Elektra Sixties T1 Deliziosa: Possible intermittent fault

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

Postby Twotone » Jan 10, 2019, 9:47 am

Hi guys, I've just recently signed up here to mainly read up about the Elektra T1 as I've just bought a second hand one, I picked it up last Saturday and it's been fantastic so far but I've noticed some issues since I installed it on Monday.

My machine is a 2007 T1 with the wood seven panel front buttons and I'm in the UK so 240v and I live in Glasgow so soft water feeding it from the mains via a standard carbon filter, coffees so far have been wonderful and so too steaming milk, can hardly believe the difference from my previous set ups.

I've been into coffee for about ten years or so, my first proper machine was a 2006 Gaggia Classic with a cheap grinder then I upgraded to an Expobar Leva dual boiler machine with a new Fiorenzato e4 grinder and then replaced this set up with a 1978 La Pavoni Europiccola and La Cimbali commercial grinder with 73mm burrs.

The Elektra is my first HEX machine and I'm loving it.

The T1 was bought from an English guy in the north east of England who, apparently, lives in Sweden but who also has a house here in the UK, he said that bought the machine back in 2010 from a business (accountants) and has had it stored for the last six years while he has been abroad.

When I picked the machine up last Saturday he showed me it working and made me a couple of coffees so paid my cash and left.

I installed the machine on Monday and it worked fine straight off and I left it on from about 3pm until 10pm and then turned it off for the day, the next day it was switched on at about 6.15am and I used it at about 8am and it worked perfectly and was left on all day until about 10pm when it was switched off for the day.

The next day, yesterday (Wednesday) the machine was turned on at about 6.45am and I used it about an hour later and it was clear that the machine wasn't 'that warm' however I did manage to make a couple of lattes and then it worked fine for the rest of the day with plenty of hot water and steam and then was turned off last night at about seven pm.

This morning I turned it on at 6.15am and used it at about 8am for the first time and again it was clear that it wasn't working properly, I first drew a mug of hot water which wasn't very hot and immediately the boiler pressure dropped from 1bar to about 0.02 bar then the heater kicked in and the boiler pressure rose to 1bar and then I was able to pull a couple of shots and steam milk. I then drew a jug of hot water and the boiler pressure dropped again and then the pump and heater kicked in and the boiler pressure rose again to 1 bar fairly quickly (about a minute) and it's been working fine ever since however when I drew the initial cup of water I'm pretty sure that the red led about the hot water tap didn't come on but whenever I draw about a jug of hot water (400mls) now the red led comes on then the pump kicks in briefly and the boiler pressure rises again pretty quickly to 1bar and the pressure gauge needle sits dead smack in the middle of the green section of the gauge.

The pump pressure reads about 4 bar and remains at that pressure constantly when I'm drawing hot water however it does rise briefly to 8 bar when the pump shuts off and the pump pressure rises to 8 bar and remains there while I'm pulling a shot.

The machine seems to be working perfectly otherwise, all Leds are working, the buttons are all working and it heats up fine but it seems that in order to, perhaps, 'waken the machine up' after it's been turned on for a good hour initially I have to draw a full jug of hot water of about half a litre after which it works perfectly for the rest of the day.

Can anyone tell whether this 'wakening' up thing is normal or that there may indeed be something wrong with the machine?

I have a local coffee service company that I use to buy parts and coffee beans so I can have them look at it and probably give it a service too at the same time considering that it's not been used for six years however I am a plumber/central heating engineer and would rather carry out the repair myself if it's simply a question of replacing a part or cleaning a valve etc cause obviously these machines are heavy and it's plumbed in now so this would likely mean that I'll have to have an engineer come to the house but the other issues is that the fault appears to be intermittent and from experience those sorts of faults are a bit of a nightmare to pin down properly.

Thanks

Tony

BTW guys, does anyone have a user manual for this machine?

User avatar
Jake_G
Team HB

Postby Jake_G » replying to Twotone » Jan 10, 2019, 10:04 am

Tony,

Welcome to HB!

This is a classic symptom of a sticking vacuum breaker. Do a search for false pressure and you'll find loads of info discussing the issue. You can likely resolve it simply by removing your vac breaker and giving it a soak in a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water.

Cheers!

- Jake

Twotone

Postby Twotone » Jan 10, 2019, 10:06 am

Thanks for the kind welcome and quick response Jake, much appreciated.

Kind regards

Tony

gashuebr

Postby gashuebr » Jan 10, 2019, 10:35 am

Tony,

A few years back I acquired an Elektra T1 which was actually new, but had never been in service for almost a decade.

Short story version: take a look at my posts on my rehab of the machine. Here is a link to one of them: Elektra T1 Rehab

If your machine was in storage for 6 years, you might consider a tear-down and rehab. Based on my experience, the machine and espresso will benefit.

Best of luck with your T1.

Kind Regards,
Geoff

Twotone

Postby Twotone » replying to gashuebr » Jan 10, 2019, 10:45 am

Thanks Geoff.

Kind regards

Tony

gashuebr

Postby gashuebr » Jan 10, 2019, 11:00 am

Tony,

First, I am not discounting Jake's input. He may be spot-on the problem.

Alternately, the symptoms you describe may have multiple issues as the cause.

Given your statement "pump pressure reads about 4 bar" I will assume the machine is plumbed in to mains water.
Given your statement "when I drew the initial cup of water I'm pretty sure that the red led about the hot water tap didn't come on" and "whenever I draw about a jug of hot water (400mls) now the red led comes on then the pump kicks in briefly" is the result of the water level sensor in the boiler. When full, a small amount of draw may not reduce the level to the point triggering the need for more water. Drawing 400 mls definitely does. This sounds OK to me.

