Is my "new" espresso machine actually a demo model?

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

#1: Post by bikesandcoffee »

I purchased an ECM synchronika last week. Soon after using it I noticed that it kept making a weird puffing noise. I figured out it was the pressure release valve after finding another user on here that posted a video of their machine making the same noise and talked to them about the issue. They had their machine for 4 years before having to replace the valve. Ive had mine for a week and find it insane that I already have to do maintenance like this on it.

Not sure if im just being paranoid here, but i'm starting to think the company I purchased this from has sent me a demo machine even though I paid for a new one. The machine also arrived with a dented back panel and the bolt next to the lever arm was scuffed up.

What do you guys think? Does this valve look new to you? Is it fair to ask for a replacement machine?

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#2: Post by Jeff »

Take some pictures, email them to your dealer and call them.

A reputable dealer will make good in a reasonable way. If they don't, it's probably a dealer that you would be better leaving.

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#3: Post by JRising »

It looks new to me. But if a panel is dented, tell the seller.


#4: Post by harleyujoe » replying to JRising »

And let us know if the dealer is honorable with your issues.


#5: Post by JRising »

bikesandcoffee wrote: Ive had mine for a week and find it insane that I already have to do maintenance like this on it.
I don't tend to jump to a retailer's defense, but fair is fair. I know a lot of new-machine buyers aren't wholly familiar with all the parts of what they've bought. Before purchase, your new machine has been sealed in a box for several months at least, if not more than a year. It has been jostled through shipping departments, traveled across the ocean and been shoved from shelf to shelf as it awaits its future.
The thing is warming and cooling from place to place and a breather valve like that, with a nice, new, sticky, red silicone o-ring might catch a cardboard fibre or two as minute amounts of air pass. I know I have certainly found what I can only assume is cardboard fibre in what should be brand new anti-vacuum valves. Maybe in the packaging process or maybe in shipping. Like a vibe pump that won't prime because its rubber check valve is stuck shut, it's not something that the manufacturer can prevent, just blow a valve clean or forcibly prime a pump and enjoy your machine.
Now, if they don't look after your dented panel, I'll take it all back and will defend them no further. :)

Also, most retailers offer to bench test your machine before delivering it (in non-freezing weather at least), do they not? I actually don't know, I just assume some people are still good regardless of what the news shows me.

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#6: Post by HB »

JRising wrote:Also, most retailers offer to bench test your machine before delivering it (in non-freezing weather at least), do they not?
Based on what I've read and what sponsors have told me, most espresso machines are bench tested before they're shipped. I've received test equipment with prominent printed explanations that traces of light usage like water marks for espresso machines and coffee grounds for grinders should be expected.
bikesandcoffee wrote:The machine also arrived with a dented back panel and the bolt next to the lever arm was scuffed up.
It's for this reason I recommend a mini-pallet shipment for any espresso machine nearing 70 pounds.

If it gets shipped in a box, keep in mind that UPS/FedEx warn that the packaging must withstand multiple drops onto a concrete floor. The momentum of internal parts in an espresso machine can damage the case. For example, I received an espresso machine with a panel dent caused by the rotary pump bouncing on its rubber mounts during shipment. More recently, to avoid this problem, I received another one where the rotary pump was bolted to the bottom frame with a large note reminding me to remove the temporary bolts prior to use.
Dan Kehn

bikesandcoffee (original poster)

#7: Post by bikesandcoffee (original poster) »

Thanks for your input. I got in touch with them and asked for a replacement valve. I honestly dont want to go through sending this back and waiting for another one. Everything else seems to work fine so I'm good with just replacing the one piece. I did clean it and try using it again, but that only made the sound worse.

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bikesandcoffee (original poster)

#8: Post by bikesandcoffee (original poster) »

That's good to hear. I asked for a replacement valve because it still wouldn't seal properly after cleaning. They've actually already sent me a new back panel, I was just pointing out that it was dented when I first received it.

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#9: Post by Peppersass »

Sounds like a good dealer.


#10: Post by jrham12 »

I also had issues with the vacuum relief valve on my synchronika a couple months into ownership (purchased new)... It wasn't bad but was a "puff" every couple minutes. I replaced the valve internals with a repair kit from my vendor (brass poppet with o-ring preinstalled and the white teflon block) but it only lasted a couple weeks before it started doing the same thing. I ordered some new high temp silicone o-rings from McMaster Carr and replaced just the o-ring along with using some crocus cloth to smooth out the sealing surface of the teflon block and it's been good for about a year now...

My most recent issue was a small dribble of water from where the steam arm body and the case join. It was the o-ring on the back piece of the valve that you remove if you have to replace the spring-loaded poppet that the joystick operates. Again off to McMaster Carr to order replacements and swapped it out yesterday evening. So far so good.

I just attribute it to the "nature of the beast"; items like this will require maintenance and I'm just happy that they are designed to be servicable. I expect to get many years of service out of my machine, but I know there will be things to fix along the way. Having Home-Barista as a resource is invaluable!

Enjoy your new machine and if you need help with anything along the way, there will always be someone on here to help!