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Thread: HELP  SOS!!

  1. #1
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    HELP  SOS!!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Oh Dear I am in a real pickle. I have just cleaned my Silvia as I normally do but I cant get any flow through the porta filter. The steam nozzle works fine. WHAT THE F*** did you do I hear you say. I just removed the shower screen and cleaned the brass head and the back flushed a few times with detergent and left it for an hour. Time to put it all back and I cant get any frigging water to flow.

    I suppose something must be blocking the pipes. I used a dish washing sponge with scourer to clean the head and all I can think of is that a piece must have dislodged



    Can anyone help. I am expecting guests and I really wanted to show them the Ismaili!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: HELP *SOS!!

    Do you hear the pump when you turn on the brew switch?
    If not, you have an electrical problem like faulty switch.
    What happens when you switch on the middle switch -- the hot water only one? Does water emerge from the steam wand? If yes, pump is ok.

    Hate to state the obvious, but is there enough water in the container?

    Does water come out from shower screen without the portafilter? If yes, you could have a blocked portafilter.



  3. #3
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    Re: HELP *SOS!!

    Thanks for replying robusto. Yes there is water in the tank. The pump does pump water through the stem nozzle and the machine produces steam OK. Whe the top switch is turned on the pump comes on but sounds the same as when the blind filter is used :( :(

  4. #4
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    Re: HELP *SOS!!

    Oh I forgot to add. Water isnt coming out even with the shower screen blocked.

    Any ideas?

  5. #5
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    Re: HELP *SOS!!

    check if water is going into the drip tray when you try the brew switch. If so it must be the three way valve has jammed closed/open. Short of pulling it down to disassemble the valve I can only suggest running lots of clean water through it.

    Also might help to take the lid off and make sure there are no visible leaks but I guess you would have seen evidence of that on the bench by now.

    Did you say you left it for an hour with the detergent still in the system? That could be a problem :-[

  6. #6
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: HELP  SOS!!

    Yep,

    I hate to say it but I agree with "mauricem" in that it sounds like the 3-Way Valve has stuck in the Un-energised position and thus presenting a closed circuit to the output of the pump.

    It may be that there is just a piece of debris blocking the operation of the valve and that by continually operating the "Brew" switch a few times, you might be successful in dislodging it and sending it on its way to the Drip Tray.

    Or, the coil of the valve has burnt out and you need a new solenoid. From what Ive been able to dig up, you cant just buy a new coil on its own, you have to buy the whole thing and this can run into $90+.... Ouch! To determine this though, you will need to enlist the assistance of an Electrician or an Appliance Repair Shop that you trust. They will know what to do and will have the requisite instruments to determine the problem.

    For what its worth... whenever I backflush my Mokita using the Espresso Detergent Powder, I only leave the mixture sitting in the machine for a maximum of 15 minutes, usually only 10. I also only do this about twice per year. The rest of the time, I backflush with water only, every couple of days. This keeps the Shower Screen, Water Dispersion Nut, Brew-head and 3-Way Valve nice and clean.

    When I do get around to using the detergent, the amount of muck that comes out of the system is minimal and barely discoloured, so the water only backflushing is doing its job ok. Youve got to be really careful with that detergent, its really strong stuff and seems to have some kind of effect on rubber materials Ive noticed. If there happens to be any rubber compounds in the 3-Way Valve, seals for example, these might be getting a bit of a caning by being immersed in strong detergent solution for so long. Maybe one of the Pros could comment on this.

    Hope it all works out for you, and all the best

    Mal.

  7. #7
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    Re: HELP *SOS!!

    Thanks for that Mal. What you say makes sense. There has been no change today. I originally bought the machine from Alan Frew so Ill contact him tomorrow.

    Thanks again for your very informative input

    Louis

  8. #8
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: HELP  SOS!!

    Hi again Papalui,

    Alan is a good guy and will definitely know how to isolate the problem. Youre in good hands there. All the best,

    Mal.

  9. #9
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    Re: HELP *SOS!!

    I am pleased to report that the Sylvia is up and running again. The problem was a jammed spring inside the solenoid. Getting to it was explained step by step with pictures sent by Alan Frew from Coffee for Connoisseurs from whom I bought the machine. All I needed to do was to take out the spring , wash it thoroughly in water and put it all back. It now works like a charm

    In retrospect I am sure the detergent that was backflushed gummed up the spring coil

    I hope this will be of use to other Silvia owners who might run into a similar problem

    Thanks again to Alan Frew

  10. #10
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: HELP  SOS!!

    Hi again papalui,

    Re backflushing.... In a domestic situation where youre not making 1,000s of cups per day, it really isnt necessary to use detergent very often. On the other hand, backflushing with water only every couple of days seems to do a pretty good job with my Mokita which on average, makes 4-6 cups per day. Im pretty sure you could use this method with most domestic 3-Way valve machines.

    I havent actually pulled my machine apart (the Group, etc) since while it aint broke, Im going to leave well enough alone... but from the residue (or lack there-of) that comes out with the detergent once every six months or so, Id say the water flushes are having a very favourable effect.

    The PortaFilter though is a different matter. I flush this out with hot water after every shot pulled and then once a week, pull the basket out, remove the spout(s) and soak all the parts in a jug of detergent solution using hot water again. After soaking for an hour or so, I get stuck into it with a toothbrush and then flush everything very thoroughly with hot water, dry out and then re-assemble ready for the next shot(s). I usually throw the first shot down the sink, just in case some detergent residue was lurking in some unseen cranny somewhere but after that, its full steam ahead for another week.

    Hope that is of some help to you papalui and may your spring never be hung up again. All the best,

    Mal.

  11. #11
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: HELP  SOS!!

    Good one papalui :D,

    Alan sure is a very helpful guy. Has helped me out on a number of occasions with his vast knowledge of the coffee making processes. Did you run it by him re the extended time you left the detergent in the system? Would be interesting to have his take on this aspect of machine maintenance.

    Anyway, I bet thats a load off your mind, having Silvia back to her high performing best,

    Cheerio,
    Mal.

  12. #12
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    Re: HELP *SOS!!

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Hi Mal,
    I didnt quizz him specifically on that point but he did say it was not an uncommon problem encountered with commercial machines.
    I am quite certain that the detergent did cause the spring to stick because when I washed it I could feel the grittiness of the detergent granules. The spring sprang back almost immediately after the first wash.

    The lesson for me is firstly to use a small amount of detergent and secondly if detergent is used to not allow a long contact time after backflushing. What you said earlier about regular backflushing with just water is quite important obviously



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