La Spaziale S1 tripping GFCI

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.
mmg
Posts: 25
Joined: 9 months ago

#1: Post by mmg »

I have a Spaziale S1 which I just disassembled for deep cleaning and descaling.
I disconnected all the electrics and put it back together.
Now the brew boiler will heat up and then trip the GFCI. The machine has lights that tell you the temperature in the boiler when it's close to 90 C, and it has almost reached temperature.
These do not turn on, but the boiler is definitely quite hot and the water comes out hot before tripping the GFCI, impossible to say if it's at 85 or 92 C.
It almost feels like the thermometer isn't working and is instead shorting something to ground. I understand that wouldn't make sense, as the probe is always active, but a temperature specific and reversible failure of the element also seems weird.

After the GFCI is tripped, resetting it leads to tripping it again, unless BOTH leads of the element are unplugged. If I wait some time, it will work for a bit, i.e. reheat the water, and then trip again.
I see resistance on the element and I don't understand a) why connecting a single lead would still trip the GFCI b) why it would break after descaling and only in a temperature dependent mode.

Am I just trying to persuade myself that I can save $100 for a new heating element, or is there something to what I'm saying?

Appreciate your feedback and time!

blondica73
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#2: Post by blondica73 »

I had the same issue when I bought the S1 a few years ago. The tech opened the machine, noticed debris in one of the pipes that went to the boiler, and cleaned it. It's been working ever since without any issues.

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cafeIKE
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#3: Post by cafeIKE »

The element has two connections. There are four possible ways to connect.

LN - will trip GCFI
-N - will not trip GCFI
L- - will trip GCFI
-- - will not trip GCFI

mmg (original poster)
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Joined: 9 months ago

#4: Post by mmg (original poster) »

blondica73 wrote:I had the same issue when I bought the S1 a few years ago. The tech opened the machine, noticed debris in one of the pipes that went to the boiler, and cleaned it. It's been working ever since without any issues.
I guess I could try cleaning it all again. I imagine debris in the water could short it to the boiler, but this is really hard to diagnose.
cafeIKE wrote: The element has two connections. There are four possible ways to connect.

LN - will trip GCFI
-N - will not trip GCFI
L- - will trip GCFI
-- - will not trip GCFI
This is very usefl, thank you. I suppose it really is the element.
I am still unclear as to why it follows this pattern of only tripping when it has heated up water.

GreenEggsAndSam
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Joined: 5 years ago

#5: Post by GreenEggsAndSam »

If the scale buildup was significant, then what might have happened is that the scale was insulating a pinhole leak in the element itself. So that when the scale was removed, you lose that protective insulation. As the element heats, it expands and exposes that pinhole so that the conductive core comes in contact with water, tripping the GFI. Removing the "neutral" wire wouldn't stop the issue because the water is completing the circuit. That's likely why the machine doesn't trip when you remove the "hot" wire, but not the "neutral" wire. It's also why the element still has the normal, expected resistance across the leads when the wire is disconnected. If you wanted to confirm this for yourself, you can test with a Megger for resistance from the heating element terminal to the boiler after the machine tripped the GFI. I'd expect you'd see continuity where there is none. We can rule out the temp probe because it draws very little current, and because the machine does not trip when the leads to the heating element are removed.

mmg (original poster)
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Joined: 9 months ago

#6: Post by mmg (original poster) »

You make more sense than I want to admit...
I am planning to try the tests here https://www.orphanespresso.com/Heating- ... 610-1.html and, if positive, see if a bake/torching helps, otherwise new element for me.

It will soon be the Espresso Machine of Theseus.

dyno
Posts: 55
Joined: 11 years ago

#7: Post by dyno »

My S1 behaved a bit differently when it tripped the GFCI as the water wouldn't heat at all. Ended up being a solenoid. Once replaced, machine has been good since.

Probably a different issue than yours but an option to explore if needed.

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cafeIKE
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#8: Post by cafeIKE »

Schematic pg 17 of Manual

mmg (original poster)
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#9: Post by mmg (original poster) »

https://www.orphanespresso.com/Heating- ... 610-1.html
Multimeter reports good resistance (I think 13 Ohm) between terminals, but also resistance between terminal and ground (1.3 MOhm, and it keeps going up when I measure it). This suggests that I could try the bake it and save it approach.

I am not sure I understand the failure mode. There is water inside the sealant and it creates a path between the element and the base?

Worst of all, I get the same readings on the boiler element, so I will have to do that one too.

I have two questions at this point:
1) leaving an oven on at hi temp for a few hours seems extremely wasteful. I have a propane torch, is that a decent option if I can fashion something to hold the element?
2) From this and this, my understanding is that the epoxy holds the terminals still, the glyptol seals them, the teflon is kind of overkill, but also prevents movement. I see someone has used RTV silicone, is that completely unreasonable?