Breville BES830XL with flow problems

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.
eigma

#1: Post by eigma »

Hello, I just rescued a Breville BES830XL from the neighbours, they had left it on the curb. The machine is ~10 years old, has been repaired once, and has flow problems. Myself, I have a lot of experience drinking coffee.. but never owned an espresso machine or repaired one; though I am reasonably handy.

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I cleaned the exterior with a damp cloth. Tried feeding it some descaling liquid (1 part vinegar, 1 part water) but it wouldn't pull much.

I did a decent amount of research, found that the pumps often fail, and opened it up with the intent to clean and test the pump separately:

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The pump is an Ulka EFP5 vibratory (with diode):

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Took the pump apart, found a few spots of rust.

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Nothing that could explain a severe pump failure though, I think. I cleaned everything either mechanically (gently scraping the rust) or soaking in descaling liquid overnight. The springs, "ball", O-rings were intact and quite clean actually.

My first question: On the output of the pump there is a spring-loaded check valve (non-return valve). It's the blue cap + spring + red plunger from this site: http://www.madeinthegarage.com/articles ... g=fr&pg=36 The valve is adjustable, the red piece rotates freely and controls the tension on the spring. The range is around ~10 turns. What is the correct way to adjust this valve?

Anyway I connected the pump directly to the intake tube, here is what it looked like:
Does that look reasonable?

While working on the pump, I also noticed the small water intake filter was cracked:

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I also noticed it had pale yellow gunk stuck to the mesh and black specks. I soaked it in vinegar, then in rubbing alcohol, then cleaned it with an interdental brush. Worked wonders to get the gunk off, looked visibly cleaner and whiter.

I glued it back together temporarily with gorilla glue, and put everything back together.

Here's what the water intake at the back looks like:
Another question: Is it normal that there is air at the top of the intake filter?

In general does the flow look reasonable?

and finally a few videos of the hot water / group head / steam settings. Note I do not have a portafilter so the group head video is for unrestricted flow, thus no expectation of pressure, just some kind of steady flow.

Hot water:
seems a bit bursty - is that normal?

Group head:
also seems very bursty; and spraying in different directions. Maybe I need to unscrew the metal disc and clean the group head?

Steam:
Once it gets going, this actually looks pretty good to me. The intake pumping pattern is also very different on this one (regular short pulses) - you can hear it.

Thanks in advance for any tips you can offer!

I have higher resolution photos of each, if it can help.

nahau

#2: Post by nahau »

The pump is weak for sure. The pump puts out about 10 - 15 or so bar of pressure and it's not even close.

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More than likely, the main culprit that's causing the pressure problem is the o-ring that goes around the piston. If you can slide the o-ring on that skinny piston shaft and there is very little to no resistance, then the o-ring needs to be replaced. You can use a regular plumbing o-ring 5/16" x 3/16" as a replacement (it's not actually the correct size... correct size is 2mm x 5mm) but it's on the cold water side so should be fine for awhile. Clean the scale off the entire pump while you're in there. Also, there is no "correct" adjustment for the mushroom gasket retainer (the red one in your link). It's a push-in type retainer and although you need to screw it out, you don't have to screw it in... it just pushes in. Normally, the connecter that connects to the end of the pump pushes the retainer as far in as it needs to go... from what I obsereved, anyways.

Just noticed that the spring for the little ball isn't showing... did you just forget to take it out?

EDIT... After looking more closely at your vids and questions, No, I don't believe there should be air in the pump inlet filter, but then it might be bcause the pump doesn't have enough draw to get it out. Also, everything looks quite weak, steam, group output, etc. I think the first thing is to address the pump problem by changing the o-ring, at least for troubleshooting the rest of the stuff. You can always buy a new pump later if it looks like the other things migh work after that.

edited for clarity

User avatar
slipchuck

#3: Post by slipchuck »

I noticed in the one video you keep the button pushed in
By doing this it stays in preinfusion mode until you let go of the button
This would give you less flow


Randy
“There is nobody you can’t learn to like once you’ve heard their story.”

eigma

#4: Post by eigma »

Thanks everyone for the tips.
o-ring that goes around the piston. If you can slide the o-ring on that skinny piston shaft and there is very little to no resistance, then the o-ring needs to be replaced.
I have not yet taken the pump apart again to check the o-ring. I'm also trying to source a replacement. Checking hardware stores online, they have packs of 10, not sure about that. Thanks for the measurements though, it really helps to search for the part. I saw that it's also sometimes referred to as a "008" o-ring (Rebuild Kits or Source For Ulka EP5 Pump Parts?), is that right?
Just noticed that the spring for the little ball isn't showing... did you just forget to take it out?
Nope, it's in there. I had not yet taken it out when taking that photo, but I did eventually. The spring is clean and has resistance.
I noticed in the one video you keep the button pushed in
By doing this it stays in preinfusion mode until you let go of the button
This would give you less flow
Thanks! I will remember that for my future tests. I read that in the "Decalcifying the machine" in user manual, I understand it's a different procedure now.

For the sake of comparison, I took some flow rate measurements. Using a measuring cup, check the amount of water consumed at intake. (For "double shot", I just briefly pressed the button - not held down.)
          Hot water    Double shot (1)    Double shot (2)         Steam
   0 ml       2.5 s              2.0 s                0 s    negligible
  50 ml      12.8 s             16.4 s             15.5 s
 100 ml      23.3 s
 150 ml      34.2 s
 200 ml      47.8 s
Flow rate:    264 cc/min         208 cc/min         193 cc/min
This is ~one third of the rated 600 cc/min (at 0 bar), if I read the E5 specs correctly (scroll about halfway down): http://ulka-ceme.co.uk/Ulka_E_Models.html

nahau

#5: Post by nahau »

eigma wrote:I saw that it's also sometimes referred to as a "008" o-ring (Rebuild Kits or Source For Ulka EP5 Pump Parts?), is that right?
A 008 o-ring refers to a US measurement of 5/16" x 3/16", as I recommended earlier. Since Ulka is a metric pump, and there are no specs on the internet exactly which o-ring they use (at least I can't find one), most sellers go with 5mm x 2mm o-ring which is what I go by. The o-ring on a brand new Ulka pump measures very close to 5mm x 2mm and is larger than a 008 o-ring in both dimensions. Go to your local hardware store and see if they carry the US or metric size... shouldn't be more than a dollar or so.

