Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

EM6910 issue - low steam pressure

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • EM6910 issue - low steam pressure

    Hi all,

    Having an issue with my Sunbeam EM6910. It's 2-3 years old and has been flawless, making a few coffees a day.

    About a week ago the steam pressure dropped dramatically - worked fine up until one day, but the next time I turned the machine on and it was clear there was an issue.

    The symptoms are as follows. There is still steam pressure, but it's probably half of what it was. There is also excess water dribbling into the drip tray.

    The machine has been recently descaled & there is a new calcium cartridge in it. I have done all the basic stuff like pull the steam wand off & check for blockages, but it was perfectly clean so no issue there. When I had the steam wand off I cranked the steam and it was the same - very weak, so the issue is obviously further up the line.

    Do to the fact that it's leaking water I'm thinking there's a seal/valve that's let go somewhere within. Before I cart it across town looking for a fix or pulling it apart looking for issues, does anyone have any suggestions of where I should be looking?

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Is it taking a lot longer to start bringing steam through? Does the 'brrp, brrp sound start off really soft then get louder as the steam comes through?

    What process did you use for descaling?

    I have a thread at http://coffeesnobs.com.au/general-co...intenance.html about the issues I had.

    Comment


    • #3
      Nope, it sounds fine - the pressure just isn't there. I cranked the temperature and pressure up, but it's very different to how it was. Literally happened in between uses and hasn't improved/declined since.

      I descaled as per the manual, using the Sunbeam tablets.

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't think the tablets do the steam part do they? I haven't used them, I use a liquid and run it through the wand for 15 minutes or so. But if one use it was good and the next it wasn't, either something broke or a chunk of debris got knocked into the steam pipe. First try getting a liquid cleaner specifically for espresso machines and run it through for a while and see if it clears its throat.

        Comment


        • #5
          I had a problem similar to what you are describing. I had a blockage in the pipe that runs between the steam thermoblock and the steam knob. The blockage was close to the thermoblock. I had recently descaled the machine. My guess is I loosened scale in the steam thermoblock and it moved up into the pipe. It was blocked solid, descaling would not a have dislodged it. I removed the pipe, cleaned it with a fine wire and it is like new.
          While I had the pipe off I filled the thermoblock with descaler and let it sit for 30 minutes, got lots of crud out, flushed multiple times and all is well.

          Comment


          • #6
            I've had my EM6910 since 2007 and it's worked hard and flawlessly for over 6 years! I've calculated it's pulled in excess of 3000 shots so return on investment has been outstanding.

            With a busy lifestyle I've neglected the scheduled maintenance process, ie, in all it's life I've only ever used tap water and only back washed and descaled no more than 6 times using the original Sunbeam descaler I bought in 2007.

            Having said that, here's my problem. The Sunbeam descaler is a 6 pack and as I used the last tablet last year yesterday I found myself in the mood for a backwash and descale but no tablet so I consulted the manual and opted for the vinegar process. The machine does not appear to like the vinegar! As with the tablet process I ensure the steam wand is never used during the descale process BUT whilst I have a descaled and back washed machine, it's the wand, the only part that was not exposed to the descale process that is now playing up. It's almost like some scale has dislodged and is mucking up the wand.

            Symptoms: Significantly lower pressure (by say 50%), less steam and more water spitting out. Impossible to stretch milk with low steam and spluttering water, all I have now is hot milk.

            It seems changing from tablet to vinegar has altered this machine's equilibrium. I've removed the wand but it's clean as a whistle. I've read a few threads here but it seems nobody has pinpointed a solution (I could be wrong).

            So, for what it's worth, rather than pondering and agonizing over this I will attempt to descale the wand this time by adding a lot more vinegar to the water reservoir and purging the wand. Watch this space.

            Comment


            • #7
              Let it run. I did mine with a commercial cleaner (Cino Cleano bought on recommendation from local roasters) when I first got the 6910. I specifically asked the roasters if it was OK for the steam system as I hadn't been impressed with the condition of the machine - clean on the outside but anything that couldn't be seen was caked. the EM0480 grinder from the same people had a cockroach living in it!

              I haven't been able to find any reason for not running cleaner through the wand - the manual says don't use descaler for it but mine has only improved with the cleaner.

              I use Reverse Osmosis water and figured with RO I wouldn't have to worry too much about descaling. Over the next 7 months or so I would use the cleaning mode with water one time then with the cleaner the next time, which flushes the extraction system but not the wand. Then I noticed it was taking longer for steam to start. Pump started straight off but very quiet, and eventually a sputter of water then steam as normal.

              It happened so gradually I didn't take much notice till I timed it one day and it was 15 seconds before steam came out. I ran cleaner through the wand and let it run for a bit. I was about to turn it off when the phone rang and I left it go while I answered it. I was heading back to the 6910 when it coughed and spluttered and suddenly I got a HEAP more steam. It's been flawless since. Takes 30 seconds to texture enough milk for a pint of chai latté.

