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Thread: Giotto overcooking

  1. #1
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    Giotto overcooking

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    First of all, I would like to thank everyone for providing such a comprehensive pool of information for the interested and desperate.

    As I now fall into the desperate category, I though it about time to join up rather than just browse.

    I have, for about four years, been the happy and proud owner of a Giotto Classic. It was a gift from a friend who felt that she wasnít able to devote the time necessary to maintaining it and who saw in me someone who would lavish on it the attention it deserved.

    Apart from replacing the group gasket (almost time for another), I have had no trouble from the Giotto. I only prepare about 20-25 shots a week and back flush as often, along with soaking all the porta-filter bits.

    Whereas the pressure gauge used to sit at 1, I notice that lately it has been climbing towards 1.5. It is now at 0.7 when cold, but I canít remember if this is any different from when I got it. (Just as an aside, the friend who gave it to me purchased it from a known Sydney retailer who told her she didnít need to back flush, just bring it in once a year for a service. You can imagine the state of her coffee.)

    I seem to recall that some time ago it was making a hissing sound. This seemed to be fixed by releasing some pressure either by expelling some steam of running water through the porta filter; I canít really remember which.

    The other day I noticed the hissing again (the gauge went up to 2) and tried the remedy. It didnít work so I just left it alone for an hour or so to see if it stopped. It did, but not in the way I wanted. It emptied the water tank onto the bench (as steam) and then cut out, thankfully. There was a lot of condensed steam in the housing and it was pretty hot all over.

    I removed some cover plates and thought I would discover where the steam was coming from, but, of course, the machine wonít operate with panels removed. I could probably have persevered by leaving the back plate in place to support the water tank whilst leaving the side planes off, but it all seemed a bit hard and I thought I might ask some other people who may have had a similar experience.

    If this problem is one that is common, or at least identifiable, I am more than happy to have a go at fixing it myself. If not, I donít mind paying someone else to do it for me. My big problem is that in my experience, things often come back in less than pristine condition. I am extremely fussy with the Giotto and the thought of it scratched or dented is a bit much to contemplate.

    The other problem is that I live on the far north coast of NSW and donít know of any reputable repairers in the area. I can get it easily to Lismore, Byron Bay or Ballina.

    Sorry about the long-winded nature of the post, but have always subscribed to the idea that too much information is better than not enough.

    Itís now day three without a decent coffee, actually, any coffee.

    Cheers,

    Pierre

  2. #2
    TC
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    Re: Giotto overcooking

    Hi Pierre,

    Your problems will be easily fixed with a replacement pressurestat which is a bolt off/bolt on proposition and which will be simple for you to handle. Set the new one to about 1.1 bar and your problems will be over.

    Budget $50 or so for the part + freight.

    If you would rather have the job done by a service person, drop me a line and Il refer you to your nearest service agent.

    Good luck!

    Chris

  3. #3
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Giotto overcooking

    Welcome to coffee snobs Pierre

    Now thats service for you :)

    KK

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    Re: Giotto overcooking

    It certainly is!

    Thanks to you both and especially Chris. I will give it a go and hope it solves the problem. Do I get it from the man at Coffeeparts?

    Pierre

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    Re: Giotto overcooking

    Quote Originally Posted by Pierre link=1214798722/0#3 date=1214801552
    It certainly is!

    Thanks to you both and especially Chris. I will give it a go and hope it solves the problem. Do I get it from the man at Coffeeparts?

    Pierre
    Hi Pierre,

    You are very welcome!

    Coffeeparts have them (more expensive than I thought though *:-[) and will ship express to you. You could also try Espresso Company Australia- They will be able to put you onto your local bloke who may well have one in stock...

    Chris

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    Re: Giotto overcooking

    I thought it was wierd you said you have pressure at .7 bar when cold. I know nothing about a giotto but wouldnt that mean the vacuum valve is stuck closed?

  7. #7
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    Re: Giotto overcooking

    Quote Originally Posted by damian1 link=1214798722/0#5 date=1214804665
    I thought it was wierd you said you have pressure at .7 bar when cold. *I know nothing about a giotto but wouldnt that mean the vacuum valve is stuck closed? *
    Sticky anti-vac valves will normally present false pressure on start up which instantly drops to zero when you purge the steam wand prior to texturing milk. Its possible some scale is blocking the capillary tube to the gauge as well. Nevertheless, I consider anti-vac valves as consumables- so its possibly a good idea to do a routine replacement of the valve whilst the lid is off ;)

    Chris

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    Re: Giotto overcooking

    ok, makes sense. My brain was ticking over scenarios with vacuum valves, but a dodgey gauge would makes things easier!

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    Re: Giotto overcooking

    Thanks, Chris. I will give Espresso Company Australia a call tomorrow to see about costs.

    Damien1. Are you suggesting that it may be a vacuum valve and if so, should I replace that in the hope that it fixes the problem and does away with the need for a new pressure stat?

    Pierre

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    Re: Giotto overcooking

    no im sure 2muchcoffeeman knows a lot more than me - im just an amateur here having fun! I think as 2muchcoffeeman said, I would try opening the steam valve wnen cold (or first startup) and see if your gauge goes from .7 to 0. If there is a change then I would be checking out the vacuum valve. Otherwise I think you could say your gauge isnt working quite right. Good luck!

