Newbie broke his espresso machine, no water from group

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

#1: Post by DigitalDave »

After extensive research, I purchased an unused LaSpaziale (Marenga?) single group HX machine. Got it from an auction house, definitely unused, but unknown how old it is. Got everything plumber & connected, turned it on & waited. Steam worked, hot water came out w/steam, drips from group head. Tried this a few times, less water from group head. Found out about "priming", did not work. At this point, no water from the water tap, nothing from group head.
So... Maybe the pump? I pulled it apart, the motor spins freely by hand, when energized spins. The pump had quite a bit of friction to turn by hand. Put citric solution in pump, rinsed, etc. Turns with less friction, but still takes a minor amount of effort. Re-assembled, hung the pump output line to a drain, water comes out an nominal inlet pressure. Started the machine, activated the pump, water volume is the same. The pump looks like the Procon, but has no labeling. Should the pump spin freely? If so, it does not.
It appears to me I messed up here. (Ahh, the older I get...) Did I fry the pump? I think maybe I did, I am open to suggestions on my next course of action. My head says:
Option 1) Send the pump to Edco for an exchange (& hope that is all that's wrong)
Option 2) Take the machine to Europa (in OC, CA) & have them go over it and repair it (unless anyone knows of a repair shop between Barstow & LA that they can recommend)
Option 3) Admit defeat and ask for help....So, here I am!
Thanks
DigitalDave

Weber Workshops: tools for building better coffee
Sponsored by Weber Workshops
mini

#2: Post by mini »

My brief experiences with electric motors would lead me to believe that the pump vanes wouldn't spin freely under normal circumstances. I wouldn't think it was odd that there was moderate resistance, but someone with much more experience will hopefully comment.

My first question would be: are you sure that your machine is designed to run on 120V?
matt

User avatar
DigitalDave (original poster)

#3: Post by DigitalDave (original poster) »

Re:110vac-Definitely The machine is labeled 110, the motor is labeled 110 and the control box is labeled 110
The motor for the pump spins freely and runs when energized. I would think that, if the pump were turning, when I disconnected the pump outlet and activated the pump, the water output would significantly increase, which it does not. There is no change in the water output when the motor is activated, there is, however, a slight, very short, reduction when the pump is deactivated.
DigitalDave

mini

#4: Post by mini »

I can't give you too much advice due to my inexperience with rotary pumps.

It's possible that without any backpressure on the output, you wouldn't notice a difference when activated. Pumps are designed to increase pressure at the grouphead, not velocity or flow rate necessarily. With the portafilter taken off, the pump only results in a moderate trickle from the grouphead. Perhaps scale in the boiler or a solenoid problem is keeping water from getting to the grouphead.

It seems odd that the pump would spin "some" but still be broken if the coil had burned up. But I don't know - best of luck.
matt

wookie

#5: Post by wookie »

Sounds like a pump pressure problem, but for a machine that sat for an extended period of time it could be oh so many things from scale to stuck solenoid valves. Probably the pump has scale or needs to be rebuild. Rotary pumps can be damaged if they are run very long without positive water flow.

It would help a lot to measure the pump pressure. If your portafilter has a threaded spout, you can connect a pressure gauge there. Otherwise you can add a tee (3 way fitting) to the pump line, with the third connection going to a pressure gauge. You can buy a cheap tee and pressure gauge for about $10 - $15 at many hardware stores or online.

.

User avatar
DigitalDave (original poster)

#6: Post by DigitalDave (original poster) »

It's possible that without any backpressure on the output, you wouldn't notice a difference when activated
Me oh my. I think I must of skipped that fluid hydraulics class... Most of my errors are due to thinking I understand something, when in fact, I know little:( If I were to put a pressure gauge on the line, what would I expect to see? Without the unit on, I would expect line pressure, and when activated, then what? How much of an increase? While the portafilter does have a threaded filling, is is slotted, so I would tap into the pump output line with a tee and gauge.
Is there any "simplified" explanation of the workings of the HX machine that include the misc valves and pstat and such?
I am thinking that a trip to the repair facility may be my best, though not least expensive, option.
DigitalDave

User avatar
Randy G.

#7: Post by Randy G. »

I once took apart a portable firefighting pump that seemed to not be working only to find that it needed restriction on the output side to work.. DUH.

If you have water flowing through the pump when it is off, and the motor spins the rotor, then placing your thumb over the end of the output line should reveal an increase in pressure when the pump is running, and it should be fairly substantial. It should easily put out 130 psi depending on how the OPV operates and where it is located in the system. I have no experience with these pumps, but iirc, some have a built-in bypass (spring operated pressure relief valve...?), so if that is the case, it could be stuck open. If not, then the vanes could be bad and the pump needs rebuilding or replacing (the motor sounds good, so just the pump body). And, yes, the internal friction and vane friction should offer some resistance when turned by hand.

You might contact Stefano at http://www.espressocare.com/ for more specific information. He will know.
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
*20th Anniversary 2000-2020*

La Marzocco · Home: customized for espresso aficionados
Sponsored by La Marzocco · Home
oysterhead

#8: Post by oysterhead »

i'm confused...so you run the pump but it appears the water flows exactly the same as the open line under tap pressure? why not disconnect the tap line and try to pump from a bucket of water?

in other words, cant you connect the pump to the motor, but disconnect it from the machine (leave braided hose attached to pump but disconnect from machine and put into a bucket of water) and run the motor to see if it will pump water from a bucket or similar?

wookie

#9: Post by wookie »

DigitalDave wrote:If I were to put a pressure gauge on the line, what would I expect to see?
One approach would be to simply measure the pump pressure and report back. But since you asked, rotary pumps are high flow pumps that will bypass/recirculate water once they reach a certain pressure threshold.

Typical residential water line pressure is around 6 bar. Good practice would have a pressure regulator dropping this to 2 or 3 bar to the machine. The rotary pump should flow about 75ml in 10 seconds with an open group head. And quickly ramp up to about 9bar pressure with restriction i.e. with a blank portafilter or properly tamped coffee puck.

.

User avatar
DigitalDave (original poster)

#10: Post by DigitalDave (original poster) »

Thanks for all the suggestions. I am sending the machine to Glenn at Europa in SoCal. I was hoping that it would simply work when I hooked it up, then I figured I would learn something by "fixing" it, but have found that I have learned nothing and have taken 2 steps back...
DigitalDave