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Thread: Tips on fixing EM6910 steam system

  1. #1
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    Tips on fixing EM6910 steam system

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    So my EM6910 steam is on the blink. A few days go it started puffing steam only half the time, and now it is zero. Only the odd drip. After searching around the forum, it seems that either the pipes are clogged, or the pump is broken.

    I have attempted some surgery, but was wondering if some experts out there could provide a couple of tips.

    I have cleaned out the thermoblock as best I can with descaling solution. Initially I couldn't get much liquid through it - now syringing gives what seems a small flow if I really squeeze hard (maybe needs to be better cleaned?). I have also ensured the copper elbows are clear, and the pipe from the thermoblock to the wand. However, on reassembling - still no steam.

    I have seen threads talking about cleaning the thermoblock by putting a thin wire all the way through - but there is no way I can get a wire to turn the corner - any tips?

    As yet I haven't clean the copper pipe spiral above the pump, nor taken out the pump itself. The pump still makes the pulsing noise - which suggests that it is working - and water spills into the overflow. But I am wondering if the pump is defective, rather than a blockage - is there any easy way to work out if this is the case?

    Thanks to posters from the past that provided all the useful information to get me as far as I have.

    I just saw the thread saying you can get EM7000s for $398 from Domayne - but the offer doesn't appear to be available online - perhaps they are out of stock now Any other places to buy? I thought it might be time to upgrade after 7 years of service. The collar on my EM6910 almost needs replacing as well.

    Cheers,
    Matt

  2. #2
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    Mine was doing the same so I began pulling it apart and trying some of what you have been doing but in the end I lost interest and tossed it in the bin

    7 years is pretty good service in anyone's book - might be time to treat yourself to a new machine. I'm waiting on a Breville double boiler to arrive - hoping it will be a good buy

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamo View Post
    Mine was doing the same so I began pulling it apart and trying some of what you have been doing but in the end I lost interest and tossed it in the bin

    7 years is pretty good service in anyone's book - might be time to treat yourself to a new machine. I'm waiting on a Breville double boiler to arrive - hoping it will be a good buy
    Agreed. But I'm going overseas for a year in January ... don't really want to have to put a brand new machine in storage! I was hoping this one might eke it out until then.

  4. #4
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    Pull the pump out and run it disconnected from the thermoblock, check for normal, steady flow each pulse. This should rule the pump out. Generally if the pump fails, it wont work and will show a definite sign of failure.
    The pump doesn't need to supply high pressures to the steam system so usually if it's pulsing then it's working, but check the flow just to be sure.

    Some people have had problems in the coiled pipe you mentioned, take it out and try blowing through it to make sure it isn't blocked. Also take the tip off the steam wand to make sure there isn't a build up of milk scum in there. It can also be a deceptive cause of steam problems. I've seen a lot of EM6910's for repair but none have ever had a bad milk build up in the wand/tip. From some other peoples experiences on here, this isn't the case. You had better check just to be sure.

    The most likely problem is a stubborn scale buildup in the thermoblock. You would initially see surging in the steam and not a linear flow. From there is would get weaker then eventually not really flow at all (seems to be the symptoms you described).
    The problem it has is that the scale/contaminant reduces the ability of the thermoblock to recover from the cold water being pushed through it and cannot maintain a steady flow of steam. The only way to resolve this is to persevere with descaling. You can try some stronger descaling solution to shift it or just keep at it with your current method. Program the machine to the coldest temperature and slowest pump rate, this will ensure better application of the descaler.

    Alternatively, a Sunbeam service agent can replace the block, shouldn't cost too much. I usually charge around $100 for the job.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by noidle22 View Post
    Pull the pump out and run it disconnected from the thermoblock, check for normal, steady flow each pulse. This should rule the pump out. Generally if the pump fails, it wont work and will show a definite sign of failure.
    The pump doesn't need to supply high pressures to the steam system so usually if it's pulsing then it's working, but check the flow just to be sure.

    Some people have had problems in the coiled pipe you mentioned, take it out and try blowing through it to make sure it isn't blocked. Also take the tip off the steam wand to make sure there isn't a build up of milk scum in there. It can also be a deceptive cause of steam problems. I've seen a lot of EM6910's for repair but none have ever had a bad milk build up in the wand/tip. From some other peoples experiences on here, this isn't the case. You had better check just to be sure.

    The most likely problem is a stubborn scale buildup in the thermoblock. You would initially see surging in the steam and not a linear flow. From there is would get weaker then eventually not really flow at all (seems to be the symptoms you described).
    The problem it has is that the scale/contaminant reduces the ability of the thermoblock to recover from the cold water being pushed through it and cannot maintain a steady flow of steam. The only way to resolve this is to persevere with descaling. You can try some stronger descaling solution to shift it or just keep at it with your current method. Program the machine to the coldest temperature and slowest pump rate, this will ensure better application of the descaler.

    Alternatively, a Sunbeam service agent can replace the block, shouldn't cost too much. I usually charge around $100 for the job.
    Thanks for the tips! Yes, the surging of steam is exactly what I saw.

    I have tried to run descaler through the steam system for about 15 mins, but nothing came out. Which is why I took it apart.

    What is the best descaler to use? I have been using "Sunbeam liquid descaler" for this job - citric acid - but the instructions seem to be for coffee filters: "Add one capfull to the tank". I mixed two capfulls with about 1.5L, but maybe that isn't concentrated enough? I also have the Sunbeam espresso descaling tablets - would those work better?

    Cheers!



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