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Overhauling a Brasilia Lady

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  • Overhauling a Brasilia Lady

    Since restoring a Carimali Uno, the old Brasilia hasnt seen a lot of action so I decided it should probably go to a better home.



    However when I fired it up about a week ago for testing I found that it had developed a bad seal in the steam valve during its period of inactivity and was leaking out from the knob at the top of the machine! So I decided I might as well give it a complete overhaul :P

    One thing that REALLY bugged me with this machine was the steam button, it frustrated me EVERY SINGLE DAY I had to use the machine. It really was a nightmare.

    Heres how the steaming process worked:
    Upon pressing the button the green LED on the machines front lit up, an outlet valve opened and took some water out of the boiler (into the drip tray) and the element turned on... for about 5 seconds (even if you held the button down). However the Tstat was set SO HIGH that you could actually count on the element to kick in shortly after it cut out (due to the boiler temperature dropping with the release of the pressure) so you could actually steam fairly well if you got lucky and surfed thermostat JUST right.

    Obviously this was far from ideal, I had to run extreme cooling flushes and there was never any guarantee what kind of element ON time you were gonna get. You can imagine my ecstasy upgrading to an HX machine after dealing with this multiple times each day.

    So I decided I would try fix this steaming issue while I was at it, lest I pass on such a burden to someone else.

    First things first I fixed the steam valve, two new o-rings (which I happened to have lying around) and its good.


    I also decided to have a go adjusting the thermostat. Facing from the back of the machine, turning the screw (for which theres even a hole drilled into the chasis) anticlockwise lowers the temperature, and clockwise increases it. Based on the amount of steam hiss coming out of the group I set it, and pulled a shot to test if my eyes had done the Tstat justice. The shot was probably the best Ive ever pulled on the machine, the temperature was perfect.


    Next, it was time to strip it down and descale it. Since its a plumbed machine a strip-down is basically the only way to descale, and I figured if anyone was ever going to descale this thing.. it would probably have to be me. It took a couple of days of citric acid soaking (with the solution re-heated numerous times via the microwave ;D ) to get the boiler and element looking good, and even then I had to gently scrub the element to remove a bit of residue.

    During this time the group and 3-way valve were both soaked in backflushing solution and citric acid (not at the same time of course!)

    Here are some after shots, sorry I didnt take any before.. but I will say there was a bit of sediment sludge at the bottom of the boiler I was sure glad to see gone!


    The commercial quality group and brass dispersal plate.


    The cleanest this things ever gonna be again


    No scale here!


    The installed thermostat capillary tube, Im sorry I didnt get a shot of it before putting back in the boiler, and since tightening proved far from easy this was the best I could do.

    Now to re-assemble the thing I had to pick up a new boiler gasket and some replacement screws as I tightened one and BROKE off the head.. ouch. Luckily with all the tension gone it came right out and I was able to pick up a replacement (plus a few extras should it happen again) from a local fastener manufacturer. I also chucked a new o-ring onto the (machine) end of the steam wand and a new group gasket went in too.

    And on to the steam problem..

    Now being an electrical engineering student it didnt take long to draw up a circuit diagram and figure out what was going on. However it was really a nightmare having to pull out and label all SIXTEEN connectors going into the 4 front buttons. Someone had already kindly labelled those going to the control box though!

    After a little deliberation I came to the conclusion the best and easiest thing to do would be to bypass the control box entirely, and have the steam buttons switching terminals (2 pins are just to power the LED and dont actually connect) in parallel with the thermostat. Of course this left a redundant outlet valve, disconnected control box, and several loose connections. But the machine is A LOT better for it! Hell if Id done this before getting my Carimali Uno I may not have even bothered to upgrade from this thing! Though I would probably attempt to fit an OPV to stabilise the brew pressure if this were the case.


    And to finish, some labelled images showing the re-assembled product



    There you have it folks, I hope you enjoyed my writeup Feel free to reply with any questions!

    If you live in New Zealand and would like to buy this machine dont hesitate to email me via my profile.

  • #2
    Re: Overhauling a Brasilia Lady

    Hi Andy,

    First time I see a Brasilia with an inlet valve. Is this machine supposed to be plumbed in and if so, what maximum line pressure is recommended?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Overhauling a Brasilia Lady

      Andy,

      That machine has the same heatting elemet and group head seal than Ascaso Due. If you ever need parts for this machine let me know.

      Regards


      Renzo
      Di Bartoli Home Barista Centre

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Overhauling a Brasilia Lady

        Hi Mathias,
        Sadly I had no technical documentation for the machine, all I can tell you is that I was running the machine after an inline water filter with a pressure limiting valve (we used the same water filter for a drinking water tap and the PRV was installed for that).

        The previous owner said he just plumbed it into his mains directly without issue, however if you have high water pressure (like ours) I would think some sort of pressure reduction would be wise.

        I hope that helps

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Overhauling a Brasilia Lady

          Thanks Andy,
          Yes I do have a high water pressure so I guess Ill have to install a reducer if I want to plumb the machine

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Overhauling a Brasilia Lady

            Limiting valves are more useful for variations in pressure than for high pressure (IMO anyway).

            High pressure can be compensated for, but youll never get consistency if one day you have 6 bar in your pipes and the next you have 4 because some turkey is running a bath at coffee time...

            Comment


            • #7
              Brasillia club help re blockage

              HI there,


              I'm in the middle of taking my Brasilia Club apart. The internals look almost exactly the same as your Lady.

              See your picutre between
              "
              Here are some after shots, sorry I didnt take any before.. but I will say there was a bit of sediment sludge at the bottom of the boiler I was sure glad to see gone!


              The commercial quality group and brass dispersal plate."

              What is the upright tube connected to the group? My guess is this is outlet to the grouphead and is used when the solenoid is in brew position hence forcing the pressured water out through the grouphead.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by yorel1 View Post
                HI there,
                What is the upright tube connected to the group? My guess is this is outlet to the grouphead and is used when the solenoid is in brew position hence forcing the pressured water out through the grouphead.
                Sorry for the slow reply.

                That is correct. You see the cold water comes in at the lower part of the boiler, so naturally to provide better temperature stability the water for brewing should be drawn from a higher position, which is accomplished with that copper tube.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi Andy or anybody else that can help with giving this machine a simple clean and service. I just bought one works well have done two shots through it. I would like to take it apart and give it a service what are some of the essential seals etc and where can I optain them from?

                  Regards

                  Comment

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