'94 La Pavoni Europiccola: long time to heat up, then trips fuse

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.
landdogger

#1: Post by landdogger »

I've seen many posts on this topic but am having trouble assembling a clear idea of what I should be looking at next.

I have a 1994 La Pavoni Europiccolla. The machine stopped turning on, and when I replaced the brown fuse with a new thermostat, it started working again.

While waiting for the new thermostat, I replaced most of the machine's gaskets (including heating element gasket) and descaled.

Now the machine will turn on, but takes much longer to heat up than before. When it starts hissing from the steam release, the machine shuts off and I have to reset the thermostat to get it working again.

Here are some questions I have:

1) I did NOT apply any thermal grease or case around the new thermostat (as I saw https://www.espressocare.com/products/i ... stat-cover), but I will be ordering these parts. Will this make a difference?

2) Could the heating element be burned out? If I'm going to test the resistance as I've seen suggested, which contacts should I be testing across?

2a) What resistance values should I be looking for?

3) Are there other things that could help explain this behavior?

Thank you for any guidance!

Espresso Vision: the perfect cup of coffee starts with understanding your roast
Sponsored by Espresso Vision
RobAnybody

#2: Post by RobAnybody »

Hi!
Does your pavoni have a pressostat? (a '94 europiccola should in theory have one, like all the professional models)
if that is the case the thermofuse is doing what it is designed to do. On the models with a pressostat the steam release should only hiss when the pressure gets over 1.6 bar. normally the pressostat should have switched off, unless it is faulty or the pressostat tube is clogged.
If your pavoni doesnt' have a pressostat but a double heating element then the thermofuse has a to low temperature rating.
cheers,
Rob
LMWDP #647

landdogger (original poster)

#3: Post by landdogger (original poster) »

No pressure stat on this device! I have a double brass / copper boiler.

The thermostat I used to replace is rated at 127 C, and this is the only option I've seen available.

RobAnybody

#4: Post by RobAnybody »

ok, your Europiccola might be a bit older than '94 http://www.francescoceccarelli.eu/lapavoni_ep.htm
you can use a steam thermostat rated at 145°C https://www.espressocare.com/products/i ... self-reset
or go with the more oldscool thermofuse https://www.espressocare.com/products/i ... thermofuse
both are also available from other sources if that is more convenient.
cheers,
Rob
LMWDP #647

landdogger (original poster)

#5: Post by landdogger (original poster) »

Thanks, Rob. The heating element says 94, so I assumed that was the manufacturing date.

Any idea why it would have started taking longer to heat up? Something burned out the original fuse, so something must have changed. There was some scale but descaling has not made a difference.

Very possible I'm still leaking steam which I assume could cause an extended warm-up, leading to over-heating. I haven't noticed anything but will tighten up again.

landdogger (original poster)

#6: Post by landdogger (original poster) »

I don't think this will help with diagnosis, but here's a photo of the date I found on the heating element for reference.


RobAnybody

#7: Post by RobAnybody »

That is an interesting one!, La pavoni started introducing the pressostat to the europiccola around '91. Apparently they still made use of the double heating elements after that.
a steam leak can cause a delay in heating but that would mean the top of the boiler would also heat up faster (cold air escaping before the steam valve opens).

no leaks around the heating element?
LMWDP #647

BPlus: turning your coffee spirit
Sponsored by BPlus
landdogger (original poster)

#8: Post by landdogger (original poster) »

I don't think there are leaks around the heating element, but I'm not entirely confident. I've tightened those three bolts, but don't want to over-tighten for fear of them getting stuck.

I put in a new flat gasket with some Petro-Gel, but I'm not sure what else to do to secure it. I've also removed the heating element sleeve to ensure I'm getting the element all the way in (the sleeve was tricky to get in there).

Is there any chance I need a new heating element? I'm not eager to spending the $100+, especially if it's not clear that's the issue.

RobAnybody

#9: Post by RobAnybody »

as long as it is still functioning I wouldn't bother with a new element.
When I replaced the element gasket on my Pavoni (same year and material but then the pro model) I tightened the element again after the first heating cycle (hand tight, no ectra force). It can be that the sleeve helped in transferring the heat from your element to the water (extra surface area) which could explain the slower heating without the element in place.
If in the end you do need a new heating element, Coffee-sensor has the double version for a reasonable price. https://coffee-sensor.com/product-categ ... -elements/
LMWDP #647

landdogger (original poster)

#10: Post by landdogger (original poster) »

Descaled the heating element sleeve and reattached, but unfortunately no luck. Machine still trips thermostat fuse just as it begins to let off steam.

I'm getting resistance across the terminals, so I don't think the element is burned out.

Will continue to tinker, but if anyone has any ideas, I'm open to suggestions!

Charlie