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Thread: Vibiemme Domobar help

  1. #1
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    Vibiemme Domobar help

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all

    After Miss Silvia gave up the ghost recently I'm playing around at home with an old VBM Domobar but know little to nothing about it (model, specs, care etc). It was bought second-hand through this site with the help of Fresh_Coffee (Attilio) probably almost 10yrs ago in Canberra. It was our office machine and used once a week for larger gatherings. It's been unused in storage for almost 3yrs and I've just fired it up at home.
    It is a plumbed-in model (no tank) and I've hooked it up with a T off the water line for our fridge. running through the Pressure limiting valve that was used with it when installed at the office. I remember the pump going some years ago and being replaced and the machine serviced.
    It was initially an emergency measure when the Silvia died, but to be honest, it is doing surprisingly well after its hiatus and I'm weighing up making it a permanent install at home.
    I'd love some help identifying the model, approx age and even current value, as well as usage tips, service and improvements. Long list!! Thanks in advance!

    I can't find any serial number or model description to help with research, but it may be an old Domobar Super based on things I've read on here. It is noisy (vibro pump?) and pretty sure it is an HX machine. Black sides, logo on front of drip tray and says Domobar on the back. See pics below.

    Grateful for any assistance. I have pics but not sure how to post.

  2. #2
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    I for one would seriously seriously consider getting a professional technician to have a look at the machine before you start drinking from it.

    A coffee machines biggest enemies are unfiltered water followed by sitting for extended periods of time. If you opened it up and had a look I would imagine you'd second guess drinking out of it again. Although if it was using properly filtered water prior to storage it may not be too bad. A good test to do is draw a glass of hot water from the hot water spout then let it cool, if it's murky and/or smells not quite right I would stress to approach with extreme caution.

    In terms of the machine model I would say it's a Domobar Super seeing it's plumbed in but I'm not quite sure about what specs it had 10+ years ago.

    Please don't under estimate the potential for the water to be unsafe to drink inside!

  3. #3
    TOK
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    Quote Originally Posted by therev View Post
    ....bought second-hand through this site with the help of Fresh_Coffee (Attilio) probably almost 10yrs ago in Canberra. It was our office machine and used once a week for larger gatherings. It's been unused in storage for almost 3yrs and I've just fired it up at home.
    It is a plumbed-in model (no tank)........to be honest, it is doing surprisingly well after its hiatus and I'm weighing up making it a permanent install at home.
    I'd love some help identifying the model, approx age and even current value, as well as usage tips, service and improvements. Long list!! Thanks in advance!

    ...Grateful for any assistance...
    It's an old mains connect only Domobar Super, heat exchanger (HX) machine with vibrating / solenoid water pump, specific age impossible to tell precisely because they didnt have serial numbers. It is however definitely PRE 2000.

    Strictly speaking (writing) equipment of that age has no value, only what someone is willing to sell for or buy for, ie whatever mutually beneficial arrangement can be made between the parties.

    It is not worth making any improvements to unless you do them yourself. That is, not worth paying someone to make "improvements" on anything that age. Only guessing, however in the event the machine was traded from the original owner and eventually sold to your company as a used machine, any necessary improvements or modifications required at the time would already have been made. Additionally, if the machine is working well I cant see what "improvements" would be required.

    However if the machine is now back in service and working well, and in future suffers a service inconvenience or breakdown, then it is still worth having specific repairs quoted and at that time you can decide whether you think they are worth doing. That is, use and enjoy whiile it runs and cross bridges only when you come to them.

    Suggest fitting an inline "3 stage" filter, between the pressure limiting valve and the machine. Change the filter at te required interval. The "3 stages" mean
    a) particles;
    b) smells;
    c) scale INHIBITION (stops scale forming in the machine)

    Alternately, fit a water softener, and regenerate/recharge the softener at the required intervals.
    a) particles
    b) Scale forming minerals removed prior to water enteriung machine.

    Suggest it might be a god idea to speak to the guys that sold it to you IF /WHEN it requires work OR in the immediate term to get an appropriate filter or water softener. They run an excellent workshop and are good people.

    Hope that helps.

  4. #4
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    Sounds similar to mine... is this the one?
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pretzal View Post
    Sounds similar to mine... is this the one?
    It does look very similar to yours except it has black powder-coated sides, and the small light up top is red. Any tips/tricks/observations for getting the best out of yours?

