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  • Sunbeam EM6910 troubleshooting

    Excuse if any of these sound like dumb questions but I am a newbie to this whole coffee thing after having my eyes opened by a few mates who are into CS and roasting their own beans.  Anyway to cut a long story short I have been loaned/given an EM6910 to use which has been sitting around for a long time but to me does not seem to be working correctly.  I suspect that something has blocked or stuck as there were a lot of crystals sitting in the base of the water tank when I got it which I rinsed out.  I have also descaled the machine using vinegar as per the manual but have not backflushed it as I havent had a chance to get any of the cleaning tablets yet. I have flushed through about 3 tanks of water on manual and tried to make a few espressos using the double basket (single wall) with some freshly roasted beans that I have roasted and also a mate who roasts gave me. The problem I seem to be having is that not much espresso is coming out, nowehere near 60ml if I use the double shot button and a lot of water seems to be building up in the drip tray via the overflow.
    • How much water is supposed to come out of the overflow/relief port into the bottom of the drip tray whilst you are using the machine, some, a little or none?  
    • The pressure gauge does not seem to rise, I have tried overdosing and tamping to the point that I can get no flow out of the PF yet the pressure gauge doesnt seem to move from the bottom of its scale.  I dont have a proper grinder yet but I was working on the theory that if the grind was too fine for a plunger and fine enough that I could completely block flow then it was somewhere near fine enough.
    • Is there any way of getting hold of a service manual for one of these machines? I fix air conditioners for a living so have pretty good understanding of electronics and electromechanical things, just this is the 1st coffee machine I have played with.

    Are there any tests that I can do myself to try and fault find what is going on? I know the machine is out of warranty as it has been sitting unused for at least a year that I know of.  I saw an earlier post somewhere about sunbeam checking machine operation with the rubber cleaning seal or something.
    Cheers

  • #2
    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 troubleshooting

    Hey ausdb, welcome to cofffeesnobs

    Remember, there are no stupid questions, only stupid people (only kidding)

    Sounds to me as though three-way valve - that opens to release pressure in the grouphead after you pour a shot - is stuck open. This can happen if the machine isnt backflushed regularly, as coffee oils gradually build up over time. It could also be that the pressure gauge has stopped working (this is a known fault), but if the former is the case it would be hard to tell.

    When you use a fine grind and tamp hard to the point that no coffee comes through, does the pump make a low, laboring noise? This is what youd expect if it was working correctly.

    Water should only flow into drip tray *after* you have ended the shot, not during. The fact that you can totally block the flow of water through the group without the pressure needle moving also makes me think that the three-way is stuck open.

    Backflushing with either a cleaning tablet or commercial espresso machine cleaner (which is much cheaper) should do the trick if Im right about the three-way valve. The manual has instructions on how to run the automatic cleaning program, but Id be inclined to use the manual button instead to get some dissolved cleaner and water into the pressure release pipe, then stop the machine and leave it to sit for ten-15 minutes. Repeat with the cleaner, then a few times with plain water to rinse and with any luck you should be in business.

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    • #3
      Re: Sunbeam EM6910 troubleshooting

      Remember, there are no stupid questions, only stupid people (only kidding) who dont ask

      good backflush as pointed out above
      graham

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      • #4
        Re: Sunbeam EM6910 troubleshooting

        The "rubber cleaning seal" should be in its holder in the back door of the machine.
        Its used for backflushing but has never sealed very well whenever Ive tried. Maybe thats how its meant to be.

        Ive never run across a service manual.

        If you dont have an instruction manual you can download one from Sunbeam.

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        • #5
          Re: Sunbeam EM6910 troubleshooting

          Cheers m@ and fix for the advice, it does seem like something is not closing to allow the machine to build pressure.  I tried it this morning with the cleaning seal in place and hitting the manual button.  In theory I guess this should have made the machine have a fit as it would be basically pumping against a closed head but the gauge did not rise and water still came out the overflow into the drip tray.  

          m@ On the backflushing I have looked through the manual on its recommendation to use the tablets and seal but are you saying that just adding some cleaner to the tank and running it through will have the same effect? or would it be possible to add some powdered cleaner in place of the tablet then run the machine through the cleaning cycle?

          Thundergod, cheers I have found the cleaning seal and already downloaded the user manual.

          Final piece of interesting info, I spoke with the lady who has bequeathed the machine to me, according to her she only used it about half a dozen times before litting it sit there to gather dust!

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          • #6
            Re: Sunbeam EM6910 troubleshooting

            Whatever you do, dont put espresso machine cleaner in the water tank!

            Its a cheaper (and IMO better) alternative to the Sunbeam cleaning tablets and goes in the portafilter, on top of the rubber cleaning disk. The disk blocks the path of the water through the portafilter, so normally pressure builds up until the shot ends and the three-way valve opens, then the water and dissolved cleaner pass through the three-way and into the drip tray, cleaning as they go...

            In your case, Im guessing that water and cleaner will start flowing through the three-way immediately, so you might be better off blocking the hole in the middle of the cleaning disk with something and dissolving the cleaner in some hot water (it comes as a powder) before placing it in the portafilter. Its pretty strong stuff (caustic I think), so not a bad idea to wear latex gloves and eye protection...

            Good luck!

            Interesting, did she mention why she shelved it? Might be that the three-way valve never operated properly! Id guess it would be easy to replace if it comes to that; sourcing the part might be the biggest problem...

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Sunbeam EM6910 troubleshooting

              Originally posted by m@ link=1218645672/0#5 date=1218693196
              Whatever you do, dont put espresso machine cleaner in the water tank!

