My ECM Synchronika now sounds like a Breville BES920...

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

#1: Post by HenryL »

...and Whole Latte Love is doing nothing to help. They have been awful, days and days without a response, asking me over and over again details I've already described, finally today they tell me it's loud because the audio recording I provided was taken with the panels removed and that it's normal. The machine is well within the three year warranty period, but clearly they aren't going to hold up their end of the bargain, so here I am.

Until a few weeks ago, the pump sounded like a muted hum when running. It's plumbed in, pressure is just under 2bar. No flow problems, pressure when pulling a shot is about 9.5 bar. It just vibrates so much...like the title says, it sounds like the Breville Dual Boiler that it replaced.

Pump bolts are tight but still loose enough to allow it to move on the rubber spacers. Panels off so no vibration there. Can't find anything that is touching the pump that is vibrating - it seems the pump itself is going bad. How much do those cost? I'm not afraid to open things up again and poke around if I know what I'm looking for. Can anyone recommend a place were I might buy parts (scared to ask how much a new pump costs).

Thanks for reading, double thanks if you can point me in the right direction.

PS-Can't see a way to upload the audio file I sent them, happy to do so if someone can tell me how.

-Henry

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BaristaBoy E61

#2: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Have you tried running the machine back on reservoir mode to see if anything changes? Does the pump sound any different when its doing a boiler fill?

How about the flex hoses connecting to the pump, might those be touching anything they shouldn't be?

Your line level water pressure seems a little low, has it changed a all recently?

Do you have any water filtration equipment in-line? Have you tested your water quality?
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

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HB
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#3: Post by HB »

HenryL wrote:Pump bolts are tight but still loose enough to allow it to move on the rubber spacers. Panels off so no vibration there. Can't find anything that is touching the pump that is vibrating...
Vibratory pumps vibrate (duh). Anything it's connect to it directly or indirectly can resonate and make noise. It can be maddening to track it down. I got tired of trying with one of my first espresso machines and "outboarded" the pump:

Image

I'm not suggesting something so extreme. Back to your problem, one of the best ways to narrow down the source of the problem is using a cardboard tube as a sort of stethoscope.
HenryL wrote:...it seems the pump itself is going bad. How much do those cost?
Vibratory pumps are not expensive (e.g., this one with a brass fitting is $51 and this one with a plastic fitting is $40). Noise is not a sign of a pump failing since they all make noise; failing to reach and hold brew pressure are signs of a failing pump.
HenryL wrote:PS-Can't see a way to upload the audio file I sent them, happy to do so if someone can tell me how.
Try posting a video of the sound at various places.
Dan Kehn

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lancealot

#4: Post by lancealot »

I am pretty sure the Sync has a rotary pump. Dan, incase you aren't familiar, rotary pumps rotate:)
Retailers usually advertise that one of the benefits of a rotary pump is reduced noise. You might even be able to find a WLL video of Mark or Todd saying that they are quiet. They are much quieter than the vibe pump in a BES920.

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HB
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#5: Post by HB »

Thanks for the reminder! :lol: I evaluated a Synchronika and it indeed had a rotary pump. At one point, the front panel would resonate and pressing on the portafilter would stop the noise. In the end, I squeezed a plastic spacer between the front panel and side panel to silence it.

If the OP would like more specific suggestions, I recommend posting a video walkaround with panels off and panels on, pump flowing freely, pump against a blind filter, etc.
Dan Kehn

SandraF

#6: Post by SandraF »

This rotary pump from Clive Coffee in Portland is $150.

https://clivecoffee.com/products/rotary ... and-repair

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HB
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#7: Post by HB »

It's cheaper to get the pump rebuilt, but that shouldn't be necessary unless the pump was damaged, e.g., by running the pump without water for a long time.
Dan Kehn

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HenryL (original poster)

#8: Post by HenryL (original poster) »

Good morning folks, and thank you for all the feedback! I had reached out to a different vendor Friday evening and we poked around with the panels off. Didn't find the source of the noise, but we did rule out the capacitor that is zip tied to the pump motor, no lines, wires or other parts touching the motor. Best I could isolate was the source of the noise was in or around the pump or motor or possibly the motor itself. I didn't realize until then that the pump and the motor are separate items, so at least I learned something!

Anyway, to address some of the comments so far:

- I've got pretty soft city water, but use a filter anyway. It's 2-3gpg or just barely registering on the test strip
- The filter is overdue for replacement, ordered a new one but I don't think this will change anything since I get the proper pressure at the machine. Still, I've worked in IT long enough to ever say never - especially regarding things outside my area of expertise! :)
- 2 bar is the max line pressure per the Synchronika manual. Actual line pressure is much higher, the filter has a regulator on it that brings it down to the manufacturer recommendation.
- I haven't tried switching to the reservoir, will do that this afternoon
- Will try the suggested cardboard tube as stethoscope idea to isolate the source of the noise, and change out the filter when it arrives. Prepping for surgery mid week so not much time to play around. After Friday I have a gut feeling it's the pump motor itself that's vibrating - the tube idea might help pin it down.

Thanks everyone. I'll update when I know more. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

-HL

SandraF

#9: Post by SandraF »

Thanks for your update and best wishes on your surgery.

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HB
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#10: Post by HB »

HenryL wrote: After Friday I have a gut feeling it's the pump motor itself that's vibrating - the tube idea might help pin it down.
That would be low on my list of suspects, but it's possible the clamp between the pump and motor is loose. That could allow the piece (1) that bridges the pump-to-motor to be off-axis:


From Brand New Rotary Pump

If you do decide to go at it with a cardboard stethoscope, try pressing on a suspected noisemaker with a wooden dowel rod to see if the noise stops.
Dan Kehn