Repair advice for a well loved Breville Dual Boiler machine.

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

#1: Post by johyphenel »

I recently came across a BDB 920 machine (in my kitchen), that has been well used (and abused, by me, since 2015). Lots of hard and minerally water, consistently ignored the buzzing noise when it started (2+ years back), never checked for leaks or replaced any o-rings. Even continued to use the machine for a full year+ it started throwing fits where it would occasionally not produce any pressure at all for a shot, but instead just sit and .5 bar and make sad noises.

That last issue has gotten more regular, so my hand has finally been forced to make a change. Originally I was debating that change to be "getting a new machine", but "Breville Dual Boiler, five+ years on" convinced me to try fixing instead.

I've opened the machine up and taken a look, and it seems like I probably need to do the following, please let me know if you agree / think anything else is needed:

1) Replace solenoid (per awful buzz)
2) Maybe new drain hose from solenoid (per weird orange secretion?)
3) Need to fix the leak in the steam boiler, tho not sure which part it comes from..
4) Probably need to descale baddddllyyy, and then use filtered water (with apparently .1g of potassium carbonate per liter..?)
5) Prey our little guy isn't too traumatized from abuse, and will start working again.

Question and parts list:
- Solenoid: Any suggestions where to buy / which part number it is?
- Solenoid drain hose: Do you think this is worth replacing? Any idea what the orange stuff is?
- Thoughts on the steam boiler leak source? and what parts I should have on hand before I open it up and take all the hoses off?
- What is your favorite descale solution?
- What do you all use for cleaning powder / tablets? Same question for the potassium carbonate some of you add to filtered water? (also, what is the source of this suggestion? I see it referenced but haven't found the original source yet).

Also, from "BDB 5+ years on", "2b"; Does anyone have pictures or what part you need to be removing to get this to work? It didn't seem obvious when I opened up my machine.
Pressure profiling. Easy 10 minute "mod" with a Phillips screwdriver. ... All you do is remove the microswitch from the hot water knob inside the cabinet, and let it dangle or zip tie it out of the way. To profile during a shot, you open the hot water knob and it bleeds pressure away from the boiler in a FULLY linear and unbelievably easy and responsive fashion. ...
Thanks so much for your help!!! Excited to get the parts and start fixing things :D

Edit: my full model number is: BES920XL (Serial starts with "1347", ie. v1)

Pictures & Videos (all videos taken with a blank/blind puck):
No shot pressure, pre-infusion & brew: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCAiLSF-ZeA
Sometimes "working": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdlkBYyVgHU

Evidence of a steam boiler leak:
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Weird hose "wetness":
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Corrosion / soot / general view of the machine state:
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User avatar
BaristaBoy E61

#2: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

This advice might not be too helpful.

What I would do would be to get 2-estimates, one would be the total cost of all the parts you think might need replacing and a second estimate on a complete professional overhaul. Then balance those 2-options, including your time, against a new replacement with say some kind of DB E61 machine.

Maybe your BDB still might have some trade-in value...

YMMV
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

cccpu

#3: Post by cccpu »

Or send it to back Breville who will probably just send you a new one for $350? Someone who's gone through this before should probably weigh in here, but keep with the BDB, there are so many amazing things you can do with one now these days!

Breville Dual Boiler "Slayer shots"?
LMWDP #583

johyphenel

#4: Post by johyphenel »

cccpu wrote:Or send it to back Breville who will probably just send you a new one for $350? Someone who's gone through this before should probably weigh in here, but keep with the BDB, there are so many amazing things you can do with one now these days!
Thanks for your thoughts :)

Is the subtext here that my old machine won't have all the features I would need to do some of the amazing things and fun mods? Or are you just commenting on just how bad my machine looks that it's maybe better to try for a replacement vs doing the fixes?

pcrussell50

#5: Post by pcrussell50 »

johyphenel wrote:I recently came across a BDB 920 machine (in my kitchen), that has been well used (and abused, by me, since 2015). Lots of hard and minerally water, consistently ignored the buzzing noise when it started (2+ years back), never checked for leaks or replaced any o-rings. Even continued to use the machine for a full year+ it started throwing fits where it would occasionally not produce any pressure at all for a shot, but instead just sit and .5 bar and make sad noises.

That last issue has gotten more regular, so my hand has finally been forced to make a change. Originally I was debating that change to be "getting a new machine", but "Breville Dual Boiler, five+ years on" convinced me to try fixing instead.

I've opened the machine up and taken a look, and it seems like I probably need to do the following, please let me know if you agree / think anything else is needed:

1) Replace solenoid (per awful buzz)
2) Maybe new drain hose from solenoid (per weird orange secretion?)
3) Need to fix the leak in the steam boiler, tho not sure which part it comes from..
4) Probably need to descale baddddllyyy, and then use filtered water (with apparently .1g of potassium carbonate per liter..?)
5) Prey our little guy isn't too traumatized from abuse, and will start working again.

