Astra Mega II C Restoration (Finished)

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.
User avatar
TheCatsMeow
Posts: 48
Joined: 6 months ago

#1: Post by TheCatsMeow »

Hi everyone, I've fixed a lot of things but this Astra Mega II C (110v) was my first espresso machine repair and restoration. I typically fix graphics cards, so this was a nice change of pace. Thanks to a few users here for some help, I was able to get everything cleaned, repaired, and running great!

I ran into some issues, but over all I really enjoyed the process, and can't wait to do the next one. Unfortunately I can't purchase anything else until this one sells, and it seems to be taking a while, even after lowering the price a decent amount...

I'm going to open with the finished photos for those who just want to marvel at this machine. Is it the best looking thing on the market? No. But for the price it's very solid, and it's still very pretty. I'm sure it would look even better if it was in a proper environment and not sitting in my kitchen on a table that I had to borrow from my living room, since it doesn't fit on my countertop. Anyways:














And here's some latte art, which I still struggle with. But I'm getting better!



Now on to the refurb...

User avatar
TheCatsMeow (original poster)
Posts: 48
Joined: 6 months ago

#2: Post by TheCatsMeow (original poster) »

Unfortunately I can't seem to get the photos from the original listing, but this machine had not been taken very well care of. Luckily it didn't have any physical damage, but the shop (boba, not coffee) that I purchased it from did not take good care of it. I could tell they hadn't used it for a long time, and when they did use it they didn't maintain it well, so I'm not surprised it didn't work. The first thing I did was take the panels off to check out the internals. Here are some of the photos:






The portafilters were.... just a little gross.

This machine runs off of 110v luckily, and although it uses a lot power with everything running I felt comfortable testing it, and not pushing the machine too hard (making sure I'm only using the pump when the heating element isn't running, etc). So I converted the plug that was on it to one that would fit into a typical wall plug, did a bit of work to get it plumbed in, and then gave it a whirl. Luckily it filled up with water, heated up properly, and the steam wand and hot water wand both worked great. However I was getting no water from the groupheads.

I noticed that the pump was leaking. I opened the end of the pump and cleaned some stuff out, but that didn't solve my issue. I ended up sending it off for a rebuild (shoutout to JC Beverage, highly recommend them if you need a Procon Pump reubilt), and it came back looking and working great.







That solved my pump issues, but I then noticed that when the machine was turned on, the pressostat was smoking. Not a great sign, if that's not already obvious. So I popped that open, and it turns out that the contacts were nearly gone, which was causing one of the connections to melt. I redid the connection on that wire, replaced that with a new Sarai, and that was done!





User avatar
TheCatsMeow (original poster)
Posts: 48
Joined: 6 months ago

#3: Post by TheCatsMeow (original poster) »

During this process I cleaned the whole inside of the machine. Got rid of lots of dust, coffee residue/grounds/oils, hard water spots, etc. I then made a forum post on here to get some help, and was told to clean the flow meters. When I opened these up, I knew I was going to have to take a lot more of the machine apart to get everything back into good running condition. At this point I had some citric acid available as well, so I started using that to descale things. These came out wonderfully, after a bit of soaking and a bit of work. Prior to cleaning the plastic part would not spin at all.













Still not getting any water out of the groupheads at this point, so the electrovalves were next. These were a lot worse than what I had seen on the rest of the machine so far, and I ended up getting some brand new ones from eBay to replace them with.







Then came both groupheads. This is where I ran into the most issues, some of the connections had red loctite and even with heat they did not want to budge. Unfortunately I did marr things up a little bit getting them off, but it's all visual, and things went back together no problem (well, it was still difficult, but for other reasons. Not nearly as bad as getting it apart). These needed a lot of work as well. They were covered in scale, coffee oils, and sludge. The infusion sprayers were not in good condition, and I actually had the threads of one break off into the grouphead while trying to remove it. I ordered two new infusion sprayers, two new mesh filters, and managed to get the broken part out easily with some tweezers. Everything was soaked in a citric acid solution for 48 hours, which did a great job of removing all of the gunk. The groupheads were reassembled and reinstalled, and I was nearing the end at this point.






















User avatar
TheCatsMeow (original poster)
Posts: 48
Joined: 6 months ago

#4: Post by TheCatsMeow (original poster) »

Not really in order any more, but I also did the following:
- Steam wand rebuild
- Hot water wand rebuild
- New shower screens
- Cleaned dispersion blocks (covered in scale and other crap)
- New grouphead gaskets
- New gaskets for various other parts and pieces
- Full flush with citric acid solution to get the boiler and all copper pipes cleaned. They didn't look bad when I removed the connections so I didn't soak them in citric acid

Finally I cleaned all of the side panels, the drip tray, the top pieces, the frame, and any other chrome on the machine. Ensured that everything was working at this point, and started my espresso journey! Like I said in the beginning, it was difficult but very enjoyable to work on. I liked that it was fairly easy to get parts for, none of which were too expensive. I think all in all I spent about $500 (I needed to get a few tools and consumables that will last me a while as well), and probably 30-40 hours of labor, which is great for the current condition and price of this machine.

I think any further espresso machine repairs and refurbishments that I do will be a full teardown, to ensure that the machine will last as long as possible without any further maintenance. If I had known this machine was going to be in this condition internally, I would have just done that in the first place. Do I think it would be 100% necessary? Probably not. But if I have the time and the machine isn't impossible to take apart, why not.

My power bill has probably gone up a little bit, but I've been using this machine a few times a day, and it's great. Pulls great espresso, steams milk very quickly, the hot water wand works great, the programming works great, etc. I'm definitely no barista, but I'm slowly getting better at dialing things in and pouring some half decent latte art. I'll continue to use it daily until it sells, making sure to keep everything clean and maintained for the buyer. I haven't had any issues with it since all of the repairs and reassembly were done, so I don't think it will need any new components for quite a while, assuming it's maintained properly from here on out.

To those who helped out, thank you again. And if you made it this far, thanks for reading and looking!