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Where can I start to rebuild my Faema Family Espresso machine.

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  • Where can I start to rebuild my Faema Family Espresso machine.

    I was given a Faema Family complete set - espresso, grinder & base. I tried the machine and it would not pump water. I assumed it needed a new vibratory pump. I put it away and years later decided to fix it. When I opened it up, I found mice actually got inside and ate some of the wire insulation & the hoses. Where can I start to find how to rebuild this machine? I realize there are many posts on this machine (brass boiler model) but I can't seem to trace the start of a rebuild.
    Can someone lead me to the various info to build this back?

  • #2
    These are a fairly simple machine that have a lot in common with other domestic machines. I would start by checking all the wires to make sure everything is intact and safe. you might be able to just use wire joiners at this stage if the mice have left you enough to work with. Similarly with the hoses, I would replace any damaged ones so that you can start diagnostics with a complete machine. I would also pick up a plug in RCD, just to work a bit safer. Mains voltage can be dangerous and if your wiring is compromised you need to be careful.
    Once the machine is complete again you can run a few tests. You say it needs a new Vibe pump, often times when a machine sits for a long time without use the vibe pump sticks and won't work. These pumps are very simple inside and in my experience if you take them apart and clean then they will often work fine. Here's a good video link showing how to service these pumps:
    One other thing to bear in mind is that if this machine has sat a very long time the boiler may be dry and turning it on will send power to the element which will overheat if there is no water. If you service the pump afterwards it would be a good idea to prime the boiler by turning on the brew switch and opening the steam valve and let it run until a good cup of water has come out of the steam wand. catch the water in a glass and examine it for particles or discolouration.
    Once you get the machine up and pumping again you can decide if you want to go further and descale or clean the boiler

    I see you're in Woodstock, under normal non pandemic conditions i spend every september with my in-laws in Hurley, I would have been happy to come over and give you a hand, but its not looking like I'm going to be leaving Australia any time soon.
    Happy to give advice remotely though. Good luck with the rebuild


    • #3
      Thanks Aaron...sorry you can't visit the area. It's been beautiful around here - now that the heat wave has subsided. Hopefully, travel will become normalized soon..

      Meanwhile, regarding my 'project', I see that these mice did eat away some of the insulation on several wires. The insulation on this old machine is a fabric material. I assume I can use the "plastic" coated wire to replace them - as I see in pictures, that is the case. So my question is about the gauge of the wire. Can I use 12 or 14 ga? And as far as the connectors go, must I look for the Italian copy or can I use a similar connector as long as it fits on the terminal?
      Regarding the pump, I'd rather replace it as I don't want to waste time if it still doesn't work after I "fix" it. Besides, I may not find the parts. I'm having a hard time finding a matching pump. I assume Ulka is the source. The specs on my pump say: 120v, 60Hz, 70w...then it has some other numbers ED/SD 1/14, 27625.04.5, codice 28/84.

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      • #4
        sorry wire gauge for 120V is not my area of expertise. Id go with a high temp silicon insulated wire rated for the maximum watts of the machine. Not sure what the existing connectors look like, usually they are just standard spade connectors with a plastic insulators that slip over them once they have been crimped on. I can't remember what they are called though,. Id say as long as they connect positively and are well insulated you should be fine. Just be wary of what might get hot when the machine is operating and make sure anything you use in the vicinity is rated for high temps.
        The only two companies that I know if that make vibe pumps are Ulka and Fluidotech. the Ulka pumps have two spade connectors and the Fluidotechs have a three spade connector similar to a solenoid. Again being a 120V variety makes it a little less common, but ion you post a shot of the whole pump someone should recognise its shape.
        Actually the symbol at the top of the label is the fluidotech logo I'm pretty sure. Id contact a US espresso parts supplier and get them to suggest the correct replacement. Unfortunately Fluidotech pumps are a bit more expensive than Ulkas


        • #5
          Aaron you are absolutely right about the Fluid-o-tech pump - I've never heard of that brand. I did find a replacement for $103 vs $23 for an Ulka! Even though mine is Fluid-o-tech it only has two connectors...if a replacement has 3, I'm not sure how to connect it.
          Meanwhile, I think I WILL take the old one apart and try to fix it. A hundred bucks makes it worth while now! My next goal is to verify the wire gauge to use. Perhaps it is similar to a Silvia - which is my working machine?
          Anyone out there know something about 120v wire gauges in an espresso machine? It's probably not that hard to find this out.
          More to come as I look into this mouse-ridden Family machine.


