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Power tripping on Expobar Office Control

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  • Power tripping on Expobar Office Control

    I am based in Brisbane and have in-laws in Sacramento California. Frustrated with lack of good espresso nearby when I visit for weeks at a time I decided to buy a 2nd hand Expobar Office Control (well 2 actually) so I have a project then a regular source of good coffee once working. I have one back home and an ECM Giotto so I know enough about them to be dangerous :-)

    Anyway, slowly stepping through various issues with my non working machines. Got it pumping water into the boiler and able to get water out the group head but after around a minute of being on the safety switch on the power outlet I am using is tripping. Element seems to work for that minute as the top of the boiler is warming up. If I disconnect the element it stops the tripping. 930w element at 110volt is measuring 14.5 ohms across the terminals when machine is off. Not sure what to try next except swap the element from the other machine which is also measuring 14.5 ohms.

    Any suggestions most appreciated.

  • #2
    After a bit of reading of similar threads, it appears to be the element slowly leaking to earth. Will meter it out tomorrow as its bed time now.

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    • #3
      FWIW, if the GPO is RCD protected does it trip? I think it would if there is a leak to earth.
      It may be a faulty thermal cut out that faulters under the constant current. Does it need resetting at all?
      I had to replace a control board as the boiler relay was failing after about 40 minutes. I had already replaced the thermal cut out and pressure stat.

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      • #4
        What I believe to be an RCD GPO does need local resetting. Will try the other control board too and maybe see if the control board is servicable. I have a fair bit of spare time while over here so happy to tinker. Will also be in touch with Whole Latte Love, the US Expobar distributors after the Thanksgiving weekend.

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        • #5
          You won't be able to test insulation breakdown of the element without a suitable insulation tester.

          Pretty safe bet that it's the element insulation at fault though. Replace it and you should be fine.

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          • #6
            After a little more testing and tripping of the power circuit, the machine actual fully heated up and is running fine for the moment. It is cycling through heatup cooldown so will keep it running to see how long it lasts. Will most likely still need a heating element from either the other machine or a new one.

            Went out and bought a 36mm socket yesterday so I could remove the element but is a little small. Any idea what the actual size is?

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            • #7
              Caveat . We had a food warmer that after being unused for sometime kept tripping the RCD. The agent came out and said that moisture gets into the element. His fix was using an de-earthed double adapter to get the element hot for 30 minutes ( not touching the unit). Turned it off and the food warmer was safe with no leak to earth. You may find your element is happy now it has been hot for a while. But a boiler is water based - ugh!

              The measured current leak was minute but enough to trip the RCD.

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              • #8
                Would be good if it is now OK. I'll keep on testing and give it a good descale and replace the consumable parts and see how I go. Was running for over an hour without tripping.

                Thanks for your help guys.

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                • #9
                  Still seems to be holding up. Machine was sitting in storage for the last 2.5years since I got it off eBay so may have caused the problem. Now to descale and replace group head gasket, etc.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dumiya View Post
                    The agent came out and said that moisture gets into the element. His fix was using an de-earthed double adapter to get the element hot for 30 minutes ( not touching the unit).
                    Would never recommend for anyone to do this. Not only illegal but very dangerous.... Stuff happens and despite any and all warnings about NOT touching the offending device, someone might forget, overbalance - Who knows. Then get fried...

                    Don't do it...

                    Mal.

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                    • #11
                      While waiting for my Dezcal to arrive in the post, thought I would try and get the 2nd machine going. Was missing a pressurestat so I borrowed it from my now working machine and the pump that was working in machine 2 was now in machine 1 so back it went. Cranked it up and nothing. Suspected the Gicar was toast and sure enough after putting in the Gigar from machine 1 it powered up, pump activated and filled the boiler then the water started to heat up. Afte about 5-10min, power tripped so may have a similar problem to machine 1. So I'll try a few cycles and see if I can 'fix' the problem again.

                      Re the Gicar not working, anyone have any info on how to possibly repair these?

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                      • #12
                        There's a few threads on repairing the standalone Gicar boxes if you search a bit, it mainly comes down to the power transformer, capacitors and relays obviously the transformer details will be slightly different for 110 V use.

                        Regarding the element having earth leakage, the insulation inside the heater element is a magnesium oxide powder which is hygroscopic so if the seals at the end of the element are not very good it will absorb water over time. Rather than setting up a dodgy lead the safest way to dry the element out is in an oven for a few hours, it's explained here: commercial link removed per site posting policy
                        The heater element needs a 1-1/2" spanner it's a common size for immersion heater elements so you may find a tube spanner is the best thing to use to prevent damage to the element connections.

                        I've just picked up a 240VAC office control myself to take into my workplace so may be able to do some checks in the Gicar box for you if you need
                        Last edited by Javaphile; 4 December 2014, 06:51 PM. Reason: Commercial link(s) removed

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                        • #13
                          I found some useful info on testing the Gicar here http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...tml#post528510 so will go through that and there is also a guy up in Washington State that fixes these for a reasonable price so will get in touch.

                          And I won't be trying to fix the element using the dodgy lead method, but will try what I did with the other one or the slow bake method you mentioned.

                          I also spotted a section in the local hardware with a bunch of heating elementa and the tube socket removal tool so migh grab one of those.

                          And the Urnex Dezcal arrived last night so time to put back together and descale machine #1 and hopefully have my first decent coffee in 10 days

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                          • #14
                            Put machine #1 back together, spent ages yanking out the old group head gasket and shower screen and giving it a good clean. Looked like it had never been back flushed! Came prepared and brought spares and some clean machine back flushing powder from Australia. After flushing the boiler and checking the mushroom, decided not to descale just yet. Still have to dial in my Lido 2 grinder but happy with the first caffe latte. So after buying this on eBay a few years back for $150 inc shipping, fixing the pump, drying out the element and giving it a clean I have a nice machine. The Lido 2 will be heading back to Aus and may end up replacing my Mazzer Mini Manual.Click image for larger version

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                            • #15
                              Great result!

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