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Thread: EM6900 Reliability

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    EM6900 Reliability

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Reading this and other web sites all you seem to see are people complaining about their EM6900 not working properly, some are onto their 3rd replacement machine. Is this a biased view from a few with problems or symptomatic of the model. Is there anyone out there who has not had a problem with their EM6900? I also read somewhere that the mark II version of the EM6900 will be released on 1 October 2006. Any truth in this?

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability


    Its a $500 machine that out performs machines costing nearly twice the price. No wonder there are issues. Blame cost engineering, otherwise how on earth did they get the cost so low. After playing with a working one on the weekend, Im very impressed with the package and its abilities. If they can get the bugs ironed out it will be an absolute category killer. The EM6910 sounds even better with user controllable brew and steam temperatures.

    I brewed a nice looking shot from this machine on the weekend. If they get it sorted out, itll be awesome given its price and ability.

    Corey, who tipped the release date, seems to have inside knowledge. However, the oroginal release date was delayed by about 6 months. So dont hold your breath.

    Cheers,

    Mark.

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    While Im due to get my 3 replacement machine from Sunbeam on Friday, a Mate of mine who bought his at the same time (and place) has never had a problem - and this was since March this year... and I know he makes at least 2 cups a day minimum... having said that, he has been using the EM0480 grinder and I have been using the Delonghi KE100 (I know, its not a capable grinder for the EM6900 however Im restricted financially atm) - This is the only variable between us.

    As Sparky said, once the bugs are ironed out, it will be without a doubt a killer machine - Bugs aside on the current one, it is an awesome machine. I do miss my coffee though... its been 2 1/2 weeks :-(

    Marc

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Thought Id post an update. Just received my replacement EM6900 and Id like to note the differences Ive found. Good things...

    1. Much higher Steam presser/\/Temp and dryer steam - less water.
    2. Longer and more agile Steam arm
    3. Smaller Single and Double Baskets
    4. Blue (It appears to "Glow Blue when the machine is warmed) Group seal.
    5. The Portafiller is slightly different to the point on the top rim it is a flatter surface, and fits the Baskets better.


    It appears I have the new Updated EM6900 (Not the talked about EM6910)... and Im impressed - Finally. I just hope the screws/\/bolts holding the group head and thermoblock are upgraded also so it doesnt break like my previous 2 machines.

    Now, to get my hands on a decent grinder....

    Hopefully this is the begining of many good reports on this machine.

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    marcstolk...did you get this back directly from Sunbeam?

    I sent mine back to them by courier and they told me to just send the machine (so I kept all the other bits, grip, baskets etc)...I wonder if I will get my machine back or an updated one.

    Id be happy to get some smaller (right sized) baskets...but Id also be happy just to have a working machine.

    A questionfor you
    ...How log does it take to texture milk? (say 300ml to 65 degrees) on your new machine?

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Quote Originally Posted by lattelover link=1154489886/0#4 date=1155001317
    marcstolk...did you get this back directly from Sunbeam?
    Yes, I did. Took 2 weeks all up - But I kept ringing them finding out when it will be repaired/\/replaced.

    Quote Originally Posted by lattelover link=1154489886/0#4 date=1155001317
    I sent mine back to them by courier and they told me to just send the machine (so I kept all the other bits, grip, baskets etc)...I wonder if I will get my machine back or an updated one.
    What happened to your machine? - If what happened to mine happened to yours, Im sure youll get another new one.. and youll probably get the updated one like I did. One thing is for sure, youll have extra accesories.. Portafiller, baskets, Milk Jug etc... I have 3 Porta Filers now :)

    What happened to mine was the Group head came apart from the Thermoblock - Not good!

    Quote Originally Posted by lattelover link=1154489886/0#4 date=1155001317
    Id be happy to get some smaller (right sized) baskets...but Id also be happy just to have a working machine.

