La Pavoni Europiccola Pre Millenium 2nd gen renewal project

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.
JRM Steam

#1: Post by JRM Steam »

Hi, folks.
After years of ogling this website an watching some of the incredible projects of taking absolutely ( what seemed like anyhow) hopelessly ruined La Pavoni Europiccolas back to their former glory has been an inspiration, so hats off to all of you!

So on to the project. I acquired a La Pavoni Europiccola Brass/ Copper machine that was in great cosmetic condition but " had issues"
The first thing was the smell of electrical/copper/brass coming from the boiler. So that meant a few descalings with Dezcal and later milder vinegar , many rinses. Secondly the on off switch was not working properly. By plugging it in, it would automatically come on without actually turning it on,hmmm that is not right.

Under the base plate was some rust but nothing to worry about. However after a week the rust places had increased substantially and now set off alarm bells, something was leaking. At about day 10 suddenly the sight glass showed way less water and the base was leaking all kinds of water, panic!!
I shut off the machine, clean up the water, let it dry. Time for a full diagnostic.
By closer examination it was clear that two of the ceramic seals had fractured, one where the seal had completely gone and was leaking like a sieve .
Took several videos and pictures going over the the wiring etc. Removed the wires, unscrewed the heating element, upon strong lights it was clear that there were some small fissures in the 800w element, that would account for both the leak, power issue and odor .
The heating element is gorgeous, solid brass, with a brass collar that surrounds the pure copper heating elements, so I sent it off to Hungary to get the heating elements replaced, 50 Euros repair, 22 Euros shipping.. the distances means that it will take 2 to 3 months, but this is so gorgeous that I believe its worth it.
Ok, stage 2 off to Stefano's EspressoCare for a new SS element, gaskets, new wiring etc.
While I am waiting I thought it would be a good idea to go over some things that are not exactly clear . So here we go, 1 by 1.
1) there will need to be some thermal grease applied to the gasket before it the heating element is secured to the boiler, my question does the thermal grease go only on one side or both sides of the gasket?
2)The new SS heating element has a few design changes that are likely to cause confusion, on the brass element you can clearly see the separation , the 800w poles I call east west and the 200w element I call north south. This is not so on the new SS element, the poles are NOT separated into the characteristic diamond shape but more of a cross shape,so the only way to find out is through the Ohm readings, so it is much easier to" get it wrong" .
Any suggestions on that?
3) the new SS heating element also now has added to each pole , 2 prongs..also to add to the confusion because I have seen wiring posted on this website that uses these two prongs making the wiring look ridiculously complicated as compared to the configuration on the older brass element with the single poles, no prongs. I was told that I could use the same old wiring configuration but that the only real change was that the copper tab that bridges the East pole with the South pole can be done by taking advantage of the double prong setup and that apart from that it was not necessary to use all the prongs that they are there more for convenience sake than electronic necessity. I have the original 1/11 white switch which so far checks out on the Ohms but was recommended that it be replaced with the black switch( I am aware that the black switch has a different wiring configuration) Any insights, suggestions, links?
4) replacing the switch, looks daunting. It looks like I will have to pop off the white square that holds the switch in place, how does one do that without scratching the hell out of the surface?
5) to prevent further corrosion, I plan to use Phosphoric acid gel to etch the rust off and then use some high temp automotive lacquer to add as a protective coating, any suggestions here?
The La Pavoni Europiccola was stated to me that it dated from 1987, however the date stamp on the brass heating element is 04/81..
It is the double switch, white version.
Thats all for now, thank you all in advance.
Glad to post photos if you request them.

Regards, JRM

User avatar

#2: Post by redbone »

Picture indeed.
If you've sent off your element to Gabor it will come back similar to oem but will take in excess of 3 months from my experience and a few others. No need to concern yourself about the new SS elements with different poles.
I've sand blasted and powder coated bases with excellent results.
Between order and chaos there is espresso.
Semper discens.

LMWDP #549

Aida Battle: Indigo Reserve from world renowned Finca Kilimanjaro in El Salvador
Sponsored by Aida Battle
JRM Steam (original poster)

#3: Post by JRM Steam (original poster) »

Thanks that looks gorgeous.
I don't want to fry anything including myself. Its been years that I worked with my dad on any electronics stuff, he was the expert. So I am a fish out of water on that department..

Did you do any paint or protective coating on the inside to protect against rust?


Here is the shot of the wiring senza the element, keep in mind the new SS element comes will also have a Thermostat/breaker in the middle.
You can also see on the East pole where the Red wire starts there is some discoloration on the nut, this tells me there must have been some shorting going on. The rest looks pretty clean.
The readings i am getting on the White switch are 0.3 ohms but after a few seconds it drops to 0.2, maybe the contacts have gotten dirty or the switch is toast?
See how the diamond layout makes " reading" easy to figure out, stamp says 04/81 110V 200w/800w

User avatar

#4: Post by redbone »

That shot has the element.
I'm confused are you waiting for an element from Gabor or have you ordered a new SS element? Is something wrong with your element, wiring or switch ?
Wiring diagrams for LP home levers can be found here. ... mi_eng.htm
I use a 3D printed or retail drip tray below grill in order to prevent water contact in drip tray which leads to rust on steel bases.

Sometime past 1978 the element switched from tight screw thread to 3 bolt.
Your picture is a 3 bolt variety.
Between order and chaos there is espresso.
Semper discens.

LMWDP #549

User avatar
Team HB

#5: Post by drgary »

Hi Folks:

I added "2nd gen" to the title because "pre-Millennium" can relate to machines produced before 1974 or between 1975 and 1999.

Here's a link to help people identify different La Pavoni manual levers by generation.

