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Thread: Elektra Nivola steam problems

  1. #1
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    Elektra Nivola steam problems

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I was recently given an Elektra Nivola by a friend as it has "issues". The first one being that it doesn't steam any more. The machine is marketed as Idiot proof, which translates to a lot of functions being controlled by computer such as shot duration, pump control etc. Steam is either on or off - you set the control knob to on and when the computer decides everything is hot enough it opens a solenoid valve.
    Currently you set the steam to on, the machine heats up and a fair bit of steam exits the group but nothing comes out the wand.I have checked all the pipework coming from the solenoid and its all clear so Im guessing its the solenoid that is causing the problem. when I pulled the covers off the machine the solenoid is a small one that can't be pulled apart like a normal three way solenoid so there's no way of knowing if its scale in the valve or problems with the coil. Is there a way to test the coil with a multimeter to see if its dead?
    Also the solenoid is a brand I've never come across before - OLAB from Brescia,- which makes it harder to be sure im replacing like for like if I decide to buy a new solenoid.
    Its not even easy to remove the solenoid as it looks like it has an elbow thats threaded directly into the boiler (in the lower right corner)
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    Looks to me like a standard 1/4 2 way solenoid to me. 9watt coil by the looks.
    You could swap it with the fill solenoid as it may be the same. Or swap the coil from the top just by undoing the nut.
    Coil should show 9w worth of resistance. So will be quite a lot...ohms law will tell you its 6400 ohms. Use multimeter and compare it to another 9w coil in the machine.
    An electrician will check there is 240v to the coil and that it is switching at the board. But it will be 240v so caution!
    Why its steaming from the grouphead..not sure. Maybe the 3way is leaking too. The 3way should stay shut and the steam 2way should open.

    My hot water 2way is the same as yours, and its valve is stuffed, but the coil is good.

    Here is a coffeeparts one that i think is same as yours. You need to check thread sizes as it could be a 1/8 fitting. The boiler elbow will unscrew out of the solenoid.
    https://www.coffeeparts.com.au/parts...-inch-bsp-220v
    Mine has a parker on it, but the genuine part is a different solenoid with a physically smaller coil. Shouldnt make much difference if its same wattage.

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    Thanks for the feedback, I did measure the resistance with a multi meter and got 2.7K Ohms
    The machine doesn't have a three way valve on the group, so the only thing holding back the steam pressure is a little plastic ball in a spring.
    The valve you linked to on CP seems a bit larger than the one thats currently on the machine. I might have to measure things a little more accurately before I act.
    There is no mention of the wattage on the original coil, how did you come up with 9W ? My internet searches have only uncovered a 110v spare parts list which shows a 4.5W Parker solenoid . Searched for the same unit in 240V seems to come up with a unit with the same coil code - WB4.5 - but rated at 6W for 240V

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    Maybe its 1/8 not sure of scaling.
    It says 9w on the pic. 240v 50hz 9w..i think it says that anyway.
    Yes, check the fitment before ordering any parts.

    Ohmage..might be correct. I used ohms law, maybe ac is different. Not sure. Your figure sounds like it could be right

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    Oh, little spring like a breville. Well it is either leaking, or the steam has a blockage that is making the steam divert to the group.
    Maybe its clear, but still restricted.
    In reviews, your machine is said to have pretty poor steam performance anyway.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Xanthine's Avatar
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    I think you will find that the mushroom valve has split.
    It's in the bottom of the boiler under the brass screw. Remove this and the spring and mushroom should drop out, although the mushroom may need a bit of prodding to dislodge.
    There is a parts diagram of this machine in the Documentation section.
    Trev

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    Nope, mushroom is still intact, My thinking is that it might just be when the boiler over pressurises because the solenoid fails to open, the pressure would fairly easily overcome the small spring holding the mushroom in place.

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    Senior Member JMcCee's Avatar
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    I had a Nivola from new around '03 and another later for spare parts. Any problems I ever had, including what you describe, was due to the circuit board at the back being cooked even though it was behind a panel but if you want one of those solenoids I think there's one here somewhere. If i can find it you can have it but no guarantee it works.

    Oh and the Nivola? I turned it into a lamp and its worked great ever since!

  9. #9
    Senior Member JMcCee's Avatar
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    And those boards were over $300 last i checked

  10. #10
    Senior Member Xanthine's Avatar
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    Nope, mushroom is still intact,
    -Bugger!

    Your solenoid coil is probably OK too at 2k7 ohms.
    I measured a spare 3 way I have and it was 2k1 ohms - close enough. (Was also an Olab 6000 series)

    In view of JMcCee's comments above, the control board would seem to be the likely culprit.

    Trev

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    Since you're up for replacing the board anyway - if you have some electronic skills - you could see if you can track the problem on the board yourself.

    Could be as simple as a high-power transistor or triac has released the magic smoke and it is stuck open/close - they usually are the last in line to control the high-power bits of the machine.

    All the precautions of working with mains power apply, of course.

  12. #12
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    Wow, lots more advice. I am hoping its not the board..... that sort of goes beyond my ability.
    I will take you up on the offer of a spare solenoid. My thinking is that as it can't be taken apart its possible that the plunger is stuck inside the body.
    The other thing thats crossed my mind is to just replace the steam solenoid with a manual valve. It would take a bit of plumbing work to get it around there but I was thinking about replacing the clock with a steam knob.



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