ECM Elektronika not heating properly

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

#1: Post by karolis »


I hope you may have some advice related to the issue I'm currently experiencing with my ECM Elektronika II. The temperature at the group does not get hotter than 80 degrees Celsius (176 F) and it takes an hour to reach this max temp. I have a probe thermometer inserted into a group to monitor temperatures. This issue appeared rather suddenly, before it was performing as it should - reaching 95 C (203 F) in approx. 30 minutes. The steam and hot water are ok, didn't notice any difference. Boiler pressure also the same (1.5 bar). I cleaned group, put mushroom into Cafiza, nothing seems to be clogged. Has anyone experienced anything similar or maybe have an advice what could be a problem?

Team HB

#2: Post by JRising »

The group head is heated by the flow of water through it while the machine sits idle. The water flows because the boiler is significantly hotter than the brewhead. The super-heated boiler water is lighter than the cooler head water so a thermosiphon effect occurs where the cooler water flows down through the lower pipe out of the head back toward the boiler. It of course displaces the hotter boiler water which rises up and flows toward the head... The water that is back in the boiler is heated by the boiler, while the hotter water sheds heat to the brass in the grouphead heating that.

If either of the pipes is blocked, the thermosiphoning of the brew-circuit can not occur, the head will take forever to heat up.
Take the mushroom out and look at it for signs of calcium. Perhaps descale the brew circuit if you see any barnacles living on the mushroom. With the mushroom out you'll be able to see a few millimeters into the upper pipe (copper tube) between boiler and grouphead. Any calcium building up there?

If the liquid level in the brew-boiler is low, then no matter how hot the water in the boiler gets, it's not going to be lighter that the steam above it so the thermosiphon effect will not flow. If you suspect that the brew circuit is losing its water, check for where it could be exiting to. Over a leaking brew valve, dripping from E61 Drain. Over a leaking Expansion Valve, dripping from the knob over the drip tray. Backward over the Check Valve making the priming valve very hot to the touch.

karolis (original poster)

#3: Post by karolis (original poster) »

Thanks for your reply, the issue is resolved! Descaling did the job which I never thought of as a first option to resolve this - forums often advice against descaling as it might losen up bigger particles which may clog some parts. Turns out this might be a myth which deters people such as myself from doing it. I should mention that my machine is ~10 yrs old and it hasn't been descaled for at least two years.

Team HB

#4: Post by JRising »

I believe the same things as the "Never Descale" people believe... It's stressful for the machine, it can dis-lodge stalactites in the boilers and lodge them in valves, if it drips un-noticed on your stainless steel it leaves a cloudy mark. If it gets on a granite counter is will etch. You're far better off using very good, soft water and never descaling unless you're sure to...
But then, when you need to, you need to.