560357
    scary stuff...sounds like you need some protective gear....leather jacket, full face helmet and riding gloves! ;D ;D
    L


    I am SO dressing like that tomorrow...maybe that will scare him into doing something! Good thing hes got a great sense of humor! *;D ;D

    Pic... Pic... Pic...!! Pic... Pic... Pic...!! Pic... Pic... Pic...!! Scoota in full armour in front of the group , gotta see that!!............... ;D ;D ;D

    L

  10. #10
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    Just tell him that losing all that steam means the element is on constantly & itll cost him a small fortune in increased electricity... thats usually the sort of incentive a boss needs...

  11. #11
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lizzi link=1195510074/0#8 date=1195600324
    Pic... Pic... Pic...!! Pic... Pic... Pic...!! Pic... Pic... Pic...!! Scoota in full armour in front of the group , gotta see that!!............... ;D ;D ;D

    L
    You so know that that will be forthcoming shortly... :D ;D ;)

  12. #12
    Senior Member Lizzie's Avatar
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    oh, i do, sweetpea, i do!! i can jus feeeeel the sweat running down your forehead, and making your fingers stick to your gloves, standing in front of that heat!!!

    I had a laugh *;D ;D

    L


    PS... i DO miss my bike, but only if the ambient temp is no more than 20C ;)
    as far as i am concerned, black leather and the sun are not good play-mates!


  13. #13
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lizzi link=1195510074/0#11 date=1195723170
    as far as i am concerned, black leather and the sun are not good play-mates!
    Ah, well, thats where the beauty of a mesh jacket with armour and a removable liner come in handy... ;)

  14. #14
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    Some pressure relief valves are what Id class as serviceable, but even then you have no way of knowing (other than through a very frustrating and time consuming application of trial and error) what pressure youve set it to respond to after pulling it apart and replacing/reseating whatever sealer that happens not to be sealing. Best option is to replace it with a modern pre-calibrated valve. Note that depending on the age of the machine and valve you acquire, you may have to add extra fittings to attach a new one.

  15. #15
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    As much as I wanted to take the photos this morning of me all kitted up, I was kind of glad I didnt...

    Today, I was not wearing my happy face when I saw what the machine was doing. I was definitely Not. Happy. Jan... >:(

    Suffice to say, the valve was blowing off so much steam that with the cup tray on top, there was just water everywhere. Now, I know that no one else except myself and the two bosses know anything about the machine but really...if you saw the bl**dy waterfall this morning, youd have fainted too! :o

    Anyway, I immediately removed the cups and the tray and just let the damn thing vent off into space. The male customers stuck their noses in, some I even had to warn off (as they did stupid things like put their hands over the steam! Um...Heres your sign!! :-?)

    My bosses are currently away so, it was even more angering for me. Also, not to mention the sheer embarrassment to have the machine in that state. Truly, it was just plain embarrassing to have to work like that. ::)

    Berate me as much as you like, folks. Im as pissed as anyone about this. This was our biggest Saturday morning to date, being election day and to top it off, raining as well! That means EVERYBODY is in town. I am positive and Ive got the till record to back me up, that we fed every resident of our town this morning! To me its purely irresponsible to have gone away without fixing the thing but we do have some things that work against us here.

    One is the tyranny of distance, meaning that we have to fix stuff ourselves. The other, being a bakery and the boss is the baker, is the time factor. BUT I know, in this instance he will now need to fix it.

    Im not going to tell you lot what the temporary fix is going to entail over the next few days. If you knew, youd probably try and reach through your computer screen and throttle my boss! ;D



    Oh and the most asked question today...

    "Are you blowing off some steam??" ;D :D

  16. #16
    Senior Member Lizzie's Avatar
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    scoota, you know there is a huuuge safety issue here, ...
    time to get the boss by the short and curlies, methinks...

    good luck, girl!

    L

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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lizzi link=1195510074/15#15 date=1195881767
    scoota, you know there is a huuuge safety issue here, ...

    good luck, girl!

    L
    Im with you Liz,

    time to get the boss by the short and curlies, methinks...
    Nope ... park his bare Ar** over the venting valve...... that might "lure" him into action!



    Scoota.... time to down tools Im afraid..... That machine is both sick and dangerous.....

    Whilst it might be hard, time consuming and or costly to have it professionally fixed..... what cost is placed on the safety of you and your customers.....

    Working on that machine is like driving your bike wearing only a bikini...... and even though it would probably feel great on a hot day...... Im sure you would agree that it would be idiotic...

    There is a time where you just have to say NO!!!!!!!

  18. #18
    Senior Member Lizzie's Avatar
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1195510074/15#16 date=1195884733
    Nope ... park his bare Ar** over the venting valve...... that might "lure" him into action!
    yep, i can see how that may work too!! ;D ;D ;D

    L

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    SCOOTA PLEASE READ

    Scoota,

    there are 2 valves at top of the boiler.

    a) the Boiler Pressure Safety Valve and

    b) Anti Vacuum valve.

