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  • Routine Servicing - Is it necessary/beneficial?

    Hi all,

    I own a fairly old ECM Giotto that I bought second hand from a dealer who had serviced it prior to my purchase. The dealer suggested a yearly routine service. I make one or two coffees a day with the machine. Does anyone actually have their machine routinely serviced? Is there a typical sign of when to do so? What's likely to happen if I don't have it serviced annually?

    I owned a Sunbeam EM6910 for 5 years and never had it serviced and it never failed me. The sceptic in me thinks that routine servicing is most beneficial to the person earning the money from performing the service but I'm happy to be proven wrong.

    Cheers

  • #2
    Are you serious?

    Do you service your car?

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm also interested in replies to this question - maybe from some of the quality site sponsors that would perform a service.
      I don't think comparing to a car service is really fair. The major component in your regular (minor) car service is the oil/filter change on an engine that has a lot of moving and wearing parts - and checks of other components... anyway, a bit off topic and I don't want to start a debate about that.
      While for some, a regular coffee machine service may be the only time the machine gets cleaned, backflushed, descaled and spoken to nicely, many of us are capable of looking after our machines, cleaning them, backflushing, descaling, checking for broken parts, leaking seals and even checking brew pressures and temperatures etc.
      What other benefits would a regular service provide?
      Cheers

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by pilko View Post
        I'm also interested in replies to this question - maybe from some of the quality site sponsors that would perform a service.
        I don't think comparing to a car service is really fair. The major component in your regular (minor) car service is the oil/filter change on an engine that has a lot of moving and wearing parts - and checks of other components... anyway, a bit off topic and I don't want to start a debate about that.
        While for some, a regular coffee machine service may be the only time the machine gets cleaned, backflushed, descaled and spoken to nicely, many of us are capable of looking after our machines, cleaning them, backflushing, descaling, checking for broken parts, leaking seals and even checking brew pressures and temperatures etc.
        What other benefits would a regular service provide?
        Cheers
        Touche. Great post. I couldn't have written a better response to the car service analogy. Ditto from me.

        Comment


        • #5
          Yes, a preventative maintenance programme is definitely recommended in order to enjoy a long and trouble-free relationship with your preferred coffee making combo...

          Any of our Site Sponsors would be only too happy to help you out with the setting up of a decent routine, such as this one published on Talk Coffee's webpage...
          Maintaining your machine and grinder | Talk Coffee

          Mal.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by bigrizz View Post
            Touche. Great post. I couldn't have written a better response to the car service analogy. Ditto from me.
            Hi bigrizz

            It seems to me that just like car owners, there are three types of owners.
            1) Those that expect everything to be done for them: For God's sake get it serviced regularly and/or replace it well within its "normal life span" as it WILL fail every so often.
            2) Those that are willing to tinker a little: 90% of all machines out there can be done from A to Z by you. Take the effort to know exactly how the machine works* and it will repay you with great coffee for a very long time. Get it serviced if the performance drops and your routine does not sort it out.
            3) Those that are determined to push the boundaries: Unless it is under warranty, do not let anyone else near it, and usually do it all yourself.

            how the machine works*: Knowing ALL of the details about how it works may take a while.
            Just like you, I am a 6910 owner. I actually had two of them until recently, amongst other toys. User ignorance causes 90% of their "issues". Lack of basic cleaning causes most of its problems.
            One biggie: Lack of understanding about steam plus a poorly written manual (OH&S gone mad) means most users clog their steam wand up, potentially to the point of death. Usually the overloaded pump fries trying to push steam through the resultant blocked wand. Keeping it clean is a minor PITA (partially technique based), however mine went from 2010 to now without a "steam wand" prob (my "old school" technique avoided the issue completely). I have repaired / replaced a dozen or more friend's 6910's wands & pumps that were starting to fail through ignorance. To their credit, Sunbeam fixed it in spades with a unique (AFAIAC) solution with the 7000. When you shut the steam off on a 7000, it briefly stops and then pushes very low pressure steam through the wand for a few seconds. That transforms it from a user responsibility to an inbuilt machine function. Pity they did not put that in their manual, as I notice CS is now full of 7000 owners complaining their steam does not shut off immediately!

