Lots of black particles in water/steam output from CC1 -- damaged thermoblock?

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

#1: Post by OnThruTheChompers »

Hi Folks,

I have a fairly beleaguered Crossland CC1 that I am trying to troubleshoot. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Originally, it developed a clog (most likely at the steam valve) which completely prevented water from exiting the steam arm. This occurred while I was descaling. Due to the pressure buildup at that time, a hose ruptured.

I disassembled the boiler and the steam valve. I cleaned out the boiler and replaced the entire steam valve assembly with a brand new one (along with new hoses). The machine is now reassembled, and I am seeing a ton of black (I assume metallic?) particulate matter in the water output from the steam arm.

Here what I get when I call for hot water through the steam arm (this is with the thermoblock off--for those who don't know, the CC1 uses a conventional brew boiler + an auxiliary thermoblock for steam, so in this case, there is hot water moving from the boiler, through the powered-off thermoblock, through the steam valve, out of the steam wand):

Here's what I get when I call for steam (so same as above, but with the thermoblock powered on):

Given that the valve downstream of the thermoblock is brand new, and that the particles dramatically increase when the thermoblock is heated up, my strong suspicion is that the contamination is coming from the thermoblock. I wonder if folks agree with this assessment.

One thought I have is that, since the original failure occurred during descaling, there was no way for me to get the descaling solution out of the thermoblock. It sat there for weeks, until I was eventually able to repair the machine. I am wondering if the descaling solution sitting there may have permanently damaged the lining of the thermoblock.

I have run a lot of plain tap water through the machine at this point, and am continuing to see the same output. Any thoughts/suggestions would be very welcome!

OnThruTheChompers (original poster)

#2: Post by OnThruTheChompers (original poster) »

OK, I cracked open the thermoblock and it is definitely the source of the problem:

Any thoughts on how to treat this? I can go after it with some barkeeper's friend and a brass brush, but I am worried the corrosion will return...


#3: Post by cmin »

I had a CC1 back in the day (like one of the 1st machines sold), and that was the weak point, the thermo block could seize with scale. Happened to mine but I didn't care as I didn't really steam anyway.

If I recall people that had it happen opened it up and let it soak in solution (maybe couple days?). Not sure about actually replacing, could try to email Bill Crossland and see.

Back then I just used probably water from Britafikter from fridge water already. Nowadays I either make my own or use quality bottled water, haven't had a plumbed machine since GS3. That's probably the only way to alleviate, your type of water and even if not really steaming much making sure to run it at least weekly or few times a week so water doesn't sit in it.

OnThruTheChompers (original poster)

#4: Post by OnThruTheChompers (original poster) »

Thanks a lot. Are you thinking this is scale? I assumed it was mostly rust, but maybe I'm wrong.