Weird issues with my Elektra MicroCasa Semiautomatica

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Goldensncoffee
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Postby Goldensncoffee » Jun 18, 2017, 3:34 pm

I've been using my MicroCasa Semiautomatica for about a year now. I love the thing. I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on making decent espresso with it. I'm having 2 strange issues with it though. I'm not sure if they're related but I thought I would run them by you all and see what your thoughts were.

Issue 1- I know there is no auto boiler fill on the machine. I fill with distilled water so there is no de-scaling necessary. The last time I re-filled the boiler I filled it about 7/8 of the way on the sight glass and noticed some unwanted water spitting out of the steam wand. I used the steam wand for a while and got the water about 3/4 of the way. I notice the next few times I use the machine the water is all the way to the top (can't see the water mark). I run the steam wand down so it shows 3/4 full. (this was last night) I'm making drinks this morning for company and its all cool and then all of a sudden the water goes high on the sight glass. It stays there and doesn't go down. How is water getting into my boiler?

Issue 2- Do the pumps ever go bad on these things? Mine has changed in sound a lot. It makes a sort of knocking/vibrating noise when I start the pump and then the sound changes to a smoother sound after about 4-5 seconds. Any thoughts?

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HB
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Postby HB » Jun 18, 2017, 3:48 pm

Goldensncoffee wrote:I'm making drinks this morning for company and its all cool and then all of a sudden the water goes high on the sight glass. It stays there and doesn't go down. How is water getting into my boiler?

Sounds like the sight glass is somehow clogged.

Do the pumps ever go bad on these things?

They sure do. But it could also be blockage. I searched on "elektra semiautomatica no pump pressure" and found previous reports/suggestions:

ULKA EX5 pump not working on an Elektra Semiautomatica
No pump pressure on Elektra Semiautomatica
Elektra Semiautomatica no brew water
Dan Kehn

coffee cat
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Postby coffee cat » Jun 18, 2017, 3:57 pm

This machine equipped with a solenoid valve, that opens when you push left button, same button activates the pump. Thats how you top up the boiler. If the valve doesn't close properly, next time you make coffee (activate the pump) some of the water during the brewing process is pushed in to boiler.
Solenoid needs service or to be replaced.

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HB
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Postby HB » Jun 18, 2017, 6:05 pm

Good catch. A cracked HX is another possibility, albeit very unlikely.
Dan Kehn

Goldensncoffee
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Postby Goldensncoffee » Jun 18, 2017, 10:10 pm

Wow thanks Jack and Dan. I will look into that solenoid valve tomorrow.

coffee cat
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Postby coffee cat » Jun 19, 2017, 8:30 am

Keep us posted.

Goldensncoffee
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Postby Goldensncoffee » Jun 19, 2017, 8:58 am

http://www.1st-line.com/store/pc/Inside-c539.htm

02959034 I think this is the part number that I need for that solenoid. It won't let me click on it though. I will have to call 1st line in a little bit. Jack, is this the solenoid I want?

Definitely either that solenoid or a cracked HX. Water is getting into that boiler somehow. It was just spraying water out of the steam wand this morning. I filled up half a pitcher and it still didn't show any lower on the sight glass.

Regarding the pump; I will have to look through those threads you posted today Dan. Pressure seems normal still but the sound is off. Something is going on.

Goldensncoffee
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Postby Goldensncoffee » Jun 21, 2017, 11:37 am

Not that I actually figured anything out yet but heres a little update:

I talked to 1st line yesterday and they suggested descaling the HX. I used my usual citric acid to do it but left it in there for a good hour. Flushed it all out. After all this flushing the boiler filled up again. Ran the steam wand into a pitcher and noticed the water was blue. So I'm not crazy...there is definitely brew water getting into the boiler. I'm not sure which solenoid is suspected to be bad/sticking in the parts diagram? I see 2 there but I can't click and order either.

I was checking out those links about the pump. Jim said in one thread> "How much flow are you getting when the PF is off. Pull water into a measuring cup for ten seconds and measure it. The new machine (at least mine) runs around 75 mL (2.5 fluid ounces)"

I did this just now and I'm getting about a fluid ounce of water. So it looks like there is some sort of obstruction maybe in the pump? I've never taken anything apart on this machine and debating on whether or not to just send it out to 1st line for repairs. The machine is about 6 years old...is there a normal service life with these things? I'm sure this isn't going to be cheap if I do send it out. Just wondering if its worth putting any money into.

Goldensncoffee
Posts: 147
Joined: Feb 04, 2014, 7:49 pm

Postby Goldensncoffee » Jul 02, 2017, 7:46 pm

It looks like I most likely have a cracked HX. I replaced that solenoid valve and it didn't fix it. Its even filling up when I just run the pump without any PF in place. I sent another email to Stefano to see if theres anything else I can check. I already checked the group solenoid valve, the gigleur, the shower screen and plate above it... descaled the HX... Maybe I can actually visually check the HX? I just don't know what else it could be. If he thinks I should sent it in I will. I'm so upset about my machine being broken.

Goldensncoffee
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Postby Goldensncoffee » Jul 04, 2017, 8:00 pm

**update** I figured out how to cap off the inlet to the boiler from the solenoid. Going to have to try and find a cap and then will see if any water leaks out of the new solenoid valve port. If this pipe is disconnected and there is still water getting in then I know 100% its the HX.

 
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