Profitec Pro 500 (non-PID) low brew temperature/no flash boiling

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CafPresso

#1: Post by CafPresso »

Hi everyone,

I've been researching this for quite sometime and can't find an answer. Hope someone could help. I just got a Profitec Pro 500 (NON-PID) from the original owner who's maintained it pretty well. I let it warm up for a couple of hours yesterday and noticed the water coming out from the grouphead is only warm (about 145* F). No flash boiling. Steam works fine. And the hot water comes out very hot out of the hot water arm with flash boiling. I tried doing a long flush (couple of mins) and that didn't change anything. I tried emptying the steam boiler via the hot water arm and let it refill and still the same problem. I left it ON today as well and so far it's been ON for about 7 hours and nothing changed. Also, the grouphead is only warm to the touch. Not hot at all. Of note, previous owner said he hasn't used it for about two months and recommended to leave it ON overnight. Not sure if this could be a possible reason.
Would appreciate any input.

Bluenoser

#2: Post by Bluenoser »

I'd say you have a scale deposit in the restrictor of the thermosiphon.. Another cause of cool group is an air lock in the thermosiphon but a long 10 second flush should cure that.. and you could be getting some air leaking in somewhere..

The thermosiphon carries water that gets heated by the boiler and circulates it to the group.. it then cools and returns to the boiler by the lower TS tube. There is a restrictor to slow the circulation so you don't need to flush it so long and waste water.. it is about 2.5mm in the Pro500, and attached to the end of the top tube at the group end. That little hole controls how fast the water circulates.. too slow and you won't get hot water thru the group fast enough to heat it up.. An air pocket can also stall the water circulation and all you'll see is the heat slowing radiating to the group, but nothing flows so, again, the group won't heat.

But if its been sitting for a while, I'd guess that restrictor is clogged with a big of scale or corrosion.

First, empty the boiler by getting it up to temp and then turning the machine off (and I'd unplug). then open the hot water tap and you'll need a 1 liter measuring cup to catch the water (maybe drip tray will contain it.. not sure).. after boiler is relatively empty, remove at least the restrictor tube.. but might be good to remove both pipes in the thermosiphon. You can find a parts list on WLL for the Pro500 to see what is what..

As I look at my Pro500 PID, I think the tube with the restrictor is on the left and exits the top part of the boiler.. You'll need to remove the machine cover (vids on youtube of WLL for this) and remove the tube(s).. Look for crud.. Sometimes crud can gather in the junction of the pipe and boiler where the tube narrows. You might need to remove both tubes.. For the restrictor, I get a small drill bit to clean out..

I have some descale solution and I soaked those 2 tubes when I did a clean about 6 mo ago.

When the pipes are off, you might also look in the area where the pipes enter the group for crud .. There might be corrosion in the mushroom, but I think for the thermosiphon, the water just comes into the group and then exits.. I don't think a blocked mushroom should affect the group getting hot.

You can also see if there might be anywhere air could be getting in..

I've only a basic knowledge of HX repair so others might be able to give you other possibilities.

CafPresso (original poster)

#3: Post by CafPresso (original poster) »

Thank you for the thorough response!
The prior owner used RO water so I was under the impression that there should be no scale build up.

I definitely flushed for more than 10 seconds multiple times.
I was trying to avoid opening and removing stuff to be honest. Is there any other way around it? Or is there any other way to get rid of the possible air stuck in there?

Bluenoser

#4: Post by Bluenoser replying to CafPresso »

First, there is no way you are going to buy a used E61 and not get your hands dirty.. so you will have to bite the bullet and start the learning now.. The more repair you do, the more you learn about your machine and can fix it yourself. If you have a shop local you can take it in, but it will be more expensive and that beast is not light to truck around.

RO water removes virtually all minerals ideally. I use RO water and remineralize with "ThirdWaveWater" packets. Your machine won't work properly if there are zero minerals as some of the sensors rely on a certain amount of 'salt' (ie: the water present sensor). You can buy RO water at many stores.. I think some might remineralize.. so it is possible that even though he used RO water, he may have remineralized himself, or the shop he bought it from did, or the RO system didn't remove all it should (if it is not maintained well.) The way to tell is to remove the mushroom and look at the buildup.

You can see buildup from my 3 yr old Pro500 and I used RO plus TWW.. Scale after 3 yrs in HX espresso machine

Taking the cover off is something you will want to do from time to time .. if you want to lower the OPV pressure, it is under here.. I resisted taking my cover off too.. but ultimately you have to .. there are just too many maintenance things you will need to do. Taking the two tubes off is not difficult. You may need to buy a few wrenches if you don't already have them. Taking the mushroom off will give you a good indication of the level of scale in your system. This way you can really tell its condition. You likely have a brass plated mushroom. These are scale magnets.. If the scale is too bad you can replace it with a stainless one that will not form scale as much.. (on the plated mushroom you are really getting corrosion as opposed to scale).

Put tape around the mushroom nut when you remove so you don't scratch the chrome.

As I said before.. I don't have a ton of experience, so someone else might chime in with other possibilities. Or if you are in a larger centre.. you can bring it in for a professional descale and fix.. (do the descale at the same time as the fix so you don't have to do this later). Edit: ahh.. you are in LA.. should be *lots* of good places to service there.

How old is the machine? These are well built machines and should be worth spending some money to get it back in good shape.

CafPresso (original poster)

#5: Post by CafPresso (original poster) »

I totally agree with you that sooner or later this is something I should be doing for regular maintenance. I guess I'll likely end up doing just that as you recommended. The machine was purchased in late 2017 so it's a little over 4 year old but it honestly looks new.

Thanks once again!