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Thread: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

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    Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Help needed from newbie,
    I just bought second hand supposed to be in good working condition 2004 made in Italy 2006 delivered in Melbourne Rancilio Lucy for $510 and seem to have problems. The unit has pretty clean exterior and I am tempted to keep the machine if it could be put right without much trouble. I have not checked the insides just in case I want to return it for refund.
    The problem is I cannot prime the machine. The machine came with water in the reservoir that according the previous owner has been there for some time. I drained the reservoir and replaced it with clean water. The unit comes with a water softener and low-level sensor. I deliberately did not clean them as I wanted to check out the basic functions first without changing the condition of the machine. In accordance with the instruction manual I made sure of the silicon pipe positions, opened up the steam wand, turned simultaneously the Main and Brew switch on. (some CS members say to turn the Main and Hot Water switch on and I later tried that). A stream of water appeared from the steam wand and again as instructed I then shut the wand, then got water coming out of the brew head. The reservoir water level went down so I thought everything was alright. It seems there are no on/off lamps to indicate the machine has warmed up so I left it active for 30 minutes. After that I turned Brew switch ON without the PF in place and no water came out. The machine is warm and plenty of steam will come out with Steam switch ON position. I tried to repeat the priming procedure after releasing steam, but cannot get any water from the wand nor brew head anymore. I tried the procedure next day when the machine cooled down no success. Cleaned the shower screen. The pump is working. Could this be a blocked three-way valve? Or, something more serious.
    Thanks for any comments in advance.

    egu

  2. #2
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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    Hello egu and welcome,

    Remote diagnosis is difficult, but it sounds like a shagged solenoid to me.

    Google Silvia repair and you should easily find Alan Frews excellent piece which will assist you.

    If its heating, it will be fairly straightforward and inexpensive to repair.

    Chris

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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    Thanks for a speedy comment, Chris
    One thing I forgot to mention was when I turned on the brew switch following warm up, the pump sounded as if it was running dry with a very high pitch rattling sound. That has now stopped though. May be the rattling sound could have been the solenoid rattling. I will check continuity tomorrow.
    egu

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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    I had similar symptoms when I had a Lucy, happened right when I was selling it as well. I checked it was all working and then after it sold I gave it one last check and the solenoid had packed up :-[

    $50 part from memory, but be careful as you will be playing with 240volt parts.

    You need to unscrew the prongs below the grinder to get the front panel off, probably a few other screws as well.

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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    Thanks trentski for your comments, it is very helpful.
    As you were a Lucy owner, may I ask a question regarding warm up indication. According to the Instruction Manual item 6.1-1 "quote" Main switch with orange light on/off. On pressing this switch the machine is powered, with orange light on, the water in the boiler is heated."unquote" Or am I wrong? The orange light on my Lucy comes on as soon as I turn the main switch on from cold. As mentioned below I waited 30 minutes but the light remained on. I also seem to recall that somewhere in Coffee Snobs I read, unlike Silvia there is no warm up indicator with Lucy. Am I correct in assuming that is so? On studying the circuit diagram I feel the orange light is not connected to a position whereby it will turn off or on when the brew thermostat cuts out which confirms this statement. If so how does one know when the Lucy is at correct temperature to brew coffee?
    And one more question how does one know there is water in the boiler? Particularly when the solenoid valve is broken.
    Regards,
    egu


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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    egu,

    There is no indication when the boiler is up to temp with Lucy.* The light that silvia uses has been replaced by a low water level sensor.* Why they did that I will never know.

    You can get someone to rewire it for you, its not a big job but youll need an electrician to do it.* Otherwise just gronk it.* That will tell you when its up to temp and also when to pull your shots consistently. Or consider a DIY PID.

    If you open the steam valve and turn on the hot water button (under brew from memory) and water comes out the wand, your boiler is full.* turn off switch and close wand.

    FYI mine was a 2004.* I paid more, so I think even with this repair, if its in good nick you wont be losing* your money on it.

    Synesso ridgeless baskets made an improvement for me too.

