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Thread: Advice sought: Carimali Uno E rebuild/restoration

  1. #1
    Senior Member nikko.the.scorpio's Avatar
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    Question Advice sought: Carimali Uno E rebuild/restoration

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi CSers,

    I was recently the very lucky recipient of a very generous PiF from CSer, mve765(who I must say is a very nice chap and exceptionally well versed in all aspects of his coffee expertise) - a Carimali Uno E that had seen better times.

    Now I've started reading over the several rebuild/restoration threads on here, have downloaded the Carimali Uno E Service Manual.pdf but am hoping to get some feedback/guidance/insights/devine inspiration from the geniuses that I know haunt these forums.

    mve765 advised me that the machine was working last time he tried to use it, which I gathered was a fair while back - however it had seemed a bit off it's game and he had several other machines that were just performing better and hence it sat on the sidelines. After lugging all 35kg+ of it home I've not had the courage to power it up yet, but have removed the external aluminium panels (not pictured but which alas all had been 'powder coated' and apparently not primed properly beforehand resulting in a sub-par finish thats now flaking off - ultimately I hope to remove this and have alternative finish e.g gloss enamel).



    Pictures are worth a thousand words - and so here's a link to an album of 6 some high res images I took of the big Italian in question from every which way (have done in this way to allow full res of images to be seen if desired):
    https://flic.kr/s/aHskdtxjAJ

    In moving the big lump around I could hear a LOAD of what I presume was scale in the boiler tumbling around. Apart from a bit of superficial rust and general dirtiness I couldn't notice anything much more about it.

    Hence I'm wondering what my first plan of attack on it should be? I was first going to give it a vacuum down, plus wipe down of general much to try and see whats underneath. I was also hoping someone had an actual user manual or guide as I didn't want to fire it up to ascertain where it's at operationally without consulting this.

    So if you have any ideas, the manual or a plan of attack I'd greatly welcome your feedback.

    Thanks in advance,

    Nick
    Last edited by nikko.the.scorpio; 6th June 2015 at 07:06 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    If you can hear loose bits in the boiler it would be wise to try and empty/clean the inside as much as possible first, otherwise the bits might clog something upstream. The element seems to be the biggest access hole. Once you remove it you will see how big the issue is. Then descale and clean as required.

    Be careful when undoing fittings etc so you don't stress the copper boiler. Use a counter spanner.

    If left idle for years, the pump pressure bypass might be jammed and can give monster pressures. You can unscrew it and clean/lube the piston and seal if required.

    Cheers

  3. #3
    Senior Member nikko.the.scorpio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by artman View Post
    If you can hear loose bits in the boiler it would be wise to try and empty/clean the inside as much as possible first, otherwise the bits might clog something upstream. The element seems to be the biggest access hole. Once you remove it you will see how big the issue is. Then descale and clean as required.
    Much thanks for your reply. Am glad you said this as its exactly what i suspected was the first logical thing to do, so it's nice to know my very amateur guess was in the ballpark. Makes complete sense and I will try to get in through the element tomorrow.


    Quote Originally Posted by artman View Post
    Be careful when undoing fittings etc so you don't stress the copper boiler. Use a counter spanner.

    If left idle for years, the pump pressure bypass might be jammed and can give monster pressures. You can unscrew it and clean/lube the piston and seal if required.
    Ok, I wasn't sure what a counter spanner was - however I quite image search shows I probably don't have one - I'll try using a standard shifter first but will be very careful as I'm working with brass fittings etc.

    I'll have to check the service manual and find where the pump pressure bypass is and unscrew it to clean/lube the piston and seal. That said unsure if i will have the right lube onhand, what type of lube should be used for this? And when you say seal, do you mean to apply a special sealant on the fitting or just tighten it again?

    Thanks again.

    PS. No one has a normal user manual for this thing?

  4. #4
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    By counter spanner I meant use two spanners, one on the hex on the boiler and one on the fitting. So you take up the torque on the hex on the boiler instead of transferring to the boiler which can deform it or worse damage the connection and potentially ruin the boiler. Take it easy and use well fitting spanners.

    Re grease, it needs to be food safe. I got a small tube from Jaycar but there are many alternatives. Do a search here you, can't recall the brand names.

    ImageUploadedByCoffeeSnobs1433599976.519642.jpg

    The "blob" between the green and red lines is the pump bypass that is used to adjust brew pressure. The white is a lock nut for the adjuster (red). It simply adjusts the spring pre load on the piston inside the unit. You will need a brew gauge to check and adjust the brew pressure.

    If you remove the fitting at the white part the entire assembly will remove as one and will allow you to pull and clean the piston. The piston has rubber seal that you can lube lightly. It should slide freely under the spring pressure. It may not be an issue on yours but is easy to check.

    This way you won't change the brew pressure set previously. Or measure the height/count the number of threads of the adjuster so you can set it back to where it was for now if you don't have a gauge.