    A questionfor you
    ...How log does it take to texture milk? (say 300ml to 65 degrees) on your new machine?
    Hard to say, as I only do enough milk for 1 Latte - Say 200 ml to 65 Deg, Id say no more than 30 seconds... Definately under 60 secs thats for sure. Much quicker than the earlier 2 machines - and the steam arm is longer :-)
    I must time it to get actuate time though...

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Mate - how long is the arm. I would like to measure mine and see if I have the update or the older one. I purchased mine about 3 months ago I guess (red and silver) and it hasnt hinted at trouble and the pressure guage reads accurately re the coffee extraction.

    Cheers

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Quote Originally Posted by ozscott link=1154489886/0#6 date=1155084404
    Mate - how long is the arm. I would like to measure mine and see if I have the update or the older one. I purchased mine about 3 months ago I guess (red and silver) and it hasnt hinted at trouble and the pressure guage reads accurately re the coffee extraction.

    Cheers
    Well, Ill have to measure it when I get home after work... but the indicator was the smaller Baskets...

    Ill take a pic and post up... of the front and a pic of the smaller baskets...

    How well does your steam work??

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    thanks mate. Seems to work well. I half the big jug (that came with it) working well and whirlpooling. The whilpool is easier to see if you use water. When I use milk you can see it swirling from time to time if you clear off some of the top froth, but otherwise the top froth obscures it if you know what I mean.

    Cheers

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Yep, understand..... Sounds like you have a new version... but well see when we measure the steam arm.....

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Quote Originally Posted by Semaj link=1154489886/0#0 date=1154489886
    Reading this and other web sites all you seem to see are people complaining about their...
    Always try to remember that the majority of people only speak up when something is wrong.

    If Ive got a machine that I think is making fantastic coffee and couldnt be better, Im less likely to be posting about how wonderful it is, vs how bad it might be.

    Its excruciatingly difficult to determine how good/bad a product is based on forum content/posts. Any forum, not just this one.

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Quote Originally Posted by bruce_ link=1154489886/0#10 date=1155096011

    Always try to remember that the majority of people only speak up when something is wrong.

    If Ive got a machine that I think is making fantastic coffee and couldnt be better, Im less likely to be posting about how wonderful it is, vs how bad it might be.

    Its excruciatingly difficult to determine how good/bad a product is based on forum content/posts. Any forum, not just this one.
    Whilst I agree with this as a general principle, when you have more than 1/\/2/\/3 persons having similar issues with a particular machine, its good to let it be known publicly, for any other reason than to force the Manufacture to make changes to the product which in this case appears to have happened.

    When someone asks about a particular machine/\/model in reference to a possible purchase, youll find in most cases a balanced view from various angles will be evident etc. I do have to say, in regards to the EM6900 that Sunbeam are taking the product very seriously.

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Quote Originally Posted by ozscott link=1154489886/0#6 date=1155084404
    Mate - how long is the arm. I would like to measure mine and see if I have the update or the older one. I purchased mine about 3 months ago I guess (red and silver) and it hasnt hinted at trouble and the pressure guage reads accurately re the coffee extraction.

    Cheers
    As promised... Pic of the front view of my machine... see below for basket sizes
    . I measured the steam arm - Its 16.5 cm // 162mm from tip to bolt (stone throw measure)


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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Basket sizes


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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Basket sizes


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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    ozscott, I sent you a PM

  17. #17
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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    I agree that this machine has potential- however, when you get owners reporting that they are on their 3rd machine, one has to consider that the problems with this machine are not isolated- and for this reason, I will not recommend the machine to anyone on any budget. That may perhaps change in the future. *;)

    In addition, thermoblocks are really chuckaway type propositions once they die....and I cant see Sunbeam supporting owners forever. No commercial machines run on thermoblocks and I doubt that much will change on that front...

    You buy a Sylivia, Bott or HX machine and its going to be around in 10 years- with some simple care and cleaning- perhaps you might replace an element, pressurestat or maybe even a control box but these are low cost items ($50-150) and easily repaired.

