Clive Lucca A53 Mini V2 pump failure...

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

#1: Post by JCT »

Hi All,

So our Lucca a53 mini v2 failed after ~ 4 months of use ( 2 cappuccinos / day). We were unable to find any cause with our troubleshooting and had to ship it back. Not cheap.

They found that the vibratory pump failed and there was a clog in the grouphead solenoid. The tech asked about our water and we told him that we'e been using the RPavlis approach (K-bicarb version) with distilled water (our tap water is very hard). In fact, I went with the Pavlis to avoid scaling and expensive repairs... :? The tech though this was making the water "sticky" and blocking the installed water particle filter in the reservoir.

Does this make any sense (it doesn't to me) and of course they are now suggesting RO + third wave water (which they sell of course) or their water filtration system for our sink.

Just wondering if anyone has any idea or suggestion. We really like the taste of the RPavlis - based water and would prefer to avoid switching ...




#2: Post by WWWired »

Ouch! If your machine is under warranty you did the right thing getting it to your vendor/manufacturer. Did you ask if they would cover your shipping costs due to this unusual fault that appears to be a manufacturing issue with the vibratory pump? Your machine is an incredible espresso machine that is very well engineered and designed and it is often very simple to do a part replacement.

This sounds like a manufacturing error in the pump/components (not Clive Coffee's fault). No question this should not be your fault. Four months is no where near long enough for a fault in a pump to develop unless the part is flawed somehow. It is doubtful as well a mineral scale blockage could develop in such a short time, particularly given the active conditioning of water supplied to the machine indicated. Do you descale (some machines are more complex to descale than others) as well as treating your water and regularly backflush your grouphead?

A distilled water method does nicely remove mineral scale precursors (entirely, perhaps too well lol) from the water, which explains your wise approach of remineralizing. Here's a Home Barista thread that discusses the RPavlis approach (K-bicarb version) method and details a bit: Click Here

Fantastic you are here now and have found some new friends! There are many experts here.

A blockage in a grouphead solenoid (likely a 3-way solenoid) could have developed if a broken bit of debris from the vibratory pump, or within manufacture of another component in the hydraulic pathway, migrated to the grouphead solenoid. Of course this may not have presented itself during quality testing at the production facility, but may have migrated slowly eventually to the solenoid. The orifice in the solenoid is quite tiny, around 1mm (1/32nd to 1/16th inch) in diameter, so just a tiny bit of debris can block it. It's relatively easy to remove these parts (vibratory pump/solenoids) and inspect/clean them, lots of assistance here anytime from some very long time experts with massive experience :)

Did you get your old pump back and the pieces from it? If you have any photos of the pump/pieces that would be very awesome to see :)

JCT (original poster)

#3: Post by JCT (original poster) »

Hi and a big thanks for addressing my confusion/frustration over this , at present they have backed off the implication that somehow our water preparation contributed to what they now describe as a rather rare early pump failure that required replacement. I think my husband (who happens to be a chemist) lost his patience with the "sticky water" explanation :D . And yes , we are really careful about backflushing, etc - we have been extremely pleased with this machine overall. Huge step up from our prior Breville Barista Express.

I think your explanation re: something migrating to the grouphead solenoid makes sense. We did try some troubleshooting under their guidance at first, part of the issue is that their instructional videos are a bit old and the machines have been updated over the years, so the guides didn't match well. The tech at Clive was a nice guy and is looking for some more recent tech manuals for us, so hopefully if anything goes wrong in the future we can wrench it ourselves, and hopefully get more guidance here, this site was very helpful when I was doing all my pre-purchase research as well the water recipe.

Should get the machine back next week - can't wait.

Thanks again for the input / insight,



#4: Post by WWWired »

No question a machine this new-out-of-the-box should never have such a fault develop. The indications that two systems were affected (pump and Group EV/Solenoid) could be related (the pump's initial fault cascaded to affect the Group Solenoid) as these should be brand new components. As the Solenoid/Electrovalve at your group is in your Brew Pathway, the blockage that developed (as apparently indicated by the vendor technician), could be some bit of debris from original manufacturing or the pump fault that migrated to your Group EV (Electrovalve/Solenoid). Ask if the technician can at very minimum take photos of the parts that developed the fault, including the internals of the pump (if disassembled to assess the fault) and the Grouphead Solenoids Piston, Piston body, the orifices of both the Inlet and Outlet ports and any o-ring seals. They should be happy to provide you with this documentation if available (taken during repair/diagnosis).

A machine that is so new should be fully covered by warranty, including shipping hopefully, and don't hesitate to ask if your vendor will cover your shipping costs (both that you paid returning for repair and for its return to you). The pump's "rare" fault that developed was something that La Spaziale should compensate your vendor for costs relating to repair of such a new machine and perhaps ULKA compensate La Spaziale for . . . at the very least, there are TAX deductions/write-offs that all three of these businesses (your vendor, La Spaziale and ULKA) can utilize to cover your repair costs of your brand new machine that had to be under warranty.

Don't hesitate to inquire if your vendor will cover your shipping costs. A manufacturing fault in a component (ULKA pump) and any related issues (from debris affecting various systems) should be covered by the seller and your family would never have incurred the shipping expenses but for the "rare" manufacturing fault in the ULKA pump that revealed itself after some initial operation. These components are all tested by the manufacturers at several stages but that doesn't mean that a manufacturing fault is never ever present and may be revealed after some initial operation. Most components will never fail and the manufacturing of these components is truly incredible. It does happen but if it does, quick get a lotto ticket because it is a one-in-a-million chance for a machine of such a high quality.

Hopefully your family will be able to resolve any shipping costs with your vendor and eliminate any out-of-pocket any costs (shipping or parts) for repair of a machine under warranty. Tax deductions/write-offs should be available for a vendor to cover costs/business-expense-losses associated with a warranty covered manufacturing fault that is revealed after purchase and most espresso machine vendors (Clive?) are industry leading precisely because of their incredible customer service . . . if they don't have any written details about shipping costs, definitely ask your vendor if they might be willing to cover this cost that occurred due to a manufacturing fault in a 3rd party ULKA pump component that their Manufacturer (La Spaziale) uses. One of these three should cover your costs hopefully and definitely this is not your family's fault and you did the right thing by choosing an incredible vendor such as Clive (if your post title indicates who your vendor was) that has an industry leading reputation and customer service approach that all top espresso machine companies strive for :)

Do you have any photos of your machine when you first got it? People love photos and your set up would be very enjoyable for many of the folks here on Home-Barista to see :)

(1) Information Resources: The LUCCA A53 Mini and Vivaldi II should be close to identical internally. This means any parts diagram for the La Spaziale Vivaldi Mini II could offer excellent insights into the internals of the LUCCA A53 Mini as well.

(2) Parts Manuals:
(a) Here is a Parts Manual for the La Spaziale machines (which includes the LUCCA A53 Mini internally identical Vivaldi II Mini model) (its Italian):
(b) . . . and here's a much more massive parts manual for all La Spaziale machines, within which you can check page 46 and 66 to see the Vivaldi S1 similar parts model Polish Site Parts Manual . . . (associated with this parts supplier in North America)

(3) Here's a "Users Manual" for the internally identical Vivaldi II Mini that shows some perhaps insightful trouble shooting and pictures: Vivaldi II Mini User Manual

(4) For anyone wondering about the incredible espresso machine that is the subject of this thread, here is a short video about the La Spaziale LUCCA A53 Mini . . . fascinating . . .
All Video Credit to: YouTube and Clive Coffee