    There are usually copper washers that you can generally reuse a couple of times or get new ones, they are cheap.

    If you do a search I posted some photos of the bypass on my previous machine when I removed it so you can see what I mean.

    Cheers
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  5. #5
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    A "counter-spanner" is basically an identical spanner to the one you're using to tighten or undo the fitting, except that you use the second spanner to counter (oppose) the torque being applied to the fitting with the other spanner. This technique avoids transferring excessive torque to an otherwise unsupported fitting, that might result in damage to the Boiler itself or pipework, etc...

    Mal.

    "Snap"
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  6. #6
    Senior Member nikko.the.scorpio's Avatar
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    Much thanks Artman & Dimal for those replies. I will proceed with that info and it should keep me busy to fill the little free time I have over the next few days.

    Will let you know how I go and we can take from there. :-)
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  7. #7
    Senior Member nikko.the.scorpio's Avatar
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    Okay well I put a few hours work into it today. Essentially I used a couple of brushes to remove as much of the dust, muck & general filth from around the interior components and chassis, flipping it over onto all sides to get access to the copious amounts of it.

    I then tried to remove the element to gain access to the boiler via the largest possible access hole, however I didn't have any spanners even vaguely close in size (looks like you'd need almost a 2 inch diameter one plus another even larger).

    So I instead went in via the next option that seemed most logical, which was the much smaller but easily accessable 'anti-vacuum valve' on the top centre of the boiler. It was pretty easy to get off, I had to undo the 'boiler heat exchange to gigleur fitting' as well.

    Now I proceeded to heft the 75lb+ machine upside down to pour out the existing water that was in it's boiler - and with it a bit of the scale. I was amazed and somewhat shocked by what came out. A veritable mountain of nasty, shrapnel/gravel looking scale - below is an image of just a very small amount of it.....and I'd estimate that in total around 4-6 times whats pictured came out.....PLUS there's still a LOT MORE in the boiler that I can hear rattling around and goodness knows how much more stuck to the lining of the boiler!



    I made up a mixture of white vinegar and some citric acid and placed that into the now drained boiler. Now I know normally this would be frowned upon but I don't think it's going to do much at all. I say this as I retained some of the removed scale and placed it in a glass with some vinegar, hoping to see how effective this might be on the scale. As of 6hrs later it really doesn't seem to have had much of an effect at all...and this after I heated it in the microwave a few times - so the stuff in the cold boiler I think is essentially unchanged!

    Honestly a terrifying amount of scale and has me concerned over it blocking up gawd knows how many pipes etc - but with a slow approach and a few different techniques I hope to get rid of all of it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Crikey. Why don't you get some dedicated descaler? The black stuff looks odd though. Maybe it's the carbon people have mentioned from Brita jugs?

    You might have to disassemble to clear all this out if it's not dissolving otherwise it will probably clog something later.

    Cheers

  9. #9
    Senior Member nikko.the.scorpio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by artman View Post
    Crikey. Why don't you get some dedicated descaler? The black stuff looks odd though. Maybe it's the carbon people have mentioned from Brita jugs?

    You might have to disassemble to clear all this out if it's not dissolving otherwise it will probably clog something later.

    Cheers
    The only reason I was using the vinegar + citric acid was that this was done over the long weekend and it's all I had on hand. Now that said I also think that whilst dedicated descalers are superior in 99% of descaling jobs - those being ones where there's very little actual scale and as such something very mild is actually all thats needed - THIS is clearly something a tad more challenging.

    Now to put this in perspective as I noted earlier I retained a little of the scale to test the effectiveness of a few acidic solutions on - well the vinegar/citric one wasn't getting much done so I added some CLR to a little in a glass - it's been sitting there for around 48hrs and even that very full on descaler (obviously meant for industrial purposes etc) hasn't accomplished a lot (though that said I only heated it once and application of heat catalyses the reaction).

    So thats the nastiness of the scale issue I'm facing - and from other threads I've read I'd say that professionals would certainly advocate a full strip down/dissassembly - or use something very robust like a weak hydrocloric acid solution.

    Now as I'm really in no hurry at all I'm going to try to avoid such measures by longer exposures to milder descalers over repeated applications. In theory this should have the same effect....but well thats assuming we're dealing with normal scale and I'm not sure that we are.

    As yes, it does look really kinda odd/nasty being that black colour - and it was ALL that way. I'm not really sure of the history of the machine a few CSer had it for several years and I believe I got it from another person before that - all I can say is there's a LOT OF IT and it's very hard and shard like - think almost like gravel/rocks. I get the feeling that patience will be a virtue on this project.

    PS. Had a read of a few other threads and I will try to get hold of something like Bombora, as these commerical descalers tend to dissolve the scale rather than simply making it fall off - thus more friendly and better end result. Hard to find in Coffs Harbour though. :-)

  10. #10
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Some of that stuff looks like the exploded remains of bygone heating elements...
    To safely remove the old element, you really need to get hold of the correctly sized Tube Spanner, specially designed to do the job. Can usually be found in an appliance spare parts centre. Just need to make sure you get the right size...

