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ELKA Vibe pump DYING??????

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  • ELKA Vibe pump DYING??????

    Hi Yall,

    Rescently my 5YO Silvia has developed a "quirk" in what appears to be the pump.

    Its only an issue when its pumping @ > Espresso brew pressure [ie in the ristretto through to blind filter range].
    And it only seems to occur when the pump is warmed up [ie if the pump has been running for about 20 sec or more].

    So what it does is this:

    BLANK SHOT [no coffee in PF]
    The flow rate is about 600-700ml per minute which seems normal for the ELKA E5.

    The shots seems to run normally [as per expected grinder settings] and taste great.

    Some Ristrettos seem to pull fine.

    What happens during an "accidental" ristretto [or quasi choke shot] is that the pump will cut in and out, in cycles of about every two seconds.
    This would occur 15+ sec after hitting the brew switch.
    Audibly, you hear the normal Loud Buzzing pump noise, then it stops and is replaced by a Strong Hum and then the pump buzzing kicks in again.

    Funnilly enough the pour does not seem effected [the flow looks consistant] but I suspect the volume of the pour is less than what it should be.

    Sometimes the Loud Buzzing may cut out completely, leaving the Strong Hum.
    In this case the pour will cease.

    a) Pump unused for 5 min.
    If I hit the brew button with a blind basket inserted, the pump usually runs fine for up to 20 seconds [I wouldnt normally take it longer than this and for a backflush, only about 1 sec].
    I can perform the OPV check by measuring the flow via the outlet hose and Im getting about 50ml per min which is lower than what it should be [it used to be OK and the OPV has previously been adjusted to 9bar]

    b)Pump unrested
    If I repeated the above right away [after negligible pump rest], the pump seems to stall [ie it makes the Strong Hum sound rather than the Buzz sound]

    If I repeated this after say a further 5min rest, it would run OK as per a).

    If I run the hot water switch with the valve fully shut, I can get the pump to behave in the same way as per the blind filter test above.

    The 3 way valve seems to operate correctly,
    Also, because the Hot water test causes the pump to respond in the same way as per the blind filter test, I am fairly confident the three way valve it is not the cause of the problem.

    So my conclusion is that under strenuous conditions, the pump is hitting some sort of thermal state where it cuts in and out or just stalls.
    Put more simply I think its just old / tired /cranky and needs to be retired.

    I intent to replace it, but Id also like to BETTER understand what is going on internally/mechanically/electrically to cause this.
    eg slightly burned out insulation that is breaking down at certain temperatures.

    Any comments welcomed.

  • #2
    Re: ELKA Vibe pump DYING??????

    Hi Reubster,

    Yep, sounds like your ULKA could be getting tired or maybe the Diode has failed, but Im pretty sure you would have noticed an immediate change in the sound and operation of the pump if this happened..... anythings possible though :-?

    Heres a link to a page where an owner decided to strip his pump down and rebuild it, quite informative and gives you a good idea of whats going on inside the pump itself.

    Cheers mate ,


    • #3
      Re: ELKA Vibe pump DYING??????

      The new Elka went in yesterday and the problem is solved.

      Twas the first time Id taken Silvia apart, I must say the build quality, design and layout [all of which allow easy access to everything] are just brilliant in this machine.


      • #4
        Re: ELKA Vibe pump DYING??????

        Great news Reubster ;D,

        Good to see you back in business....