What would you do with a possibly lemon of an espresso machine? - Page 2

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
ronlangara (original poster)

#11: Post by ronlangara (original poster) »

Hi John
Indeed it does seem to be the way of the world. I don't need to break out the moka pot (yet) as ECM has loaned me a NS Oscar in the meantime. They are trying their best to take care of this situation. They have offered to extend the full warranty for a second year if I will take the chance and keep it. That is tempting. I do like the coffee it makes, and its ease of use. It is a machine I can teach people to use competently (with my beans set on the Niche) very quickly.

Then again a Cremina seems tempting. I am going for a demo on one next week. It will be interesting as I have never used a lever, but always been "curious". This is probably not something my significant other would want to tackle though. Oh well.

Thanks for the comments and suggestions.


#12: Post by Bluenoser »

I'm a little leery now of machines designed and built in 220v land for NoAmer users. Whether the wires, crimps and thermal cooling of SSRs and the like are designed for the double current draw of our market. Note the SSR failures in Pro500s or relay failures in Appartamentos.. so I went with a simpler mechanical lever in the Robot.. The Odyssey Argo seems like a potential hit.. I think the Flair 58 or something similar might be my long term machine along with a Bellman steamer that includes the pressure gauge (so I don't wait for the bomb to go off). The steam capability of the Argo seems enticing to me. I don't think the lever is much more difficult than pressing a button for a basic espresso so the significant other might take to it quickly; but you might want a powered steam boiler if making milk.

vecchi della seattle
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#13: Post by vecchi della seattle »

You're killing me with the Cremina. What a price tag the Swiss have hanging on it. Have you been watching the Argos - Odyssey Espresso lever guys in Colorado with their attempt to break into the lever market?

ronlangara (original poster)

#14: Post by ronlangara (original poster) »

Thanks for all the suggestions!
Bluenoser: I have indeed followed the Odyssey Argo. Sounds enticing, but, from my inexperienced perspective very similar to a La Pavoni, though supposedly less expensive which is not unappreciated. I cannot overstate that I would be (if I go that's way) a complete lever newbie.

Vecchi Della Seattle: My apologies for upsetting your equilibrium. I mention Cremina mostly because of:
a) things I have read here at HB about levers, It sounds like it is built like a tank but makes great espresso.
b) a quoted price not out of line with the new cost of my Bezzera Duo. Obviously I found that not unacceptable to my purse strings.

I do want to emphasize that I greatly appreciate all advice offered here. I am still very much in the throws of trying to decide what to do. I guess it should be said that I am "spoiled for choice".

On a positive note I tried two new (to me) roasters today, making shots in my loaner Oscar (after I remembered to temperature surf). Mukasi Melange and Heights Triumph were both rich, full of crema, smooth, chocolate flavours, and rich. So life is actually pretty good.
All the best to you all and looking for more suggestions.

ronlangara (original poster)

#15: Post by ronlangara (original poster) »

Update on what I decided. ECM repaired the machine and offered me either:
1) Extend the warranty for a second year, or
2) Give me full credit for what I paid for it towards any other machine I wanted, or
3) A full refund.

Many good suggestions were made and I thank all of you for your advice. In the end I have decided to keep it with the extended warranty. My hope, and theirs I am sure, is that they have in fact finally fixed the source of all the problems I encountered with it. Should it fail again, I obviously will have to reconsider.

Having worked my entire career in a small business I appreciate how hard something like this is for a relatively small company. They didn't design, or build it. They are however standing behind it 100%. For that I am grateful, and I have always had good experiences dealing with them in the past. I feel for that they have earned my trust.

So now I am toying with the idea of adding a lever machine to my toolkit. Perhaps starting off with something like the Flair 58 with heater for camping and travel, when we can finally travel again safely. Alternately I am curious to see how the Odyssey Argos turns out too.

Regards to all on thanks again for the help.

Floyd The Barber

#16: Post by Floyd The Barber »

Hi Ron,

I [finally] created a HB account just for this because I am having the SAME issue with my Bezzera Matrix DE that I've had since November. I bought mine from 1st line and they said they have 3 other machines with the exact same problem too.