            Another 6910 issue that needed a little TLC: You need to remove the two showerscreens every so often to clean out residual grounds. Stupidly, that is not in the manual. Even most "in the machine" cleaners do not get them pristine, as cleaners are presumably designed for the far more common single showerscreen setups. Why do they clog? My original "old style" 6910 shuts off immediately, just like 99% of machines out there... and just like those machines, a small amount of coffee is sucked up into the grouphead. My newer 6910 is a very different machine under the bonnet. It actually briefly shuts off and then pumps just a little more water at low pressure into the group. Result: three years without needing to remove the showerscreens on the newer one, vs every 250g with the older one. Oh, and you have guessed it: not in the manual, so several CS'r's complained about it leaving a wet puck!... I even posted somewhere on CS to ignore it, however I had not worked out why it occurred in the first place. The 7000 does the same thing, and after 6Kg of coffee (carefully removing the showerscreens every 250g) they have needed cleaning once. That was probably due to a massive overdose by a "friend" (in my absence) which also sprayed coffee everywhere around the seal. He had completely filled (i.e. post tamping) my 7g basket and then... made a big mess of the kitchen. He was still cleaning it up when I arrived (not happy...).

            Now I have worked out that the 7000 is supposed to work like that, I will just enjoy the lower day to day maintenance of my "normal" in house machine. Easier to live with is nice to have.

            When I used to run commercial machines, the daily maintenance schedule was an essential part of using the machine. The daily maintenance list was also lot longer than any "low volume domestic user" would need or wish to bother with.

            Needless to say, type 2) or 3) people listed above should just work out their own routine as they go, and servicing should be fairly rare to non-existent. Type 1): take it to the nice local guy to fix it every time it gives a problem... someone needs to support their service dept people.

            TampIt

            Comment


            • #7
              @ TampIt - Thanks for taking the time to write your thoughtful response. I'd classify myself as a type 2. I'm pretty attentive to my machine. I clean well daily and backflush mostly weekly. I lift the hood every now and again and poke around to see if there are any signs of issues. So there's a fair chance I'll pick up on obvious issues before they become major. I tend to concur on your last sentence with respect to servicing.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by TampIt View Post
                Hi bigrizz

                It seems to me that just like car owners, there are three types of owners.
                1) Those that expect everything to be done for them: For God's sake get it serviced regularly and/or replace it well within its "normal life span" as it WILL fail every so often.
                2) Those that are willing to tinker a little: 90% of all machines out there can be done from A to Z by you. Take the effort to know exactly how the machine works* and it will repay you with great coffee for a very long time. Get it serviced if the performance drops and your routine does not sort it out.
                3) Those that are determined to push the boundaries: Unless it is under warranty, do not let anyone else near it, and usually do it all yourself.

                how the machine works*: Knowing ALL of the details about how it works may take a while.
                Just like you, I am a 6910 owner. I actually had two of them until recently, amongst other toys. User ignorance causes 90% of their "issues". Lack of basic cleaning causes most of its problems.
                One biggie: Lack of understanding about steam plus a poorly written manual (OH&S gone mad) means most users clog their steam wand up, potentially to the point of death. Usually the overloaded pump fries trying to push steam through the resultant blocked wand. Keeping it clean is a minor PITA (partially technique based), however mine went from 2010 to now without a "steam wand" prob (my "old school" technique avoided the issue completely). I have repaired / replaced a dozen or more friend's 6910's wands & pumps that were starting to fail through ignorance. To their credit, Sunbeam fixed it in spades with a unique (AFAIAC) solution with the 7000. When you shut the steam off on a 7000, it briefly stops and then pushes very low pressure steam through the wand for a few seconds. That transforms it from a user responsibility to an inbuilt machine function. Pity they did not put that in their manual, as I notice CS is now full of 7000 owners complaining their steam does not shut off immediately!

