Issue with Pasquini Livia 90 semi auto running

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.
saabracer23

#1: Post by saabracer23 »

Good day everyone. I have a Pasquini Livia 90 semi automatic that is getting a bit older and starting to show its age. With winter coming and my wife and I wanting to drink hot drinks again I figure I should resolve some issues. For whatever reason it just started running on its own. I came into the kitchen one morning to find water all over the floor and counter and lights on the control panel blinking. I then caught it the next day. I filled the tank and had it on (I leave it on 24/7 unless we will be gone for more than a day, we have drinks all times of the day. Enjoy that first cup in the morning and that decaf cup at night) and while washing dishes I start to hear the pump on the espresso machine. Hot water starts coming out of the Portafilter. It didn't stop until I switched the power off of the machine. It hasn't been on since.

Any idea what my issue is likely? Is it the 3 button control panel on the front? Really the machine doesn't show a lot of use, I care for it well. Is it worth putting money into this machine? I figure I'd have to spend a couple thousand to match it.

While I'm at it, any upgrades people might suggest? I'm planning on swapping out all of the rubber parts, seals and such. New distribution plate? New screen? Add PID? Lol, not sure what is really available for this machine, but I'd like to squeeze as much as it has to offer without getting too ridiculous. Or should I just grab a Decent or Victoria E1 Prima like I've wanted, but wife is giving me resistance lol.

Thank you all for any suggestions,
Dan

Coffcarl

#2: Post by Coffcarl »

I think you mean you have the automatic, as the semi just has a simple on/off button for the pump.

It sounds like a stuck button on the touch panel membrane, else it would be that the pump relay intermittantly goes and stays closed. That relay is on the control board, which could be flaky as well.

I did find the correct membrane on the pasquini site for $57 by searching "livia 90 membrane." It is the Bezzera version but woukd not make a difference.

I would call pasquini and ask to speak to their tech to see if that is a likely fix or not. If it is the automatic controller, you will want to consider a new machine, as those are around $300.

If you are handy with a soldering iron, you can replace the relays on the controller. They are inexpensive if you identify the correct voltage and form factor etc. Order from digikey.

More chiming in will follow from others, and suspected stuck button on membrane can be checked with an ohmmeter.

saabracer23 (original poster)

#3: Post by saabracer23 (original poster) »

Oh yes automatic, been awhile since I've discussed these. I thought an automatic had the bean hoppper on it and it did everything for you, but that's a super automatic isn't it?

If it was a stuck touch membrane, would it make sense that it can sit for 6 hours untouched and then all of a sudden start pumping without anything touching it?

I couldn't find a number to call, but I did send out an email to the tech team, so hopefully they've seen this before and can help out.

So in you're opinion you wouldn't put $300 into this machine? Is it not that great of an HX machine? Let's say total cost to fix it came to $350 and I said, "nope, not worth it", what would you suggest I do. Or what would you do? It's been awhile since I've looked, but looks like you can get some pretty nice stuff in the $2k range.

I actually do repairs and restorations on vintage audio equipment for a living, both tube and solid state, so I have a whole electronics lab and use a soldering station roughly 6-8 hours every day. So you're saying the controller that is $300 is a board with several relays on it and instead of buying the new board I can swap the relays? I'll pull them and apply voltage to the coils and see if the relays engage. The problem is, it's a very intermittent problem and electrically those are the hardest to diagnose.

I really appreciate your assistance. I'll tear the machine down once my bench is cleared (have a Sansui receiver on it currently) and post what I find.

Thank you,
Dan

Coffcarl

#4: Post by Coffcarl »

With the info you gave me, I would definitely consider fixing this. Typically the small relays on the board get pitted contacts and fail open, but who knows? There are two electronic components plus the touchpad. A power relay, so if no heat, etc start there. The controller has a relay for water level sensing, with probes in the boiler. If the boiler continues to fill. Then you look for scale on the probes and then suspect the correponding relay. There is another small pump relay, as I mentioned.

Since this is the automatic, there must be some logic and transistors on the controller board that completes the circuit to the pump relay. Maybe that is bad?

I did find a replacement controller for my semi for less than 200, so once you identify the part, you may be Ble to find it cheap. Keep in mind it would be the 120v version. Also know that the livia 90 is the Bezzera bz99, so can look for parts and parts diagrams for that.

On mine, i have replaced the controller (gicar controller) once. I think i replaced the main relay, switches on the front, steam wand orings, pump, water tank. I set the pressure and temp a lot lower than when I first bought it.

ira
Team HB

#5: Post by ira »

Controllers typically have one of a very small trivially easy to find and fix problems. That is assuming you have the proper tools, the one I find most useful is my Hakko 808 powered solder sucker. So, the parts to check. The transformer, they like to fuse because they are Class 2 transformers operated near the limit in a hot environment, next the diode bridge which if you replace I suggest leaving it far off the board so the leads can act as heat sinks, then the big electrolytic which is usually rated for 85C, I replace them with 105C parts on general principals and then the relays. The holes are all plated through and not as bag as you'd like for easy replacement, why I find the powered solder sucker a must. I'm sure other things go bad, but I've repaired about 9 controllers and those are the only parts that ever seemed to break.

Coffcarl

#6: Post by Coffcarl »

I do love this machine, and I have an e61, a la pavoni europiccola, a flair 58, and a gen 1 Silvia at my disposal.

I did replace the dispersion screen with an IMS precision, and I find I get fewer off flavors and have to deep clean it (backflush) less.

I only replaced the controller because something shorted when I was wrestling with the metal cover, and my controller was a giemme, not a gicar, so parts did not seem readily available.

Also, to answer your other questions:
PID - no, the temp is well regulated via the HX.
Dispersion screen - yes

Special dispersion kit, no experience with it, but I opted no, and I think trying to do that mod may take you into new grouphead territory.