    So at this stage, the jury is out on this one IMHO. It will be interesting to see if any of them are still working in 5 or 10 years. Ultimately, I think its still a case of you gets what you pays for. They make good toasters tho! *;D

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Quote Originally Posted by 2muchcoffeeman link=1154489886/15#16 date=1155164417

    In addition, thermoblocks are really chuckaway type propositions once they die....and I cant see Sunbeam supporting owners forever. No commercial machines run on thermoblocks and I doubt that much will change on that front...

    You buy a Sylivia, Bott or HX machine and its going to be around in 10 years- with some simple care and cleaning- perhaps you might replace an element, pressurestat or maybe even a control box but these are low cost items ($50-150) and easily repaired.
    Bare in mind that a Silvia element is brazed on to the boiler. So if you kill an element, you kill a boiler. Last time I checked, Silvia boilers arent that cheap.

    Some HX brain boxes are quite expensive, especially those for autodosing machines.

    I expect the Sunbeam thermoblock to be cheaper to replace than either the Silvia boiler or a brain box. Also you cant easily fry the element on a thermoblock, as they can be run without water without harm, unlike a boiler.

    Thermoblocks are used in high end laboratory and chemical processing equipment. Its not bad technology. In fact it can provide better temperature control than a boiler, if properly implemented.

    Nevertheless, I agree on the reliability front. Too many machines being replaced and quite a bit of evidence for some major cost engineering. The problem with cost engineering is that you generally dont see where the compromises have been made.

    Cheers,

    Mark.


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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky link=1154489886/15#17 date=1155166295
    Quote Originally Posted by 2muchcoffeeman link=1154489886/15#16 date=1155164417

    In addition, thermoblocks are really chuckaway type propositions once they die....and I cant see Sunbeam supporting owners forever. No commercial machines run on thermoblocks and I doubt that much will change on that front...

    You buy a Sylivia, Bott or HX machine and its going to be around in 10 years- with some simple care and cleaning- perhaps you might replace an element, pressurestat or maybe even a control box but these are low cost items ($50-150) and easily repaired.
    Bare in mind that a Silvia element is brazed on to the boiler. So if you kill an element, you kill a boiler. Last time I checked, Silvia boilers arent that cheap.

    Some HX brain boxes are quite expensive, especially those for autodosing machines.

    I expect the Sunbeam thermoblock to be cheaper to replace than either the Silvia boiler or a brain box. Also you cant easily fry the element on a thermoblock, as they can be run without water without harm, unlike a boiler.

    Thermoblocks are used in high end laboratory and chemical processing equipment. Its not bad technology. In fact it can provide better temperature control than a boiler, if properly implemented.

    Nevertheless, I agree on the reliability front. Too many machines being replaced and quite a bit of evidence for some major cost engineering. The problem with cost engineering is that you generally dont see where the compromises have been made.

    Cheers,

    Mark.
    Agreed Mark- which is why we INSIST that the boiler be primed with water at the end of each texturing event.....that way, you dun kill the element! ;)

    Chris

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Thanks mate - I think the steam arm is the same, but I will check tonight.

    Thanks for your help.

    Cheers

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Quote Originally Posted by ozscott link=1154489886/15#19 date=1155170724
    Thanks mate - I think the steam arm is the same, but I will check tonight.

    Thanks for your help.

    Cheers
    What about the baskets ??

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Baskets look different. I replaced mine with standards shortly after I bought it.

    Thanks for the pdf instructions. Thats a great help. My seal is black - def not the bright blue.

    I wonder whether mine is an update one though. I always overdose the standard (euro) basket but filling, tamping and then filling again so that it goes up hard agains the screen. The puck always has the imprint of the phillips head screw and shower screen. It therefore requires some elbow grease to get the portafilter to move to the right, but it makes for reliable extraction (always JUST into the black - just) - time after time.