          • #6
            I would say its a pretty safe bet to go with the same wire gauge as the Silvia, the two machines are very similar in terms of their power usage. In my little experience 120V wires tend to be thiner than the equivalent for 240V. Sure there's an electrical engineer on here who would know why that is, but equally I don't think there's a major disadvantage going with a heavier gauge.
            Im not certain about the connectors on the FT pump, that comment was just based on some images I saw on line. Fluidotech is probably more known for its Vane pumps - similar to Procon.
            It will be a bit harder to find info regarding how your particular pump comes apart but it can't be that different from the Ulka I'd imagine. Just go slow, and expect there to be lots of springs when taking things apart. Generally the problem with these vibe pumps is a rubber valve has stuck to the valve seat, so if you take everything apart and give it a clean you should be back in business.
            good luck!


            • #7
              I'm back from summer/fall activities and getting ready to get back to my Faema Family.
              A thought occurred to me about replacing the wiring where mice ate the insulation. Is it possible to use heat-shrink wrap on the exposed wire instead of replacing it? I'm thinking this would save a lot of time from cutting the right length and fitting the connectors to the 2 ends. So, anyone have any knowledge about using this heat wrap?


              • #8
                If the copper has been at all damaged it needs replacing. You might save 2 minutes, but the result won't be as good.


                • #9
                  Well, level3ninja, I'm up for replacing all the wires, but I'm not sure what gauge they are. AND, do I need to be concerned with the insulation being heat resistant? The connectors are Italian but I think there are similar ones in the US...


                  • #10
                    Standard (crosslinked polyolefin) heatshrink is generally not a good idea in a hot environment. There are special high temperature heatshrinks but they are much more difficult to use.

                    The gauge of wire depends on the current draw not the voltage: the higher the current the thicker the wire to prevent excessive self heating: heating is I2R, R per unit length depends on area, area depends on the square of diameter so diameter scales with current.

                    Voltage rating depends on thickness and type of insulation. Don't use common PVC insulation on a coffee machine, it won't last: the plasticisers bake out and the insulation becomes brittle. Fluoropolymers (PTFE, FEP etc) and fibreglass are far better.


                    • tompoland
                      tompoland commented
                      Editing a comment
                      also amazed at the free expertise that is on offer here. inspirational stuff Lyrebird

                  • #11
                    Great advice!! Thanks.
                    I'll proceed accordingly.



                    • #12
                      So I now have the proper wire (MTW) and awaiting delivery of the insulated connectors.

                      My next chore is rebuilding the silicone tubing - which the mice pretty much destroyed. The source for the tubing is easy but the routing of it is a bit confusing. There is one connection that has a "Y" connector thereby routing 2 tubes together. I'm not sure of that route. I believe it may be with the 3-way valve. Anyone have a diagram of the tube routing?

                      After I replace the wiring, my last task is the pump. It's from Fluid-O-Tech. I took the existing one apart and found it to be in 'good' shape (I think). I'm going to try to hook it to 120V power and see if it works. Otherwise I guess I'll have to purchase one. They are 3 times the cost of Ulka!

                      The last part of this rebuild is to find or make a cover for the doser on the grinder - which was missing. So if anyone knows a source, or dimensions or a 3D printed version, please let me know.
                      I hope to have this Faema done and working by the end of the year.

                      Happy Thanksgiving (today) to you all, and a great new year!