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Thread: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

  1. #1
    A_M
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    Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Some might say - Autofills are remove & replace, not remove & repair.

    Now if ya having to repair as part of a billing job; at todays labour charges etc I can see why, understand and support the, Swap it out approach.

    With some of teh newer ones teh surface mount components mean that unless ya set up for it.. Even more time and mucking about and Validating and testing can be a pain.

    However:

    With some spare time on my hands and getting back on teh bench... I am getting off on revisiting any number of my bench skills. Further more there only appears to be one or two people with electronic skill sets on CS (or that are willing to admit) and thus happy to offer what assistance I can.

    Thus; if ya have any old / dead / sus GiCar units and Controllers just hanging around ;D I am happy to have then and look at them as part of my own personal development :-)

    Should you be doing a project or rebuild and want / need a unit repaired... Then happy to provide my time for nics..

    Note: FoFi is the only T&C I perform under.

    This is about the CS community assisting each other - not making $$$$
    snooooze likes this.

  2. #2
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    Re: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    Quote Originally Posted by 7E51585A4D725E515E585A525A514B3F0 link=1267748412/0#0 date=1267748412
    my own personal development
    Quote Originally Posted by 7E51585A4D725E515E585A525A514B3F0 link=1267748412/0#0 date=1267748412
    my time for nics..
    Quote Originally Posted by 7E51585A4D725E515E585A525A514B3F0 link=1267748412/0#0 date=1267748412
    This is about the CS community assisting each other - not making $$$$
    Noone suggesting you do this stuff for profit are they AM? that would be a silly assumption and they would be mistaken ;)

    Your a giver through and through ;)

    Sorry i cant help you out, dont even know what they are ;D

  3. #3
    A_M
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    Re: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    Quote Originally Posted by 5155736A6A6F706768060 link=1267748412/1#1 date=1267751219
    Sorry i cant help you out, dont even know what they are
    Ya lucky then..

    In most machines there are some electrical control :-)

    While many may only have a GiCar that manages Autofills etc some also have some high tec boards as well.

    "the autofill controller exists in one form or another in most prosumer coffee machines using an HX system, or where simpler control of a non HX system is desired. The Gicar and Giemmie boxes are the most common although you will find other makes of these controllers. They are a very simple logic circuit and a few relays to control the "automatic functions" of espresso machines…..safety, element protection etc…"

    for eg. http://www.coffeeparts.com/rancilio/700737.htm

    or previously...

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1131342094 for eg



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    Re: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    Considering the cost of a replacement AM this is a great idea. Its better than throwing the old one in landfill.

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    Re: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    I have 2 projects on the go at the moment and have been going for some time because of the lack of info or capability of people to even look at let alone repair these units the cost to buy new is crazy.
    1 machine is a single group boema which has a Gicar controler and an auto fill unit i dont know but i suspect both may need repair
    The other is a Grimac Ten single group which has a Giemme controler / auto fill unit in one. i cannot find any info at all on this unit.
    If you would be prepared to have a look I would be much appreciated
    Send me a PM

  6. #6
    A_M
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    Re: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    Quote Originally Posted by 6972736442507C71717C6F791D0 link=1267748412/4#4 date=1270256690
    I have 2 projects on the go at the moment and have been going for some time because of the lack of info or capability of people to even look at let alone repair these units the cost to buy new is crazy.
    1 machine is a single group boema which has a Gicar controler and an auto fill unit i dont know but i suspect both may need repair
    The other is a Grimac Ten single group which has a Giemme controler / auto fill unit in one. i cannot find any info at all on this unit.
    If you would be prepared to have a look I would be much appreciated
    Send me a PM
    PM Sent..

    I subscribe to helping out where possible... It is not a money making activity in any way.

    If it was I would spend some time and set up a test beds with fake Sensors etc etc and a load. But that is work..

    Once had a going concern as FFIndustries... IT and Electronics focused - In a nut shell... All care but no responsibility and was focused at Last ditched recovery / repair......