              Its a cheaper (and IMO better) alternative to the Sunbeam cleaning tablets and goes in the portafilter, on top of the rubber cleaning disk. The disk blocks the path of the water through the portafilter, so normally pressure builds up until the shot ends and the three-way valve opens, then the water and dissolved cleaner pass through the three-way and into the drip tray, cleaning as they go...

              In your case, Im guessing that water and cleaner will start flowing through the three-way immediately, so you might be better off blocking the hole in the middle of the cleaning disk with something and dissolving the cleaner in some hot water (it comes as a powder) before placing it in the portafilter. Its pretty strong stuff (caustic I think), so not a bad idea to wear latex gloves and eye protection...

              Good luck!

              Interesting, did she mention why she shelved it? Might be that the three-way valve never operated properly! Id guess it would be easy to replace if it comes to that; sourcing the part might be the biggest problem...
              Disaster narrowly averted! so I guess not such a dumb question after all,
              I am happy with working with caustic, as I use it for cleaning my home brew equipment.  I wonder if straight sodium percarbonate (the active ingredient in napisan) would also work as I have a bucket load of that at home already?
              Edit just found this post http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1171544498/0 so it looks like the main bit of the cleaner tablet is sodium percarb so I wil give that a crack 1st as the neat stuff can be had for about $3 per kg when bought in bulk lots. Actually I wish I had found that thread last night, its good stuff.

              The lady gave up on it as she got it as a freeby but was not really a coffee drinker so it was one of those toys that gets used a few times then forgotten about, until I got the coffee bug.
              Cheers again

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Sunbeam EM6910 troubleshooting

                Just an update if anyone is interested.
                I sealed up the hole in the sunbean cleaning seal using a drawing pin and with a bit of threadtape wrapped round it then mixed up a teaspoon of straight sodium percarbonate put into my now sealed portafilter and ran it through the machine on manual as per the suggestion. At first the cleaning solution was coming straight out the overflow but after a few manual cycles and soak periods the 3 way valve started to seal up. After about 4 cycles it was pretty reliably building up pressure in the PF and then when I released the manual button there would be a big rush out of the overflow.
                Also to top things off I suspect that the pressure gauge was also a bit sticky as it is now starting to climb a bit and the pump quitens down to the low drumming rather than the jackhammering of previous.

                I made few espressos on manual but I think my grind is not fine enough coming out of the spice grinder, the needle is rising but not even up into the yellow zone at the moment. Im off to pick up an em0480 on the way home from work tonight and down the slippery slope
                I got a blank filter screen today in my travels so hopefully this process will be easier in future

                Thanks very much for the help so far

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Sunbeam EM6910 troubleshooting

                  the machine is not designed to use a blind filter
                  blocking water supply for any extended period may cause internal leaks in the joints

                  the disc supplied only works with tablets, and doesnt overload the system
                  using the disc you will find some water will escape from the PF

                  always be careful what cleaners you use in your machines, these have aluminiun thermoblocks, and some cleaners will do more damage than good

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Sunbeam EM6910 troubleshooting

                    The Sunbeam guys doing the free coffee session said only use diluted vinegar to clean a machine, and not cleaning tablets.

                    Open, honest guys.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Sunbeam EM6910 troubleshooting

                      Originally posted by ChrisLevo link=1218645672/0#9 date=1219406726
                      The Sunbeam guys doing the free coffee session said only use diluted vinegar to clean a machine, and not cleaning tablets.

                      Open, honest guys.
                      Surely they just meant for descaling?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Sunbeam EM6910 troubleshooting

                        I might be wrong with my memory but I thought at my Sunbeam class, they said to just do the backwash at the end of each day but that I didnt need to add vinegar or anything (just 5 manual cycles or so). Then every 6 months or so use vinegar or the tablets.

                        Could my memory be wrong? Meaning, does just doing the backwash without any tablets have a beneficial impact? I use filtered water so I am not too fussed about scaling, etc.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Sunbeam EM6910 troubleshooting

                          Backflushing helps but you cant get away without a cleaning solution.

                          Take the shower screens off and see how much coffee oil there is behind those.

                          m@ theres no boiler; both the shot water and steam go through thermoblocks.

                          So am I right in thinking that the vinegar, if run through from the tank to the group and steam wand, is what they meant by enough to clean it with?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Sunbeam EM6910 troubleshooting

                            Originally posted by Thundergod link=1218645672/0#12 date=1219637273
                            m@ theres no boiler; both the shot water and steam go through thermoblocks.
                            Yes - stainless steel-lined* aluminium - but they require regular descaling (according to Sunbeam at least). In the manual Sunbeam recommend their proprietary tablets, fluid or vinegar every four to six months. I strongly suspect that what the guys running the training course were getting at is that you dont have to use Sunbeams descaling tablets, not that that you can clean the whole machine with just vinegar.

                            Regular backflushing with Sunbeam tablets/cafetto is essential - unless you like the taste of rancid coffee oils

                            *which is why I think its fine to use cafetto

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Sunbeam EM6910 troubleshooting

                              Even if Sunbeam say vinegar is OK for scale removal.......

                              I wouldnt use it in any machine I own. There is a lot more than just acetic acid (probably alright on its own) in Vinegar - things which give it its taste and even colour in some cases..... sure it may not attack the stainless steel inner..... but with the heat etc in the thermoblock, something could precipitate onto the walls and block or partially block the fine tubes.....

                              Use the correct chemicals..... its cheap insurance that nothing will go wrong.

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