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Silvia - won't heat up.

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  • Silvia - won't heat up.

    My Silvia is on a timer and turns on 1 hour before I make coffee but this morning I went to make coffee and it wasn't up to temp.

    I installed a PID kit, from MLG, 10 days ago and it has been working fine, no issues at all. Set point is 106 degree's but this morning it was displaying 60 degree's and slowly going down even though the thermostat light was on solid.

    I'm thinking my approach should be as follows but correct me if I'm wrong:

    1. Check and reset the thermostat on the side of the boiler. If this doesnt change anything then;
    2. Remove the PID to check that the PID hasn't failed. If this doesnt change anything then;
    3. The heating element in the boiler has failed and needs replacing.

    I've never let the boiler run dry and always follow the correct steps to refill the boiler. So hoping it isnt the heating element.

    If I have missed something or there are any other suggestions please let me know.

    Silvia is only 2 years old and makes 2 coffee's a day. Well maintained with backflushing and descale.

  • #2
    Some ideas to think about.
    If the themrostats light is ON, can you hear the element heating the water ?

    Is the thermocouple attached to boiler correctly/securely ?

    Did it ever display 106 degress today? ie did it heat up and cool down or just not heat up ?

    What water temp are you actually getting either from hw wand or group ?


    • #3
      Thanks for your reply. In anser to your questions:

      I can't hear the element heating like I normally would.

      Yes, the thermocouple is attached correctly and securely.

      I did not see it display 106 degrees today however, given the temp of the portafilter which was locked in to the grouphead....I would say it got to 106.

      Water from the group and wand is lukewarm.

      Also because running the brew switch intoduces cold water into the boiler the the PID temp displayed goes down accordingly.


      • #4
        Which is easier - disconnecting the PID or checking the boiler element ?
        Time to check the element maybe.

        There are threads here that offer advice on that, and if necesary replacing it with a new geniune and I think replacing with a non-Rancilio from memory.
        I guess it depends on your skillset, testing tools and experience.

        Just remember there are nasty dangerous things inside a powered coffee machine.

        Never actually fitted a PID myself, just looked inside at other people's working ones and used them, so I'll bow out for now.
        You might have to wait until the PID experts start posting.


        • #5
          What type of thermocouple came with the kit and how is it mounted? I've seen "washer type" thermocouples which are made in such a way that it's possible for the junction to come away from the washer and stop them from reading properly, which will cause issues. My PID install has a bead type junction wedged under a chunk of UHMWPE which replaced one of the thermostats, this is the best way to do it IMHO because it is pretty much impossible for the junction to come away from the wall of the boiler.

          There should be a light on your PID indicating that the output is active, when this light turns on does your boiler light turn on? If it doesn't the first thing to check is the thermal circuit breaker on the front of the boiler, if that doesn't change its behaviour check your SSR, most SSRs I've come across have an LED on them which lights up when they are active, this LED should light when the output status light on your PID illuminates.

          Have you re-checked the setpoint? (Shouldn't happen but it's possible your PID has a fault which has caused it to "forget" the setpoint, a power surge may also have caused issues)

          If the boiler light comes on but it doesn't heat water there's a good chance it's your element, or a connection come adrift on top of the boiler.


          • #6
            Thermocouple is a ring type terminal which is screwed down by one of the screws for the thermostats, thermal paste was also applied. I would be really surprised if this has broken but I guess anything is possible.

            The output light on the PID is active and correlates to when the boiler light turns on also.

            I will need to check the SSR. This is certaintly a possible point of failure, especially if the pump has leaked at all and the SSR has got water damage.

            Yes, I have rechecked the setpoint (106).

            I will check the wiring tonight as well as the SSR.


            • #7
              Originally posted by nabsie View Post
              The output light on the PID is active and correlates to when the boiler light turns on also.
              I will need to check the SSR. This is certaintly a possible point of failure, especially if the pump has leaked at all a the SSR has got water damage.
              If your boiler light is coming on when the output of the PID is active I'd expect your SSR to be OK.


              • #8
                I checked the reset button and no luck.

                Will have to get my hands on a multimeter to check the boiler element. I've got a mate who's an electrical engineer so will get him round to check this out for me.

                As you say I don't think it's the SSR.

                Everything seems to be pointing to boiler element failure which guessing was failing pre-PID anyway.
                Last edited by nabsie; 17 July 2012, 10:10 PM.


                • #9
                  Ok, just tested the boiler element with the multimeter and it's displaying "OL" so it's dead.

                  Guess I'm up for a new boiler. Looks like a pretty straight forward swap.


                  • #10
                    Yeah, it's a pretty straight forward process, if you search the forum you'll find some quick and dirty instructions I wrote for another user.


                    • #11
                      Yeah, already did a bit of a search and found several instructions. Also found one on another site where they used RTV gasket sealent under the boiler....I ordered the boiler kit which includes a new O-ring so no need to use liquid gasket. I hate that stuff.

                      Figured I would overhaul the steam valve while I've got everything apart too so order those parts as well aaaand since I was in a spending mood I ordered a new gorup head seal and a new double spout while I was going :P

                      I have to give a shout out to also. I placed my order yesterday morning and have my parts already! Ready for the weekend.