    However Too many people expect Miraculous Intervention and things to be raised from teh dead.. I am not that good and my contacts do not like having to provide specials for every tom dick and harry.. Thus in teh end I just gave it away as a bad joke.

  7. #7
    A_M
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    Re: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    Caffine Junky ;)

    Guess what...


    Can not find ya post or how it came about but..... :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[


    That Control box has a single faulty part and I hope to be able to obtain a direct replacement or OEM in a week or two. Values are easy... Size and ensuring it is 100% or better as to manufactures specs are the issues. Not much space in that little box.


    Care to give us a heads up as to which machine it was from; thus others may be able to know if it is suitable for their needs...



  8. #8
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    Re: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    Good to hear AM although also a little annoying considering I just forked out $330 for a new box.

    It came from an ECM Giotto.

  9. #9
    A_M
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    Re: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    Quote Originally Posted by 47464C5F41445E2D0 link=1267748412/7#7 date=1273578667
    Good to hear AM although also a little annoying considering I just forked out $330 for a new box.

    It came from an ECM Giotto. *

    OK.... Thus any one else with the same problem should contact you, in the first instance *;D

    Will advise when parts have landed and unit has been tested...

    Now, I understand the cost of a new unit..... *

    I also understand that for many suppliers / service groups; the term *"board jockey" is direct and to the point.

    In the medical field or defence or Airlines etc... *Do you have a system up and going in a few min or possibly wait days or more for an old style tec to be found who understands electronics and if the parts can be found and if the repair can be validated prior to re install...

    For a part that may be 10K, 20k or even 100K - Guess what .... Idiocracy is alive and being supported every day.


    Being a big cynic... *Most of the GiCar / Controll units are so basic a grad 9 student doing basic electrical theory should be able to fault find in 5 to 10 min... *OK... A bit rough... Lets say 30min to find and identify if a replacement part is available *8-)

    When looking at yours... Hardest part was getting the cover off *;D :D :o *( remember going blind and of a night time)

    The issue is that 1hr labour plus parts may not be so profitable and or the skill sets are not there... Will any admit... NO..... *

    Just look at the issues with Sunbeam and others when it comes to servicing... * Commercial stuff is nickel and dime as to the level of complexity of the parts (in fact it is not complex in any manner)... *Now the computer controlled stuff and feedback ccts etc OPPS that is now out of reach of 90% of the so called Coffee service people. *How many do surface mount repairs.. A few at best.. *Maybe *::) *

    Thus units are off line while BOARDS are found and swapped out.

    For that matter, many in the medical field have lost it as well... Board jockies...

    But myself and a number of other hard core old school people refuse to knuckle under.. But the newbys dont know, what they dont know.. *So unless ya an old school *qualified Radio and TV tec - dont bother commenting.


    Now: back to you..

    1: Pay $330 for a new part with 12 months or 90 day warranty ?? *Not sure what people offer...

    2: Pay $150 to $175 for a repaired part with say 30 day warranty - and ya may have to wait for 10 days...


    Thus there is a company in the US that do an exchange on all GiCar and control units and offer cheep rates / warranty etc etc... Due to numbers, they can afford to have items on stock, build simple test beds to validate without having the exact coffee machine ( tis only a few inputs and very basic at that).

    Further more; when they do not have, they will obtain and still provide a item at their exchange rate. *Thus build customer client base and respect...

    Could ya do it here... YES: but not so profitable for many reasons and thus no one will take it on.

    END of rant... Idiocracy will beat us all in the end.








  10. #10
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    Re: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    Part of the world today I guess AM, nearly everything is disposable. *The guy who fixed my machine (he used to work for a sponsor) has repaired some units but said its just too time consuming and doesnt necessarily work out any more economical. *

    I wonder if any techs out there hold on to the old units and try to repair them at a later stage or if they just end up being binned?

