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My beloved EM5900 is finally dying

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  • My beloved EM5900 is finally dying

    Still pours great but the steam wand has a problem. I've tried cleaning the nozzle and descaling it, but no improvement. The steam is just weak and somewhat watery, it can barely create the required whirlpool.

    Options? Buy the 6200 which is the upgrade model, it seems? The amazing looking 7000? Go to a Silvia or Gaggia? Get it repaired (will probably be at least $100 and not come with a warranty)?

    I'm so sad. This thing's made over 1000 coffees, it deserves retirement but I don't want to see it go.

  • #2
    Personally I would not put a $100 on a repair to a 5900..because of the reasons you stated, if I had access to an old machine for parts you`d put your time in to repair it, as you liked it. I had a em5400, sold it for $60, and bought a em7000, and haven`t given it a second thought about whether it was a right decision or not, didn`t have to add to it, don`t have to work on it, or change it. It just makes coffee. I use a em6910 at work, it`s ok considering 50 people use it and no one owns it (think about putting your own machines in that situation, gulp), but the em7000 is way better machine in my opinion for home, gladly pay the difference in price again right now. I haven`t owned a Silvia or Gaggia. They`re in the same range, and the owners love them, the grinder makes the world of difference to whatever you buy in my opinion.

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    • #3
      I suspect the wand tip got clogged from a hot chocolate I made a few weeks ago, and the extra pressure has caused something to loosen or crack in the steam assembly. It's making a gurgling sound while on Steam mode and steam is coming out from the tray, so there's something escaping causing the loss of pressure. With enough care I can still make passable milk, but I'm wondering if it's an easy fix, could be as easy as tightening a screw in there or covering over a crack with plumber's tape.

      I can get a (last gen) EM6910 with new grinder for $599 with warranty, probably bargain them down a bit more, so I'm strongly considering that. But I do love this machine and it's not broken, just slightly defective now.

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      • #4
        I'll be looking to sell my EM6910 soon

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        • #5
          I'm thinking of an EM7000 and EM0500 grinder now. Can't find many reviews of the new grinder compared to the EM0480.

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          • #6
            I found a site that does product review. Someone asked what the difference is between the EM0480 and the EM0500 and the Sunbeam Customer Care reply was the size of the hopper and the number of grind settings.

            Size of hopper is to me, a negative change - I don't like leaving my beans in the hopper and only ever use just enough for what I am making. But the number of grind settings could be a good change. The EM0480 has a fairly high 'gradient' for the changing positions of the grind selector. i.e. a single click can be a significant change in fineness, requiring a change in dose/tamp to try to counter the rather drastic change in grind. If they have 'stepped' the same change in burr settings into 40 steps instead of 25, I think that would improve the consistency of result from the grinder.

            Not sure it would be enough to get me to trade my EM0480 though...

            EM7000 I would happily move to if I had the bikkies...

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            • #7
              Reading the specs on that site - there are a couple of other changes. They've ditched the automatic hopper gate (one of the 0480s better features IMO) and added a detachable grind tray, which seems like a bit of a gimmick... There's also some kind of plastic dosing funnel in place of the chute on the 0480 - looks a bit like a ripoff of the Mazzer Mini-e. May or may not be an improvement, depending on whether it solves the 0480's clumping and messiness or just makes it harder to sweep out the chute...

              At the end of the day, unless they've solved the lower burr play and inconsistent grind, the rest is fairly marginal at best.

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              • #8
                Ended up getting a EM7000 with a free EM0480 coming in the mail. Almost a shame about the free grinder, considering the EM0700 is coming soon. EM7000 is a dud though, will need to replace it tomorrow.

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                • #9
                  I tried Cafetto MLC on the steam wand, following their instructions. Didn't help. I finally opened it up, but couldn't figure out how to get the top off so I could see inside the steam/thermoblock area but not access it to take my spanner to any of the various valves and gaskets. Nothing obvious that I could see , except it's releasing a lot of steam somewhere it shouldn't be (in operation, as much steam comes out of the drip tray area as the wand but I couldn't actually see the source). As a last resort I'm running MLC through the whole thing, hoping it's some mysterious milk blockage that running the steam wand previously for an hour and descaling didn't budge, but don't hold out much hope. From the level of difficultly opening it up I am guessing a repair bill would be at least half the cost of a new machine (ie. the 6200) so I'll just have to bid it adieu. Still pulls a decent shot, so maybe I can give it away to someone who doesn't care about the milk part.

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                  • #10
                    No luck with the MLC. I think I have figured out the problem though - the valve that lets excess steam pressure back into the drip try (also used to flush the thermoblock to cool it when going from steam back to espresso) I think it's faulty, and more open than it should be. More water/steam is being released into the drip tray during steam (with zero resistance I might add at the wand end) than is coming out of the wand. I upped the steam temp by 1 and the rate down by 1, and the steam is a little better. Still not like it should be, but you could probably make okay milk with it.

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                    • #11
                      Tried milk on it. I think it's worse than when I started trying things to fix it. Not enough power to get a whirlpool going at all. Was hoping maybe this could be my travelling machine for trips down the coast but, ah well, time to give up.

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                      • #12
                        Maybe someone wants it for parts?

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