Rebuild Kits or Source For Ulka EP5 Pump Parts? - Page 2

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

#11: Post by civ »

Hello:
lsjms wrote: ... bear in mind some folk have machines costing £x000 that still have a vibe pump.
Yes ...
The Olympia Maximatic and Cimbali Junior come to mind.

Cheers,

CIV

texican

#12: Post by texican »

May I ask for which espresso machine you need the repaired pump?

Steve, in Ft. Worth
"Hand me another one of them thar brews..."

ZZ Top song MEXICAN BLACKBIRD

dracon

#13: Post by dracon »

@texican
It's for a Krups XP2010. The pump it uses is an Ulka EP5...although it seems the internal parts of Ulka EX5 may be compatible replacements. The only part that actually needs to be replaced is the silver-colored piston inside the pump. See my original post for details.

User avatar
civ

#14: Post by civ »

Hello:
dracon wrote: I need either a rebuild kit or a source of specific pump parts for the Ulka EP5.
Just to see if parts were available, I wrote CEME, the actual owner of the Ulka manufacturing facility.
The sales person in charge of inquiries (Ms. Laura Santini) replied that they only sell the complete pump and the minimum quantity is 40 units.

Independently of that, I think that the small teflon ball, the mushroom shaped rubber valve as well as the different o'rings the Ulka has do exist somewhere as standard issue in some other device. ie: can be sourced from someone.

Cheers,

CIV

dracon

#15: Post by dracon »

CIV and others...
What do you think about this idea? Asking if home-barista.com would create a new Forum Section specifically for listing machines with compatible replacement parts, and identifying compatible parts. Details below.
civ wrote: Independently of that, I think that the small teflon ball, the mushroom shaped rubber valve as well as the different o'rings the Ulka has do exist somewhere as standard issue in some other device. ie: can be sourced from someone.
That's my thinking as well. I've even given some thought of trying to create some sort of "interchangeable" or "compatible" replacement parts database for various espresso machines.

That would let people either search for new parts from other manufacturers that would work in their different model machine, AND it would let people easily search for used espresso machine models on eBay, Craigslist, etc. they could scavenge for replacement parts on their different model machine.

For example, if someone could supply the data that an Ulka EP5 or EX5 pump is used in espresso machines A, B, C, D, E, F, etc...people would have a greatly enlarged universe from which to find replacement parts. This would be kind of like the comprehensive databases used by automotive parts stores and by modern used auto-parts facilities (aka "junk-yards").

But, such a database requires substantial content and coding maintenance, and a unique place to put it.


As a workable alternative, I could see a specific thread for a given fairly common part, something like this:

Subject: Machines that use the Ulka EP5 (or equivalent) water pump
to which people would simply post the model machine(s) they know uses an Ulka EP5 or EX5 pump, include any other models that contain any compatible pump that could replace an Ulka EP5, and ID compatible pumps. People could include info in their post if there are considerations like slightly different fittings.

But, for a lot of different parts, that might generate a lot of discrete threads and would clutter up a general home-barista.com Forum Section like "Tips & Techniques".

Perhaps something like that would benefit from its own Forum Section? E.G., Instead of "Tips & Techniques" the Section might be labeled "Interchangeable Parts". That would help keep all these threads contained in their own Section.

User avatar
erics
Supporter ◈

#16: Post by erics »

Jack -

Send me an e-mail (erics at erols dot com) with your mailing address and I will, in turn, send you a used (but good) piston for your pump.
Skål,

Eric S.
http://users.rcn.com/erics/
E-mail: erics at rcn dot com

Alan Frew

#17: Post by Alan Frew »

This whole thread seems to me to be a "why the hell would you bother?!!" issue. Vibration pumps are so cheap that even Chinese factories rarely bother with knockoffs; instead they buy them from ULKA. In my experience, by the time an ULKA pump breaks down most of the essential bits are so totally clapped out you just end up binning the whole thing anyway.

The other thing is that internally, they don't rust, at all, ever. If your pump innards are corroded they've either been used for pumping something other than water, perhaps an attempt at aggressive descaling, or they're not made by ULKA. In which case replacing the piston will probably lead to early spring failure or similar problems.

