Elektra Microcasa a Leva - dented boiler

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

#1: Post by PowerFlower »

Since Google keeps sending me to this forum, I thought I'd might as well just register and ask!

I inherited a 2006 Elektra Microcasa a Leva from my father in 2014. I had to take it home on a plane and unfortunately, even though I packed it very carefully, it was handled so roughly it of course got dented... the steam wand section pushed in the boiler side and is now slightly crooked.



I have rarely used it (the convenience of the Jura next to it...) but want to start using it again. Last time I used it, the pressure was fine (went to about 1.2), and there are no leaks, even though optically the machine of course looks a bit sad this way. Other than that the machine is mostly in good shape. My mum cleaned it in the past with something abrasive, causing some scratches... but oh well, that's befitting an heirloom :mrgreen:

Now that I want to start using it again, though:
  • Any recommended steps on cleaning a machine that hasn't been used for a few years, and/or parts I should absolutely replace before trying it
  • Is there any danger in this dent? I doubt it would be an actual issue since the dent is pretty clean, not corroded, and not leaking, but I'm somehow (irrationally?) worried the pressurized boiler might explode!
  • Would it be possible at all to have the dent repaired?
I've seen previous posts about very similar dents (yeah I know... be more careful transporting it), but this one seems less serious. And since I inherited it, I'm not going to replace the machine. (Though I might consider replacing the boiler, but I haven't seen them sold anywhere.)

Would appreciate your input!

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Randy G.

#2: Post by Randy G. »

Start by looking into a metal working shop. Maybe even a classic car restoration shop. Strip it down as far as you can and take the boiler with you so they can look at it..
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caeffe

#3: Post by caeffe »

PowerFlower wrote:Since Google keeps sending me to this forum, I thought I'd might as well just register and ask!

I inherited a 2006 Elektra Microcasa a Leva from my father in 2014. I had to take it home on a plane and unfortunately, even though I packed it very carefully, it was handled so roughly it of course got dented... the steam wand section pushed in the boiler side and is now slightly crooked.
  • Any recommended steps on cleaning a machine that hasn't been used for a few years, and/or parts I should absolutely replace before trying it
  • Is there any danger in this dent? I doubt it would be an actual issue since the dent is pretty clean, not corroded, and not leaking, but I'm somehow (irrationally?) worried the pressurized boiler might explode!
  • Would it be possible at all to have the dent repaired?
I've seen previous posts about very similar dents (yeah I know... be more careful transporting it), but this one seems less serious. And since I inherited it, I'm not going to replace the machine. (Though I might consider replacing the boiler, but I haven't seen them sold anywhere.)

Would appreciate your input!
see here for a recent thread with other links: Used Elektra Microcasa a Leva with shipping damage - safe to use? Worth repairing?
My thoughts and pls take with a grain of salt as this is with regards to pressurized vessel safety.
1) worried the pressurized boiler might explode! - explosion not likely but possible, you'll need to overpressurize for this to happen but the relief valve is there to prevent overpressurization, which leads to next item:
2) would it be possible to have the dent repaired? yes, similar to a how a car body shop repairs dents on your car, dent can be removed. But there is the possibility that the metal will fatigue since it has already deformed beyond its yield point although not to the ultimate strength (when it'll break) and your car is not a pressurized vessel that is heat cycled (ie boiler). Similar to how a piece of metal can be bent back and forth eventually it'll break - this is when a risk of a boiler fracture can occur.

My Microcasa has a similar dent and still has a dent - i view it as part of its character and patina for now :)
You can contact one of the site sponsors - https://www.espressocare.com/ and see if they sell a replacement boiler that'll fit your machine.
LMWDP #162

PowerFlower (original poster)

#4: Post by PowerFlower (original poster) »

caeffe wrote:see here for a recent thread with other links: Used Elektra Microcasa a Leva with shipping damage - safe to use? Worth repairing?
Yes, saw that thread, but I think that one was simply returned to the seller... so the thread offered little advice on what to actually do if you want to keep the machine!
My thoughts and pls take with a grain of salt as this is with regards to pressurized vessel safety.
1) worried the pressurized boiler might explode! - explosion not likely but possible, you'll need to overpressurize for this to happen but the relief valve is there to prevent overpressurization, which leads to next item:
2) would it be possible to have the dent repaired? yes, similar to a how a car body shop repairs dents on your car, dent can be removed. But there is the possibility that the metal will fatigue since it has already deformed beyond its yield point although not to the ultimate strength (when it'll break) and your car is not a pressurized vessel that is heat cycled (ie boiler). Similar to how a piece of metal can be bent back and forth eventually it'll break - this is when a risk of a boiler fracture can occur.
Thanks for the rational input. My guess is (and I don't expect anyone to give me a 100% confirmation unseen over the internet without proper tests) the machine is probably fine, functionally, with the dent -- but possibly less so if someone tries to fix the dent.
My Microcasa has a similar dent and still has a dent - i view it as part of its character and patina for now :)
That's actually not a bad way to look at it. It happened en route via Istanbul to Dubai, so it'll always be an interesting story ;)
You can contact one of the site sponsors - https://www.espressocare.com/ and see if they sell a replacement boiler that'll fit your machine.
I might, but probably more sensible for me to look for someone in Europe -- rather than ask them to get the part from Italy to the US, to then ship it to Spain (where it's currently waiting patiently on my counter) :) I just don't know where to look yet.

baldheadracing
Team HB

#5: Post by baldheadracing »

I would never use a boiler with that damage, but that is my appetite for risk, not yours.

You can get the boiler fixed and pressure-tested.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

caeffe

#6: Post by caeffe »

PowerFlower wrote:......

I might, but probably more sensible for me to look for someone in Europe -- rather than ask them to get the part from Italy to the US, to then ship it to Spain (where it's currently waiting patiently on my counter) :) I just don't know where to look yet.
My bad, I saw location as "Valencia" and thought Valencia, CA USA (which BTW, is now part of Santa Clarita, CA USA)
Gotta remember to think more globally now instead of local/US centric

Quite sure you'll be able to find someone there in Spain, if not at least in Europe overall.

Buenos Dias :)
LMWDP #162

Nunas
Supporter ♡

#7: Post by Nunas »

If it were my machine, I'd strip it and take the boiler to a metal shop to have them dolly or roll it out, as suggested earlier. I'm assuming that this is a copper or brass boiler. Those metals are reasonably malleable, and should not fail after the dent is worked out. Metal fatigue would be an issue with a harder material, or repeated bending, neither of which should be the case with your machine. As for the boiler exploding (rupture might be a better word), I doubt it would happen. You certainly could have a failure, but my bet would be that it would be at the joint, where the pipe is connected, not a failure of the boiler wall from working the metal. A good metal shop should be able to advise you about this. Possibly they could silver solder the fitting to boiler joint. The suggestion to have the boiler pressure tested is a good one.

PowerFlower (original poster)

#8: Post by PowerFlower (original poster) »

Well, I decided to try it first. It heats, and the lever mechanism is fine (it wasn't used a lot). However the looking glass doesn't show the water, and the pressure meter stays at 0. It also barely has water coming through when I pump it. Time to descale it? What's the best to use for that?