  6. #6
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    I bought mine second hand about 4 years ago and its been pretty reliable. It is an earlier model Domobar Super and I believe Crivelli were the importer of my machine as it was covered in their logo when I purchased it (but happy to be corrected by those who know). I haven't had any dealings with them though.

    Things I have learnt about this machine is that it can get hot if it sits not being used for an hour or so, so it does require a cooling flush almost every time you want to use it (apart from back to back shots). Only recently I have changed the 4 hole steam tip to a 2 hole steam tip (purchased from site sponsor Espresso Company Australia - always awesome to deal with) and the difference has been night and day - I wished I'd done it 4 years ago. Previously good microfoam was hard to consistently achieve - now it's like I try and stuff it up and it still works out great! It takes a tiny bit longer (a few seconds) but sooo worth it. I bought a timer for mine and prime the water pump the night before so that it doesn't make a big noise in the morning just before I get up. The timer works a treat - it ensures it's ready to go when I get up. I'd say it takes between 35-45 minutes to warm up completely but you can speed it up to maybe 25 minutes with some hot water flushes if you happen to be short on time and really need a coffee, but for me the timer is usually adequate.

    So I've been pretty happy with mine - make sure you feed it good water - I use the brita c150 and apart from a scaled water level indicator recently have had very few issues with it. I don't see too many reasons why it wouldn't keep going for quite a few more years.

    I've attached a photo of the specification sticker on mine. Let me know if you need any more information
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    Last edited by Pretzal; 28th July 2015 at 10:10 AM. Reason: added photo

  7. #7
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    I should mention that my version is the tank version and is not plumbed in. If you work out the photo situation - I'd love to see some re how it is plumbed in and the waste tray etc

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    Thanks Pretzal. Glad to hear some good reports. I've noticed the overheating when sitting for long periods as well - a good flush seems to help. Interesting re the steam tip - will investigate. I've found it steams larger amounts well but I struggle with consistency on smaller amounts.
    Water filter is a priority and then I'll start playing around with dosage and water flow checks to get some proper data on how it is all operating. Overall it seems pretty bulletproof and has been working fine since brought back into usage. I'll try and work out how to post pics and show you the plumbed-in setup and other images.
    It was a bit of an emergency option when my old machine died and now I'm trying to figure out how far to go -ie whether it becomes permanent or is sold to get something small/simpler. Fun times ahead!

  9. #9
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    The 2 hole tip has helped greatly with small quantities as well - the 4 hole tip almost blows it right out of the jug!

  10. #10
    TOK
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    Quote Originally Posted by therev View Post
    ....It was bought second-hand through this site with the help of Fresh_Coffee (Attilio) probably almost 10yrs ago in Canberra....

    ...I remember the pump going some years ago and being replaced and the machine serviced.

    ...to be honest, it is doing surprisingly well after its hiatus and I'm weighing up making it a permanent install at home.

    and

    ...I'll start playing around with dosage and water flow checks to get some proper data on how it is all operating.

    ...Overall it seems pretty bulletproof and has been working fine since brought back into usage...


    ...Grateful for any assistance....
    The sticker on pretzal's machine will show nothing of value for you other than perhaps the rated wattage, which might be similar, or the same, or not. Odds are your machine was actually imported by the people that sold it to your work ie CS's first site sponsor CosmoreX Coffee, and it will pre-date the Crivelli imports (as noted above PRE 2000).

    In regard to photographing anything to do with the mains water intake on your machine, for anyone using a tank only model. Trying to convert a tank only machine to mains water connection is not entirely straight forward, and is not a job for most home handyman persons. Additionally, while your machine has a mains only water inlet connection, it does not have facility to drain the drip tray.

    Above you noted "......to be honest, it is doing surprisingly well after its hiatus and I'm weighing up making it a permanent install at home....", and "...Overall it seems pretty bulletproof and has been working fine since brought back into usage...".

    If the machine is working well, there is not much point "...playing around with dosage and water flow checks to get some proper data (?) on how it is all operating...."

    It seems it is operating as it should...and obtaining flow data, if there is any possibility that your data may not necessarily tally with whatever you may read that someone (bonafides?) says it *should* be, then you will be left confused or thinking something is wrong, when it isn't...if you get the drift.

    No need to "fix it if it ain't broke". Use and enjoy. You already have a general means of comparison (in terms of water flow) because you were running a Silvia so know what to expect, and you only need put up your hand if something goes wrong.