  11. #11
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    Re: Giotto overcooking

    I opened the steam wand and turned on the Giotto. The pump ran for about three seconds. The pressure reading did not go down from its starting point of 0.7. As it climbed to just below one, the machine gave out a short hiss and some steam came up through the holes in the cup warming plate. This stopped. As the pressure rose to about 1.5, low pressure steam came from the wand. I turned it, the wand, off and watched the pressure continue to rise until it got close to 2.0 at which point there was much hissing and steam from the interior. At this point I turned the Giotto off.

    I will probably replace the anti-vac valve along with the pressure stat.

    Pierre

  12. #12
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Giotto overcooking

    Pierre
    Its just like a car
    You fix one thing and it creates a stress point to another area until it also fails
    So it may be best to do a full service
    This will also include a full de-scale and back flush to make sure the machines arteries (pipe work) are clean

    I read that you backflush ? do you do it with chemical ?

    KK

  13. #13
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    Re: Giotto overcooking

    Seems like your gauge is stuck at .7 as a min, because if your steam wand was open from the start then you have no pressure in the boiler. The initial steam coming through the top is the vacuum valve shutting, as expected as the pressure in teh boiler rises (so this is doing its job fine). Yeah it sounds like your pressurestat is stuffed. Im guessing then the steam you are getting is from your boiler pressure valve releasing (as it should when the pressure gets too high to protect your boiler). id be doing 2muchcoffeemans suggestion and changing ht epressurestat. I dont know I would bother with the vacuum valve as it is working. Good luck!

  14. #14
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    Re: Giotto overcooking

    Hi Pierre,

    Try refraining from using your Classic until you have the pressurestat looked at as the OPV is breaching and hence steaming off internally. If you give Espresso Company a quick call there are a couple techs up North that can help. Just dont throw it on a courier and over half the battle to have your girl returned in the same state would be won. Maybe also have the tap valves serviced and the lever cam service, also clean probes, pre infusion chamber etc. *

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    Re: Giotto overcooking

    KK

    I use a chemical for back flushing; something I bought at a Merlos in Brisbane. It has a different name from what I am used to, but seems to be the same composition.

    It has an enclosed scoop and says to use one scoop in the porta filter. This is a lot more than I was using before. I am thinking about dropping the amount back to about a quarter of a teaspoon. I read somewhere recently, possibly on this forum, about the dangers of too much detergent.

    I dont descale as I keep reading that it is not necessary, particularly as I only use bottled water.

    Thanks,

    Pierre

  16. #16
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Giotto overcooking

    Pierre
    If you cant solve it yourself by replacing the pressurestat (but I have confidence that you can)

    I think you should call your nearest independent good coffee shop/s and ask what local person repairs or services there machine/s
    Even if its for future reference
    If you dont like there credentials ??

    "I think"your next closest service centre may be Gold Coast or Barazi in Brisbane

    KK


  17. #17
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    Re: Giotto overcooking

    Thanks KK. I have ordered the bits from Coffee Parts (pressure stat and vacuum valve) and am looking forward to a productive Saturday morning.

    I made a few calls and have discovered someone very near to where I live who seems to have a good reputation for servicing and taking good care.

    Pierre

  18. #18
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    Re: Giotto overcooking

    Very many thanks to those who gave of their time and knowledge to help me through my crisis. I had a productive afternoon yesterday replacing the pressure stat and vacuum valve. I also put in a new shower screen and group seal.

    The only issue I had was a bit of confusion about the vacuum valve. It didnt look like either of the two valves on top of the boiler as the new one was smaller than the original (at least I hope that was the original) and much smaller than another large brass valve. Anyway, I did it and so far so good. Everythings going along very well. In the diagrams that someone had previously put on this site, that valve appeared to be the same as the one I put in.

    The odd pressure reading I was getting perists; 0.7 whan cold. It now reads 1.7-1.8 when at full steam ahead. I guess everything is relative.

    The group seal was pretty hard, but no as much as last time. I thought I hit upon a good way of getting it out then; screw a finely pointed screw into it until it lifts out. If anyone does this, be careful to use brass of soft metal screws. I must have used a hardened steel one and it put a tiny hole in the brass of the group head. Thankfully, too small to have any effect.

    My next job is to do some sort of flush. In a silicon tube at the bottom of the case under the tank is something pretty nasty. It looks like some sort of yellow growth. Its not affecting the quality and I can only assume that the water in this part of the system doesnt circulate.

    Thanks once again.

    Pierre

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    Re: Giotto overcooking

    Pierre,

    Well done on getting it all sorted out yourself. I just wanted to quickly post and let you know the Espresso Company Australia are fantastic if you live outside Sydney and are not prepared to give your baby over to any old local technician. I live in Bathurst and recently boxed up my Giotto and nervously shipped it off to them for a full make over. I used Hunter Express (which is the courier they use) and it was only about $30 freight to get it there. I called when I had sent it and obviously sounded worried as they rang as soon as it arrived and gave me regular calls to inform me of the servicing/fault rectification progress and then again when it was shipped back to me. They shipped it back on a small skid which I have kept and will use again for future servicings as it tends to discourage single man lift of the machine.

    Cheers,
    Emma

  20. #20
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    Re: Giotto overcooking

    THanks for that info Beetle. I located some local people and I seem to recall there were a few located up here on the ECA site. One of these was also recommended by a local barista who seems to know his stuff.

    Cheers,
    Pierre



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