ECM Puristika - need help diagnosing

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?
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MetalDave
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#1: Post by MetalDave »

Hello!

I'm new to the forum, but not new to espresso. I spent my first 4 years pulling from a well-dialed Gaggia Classic Pro, and recently bit the bullet and bought an ECM Purstika with pre-installed flow-control from what I thought to be a reputable distributor. The first machine arrived with a bad OPV out of the box - after a difficult return/exchange process, the second machine arrived and for the first week seemed to work wonderfully.

I had it dialed-in really well, and was pulling pseudo-slayer shots with the flow control that were honestly better than my local cafe and then some. When the machine works properly, it is absolutely amazing! Herein is where the problem arises, and, unfortunately - the distributor is less than helpful (And I still have not received a response from ECM...)

Machine is turned on, allowed to preheat for 30-60min at minimum. Group head is to temp, boiler to temp. Lever left at down position, flow control left cracked. I used Poland Springs and an in-tank softner, and am religious about my cleaning and upkeep. I did replace the shower screen and group head gasket with a precision screen and silicone gasket, otherwise stock.

When I crack the lever and run it without a portafilter initially, it quickly rises in pressure and then levels out. If I subsequently try to pull a shot, or, run it with a backflush/blind basket - it does not build any pressure, pump just runs and runs. If I switch that off, open the flow control and leave the lever at center position for 15 seconds or so, and try again, it then ramps up and builds pressure.

This is frustrating, as if its the first morning shot pull I end up wasting a puck and having to grind again. I'm not sure if this is normal behavior or if there is an issue per-se. If I leave the machine powered on and at rest with the lever in the down position and flow control cracked, eventually I see the pressure drop to zero and this issue repeats itself. I was under the impression it should maintain a resting pressure of 1-3bars, and wonder if there is an issue with the OPV or another component.

Any help you folks can offer would be wonderful - I appreciate the knowledge and experience you can lend! I did peruse other threads first here and couldn't locate anything that seemed to be related directly, if I somehow overlooked a thread - please let me know!

Cheers,

Dave

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HB
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#2: Post by HB »

When I was researching the ECM Puristika Review, I noticed that sometimes when starting from cold, it would make gurgling sounds as the boiler heated up and the first pull would have a delay. I attributed this to a "head space" gap in the boiler, i.e., a partially filled boiler due to the water contracting during the prior cooldown, allowing air to enter.

To avoid this during a cold start, I got into the habit of closing the flow control and running the pump until the onboard gauge max'd out and water flowed from the over-pressure relief line in the glass reservoir. This eliminates any brew boiler gap, it heats without any noise, and has no unexplained variance in brew pressure.

While it's not precisely what you're describing, I'm guessing that your pump is losing prime because of this air gap. Give the above startup steps a try and let us know if it helps.
Dan Kehn

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MetalDave (original poster)
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#3: Post by MetalDave (original poster) »

Dan, thank you! I will try this. I have been successfully using a smart plug to kick it on to preheat in the AM so I will have to cut that out of the workflow and do it the old fashioned way. :)

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HB
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#4: Post by HB »

You could also follow the above routine the night before, i.e., let it cool down completely and run the pump long enough to eliminate any headspace, then your automated preheat in the morning should work just fine.
Dan Kehn

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MetalDave (original poster)
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#5: Post by MetalDave (original poster) »

I will give that a try tonight, thank you again!

Ssspressso Luva
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#6: Post by Ssspressso Luva »

@MetalDave, curious if your issue was resolved and/or any other air bubble issues with the Puristika? If so, has ECM and your dealer been helpful?