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Thread: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

  1. #1
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    Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Just had my VBM junior for its first service after 2 years. There are no problems..Im really just curious about what has been done.

    Machine was running well except for a small leak near in the steam tap. 2 year service was a precaution and because I wanted the temp to be perfect for my new Mini-E.

    The bill was quite substantial, as lots of small parts were replaced as part of the regular service.(eg valves, filters, seals, pressure switch)

    The items replaced/fixed under warranty/recall - the Tempstat and Relay and the 2 valve bodies (steam and HW)

    Just wondering if "tempstat" is another word for "pressurestat"?

    I think I had a Mater in it before (the one that goes clockwise rather than anti) so perhaps I should be looking for a Parker or Sirai?

    Extraction pressure has been set to 12bar - Is this too high?
    It was set at 12 this from factory, but I turned it down to 10.3bar (based on CS recommendation,. as well as a bit of trial and error tasting),..... but maybe theyre right and Im wrong??*

    Steam is set to 1.3bar, which it was anyway.

    I enquired about a bombora filter (this agent supplies them) and I was advised no descale was necessary in this service, and that simply cleaning it weekly with detergent (cafetto) was adequate..I dont run any filter ATM

    Cheers for any info
    :D


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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Hmm- interesting.

    Unless the machine was clapped out, there should not have been any need to replace valve bodies. There has not been a recall on the pressurestat/tempstat in Australia. Was there on in NZ?

    A small batch of Maters were replaced here under warranty- if, and only if a fault occured. Relay? Which? The only relay is on the control board. Is it a DB?

    At 2 years- assuming scale was ok and good hygiene, a service should be little more than attending to leaks and squeaks along with a group seal and shower screen.

    Unless the machine was a shocker, it sounds like an interesting call to me.* :-?

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    relay is:
    VB/relay : Solid state relay

    Tempstat: part number is CI700662 "Pressureswitch 1/4" which is the Mater.

    weird..


    just check and i was charged for the Ci700662 part ($70 inc gst)


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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    hmm...was it not heating? Did they open up the control board and perform some electronics wizardry?

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    It was fine before, just started to leak slightly from the steam valve (valve was difficult to turn off, so I guess a hardened Oring or seal)

    Ive queried them about the pstat and 12bar extraction pressure.

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    I think it sounds suss as......Is it a HX or dual boiler? Havent seen a DB as they do not come to Australia, but I guess theyd have a SSR?

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    HX - Junior


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    Coffee+carbon=heaven Mono's Avatar
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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Hi Skelly. Not sure how old my Junior is but it was the first one the Talkcoffee sold. So far the only issues I have had is the PS replaced with another under warranty [still a Mater]. Replaced the pins/valves & the actuator cam as I was being heavy handed with the Cafetto. I also replaced the OP[ :-/] valve trying to get rid of a PITA "rattle" when extracting [worked for a little while]* :( Have not replaced any seals in the taps or the GH. Handle still seals at the 7 oclock position.

    Steve

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Hi skelly,

    A little research has provided the information that NZ spec. includes a SSR and pressurestat. Sounds weird that they should be replaced and you charged without a fault being present.

    At the very most, your valves should not have required more than o-rings and/or grommets.

    Hope that helps...

    Chris

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Hi Skelly, sounds weird to me too.If the pressurestat was replaced as recall/warranty why would you pay for it?
    This is the reason ive learnt to service my machines myself.Too many service agents here take free licence to replace what ever they want without consulting the client first.Why they replaced valve bodies on a 2 year machine is odd too, unles youd damaged them by overtightening to compensate for the leak?
    As to the boiler and brew pressure settings - i guess they have to re-set them to factory specs, which for some reason is 1.3 bar and 12 bar.Good luck sorting it out

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Thanks for the replies folks..
    I certainly didnt do anything to tighten any valves. The only adjustment I ever made was the the P stat. My handle sealed at 6 oclock.

    Parts list:
    Diffusion Screen
    Head gasket 8mm
    Jet filter
    distribution valve
    infusion valve
    discharge valve
    sight glass O ring
    steam valve seal - silicone
    lever rod seal
    distribution teflon seal
    jet nut seal
    teflon seal
    pressure switch
    water and steam tap -main body
    solid state relay


    $200+ in parts, excluding the relay and tap valve bodies

    My service bill, divided by the number of coffees Ive made on the machine, equals about 50c per coffee.