Question and parts list:
- Solenoid: Any suggestions where to buy / which part number it is?
- Solenoid drain hose: Do you think this is worth replacing? Any idea what the orange stuff is?
- Thoughts on the steam boiler leak source? and what parts I should have on hand before I open it up and take all the hoses off?
- What is your favorite descale solution?
- What do you all use for cleaning powder / tablets? Same question for the potassium carbonate some of you add to filtered water? (also, what is the source of this suggestion? I see it referenced but haven't found the original source yet).

Also, from "BDB 5+ years on", "2b"; Does anyone have pictures or what part you need to be removing to get this to work? It didn't seem obvious when I opened up my machine.


Thanks so much for your help!!! Excited to get the parts and start fixing things :D

Edit: my full model number is: BES920XL (Serial starts with "1347", ie. v1)
First, I suspect clogs and restrictions from scale damage on a massive eh, scale (pun intended). My first instinct here would be to send it to Breville.

BUT, for the edification of everyone else, I'll go down the list of the issues you present: (apologies for continued references to scale, but it's the killer of many machines not just the BDB. Nobody is exempt from scale damage or chloride corrosion).

1) Replace solenoid (per awful buzz)
Yes. New solenoids are mid $40's USD plus tax and shipping. These will last longer if they are not subjected to scale. You might have some luck disassembling and cleaning off any minerals you can get at. https://www.ereplacementparts.com/solen ... 39484.html

2) Maybe new drain hose from solenoid (per weird orange secretion?)
Personal decision that would be aesthetically driven. It's in a low stress environment. It does not have to handle pressure or great flow. No harm in using it until it actually fails. It vents to waste, so no chance of taste or health consequence. It's ordinary silicone tubing. You can buy it by the foot on EbayZon. Keep the spring and put it in the new tube if you want one.

3) Need to fix the leak in the steam boiler, tho not sure which part it comes from..
It comes from the o-rings under the spring clips holding each PTFE water tube to the boiler. They are cheap to buy and easy to replace. You will want to do all of them. You will need to cut off or work the silicone boots up the tubes so you can get to the spring clips. They appear to be stuck on with a marine grade silicone adhesive. You can get them off and save them with a little work or just cut them off. They are not vitally important. Think tonsils or appendix. It is unlikely that you have leaks from the sensors (the ones with wires and not tubes). Usually those eventually leak form chloride corrosion or from people putting them back carelessly and cutting an o-ring. If you use scale and chloride free water, the sensors will last almost forever without leaking.

4) Probably need to descale baddddllyyy, and then use filtered water (with apparently .1g of potassium carbonate per liter..?)
Yes, but opposite order. If you use good water, you will never have to descale. And don't use filtered water, use distilled, that way you are not reliant on the effectiveness of a filter that will age and fail. And 50-100 mg of potassium bicarbonate per liter of distilled water. You can also use 50-100mg of sodium bicarbonate per liter of distilled water. You will never have scale or corrosion and your machine will have the buffering ions it needs to protect it's metals and for the sensors to operate right. The descaling function is risky in this machine. There is a possibility or burning the thermal fuse on the steam boiler. cheap to buy but hard to replace. Most of the expensive Italian machines don't have descaling functions. Just use good water and never look back. That's what you will be doing anyway if you move on to another machine.

- What do you all use for cleaning powder / tablets? Same question for the potassium carbonate some of you add to filtered water? (also, what is the source of this suggestion? I see it referenced but haven't found the original source yet).

There are two chemicals for maintenance: espresso detergent, and descaling acids. For espresso detergent, (that's the cleaning pills that come with your machine), I use Cafiza. Cheap and Available online anywhere it comes up in a google search including EbayZon. The expensive tablets that come with the BDB are about 2-3grams each. I forget. So when you run the cleaning function, use 2-3g of Cafiza. Same stuff. Much cheaper.

For descaling, I only use vinegar. But I've never descaled a complex espresso machine like the BDB. And have no plans to. I have used it to descale a couple of old La Pavoni lever machines I bought used off eBay, but those are simple machines, and it works great. But after purchase and initial descaling, I also use distilled water with potassium or sodium bicarbonate in them and never have scale in them either. My descale strategy is to avoid it by not needing it.