                Another 6910 issue that needed a little TLC: You need to remove the two showerscreens every so often to clean out residual grounds. Stupidly, that is not in the manual. Even most "in the machine" cleaners do not get them pristine, as cleaners are presumably designed for the far more common single showerscreen setups. Why do they clog? My original "old style" 6910 shuts off immediately, just like 99% of machines out there... and just like those machines, a small amount of coffee is sucked up into the grouphead. My newer 6910 is a very different machine under the bonnet. It actually briefly shuts off and then pumps just a little more water at low pressure into the group. Result: three years without needing to remove the showerscreens on the newer one, vs every 250g with the older one. Oh, and you have guessed it: not in the manual, so several CS'r's complained about it leaving a wet puck!... I even posted somewhere on CS to ignore it, however I had not worked out why it occurred in the first place. The 7000 does the same thing, and after 6Kg of coffee (carefully removing the showerscreens every 250g) they have needed cleaning once. That was probably due to a massive overdose by a "friend" (in my absence) which also sprayed coffee everywhere around the seal. He had completely filled (i.e. post tamping) my 7g basket and then... made a big mess of the kitchen. He was still cleaning it up when I arrived (not happy...).

                Now I have worked out that the 7000 is supposed to work like that, I will just enjoy the lower day to day maintenance of my "normal" in house machine. Easier to live with is nice to have.

                When I used to run commercial machines, the daily maintenance schedule was an essential part of using the machine. The daily maintenance list was also lot longer than any "low volume domestic user" would need or wish to bother with.

                Needless to say, type 2) or 3) people listed above should just work out their own routine as they go, and servicing should be fairly rare to non-existent. Type 1): take it to the nice local guy to fix it every time it gives a problem... someone needs to support their service dept people.

                TampIt
                My feelings exactly, well thought out post Tampit.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Today I gave the group head on my three year old Breville Dual Boiler a good clean. I took apart all removable bits such as the shower screen and group head seal and soaked them in some espresso machine cleaning powder and warm water.

                  I washed and brushed them and replaced them being careful not to tighten the screw too tight as it can make it hard to remove.

                  I backflush after each brewing session and about once a week I backflush with cleaning powder.

                  The only time I have needed to take it for a service was when an O ring failed and was replaced by Breville under warrantee. I have been careful to keep it clean, I have filtered the water going into it and no way have I needed an annual service.

                  Barry

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    When we do a service on a machine the work broadly falls into these categories:
                    1. check electrical safety (fix as required)
                    2. check all functions
                    3. check/adjust (everything from boiler/brew pressure/temperature, water tank cutoff, boiler level, brew lever switch engagement)
                    4. replace wearable/dirty parts (where required - seals, o-rings, shower screens)
                    5. clean group head (and general clean for machine)
                    6. lube (eg o-rings, wands, lever)
                    7. check/clean scale (advise customer if different water filtration required)

                    charlie

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There is an aspect of service/maintenance that is not normally addressed by the owner that techs do which is clean out cobwebs, dead cockroaches, rancid milk and mouldy grinds.

                      Some folks would be rather horrified if I told them what I had discovered in their grinders and prosumer machines. I don't- I just vacuum and wipe with metho - part of the job. A fellow tech found a dead mouse in an AV controller. It had electrocuted itself and killed the machine. I took the base off a grinder to check the power switch and about 30 small cockroaches poured out. I found 18 teaspoons in a prosumer machine; that was interesting.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sprezzatura View Post
                        I found 18 teaspoons in a prosumer machine; that was interesting.
                        In the sugar dispenser I presume?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
                          In the sugar dispenser I presume?
                          An office machine - they had a cup full of teaspoons and when finished making a cappuccino (spoon method) they'd set the spoon on the cup warmer and it would fall down alongside the caldera. A spoon piggy bank, I declared.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by sprezzatura View Post
                            An office machine - they had a cup full of teaspoons and when finished making a cappuccino (spoon method) they'd set the spoon on the cup warmer and it would fall down alongside the caldera. A spoon piggy bank, I declared.
                            ... and they are exactly the people who should get things serviced regularly, especially when they run out of spoons...

                            Your earlier comment on cockroaches / mould etc: too true! A cafe who shall remain nameless proved that an old La Cimbali can actually hold a (very) dessicated previously large rat between the boiler and the back panel. Typical La Cim, it just arced the rat and kept pumping the shots out... I used to wonder how long it took for the "initial burnt rat smell" to dissipate before it dried out to become leather?

                            Needless to say, most true DIYr's would always check inside their toys every so often just in case.

                            TampIt

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              We get some absolute shockers and whilst they might arrive looking disgusting, they leave us clean and shiny after a service.

                              It's amazing as to how many machines seem to have permanent residence beside deep fryers. We have clients who have been billed for 90 minutes of cleaning!

                              Comment

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