Grouphead gaskets are confusing, as a number of different versions.

saabracer23 (original poster)

#7: Post by saabracer23 (original poster) »

Coffcarl wrote:With the info you gave me, I would definitely consider fixing this. Typically the small relays on the board get pitted contacts and fail open, but who knows? There are two electronic components plus the touchpad. A power relay, so if no heat, etc start there. The controller has a relay for water level sensing, with probes in the boiler. If the boiler continues to fill. Then you look for scale on the probes and then suspect the correponding relay. There is another small pump relay, as I mentioned.

Since this is the automatic, there must be some logic and transistors on the controller board that completes the circuit to the pump relay. Maybe that is bad?

I did find a replacement controller for my semi for less than 200, so once you identify the part, you may be Ble to find it cheap. Keep in mind it would be the 120v version. Also know that the livia 90 is the Bezzera bz99, so can look for parts and parts diagrams for that.

On mine, i have replaced the controller (gicar controller) once. I think i replaced the main relay, switches on the front, steam wand orings, pump, water tank. I set the pressure and temp a lot lower than when I first bought it.
I checked the main power relay and it appears to be perfectly fine, coil energizes well at 120v and with the contacts closes I measure under 1/4 ohm between the contacts once the resistance of my test leads have been removed. I did open the controller and I did find a few problems. The main capacitor that filters the output of the bridge rectifier had definitely been replaced in the past, you can tell by the solder joints in the pic below. It was replaced with a cheapo Chinese cap and it's ESR measured off the charts, plus being a 220 uF cap measuring 140, so I'm sure it's causing issues. I placed in a Panasonic FC series cap and that covers that. Of the three relays there is one that can be refurbished. A new one would have been a little over $30 so I just polished the contacts and now it is good as new. The other two relays are sealed and are not great. With contacts closed I measured a resistance of over 100 ohms between all of the contacts, not good. Ordered two new relays and they are supposed to be delivered today. There were also 3 SMD capacitors on the other side of the module, a single 10 uF and two 1 uF, I would have replaced them anyways as this module is dated 2003 and heat is quite the enemy of electrolytics, but they did indeed measure poor as well. Replaced them with 105 c Nichicon PW series.












Dan

saabracer23 (original poster)

#8: Post by saabracer23 (original poster) »

ira wrote:Controllers typically have one of a very small trivially easy to find and fix problems. That is assuming you have the proper tools, the one I find most useful is my Hakko 808 powered solder sucker. So, the parts to check. The transformer, they like to fuse because they are Class 2 transformers operated near the limit in a hot environment, next the diode bridge which if you replace I suggest leaving it far off the board so the leads can act as heat sinks, then the big electrolytic which is usually rated for 85C, I replace them with 105C parts on general principals and then the relays. The holes are all plated through and not as bag as you'd like for easy replacement, why I find the powered solder sucker a must. I'm sure other things go bad, but I've repaired about 9 controllers and those are the only parts that ever seemed to break.
I should be able to handle it. The 808 is a tank of a pump. For quite a while I used a manual pump and as soon as I picked up a Hakko FR-301 I knew it was an immediate game changer. I used that for a couple of years and then wanted to get a desoldering pump that matched my FX-100 induction station so I picked up a Hakko FR-410 vacuum station, what a step up from the 301.

The transformer is good, I pulled the bridge rectifier and measured the 4 internal diodes with a Peak DCA75 Pro and all measured good. Maybe it would be a good idea just to swap it out since I have so many of them. As for the big electrolytic, you'll see in my post just above I mentioned that it had been replaced in the past using a garbage quality capacitor and it's ESR was off the charts measuring above 40 ohms and capacitance low. The previous person put in a 220 uF 50V rated cap. You having done several of these, is that the correct value? I put in a 220 uF 50v rated Panasonic FC. I'm guessing the original capacitor had a voltage rating nowhere near that high and really unsure if capacitance.

Pulled all three relays, refurbished the one relays contacts that could be opened and the other two relays had high resistance when measuring across the closed contacts so new ones should arrive today.

I also replaced the surface mount electrolytics with through hole, see photos above if you wish, but before and after of the SMD caps, which did measure poorly.






Thank you!

Dan

saabracer23 (original poster)

#9: Post by saabracer23 (original poster) »

Coffcarl wrote:I do love this machine, and I have an e61, a la pavoni europiccola, a flair 58, and a gen 1 Silvia at my disposal.

I did replace the dispersion screen with an IMS precision, and I find I get fewer off flavors and have to deep clean it (backflush) less.

I only replaced the controller because something shorted when I was wrestling with the metal cover, and my controller was a giemme, not a gicar, so parts did not seem readily available.

Also, to answer your other questions:
PID - no, the temp is well regulated via the HX.
Dispersion screen - yes

Special dispersion kit, no experience with it, but I opted no, and I think trying to do that mod may take you into new grouphead territory.

Grouphead gaskets are confusing, as a number of different versions.
It's great to hear that you love this machine, builds confidence in that it's worth repairing.

What is the special dispersion kit you speak of? Definitely would like to squeeze as much performance out of this without spending a ton, like $300-$400 or less. So far all of the parts I've put into it I consider free since I have so many, except for the two relays I had to buy, but I'm under $20.

Looks like I should pull the current group head gasket and measure to find the correct part?

Dan

ira
Team HB

#10: Post by ira »

I believe the big capacitor is quite overrated so likely the one you used is fine. I repaired one of those once with a bad bridge and before I figured that out, I was able to get it working by adding a small disk or mylar capacitor to the electronics board near the 5V supply to the processor. The relays will pretty much work fine no matter wat the power looks like, but the processor want's something like a clean 5V supply, though as long as it never gets below 4V it will likely still work.