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Thread: ECM Giotto repair/restoration project

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Sydney, Australia, Australia

    ECM Giotto repair/restoration project

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Sorry in advance for the lengthy post! Iíve been looking around for a project machine for some time now, as I have wanted to go through the experience of rebuilding/restoring an e61 machine and learning the ins and outs of it. I have a very mild, and I do mean mild understanding of how these machines work, but have a real love for drinking espresso.

    Iíve been reading on this forum for years and have seen such a wealth of knowledge here so thought Iíd share and document my experience while learning at the same time, hopefully able to pick some information from some of the great brains on this forum as I go.

    I was able to pick up an old ECM Giotto Premium, of what I believe is about a 2004-2005 build, which the owner advised was not working and needed a good service. The overall condition seems not too bad for its age. Some scuffs on the panels, and the group head, the drip tray grate is very tight in the frame (looks a bit bent too). Upon closer inspection, looks like some of spot welds have broken connecting the tray to the frame. The price was good, so some repairs will have to be factored into the budget.

    The machine would power on fine, and the pump would fire up, but the boiler will not fill, and water drips out of the group head with the lever open. My initial amateur diagnosis is possibly the fill solenoid. I didnít want to keep the pump running for longer than 10-15 seconds so if there are any other things further down the line I guess I will find them once the boiler fills.

    Step 1 Ė getting to the solenoid.

    I had great plans to be very systematic in my approach to repairing the giotto, but eventually took to the Ďdisconnect everything in its wayí approach and before I knew it I had disconnected half of the machine. Oh well, perhaps a clean is in order while everything is out.

    I tested the coil, and my multimeter showed resistance of 2.32kΩ. Now, I have no idea what sort of resistance a solenoid like this should be showing. Is this normal or could I have found my culprit?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    It's in really, really good nick.

    I'd doubt that it's the solenoid.

    Replace the shower, group seal, group pistons and leva cam seals. Lubricate (food grade grease) all moving surfaces. Clean up the leva cam if it's showing significant wear.

    I'd also replace the anti-vac valve and get in and lubricate valve seals, ball joints and associated seals as well. Clean the boiler fill probe and if you don't like what you see in the boiler, flush it as well. Sounds to me like the control board has had its day. It's a replacement or if you have the skills and the rest of the board is in good nick probably a dud transformer. Going by the gauge which zeros correctly, I'd doubt that there is much in the way of scale in it.

    Will cost you a few hundred to do all of this, but you'd be up for 3 grand for a new one. Money well spent I say.
    Last edited by Caffeinator; 10th March 2019 at 06:48 PM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Quote Originally Posted by hornoscous View Post
    I tested the coil, and my multimeter showed resistance of 2.32kΩ. Now, I have no idea what sort of resistance a solenoid like this should be showing. Is this normal or could I have found my culprit?
    These small solenoids typically use about 10 VA and the inrush is about double that.

    P = V^2/R, so a 230 V solenoid should show around 5k impedance, DCR should be about half that so your value sounds about right.

    I recently did up an old Giotto that was in much worse condition than yours (brought over from the US by someone who didn't realise how much had to be done to make it work on 240V). It's now doing sterling duty keeping myself and my assistant winemaker adequately caffeinated for vintage.
    Dimal, hornoscous, DaveD and 1 others like this.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Sydney, Australia, Australia
    Delayed update due to lack of time.

    Thanks for all the advice guys, very helpful. I found the source of the problem. In my haste, I focused too much on the solenoid, but Caffinator you were right. Solenoid is fine. I replaced the pump simply because it was old, wasn't drawing water, and everything was already out. I cleaned and polished all the brass and copper, and she fired up! Maybe it was the pump, or not primed perhaps...

    I waited for it to heat up build build pressure. In the process discovered a couple of leaks, so fixed those and found she was running around 1.5 bar. I adjusted that and now its at 1.1 bar.

    I ran a backflush to test under pressure and it wouldn't release the pressure post flush. I couldnt release the group handle. It also leaked via the lever, so I intend still to break down the e61 group and replace all seals, valves and gaskets, check the cam, and hopefully this will fix the problem. I have a new anti-vac valve coming in the post over this week so will install that too.

    I think someone may have had a crack at restoring this at some point, as you might be able to tell from the photos that the frame has been painted possibly to cover some rust...with a brush! I think I may get this blasted and powder coated so I know that it is done right.

    And I think since I really don't have to replace too many of the internals, and its pretty much working, I might try and make it a bit of a showpiece.

    Planned mods(hopefully):

    Pull it all back down again and sandblast and power coat external panels in matte black.
    Repair a couple of broken spot welds from the existing drip tray to the frame
    Fabricate a new stainless drip tray grate similar to the newer Rocket models with the laser cut holes
    Possibly replace the feet with newer chrome or stainless feet, which will give a bit more space for a waste drain.
    Add the a waste drain to the drip tray.
    Rebuild and test!

    More to come.
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  5. #5
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Warwick, QLD
    Looking better and better "hornoscous"....

    This should come up a treat alright.


  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Any updates? I've just started the same process on mine!

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