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ECM Mechanica Slim - Undiagnosed Issue

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  • ECM Mechanica Slim - Undiagnosed Issue

    Hi all

    I’m about 13 months into owning a Mechanica Slim - and it’s great. However have noticed in the last month or so something strange that have not been able to get to bottom of..

    It seems every minute or so - the heating element turns on - you can hear the audible ‘Click’ and then hear the boiler try to charge/heat up and then turns off (I presume the click is the element I can hear). Now clearly the boiler is up to temperature whilst this is happening.

    The Steam Gauge maintains it pressure - and does not move. And it operates just as it should.
    The hot water also work and just as it should.
    The pours are all fine and to temperature and machine works fine in all other aspects
    It’s been in for a look over - and all parts seem be ok with be obvious faults identified. No leaks in anything.

    But I swear that in the past - it the element would turn on periodically - but never at the rate it does now literally every minute or so. Just doesn’t seem right.
    Ive now just left the machine off and gets turned on when it’s needed (usually morning)

    Thoughts or advice as to what might be going on?
    Google and searching has found nothing similar to what I am experiencing.

  • #2
    G'day mate...

    Is it very cold in the mornings where you live?
    Could be just colder weather causing a more rapid heat loss from the Group Head, Boiler etc which will cause the P/stat to cycle more often.



    • #3
      Well - it’s winter and yeah - been colder
      We have never had it through winter so it does coincide - but still does it when we have heater on from what I’ve noticed.
      Will try out later in week when I’m home all day and see if a consistent warmer environment changes it’s behaviour during the day


      • #4
        I s'pose it could be the P/stat starting to misbehave but these usually start failing via a different mode, ie the Dead Band increases rather than decreases. Will be interesting to read the results of your observations later on...



        • #5
          Ok - so fired it up again and sat there and studied it
          Pressure Stat off point is 1.4
          On point is 1.3
          Studying the gauge from close up - it is actually dropping from 1.4 to 1.3 every minute or so....

          Obviously only 1 notch movement - so not noticeable - but happening....

          The only thing thats been changed on this is the anti vacuum seal in January/Feb.... done by myself


          • #6
            I’m not understanding how what you’re describing is a problem. That’s sounds perfectly normal for a Hx machine.


            • #7
              Well that’s fine if it is - I understand it cycles by normal operation.

              However all of a sudden it is cycling MUCH more than it used to - hence the question as it appears something has changed from what is ‘normal’

              Bit like noticing a change, assuming things are fine and not double checking with a doctor for it all to go south... just want to avoid any bigger issues - and understand the machine better that’s all


              • #8
                Your pressure stat is adjusting over rather narrow parameters, which is why you hear the element coming on frequently. Cooler weather would also be affecting that as Mal has said. Nothing wrong with it though.


                • #9
                  Queedo did you recently remove any noise sources from the room? Or do you have your windows shut now when they were open in the past? Possibly this was always the case and you didn't notice


                  • #10
                    Agree with comments above, a Deadband of only 0.1Bar is excellent.
                    If you still think that its behaviour is different to usual, you could take the cover off and run the machine like that for a while as you observe for any signs of a steam/water leak around the Boiler and the various valves in the Steam Circuit. No leaks, then all is good...



                    • #11
                      As all have said, check it for leaks under bonnet.
                      also, you could consider extra insulation for the boiler, so it doesn't lose its heat so fast.
                      Or a SSR retrofit would make the clicks inaudible.

                      Maybe your relay is macking bigger clicks than before. You could isolate or quieten it down some other way...

                      Good on you for being observant


                      • #12
                        Thanks all

                        The service guy did go over the boiler and check for leaks in all the right place and said nothing was obvious. From what I have seen I would agree. But will take another sustained look next time I’m WFH.

                        The machine was left on all day today whist I was in office and the cycling is now a bit slower now. Ranging 1.2 -1.1 (my reference to 1.4 to 1.3 was actually 1.2 - 1.1... I misread the guage).

                        338 - I’m working from home since March - so perhaps just become more noticeable and a bit colder/sensitive at the same time - now it’s in my head so search for it.

                        However I do recall now that when I replaced the anti vacuum in late Jan/early Feb - the copper washer disintegrated when I took it out - I just used some time plumbers tape without a washer when I put the new one in... didn’t have the best tool to tighten it either - just a spanner at an awkward angle...

                        Could it be possible that a ever so slight leak in the thread seal has developed that’s not noticeable upon inspection due to change out of anti vacuum? Over time due to pump vibration? This would cause the pressure to reduce faster - causing the trigger if Im understand how it works it properly?

                        I will order some copper crush washers, replace the tape and buy the right spanner to ensure it’s properly tightened and sealed... see what that does.
                        Nothing else has been touched/opened and the machine was new out of box 13 months ago.

                        From the comments at least I understand more and am comfortable there’s nothing massively wrong and it’s probably more OCD now.... It’s my first machine so knowledge is power.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Queedo View Post
                          Could it be possible that a ever so slight leak in the thread seal has developed that’s not noticeable upon inspection due to change out of anti vacuum?
                          Not really. Any sort of problem with the seal between the valve and boiler will be seen or heard. Even an audibly hissing anti-vac will cause a negligible difference to the pressurestat switching time.

                          You can hand tighten most of the threaded fittings on the boiler with an appropriate amount of tape and it wont leak. 1.1 bar isn't really much pressure at all.

                          I've seen plenty of machines with visible or audible leaks from several locations that are switching exactly the same as the same model with no leaks. You'd need a severe leak to notice an obvious increase in switching, to the point that the machine would likely be unusable.

                          Your machine switching every minute or so with a 0.1 bar deadband is excellent. The Mechanika Slim has a big insulated boiler so this switching time is far less frequent than most HX machines with non-insulated boilers. If you ever have another machine with a non-insulated boiler, you'll definitely notice the increased switching.


                          • #14
                            So worked from home today - warmed the house up a bit;

                            Switched between 1.2 and 1.1 consistently at 1m 15s gaps. About 5s to get back to 1.2. From all accounts that I’ve now read this is pretty normal range.
                            As mentioned it was cycling at about 1 when house is cold.

                            So it’s either;
                            - Its always been like this - but now I’ve noticed it since COVID Home Office was established in March
                            - It’s just louder for some reason and now I’m noticing it

                            Both of the above, mixed with lack of knowledge is feeding my OCD!!!

                            Coffee still tastes good though!!!

                            i like the idea of a SSR retrofit - presume this is a Solid State Relay? This would make it quieter - is there much involved in this? Might look into it down the track if it’s worth the effort/cost.