    I may have to consider doing basic electronics and electrical courses, may learn to repair things myself and stop getting zapped.

  11. #11
    A_M
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    Re: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    Quote Originally Posted by 27262C3F21243E4D0 link=1267748412/9#9 date=1273623277
    Part of the world today I guess AM, nearly everything is disposable. *The guy who fixed my machine (he used to work for a sponsor) has repaired some units but said its just too time consuming and doesnt necessarily work out any more economical. *

    I wonder if any techs out there hold on to the old units and try to repair them at a later stage or if they just end up being binned?

    I may have to consider doing basic electronics and electrical courses, may learn to repair things myself and stop getting zapped.

    A few years in TAFE and on a bench would give you a reasonable level of skills; if ya have teh passion.


    PS.

    $5 for the part... But no longer available ;D ;D ;D ;D

    HOWEVER


    Same size and better specs is available - Price and availability (waiting fo an e-mail)


    Your call as to if ya want the item returned OR your happy for me to hold it...

  12. #12
    A_M
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    Re: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    Update.

    RL 30 ECM Giotto GiCar up and running...

    Thanks CJ... $7.89 I think from RS.

    RL 40/$ESS/F Bezzera unit...

    Thanks to the Un named supplier... $6.35 Jacar.

    So CJ... If yours ever fails again.. (Common part.. Fails in a number of other top end and basic white goods) You loan unit is with me.

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    Re: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    AM are you willing to sell the replacement part. Could you PM me the cost of a repair vs you selling me the part. Thanks in advance.

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    A_M
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    Re: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    Quote Originally Posted by 151708150013040D0D08610 link=1267748412/12#12 date=1291710117
    AM are you willing to sell the replacement part. *Could you PM me the cost of a repair vs you selling me the part. *Thanks in advance. *
    I do not sell replacement parts for any thing...

    I can assist in some circumstances where my skills or understanding of *electronic repairs might be relevant. In some cases I may be able to repair and then an arrangement or a hand shake may be all that is required.

    If you know what part is dead, then myself and others may know where OR if a part can be had from a sponsor or other supplier...

    How about you give some more info as to your unit and the issues your having ?

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    Re: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    Hi,

    Just wondering what detail information is around for the Gicar units?

    There seems to be a lot of them failing, and many people asking

    questions. But for all my Google searching I can not find real

    information with their common faults and required fixs?


    It would seem from my reading that the older Gicar units were prone

    to failure and repairers are replacing then with a Proelind box as its

    much better... not to mention newer machines that originally had the

    Gicar are now being built with the Proelind. Which would suggest it had

    known faults.

    Please bear in mind I have only gathered this information from the

    net, and not my personal experience.

    Now the reason I ask all for this is because I have the opportunity to

    buy a Giotto E61 Rocket for cheap as the owner has been quoted $750

    to replace the stuffed Gicar box, vacuum valve, and a couple of other

    pieces.

    Now as a pretty capable handy man i know I can buy the box and

    other parts and sort it out myself for at least half the price. but should

    I have to even buy the box? With so many failing I would have thought

    documented repairs would be common?

    At this point in time Im assuming their particular issues are no worse

    than common dry caps and worn out relays???

    I look forward to your information, replies and thoughts,

    Cheers

  16. #16
    A_M
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    Re: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    Long story short...

    Many service centres do not have teh time / skills OR IMPORTANTLY parts to do a repair and STILL warranty the item ;D

    Some units have under gone upgrades and thus teh newer one may be better :-)

    If your business, as per the US place I found, is into repairing they will keep what they do to themselves. That is how they maintain clients and ensure ELECTRICAL SAFETY is maintained and themselves kept out of court.

    NZ is almost worse that Qld re Electrical safety so; as a handy man YOU still not able to work on MAINS components.

    I have had a few requests and have assisted in getting most all up and running and it is interesting that 75% of those I have worked on have been Giottos.

    The hardest part and what takes the time - is getting parts. While the newer ones have surface mount components, it is often other items that appear to fail.

