Problem with ECM Giotto pressurestat

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mb514

#1: Post by mb514 »

Hi,

I have a 2001 ECM Giotto. I have been having a problem for the past several months that I cannot seem to get fixed.

When making espressos, after the first one (sometimes during the first), the machine's boiler pressure exceeds the 1.6 bar cap, causing the pressurestat to release steam (EDIT: to be more clear, the pressurestat is causing the boiler to release steam). The espresso streams at the same rate and there is no identifiable problem with its quality. However, during pressure release, the machine starts to leak significantly.

On the latest visit to the technician, the pressurestat was upgraded at a total cost of $200, but the machine behaves the same. The technician confirmed that there is no leak in the plumbing of the machine itself, so the water coming out of the machine must be the result of the pressurestat release (?).

It is apparent that it is not a pressurestat problem. Does anyone have any thoughts on what it may be?

I am tempted to replace the machine. In the end the quality of the coffee remains good, but the leaking is an annoyance.

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shadowfax

#2: Post by shadowfax »

when you say that the pressurestat is leaking steam, are you sure that you don't mean that the boiler safety valve is releasing steam? A pressurestat cannot leak steam if it's working.

Did your technician check the scale on your machine? the first thing that comes to mind when a brand new pressurestat isn't working is that the pipe that connects the pressurestat to the boiler is clogged. That's the first place I'd look.
Nicholas Lundgaard

mb514 (original poster)

#3: Post by mb514 (original poster) »

Hi, thanks for the reply.

The pressurestat itself is not releasing steam, but rather is causing the boiler's safety valve to release steam (I will edit the original post to be more clear).

The machine has undergone one large de-scale effort several months ago, and another within the past few weeks. I will try that again if you feel that it could cause this sort of behaviour.

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shadowfax

#4: Post by shadowfax »

It's probably not the problem if that's the case. If you would like to confirm whether it is the problem, you should be able to remove the pipe between the boiler and p-stat and test if you can blow through it (or run water through it... whatever you want.

If that is not the problem, then I would suspect that this may be an electrical issue. Could be that a relay is stuck closed or something, and the pressurestat isn't properly opening the circuit when it needs to turn off the element.
Nicholas Lundgaard

mb514 (original poster)

#5: Post by mb514 (original poster) »

I may try another descale to distract myself from buying a new machine.

Regarding the electrical theory, would you expect other symptoms like fluctuations in boiler pressure? It is quite stable otherwise.

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shadowfax

#6: Post by shadowfax »

Electrical is complicated... depending on the problem, it could manifest itself in a number of different ways. I wouldn't recommend changing machines, unless you have a big hankering to upgrade. It's probably still a good machine, and you should try to get it repaired.
Nicholas Lundgaard

mb514 (original poster)

#7: Post by mb514 (original poster) »

My wife would appreciate your advice.

Descale underway. Ordinarily, the problem would occur during the process of getting the detergent into the boiler, but after a few rounds, it stopped. I will stay optimistic, do a few more rounds and see what happens.

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Randy G.

#8: Post by Randy G. »

mb514 wrote:....the problem would occur during the process of getting the detergent into the boiler.
Uhh.... detergent into the boiler??????
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mb514 (original poster)

#9: Post by mb514 (original poster) »

Descaler? I am not sure what you might call that stuff.

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shadowfax

#10: Post by shadowfax »

Randy G. wrote:Uhh.... detergent into the boiler??????
What's wrong with that? I have skim milk in my boiler. :D
Nicholas Lundgaard