    Just work on your coffee making technique to get the best result possible.

    Hope that helps.

    EDIT:

    I cant stress enough that you need to buy and fit an appropriate water filter, and to do that you need to know the size of end union on the existing inlet water line, and the outlet size of the pressure limiting valve.
    Last edited by TOK; 28th July 2015 at 01:17 PM.

  11. #11
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    My curiosity of photos was just that - there is a drain hole in the back side wall of the drip tray and front wall of the machine and I was just inquisitive as to what the holes were for as they do limit the volume of the drip tray (not that it's small though). I was thinking some photos of a plumbed in machine might reveal the purpose (amongst other things).
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  12. #12
    TOK
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    Hi there.

    its unlikely those holes are to drain out of the drip tray. They are usually to allow a silicon tube to come through from the inside of the body, to drain water bypass into the drip tray. It (the tube) may be bypassed as in it may have been re routed to flow into the water reservoir instead, or you would be forever having to empty your drip tray during use.

    Could be wrong but from my recollection (long time ago), the model I believe to be the subject of this topic doesn't have those holes.

    Hope that helps.
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  13. #13
    TC
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    Hello therev,

    I have only ever seen a couple of Domobar Supers in this configuration- likely supplied by Crivelli as they were plastered with stickers. Perhaps yours predates these...

    In those I attended to, it appeared that mods may have been installed at the importer or by an aftermarket tech: Both units were pretty rough in terms of execution.

    Each of them ran thermonuclear hot, had direct to mains pressure vibe pumps and could be identified by the Jaeger pressurestat and 2L boilers- not found in current build machines.

    You could have a renovators opportunity or a return it to the tip. A competent tech could tell you. I personally don't like plumbed vibe pumps at all and it would be the first thing I'd ditch- go rotary or return it to OEM tank operation.

    Thereafter Scace calibration is probably needed plus whatever other service items might be required. You could potentially spend a gorilla on a plumbed rotary conversion/service/calibration machine which may still be worth pretty much nothing for resale. Only you can decide whether you can extract enough value out of such a machine to make the spend worthwhile.

    Good luck.

    Chris
    Last edited by TC; 28th July 2015 at 05:43 PM. Reason: further explanation
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    Thanks everyone - lots of great info and advice in a short time! Lots for me to digest. I've got lots of thinking and testing to do before determining to run with this one or start a serious search for a replacement. I don't really have the $$ for a HX or dual boiler machine at the moment and the Silvia did a good job except when it got overwhelmed by large volumes when entertaining. Currently considering options including a new Silvia, second hand single-boiler E61 or trying to hold out for some more $$ to go dual/HX but that could be a while. Will get researching!

  15. #15
    TOK
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    Quote Originally Posted by therev View Post
    Thanks everyone - lots of great info and advice in a short time! Lots for me to digest. I've got lots of thinking and testing to do before determining to run with this one or start a serious search for a replacement. I don't really have the $$ for a HX or dual boiler machine at the moment and the Silvia did a good job except when it got overwhelmed by large volumes when entertaining. Currently considering options including a new Silvia, second hand single-boiler E61 or trying to hold out for some more $$ to go dual/HX but that could be a while. Will get researching!
    Hi there. Just another quick interjection here.

    Unsure what you mean by "testing". The machine is working well, or it isn't. If it is, it will be "superior" to your Silvia in every way, even if it requires a large cooling flush, because silvia's are the same (large cooling flushes required when left for a bit)

    My understanding of "...(my silvia was)...overwhelmed by large volumes when entertaining..." is that it blew the element. So there is a cost involved there in repairing it. Silvia's are always worth repairing, are never strictly "dead" as in "finito", so why consider buying a new silvia when for a smaller cost you can repair the encumbent???).

    OR, you could put the cost to repair Silvia towards making your employer an offer on the domo. The domo will last as long as it lasts (how long is a piece of string?). At that point you will have the option of repairing it, or repairing the silvia (or as you have mentioned, going to something else).

    Doesn't get any simpler than that

    One thing to note and remember in regard to running the domo. You MUST remember to turn off the water supply after each use. Only turn the water on when you are going to use the machine. When you finish (and especially if you are not there)....turn the water supply to the machine OFF. Follow that rule, and there wont be any water related mishaps in your home.
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