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Thread: Silvia Element seems to be dead

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    Silvia Element seems to be dead

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

    Turned on the machine this morning and it heated to about 90C and then stopped. After flushing it back down to a lower temp to check if it would heat it did not. I'm not sure at what point it happened, as I generally turn it on and then go for a shower so it heats up by the time Im ready to make coffee.

    Its controlled by an Auber PID, and the lights indicate it is trying to output, but its simply not heating.


    Can anyone confirm the resistance of a good element, at 1100W im expecting ~50ohms or so... I can try and confirm this after working today

    Or, hopefully its the SSR that's gone.


    As a side note, I ALWAYS flush after steaming, and never leave it on by accident. I also flush immediately after turning on until water comes out the group.

    It was bought from a sponsor in Sep 2012, so unfortunately out of warranty, but I guess it wont hurt to enquire anyway.

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    The element will be open resistance if its busted.

    Im not sure what the element is rated at in a Silvia, but lets assume 1200w. ie;

    240v x 240v / 1200w = 48ohm.

    if its lower, it will be less efficient, but if its dead, it will be open.

    edit: google says the silvia element is 800w, 950w or 1000w by various sources. I dont know what it actually is. If it were 800w, its 72ohm, 950w = 60ohm and 1000w = 57ohm

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    Quote Originally Posted by nicovington View Post
    .............It was bought from a sponsor in Sep 2012, so unfortunately out of warranty, but I guess it wont hurt to enquire anyway.
    There was a thread that suggested there was a "bad batch" of Silvia heating elements somewhere around the timeline you quote.

    See http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...ng-issues.html (reply no. #6 & #7 in thread)

    It appears that over the last few years there have been a few "bad batches" but only some repairers/retailers are informing their customers whether they fall into that category when they bring in a Silvia with a dead element. Might depend on whether the retailer you bought from direct imports or buys from a distributor? Either way instead of recalling the machines with suspect elements Rancilio leaves it up to the customer to find out and then hope the person they bought from does the right thing. Good Luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CafeLotta View Post
    There was a thread that suggested there was a "bad batch" of Silvia heating elements somewhere around the timeline you quote.

    See http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...ng-issues.html (reply no. #6 & #7 in thread)

    It appears that over the last few years there have been a few "bad batches" but only some repairers/retailers are informing their customers whether they fall into that category when they bring in a Silvia with a dead element. Might depend on whether the retailer you bought from direct imports or buys from a distributor? Either way instead of recalling the machines with suspect elements Rancilio leaves it up to the customer to find out and then hope the person they bought from does the right thing. Good Luck.
    Unfortunately probably won't be able to crack the top off and measure it for a few days due to work commitments.

    I did remember seeing that thread, do you have any more info on the timeline of bad batches?

    Surely the retailer has an obligation to make this known to the customer if they become aware of it!

    Worst case scenario is a new boiler, I fork out $150 and do it myself, or find a repairer in Brisbane and get a quote for it.

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    Senior Member smokey's Avatar
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    I took my Silvia in for a new boiler, the quote was $485 to fix it, so I took it back home and ordered one online, I'll do it myself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smokey View Post
    I took my Silvia in for a new boiler, the quote was $485 to fix it, so I took it back home and ordered one online, I'll do it myself.
    Hooley dooley. Bet they don't do many of them at that price!

    It's pretty easy to determine whether the element failed or was cooked. Cooked ones look cooked (orange).

    Consumer warranty would cover an element at 15 months as you'd expect a longer life than that. The complicating factor is that the machine has been modified from standard and unless the mods were done by the outlet which sold the unit and warranted with it, it then becomes really tricky. Given boilers are not hugely exxy, your strategy may be the best one.

    Hope you're up and running again pronto. It's not too difficult a fix.

    Chris

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    Thanks Chris

    Yes I would absolutely expect such a machine to last at least a few years, especially being well maintained!

    I've worked in retail for about 6 years (recently stopped) so Im fairly aware of the consumer laws, but if the retailer simply doesn't agree that its a problem they should fix then its a lot of chasing around for a relatively low cost to fix. Maybe if it were a few $$$ more.