Do you know what they did to repair it and where the failure is actually occurring? I'm a little confused about a firmware update vs the "brain" vs a relay causing the problem.

On these machines, the group heater is controlled by a circuit board with a relay on it, so I'm curious as to what is actually happening and what ECM did to fix yours. I know for a fact the issue is no power is going from the relay to the elements, so it's either the controller/board OR the relay itself, which is on the board...Bottom line though, seems like the only ways to fix it would be to replace the board (which includes the relay) or somehow solder a new relay to the board (if the problem is the relay itself). Anyway just curious as to what you could share since others are in the same boat...including me!

I agree it is a great machine and I *love* the features. I'm coming off a Vibiemme Double Boiler which I liked as well but was ready for something new, and I spent a LOT of time tinkering/repairing that thing. I really just want the Matrix to WORK.

Thanks for posting this!


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#17: Post by PeetsFan »

I've had a Bezzera Duo MN for nearly a year, and it's been trouble-free. Guess I was lucky that I didn't get the DE version. The company I bought it from, Clive Coffee, offers a full three year warranty on the machine.

It's funny that people here write about this particular machine as having "electronics." Espresso makers ALL have electronics, unless you count a Moka pot. And nearly all have some form of microprocessor control; if there's a PID there's a microprocessor inside the machine, and I believe that's every dual boiler sold these days - Marzzocco, Breville, ECM, Lelit, Rocket, etc.

At any rate, one year in and the MN machine has been heavenly.


#18: Post by Pressino »

PeetsFan wrote: It's funny that people here write about this particular machine as having "electronics." Espresso makers ALL have electronics, unless you count a Moka pot. And nearly all have some form of microprocessor control; if there's a PID there's a microprocessor inside the machine, and I believe that's every dual boiler sold these days - Marzzocco, Breville, ECM, Lelit, Rocket, etc.
In my post (#8), I was referring to lever machines, most of which (excluding purely mechanical ones like the Flair and Robots) have electrical components and minimal, if any, electronic components, :)

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#19: Post by PeetsFan » replying to Pressino »

Good point, good point.
I've had a Pavoni Pro for 25 years. No solenoid valve. When the grind is too fine, that machine makes me suffer. But, 25 years and it still works.

Floyd The Barber

#20: Post by Floyd The Barber »

I believe the issue with this machine, specifically the DE model, is that the heating elements for the group are controlled AND powered by a relay soldered to the main control board (PCB). There are several other relays on the board, but those control solenoid valves rather than supplying any real power (though they are all the same relay interestingly). Thus, the only one failing on multiple machines is the group heater relay which is directly powering the two 100w heating elements. On all the other machines with this group (e.g. BZ10), the group elements are controlled by a thermostat instead of a PID, so they don't have this issue.

I think what is happening is the 200w heating element on 120v is drawing an inrush current when it turns on, overloading the small relay on the board causing it to either fail itself or the actual soldering to the board to fail over a short period of time. I'd bet this is not happening on the 240v models due to less amperage flowing. The relays are rated for 5 amps...so at 120v, working amperage is 1.67A and at 240v its 0.83A. Inrush current might be 2 or 3 (or more?) times working, so there's enough buffer on 240v for the extra amps, but not on 120v. That's my theory.

I have a replacement PCB inbound and I think what I may do is add another (larger) 120v relay to power the heating elements for the group directly. This would effectively bypass the power flowing thru the PCB relay. So, the relay on the board will only be switching on/off the newly added relay, and the new relay will supply the power to the heating elements - instead of thru the PCB. I believe this will address what I suspect is the issue......unless the new board I receive has a beefed up relay on it or some other change. Otherwise, I think this issue will just continue to recur over varying amounts of time (hence this thread).

I'll post a thread with some photos if I end up adding the extra relay. Should be a simple preventative mod and a 120v relay is about $10 on Amazon. Better than a $400 control board or trying to replace a relay soldered to the board after another failure.