ECM Synchronika - 3 bar line pressure safe?

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dsc106

#1: Post by dsc106 »

I noticed the ECM manual specifies .5-2 bar for line pressure (up to 30 PSI) and Clive Coffee where I purchased states that pressure should be 2-3 bar (or 30-45 psi) on their setup kit. I asked them about this and they said the ECM manual is more of a CYA and a higher line pressure on a rotary pump would be no sweat and can give better line pressure pre infusion.

Thoughts? I have a pressure regulator and I've had the machine set to hover around 40 PSI or 2.5 bar for 6 months or so now, and I am wondering if I should turn it down?

Or is this in fact common practice/no problem to run at 2.5/3 bar pressure consistently? Machine is on 12 hours a day. Also, I believe the 35-40 PSI is where I am at with thermal expansion, the machine seems to dip at times to 20 PSI or so, but it's not going past 40-45 ever so it's within Clives range.

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HB
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#2: Post by HB »

My concern wouldn't be the espresso machine hydraulics per se, but an increased risk of flooding if the driptray isn't plumbed and the E61 shutoff valve doesn't seal. See Flood Mitigation for Plumbed Espresso Machines for a helpful discussion of this topic.
Dan Kehn

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dsc106 (original poster)

#3: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

Yikes, has anyone here had one flood? How common is that? Some of the links in that thread are outdated and I suppose there's probably newer and superior anti flood protection on market today?

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HB
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#4: Post by HB »

Plumbing failures do happen, which is why tubs, sinks, and toilets all have overflow prevention mechanisms. Modern plumbing codes require that washing machines have overflow protection, too. Speaking from personal experience, our home inexplicably doesn't and our washing machine overflowed one day. Fortunately, someone was home, heard water splashing on the floor, and we stopped it/mopped up before anything was damaged. If it was running unattended, the floor damage would have been significant.

Back to your espresso machine - it's likely that your local plumbing code requires a drain if it's plumbed in. You can call and ask your town inspector. I mention this because my insurance agent once pointed out that if I installed a plumbed fixture without an inspection, the insurance company reserves the right to deny a claim if it's traced to an uninspected change to the house's plumbing. To be sure, stuff like installing a faucet doesn't require an inspection, but modifying your plumbing to accommodate a plumbed-in appliance could, if you want to follow the letter of the building code. That's why I won't authorize work on my house unless the plumber/electrician gets a build permit and I won't pay until it passes inspection. Some will offer a lower price if you let them skip that extra step; personally, I think it's a foolish choice to shave 20% off the bill.
Dan Kehn

dsc106 (original poster)

#5: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

Yikes I didn't realize that, makes sense.

As far as what sparked these questions I feel my machine is making more noises lately. The grouphead drip valve that goes into the drip tray every several minutes seem to make a little bubbling noise and drop a tad bit of water. It used to be silent. And so I was wondering what was causing the recurrent and intermittent noise and little expulsion of water.

Over pressure? Slow leak or failure somewhere?

I've turned down my line pressure a bit even though it was likely within a "fine" range, but now you've got me thinking of a safer setup to stop a potential leak issue as well...

Nunas
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#6: Post by Nunas »

If the drip is coming from the little round vent right at the back of the drip tray, that little drip is the vacuum breaker. As the machine cools, the boiler would end up with a negative pressure without this. It opens to let air in. When you restart the machine, they drip until they reseal. As the boiler reaches the boiling point, you should hear a little pop and the hissing/dripping should end. Only if the dripping continues past this point is it an issue. It can be cleaned, but if it shuts off properly at boiling, I wouldn't bother. Mine drips and sputters too :D If it is coming from the bottom of the group, then your seal is beginning to wear.

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BaristaBoy E61

#7: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

HB wrote:My concern wouldn't be the espresso machine hydraulics per se, but an increased risk of flooding if the driptray isn't plumbed and the E61 shutoff valve doesn't seal. See Flood Mitigation for Plumbed Espresso Machines for a helpful discussion of this topic.
dsc106 wrote:Yikes, has anyone here had one flood? How common is that? Some of the links in that thread are outdated and I suppose there's probably newer and superior anti flood protection on market today?


Yes - This happened to us!

This is exactly the predicament we found ourselves in with our Alex Duetto III that developed a leak after descaling with citric acid, as a small piece of dislodged scale blocked the complete closure of the Steam Boiler's Fill Solenoid Valve.

Flooding of our kitchen counter occurred as our machine is direct plumbed and drained when a call to fill the steam boiler with water could not be terminated. Water spilled from the Steam Boiler Over Pressure Safety Valve onto the counter, there was no opportunity for it to be drained from the drain pan that is/was direct plumbed for draining. Water ran out the top of the boiler through the machine onto the counter and onto the floor. Fortunately we were on-site at the moment this happened and were able to take measures to prevent a 'Kitchen Disaster'.

All this with 'just' water line pressure!


We were shocked to see the accumulated water that had happened within a very short period of time - seconds actually! All this from a small orifice in the solenoid valve being unable to completely seat & close, proving that, 'Counter' measures are in order and a cheap form of Kitchen Disaster Insurance.

I strongly recommend installing water leak detection with automatic waterline cutoff in case a leak does occur to protect your beautiful kitchen. Serious water damage can start to happen within a few short minutes of an unattended event that can be silent - like drowning!

Further to Dan's point, I too suggest that espresso machines be Direct Plumbed and Drained by a licensed plumber that issues you an invoice, not someone you just paid cash to, so that should there ever be an insurance claim for damages you can prove everything was done professionally - and to code.

https://www.chriscoffee.com/products/leak-controller
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

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icantroast

#8: Post by icantroast »

dsc106 wrote:As far as what sparked these questions I feel my machine is making more noises lately. The grouphead drip valve that goes into the drip tray every several minutes seem to make a little bubbling noise and drop a tad bit of water. It used to be silent.
My synchronika is not plumbed in and I swear I have been noticing more noises lately too. It's a few months old. Everything seems fine but I definitely feel like it's been making the same noises you describe. Maybe I'm losing my mind, lol!

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HB
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#9: Post by HB »

BaristaBoy E61 wrote:Further to Dan's point, I too suggest that espresso machines be Direct Plumbed and Drained by a licensed plumber that issues you an invoice, not someone you just paid cash to, so that should there ever be an insurance claim for damages you can prove everything was done professionally - and to code.
Technically, an invoice only proves you paid, not that the plumber pulled a permit and passed. In our town, permits are online and accessible to anyone and show inspection results. For multi-trade jobs, the town issues a "certificate of occupancy" after the final inspection.

As an aside, if you sell your house in our county, you must provide the buyer an affidavit documenting any work done without a permit. That's a red flag to many buyers and real estate agents. These requirements came about after too many shoddy "fixer upper" sales during the house flipping craze.
Dan Kehn

dsc106 (original poster)

#10: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

Interesting about your machine also developing the noises icantroast, I wonder if it's just part of the normal break in? I got my machine in September 2020.

As for the leak detection and shut off, is there anything higher quality than the Chris coffee part? I'm concerned after seeing some comments that the unit was flakey, and I don't think such a piece is something I would want flaking out!

I'm surprised no one mentioned this detail with plumbing codes and possible leaks when I was shopping around and inquiring online, it's bit unsettling. Especially since it can happen even while the machine is powered off while sleeping, or while away on vacation, unless I also close the water line to the machine. Yikes.

And this all just from wondering if 3 bar constant pressure was ok! :D