    Mine however has never poped screws (because there is no movement in the head). Also my extraction guage is accurate and the steam wand seems to work well with dry steem after a small initial purge, and it seems to look the same length, although I will measure it.

    Cheers

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Quote Originally Posted by ozscott link=1154489886/15#21 date=1155175142
    Baskets look different. I replaced mine with standards shortly after I bought it.

    Thanks for the pdf instructions. Thats a great help. My seal is black - def not the bright blue.

    I wonder whether mine is an update one though. I always overdose the standard (euro) basket but filling, tamping and then filling again so that it goes up hard agains the screen. The puck always has the imprint of the phillips head screw and shower screen. It therefore requires some elbow grease to get the portafilter to move to the right, but it makes for reliable extraction (always JUST into the black - just) - time after time.

    Mine however has never poped screws (because there is no movement in the head). Also my extraction guage is accurate and the steam wand seems to work well with dry steem after a small initial purge, and it seems to look the same length, although I will measure it.

    Cheers
    No worries at all...

    I hope you never get the "pop" either...

    Your dosing method is exactly how they show me at the appreciate course that Sunbeam ran... While I was confident in pulling a good shot, it was the milk texturing that needed help... which is now on its way to perfection.....Ill post a rosetta when I get a fresh pic...

    Ill be getting the EM0480 grinder in a few weeks (waiting for some converted credit award points to DJ vouchers to arrive).

    :-)

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Well done. I am yet to book in for mine. I am getting good microfoam, but have not lobbed onto the highway of late art yet. The pop I take it, is a pipe coming off the brew head.

    Cheers

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    YEP - measured the wand - exactly the same. How much shorter was your first one?

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Not to sure what it measured..but the new one sure does seem longer and more agile...

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Anyone know if the red ones (EM6900R) which I understand have only recently been released, have the improvements listed above (filter basket, blue liner, wand)? *Im desperate to get a new machine and the red version is available with Commonwealth Rewards :P!

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    I have the red one. It has the long steam wand, but seems to have extra large baskets and black seal - although I was told that it was a later version, and its been running very well.

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Thanks ozscott. If I could open the box in the shop, Id d get one now, but seeing as itd be sight unseen from Rewards, Ill have to wait till October. Although I reckon that the Rewards Programme wont be selling the 6910 version for a while after that :(

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Mr Bean! great name
    brett

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    After getting my 3rd replacement on last Monday, on Friday the pump in the steam side failed! So I doubt Ill get a plain replacement this time. Back to Sunbeam it goes.

    Its fair to say that a Pump can go on any machine and make early on in the piece. Here comes another 2 weeks without my machine. Out of the 5 months since buying it, its been broken 3 times and I havent had it for 4 weeks... Sunbeam should give me at least another 4 weeks of warrantee on top of the current 12 months based on this.

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    this is scary guys- only used a sunbeam once- a friends and it seemed quite a nice little machine
    sunbeam had better get its act together or paul basset will not be a happy man!

    brett

    ps repairs are amazing things- i put my botticelli in for a check over and was surprised when i got a call to say pick up a new machine
    i thought- what could be so serious as to need that?

    turns out the baby was checked over and then accidentally dropped onto a concrete floor!

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Great body too incidentally....


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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    hey mr bean i can see ill have to start working out too- got me jealous!

    brett

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Wow..These tales of woe amaze me.....At what point do we start calling them lemons....which is what they pretty much are- or so it would seem... ::)

    Id be super angry if it was a car and had been in service for one month outa five.....Not good enough I say. Poor Sunbeam owners are being used as test pilots...Thats whi I recommend the Silvia and Botticelli over a Sunbeam- any time any day...

    Chris

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    I guess we get what we pay for...

    I couldnt afford the Silvia for what price I paid for the Sunbeam... but the quality of machine between the 2 are worlds apart. What bugs me is the apparent false adverting "Commersial Design, Commersial Performance". Surely performance must include reliability??