I've recently helped service machines with pumps manufactured in 1983 which are still going strong. So far I've only found 3 states for ULKA pumps:

1) They work.

2) They half-work, pumping but not delivering real pressure, usually due to broken springs or damaged internal components.

3) They don't work, due to scale, blockage, internal damage or coil failure.

Personally, I wouldn't be interested in a vibe pump spares repository/supply because in the end I suspect it would end up costing at least as much as simply installing a new pump.

Alan

User avatar
civ

#18: Post by civ »

Hello A. Frew:

Thanks a lot for chipping in, I appreciate your taking time to do so.
Alan Frew wrote: This whole thread seems to me to be a "why the hell would you bother?!!" issue.
Your interesting articles were my very first immersion into the workings of espresso machines and while I have nothing but the highest regard for your experience and expertise in the matter, I must respectfully say that I'm not too sure that I can concur with your opinion that it's a "why the hell would you bother?!!" issue.

Not wanting to polemise, I have the impression that there are at least two points of view to this matter.
Please humour me for a bit while I ramble on.

One point of view is yours and I can only say that it makes perfect sense.

I see the tipical scenario as being one where a client of yours sends you a vibe pump equipped machine with a problem for you to solve. You check it out and it ends up being the vibe pump that is acting up. Quite understandably, your interest is that the repairs you have been entrusted with be done perfectly, in the shortest possible time and within the the most reasonable price bracket. This would of course include not only the parts to be replaced but also shop time, whatever your company's parts and labour warranty costs you and your company and last but not least, the protection of your well earned reputation, which I would say is one of your most valuable assets.

Viewed from within the scenario described above, your point of view merits attention and is obviously technically and commercially justifiable. Swapping out a problematic pump will cost your client less than having a specialised technician take it out, strip it, see what's wrong, find parts from another one or from a rebuild kit, test it, put it back together, put it back in, test it in place, etc. and go all over it again in the eventuallity that once put together it does not work well or meet your specs.

Besides all this, putting in a new pump means that it will surely not fail under your warranty period, limiting your risk to the extent of your tech staff's experience and expertise, which I am sure is more than ample.

Thus, like I say above, your point of view makes perfect sense.

The other point of view is that of fellow member dracon or even myself. (Yes, I've been there too ...)
I see the tipical scenario now as being one where the owner of a vibe pump equipped machine with a problem (which coincidentally also ends up being a vibe pump that is acting up) cannot, does not want to or for whatever motive (there can be many) will not send it in to a shop for repair.

Being an Ulka pump a simple enough device, having reasonable manual dexterity plus the required tools and the obviously needed DIY drive, he proceeds to dismount the pump and take it apart only to find that a) it is scaled stuck and while cleaning it, incurs in the mistake of not being careful enough (no, there's no such thing as careful enough here) and simply loses one of the small parts inside the pump (that damn little white plastic ball comes to mind), or b) that the mushroom valve has deteriorated, does not seal properly and is in need of replacement.

Viewed from within this second scenario, dracon wanting to get a replacement part (which in the case of the MV or PB probably costs less than $0.05) also merits attention and is certainly justifiable, as from his point of view he cannot see it (neither can I) as something reasonable to throw out a pump that is in perfect shape just because a small part with a negligible price tag has deteriorated and is unobtainable, being the only way out to pay for a brand new pump plus all the associated costs. (sales tax, shipping, etc.)

In my honest opinion, his point of view also makes perfect sense.

That said, I must make it clear that I do not consider an Ulka's piston to be a replaceable part as even though it can be easily replaced, this should never be needed. A coil could/would seem to be a different matter as accidental overheating (in the absence of a klixon) can make a brand new pump fail on very short notice. ie: pumping from an empty tank or anything over the two minutes continuous working time specified by the OEM.

But like you say, by the time a properly operated pump goes south, the rest of innards are most probably shot too.
Alan Frew wrote: ... internally, they don't rust, at all, ever. If your pump innards are corroded they've either been used for pumping something other than water, perhaps an attempt at aggressive descaling or they're not made by ULKA.
I fully agree and believe that it could well be the case.
It could be that dracon's water supply has had at some time an excess of chlorine or the water deposit had at some time an agressive agent of some sort. I have seen diluted chlorine bleach make small pin-holes in very good quality stainless steel cookware.