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

JRM Steam (original poster)

#6: Post by JRM Steam (original poster) »

redbone wrote:That shot has the element.
I'm confused are you waiting for an element from Gabor or have you ordered a new SS element? Is something wrong with your element, wiring or switch ?
Wiring diagrams for LP home levers can be found here. ... mi_eng.htm
I use a 3D printed or retail drip tray below grill in order to prevent water contact in drip tray which leads to rust on steel bases.

Sometime past 1978 the element switched from tight screw thread to 3 bolt.
Your picture is a 3 bolt variety.
Sorry for the mixup... :oops: in the photo... yeah its is still mounted, but now has been sent off, so I took a picture before that happened, to document the placement of everything and record the condition of the machine.

Now.. there is no element... just shows how I was thinking rather than stating the facts

I have the plastic drip tray and screen, which I fastidiously clean up after every session.
So no the corrosion was definitely from the steam leak from the brass heating element.
Keep in mind that the heating element quickly degraded to the point that water was pouring out of the base of the element, if you look carefully you can see the ceramic ring is cracked, there is greening corrosion on the base as well .That has been sent to Hungary .

As for the SS element.. that will be here sometime this week. Will post photo when it comes in.
Now as far as wiring goes, even the images and documentation shown on Francesco's webpage do not clarify the " positioning of the SS element or " where the East, West,North South poles are located ( you see the old element has this characteristic " diamond" configuration that makes it easy to figure out not so on the new SS ones )
Though the wiring schematics look very clear, there are no images "current" that show how these double tab SS heating are wired up. There are a few on this webpage that are posted, but still are confusing.
In the end I will be forced to go by the diagram schematics. When I do figure it out, I will post a very clear un-confusing image of the wiring setup, because this seems to be a perennial subject.
Lastly even though he does mention the need to use thermal paste on the gasket( gasket on the SS heating element), he does not clarify if the thermal paste goes only on one side or both?

Cheers, JRM

JRM Steam (original poster)

#7: Post by JRM Steam (original poster) »

Here is a shot close up of the coils, you can see the fissures..

Cerini Coffee & Gifts: official US importer for Olympia Express
Sponsored by Cerini Coffee & Gifts
JRM Steam (original poster)

#8: Post by JRM Steam (original poster) »

Picture if the unique "Brass shroud" around the coils.

JRM Steam (original poster)

#9: Post by JRM Steam (original poster) »

Ok, I am posting this information here because I know that many people who are like me, new to all of this will have similar doubts and questions, so here it goes.

1) Thermal grease, is used on the SS element base, it is used so that there is better thermal conductivity between the base of the heating element and the thermostat.

It is NOT used on the gasket between the boiler and heating element, which is what I thought at first. It may have been a dumb assumption on my part, why would I have come up with such an idea?
Well the boiler gets hot, the gasket may have needed some additional " glue" to prevent leaks under great pressure was my thinking before I knew this.

2) On the La Pavovi Europiccola, pre millenium 1979- 1990 , 4 prong, 2 element/ 200w/800w /110V brass base, copper coils, there is what is known as the " Diamond configuration"... explained as follows, to identify the 800w poles you simply look at the base and see which poles are furthest apart from each other, if you are looking down at the heating element from above and it is still attached, this can be identified as the East and West pole, the 200w element, takes the North South poles.
However, on the newer, SS heating element, there is no such visual reference. So how is it done?
Very simple, before the element is attached to the boiler, you look at the top of the heating element, the larger coil outside is the 1000w coil, look at where they enter the base plate and exit on the the back, you may want to use a magic marker to label the poles on the back side. The 200w element, is the smaller element inside, likewise do the same.

3)The newer SS heating element comes with a strange setup, each pole now has 2 tabs each. This may be the cause of great confusion , especially if you look at some of the wiring that people have posted.
Best to understand it this way, those double tabs are simply there for convenience, thats all. Not to make some complicated, convoluted maze of wires that no one could possibly understand. Why would this be confusing?
Simply put, the wiring on the older brass heating element is pretty straight forward, also the " diamond configuration " layout is a very helpful visual that the newer SS element does not have.
Lastly there is an additional 5th threaded pole, which again if you are coming from the older models that have a thermofuse may not be 100% evident what that is for.
It is for screwing on the Thermostat/ breaker.

4)if you are going to replace all the wiring you may end up also replacing the switch, the older switch from that era was a " white switch", the removal of it also is very simple. On the inside there are tabs that if you squeeze them, the whole switch assembly will pop out.

All of these very simple pieces of information are very important for newbies who are dipping into this in the dark.
There are many, many threads here on this forum about the wiring, the SS element wiring etc, but none clarify these very specific points. For future reference, here they are so that future newbies have access to these very basic but vital tidbits of information.

Regards, JRM

JRM Steam (original poster)

#10: Post by JRM Steam (original poster) »

Ok now for an update.

The bottom inside of the base where there has been rust and corrosion was etched with phosphoric acid gel , cleaned, rinsed and then coated with a transparent lacquer to prevent any further corrosion. The corrosion in my case was not due to a sopping wet drip tray( which I keep dry and clean after each session), it was due to a " steam leak" on one of the poles of the heating element.

I received the wiring today and will go about replacing each wire one by one and then sheathing them.

The package with the SS heating element, gaskets, screws, new black switch, will arrive in the next few days.
This will allow me to first check for leaks, maybe the sight glass gaskets go blown, we will see.
If there are no leaks, then we can proceed with the electrical, test Ohms.
Then " live" test, if there are no issues on to the full pressure test etc.
Then on to a full "La Pavoni" session if all goes well, who knows, might be up and running by this weekend?
Will post images and later some video.
Cheers, JRM