    I think I have a couple lying around but it has been a few months since I have last looked AND they are often very different.




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    Re: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    Quote Originally Posted by 153A33312619353A35333139313A20540 link=1267748412/15#15 date=1297985662
    The hardest part and what takes the time - is getting parts. *While the newer ones have surface mount components, it is often other items that appear to fail.
    Would have to be quicker AND cheaper to put a PIC or Arduino controller together. Done properly it would have to be very reliable and highly configurable.... 8-)

    Mal.

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    Re: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    Quote Originally Posted by 260B0F030E620 link=1267748412/16#16 date=1298021025
    Quote Originally Posted by 153A33312619353A35333139313A20540 link=1267748412/15#15 date=1297985662
    The hardest part and what takes the time - is getting parts. *While the newer ones have surface mount components, it is often other items that appear to fail.
    Would have to be quicker AND cheaper to put a PIC or Arduino controller together. Done properly it would have to be very reliable and highly configurable.... 8-)

    Mal.
    Yep but then, when tec number two comes along ???? They may see teh mod and just curl up and wimper ;D (Shame teh manufacturers dont do just that - but then a controller may only cost them a few cents at time of production and with the numbers).


    As per post #11 usually less than $10 and it is a matter of who has the part in stock or does one have to wait... Farnell and RS usually have the item 99.9% of teh time, but may not have in stock in Australia. Hence the wait time ::)

    So for the $ it is value for $ for me.... If it was a coffee machine that was to provide my wage etc.

    Then a lot more than teh controller would be re-engineered ;D



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    Re: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    Quote Originally Posted by 3C3D37243A3F25560 link=1267748412/9#9 date=1273623277
    I wonder if any techs out there hold on to the old units and try to repair them at a later stage or if they just end up being binned?
    We do, although at the moment we just dont have the spare time to troubleshoot boards and try to repair them. We are going through all the potentially faulty boards we have (fitting them one by one to the relevant machine and testing what functions do and dont work and whether the fault is permanent or intermittent). One of our techs has some background in electronics repair, so hopefully down the track he will be able to spare the time to go through the boards identified as faulty and work out which ones can be fixed.

  20. #20
    A_M
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    Re: Repair/rebuild GiCar units and Controllers

    Quote Originally Posted by 4B69746167684152060 link=1267748412/18#18 date=1298193571
    We are going through all the potentially faulty boards we have (fitting them one by one to the relevant machine and testing what functions do and dont work and whether the fault is permanent or intermittent). One of our techs has some background in electronics repair, so hopefully down the track he will be able to spare the time to go through the boards identified as faulty and work out which ones can be fixed.
    Boy that would be interesting... NOT ;)

    I just build a quick test jig and dummy loads / test lights if needed ;)

    Mind you it is always interesting to find any number of Control boxes that are not faulty... It is often the wiring or connectors with the intermittent problems...

  21. #21
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    Hate to renew an old thread, but does anyone know either:
    a) where I can source a Gicar box for an NS Oscar?
    b) Anyone know someone who fixes them?
    c) What can I replace the Gicar with?

    Thanks

  22. #22
    TC
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    Try site sponsor Casa Espresso
    Casa Espresso likes this.

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    Thanks, Ill give them a ring tomorrow

  24. #24
    TOK
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    From a Simonelli importer or service agent primarily, or from "third party" spares suppliers.

    No commercial repairer that I know of will waste time trying to repair the control box on an espresso machine (unless of course they have the manpower and not enough machines to repair at any particular time and are therefore looking for work to do). Labour costs in this county are too high and its quicker and invariably more cost effective to fit a new box. They would have to have a jig made up (more time / cost) to test all the functions after repair, for each individual model box, if they did not have the coffee machine that the faulty unit came from.

    Only a repair agent for the model will know if any other brand control box has been used to substitute to the original fitment, and usually it is other brand control boxes that are eventually swapped out in preference for a GICAR because there is no doubt it is the world standard.

