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VBM Vibiemme Domobar Super Advice

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  • VBM Vibiemme Domobar Super Advice

    Hi guys, I've come across this forum a while back and wanted to get some crowd advice on what might be possibly be going wrong with my VBM Domobar Super. I have the microswitch unit (not lever or automatic) and last few days my wife had noticed that my steam pressure was dropping off. Initial pressure sits around 1bar then once you get the steam going, drops to 0.4bar and you can tell thats its not enough to stretch the milk.

    The heat and pressure coming out of the group head has been fine and honestly, I only noticed myself when I complained to my wife about the poor coffee and asked me to make my own ;-)

    I checked the steam, weak, checked the hot water tap, no water (only steam)... Now I realised there was a problem.

    This might be karma, but this morning the safety switch was tripped in the house, (left machine on overnight by accident) and the machine now doesn't heat up.

    I had the Gicar Controller (refurbished) and element (new) replaced around 6mths ago and immediately thought oh no, another controller/element... $$$$

    I opened the unit, pulled the connectors of the element and the element is registering "open" around 20Megs.

    Could this refurbished controller have been the culprit? I was told that these refurbished Gicars were perfect. Is there anything else that could be the cause. Could the heat created in the unit be enough to stress the components in the controller and cause failures?

    Don't want to go through the process again and spend another few hundred on the unit and the Gicars warranty is for 3mths anyway...

    Any advice would be appreciated.


  • #2
    Bump to the top


    • #3
      Edit: sorry, looks like I didn't fully comprehend your post


      • #4
        Sounds like it's a cascade effect from a single defect. First the autofill was not functioning properly in the first place (the trigger). No idea why - it could be the probe was covered by scale, or not connected properly to the Gicar, or something else. That caused your boiler water level to be dangerously low (thus no hot water but only steam). Then as the last bit of water was getting less and less, the pstat couldn't detect pressure and thus not able to cut the heat. So it proceeds to overheat, and then kicked in the overtemp switch in the process.

        Best move is probably send to a tech to check. You need to find out why the boiler isn't filling in the first place, and then replace/reset the safety switch.

        What is the wattage of the element btw?
        Last edited by samuellaw178; 19 April 2017, 10:16 PM.


        • #5
          samuellaw178, thanks for the reply.

          I do believe that the cascade failure is a pretty accurate description of events. I suspected that the "new" refurbished controller was the culprit and as such, didn't want to take it back to the same service centre. After being without this machine for a while and sick of the Sunbeam coffees I was making I decided to do a complete overhaul and was shocked at the level of limescale, dirt, dried and worn seals etc. I uncovered.

          Even though I was told the machine was completely serviced 6mths prior it seems as though nothing was touched... The element wasn't the right one (1350W), the water level probe wasn't working properly, the OPV needed a new spring and the mushroom cap on the top of the group head was caked in limescale and rust... Yay for my peculiar espresso flavours...

          Still got some bits arriving and once done I'll be sure to update.