Your 1347 serial number means your machine was built in 2013 in week number 47. So your build date is late 2013. I had a late 2012 -900 that lasted six years before I sent it in for something small that I gambled they would not want to fix. I won that gamble and they sent me a new machine. But anyway, after six years of using good water, this is what mine looked like just before I sent it back: This is what to expect from good water

Yours could/should look like this too. In the future, whatever your new machine, I'm sure it will. :wink:
BaristaBoy E61 wrote:Then balance those 2-options, including your time, against a new replacement with say some kind of DB E61 machine.
And finally, re ^^^ a couple of weeks ago I had a wakeup call from a poster I was too hard on re how easy it is to fix leaks on the BDB. And I am still sorry for it. So I have modified my stance on recommending the BDB. Nowadays I say that if you are not looking for or needing bleeding edge extraction capability... If you can make espresso you like without long low flow pre infusions, or the need for flow control, you might indeed be happier with some kind of E61. In fact, as a collector of coffee gadgetry, with my hotrod machine needs already met with the BDB, I'm starting warm up to the idea of an HX E61. As with my levers that I also love to play with, I think an HX E61 would be a hoot.

-Peter
LMWDP #553

pcrussell50

#6: Post by pcrussell50 »

So, after all that blabbing by me, here's a quick and dirty triage plan for this case...

1) buy yourself a new solenoid and replace the old one*
2) after you replace the solenoid keep the cover off and warm up the machine. wiggle all the plastic water tubes, you will discover the hissers and leakers, but at least with the cover off, they will not wet down the triac board under the cover.
3) keeping the cover off, with the new solenoid, if you get proper water flow for a decent shot, cross yourself and praise God for the near miss. you still have scale damage though. consider it an analogy with heart disease... it's still alive, but it has scale/partial blockages.
4) if you get this far, even though I consider it risky, you might be able to improve your scale situation if you actually do perform the descale function. at this point, you will want to ask someone besides me, how to do it safely without risking burning the thermal fuse on the steam boiler, as I have never done this. I would use straight vinegar, but I'm not going to get into a religious holy war with other people over it. it's strong, but food-safe.
5) then order up a bag of Aflas o-rings, (see Brendan/bhennessy thread on fixing leaks) and replace the silicone ones that are there.

6) report back what you find. you have let a cat out of the bag by posting, and now people want to know how it resolves. :wink:

*If you send your machine back to Breville, don't forget to put the old solenoid back and keep the new on for yourself

-Peter
LMWDP #553

johyphenel

#7: Post by johyphenel »

It sounds like probably the right thing to do is send it in for repairs and hope for a new one.. but I was kinda getting excited to tinker so I might try the repairs you suggested; in theory, I can always re-break it by putting the old parts back as needed :wink:

Thanks for the link to the solenoid, got one on the way.

For the o-rings, is there something special about Aflas vs whatever-we-have-here-on-prime? Within the #007 ring options is durometer number super important? I've seen 70A, 75A, and 80A options on Amazon.

pcrussell50

#8: Post by pcrussell50 »

Aflas looks to be the most appropriate material for the job. But Breville appears to have used silicone. Brendan used Aflas, but he's just done the job so we don't have actual hard data on the durability of it. Jake used Aflas on his GS/3 too and it had nitrile or Viton, (I forget). Though I have high confidence in Brendan, and even more in Jake, since he and I are friends.

Anyway my (personal) philosophy re o-rings is to fix it as fast as you can, with whatever you can get, then you can take your time pondering material choices. The job is easy enough that you won't feel like you're wasting your life away if you have to do it again.

In any event, I wouldn't bother with doing the o-ring job unless replacing the solenoid gives you the flow and pressure you want. Unless the o-rings are leaking so badly that you think the leaks are the cause of being unable to develop pressure.

Size #007 for the steam boiler o-rings. There are a couple of other sizes for other things, but the #007s are the big dogs that need routine replacement (every couple of years).

-Peter
LMWDP #553

johyphenel

#9: Post by johyphenel »

So far so good! Solenoid came in on Monday, and wow, what a difference! I guess the buzz has kinda crept up on me over the years; it was crazy how much quieter / cleaner the machine sounds without it.

I've been getting full pressure and clean shots since, so I guess the next step is replacing o-rings.. and debating if descaling will make the situation better or worse...

I'll probably try the Slayer mod at some point too, I already played around with removing the hot-water-mode trigger switch, which was pretty easy to find once I started thinking from the mindset of "where must it live".

Before: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCAiLSF-ZeA
After: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHsJ2I0ib2c
First shot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQeUWP13m0I

Image

Hot-water-mode switch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlFX8J9sg2M

pcrussell50

#10: Post by pcrussell50 »

Good to hear, and thanks for following up. People learn from each other's adventures and sharing results is how to spread the overall knowledge in the community.

Most of the advice I've given over the years is just "re tweets" of other people's experiences. Since I've been scrupulous about safe water and yearly looks "under the hood", I have had few issues (changing o-rings and flipping steam seals is the extent of it), most "advice" I've ever given is based on the good and smart work of others.

Anyway, thanks again for sharing.

-Peter
LMWDP #553