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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    Thanks for your comments Lacehim, you have kindly confirmed the configuration shown in the Lucy electric circuit diagram.
    I can see that it would be a simple modification to use the orange light as per Silvia. Just connect the orange wire of the orange light to element side of thermostat T2-140C (must pick the correct side as both wires are Red) using a piggy back (one female two male) fastner then it will function exactly the same as Silvia. Further more at low water level Lucy will still switch off automatically albeit lack of warning light. Probably I will start with gronk before attempting DIY PID.
    Would you be able to point me to a link of How to Gronk your Silvia/Lucy?
    I have seen some photos but no recommendations as to the type of thermometer used, and best place to anchor the thermo couple.
    Kind regards,
    egu

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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    Id you have the necessary skills and can get work checked by registered sparky, Id suggest that gronking is likely to work out more expensive than going straight for a diy PID, unless you already have a multimeter with thermocouple lying around. A simple single set point PID with thermocouple can be picked up for under $35 these days.

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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    Thank you, who me,
    Would you be able to explain the functions of a single set point PID, please.
    I see many articles on adding a PID, but as the users are advanced coffee brewers, there is little written on how to use them in practice. Correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is basically a SSP PID set on a desired temperature will have the ability to maintain that temperature within certain degrees of temperature (tolerances) with the added function to avoid element burn out. And those with more functions can control preinfusion.
    Your comments will be appreciated.
    Thanks
    egu

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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    Im no expert myself, but know enough to get by for basic pid installation and use.

    A basic PID will try to maintain temp at a set point. You can also get a PID with dual set points to control both water and steam temperature. For other purposes (such as roasting), you might need one that also has ramp/soak functions - you tell them how quickly to reach desired temperature and how long to keep it there.
    Pre-infusion is a separate issue, but a lot of PID controlled machines will also have programmable pre-infusion.
    The PID itself wont avoid element burn out it you let the boiler run dry, you still have to prime the boiler on single boiler machines after steaming milk.

    So what does the basic PID do for you? Simply, it automatically maintains the temperature much more accurately than the stock thermostat, eliminating the huge dead band and wide temp variation of shots. If correctly tuned (they have an auto tune function that usually works quite well) it takes account of the lag between turning on/off the element and the heat making it to the water in the boiler - actually to the sensor, but that is why sensor placement is so important.
    You can achieve the same results by gronking and watching the temp rise carefully, then pull your shot at the right temperature.
    Gronking used to be a lot cheaper than PIDing and does avoid the need to mess with 240v power. Nowadays a PID and SSR is cheaper than buying a meter with temperature functions, but if you already have one, or plan on using a meter for something else, then the meter may still be worth trying.

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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    Wow, thanks Who me, for the information.
    For a newbie like me a lot of questions have been answered in one page. Beautifully explained, thanks again.
    I am aware that controlling temperature is only part of the equation, and that bean types and freshness has a lot to do with getting consistent taste in addition to tamp pressure, grind fineness and the rest.
    I hope you can see I am hooked and enjoy trying to learn the art of making coffee and drinking it. Thanks to you and every CS for your help in keeping me interested.
    I have another variable and that is how to keep the better half happy in amongst this new hobby cause it looks like the hobby is time and money consuming.
    egu

  12. #12
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    Quote Originally Posted by 3436243025213025253E510 link=1298545468/4#4 date=1298602934
    Thanks trentski for your comments, it is very helpful.
    As you were a Lucy owner, may I ask a question regarding warm up indication

    No worries, Lacehim answered the questions for me :)

    I didnt gronk or PID my Lucy, temp surfing was good enough, but some people like to tinker :D

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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    Thank you to Chris, trenski, Lacehim and Who me? for your invaluable comments.

    Further investigation revealed this Lucy had been idle for sometime. Despite the fact it was descaled and serviced a year ago.
    Correct me if I am wrong but I believe a solenoid overheats if the plunger (armature) is not totally pulled in when activated. And that could be major reason for burning out the coil. In other words if the machine had been unused for a long time following an inadequate shut down procedure (I read somewhere proper sequence before storing coffee machines for extended periods), on reusing it, scales etc can wander down the 3 way valve area and interfere with the movements of the valve and consequently prevent the solenoid plunger to engage, resulting a burnt solenoid.

