So you bought an Olympia Express Super Club leva

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panchovilla

#1: Post by panchovilla »

Hello everyone. Just wanted to reintroduce myself. My wife & I love coffee, already have 5 levas, been looking for an Olympia Express Club so I wouldn't have to keep an active water line in my kitchen going to my espresso machine, and i got lucky and found this (not cheap), half a world away. A good friend suggested I share this with y'all for education, enjoyment, or to educate me. So here it is: 1971 Olympia Express Super Club. Per Olympia, it is essentially a Club, but with autofill so that small restaurants and coffee shops could use it & not have to keep filling up the boiler from the top. OK, so it does require a plumbed in line, but my goal here is to deactivate the autofill and convert it to a Club, meaning manual fill. Since I am in the USA, they also suggested i try and keep it at 220v, or i'd have to convert all the sensors, element, etc. to 110v and finding parts may be difficult. "Run it as it was made to run." Once converted to a Club, if ever I wish to use it with the autofill, i could just active it again. Alright, so here are some pics, with asbestos and all. as i have 3 kids and a home and wife, please be patient with me on this journey, will be updating as i move along. i first have to get it plugged in, up and running, see how the engine sounds...Maybe someone you know has gone through this as well. Here we go... (as the title suggests, this is an homage to Orphan Espresso as Doug & Barb have helped me & countless others globally)






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TomC
Team HB

#2: Post by TomC »

Incredibly cool! Congrats on finding one.

Are you planning on keeping it cosmetically as is or changing the color?

Jasper_8137

#3: Post by Jasper_8137 »

Congratulations! It's a nice looking machine. I have a club that came from Europe as well that is 220v. I had planned on converting it to 110v, but am still using it with a step up converter which has worked great.
If you do want to convert it to 110v, you can either buy a heating element from Cerini coffee, but these are coil elements, not flat, requiring you keep more water in the boiler to keep it covered, or you have to have an element made as the original is no longer produced or sold. A few of us had Gabor make us elements which have worked well. If you do a search under Jwcrema (under the "author tab" in the search field), you can find information about the 110 heating element as well as his thread when he converted his 220 club to a 110v. There are others here who have converted a club (Lobin I believe), so you are in the right place to find help.

LObin

#4: Post by LObin »

That's a nice find!

Not sure how you're planning to convert it to manual fill though. I don't see a top drain...?
Is there a level probe? Does it work like any other commercial dipper machine?

Have you though of maybe exchange it for a regular Club? There might be a member here who would benefit from the autofill fonction of your Super Club. Who knows...

I have converted my old Club to 110v with a La Spaziale element I believe. It was pretty straight forward. That's the beauty of these simple machines. Also the fact that they're built to survive a nuclear war!

Congrats!

Cheers!
LMWDP #592

C6H8O3

#5: Post by C6H8O3 »

Really nice find! Congrats! I'll be watching this with interest as well.

I'd love to know your plans on how you will convert it to manual fill. I'd think you could put a cap or valve on the auto fill line. Will you drill a hole and solder on threaded opening so you could affix a modern boiler cap/vacuum breaker?
LMWDP 702

panchovilla (original poster)

#6: Post by panchovilla (original poster) »

Hello Tom. Will be keeping it as is. luckily it's in really good shape, in every manner possible...fingers crossed.

panchovilla (original poster)

#7: Post by panchovilla (original poster) »

Hello Jasper. I was able to hook it up to my unused kitchen 220v outlet. researching this was intense, plus, no one knew how to do this or explained it clearly on the web. FOR EVERYONE IN THIS PREDICAMENT, thecoffeebrewers.com has a great piece where they explain for laymen how to hook up euro machines to us 220v. though very technical, it worked like a charm. all i did was to buy an adapter with a 20amp circuit breaker, as well as a 6-20 plug, hooked up my machine, installed some water, turned it on, and voila...worked, pstat worked, came on & off. i turned it off, then connected my plumbed in line, and the autofill worked and filled up the boiler to 3/4 full. has a few minor leaks, have to work on that. Sascha at Olympia told me to try and keep it as a 220v machine as that's how it was meant to function. my fingers are crossed. concerning parts, i have been in contact with Migg (thanx to forum member swissdude), who i understand has everything for this. we'll see...just starting...

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panchovilla (original poster)

#8: Post by panchovilla (original poster) »

Hello Jonathan. Concerning my conversion, you are correct, it is plugged on top, here is a pic of a pencil on that big top nut. there is a small 3/8 bsp male nut which screws into this big nut on the top of the boiler, holding my cup tray in place. swissdude has recommended, either i remove this entire nut and braze a big regular nut with a Club cap, or drill a hole thru this little hole. yet, it is tiny, so filling up the boiler will be a pain, and, finding a cap with that thread will be tuff. master engineer swissdude or others may help me find a solution for this, hopefully. regarding the probe, there is no autofill probe. a previous super club owner told me there's a magnetic float inside the boiler, which lowers/raises (i haven't opened the boiler yet), and the float sends a magnetic signal to that needle i call, which is the autofill sensor, which tells the autofill valve to open up and fill with water. u can see the needle in one of my initial pics, the pic came in horizontal, but i took it vertically. the needle i call, it stands vertically on the boiler lid held on by a clip. swissdude says i can adjust it (the needle) up or down on the boiler lid clip to tell the machine when to start/stop the autofill. makes perfect sense. we'll see how difficult this convert will be, but i do not plan on eliminating the autofill. rather, just deactivate it so i can use it as a club, and in the future use it again as a super club if so desired. no plans on swapping with someone. machine is in great shape, is an engineering marvel, and i love it so far...no coffee yet.

panchovilla (original poster)

#9: Post by panchovilla (original poster) »

Hi John, yes, you are correct. Sascha from Olympia said to disconnect the lucipher autofill valve, as well as the sensor (which i call the needle), this way it does not burn the board in always sending a signal as to when to fill or not with water. yes, if i drill a hole thru that top big nut where the pencil is, it is a tiny (3/8 bsp) hole so i have to find a cap with a threaded rod (3/8 bsp) with a breaker valve (or not-old machines did not have them), but then filling the machine with water may be a pain, take a while. still trying to figure this out, any suggestions? I JUST REMOVED THE ASBESTOS. wow, not bad. spray bottle, newspaper (thanks Doug & Barb) and put a huge garbage bag underneath (thanx neighbors doug & judy), and voila, herw is a beautiful Nickel (???) boiler, sans asbestos.

Jasper_8137

#10: Post by Jasper_8137 »

Have you considered keeping it a super club and using a 5 gallon water jug and flojet? This would eliminate a permanent alteration to your boiler plus give the advantage of a plumbed machine which is really nice to have.