Here's a US ebay search for "ulka o-ring". You can see people sell them as kit's... all overpriced, but still an option... https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=ulka%20o-ring
Don't know what it'll cost shipped to Canada, so you might check ebay Canada if you use ebay.

Cost of a new Ulka 52 watt pump is ~$20 US at Amazon US. Also at EspressoShop UK, it's about ~$20 US. Depending on where you buy a pump it can be cheap(er) or overpriced. Check around, and shipping is a consideration.
eigma wrote:This is ~one third of the rated 600 cc/min (at 0 bar), if I read the E5 specs correctly (scroll about halfway down): http://ulka-ceme.co.uk/Ulka_E_Models.html
Yup, that pump is weak.

By the way, my Andeja Premium pump has been running on a 5/16" x 3/16" o-ring for going on 2 months now. Previous to changing the o-ring, I couldn't pull a shot because brew pressure was jumping all over the place. I plan to purchase all metric o-rings, and the small delrin ball from McMaster-Carr for the Ulka pumps I have as I've not yet seen a pump fail due to anything else for the last 10+ years on both mine and my brother's Andrejas. Unfortunately, finding the small one-way valve mushroom seal has eluded my google-fu! Still searching!

Edit... These are the parts I plan to order from Mcmaster-Carr to repair my Ulka pumps. All of these are from a new pump I have and so I matched them closely in size to what MMC had to offer. These are MMC part numbers, all metric. Wanted to add that these part numbers are untested as I haven't ordered of tested fit yet.
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eigma

#6: Post by eigma »

Thanks for the tip about McMaster-Carr, I had never heard of them before.

I also stumbled on CafeParts, does this look like the right part? https://www.cafeparts.com/Orm-Gasket-00 ... duct/15492

edit: also looking at this one (the 5/16" x 3/16" x 1/16"): https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/hill ... 9794p.html

pcrussell50

#7: Post by pcrussell50 »

Hooked up to an unrestricted water supply, (IOW, pump sucking out of a large bowl of water), it should flow 6-8 ml/s... which is 6-8 grams/sec. So get a scale and run the pump for 30s and measure your output. If it's 180g or more, the pump is fine.

I don't have an -830 and never have, but it looks like a thermoblock heating system. And those are prone to scale blockage. Also from the look of at least one of your pics, I thought I saw some heavily mineralized water deposits. Thermoblocks have a lot of small passages that are easily restricted. You can try to descale it. But I have no personal expertise in that area. It sounds like a bit of a challenge getting small passages which will never get much contact with large volumes of clean descaling fluid, open again. But if you put it all together and get 180g of water in 30s, pumping through the thermoblock, then your flow will be where it should be.

Great detailed pics and videos by the way. I didn't go through them all, before I made my suggestions above. Apologies if you have already covered it.

-Peter
LMWDP #553

nahau

#8: Post by nahau »

Yes, you can use either of the linked o-rings, going by the sizes specified. To avoid shipping costs, I would suggest you just visit a well-stocked local hardware store to purchase one as this is really just a standard size buna o-ring used in plumbing. Nothing special and you don't need a viton oring. Normally, places like Home Depot (I think they're in Canada too) has bins of various size o-rings. Take your piston and o-ring with you for comparison.

Comparing your pump flow in your first vid to this one, you can see the difference and is why I think your pump is weak. This is what I would expect to see if I run a pump from a tank of water. It's a Ulka 48w pump.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_6Fg8iHJhk

eigma

#9: Post by eigma »

There have been some developments.. the classic troubleshooting strategy of "isolate the problem" wins again!

Today I went to the hardware store and got a length of vinyl tubing, so I could redirect the flow more easily. My earlier tests of pump flow were: measuring cup --> inlet filter --> flow meter --> pump --> sink

I ran almost the same test, with measuring cup --> inlet filter --> long tube --> pump --> sink, and noticed a lot of air bubbles (50% volume) during operation:

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I glossed over this earlier, but the inlet filter was cracked and I glued it back together with superglue.

I was already suspecting the inlet filter due to a static volume of air in it, and this further pointed in that direction.

I submerged the inlet filter in water and blew air into it, and sure enough...

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So I will patch it up with a generous amount of superglue once again, and see how far I get.

Now, back to the pump. I ran it with measuring cup --> vinyl tube --> pump --> sink directly, and the flow was a much more respectable 827 cc/min (13 ml/s):
   0 ml       4.7 s
  50 ml       8.3 s
 100 ml      12.2 s
 150 ml      15.5 s
 200 ml      19.2 s
Flow rate:    827 cc/min
I might also try to bypass the inlet filter for a bit, to see if there's any problems elsewhere.

nahau

#10: Post by nahau »

When I saw alligator clips on the pump, I thought you pulled it and ran it outside the machine. It looked very weak so naturally I thought it was bad. I didn't know you were still running it though the filter you glued up. If the pump was never changed out, I would still change the o-ring if as you say the machine is ~10 years old. Check the o-ring anyways and see if it's hardened. If it is, change it.

Glad things are looking up!