Breville Oracle Touch "descale open" error, HELP!

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?

#1: Post by israguard »

Hi everyone,
In addition to my LMLM I own an Oracle Touch which until today has been amazing.

This morning... the machine went totally NUTS on me. I turned it on and grinder started working even though I did not activate it. I turned machine off... grinder keeps on running. The light which shows the water level started flickering.

Condo is very humid so I placed machine in a very dry room with a dehumidifier and machine turns on now and the attached image is what I get. I didn't touch the two screws. In fact, I didn't even know they were there. But with a small screwdriver I opened them both and closed tightly hoping it would do something. Hasn't done a thing.

Anyone seen this before? Anyone know how to reset machine or a repair service is a must ? Shipping an animal like this is just no fun.

Any help would be great.

Thanks, Shawn

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BaristaBoy E61

#2: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Have you consulted the owners manual for a complete reset?
Have you tried unplugging the machine and replugging after 5 or 10 minutes?
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

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israguard (original poster)

#3: Post by israguard (original poster) »

Yes to both
Reset just erases all your dose settings...

israguard (original poster)

#4: Post by israguard (original poster) »

Good afternoon,
An update / conclusion.

Ended up calling Breville who called back promptly and asked for a videochat to see the machine. Asked to see sides, all corners and sticker with seal#.

Repair on this machine (in Canada) is $500.- plus tax and includes shipping costs to them and back. They said approx 10-14 days turn around time. All parts used will be new and if not repairable.. you get a refurbished machine back. I got an invoice by email and paid... soon a Canada Post label was sent to me. Shipped out and 10 days later she was shipped back. No clue what was wrong nor what they did... but she works. Not a cheap repair but a great machine and such is life.

One thing the tech was upset about was that I did not descale my machine from the day I got it. Machine was at least 2+ years old and has never been descaled. He let me have it politely. I have learnt my lesson. He told me these machines should be descaled monthly.

Warmest regards, Shawn


#5: Post by luvmy40 »

israguard wrote:Good afternoon,
An update / conclusion.


One thing the tech was upset about was that I did not descale my machine from the day I got it. Machine was at least 2+ years old and has never been descaled. He let me have it politely. I have learnt my lesson. He told me these machines should be descaled monthly. I should use non scaling water and never descale these machines.
Warmest regards, Shawn
Fixed that for the tech.


#6: Post by exidrion »

Monthly?!. That's extremely excessive and most likely not what Breville recommends..seems like an ill informed tech. Did you ever get the descale message in the 2 years prior? The manual says to do it when you get the message, I've never gotten the message and use good water. So far so good.


#7: Post by longpvo »

I didn't realised you had your unit replaced before posting this write up but it's worth knowing what's happening anyway!

Try accessing the Service Menu (turn off unit -> unplug -> wait few seconds so the machine completely discharges -> hold power button then replug -> hold until you see the screen turns on -> password is 00000). Check and get familiar with the error codes, and all the sensors in Live Debug. Here's a mirror of 980 service manuals I came across, most of it applies to 990.

LD19 Descale valve (ON means steam drain valve is all the way screwed in, OFF means steam drain valve is opened or the microswitch not registering)
LD08 High probe AD (steam boiler high fill sensor)
LD09 Low probe AD (steam boiler low fill sensor)
LD10 Probe AD (brew boiler fill sensor)
The rest is self-explanatory.

On the 990, they have fitted a switch to let the machine knows if the steam boiler drain valve is open, this is a new part as of 990 (I think, because prior to 990, the descaler valve assemblies are the same on both brew and steam boilers). If the machine knows the steam boiler drain valve is open, then all heating and pump functions of both boilers will stop until the drain valve is closed. When one unscrews the right drain valve (steam boiler), the push button switch unregisters via this flap.

Here's mine, long story short, mine seems like a faulty part, when I opened and let the steam boiler drain under pressure after a morning brew, that heat and steam probably blasted and broke the flap and some threads, I had to temporarily folded up some cardboard to fill in the void so there's something pushing against the switch until the parts came in. What's interesting is from photos I've seen on the net, the 980 has a cast aluminium descale assembly unlike this piece of hard resin/plastic on the 990.


So I right now, I suggest that with a cool machine, follow Breville Oracle BES980XL Thermal Fuse Replacement/Detailed Disassembly to take the bottom cover off and check on the descaler assembly of steam boiler. With the both brew and steam boiler drain valves screwed in, you're safe to examine this area. Check if you attempt to push the switch by hand, does the machine respond to it, if it does not, it means the switch had gone haywire for whatever reason. The part number for steam boiler descale valve assembly is BES990/09.88 and the descaler switch should be BES990/09.99. Here's exploded views of 990. While you're here, I'd also suggest you to replace those 2+ years old o rings.

Try your best to use good water. If you know you're prone to scales then I'd advise everyone who is using 920/980/990 units to not follow the automatic guided descale process. When you start the guided descale process, you're asked to drain both boilers manually, but sometimes the steam boiler pump fails to refill the steam boiler with descale solution or clean water after you sucessfully complete the second part of the descale process (which leads to the common stuck at heating 70°C or 160°F). What you should do instead is to manually descale (also check out their column on Breville related repairs, helps to get an understanding), all you have to do is take the top cover off, use the probe holes of both boilers to perform a manual siphoning of descale then use the drain valves and put clean water back into both boilers again (just make sure you put enough water so that it's above the long probe).

I've seen many had the post descale problem of not heating up and immediately think it has something to do with the thermal fuse, that should be your last resort (or maybe dead pump too). You're more prone to have the steam boiler sensors be fooled by the descaler solution and tricked the steam boiler heating elements to trip the thermal fuse. I'm not quite familar with 980 and 920, but as of 990, the steam boiler element will not turn on unless the lower fill sensor knows there's some water (or tricked by the descaling solution coating it).

After a complete manual descale followed by multiple clean water flushes, siphon enough water into both boilers, turn the machine on with a clean water tank, it's likely that the machine is very slowly coming up to temperatures, if you're in debug menu on either 980 or 990 (or even 920, they have self check menu if I remember correctly) check brew boiler temp and steam boiler temp. At this point you cannot override the machine to flush out water through the group head because steam boiler temp has yet to reach 130°C yet, BUT you can use the americano hot water flush! Flush the water out repeatedly and watch the both temps, the brew boiler pump should start refilling and getting rid of any air pockets and bring steam boiler temp up as well.

I am not quite sure about the logic of the steam boiler safety measured they coded into the PCB but I've documented this and it has been very repeatable. I can literally go try and follow the automatic guided descale process and run into problem again then get out of it by manual siphoning and flush via the brew boiler, specifically hot water dispenser to slowly bring brew boiler temp up. From there I can flush via the group head and steam (which will trigger the steam boiler pump to refill correctly again). Really though I was doomed after that first descale session.

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BaristaBoy E61

#8: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

You can fill up a water jug for the Breville from your BWT filter head flush valve to feed the Breville with on-hand non-scaling water.
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"