Faema Zodiac restoration

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

#1: Post by espresso service »

Hi espresso lovers everywhere.
I've recently acquired a Faema Zodiac as a box of nuts and bolts and it seems to be almost complete.
I've repaired a whole bunch of espresso machines over the years but I've never had a vintage machine such as this one.
I've put it together so that I can see how complete it is and yes it need a new end piece for the boiler but I think it's worth it. This machine can also run on gas all be it very basic but I think there might be something missing?
I'll try to upload a couple of photos. I'm not sure what the black tap is for on top of the front panel? It connects with the steam wand but there's another pipe coming off it going to the right hand side...any ideas?
And as for the gas...I have the feeling that there's something missing?
Kind regards David

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Randy G.

#2: Post by Randy G. »

If there is a level gauge for the boiler, that valve may be for the manual boiler fill as there is not auto fill for the older machines.
Espresso! My Espresso! - http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
LMWDP #644

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MaKoMo

#3: Post by MaKoMo »

scaldatazze

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IamOiman

#4: Post by IamOiman »

Technically you could just hook up a propane tank to the inlet nipple and it would work. What's missing in your mind is the gas regulator, which can adjust the flame once a set pressured is reached (say 1 bar). You could manually do this by toggling the valve on the inlet nipple but it could be hard to regulate. Here is the one on my Zodiaco (a 2 group). Mine also has a starter when turning the gas burner on.
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Your Zodiaco is an earlier model when they still used mercury p-stats and the wobbler weight, which I also have but mine has an early Sirai p-stat. If you want to get an idea of when the machine is made look at the stamped heating element flange (if you have it). I am not sure if you already have it off but there are supposed to be some aluminum rings to hold the heating element flange of the boiler with the main part. I see one half one a ring on the lower part of the boiler and there are two other pieces to complete the set.

Could you post a pic of the box of parts you mentioned? Some things I note that may be missing could be there.
-Ryan
Using a spice grinder violates the Geneva Convention
LMWDP #612

RobAnybody

#5: Post by RobAnybody »

I'm not sure what the black tap is for on top of the front panel? It connects with the steam wand but there's another pipe coming off it going to the right hand side...
Could this be for heating the cup tray on the top of the machine?
Would make sense doing that with steam.
Good luck with the rebuild!
Cheers,
Rob
LMWDP #647

espresso service

#6: Post by espresso service »

Posting photos is a learning curve Image
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espresso service

#7: Post by espresso service »

Thanks for all your comments and advice.
I think I'm getting the hang of uploading photos now.
Yes she's got a cup warmer :)
I'd love to know the age of this machine.
I think I'll first try hooking up to a gas bottle and see how that goes but first gasket in the boiler.
I have a feeling that the photo of the copper pipe with the adjustable valve on top is something to do with boiler pressure when the gas is being used?
There is a power cord and a mercury pressurestat which is fantastic and looks like something from a Frankenstein movie. There was no ON/OFF switch so quite literally plug and go! Any ideas on the wiring for the pressurestat?

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IamOiman

#8: Post by IamOiman »

I can tell you the machine is from the early 70's, but your heating element does not have a date stamped from what I see so I cannot give a specific date. See if you can write down the numbers on that sticker on the front and post them here.

The valve I posted that is part of the gas valve regulates what pressure to switch to a low burn setting to maintain that pressure. It has a pipe connection to the boiler that has a membrane push against an internal spring from the boiler pressure to do this. This is from a Gaggia Tell but they all work similarly.
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You have a mercury p-stat, which my Gaggia Tell also has in a similar model. Those two white ceramic boxes support a phase each (ie hot and neutral) up to 10A.
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To quote myself and how it works:
Here's how it works

On the bottom is the inlet for the connection between the pstat and the boiler. In the brass base there is a copper bellows that rises with the pressure. A circular gear with a pin screws onto the bellows and rests against a metal block with a pin that goes through one end. It in turn pushes against another pin that rests against a flexed piece of metal on top that controls the angle of the ampules. When the machine is below the set pressure cut off the ampules will be in rest position. This means there is an electrical connection, where the mercury acts as a conduit between the two poles.
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As the pressure increases, the bellows will rise and push the flexed metal. Eventually a threshold is reached and the ampules will be pushed like a seesaw by the bent metal piece. The mercury will form a blob on one end of the ampules and cut the electrical connection. As the pressure decreases the ampules will slowly bend back and eventually turn on again. It is quite cool how this mechanism was designed and how much attention was given to it. For example to ensure the ampules do not bend so far they can not be bent back, there is a hook piece seen on the right that holds the ampules while bent. There is also a small copper piece that holds the adjustable pstat gear in place when you reached a desired pressure.
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-Ryan
Using a spice grinder violates the Geneva Convention
LMWDP #612

espresso service

#9: Post by espresso service »

Ok, I've managed to figure out where everything goes and the wiring for the element via the pressurestat.
I'll leave the gas installation for what it is for the moment. I did hook it up to a gas bottle but just got a beautiful yellow flame so in order to get that working write I'll need to order the gas regulator and connections.
First things first...I'm now waiting for the boiler gasket to be delivered and then I can finely see if my heating element stud repair is going to hold.
Hopefully by the end of this week I'll be able to pull a shot from the zodiac.
I'll let you know.
Greetings from Holland :lol:

espresso service

#10: Post by espresso service »



She's almost finished, no leaks and a very impressive first shot! Now just waiting for the heating element to come :D

Reason: Embedded YouTube link