Need Help Putting a Vintage Astoria Argenta Back in Service.

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

#1: Post by DoctorTrombone »

Hi All,

Brand new here, and looking for some help. I purchased an Astoria Argenta from a classified ad. It was in pieces, and the owner knew nothing about it. It's a two-head with lots of brass and copper, and a big dome with an eagle on top. :D

I've removed around four pounds of hard water flake from the boiler, descaled, replaced various small parts, and purchased a HUGE voltage inverter capable of running this behemoth. Now, I am able to get pressure in the boiler (and the thermostat is working, keeping it at a steady temperature) but there's no pressure to the group heads. There's no pump inside the machine, and it doesn't look like there ever was one.

The machine came with a CE/1 pump (from "Vibrapompe City," which I'm sure is a happening place :lol: ) but no motor. There is an external electrical connector which looks like it originally hooked up to the motor. I had assumed that this was only for refilling the boiler, but I may have been mistaken.

There are no disconnected water lines and I'm getting current to the switches that control the group head solenoids.

Can anyone help me sort out how to get pressure to the group heads?

Supporter ♡

#2: Post by ira »

On machines like that, I believe the pump is almost always external to the machine, one side to the water supply and the other side to the inlet on the machine and then the motor will connect to those leads you found.


Baratza: skilled in the art of grinding
Sponsored by Baratza

#3: Post by luvmy40 »

Without the pump, you will never get pressure to the group heads.

DoctorTrombone (original poster)

#4: Post by DoctorTrombone (original poster) »

Ok. Pump motor is on order. Thanks.

DoctorTrombone (original poster)

#5: Post by DoctorTrombone (original poster) »

I installed the motor and it seems to be working properly. It does the auto refill function perfectly. However, I'm still not getting any action from the group heads. The way this is currently set up, it would appear that the vane pump is only for filling the tank. Was there a secondary pressure pump for these early models? Is there some form of pressure switch that might have failed? I am still not getting a high enough reading on the lower dial on the pressure gauge.

Supporter ♡

#6: Post by ira »

I will take a wild guess that this is an HX machine and there should be a solenoid that connects the pump to one of the two groups when the button is pressed to brew an espresso. I would guess that solenoid might be stuck or disconnected or that possibly the control box is not working correctly or not hooked up properly.

I believe when you press the brew button, the pump should run and a solenoid should activate. Or at least that's how I'm used to seeing things like this work. It's possible there are 3 solenoids, one to the boiler that opens for filling and two to the groups that should open when you select brew.

Again, I'm guessing.


DoctorTrombone (original poster)

#7: Post by DoctorTrombone (original poster) »

I'm planning on disassembling it to clean and repaint the frame, so I'll be checking all of the connections. If it is a solenoid, I should be able to find it. At present, the only solenoids I'm seeing (aside from the two on the group heads) are both marked "Sirai" and it appears that the one on the left is a pressostat which turns off the power to the heating element when pressure gets high. Not sure what the one on the right is for, but I would think it's related to autofill.

Something that I'm not quite sure about after reading the manual--I have a switch on the left side of the machine. The manual (set up for later models with keypads) shows a "switch" with positions 1 (left) and 2 (right). It also shows a "commutator" with position 1 to the right. However, the instructions for the commutator still refer to the switch needing to be set to position 2. Mine has only one position as far as I can tell, and I twisted the heck out of it trying to find "position 1" but it clearly isn't there. ... ser-Manual

The only other thing that confuses me and is not mentioned in the manual is a small valve beneath the drip tray with a round black knob. It connects to a steam line that goes up to the Sirai solenoid on the right side. I'm not sure what its purpose is, or where it should be set.

Thanks for your response!!