    Ive just emailed Damien Court - Sunbeam marketing manager. Hopefully hell press the right buttoms. Surely, the EM6910 is an improvement?

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Ill stick my neck out here and mention an unpopular machine- the saeco via venezia-
    I bought one about 6 years ago- my son now has it
    it is unpopular because of the pressurised filterholder but that can be replaced for under $50- it has good solid well made parts (including stainless steel boiler) and in my experience is reliable- going in for its first service soon

    I learnt a lot on it and Ive seen it going for $430 new

    Please dont tell me its disadvantages (Im aware of them)

    This isnt I own an Italian machine snobbery - its just an example that it is possible to buy (or build) a reliable machine for not a huge amount of money

    Hopefully Sunbeam will get its act together .

    brett

    ps - ask espresso technicians or (trainers) their advice- when I was buying the saeco I rang around and was told- looked after it may see 20 years service and when I took it home the first thing I did was look under the bonnet- minimum number of parts, no printed circuits- just hoses, switches, pumps boiler etc
    it looked totally agricultural

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    I am on my second in less than 12 months. This time the seal appears to be faulty and the filter arm is rapidly running out of tightening arc. This was a similar problem in the first machine but the handle was off centre by about 20 degrees from new. I have only had the replacement for barely two months so I am very disappointed.

    My earlier EM3500 was a black plastic beauty, so naturally I thought that the EM6900 would be a natural progression. Design wise it certainly is, and the coffee quality is superior but reliability------?

    I believe that this is the 21st century technology but it seems to be let down by the "haporth of tar".

    Third strike and its out, and reluctantly Ill be forgetting technology and reverting to tradition.

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    To have second or third machines go wrong is a bad sign IMHO. I think the EM6900 is off my shortlist!

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bean link=1154489886/30#38 date=1155634160
    To have second or third machines go wrong is a bad sign IMHO. I think the EM6900 is off my shortlist!
    To be fair, I think the EM6910 would be an amazing machine with all the current problems addressed/\/resolved. Keep an eye out for this model.

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    To be fair, I think the EM6910 would be an amazing machine with all the current problems addressed/\/resolved. Keep an eye out for this model.
    The thing is, unless one was going to wait another few months from the release of EM6910 (which I cant), the reliability of the latter couldnt be counted on. On the surface it seems like a killer product, leagues ahead of anything else in its price range but I wouldnt like to be a guinea pig with the new version either.

    It will be interesting to see how the 6910 fares. I hope Sunbeam sort it out because they will corner the popular market if they do. No disrespect to their efforts so far - theyve specced the machine well for the asking price, but in this case the the sum of its parts is not greater than the whole. Reminds me of some car makers, to take the test driver analogy a little further. Now where are the keys to my Hyundai? ;)

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Add Gaggias to the list of reliable alternatives (and yes, they do have problems of their own which some people love to overemphasize).

    One glaring thing about the Sunbeams vs the other machines being mentioned are that the Sunbeams are made in China and QA there tends to be pretty piss poor unless the customer (Sunbeam in this case) keep right on top of the product. Given the underengineering of the grouphead/thermoblock junction, this combination is a recipe for disasterous unreliability which is what EM6900 owners seem to be experiencing. Sunbeam need to supervise their contracted builder much more closely for this (admittedly much more complex) machine than they do with their single themoblock machines. They may need to pay the contactor more (hence drive up the price of the machine) to get the QA it requires, as the contractors in China will take any leeway they are given to cut production costs and make more money out of a deal.

    Oh, and Im chinese so Im not being racist when I say this (plus my disapproval of their generally unethical behaviour regarding copyright).

    Greg

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Yup doesnt matter where in the world, peanuts and monkeys I think. To be honest the electronics (and hardware if manufactured locally) dont cost much so I reckon if the QC was improved they could still keep the price down.

    I like the Gaggia but Im a bit wary of aluminium boilers and the health implications. Alan Frew reckons theres significant corrosion of an alu group component as well so theyre lower down on my list. I like the auto dosing which is why I havent gone out for a Silvia/Mokita. Still looking for a good value automatic.

