New Olympia Cremina owner.

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.

#1: Post by Dev » Jul 12, 2019, 11:56 am

I haven't posted in a while. Im still the proud owner of a LP Stradivarius that I have been using religiously since 2014.
I wanted to upgrade to a Cremina a few years ago but would stop short because of the price and because of the reviews that it won't make a better cup than what I have. Also the La Pavoni is a conversational piece that has beautiful aesthetics however I have a love hate relationship at times with the boiler to base gasket loosening up and a few other quirks like poor steaming performance compared to other machines.

Anyway I decided this year I want to entertain my curiosity and take on a fun project. If I don't like it I would just resell it for what I put into it and get most of my money back. I did a lot of searching here to know what I was getting into so I know what to buy beforehand and I didn't want to overpay, but at the same time I wanted a good example to work with. I bought a 1981 version for $900 with free shiping which looked good from the pictures and was given a reassurance from the seller that everything works. From the pictures it seemed good but I figured if there was something wrong with it I would return it since EBay gives me some assurance that if its not as described I have some recourse.

To my horror item was poorly packed even after I let the seller know to pack it well. Fortunately nothing was damaged as I inspected everything well. Nothing was stuck and I used a borescope to inspect the inside of the boiler and it seems to check out with not much scaling. Another concern was the group head wear from the lever pins and there was very light wear of some surface chrome on the bottom of the slot but only in a small spot and nothing on the top or the rear end that shows any damage or over use. The lever pins seem like they are original as they show rust but no real wear marks on those either. The lubricant seemed black and dried up but sill there. Added water, tested its function and nothing leaks.

On the whole Im very happy so far and plan to test the boiler pressure to make sure the Pstat has plenty of range left incase it needs to be adjusted before I disassemble it for its over haul.

One last thing that I did was pull a shot to compare with the LP. To my surprise it was clearly better so Im very happy about this and I get what people are saying about the build quality between the two as its pretty remarkable.

I have searched this board extensively and learned everything I need thanks to the members here but I have two questions that I cant seem to find the answer for.

1. When I turn the machine on the pilot light is off and once the Pstat kicks the boiler off then the pilot light comes on. I thought this was normal because my LP has the same behavior with its pilot light but when I watched the OE rebuild videos It looks like the pilot light is lit when the boiler is heating up and goes off when the boilers Pstat turns off the boiler when it reaches its set pressure. Is there something wrong with the wiring, possibility someone modified it.

2. The power switch lights up and toggles solid however the illuminated light has a kind of flicker to it. It doesn't exactly flicker on and off but it doesn't look like its solid on with consistent intensity. Is this normal. I hope it is because it looks like something from an 80s movie which is cool.

Thanks in advance.


#2: Post by Dev » Jul 12, 2019, 11:15 pm

I was able to check the Pstat setting by measuring the boiler pressure. I was wondering why the group was shooting out water very forcefully and its clear now that it was set too high in the range of 1.4 bar!

I was able to bring it down and there is plenty of adjustment range left so I don't have to mess around with rejuvenating the pressure stat. I set the pressure to 1 bar as a good compromise for pulling a shot and steaming.

Im now thinking someone didn't know what they were doing and just dumped the machine due to too much pressure.

If anyone can answer my two questions it would be greatly appreciated otherwise Im having a good time taking the machine apart. One really useful tool for getting some of the bolts off is my little Milwaukee M12 impact gun on the lowest setting. I don't have to struggled like OE was by having to hold it between my legs to remove the safety valve.

Supporter ♡

#3: Post by forbeskm » Jul 13, 2019, 12:41 am

Check the wiring.

I did have an issue once with the thermal switch. One of my Cremina's had a faulty one and it fixed itself every time I jolted the mahcine. They are cheap from cerini and worth keeping a spare if you have to have your espresso.

But yes, it should be on while heating, then off when the pressurestat hits the correct pressue.

Not sure on the flickering power, Doug may address that in his videos.

Supporter ♡

#4: Post by forbeskm » Jul 13, 2019, 12:42 am

Any yes no one can double box, hard foam, etc these days, despite you asking them in detail to do so. I once had a machine show up with plastic grocery bags as packing...

Fortunately yours made it!


#5: Post by Dev » Jul 13, 2019, 1:11 am

Thanks for that. I held of from ordering from cerini until after disassembly so I can see what needs replacing.
It looks like I have my work cut out for me for having to go over the wiring to see why the pilot light is doing the opposite illumination function.
I actually like it like the way it is as it tells me that the boiler reached its set pressure but I worry about modified wiring that might cause an issue down the road.

Also plan to Dioxit my electrical connections for better contact and reduce the risk of burning wires.

The last thing I plan to do is after the asbestos comes off Is use Titanium exhaust header wrap that is used for cars to wrap the boiler. I think this might make make a better insulator that will replace the asbestos.


#6: Post by Dev » Jul 13, 2019, 2:29 pm

So far so good. I removed the group and steam knob. Checked the boiler for shorts and everything is looking good.
I could not make out what is going on with the pilot light but I did find enough corrosion on the wiring spades and clips.
One of the wires that connects to the power switch was hanging with the wires frayed and badly tarnished. I couldn't believe how cheap a new wiring harness runs so instead of going though the tedious trouble of redoing the wiring I would rather have fresh wires and clips.

Thats where im at. Time to soak in jo glow and citric acid.

Supporter ♡

#7: Post by forbeskm » Jul 13, 2019, 3:52 pm

Don't soak too long in citric acid as pin holes are happier with scale :)

Frayed wiring is not your friend. There are other threads here on proper wiring and crimping if so interested. Cerini sells the junction block.


#8: Post by Dev » replying to forbeskm » Jul 13, 2019, 4:04 pm

Yes I can see that and it appears to have some previous heat damaged around that area. It looks like that might have been fixed at some point for a different connector. I could easily restore the wiring as Im good with electrical wiring and crimps but Its not worth it when a new harness is just $29 and it will also replace oxidized wiring that has seen better days.

As far as the citric acid I only plan to soak the brass and stainless steel parts. I would think the pinhole issue might be related to the boiler which I plan to descale the boiler after everything is assembled so its not in there for too long.

Supporter ♡

#9: Post by forbeskm » Jul 13, 2019, 8:14 pm

I didn't kno Cerini had a harness, thanks!

Yes boiler may have pin holes. Joe gloe the cap, most boiler smells I had came from the inside top of the cap or top of the boiler. Good luck, sounds like you are all set.


#10: Post by Dev » Jul 13, 2019, 11:28 pm

Apparently they do. I better order before they are gone especially at that price.
You would think a $4k current machine would have at least a $200 mark up on a wiring harness.
Good to see they are reasonable on some parts.

BTW thanks for the help. This restoration project is so much fun.
As for boiler cap I bought the one that has the gauge from Cerini. When I looked a few days ago I seen they were out of stock and yesterday they had one in stock so I grabbed it.

So far so good, no real surprises and the OE video with the tips is invaluable. As mechanically inclined as I am with gunsmithing and car repair I probably would have frustrated myself if I didn't have that bit of knowledge before hand.