    My advice: Pay the ransom, buy the correct box, fit and make coffee again quickly.

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    Unfortunately my thoughts to TOK,

    A pity that everything stops working because of a circuit breaker and that such a cheap individual part is so expensive when put on a board.

    Thanks

  26. #26
    TC
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    Bottom line is that is that TOK's comments are fact.

    Whilst many espresso machine techs are really terrific, few have electronics experience. Even if they do, the time taken to diagnose a fault on a board and then repair it is often prohibitive in terms of cost- so unless you have the skills to do the job yourself, you buy a new board.

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    I had an issue with a Vibiemme 2 Group recently which the complaint was that it wasn't refilling the boiler.

    Lucky for me my previous line of work was an audio/visual technician so diagnosing and repairing printed circuit boards was a big part of my job. So I basically started problem solving the autofill side of things inside the machine and found that the Gicar had no output for the autofill circuit, so I pulled it apart and instantly noticed there was a faulty transformer. I had a replacement transformer on hand de-soldered the faulty one and soldered the new one in. Closed the box and fitted it to the machine. Unfortunately the owner had already burnt the element out by then so that needed to be replaced. I had the Gicar removed and repaired in 15mins.

    As Chris said there are terrific techs out there who do excellent jobs, in my case I am pretty nifty with the electronics side of things as well so it's a breeze for me. Although I totally agree with TOK, if someone can't diagnose and repair a faulty part then replacing it and getting it over and done with is definitely a viable option when your trying to run a business and 9 times out of 10 this method is carried out.

    If I was you just get out there and buy a new Gicar unless you have some sort of electronic experience then you could get a multimeter out and test the PCB parts and try to find the fault. Most of the parts can be found in Jaycar and replaced quite easily.

  28. #28
    Senior Member noidle22's Avatar
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    I repaired a Gicar for a Giotto the other day. Complaint was that the machine had no response other than the mains lamp being on. Problem was the mains transformer, open circuit on the AC side. Pretty easy to diagnose this. It's an extremely basic circuit aside from the microcontroller and SMD's but they're pretty reliable.
    Replaced with a transformer sourced from RS Components (don't buy from Jaycar or a retailer of you can help it, will save money with RS), the machine now worked but everything worked at the same time. Pump kicked in, element turned on and it wouldn't stop. Ended up also being 3 transistors which switched the relays "on" signal from the controller. The transformer is an easy fix but troubleshooting the transistors took a bit more time and effort.

    A competent technician could get the job done in under 45 minutes. Personally, i'd rather make the profit from the labour with a small parts expenditure and also be able to tell the customer that you've saved them over $200 rather than just dump it in the too hard basket and buy a new one. Then, however, it comes into the realm of repair reliability and the risk of that over the benefits of a brand new part. Comes down to the "competent technician" part again though.

    TL;DR do what the other guys said, buy a new box unless you feel like and are able to repair the broken one.

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    Sorry to bring up an old thread again :-)

    Just wondering if anyone knows the "normal" state of a Gicar RL 30/1E/2C11? i.e. when the probe is NOT making contact with the water, are the relay contacts NOT energised? Just working my way through a series of faults on an old Gaggia I have been given. :-)

    Thanks!

    Matt

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    Sorry for re=activating an old thread, but does anyone know if AM is still active?

  31. #31
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Micko179 View Post
    Sorry for re=activating an old thread, but does anyone know if AM is still active?
    He's long gone, as are a number of other posters to this thread Micko.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    He's long gone, as are a number of other posters to this thread Micko.

    Ah bugger, maybe I should start a new thread!

  33. #33
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Micko179 View Post
    Ah bugger, maybe I should start a new thread!
    Good idea.

  34. #34
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    AM was active for a while on "the coffee forum" but don't know if he still is.
    Might be worth paying a visit and asking.

    Mal.

  35. #35
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    A pm might pop up in his emails...



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