La Pavoni lever history--age of used machines - Page 2

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hankbates

#11: Post by hankbates »

Upon more consideration, I think that the EP switch on a Pro is overkill, as the EP switch light only comes on when the element is heating (is this correct?), and the pro switch is lit whenever the power is on. You could miss the indicator light on the EP unless there is power to the element, not a sure way of knowing if there is power to the unit....

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rpavlis (original poster)

#12: Post by rpavlis (original poster) »

There are two different kinds of late Europiccola switches. The early ones only light up when current is being drawn. The later ones have two lights, the red one is on whenever the machine is turned on, and the green one lights up only when it is drawing current. Mine has two lights. I have seen another person's that seems to only have one, or else their red light was burned out??

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homeburrero
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#13: Post by homeburrero »

rpavlis wrote:The later ones have two lights, the red one is on whenever the machine is turned on, and the green one lights up only when it is drawing current.
If you wanted this feature on your Pro, you could fit it with a switch for a later (pStat equipped) europiccola and rewire it underneath in the same way as a Europiccola - then you would have the red light indicating that power is on, and the green light indicating that the pStat has kicked on the element. May be overkill, because if you are watching the gauge on your pro you can kinda tell whether the element is on or not.

re vacuum breaking ...
Richard - if you're still following this thread and get a chance, could you do a little test on the cap of your Romantica? Cover the little safety hole (scotch tape the inside), and put the threaded part in your mouth and try to draw air in. I think you might agree that it has a vacuum breaker function. Mine readily allows air to be drawn in (via the two vents that you see when you pry the plastic knob off of the metal cap.)
Pat
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hankbates

#14: Post by hankbates »

My machine is still hot from making our usual two triple lattes this morning, so I did the test on a spare cap I have. It was hard to completely seal the hole through the threads (I didn't want to do the scotch tape on the interior of the cap because the delta p under vacuum will push it open) but I finally found one of those rubber picks which you use for cleaning the spaces between you teeth, like a stim-u-dent, but round rubber. If I force this plug into the hole hard enough I can suck a pretty high vacuum with my mouth, enough so the rubber plug whistles as the air rushes in through the very small gaps between the threads and the plug.

This, plus the fact that my machine routinely raises the lever when it cools, unless I open the steam valve soon after the gauge reads zero, confirms that there isn't any vacuum breaker function in the cap, and, I think, elsewhere in the machine).

I have completely disassembled the spare cap, and there is no sign of a second spring and movable seal, as there would need be if it were a two-way check valve. The pictures show the disassembled parts. (you can just barely see the hole through the threads in the second photo).



I don't recommend that you do the same with yours, as the cap comes factory set at somewhere around 2bar, and unscrewing the plug with the 4mm hex hole will most probably change the setting. This is in contrast with the boiler-mounted relief valve on the standard machines which have a fixed setting when the cap is screwed all the way back on.

As a machine ages, and the seals at the sight glass and other attachments to the boiler become slightly leaky, a machine can provide its own vacuum breaker function without showing signs of external leakage. Air under reduced pressure has much lower viscosity than hot water, and a slight steam leak above the water level may not be noticed. Vacuum leaks are always harder to pinpoint than are pressure leaks.

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homeburrero
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#15: Post by homeburrero »

Thanks, Richard!
That was certainly complete, and clearly shows that your stock Romantica cap, which looks just like mine on the outside, clearly has no anti-vacuum. My machine is later than yours and for all I know has a replacement cap. Instead of adding more anti-vacuum discussion to this thread I'll start a new thread just on the Pavoni anti-vacuum issue.

Edit addition: here's the new thread: Anti-vacuum valves on Pavoni and Gaggia factory levers
Pat
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drgary
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#16: Post by drgary »

rpavlis wrote:There are pictures and a lot of other information about La Pavoni lever machines at http://www.francescoceccarelli.eu/

The pictures for the models ascribed to the early 1990s imply that the switch in the Europiccola to pressure switch instead of two elements, 800 watt and 200 watt, occurred around 1990. At another place in the site they say 1998. The later statement seems to be the correct one.
hankbates wrote:The special models which Pavoni made for certain markets were the Mignon (Germany), a EP without a sight glass (talk about flying blind!!), and the Ambassador (US), a EP with a professional boiler.
I contacted Mr. Ceccarelli and he writes that for the Europiccola the heating element configuration changed from 200W and 800W to a single 1000W element in 1990. He added that the dual element configuration never changed for the Mignon. He then offered this history which combines his knowledge and my editing for English:

- The Europiccola was introduced in 1961 (but was first sold in 1958 and badged "Co-Fer") with a dual heating element, 200W and 600W. The High position powered both elements. The Low position powered only the 200W element.
- In 1974 the heating element was modified to 200W and 800W and the switch now offered three positions. At the highest setting it powered only the 800W element and in the lowest setting only powered the 200W element.
- In 1980 the element was modified with 3 bolts screwed in to a brass ring.
- In 1984 a thermofuse was added in Italy. Outside Italy the thermofuse was added in 1978-79.
- In 1990 the two heating elements became a single 1000W element and a pressurestat was added connected to the boiler with a brass pipe
- In 1996 the element was changed to steel, and the brass ring was replaced by a black ring. The boiler thread became coarse and a resettable (not adjustable but only resettable - the red pin may be up or down) thermostat was added.
- In 2005 the black ring was replaced again by a brass ring.
Gary
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kudos1uk

#17: Post by kudos1uk »

Hi all new here and first post.

I have just bought a second hand La Pavoni from the bay, awaiting delivery.






Two element so pre 1998
Post 1982 as screw in base of well
Cap appears all plastic so post 1986?
Cant see a site glass protector so I assume thats missing?

Can anyone age it better than 1986-1998

Hope I have not bought too bad a machine, I intend to fully restore it and any advice on where to get the correct service kit would be a great help.

Thanks Anthony

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drgary
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#18: Post by drgary »

Anthony. That looks very much like my wonderful 2 switch Europiccola that is not missing a sight glass protector. It never had one. I bought it from the original owner who bought it from Zabar's in New York and then cared for it pretty well. I've never exactly dated mine but believe it's from the early 1990s. High build quality, great steaming performance, screw at bottom of drip tray.

Adding a pressure gauge on top of the sightglass will help you achieve temperature control. Your machine looks well preserved in that it doesn't have a rusted base. So, you'll need a drip tray and drip tray grate too. Congratulations on purchasing what looks like a very good machine!
Gary
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What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

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homeburrero
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#19: Post by homeburrero »

It has the taller boiler cap that came in around '91 (my '90 has the short cap.) It looks like it may have the old steel sight glass protector? Hard to tell from the picture - other possibility is that it came with the plastic protector and that was removed by previous owner. If it has the steel protector and the cap is original you are probably looking at a 90 -91, otherwise probably a 91 - 94. (I think I see ridges on that lever handle.) The exact date is not that relevant on these. When you get it you can probably get the month and year of the heating element - is stamped into the base in this period. For example this:

is stamped "FIREM 9 90" - indicating a Sept 1990 production date.


I think you got yourself a good one. Two of the HB sponsors, Stefano's espressocare, and Orphan Espresso are excellent resources for service, parts, and rebuild kits for these things. Not sure if there are comparable shops in the UK.
Pat
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rpavlis (original poster)

#20: Post by rpavlis (original poster) »

The sight glass metal top and bottom became much thicker after the change to plastic covers, also there is a ridge on the side away from the glass to hold the plastic piece. This machine does not have the ridge, and it is thin as in earlier models. My 1978-9 model has the metal part where it attaches to the boiler measure 21.45 mm, however my 1999 model has it measure 27.10 mm. Early sight glass machines, I think, had the plastic sleeve attached with screws, so there would be a screw holes on both the top and bottom metal mounting if there once were a plastic sleeve that is missing. I do not know if the ones with the screw holes were as thick as later ones? Thus this machine must have never had a plastic sight glass cover. My guess: 1990. I think that a rather probable date, in fact.

There is one peculiar thing, however, and that is the switch, it has a white frame, and that might indicate a year or two older. Later two switch models have a black frame for the switches. It cannot be much older because then it would have a shorter metal and polymer boiler cap.

It looks to me like this machine has been cared for, there does not seem to be corrosion and the chrome plating seems sound. I would suggest giving it a thorough examination when it arrives. If its internal condition match its external condition, you have a decent machine!