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Thread: Lelit PL41LEM backflush problems

  1. #1
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    Lelit PL41LEM backflush problems

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    This is my first ever proper machine requiring backflushes. A couple of times recently it has actually had a mini-explosion when starting the backflush process. The blind filter and holder were pushed out with force, completely shattering the latte glass which was underneath it to smithereens. Today it happened again (but luckily no latte glass underneath this time!!) Big sudden bang, scalding water going everywhere, and blind filter/holder pushed out with great force.
    The machine was nowhere near even the lowest of the recommended pressure range for normal brewing.
    This does not happen during brewing, only during the cleaning cycle.
    Since I am a beginner I am being quite tentative with the backflush process and this problem is making me even more tentative.
    Thanks for reading

  2. #2
    338
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    Hi Pixel warrior, I have a pl41 and coincidentally just backflushed 10 minutes ago. Occasionally mine will leak a little from the gasket if I haven't wrenched the portafilter up tight enough. I am guessing that is the reason for the latte glass, which isn't required if the portafilter is mounted correctly. My suggestion is don't use your Pixie side but instead your inner Warrior side and wrench the portafilter handle end around about 2 cm further than you use for normal coffee making and see how that goes.

    The pressure both instantaneous and constant is much higher with the blind filter, due to the release through a standard coffee filled portafilter.

    Good luck and let us know how you go.
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  3. #3
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    yep , agree with 338 above - will just be that the portafilter is not locked into position enough. Should be fine when round far enough.

  4. #4
    338
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    Just in case that isn't clear I mean tighten the portafilter more than normal, if it normally sits at 7 Oclock on your grouphead wrench it around to 6 o'clock, or if normally 6 o'clock wrench it to 5 o'clock.

    Alternatively just buy stainless steel latte cups.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    There is something wrong PW, this shouldn't happen, and, you shouldn't need to over tighten the PF to make it lock in.

    How old is the machine?

    The collar of the machine or PF lugs may be worn.

    The group gasket/seal may need replacing.

    The lip/rim of your blind filter may be a bit large, preventing the PF from locking when back flushing.

    Whilst sorting your problem out suggest you hold the PF locked in byhand when back flushing, if it's
    wear in the group or collar it needs to be addressed as it will only get worse.

    Hope that helps.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Yep some sound advice above. To confirm/eliminate your blind being the issue, tape the inside of your normal basket up and try a back flush and see if it leaks etc.

    Something doesnt sound right if the PF is shooting out if it is locking in correctly. Some can unwind but should not just pop off. Hold in your hand so you dont smash too many galsses and run out!

    Cheers

  7. #7
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    If the lip on the blind filter is slightly lower than your normal basket then it will require turning further than normal to achieve the same level of force to hold it in, doesn't mean something is wrong if the edges are different heights.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    If the lip on the blind filter is slightly lower than your normal basket then it will require turning further than normal to achieve the same level of force to hold it in, doesn't mean something is wrong if the edges are different heights.
    It certainly means something is wrong when the PF is unlocking and dropping out during back flush.

  9. #9
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Yeah it means they didn't put it in tight enough
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  10. #10
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    Thank you all so much for your replies. Yes I think it must be that I did not make it tight enough. There was a note that came with the machine saying to make sure it does not get over-pressurised during the backflush and I think I took this too much to heart. The problem happened both times when I was using the cleaning powder ... Not during a water only backflush. I guess the cleaning powder makes it more slippery. I don't think the machine is too old, I bought it in July last year and I only make 2 coffees a day with it. I found a video showing a backflush operation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSfA3-SzphI and no water pops out around the portafilter whereas with me it always does. Also, it seems this guy always uses powder and never does a water only backflush.
    So I have another question. How much pressure is too much for the machine during a backflush? so I don't ruin the machine.

  11. #11
    338
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    Glad PW that it worked out to be simple. I checked my PL41 this morning after the range of opinions here (all more knowledgeable than mine) and realised my blind filter needs about 1 cm more tightening than my double.

    I allow the pressure to get up to maximum for a couple of seconds only. Charlie from JetBlack the importer posts here, if you are lucky he might give his professional opinion.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pixelwarrior View Post
    So I have another question. How much pressure is too much for the machine during a backflush? so I don't ruin the machine.
    You shouldn't have to worry about pressure issues...
    This is managed by the Over Pressure Valve (OPV) automatically.

    Mal.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    You shouldn't have to worry about pressure issues...
    This is managed by the Over Pressure Valve (OPV) automatically.

    Mal.
    Yep as above. And for machines where the OPV is not working (or present) you will hear the pump slow and stall, so its easy to tell when to stop.

    Cheers
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