La Pavoni Europiccola tripping fuse after dry boil

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

#1: Post by mmcc854 »

Hi all,

Recently replaced all seals/gaskets on my Europiccola and the boiler was rotating a bit (presumably the gaskets on the base compressing a bit after use). So after emptying the boiler & tightening the base, I came back to the machine a few hours later and switched it on without realising it was still empty.

It tripped the house fusebox and the boiler was hot to touch.

Having left it overnight and filling it this morning. After switching on, the boiler itself got quite hot, but then the house fuse tripped again before any water could start boiling.

I'll aim to get the multimeter out and do some actual tests on it, but I'm not sure when I'll be able to get time to do that (work + small child leads to little time when I have enough mental capacity to test electrical devices!). So until then, has anyone had similar experience of this occurring? I'm hoping it's not a terminal (pardon the pun) issue for the heating element as the machine does heat up.

I'm unsure as to what the issue could be as the machine gets hot indicating the element is still functional. The fuse trips long before I'd expect the pressure stat to kick in. Any advice/info is greatly appreciated

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#2: Post by yakster »

This thread, even though it's for a different machine, may be helpful.

La Peppina trips out RCBO

LMWDP # 272

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#3: Post by stefano65 »

I fis the panel breaker is a dead short
if it is the GFCI that tripped is dispersion to ground,
check all wiring test ohm on Heating element and go from there
Stefano Cremonesi
Stefano's Espresso Care
Repairs & sales from Oregon.

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#4: Post by borrik »

Looks like heater insulation degradation after it's being overheated. On switched off machine you could try to test resistance (mOhms/kOhms) from phase or neutral to machine ground. Should be infinite. In some cases on cold machine it could be ok, but once heated, heater's internal insulation starting to be conductive, resistance drops and current goes to the ground.

mmcc854 (original poster)

#5: Post by mmcc854 (original poster) »

I'm very much a novice at this sort of diagnosis, but it certainly looks like there may be something with the heater insulation degradation. There definitely seems to be a difference between the two (the one in the first photo looks to have significantly less in terms of insulation/sealant from what I can see).

Resistance is infinite between live/neutral to ground (between heating element terminals it's around 54 ohms). The rest of the electrics looks fine to my (untrained) eye, with the exception of possibly some burnt material on the brass hex nut (pressure stat?)?

The thing that struck me as most strange is that the boiler body heats up very quickly, to the point that by the time it tripped the fuse, the group itself was very hot. Bearing in mind the group normally takes at least 15-20 mins to properly get up to temperature (and even then, it's nowhere near as hot as it was getting prior to tripping the fuse), I'm guessing that points to the heating insulation being the issue.

Is this the sort of job your average electrician will have the tools (just insulation/sealant?) for? Or is this an easy DIY job?

Very much appreciate all the info folks, thank you very much!


#6: Post by bialettibarista »

I had a similar problem after redoing all my seals and it turned out just to be the power cord. Everything tested good but once it started heating up for whatever reason it would short out. I had some used appiances laying around so I just swapped the power cord and it worked like a charm. It's perhaps with a try.

Team HB

#7: Post by JRising »

mmcc854 wrote: Is this the sort of job your average electrician will have the tools (just insulation/sealant?) for? Or is this an easy DIY job?
If the element is shorting to ground, you'd simply replace the element (And boiler gasket) with a new one...
You'd need an allen key, adjustable spanner and a screwdriver. Once you have the old element out you may be able to see where it's cracked and letting the water get into the insulation, if that is indeed the issue, but you say it's heating too fast, and the excess path to ground from element could explain that along with the overheating.

mmcc854 (original poster)

#8: Post by mmcc854 (original poster) replying to JRising »

Yeah, ended up just buying a new element. Heard a few horror stories about the pressurestat pipe being on there so tight that if often gets broke on removal, so have bought one of those to be sure. As well as a new thermostat for similar reasons. A pricey mistake!

On the plus side, I managed to get this one new for £350 in 2018, so even with the service kits and these replacement parts, I'm still under the cost of a brand new one today.

Thanks again for everyone's input!

mmcc854 (original poster)

#9: Post by mmcc854 (original poster) »

Just wanted to update with the resolution (don't like when threads start out with a problem and the OP never returns to disclose the outcome!). Ended up just going with a fresh heating element (and pressurestat pipe, as I'd heard stories about those breaking upon removal from the base).

Had also purchased a replacement fuse, as I hadn't realised that it was only being held in place by a sprint (had assumed the thermal paste was adhesive of some sort), so that made things easier also.

Was quite a simple job in the end (certainly much easier than removing/reinstalling the boiler fixing ring!), will likely revisit the old heating element at some point in the future to see if it can be brought back to use. I've seen a few folks have success with 'baking' the element (or just using a heatgun on the insulation) in order to remedy similar issues.

Thanks to all who offered advice, it was very much appreciated!

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#10: Post by Nunas »

mmcc854 wrote:<snip>I've seen a few folks have success with 'baking' the element (or just using a heatgun on the insulation) in order to remedy similar issues.<snip>
This usually only works on espresso makers with external elements, such as those with "kettles" rater than boilers (EG VAM). Your LP has the element in the boiler. If there's even the smallest pinhole in the element's jacket, the water will get back in.