Please don't ask. =-/
Alan Frew wrote: ... found 3 states for ULKA pumps:
1) They work.
2) They half-work, pumping but not delivering real pressure ...
3) They don't work, due to scale, blockage, internal damage or coil failure.
Indeed ...
I once had the opportunity to go through a box containing a dozen or so non-working E Series Ulka pumps belonging to a fellow that has been renting out Nemox/Napolitana type brewers for events for more than 15 years and because of that, has a large stash of parts stripped from a number of damaged and non-serviceable units. At my request, he kindly allowed me to see if I could find a couple of Ulka pump parts for myself and I can only agree with your findings.

With respect to a parts depository and associated posts, I think that it would be best to just try and catalog the few parts that the Ulka E Series have which are possible candidates for sourcing elsewhere and publish them in a short and concise 'sticky' thread.

By catalog I mean carefully measure the parts to see exactly 'what' they are.

In my opinion these would be (see photo below):

1) the infamous white plastic ball --> made from? size?
2) mushroom valve --> made from? shape? dimensions?
3) 'O' rings inside the pump --> sizes? are they standardised or special?

Image
Original photo by Rod Schiffman

As you can see from the photo, we're talking about just six very small items, all of them easily lost when taking one of these pumps apart: a plastic ball, four 'O' rings of different sizes and a mushroom shaped rubber/silicone plug.

I am deliberately not including the pump's springs as they probably have very strict OEM specs and are specially made. I see this as a possibility but I am probably dead wrong.

In any case, I have an example of sorts to back up my idea.
I found out that the 'O' ring inside the vacuum valve inside my Cimbali Junior D/1 is size 008.
This number (008) is a AS 568A number (I have no idea what AS 568A is) and it relates to a table of standard sizes for 'O' rings.

Looking it up, a 008 'O' ring has:

ID: ----> 3/16"
OD: ----> 5/16"
Width: --> 1/16"

With this 008 number, I was able to source a few silicone 'O' rings (ie: almost eternal) as per Paul Pratt's suggestion at http://www.espresso-restorations.com/va ... akers.html for much less than what the same amount of original Cimbali issue replacement 'O' rings (not silicone, not eternal) would have cost me.

As always, YMMV.

Once again, many thanks to A. Frew for pitching in.

Best regards,

CIV

Edit: added photo, corrections and photo reference.

Alan Frew

#19: Post by Alan Frew »

Heh. Point I was trying to make is that you can buy an ULKA pump for around USD$20.00 wholesale, admittedly only in quantity. I've been offered Chinese-made knockoffs at USD$4.00 each, minimum 1000 units per shipment.

At current exchange rates, my cheapest cost just to ship a part from a recycled dud pump (not to mention the cost of the part itself) would be USD$5.00, only within Australia, and there would be no warranty on either the part or its suitability for use. If you replaced the part you thought was faulty, and it didn't work, tough titty.

Far cheaper in terms of both time and money to simply replace a broken vibe pump with a new one. There are some parts used in espresso machines where releasing your inner geek and refurbing or repairing is worth it. Vibe pumps and safety valves are not among them.

Alan

User avatar
civ

#20: Post by civ »

Hello again:
Alan Frew wrote: Point I was trying to make ...
Your point was taken, of course ...
US$20 is a good price, but there are always a few add-ons to that.
When I've seen a used one listed locally, it has not been for less than US$35/40 ...
Alan Frew wrote: ... knockoffs at USD$4.00 each, minimum 1000 ...
A number to deal with, no doubt.
In my case and if I had to replace one, I'd always go for a genuine Ulka.
Those are the ones that can last up to 18 years.
Alan Frew wrote: ... would be no warranty on either the part or its suitability for use.
Of course.
You'd be on your own, obviously.
Alan Frew wrote: ... and it didn't work, tough titty.
=-D !!!
"... tough titty."
Loved that one. Made my morning.
Thanks.
Alan Frew wrote: Vibe pumps and safety valves are not among them.
Well ...
My inner geek has some common sense.
I would never think of a safety valve as something you refurbish or repair.

Best regards,

CIV