Post By noidle22
EM6910 - time to lay to rest?
over the last year or so my EM6910 has been making more and more struggling noises when pouring, occasionally I find small puddles under the machine, there's the occasional bzzt-like sound from behind the buttons, the group head seal needs regular home-made cardboard ring shim replacements to stop it leaking, a few days ago it tripped the surge protected power board it was on, and the pressure gauge can never seem to get as much pressure as it used to (can sit in the light beige and struggle and only drips of coffee come through). I think the machine is around 8 years old? The grinder that came with it is also a bit rough these days, one of the internal impeller type plastic bits that spins around to force the coffee out of the spout broke years ago. So I'm running on 3 of 4 (or 2 of 3, I can't remember exactly).
Then today, the steam just...didn't. I turn the knob, nothing. No sound, no pump, not even a dribble of water. The actual coffee part still worked. I had to use a pod machine coffee frother. It was shameful.
If there's any obvious things you think I could try to fix it up, I'm all ears. I am familiar with opening electrical items and doing small repairs, but probably wouldn't be comfortable with any fine soldering (but could do rough soldering if needed). A guide to opening it up would also be appreciated.
Failing that, I was looking at getting a Breville BES920BS (black) with Smart Grinder to replace my current set up. I can get one set for $1385 delivered. Does that sound reasonable? I believe they've dropped to around $1200 or so before (and I almost got one when they did previously, but couldn't justify it as my current machine was still working well enough), but I don't know when they might drop to that again.
First problem which is your initial problem that's just got worse over time is that the solenoid valve for releasing the group head pressure has split causing water and pressure to leak when in use.
This will cause a buzzing/electrical sound as water is touching the live 240V terminals on the solenoid coil.
You are getting weak pressure as water is leaking out of the split solenoid whilst you are trying to make coffee.
Tripping the power board, assuming it had RCD protection, was because water was bridging between the 240V terminals on the solenoid and the earth terminal.
The group collar has probably worn out as well which is why you need to use those spacers.
The steam not working is probably because the split solenoid has dripped water onto the steam pump control triac so it no longer tells the steam pump to start.
For a full repair you will need:
- New solenoid
- New group collar
- New triac (or control board if the damage is more severe)
This is not something I would suggest a non experienced person attempt. It can be done but you're working with 240V components, fine soldering (which you said is a problem) and fiddly fittings and connectors.
For a DIY repair using parts sourced online, the cost would be around $150. For a technician, add labour costs and part markups and it would be around $300. Once done, your machine should be in good shape.
Depending on where you are in Australia, I could do the repairs for you. The solenoids I use are much stronger than the OEM Sunbeam ones and also much cheaper. Send me a private message if you are interested.
Thanks for the advice. I pulled the back off and had a look for anything obvious, and the pcb has brown discolouring around a few of the solder points, although when I pulled the box apart the resistors that the marks corresponded to seemed to be healthy on the outside. So nothing really within my realms of expertise for repair I don't think. I'll send you a PM.
curious as to what machine you end up getting;
Ive got the 6900 and EM0480 Grinder, and looking to upgrade - thinking of the Compak K3 grinder, but there's not alot of choice in mid-range Brewing machines.
I was looking at the Breville Dual Boiler too...
i did end up getting the breville dual boiler with the free smart grinder. took a while to dial my measurements, dose, tamp, shot length, etc. but as the combo saves all your settings, once i got it, there's less messing about than with the sunbeam. and the smart grinder sure is less messy than the em0480.
Let us know if there's a noticeable difference in taste (once you have everything dialled in) compared to the em6910. Considering upgrading myself
Just as good, and easier to be consistent. Although that's an inferred 'just as good', I also was between beans when I got the new one, so the beans are a different variety and brand. So it's hard to be completely objective. Descaling sounds like a huge pain in the butt for it though, judging from the instructions. It's a pretty comprehensive step by step. But it comes with a lot of tools and starter cleaning tablets and a filter for the water tank, so it feels like a fuller featured setup than the old sunbeam.
Cool. Thanks for the reply. May have to do some reading about the descaling 😕