    Mal.

  11. #11
    Senior Member nikko.the.scorpio's Avatar
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    Thanks Mal, I did think that might have been the case myself - but that said they're not metallic (placed them in the microwave and zero sparks at all).

    I went by a very well known Coffee retailer/roaster yesterday, Artisti (Coffs Harbour business) - they also have a line of business servicing and repairing commercial or higher end coffee machines) - took a small sample of the stuff in with me and their tech immediately said it was scale - just pretty bad stuff. He said that he's gotten loads of stuff exactly like that out of commercial machines that he suspected hadn't been very well cared for.

    He recommended me to open up a direct inlet into the boiler and fill it with an organic acid based descaler (the one he recommended and they sold was Caffetto Liquid Organic Descaler, so I bought a 1L container of it). He said he puts the appropriate amount of that into the boiler with some hot water and allows it to sit overnight, he then opens another opening on the boiler and using a hose with good pressure runs it to flush as much of the dissolved solution out - repeating if necessary.

    Seems relatively sensible approach, though I think I'll still try and physically remove as much of it as possible first. I'll also try and sus out the tube spanner side of things, being regional the few appliance centres we have probably don't sell the spanners and I can't imagine they'd be overly impressed if I went and asked if I could borrow theirs for a few secs out in the car park....but will check repco and the usual suspects anyway.

    Much thanks for the continued assistance.

    PS. Still no one has any idea where a user manual for this machine might be gotten from? If nothing else perhaps there's an Aust. distributor etc I should email?
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  12. #12
    Senior Member nikko.the.scorpio's Avatar
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    Through a friend of a friend I got access to a 42mm socket (which is the size required to fit the element's screw-in) - had to use a pair of multigrips to counter turn the larger (~55mm) boiler screw point - applied a reasonable amount of torsion but despite this there was absolutely no give and their was stress evident on the other boiler connections - so stopped.

    The friend of a friend is a mechanic and advised that he felt success could only be gotten by going to a specialist on items like this and special equipment would have to be used or techniques (e.g use of an oxytorch to heat the boiler section of the joint).

    I'm going to go with the slower and hopefully safer/less of a PITA course of action by sticking with several/longer descale soaks. I suspect that the element is prolly entombed in very nasty scale and that'd be making any removal of it that much more tricky (element looks like it's never been removed).

    Anyway, back to plan A.

  13. #13
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Ah, bad luck mate....

    It sounds like some judiciously applied heat may be required and then some cold water directed at the element fixture, to shock it loose. You may also be right with the existence of a huge bed of scale making the whole exercise more difficult than otherwise. Persistence, the correct tools and method will eventually succeed though.

    Best of outcomes...
    Mal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    It sounds like some judiciously applied heat may be required and then some cold water directed at the element fixture, to shock it loose.
    If it were me I'd give that method a miss - thermal shock like that is a common cause of insulation failure on boiler elements.

  15. #15
    Senior Member nikko.the.scorpio's Avatar
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    Ok a bit of progress today - firstly I wanted to get the boiler out of the chassis so that I could properly focus on removing the scale. Moving it around inside the chassis meant picking up ~40kg of machine each and every time and considering there's only 70kg of me it wasn't overly sustainable.

    So I carefully removed every single one of the seven or so pip connections into the boiler - all of them came off relatively easily except for one that eventually budged with the assistance of applying heat to the joint and another that I had to temporarily bend a piece of the chassis a bunch of circuits were anchored to - to allow me enough room to get the shifter in onto the joint.

    Anyway eventually got it all out. Then spent ~45mins filling and shaking out the boiler to remove as much broken up scale as possible. This ended up removing around double whats shown here!!!


    I then stuffed every one of the boiler holes with some cling wrap and made ~1L of descaler solution, using the Caffetto mixture and boiling water. Put that into the boiler, sealed it up, shook it around a bunch. Will leave it overnight and then empty and flush out, probably hit it again with the same mixture.



    So good progress - continue to be blown away by the amount of scale and crap in the machine - some of the connections were almost completely blocked/filled with scale/crud - hard to believe the machine was apparently still running reasonably well when last used!

    PS. FWIW I found this very handy site for anyone with a Carimali or interested in refurbing one - is a user group of folks who've done it etc - pooled docs, hints etc - you have to request access but mine was granted within a few days. Very good stuff in there!
    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Carimali/info
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  16. #16
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MorganGT View Post
    If it were me I'd give that method a miss - thermal shock like that is a common cause of insulation failure on boiler elements.
    Given all the crap inside the boiler, I don't think it would matter all that much, a new element is probably on the cards anyway.
    Regardless of that, I've used the above method more times than I can remember and it has never caused an (working) element failure - Hence the use of "judicious" in the description. I'm not suggesting that anything needs to be cherry red before applying the "shock treatment"...

    Mal.



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