[Rocket Appartamento] Pressure/heating problem

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

Postby musica » Jun 19, 2019, 11:36 am

Hello guys,

My 6-month old Appartamento has just started behaving strangely and I need your help pinpointing the problem.

I got up this morning to find it already on as usual but almost cold, and the pressure reading 0. My initial thought was that the heating element was dead, but anyway I switched it off and on again, and to my surprise it started heating up until it reached the usual 1.2 bar. But the pressure seems to fluctuate and have a hard time stabilizing. When I pull a shot (a bit watery), it drops to 0.7-0.8 and a couple of times, the heating element kicked in just for a few seconds and stopped before the pressure could reach 1.2 again. If I open the steam valve, the pressure also drops significantly.

That's all I can say for the moment and the machine is still usable, but I don't know how long it will stay that way. Has anybody had any similar problems? Could it be scale-related? A faulty pressure stat?

PS: I tried resetting the thermoswitches as described here by homeburrero but I don't think anything's changed. Maybe I didn't do it right: are they buttons supposed to click or produce any noise at all when you press them? Mine didn't.

musica

Postby musica » Jun 20, 2019, 8:02 am

Anybody want to weigh in on this?

nicholasnumbers

Postby nicholasnumbers » Jun 20, 2019, 9:49 am

All classic symptoms of a faulty pressurestat.

Since it sounds like it's intermittently working, you may have a clog that's preventing it from expanding and contracting properly. I'd pull the pressurestat and pstat pipe off and inspect for scale. Clean out the pipe and adjust the pstat all the way down and all the way up to try and dislodge anything that may be blocking the balloon from traveling easily. See if this gets you back up and running.

From there I would replace the pressurestat itself, and if that didn't work I'd move to an issue with the pressurestat circuit in the controller.

Nick

musica

Postby musica » Jun 20, 2019, 10:58 am

nicholasnumbers wrote:I'd pull the pressurestat and pstat pipe off and inspect for scale. Clean out the pipe and adjust the pstat all the way down and all the way up to try and dislodge anything that may be blocking the balloon from traveling easily. See if this gets you back up and running.

Nick

Never done this before. Can you just pull it out or do you have to unscrew the whole thing?

PS: For the record it looks like this.

nicholasnumbers

Postby nicholasnumbers » replying to musica » Jun 20, 2019, 11:41 am

You have to unscrew the fitting beneath it. The pipes are easily bent; so I would take the entire pressuretsat pipe off from the main connection before the spirals.

Then while on a bench wrap a towel around the body of the pressurestat and use pliers to hold it while using a wrench to unscrew the fitting at the bottom. Inspect everything for scale, and if you see evidence of that soak the pipe in water and cafiza or another cleaning solution to clean it up.

Make sure you label the wires going to the pstat so you know how to put them back on.

Nick

musica

Postby musica » Jun 20, 2019, 12:22 pm

That thing is so tight and the space so cramped that I only managed to unscrew the pstat. How do you think it looks?

Image
Image

There's a little bit of scale but it doesn't seem dramatic to me. Am I wrong?

JRising

Postby JRising » Jun 20, 2019, 5:01 pm

You are correct. It is a rather clean looking specimen. I don't believe that calcium is the culprit. If you still suspect the P-Stat, it may be carbon on the switch contacts (The little microswitch on the side)... But I am not suspecting the P-Stat.
I am suspecting the relay on your Gicar powerboard.
Next time it is failing to heat, instead of turning it off and on, just give the machine a thump.
If this gets it working again, then it's proving to be a bad switch or relay. Next step is to wait for it to stop heating a gain.
Then you can lightly tap the Gicar with the plastic end of ascrewdriver, and lightly tap the pressostat with the plastic end of a screwdriver and see which tap starts the machine heating again.

musica

Postby musica » Jun 20, 2019, 5:17 pm

JRising wrote:You are correct. It is a rather clean looking specimen. I don't believe that calcium is the culprit. If you still suspect the P-Stat, it may be carbon on the switch contacts (The little microswitch on the side)... But I am not suspecting the P-Stat.
I am suspecting the relay on your Gicar powerboard.
Next time it is failing to heat, instead of turning it off and on, just give the machine a thump.
If this gets it working again, then it's proving to be a bad switch or relay. Next step is to wait for it to stop heating a gain.
Then you can lightly tap the Gicar with the plastic end of ascrewdriver, and lightly tap the pressostat with the plastic end of a screwdriver and see which tap starts the machine heating again.

Actually that was the first thing I did (give it a thump), quite instinctively, but I don't remember it making any difference. Anyway, I've now switched off the machine entirely. An important detail I forgot to mention is that yesterday evening, and again earlier today just before I decided to take it apart, the pressure reached 2 bar or more (can't remember) and the steam valve started screaming. All that would lead me to believe there IS something wrong with the pressurestat... But I'm something of a novice here, so please let me know what you think.

User avatar
homeburrero
Team HB

Postby homeburrero » Jun 20, 2019, 6:31 pm

musica wrote:An important detail I forgot to mention is that yesterday evening, and again earlier today just before I decided to take it apart, the pressure reached 2 bar or more (can't remember) and the steam valve started screaming. All that would lead me to believe there IS something wrong with the pressurestat... But I'm something of a novice here, so please let me know what you think.


Probably so if the pressurestat is directly switching the element. But I think that's not always the case on the Appartamento model. Can you tell us where the two wires that attach to your pressurestat go? If they both go directly to the controller then you have a scheme where the relay inside the controller does the actual element switching based on the continuity it sees from the pressurestat. In that case you may be looking at either possibility, i.e. a defective controller or a defective pressurestat.

If, however, only one wire from your pressurestat goes to the controller and the other goes to a safety thermoswitch and from there to the element, then your symptom of sometimes going up to 2 bar would be a clear indication of a defective pressurestat.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

musica

Postby musica » Jun 20, 2019, 6:36 pm

homeburrero wrote:Probably so if the pressurestat is directly switching the element. But I think that's not always the case on the Appartamento model. Can you tell us where the two wires that attach to your pressurestat go? If they both go directly to the controller then you have a scheme where the relay inside the controller does the actual element switching based on the continuity it sees from the pressurestat. In that case you may be looking at either possibility, i.e. a defective controller or a defective pressurestat.

Both cables are connected to the control box :|