La Spaziale Vivaldi II - Steam Boiler Fill Noise Issue

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

#1: Post by dialydose »

Brief background. I previously purchased a used Vivaldi i. Owned that machine for about 1.5 years. I never had any issues with the machine...solid performance from day one. It was about two years old when I purchased. I sold that machine in June because I was offered about the same amount of money I paid for it (actually $50 more than I paid). I decided, naturally, to get the Vivaldi ii as the replacement because I loved the first version so much.

I purchased from Chris Coffee at the end of June and I am having an issue with the steam boiler fill. When I pull shots, the machine hums along beautifully, sounds normal. However, when the steam boiler calls for water, 9 times out of 10, it makes a god awful noise. It is a very grating sound that sounds like a mix between a rattle, vibration, a struggling motor, etc. It can be heard from across the house. Again, no problems pulling water through the group. I have talked to the folks at Chris's several times and they have been very helpful/understanding/sympathetic. We have tried several things including shifting the motor, adjusting the pressure, etc. I am going to try to adjust the screw on the inlet valve to the boiler this weekend. If that doesn't work, I am at the end of my rope and will have to ship it back for service. I really don't want to go a couple weeks with no espresso (I just sold my Gaggia Classic as well).

I have read about cavitation and pressure issues, which seem possible. I will check the valve to the steam boiler as well. However, I thought I would post this here to see if anyone else has experienced anything similar or had any other thoughts before I have to take the extreme measure of shipping back. The guys at Chris's have been wonderful to work with and have assured me they will get everything working 100%, but I would really prefer not to ship it back unless there are no other options. Any thoughts?

p.s. I will try to record the sound and post a video if I can as well.

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HB
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#2: Post by HB »

Sure sounds like pump cavitation. Here's an easy test: Unhook the inlet line and dunk it in a bucket of water, then force a steam boiler refill by drawing 8 ounces from the water wand. If it doesn't make the noise, determine why the incoming flow is restricted (e.g., water filter, too narrow tubing, low water pressure, etc.).
Dan Kehn

dialydose (original poster)

#3: Post by dialydose (original poster) » replying to HB »

Thanks for the reply Dan. That is one thing I have not tried (and is simple enough). I keep coming back to the cavitation theory, but the guys at CC don't seem to think pressure/flow is the issue.

I am using 1/4 line and it does run through a softener and filter. Pressure is more than sufficient (I was concerned it may too high at first...it blasts out of the end of the tube when flushing for a new filter, softener etc). Flow could be another issue, but I had the same plumbing setup on my previous Vivaldi without a problem. I replaced the cartridges with the new machine as well.

Also, wouldn't the same sound/issue occur when pulling water through the group if flow was restricted? Just very frustrated right now.

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HB
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#4: Post by HB »

dialydose wrote:Also, wouldn't the same sound/issue occur when pulling water through the group if flow was restricted?
No, because the flow rate for the boiler refill is unrestricted while the brew water must pass through the group's gicleur (orifice). I encountered the exact problem you describe while reviewing the Elektra A3. Replacing the 1/4" line with 3/8" cured it.
Dan Kehn

dialydose (original poster)

#5: Post by dialydose (original poster) »

Dan -

If I take the connection off and use a bottle and there is no noise...I am guessing the 1/4 inch is likely the/a problem. If I want to change to 3/8 inch, would I have to go all the way back to the tap? Meaning 3/8 from the tap through the filter and to the machine, or would post filter be enough? Thanks again for the link and response.

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JohnB.
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#6: Post by JohnB. »

Starting off with 1/4" & then switching to 3/8" won't accomplish much, go with 3/8" all the way from the tap to the machine line.
LMWDP 267

dialydose (original poster)

#7: Post by dialydose (original poster) »

JohnB. wrote:Starting off with 1/4" & then switching to 3/8" won't accomplish much, go with 3/8" all the way from the tap to the machine line.
Thanks John. One last (hopefully) question. The "tap" in this case is 1/4. If I use an adapter to run 3/8 from there, would there be any issues with that? I feel a lot of purchasing and installing of JG fittings in my future. :evil:

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HB
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#8: Post by HB »

If you're teeing off a 1/4" line (e.g., a refrigerator ice maker stopcock), you will likely have the same problem since the tap is acting as a restrictor. A water accumulator tank prior to the final hookup would provide the necessary buffer needed to keep the pump from cavitating even if the line leading to it remains 1/4" (Shurflo makes a particularly small one for the Shurflo water bottle pump that would work nicely).
Dan Kehn

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JohnB.
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#9: Post by JohnB. »

dialydose wrote: The "tap" in this case is 1/4. If I use an adapter to run 3/8 from there, would there be any issues with that?
As Dan said the 1/4" tap would still be a restriction, change all fittings to 3/8".
LMWDP 267

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CRCasey

#10: Post by CRCasey »

If it is going to be a total PITA to go to a larger tubing all the way back you can do like the flojet guys do and add a pressure accumulator after the last filter and then run the larger tubing from that up to your machine inlet.

You can pick them up at the local home depot as a 'hot water heater pressure buffer' or some such thing. Add a T fitting and what ever adapters you need for your tubing and you will have no more inlet pressure drop and no noise from cavitating at the pump input. You will need to adjust the pressure in the bottom air bladder to get the best result. They seem to come off the shelf pressurized a bit high for most espresso machines.

-Cecil
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