              Note that neither the descaling procedure nor the tablet one will clean your steam system - I'm not familiar enough with the internals to know for sure but I don't see how either procedure could block your steam system either. With different thermoblocks for each system the only common point should be the water reservoir.

              Comment


              • #8
                Journeyman, the reason the manual advises not to use cleaner in the steam system is that the fumes could be toxic so it is sunbeam protecting themselves, nothing more.
                Re the point on cleaning the steam system causing blockages; when I did mine it became well and truly blocked, I think the cleaning fluid dislodged sufficient gunk in the thermoblock that then travelled up to the steam pipe and completely blocked it, I removed the blocked pipe and cleaned it with a piece of wire and all was well again. I suspect this happened as it was the first time I had tried to clean the steam system after 4 years. We have poor water where I am, I use tank water now and it stays clean.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hey alexm1, you were cleaning the steam system though, so if it hadn't been done before you could expect things to work loose. What I don't get is how doing a manual-standard cleaning disk or descale procedure could affect the steam system - in neither case does any steaming happen.

                  Possibly some of the cleaner went into the pipe leading to the steam thermoblock, but if that was possible, SB would also have warned to purge the steam system after completing the extraction system.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Journeyman, you are right, I assumed the steam process had been activated.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks guys.

                      Well the vinegar up the steaming spout concept didn't work either.

                      I'm sensing it's just a matter of time before whatever gunk that's clogging the steamer dislodges and I'm back in the game. In the meantime I'll restock on descaling product (Sunbeam or otherwise) and run it through both the machine and steaming wand and see what happens.

                      Uncanny, whilst maintenance is always advised, seems these little machines prefer to be plugged in and left alone, as when reading through the threads relating to this problem, nearly everyone encountered the the same issue after a routine descale!

                      Though, like others, I too had chipped away a small amount of built up milk from the tip of the wand and inserted the pin to clear the tip, perhaps that too added to the problem by removing the resistance pressure that we may have perceived as a standard characteristic of the wand, who knows!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If descaling breaks free large pieces of scale that then block the system perhaps descaling needs to be done more frequently. Thus getting rid of the scale before it's thick enough to make large enough pieces to cause blockages.


                        Java "Just a thought" phile
                        Toys! I must have new toys!!!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I still can't see how descaling the rest of the machine would then mess up the steam - different systems all the way as fas as I know, which isn't very much when talking about the internals of the box - still haven't taken mine apart. Life keeps getting in the way. After years in hospitality I'm a bit of a clean freak so I'd have to say more descaling rather than less is good, particularly with tap water.

                          @richbrew - try taking the wand off and run some fine wire or a pipe cleaner through it. Try running the steam system without the wand with a container under it and see what comes out. Try soaking it overnight then pipe cleaner again.

                          Maybe try a commercial cleaner? I'm not sure what was in the Cino Cleano I used and I'm out of it right now so can't check the bottle, but it didn't smell like vinegar.

                          How long did you run the vinegar through? As stated mine was well over 15 minutes before it sputtered out gunk and it had been cleaned recently. (although that clean clearly didn't remove whatever it was in the path because the steam is better now than it ever was) I also would regularly let it run for maybe a minute and was always careful (my barista course trainer mentioned about milk going up the tip) to purge it after every use.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Removing pipe

                            Originally posted by alexm1 View Post
                            I had a problem similar to what you are describing. I had a blockage in the pipe that runs between the steam thermoblock and the steam knob. The blockage was close to the thermoblock. I had recently descaled the machine. My guess is I loosened scale in the steam thermoblock and it moved up into the pipe. It was blocked solid, descaling would not a have dislodged it. I removed the pipe, cleaned it with a fine wire and it is like new.
                            While I had the pipe off I filled the thermoblock with descaler and let it sit for 30 minutes, got lots of crud out, flushed multiple times and all is well.
                            Hi Alex, each time I descale my machine I get the same blockage regardless of whether I use a tablet or vinegar and I'm facing another bill for overhaul in which I'm pretty sure all they do is remove the pipe you are talking about and flush it. So I've taken the back off my machine, a bit scared to keep going beyond the circuit board. Any tips on how I get the pipe out would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by richbrew View Post
                              Though, like others, I too had chipped away a small amount of built up milk from the tip of the wand and inserted the pin to clear the tip, perhaps that too added to the problem by removing the resistance pressure that we may have perceived as a standard characteristic of the wand, who knows!
                              The real issue here isn't so much lack of pressure (in fact, the pressure upstream of the blockage is probably higher than normal), but rather too much resistance leading to less flow.

                              Unblocking the tip will most certainly not make the issue worse, unless perhaps you incidentally created further blockage in the process!

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X