    *shrug*

    Except for the PStat (which I will get a refund for), Im not complaining... but I figure other people might find the info useful... When I purchased the machine I expected a $50-100 service every 5 years or so.

    Im surprised that O rings can cost $4 and nut seals $8. But I can appreciate also that sometimes replacing a part is actually cheaper than inspecting & fixing an assembly. Maybe the machine was a dog and it all needed to be replaced? I dont have the old parts, so Ill never know.

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    :o skelly,

    Its hard to make a call without seeing the machine, but I cannot fathom how the list should have extended to the length it does unless it was well and truly scaled and they did all this to avoid descaling it.

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    My experience with Aucklands water is rather old, but it was very good water at the time, and not highly mineralised--so I would guess that de-scaling was **not** required.

    Why all the other parts on a machine that was working well?? Profit margin on servicing maybe. Ill bet you got charged retail on the parts. :(

    Greg

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Cheers for your replies.
    I tested the water a while back and it came out pretty well. I offered to buy a bombora softener system besteems service agent (who sells them) says theyre unecessary.

    I got the machine back, took it home and it didnt work.. Intermittent pump pressure, never reaching over 2 bar, gauge appeared to be stuck. So its back to the shop.

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Quote Originally Posted by 7D656B6262770E0 link=1334798567/13#13 date=1335209625
    So its back to the shop.
    Bugger :-?

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Quote Originally Posted by 455D535A5A4F360 link=1334798567/13#13 date=1335209625
    service agent (who sells them) says theyre unecessary
    not knowing your particulars, in which they may be unecessary, in general they are a must unless you want to descale and service much more regularly.
    Quote Originally Posted by 455D535A5A4F360 link=1334798567/13#13 date=1335209625
    So its back to the shop.
    which youll be paying nothing for I hope! :)

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Phew..i didnt pay for the return visit as the tech left a kinked pipe which caused the pump to starve. Hopefully no lasting damage occurred.

    So I have the machine back and its working okay except that the pre infusion seems to be behaving differently. Unfortunately im not 100% sure what i am supposed to be seeing... but when I pull the lever up without any handle in the group, shouldnt i be seeing a small trickle of water, followed by a steady stream about 6 secs afterwards? Right now I get nothing at all until the 6 seconds have elapsed.

    I find the factory 12bar and temp setting too hot for my usual technique...a lot of burned coffee. I turned it down to 11 and still not getting great results so might go back to my 10.4bar and continue to tweak the temp.
    I was told that 12 is normal and simply tamping more firmly will reduce pressure at the group to 9 bar, since 3 bar of pressure is sending the surplus water back to the reservoir. Is this correct??

    im a bit confused..would appreciate some guidance before I go back to the shop. (and give back my machine for another 4 weeks). All i really wanted from the service was to fix a minor steam wand leak, and to tune the machine to perfect temp & pressure.

    Thanks very much for your replies! :)

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Quote Originally Posted by 637B757C7C69100 link=1334798567/16#16 date=1335960855
    perfect temp & pressure
    I think this is opinion, which is probably why he set it up his way...

    Im no expert, but generally in AU its extracted around 9bar and in Italy its around 12bar - great coffee can supposedly be made with either!

    I dont know about the numbers - 9 + 3 = 12? It doesnt quite work like that - yes the OPV will send water back to the tank, but if your pressure meter is on the group side of the OPV (which the VMB Jr is), it will be close to group pressure, otherwise whats the point of the meter?! So the water going back to the tank (which is close to 1 bar if you think about it) flows at a rate determined by the OPV, so as to reduce the group pressure...

    the pressure gauge isnt exactly the group pressure but it should be less than 1/4 bar out from what I recall. So if your gauge is reading 12, Id say the group is close to 11 3/4 bar.

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Hi skelly,

    I recently got a porta-filter with built in gauge from Coffee Parts and the brew pressure gauge on my Junior was reading [s]10.2[/s] (10.4 - checked this morning, memory obviously not what it was) when the porta-filter gauge hit 9bar.* So Id say you were pretty spot on with your 10.4.. (The porta-filter gauge is no scace so doesnt have adjustable flow rates etc so .2 of a bar doesnt sound an unreasonable variation).

