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My Intro to Homemade Espresso with a BZ99S

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  • My Intro to Homemade Espresso with a BZ99S

    So over the weekend I finally decided to take the plunge and go down the rabbit hole that is becoming a coffee snob. I picked up a Bezzera BZ99S and a Macap M4 for $400. Everything seems to work (i.e water comes out the group head, hot water pipe and it gets plenty of steam) but I haven't pulled a shot with it yet. Aesthetically on the outside it's in ok condition. The paint on the side is just starting to flake a little and I have only just found out that there is supposed to be a cup warmer grate/grill on the top which is missing.

    After doing a fair amount of reading through this forum, I then started ordering some parts online including the much recommended EP Precision baskets (double and triple shot).

    This afternoon I pulled the top and sides off and it looks like I might have a little bit of work ahead of me (which is half the fun of a first espresso machine, pulling it apart, learning how it works and fixing it). I'm not quite sure if it has a leak as yet, but the build up at the bottom of the boiler looks like it may have.

    The previous owner did say that when he first got the machine it had a leak but it turned out to be the bolt in the bottom of the water tank wasn't screwed in enough and once he sorted that there was no more leak.

    So what's everyone's recommendations based on the pictures? Should I just pull it down straight away, clean it up, learn how a HX machine works etc and then start pulling shots or should I just leave it, start pulling shots and see what it's like first?














  • #2
    So I decided to push on ahead and pull it down and give it a good clean. After opening up the boiler, I'm glad I did. It doesn't look like it has been descaled for a while.

    While I was pulling it down, I also found 1 cable was disconnected at the bottom of the boiler which I can see looking back at the original photo's I took (second last pic of my OP). Not sure what that cable is for since the diagram I have of a BZ99 shows something called a Thermic Safety Device 250V 115 degrees Celsius at the bottom of the boiler yet mine doesn't have that little box. I suppose I'll just plug the cable back on once I re-install the boiler.

    Some pics of the nastiness.







    and after a quick 2 hour soak in descaler with boiling water





    Will continue the descaling over the weekend. I'll have to pick up new gaskets while I'm at it. Hopefully once it's all clean and I put everything back it still works.

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    • #3
      I’ve seen worse, but yeah stripping that boiler was a good call. Have fun, look forward to seeing your progress.

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      • #4
        So is it just the 3 contact points on the bottom of the boiler that I shouldn't get any descaler on and the rest can be submerged and left in descaler over a day or two?

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        • #5
          So I've put it all back together and getting no heating at all. It was heating before I pulled everything down. I noticed when I was taking it all apart that 1 wire was unplugged on the heating element (picture below you can see the one that isn't plugged in).

          When I put it all back together again, I naturally plugged it in but when I turned the machine on it instantly tripped my safety switch. Unplugging that wire allows the machine to turn on. The pump works fine, water comes out the group head ok, just no heating.

          I can see the boiler has water in it but that's about all I know.

          My boiler is also missing a Thermic Safety device on the bottom. Given this, is it safe to say my element needs replacing (i.e removing all the crud from the element is now making it arc to earth or possibly exposed a hole in the element) or are there other things that could be at play?

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          • #6
            Hmm not sure, was it heating before you purchased it? If not the seller may have done a dodgy and disconnected the heating element before selling to stop it tripping the meter box.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by roosterben View Post
              Hmm not sure, was it heating before you purchased it? If not the seller may have done a dodgy and disconnected the heating element before selling to stop it tripping the meter box.
              Yes it was heating when it was in my possession including the steam wand and hot water tap before I pulled it down (even with the 1 wire disconnected).

              It just seems a little odd to me that 1 wire is disconnected and a thermal protection device is missing.

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              • #8
                My guess would be that the thermal protection device at some point either tripped or failed, and in order to get the machine running again it was bypassed.i suspect the other end of that wire is either not connected at all or its piggybacked to another wire.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by level3ninja View Post
                  My guess would be that the thermal protection device at some point either tripped or failed, and in order to get the machine running again it was bypassed.i suspect the other end of that wire is either not connected at all or its piggybacked to another wire.
                  I'll have to trace the wire sometime during the week when I get the time and see if that gives me any extra details. At the moment I'm trying to weigh up if it's worth risking spending almost $200 for a new element, thermal protection device and gasket and it not be the problem. Or I just leave it sit for a while as a side project and buy myself a nice new running machine.

                  The itch to start pulling shots is starting to get too much.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jordie View Post
                    almost $200 for a new element
                    If you've got the necessary tools, etc it isn't that hard to drill out the old element and install a cheaper replacement of similar wattage.
                    Pretty lousy way of designing the element setup...

                    Mal.

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