Rocket Appartamento very slow heat up - Page 2

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#11: Post by erik82 »

Really sounds like a thermosyphon stall. Follow NicoNYC's advise and clean the tubes. That should probably fix the problem.

Descaling can be done in a good way if you do it every 6months as you then avoid the parts being clogged too much and cause more problems then it solves. If you haven't done it in 4 years you shouldn't descale as there's a 99% chance you'll make things worse. Scale buildup will be more and large chunks will get loose and go through the whole machine and clog everything.

Once in 4 years is also a point where I would advice to take everything apart and clean it out as scale will build up and clog components. I've done a couple of E61 rebuilds and it's not that hard if you're a bit handy and have the tools needed. It's very easy to damage copper or break pipes without the right tools or putting too much strain on them so watch out for that. After a couple of years of getting hot and cold those fittings can be quite tight and need some TLC to get them loose.

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#12: Post by slipchuck »

Is there a delay when you pull the lever and the water coming out the grouphead

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#13: Post by darilon »

I'd remove the heating element from the boiler and check it's condition. Your situation sounds a lot like a dead or dying heating element. Has the boiler ever been low on water while the machine's turned on? Worth a shot.

AHaddock (original poster)

#14: Post by AHaddock (original poster) »

Hi all,
The problem has been solved! Thanks so much to all of you for your help. I attach below some images that may help others with a similar problem.

Like NicoNYC suggested, it was the thermosyphon clogged with scale. I took out the thermosyphon 'in' tube (the one going from the boiler to the group). The restrictor at the entrance to the group (marked 'B' in the first photo), which several people suggested as the most likely place for a clog, was completely fine. However, the other end (marked 'A') was severely scaled (see photos), both the copper tube itself and the fitting where it attaches to the boiler.

I cleaned the tube (the scale was not hard-set) until water circulated freely through it. It didn't look like there was a clog inside. I tried (briefly) to unscrew the fitting to clean it more thoroughly and easily, but it was very tight and I was making the whole boiler to move by trying, so I let it be. I cleaned it with a small flat screwdriver trying to take the scale out and not falling into the depths of the TS. Then I put it all back.

I switched the machine on, with my finger on the TS copper tube. It started to get very hot after some minutes, the heat 'advancing' slowly form the boiler to the group (as expected). However, the last couple of inches of the tube (point 'B') didn't heat up. After a moment I realized there would be air trapped in the group chamber impeding the flow of water, so I did a short-ish flush and then the rest of the tube, and then the group, started to heat up.

This time, the group did reach the temperature I was used to. I tried a shot and came out beautifully. Anyway, since I don't know if there is more scale in other parts of the machine, I'm going to descale her as soon as my Dezcal arrives.

Note: I have always used bottled water, assuming that it would be softer than tap water. I was wrong, the bottle label says 80 mg/L of calcium, while, according to my local water company, my tap water has 10 mg/L. Careless of me. So, I'll be using tap water from now on with a Rocket Water Reservoir Filter for good measure. Cheaper and less trouble.

The anti-vacuum valve (another suggestion for a cause) was fine.

Thanks again to all, and may the espresso be with you.

Machine internals

TS Fitting Before

TS tube (end 'A') Before

TS Fitting After