    I guess if the pump can provide 15Bar pressure and your OPV is set to 12bar they came up with 3bar getting diverted back into the reservoir??* Doesnt sound right to me..* Id have thought thered not be enough back pressure to build to anywhere near 3bar ..

    Having said all that someone with far more experience than I decided that 12bar at the Juniors gauge was a good default...* *:-/

    In the end though if you preferred your coffee when it was set to 10.4 Id be inclined to follow your own palate..

    I think Chris ( Talk Coffee ) had a scace and he certainly sells the VBM Junior, he may be able to indicate if theres a large variance in the Juniors brew pressure gauge between machines.. (Though Im not sure how close the Aus spec and NZ spec are as I think ECA usually try and tweak the spec to suit our market).

  20. #20
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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Variation between gauges is to be expected but something in the order of 10.5 bar is typically 9 bar (130 PSI) by our Scace. We find that we usually do tweak a little in our bench test but usually by no more than 10 PSI.

    skelly- I really think your bloke is more trying to cover his tracks rather than coming from a knowledge base. My opinion is that you appear to have been hugely overserviced.

  21. #21
    guv
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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Folks

    Im in the same boat here.

    My machine (VBM Super) had to go to a service agent for a warranty repair as it was leaking water on the bench. They replaced the pressure stat.

    I asked them to service it as well - this is a machine slightly under 12 months old. Huge part replacement list - cost was $260.

    Brew pressure was set to 12 bar and on asking them I got exactly the same response back.

    The machine is working well now so I cannot really complain but its interesting that the service agents opinion re pressures is very different to those on here.

    I assume is the same service agent you used Skelly - same result and same information.

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Small question relating to the above repair list..

    Pre-infusion on the VBM junior - how is it supposed to work?

    Before my service, I would lift the lever to begin the pour, and as soon as the lever rose, a trickle of water flowed from the group. After several seconds, the pump would start and the flow would become a little stronger.

    Now, when I pull the lever up, theres only steam (or nothing) for about 6-8 seconds. After that, the pump starts and a trickle water begins to flow.

    Was it working correctly before the service, or is it fixed now?

    2nd question: The levers cam is now positioned so that theres a continuous trickle of water from the group when the machine is on - the cam rests on that little momentary push switch. Is it easy for me to adjust this back to normal? (it means I constantly have to empty my drip tray).

    My sincere thanks for any advice!


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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Quote Originally Posted by 4E56585151443D0 link=1334798567/21#21 date=1340019034
    Before my service, I would lift the lever to begin the pour, and as soon as the lever rose, a trickle of water flowed from the group. After several seconds, the pump would start and the flow would become a little stronger.
    This is how it should be, the VBM group works the same as any other E61 lever. Lifting the lever opens the upper valve, and water can now flow through the group at whatever pressure is residual in the HX. Lifting the lever further just pushes the switch to engage the pump, taking the pressure up to full.

    Quote Originally Posted by 4E56585151443D0 link=1334798567/21#21 date=1340019034
    2nd question: The levers cam is now positioned so that theres a continuous trickle of water from the group when the machine is on - the cam rests on that little momentary push switch. Is it easy for me to adjust this back to normal? (it means I constantly have to empty my drip tray).
    This is not good. Somethings amiss with the lever / cam alignment, if water is constantly dripping from the group it is being drained out of the HX and stopping the thermosyphon from working effectively, which is probably why the pump is taking a while to restart the flow.

    I would be having words to your service company for sure.

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Thanks very much - looks like Ill have to take it back to the shop again.

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Quote Originally Posted by 4159575E5E4B320 link=1334798567/23#23 date=1340235705
    Thanks very much - looks like Ill have to take it back to the shop again.
    I wouldnt ! ..not to that shop.
    since you are not over confident with the correct set up and operation of your machine,.. I would take it to another shop and get a written report first.
    Then go back to #1 shop armed with a second opinion.
    That guy gave you poor service, bad set up, and possibly even scammed you on what was actually needed !
    (did he attempt to charge you for the pressure stat that was a warranty item, too ?)
    At the least you should name that shop so that other CS members are aware of the poor service provided before they too get treated the same.

