ECM Classika's grouphead doesn't heat up. Please help!

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.
Fecso
Posts: 7
Joined: 2 months ago

#1: Post by Fecso »

Hi Guys!

I have an ECM Classika PID and a few days ago I noticed that the group head doesn't heat up, it stays around 60-70 Celsius.

I know for sure that this isn't limescale, because I buy the best water I can, and while changing the seals/O-rings/pistons in the E61 head I didn't see any limescale in the machine.

Some people told me that this could be thermosyphon stall due to an air bubble in the system. Is this is the case, how can I get rid of it? Can I bleed out the thermosyphon on my machine?

Or should I look for another problem? I would appreciate all your help and answers! Cheers!

JRising
Team HB
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Joined: 5 years ago

#2: Post by JRising »

You can bleed it just by letting it brew...

Let the boiler heat fully and if the grouphead doesn't begin heating after several minutes, raise the lever and let the pump pump water into the brew circuit while other water (and air/steam) flow out of the grouphead. If it starts heating the grouphead after that, then yes, it was thermosiphon stall due to an air or steam pocket.
If the problem comes back, you'll have to find out where the liquid water is escaping the brew circuit. (Backward over the checkvalve, over the closed brew valve, out the expansion valve, etc...)

Fecso (original poster)
Posts: 7
Joined: 2 months ago

#3: Post by Fecso (original poster) »

Thank you! If I let water flow out, it starts heating, then stops, and if I let water flow again, the temp slowly starts to climb up.

Yesterday I replaced the valves in the group head, as well as the axis of the lever, just in case, but still no improvement.

Should I look for any specific signs that could show me the problem without tearing down the whole machine and start replacing stuff one-by-one?

JRising
Team HB
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Joined: 5 years ago

#4: Post by JRising »

Take its top and body panels off and let it heat for 20-30 minutes from cold.

Is the tube between the tee-fitting and pump/priming valve hot? Then suspect the brew-circuit's check valve leaks internally.

I can't picture the location of the expansion valve on the Classika, but if it's getting hot and the head isn't, then that might mean it's relieving at less than 12 bar.

Fecso (original poster)
Posts: 7
Joined: 2 months ago

#5: Post by Fecso (original poster) »

So I took the panels off, and upon starting the machine I noticed that the upper tube of the thermosyphon (that's coming out of the boiler) is hot af, but the other, lower tube, which is coming out of the E61 head and going in the boiler is cold. Could it be a clog in that lower tube?

Can I remove those tubes easily to look for a clog? And if I do do I need the change the sealings at the boiler?

Maybe should I remove the whole E61 group head and blow some water through the lower tube to see if it is clogged?

JRising
Team HB
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#6: Post by JRising »

What would it be clogged with? You started this with "it couldn't be clogged", but it you think it could be clogged, then yes, it could be. I still believe that it's probably just very low on water, but I can't see it.

Just remove the mushroom, leave the brew valve in place and see if there's water in the head. If so, then it's possibly a clog. If no water in head, it's more likely the water escaping. With the mushroom still out, and the brew valve in place, pour water into the head. If it drains away to the heat exchanger through the lower tube, then the tube probably isn't clogged.

Fecso (original poster)
Posts: 7
Joined: 2 months ago

#7: Post by Fecso (original poster) »

I did it, there is water in the head, and upon puring more in, it didn't drain away.

I could not possibly imagine how a clog can be there, because the machine was always used with correct, limescale free water. Now I have ran out of ideas, so that's why I assume that a clog could be there. And seeing the water not draining away, and the fact that the lower tube is cold, I can't really assume anything else.

JRising
Team HB
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Joined: 5 years ago

#8: Post by JRising »

Let the boiler heat with the mushroom still out, but the brew valve in place... As it gets close to boiling you'll actually be able to see it start to circulate (So long as the head is filled to just below the upper tube). Turn it off before it gets to boiling temp or it will get exciting.

I don't know what else to suggest. You could put a mild descaler through the brew circuit to see what comes out and decide from the results whether it might be clogged.

With a short length of silicone tube, you could stick one end into the upper port on the back of the grouphead (with the mushroom out of course) and VERY GENTLY blow air into the upper port... If the water level in the head rises, it's coming through the lower tube so that's not completely clogged).

Fecso (original poster)
Posts: 7
Joined: 2 months ago

#9: Post by Fecso (original poster) »

I got the problem! I'll try to attach a pic, but the copper line connects to an L-insert (10 in the pic), then into the boiler through another insert (9 in the pic), and the problem is both of them are clogged with some brown-ish, yellow-ish debris. I took a sample from the debris, couldn't get all out, but citric acid seems to dissolve it pretty well, so I'll probably need to descale the whole machine.. Tomorrow will be exciting.

Tykebike
Posts: 1
Joined: 2 months ago

#10: Post by Tykebike »

Hello, I've just joined the forum in the hope that I can look at the photos that you were trying to post but cannot see any; did you succeed in uploading them?