Issues with my Profitec Pro 800 lever machine

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#1: Post by demet »

Hi fellow espresso freaks, hoping for a little guidance. I have a Profitec Pro 800 lever machine, purchased 2.5 years ago, still under warranty from Whole Latte Love. Machine is taking a long time to fill the boiler from the reservoir, and sometimes just quits pumping until I turn machine off and on again. In the last week it seems to be getting worse, after I drained boiler in preparation to descale, but I think I noticed it before. (WLL said they do not recommend descaling it, so I refilled water) And shots have been erratic, although that could be in my mind, as sometimes the machine is quite temperamental. I have mostly enjoyed it, but have had enough difficulty, and with overheating issues, I have considered giving up on it.

Possibly related over the last year year there have been a few times when the machine leaked water. Not sure of the source but it was cold and clear water so I assumed possible problem with reservoir seating, but it was so infrequent I never really dealt with it. Did it a few days ago for the first time in months.

So now what to do? BTW the manual gives instructions on descaling, so not sure why WLL recommends against it. I have not been careful water, because water in my city is supposed to be good, not hard. There is local company that sells the machine but I would need to pay them to service it, not under warranty. Shipping to WLL would probably be outrageous/hassle. Considering servicing the grouphead myself, and looking for scale issue. Would I be able to see indication of it in the dipper or something?

Anyway, I'm also on the verge of just selling it, and trying a different machine. I really enjoy the lever but it is not always easy, and does overheat if I have to pull more then a few shots. Any suggestions on what to do?

Team HB

#2: Post by baldheadracing »

When was the last time the machine was fully serviced? (Piston seals replaced, vacuum breaker rebuilt/replaced, etc.)
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

demet (original poster)

#3: Post by demet (original poster) »

I bought it new 2.5 years ago, never been serviced. Used for at least two shots daily for that time, more or less.


#4: Post by cyclezib »

There are a number of issues raised in your post. You didn't mention what type of water you are using? I'm going to assume you are not using distilled water plus RPavlis salts. I'm also going to assume you are using unfiltered tap water. You would have zero scale if you used RPavlis type water. But the boiler is after the pump. So, your issue could be with the water tank valve, the line to the pump, the line to the boiler, the pump itself or the vent to the boiler (preventing air from leaving the boiler as it fills.

You may have something gumming up the works. Given that you don't seem to be inclined to doing regular maintenance on the piston seals (lube and periodically changing them), I suggest you find a good espresso repair company in your area and let them service your machine.


#5: Post by AMac »

Where is the water pooling when it leaks? If it starts to leak from the top of the grouphead, the seals need to be replaced.

The controller might be going too for the refills.

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#6: Post by HB »

demet wrote:Considering servicing the grouphead myself, and looking for scale issue. Would I be able to see indication of it in the dipper or something?
Check out these step-by-step instructions Removing, Disassembling and Cleaning Your Pro 800 Grouphead. They're very well written, documenting each step with photos and explanations. It also mentions how to check for scale.
Dan Kehn

Team HB

#7: Post by baldheadracing »

2 shots/day => 730 shots/year => 1800 shots/2.5 years.
1 cycle/day => 365 cycles/year => 900 cycles/2.5 years
I would say that the machine would benefit from a major service.

For descaling, I don't know. Myself, I would look inside the boiler to see for myself. (I use a borescope. A borescope is a video camera on the end of a gooseneck that is small enough to get into the boiler through a boiler fitting, e.g., the steam tap fitting. This lets you look inside the boiler. Drain the boiler and see for yourself how much scale there is - or isn't. A light coating of scale or oxide can be protective for brass and copper, so there are situations where descaling is not beneficial. A borescope that displays on your phone is under $15. A borescope with a display is $30+.)

demet (original poster)

#8: Post by demet (original poster) »

OK thanks everyone. I have been in touch will local company that sells Profitec, but need to check in with WLL love first and see what might be covered in warranty and if it's worth shipping. I would service the grouphead myself If I thought that was certainly the issue, but it seems otherwise.

I haven't determined where the water leaks exactly, but it's not from grouphead, and it's clear/cold water, so I suspect the reservoir fitting or connecting hose. I guess if there's an issue there it could be related to extended pumping. I will open the machine and at least look at that before sending for repair.

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#9: Post by HB »

A tip if you should decide to peek under the covers:

Remove the top 4 Allen screws first (2mm, IIRC) and then the top. Then remove the back panel bottom Allen screws and loosen (don't remove) the two upper screws. The upper ones seat into a slot, so you only have to loosen them (if you remove them, they're easy to drop into the case, leading to a fishing expedition. Don't ask me how I know :lol:). The same applies to the front screws for the side panels, i.e., they seat into an "L" shaped slot. It's not really obvious when you do it the first time, but it actually makes it much easier to remove/replace the panels than most espresso machines.

As espresso machines go, the Pro 800 is easy to work on. There's a heavy steel counterweight bolted on the back edge of the frame; once you remove it (one screw), there's a lot more room to get at the plumbing bits like the reservoir connection, pump, refill solenoid, etc. That counterweight is really heavy, so it pays to have a helper hold it steady while you unscrew it from the bottom.

I find it easier to put the machine "up on blocks" to increase the countertop clearance; that way, you can get at the bottom Allen screws easily. Again, it helps to have a helper place the blocks while you lift half the machine and they can help assure it doesn't slide around. Another option is just sliding the machine around so the panel side you want to remove is close to a countertop edge, giving you easier access to the Allen screws on the bottom.

Edited to add reminder: Disconnect the machine from the power supply.
Dan Kehn

demet (original poster)

#10: Post by demet (original poster) »

Thanks so much! Will tackle this tomorrow.