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bean link=1154489886/30#42 date=1155700496
    Still looking for a good value automatic.
    Ive sent you a PM with details of a machine you might be interested in...... ;)

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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Quote Originally Posted by kaanage link=1154489886/30#41 date=1155698235
    Add Gaggias to the list of reliable alternatives (and yes, they do have problems of their own which some people love to overemphasize).Greg
    Yes, having owned a Gaggia Espresso Deluxe I can verify that the boiler is too small and the steaming power while good, doesnt go the distance - Something I always had frustration with. Having said that, it was a quality machine to learn on without a doubt.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaanage link=1154489886/30#41 date=1155698235
    One glaring thing about the Sunbeams vs the other machines being mentioned are that the Sunbeams are made in China and QA there tends to be pretty piss poor unless the customer (Sunbeam in this case) keep right on top of the product. Given the underengineering of the grouphead/thermoblock junction, this combination is a recipe for disasterous unreliability which is what EM6900 owners seem to be experiencing. Sunbeam need to supervise their contracted builder much more closely for this (admittedly much more complex) machine than they do with their single themoblock machines. They may need to pay the contactor more (hence drive up the price of the machine) to get the QA it requires, as the contractors in China will take any leeway they are given to cut production costs and make more money out of a deal.
    Greg
    You hit the nail on the head Greg... QA is something Im questioning... I have always held Sunbeam as a quality brand at a good price... I really do think the EM6910 will be an amazing machine "IF" QA is much improved and the known, much reported problems are resolved - specifiy the "Group Head>Thermoblock" junction.

  46. #46
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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    I have an EM6900 and use it 2-4 times per day. *When I first started using it and once I got *the grind & coffee sorted I was very happy with the quality of the shots using about a 10-12 grind (Sunbeam EM0480). *Only recently I have found that I have lost my coffee mojo and can not pick the problem. * The coffee I use is the same 5 Sense blend - always fresh. *I am now constantly adjusting the grind etc . *Given the posts made has any one else experienced a deterioration in performance over time. *At this stage I have not had the problems mentioned above - *My machine is now 6 months old

  47. #47
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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Boss,

    An odvious question, have you cleaned you machine using the Sunbeam tablets?? and used the Sunbeam prescribed cleaning cycle?

    Check your Portafiller - The plastic in it - underneith this can have some old coffee stains??

    Its fantastic to see someone who has had their machine 6 months without a problem.

    Marc

  48. #48
    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    I have had mine about 2 months with no problems at all. I backflush with the tablet (once) and have backflushed with water a couple of times. I have also used the descaling solution once.

    There has been no drop off in performance at all with an average of 5-6 cups per day. I doubt the loss of mojo would be related to the machine. I agree with Marc about cleaning, and getting rid of the black plastic liner - just used a slightly oversized fine thread bolt or similar and screw in and pull out.

    Cheers

  49. #49
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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Yep, what ozscott said :-)

  50. #50
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    Re: EM6900 Reliability

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by marcstolk link=1154489886/30#44 date=1155706213
    Yes, having owned a Gaggia Espresso Deluxe I can verify that the boiler is too small and the steaming power while good, doesnt go the distance -
    Eh? Ive found that the steaming power is low but no worse than my friends EM6900 and it doesnt run out since the heating elements are powerful enough to cycle the boiler even with the steam valve WFO. Ive managed to boil a 1 litre jug of water by steaming continuously into it - it took a while but the machine never ran out of steam.

    As for the boiler being too small, in what way? You cant make more than a double shot without waiting for the boiler to cycle but due to the small boiler size and the powerful heating elements, the cycle is fast enough that this isnt an issue. You do have to temp surf it to get the best out of it but that applies to any non-themoblock or unPIDed machine.

    Just trying to be fair to the Gaggias.

    Greg



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