    The machine has had an Auber PID put in by myself, however it could easily be removed and you would never know the difference!

    My next step will be to actually confirm the boiler element has gone. I'm hoping its just the SSR, but that's pretty unlikely. I will also contact the retailer I bought it from and see what they say.

    I think the biggest shame is that I have recently got in to tea, so it literally only makes a few cups a week, but I have too much invested not to go and fix it up

    Regards,
    Nic

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    Try the reset button inside first. My element got replaced a couple months ago. Mine was a month or so inside warranty thankfully.

    I'd de-install the PID and take it back to your retailer if a resaet doesn't fix you

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    Confirmed that boiler element is gone, reads completely open circuit.

    The safety thermostat reads 0.3ohm and I tried pressing it in anyway, which it does not.

    Currently in communication with the retailer to get the machine assessed.

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    Senior Member smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Hooley dooley. Bet they don't do many of them at that price!

    It's pretty easy to determine whether the element failed or was cooked. Cooked ones look cooked (orange).

    Consumer warranty would cover an element at 15 months as you'd expect a longer life than that. The complicating factor is that the machine has been modified from standard and unless the mods were done by the outlet which sold the unit and warranted with it, it then becomes really tricky. Given boilers are not hugely exxy, your strategy may be the best one.

    Hope you're up and running again pronto. It's not too difficult a fix.

    Chris
    I replaced Silvia's boiler on the weekend, easier than I expected. At $150 Vs $485 I will happily do this if the boiler blows again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokey View Post
    I replaced Silvia's boiler on the weekend, easier than I expected. At $150 Vs $485 I will happily do this if the boiler blows again.
    Nice work smokey. Sounds to me like they just quoted megabux because the didn't want the work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nicovington View Post
    Confirmed that boiler element is gone, reads completely open circuit.
    My 2nd hand V3 Silvia had an element that read okay on the meter but would trip the Safety switch when heating up to steam. The welded-in V3 elements apparently were more suseptible to getting micro fractures in the top of the heating element's copper outer casing especially if constantly overheated through incorrect use. The micro fractures would open up with the increased temperature required to steam and allow water to contact the element's internals causing a short. A new boiler fixed this and confirmed the dud element even though the meter said it was okay.

    Thought this may possibly be of interest to others looking for an answer as to why their Silvia isn't playing nice anymore.
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    Well it finally got fixed.

    Good news: Boiler was replaced under warranty.
    Bad News (well not so bad): Cost $88 in labour charges apparently due to the extra work the PID created. Not so sure about that since it's only a few more wires.

    Anyway, works great now and I just made a good cup first go without needing to pull a few shots to dial in my grind.

    Interestingly, the place that fixed it didn't seem to know much about PID controllers or too much about how they work with the Silvia, he guy kept telling me how it needed two switches to pump water, since the standard espresso switch now just controls the 3way valve, and I have the PID with timer unit to control pump (or you can use hot water switch manual).

    He also kept complaining that the steam got up to 150C. The PID uses one of the alarms to cut the heater element at 140C, the ORIGINAL thermostat is 140C anyway, and when it stops heating the residual heat in the element can shoot it up to 150C easily, REGARDLESS of PID or thermostat control. He simply could not comprehend this, or the fact that I had to keep explaining that I start steaming at about 135-138C, and the temp never exceeds 145C or so, and when I'm done steaming I purge all the steam out for the next shot. I never make more than a cup at a time, so highly unlikely to empty the boiler water whilst steaming! In the end he conceeded I knew what I was talking about regarding the operation of the machine so meh.

  14. #14
    Senior Member smokey's Avatar
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    nicovington, my PID'd Silvia also runs up to 150 C for steam, I wonder if all steam boilers do?

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    Hey Smokey,

    I imagine they all do. The safety thermostat is 165C, so there would be a bit of play there, i.e. safety margin.

    As I said, regardless of PID or Thermostat (140C steam TS), if you stop heating at 140C, it seems to reach 150C. I tried explaining this to the guy, and the fact that the only reason you can see it's 150C is because of the PID temp display. I have no doubt at all that a stock Silvia would do the same, but you just don't have a digital read out, however I'm sure someone with a temp probe could confirm this.
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