    That in mind I lost confidence with the rest of the machine and requested for a full refund to which the previous owner gracefully accepted. So thanks to all and a bit of luck I am back to the starting point.

    In my case I was lucky it happened straight away but it could have happened a week later in which case I would probably have little chance of recourse. If I was to buy second hand again I would would not buy a machine that has been in storage or left idle for a length of time (but unfortunately there are a lot (most of them on ebay). If one decides to take a risk make sure you have it in writing (via messages) that the machine has not been in storage or alternatively that it has been tested for a period of time before put on sale.

    After this mishap Mrs wifie insist on me buying a new Miss Silvia + Rocky, lucky me. Only one problem that means I will probably wont be able to fit a PID or any other mod without Mrs wifie approval.

    I post this in the hope that it may help anyone buying second hand equipment.

    egu


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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    Good luck with the Silvia/Rocky.

    If you havent bought it yet I would buy the Compak K3T over the Rocky. One of the sponsors will be able to help you out. Also consider the Lelit and the Gee.

    Just make sure you can get local service and support when you need it. :) And remember, enjoy the coffee!

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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    I see that it has been relisted on ebay... If the new buyer is a snob then theyll know what theyre in for.

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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    Quote Originally Posted by 55787A7C717074190 link=1298545468/13#13 date=1298948135
    If you havent bought it yet I would buy the Compak K3T over the Rocky.* One of the sponsors will be able to help you out.* Also consider the Lelit and the Gee.
    One of the sponsors was selling their ex-demo GEE for $690 or so last I saw. Pair that with a Breville bcg800 and you would have a pretty good setup (with pid and programmable pre-infusion IIRC). Also would be under warranty.

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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    Hi there, Who me?
    Thanks for the information. Upon a bit of research on the GEE machine, I think I might stick to my original Silvia + Rocky plan. Except I am leaning towards K3T a bit at the moment.
    I could be totally wrong but My reasons behind this are:
    1. Some reviews are pretty negative.
    2. I would rather use my own PID than that of an inbuilt.
    3. Silvia enjoys a proven longevity record.
    My Mrs. wifie has also put a condition to sell the two Sunbeam EM4800 I am currently using as well as the EM480 grinder, before I purchase the new items. She is sick of me occupying the space in our small kitchen as I like to keep using the three machines regularly until they are sold for the reasons posted earlier.

    Kind regards,
    egu

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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    Sorry its a bit late - just found* this post/forum...

    I has the same problem with a Rancilio Kathy - same as Lucy but its a plumbed in version.

    Kathy


    Depending on how old the machine was - it sounds like you had a blockage in the brass 3 way valve - below where the OPV branches out.* Just stick a pin through the hole to clear it and you would have likely fixed it...

    No.46 - the tiny screw




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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    Hi Kathy, welcome to CS and thanks for your comments.
    Just one question if there was a blockage in the valve, would not the water be diverted to the drip tray? Or would that be dependant on where the blockage has occured?
    egu

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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    Update,
    The previous owner states the machine now has been serviced and a new pump was fitted. So it was not the solenoid after all.
    egu

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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    Quote Originally Posted by 4B495B4F5A5E4F5A5A412E0 link=1298545468/18#18 date=1299110092
    Hi Kathy, welcome to CS and thanks for your comments.
    Just one question if there was a blockage in the valve, would not the water be diverted to the drip tray? Or would that be dependant on where the blockage has occured?
    egu
    My names not KATHY - thats machine Ive got* :D* Click on the link Kathy

    It sounds like there was residual water in the boiler and this was used up with the first heating/steaming.

    After this, no water would get passed the blockage - its before the OPV so it wouldnt even get as far as the drip tray.* No.46 on the diagram I posted.

    Im only mentioning it in case someone else passes up a bargain machine that can be fixed with a pin!

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    Re: Problem with Second Hand Lucy

    My apologies for mixing up your name, paolo75332.
    Just for the record in my case the water in the reservoir went down approximately 300ml or so, and that is why I did not suspect the pump, but as it turns out my observations were wrong.
    egu



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