Given your statement "I first drew a mug of hot water which wasn't very hot and immediately the boiler pressure dropped from 1bar to about 0.02 bar then the heater kicked in and the boiler pressure rose to 1bar". When I first reassembled my machine I had a problem with the boiler pressure gauge not reading properly. The orifice of the gauge was obstructed. It might read no pressure or full pressure. It was variable. Cleaning the orifice resolved the problem. There is a post on this somewhere here in the forums.

The above statement also suggests to me that given there could be a problem with the pressurestat as well. As I am sure you are aware, the water temperature is determined indirectly from the pressure in the sealed boiler. As the temperature of the water drops, so does the pressure and when the lower limit is sensed the pressurestat should call for the heater to turn on. Perhaps the pressurestat is not sensing the drop correctly due to either an obstruction in the plumbing to it or it has a defect.

Anyway, try Jake's idea first. Failing that as a solution, you may have a non-trivial effort to perform, but one I found to be extremely rewarding.

Kind Regards,
Geoff

Twotone

Postby Twotone » Jan 10, 2019, 11:05 am

gashuebr wrote:Tony,

First, I am not discounting Jake's input. He may be spot-on the problem.

Alternately, the symptoms you describe may have multiple issues as the cause.

Given your statement "pump pressure reads about 4 bar" I will assume the machine is plumbed in to mains water.
Given your statement "when I drew the initial cup of water I'm pretty sure that the red led about the hot water tap didn't come on" and "whenever I draw about a jug of hot water (400mls) now the red led comes on then the pump kicks in briefly" is the result of the water level sensor in the boiler. When full, a small amount of draw may not reduce the level to the point triggering the need for more water. Drawing 400 mls definitely does. This sounds OK to me.

Given your statement "I first drew a mug of hot water which wasn't very hot and immediately the boiler pressure dropped from 1bar to about 0.02 bar then the heater kicked in and the boiler pressure rose to 1bar". When I first reassembled my machine I had a problem with the boiler pressure gauge not reading properly. The orifice of the gauge was obstructed. It might read no pressure or full pressure. It was variable. Cleaning the orifice resolved the problem. There is a post on this somewhere here in the forums.

The above statement also suggests to me that given there could be a problem with the pressurestat as well. As I am sure you are aware, the water temperature is determined indirectly from the pressure in the sealed boiler. As the temperature of the water drops, so does the pressure and when the lower limit is sensed the pressurestat should call for the heater to turn on. Perhaps the pressurestat is not sensing the drop correctly due to either an obstruction in the plumbing to it or it has a defect.

Anyway, try Jake's idea first. Failing that as a solution, you may have a non-trivial effort to perform, but one I found to be extremely rewarding.

Kind Regards,
Geoff


Thanks again Geoff, I'll get some photos up shortly, the machine is in mint condition and the guy I bought it from was a bit of an obsessive, he had three Elektra machines and an Elektra tamper that costs about £500 so obviously that all means nothing but he was definitely a coffee machine type of guy and Elektras machines in particular were certainly his thing.

Twotone

Postby Twotone » Jan 10, 2019, 3:42 pm

Hi guys, bit of an update.

I switched the machine off today, after my post here, in order that the machine cool down and that I could remove the AV valve however I decided to switch it back on again and let it heat up from cold and so after about an hour or so I tried the machine again and there was clearly a problem with the boiler pressure in so much as the hot tap was running much the same way that it was running this morning ie hot but no pressure so I manually pressed the AV pin until water came out of the valve and then left the machine on.

I've just pulled a coffee and steamed milk and the machine worked perfectly so I'm now wondering if the machine has to be on for longer, more than two hours or I've managed to clear the boiler of air by pushing the pin on the AV.

What I'm going to do now is just leave the machine on for 24 hours or permanently on and see what happens incidentally I don't think that there is a problem with the AV valve but I can buy one locally for a few pounds so I might pick one up tomorrow and change it over the weekend.

Thanks again guys.

Tony

PS, anyone have a users manual for the machine? I do have a spare parts list and schematic diagrams for the hydraulic sections and the electrical sections.

User avatar
Jake_G
Team HB

Postby Jake_G » replying to Twotone » Jan 10, 2019, 7:06 pm

Tony,

The issue is not that the AV valve is leaking, it's that it is not allowing the air to escape from the boiler on warm up. The pin on the AV should drop down and allow the the air in the boiler to be purged as the water is heating up, so that you have saturated steam in the boiler and water below. When the pin doesn't drop down, the slightest bit of pressure as the boiler begins to warm up will seal it and as the water heats up just a little bit, enough air pressure will be generated to trip the pressurestat. This is referred to as "false pressure", because it doesn't correlate to temperature.

When the AV functions properly, this air is purged out on warm up and it's not until the water begins boiling that enough flow comes through the AV and lifts the pin and seals the plunger beneath. When the air is allowed to escape, boiler pressure directly translates to boiler temperature, and the machine maintains temperature as designed. You should hear a little leakage from the AV just as the water starts to boil, before the pin and plunger raise up and create a seal. Hope this makes sense.

Cheers!

-Jake

Twotone

Postby Twotone » replying to Jake_G » Jan 10, 2019, 7:11 pm

Thanks Jake, yes that makes sense, I'll buy a new AV tomorrow and report back here with the results along with some photos.