    They can both leak steam at times, but it is more usual to be the anti vacuum valve that is leaking....

    The functions are as follows:

    a) The Safety Valve is there as a safety precaution in case the pressuretat does not cut out and the boiler over pressurises. It will usually blow off at somewhere from 1.8 to 2 bars, give or take...

    b) The anti vacuum valve is there to prevent "false pressure" at cold start up.

    Re your question..."........whilst this is not being repaired instantly, how much potential damage are we doing to the boiler by not repairing it? If any at all........."

    None. It seems you have a minor steam leak, although I understand it sounds to be large. *But as long as your boiler presure gauge is operating as normal, and it is reading normal operating pressure & not indicating "over pressure", *then the boiler appears to be holding up as it should to a minor (in volume of steam compared to its capacity) steam leak. If there was a real over pressure, the safety valve would blow off big time and scare the pants off everyone on the place.

    There is usually no steam pressure or boiler safety issue if either valve is leaking. It simply means the element will be switched on more frequently than normal, to bring the steam / boiler back up to pressure while it (the pressure) leaks out. Better for steam to be leaking, than for a safety valve to be stuck and not blow off in a real situation of over pressure.

    Leaking anti vacuum valves are very common and a competent repairer will remove the top tray of the machine & simply RE SEAT the valve by tapping it with something *like the handleof a screw driver or the back of a spoon, to push the plunger down and allow the resulting release of steam to push it back up & reseat. Sometimes it wont happen again after this has been done, or if the valve is worn it may need to be reseated often, and if the valve is cactus it wont reseat. Simply call your service back up people and ask them to come & rectify.

    On the rare occasion the boiler safety valve is leaking, the serviceman will simply replace.

    This is pretty standard stuff but what is worrysome is that your boss wont do something about it long term. As you have seen the steam leak condenses to water and makes a really wet mess inside the body. This wetness can leak down into things like electronic parts or say, the main electric switch, and left without rectification over time can short something out. ...I prefer not to dice with electrickery as it usually wins.

    Dont panic, call your regular repairer. FYI the anti vacuum valve is *the smaller of the two valves on the boiler. The large (say about 2 inches tall) brass one usually in the middle of the boiler is the safety valve.

    It is very time consuming (& sometimes confusing for those reading) to write stuff like this and post on the net, and it is much quicker to talk. I guess this isnt going to get fixed before Monday, and if you are very concerned & want me to explain further, go to the link to my website and telephone me at work on Monday. I will be happy to answer any of your questions but ultimately, you need to get a serviceman out there to (I think) replace the anti vacuum valve. Of course, a "blind" keyboard diagnosis can often be incorrect, I can only go on the facts you have presented.

    Take extreme care when you "lift the lid" both in terms of not inviting steam burns, as well as in terms of keeping right away from electrics inside.

    I would not operate the machine with the lid off, as you have seen it can be difficult to keep prying fingers away from occupational hazards.

    Oh by the way, your boss cant "fix" either of the valves discussed here. The ONLY fix is to replace the valve that is leaking with a new one, and I guess I should finish by saying that any work you or your boss does in the machine is done at your responsibility....I am only explaining the possible cause and probable fix of a problem that should have already been attended by a professional service repair person.

    Regardz,
    FC.

  20. #20
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    Hey FC.

    Many thanks for that post. Youre quite correct, it is the anti vacumn valve that is letting off steam, the boss explained it to me when I rang him today. During the morning, it was given a tap as suggested to reseat it but I think that it is beyond that now and needs to be replaced.

    The machine did exactly as you have described in that it kept switching the element on to keep the temp up.

    Ive turned it off, put a big sign on it to not touch or turn on until further notice and hope that well back up and running soon.

    Thanks for the offer of help, I may very well take you up on it yet, FC. ;)

    Thanks for all your support everyone else! :)

  21. #21
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!


    tap tap tap....

  22. #22
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Freeman link=1195510074/15#20 date=1196204514
    tap tap tap....
    Um...yeah. :D

    So...this morning...I got to work...










    And the machine had blown up... :o ;D


    I didnt say anything to the boss, just gave him the silent treatment. I think it spoke volumes to him! >:(

    I even managed to refrain from saying "I told you so!"

  23. #23
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    Thankfully you werent there when it happened.


  24. #24
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    The element, when they finally got it out was in several pieces. And I must say that the calcium scale in the bottom of the boiler wasnt too bad for a 7 year old machine! ::) ;D

    So, whilst the little old town of Wee Waa is having withdrawals from great coffee, Im secretly enjoying my own at home... :D

  25. #25
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    Quote Originally Posted by scoota gal link=1195510074/15#23 date=1196416988
    So, whilst the little old town of Wee Waa is having withdrawals from great coffee, Im secretly enjoying my own at home... :D
    Better not let the word get out or youll be swamped with visitors! ;D


    Java "Sippin in the open" phile

  26. #26
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!


    Are you taking a thermos to work?

    ;)

  27. #27
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Pickin Your Brains!

    I had a laugh! I took Silvia, actually! ;D



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