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Skelly. I believe you should draw your concerns to the attention of the brand importer in your country. Without trying that, the rest is not much more than piss and wind and opinions.

    Be diplomatic in your appproach, and take care if mentioning that your source of reference information is a website where no one has seen the machine before commenting.

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    Re: Few questions post-service (VBM jr)

    Quote Originally Posted by 232D242F257473410 link=1334798567/24#24 date=1340239325
    At the least you should name that shop so that other CS members are aware of the poor service provided before they too get treated the same.
    Quote Originally Posted by 07332432291E022E27272424410 link=1334798567/25#25 date=1340343623
    I believe you should draw your concerns to the attention of the brand importer in your country.
    I cant say too much as Im waiting on a cheque in the mail for the pstat, which they have finally agreed to refund.

    For now, Ive decided not to take it back to a service shop (requires me to take more time off work, drive across town with the machine, and probably another bill)

    I looked closely at the lever and switch, and found the nut on the lever had been seriously overtightened (to the point that chrome is flaking off). So Ive replaced it with reasonable torque and the machine seems to be dripping a lot less now - I havent had the chance to properly monitor it yet - hopefully this was the cause of the preinfusion delay. Hopefully starving the thermosyphon doesnt cause any damage.

    Cheers for your replies!

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    I have a follow up to this..

    Last week my machine was running fine. On monday the steam wouldn't gain any pressure - something like an element or switch was obviously broken.
    So I took it to a (different) service shop for them to have a look at.

    They installed the following:
    Brewing group service kit
    230v Element
    Element Gasket
    Water level probe 140mm
    Anti Vac Valve 1/4"

    Total bill over $500

    That's nearly $900 of service costs and the machine isn't even 3 years old.

    This can't be normal..either I'm being ripped off, or this machine is a lemon.
    Should I get rid of it?

  29. #29
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    On face value only:

    You bring a machine that wont heat. Diagnosis is blown element (can happen any time with any machine with no explanation).

    Say a workshop minimum charge of 1 hour labour (diagnosis, rectification, run and test all functions, and invoice, plus time to order parts if they are not in stock, phone calls etc).

    Parts = element and gasket.

    Finished, unless some other probelms are found during diagnosis, run and test and you are contacted to seek approval for extra repairs.

    Did you give permission for extra stuff?

    Why service the group if its in for a blown element. Was the shower or group seal in need of work?

    Why replace the probe? Are you in a hard water area and could it have been corroded away at the end. If in a good water area, I woudlnt expect damage to the probe just a build up of dicolouration that can stop the completion of the circuit for the boiler level. That only needs a pass with a scourer/steelo and refit.

    Did you report a boiler fill problem and ask them to take a look? In which case the repairer must have reported their intention to rectify when quoting the repair (after diagnosis).

    Same with anti vac valve. Are you in a crap water area? Was it giving trouble? did you ask them to take a look? did you authorise them to replace?

    Did you ask them to give it a "general service" or words to the effect?

    Did they write up a job card that you signed when you booked i in, with what it was in for?

    In my workshop, we dont do anything we havent discussed with you at quote time OR if we discover other stuff while doing the job, because otherwise, what you are asking about now is exactly what happens when the client questions the extent of the work. There is a fine line between being helpful and doing a wholistic job, and overservicing a job.

    Your call.

    Hope that helps.
    Attilio
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee View Post
    In my workshop, we dont do anything we havent discussed with you at quote time OR if we discover other stuff while doing the job, because otherwise, what you are asking about now is exactly what happens when the client questions the extent of the work. There is a fine line between being helpful and doing a wholistic job, and overservicing a job.
    Thanks for your reply - I wish there were more service agencies that followed your up-front way of handling a job.

    I get the feeling in New Zealand that espresso machine servicing companies seemingly geared more toward commercial machines.
    In the end, I argued against the "service" component and accepted the cost of a new element and related work; good to know the blown element is not necessarily a sign of some underlying problem.. (though, i will get rid of my timer switch - at least upgrading to a (premium) reliable unit with surge protection or something, as there's a small chance my timer caused a power spike).

    Lesson 1: get a decent timer, not a cheap brand
    Lesson 2: give written instructions to anyone servicing your machine and prepare for a large bill




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