Resolved: Anita boiler and steam troubles - Page 2

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

#11: Post by quar »

CambodianBeast wrote:One more issue... *sigh* it seems this ordeal will never end.

With Anita now fully heated (1.15 bar), the autofill mechanism seems to be triggering (literally) every 5 seconds for a short ~1 second burst. This pattern began shortly after flushing the last of the descaling solution through the heat exchanger.

Any ideas?

Did you happen to flex the autofill probe's teflon sleeve when you removed it? Speaking from personal experience, its really easy to crack the teflon tube surrounding the probe. When that happens, the probe can (will) come into contact with the boiler, especially at temperature. I know on my Anita, it's practically impossible to remove the probe without bending the teflon sleeve to clear the top of the frame. I found (working with CC service) that flexing this tube even this much can lead to a crack. I've since removed this fitting as a unit and had no further problems.

Mike

CambodianBeast (original poster)

#12: Post by CambodianBeast (original poster) »

quar wrote:Did you happen to flex the autofill probe's teflon sleeve when you removed it? Speaking from personal experience, its really easy to crack the teflon tube surrounding the probe. When that happens, the probe can (will) come into contact with the boiler, especially at temperature. I know on my Anita, it's practically impossible to remove the probe without bending the teflon sleeve to clear the top of the frame. I found (working with CC service) that flexing this tube even this much can lead to a crack. I've since removed this fitting as a unit and had no further problems.

Mike

Hi Mike,

The teflon sleeve stayed in place when I pulled the probe out, but what you describe may very well be what happened. I guess a call to Chris Coffee for a new probe is in order.

quar

#13: Post by quar »

Hmm...Now that I think about it more...Shorting to the boiler would cause the autofill to not run. That's what I get for posting with very little sleep. However, it could be low on water and wanting to fill for a while but intermittenly shorting, causing the pulsing, instead of a longer fill cycle. A call to CC service would still be advised.

Mike

CambodianBeast (original poster)

#14: Post by CambodianBeast (original poster) »

Thanks. I'll call CC for further advice.

As far as the vacuum breaker valve, it is working correctly, although the amount of water it initially lets out as the machine reaches boiling temp is a little more than the reservoir around it can handle (so perhaps it's not working so well after all).

Since I have little time and few tools to work with, I'm contemplating sending her in to CC for a non-warranty tune-up. Anyone know how much CC charges for minor repairs?

quar

#15: Post by quar »

When my vacuum breaker valve was acting up, I had a considerable amount of water being ejected as well. After replacing the valve during a minor overhaul last year, I still get some water ejected, but the value seals much quicker, resulting in less water to boil off and don't flood anymore. Looking a your pics, you seem to have fairly hard water, as did I. I'm wondering that if even after you cleaned the breaker, there still wasn't a smooth mating surface. Pretty sure that was what my problem was. The pulsing autofill is a weird one though.

Don't get discouraged....Sometimes these repairs come in a chain. Preventative maintenance last December lead to a new vac breaker, pressurestat, and boiler gauge.

Mike

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erics
Supporter ★

#16: Post by erics »

Thus far, taking into consideration what you have said, I would say your water level is way too high - i.e. "out of control" high. The small "catch can" surrounding the vacuum breaker should NOT even come close to filling up - a few spurts of steam/water and that's it.

After you are done with Anita for the day, UNPLUG her and let her cool down somewhat. Now remove the steam pipe from the boiler and stick a 1/8" wooden dowel straight into the boiler all the way to the bottom. Anita's boiler water level should be ABOUT 5" from the bottom. I'll wager yours is more like 7".

I would syphon off some water and start all over and hope the problem does not repeat (extremely high water level) or, if it does repeat, at least the real problem might be easier to identify. Certainly if you call or email CC, refer them to this thread.
Skål,

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

CambodianBeast (original poster)

#17: Post by CambodianBeast (original poster) »

quar wrote: Looking a your pics, you seem to have fairly hard water, as did I.
My water situation went from bad to worse - I had hard water in Chicago; now I'm in Atlanta (2 months now) and the water is so bad I have now resorted to bottled purified water (not spring) for drinking and brewing.
erics wrote:Thus far, taking into consideration what you have said, I would say your water level is way too high - i.e. "out of control" high. The small "catch can" surrounding the vacuum breaker should NOT even come close to filling up - a few spurts of steam/water and that's it.

After you are done with Anita for the day, UNPLUG her and let her cool down somewhat. Now remove the steam pipe from the boiler and stick a 1/8" wooden dowel straight into the boiler all the way to the bottom. Anita's boiler water level should be ABOUT 5" from the bottom. I'll wager yours is more like 7".
I will do this tonight. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that an overfilled boiler is the cause of my troubles, and that it won't reoccur.

I'm thinking back and wondering if I could have caused the boiler to overfill in any way when running the descaling the solution through...

Thanks for all the advice so far. I'll post an update tonight.

CambodianBeast (original poster)

#18: Post by CambodianBeast (original poster) »

A few observations from this evening:

With the machine totally cool I removed the steam pipe, but as far as I was able to tell the level was right around the 5" (from the bottom) you mentioned. I certainly didn't measure 7" of water.

Now for the makeshift experiment:
I reconnected the steam pipe and turned it on - there was the usual excessive amount of water from the vacuum breaker valve, although I was able to quickly mop it up with paper towels and prevent an overflow.

Then I let it reach steady temp (252 F by PID), and opened up the steam valve. The result was a good amount of steam with a steady and significant trickle of liquid water (observed best with the steam tip off).

If the problem was indeed in boiler water level, then bleeding a little water from the bottom of the boiler (via hot water tap) should clear up the steam, right? That's exactly what happened - with the hot water tap open to a trickle, the steam eventually cleared up to what I consider normal.

Occasionally, the autofill mechanism would activate, and a second or 2 later there would be more liquid in my steam. I tried to be fairly objective about this observation, and indeed that seems to be the case.

Based on these observations, should I try to lower the boiler level probe a little by giving the top nut a few more turns? Should I look into getting a slightly longer replacement? Maybe lift the two left legs of the machine a couple millimeters?

On a perhaps related note... is it normal for the "return" silicone tube (not the "uptake" with the plastic filter at the end) to occasionally return hot water? Would water from the boiler ever make its way back into the reservoir?

Thanks again for all the suggestions.

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HB
Admin

#19: Post by HB »

CambodianBeast wrote:On a perhaps related note... is it normal for the "return" silicone tube (not the "uptake" with the plastic filter at the end) to occasionally return hot water? Would water from the boiler ever make its way back into the reservoir?
Yes, it's normal for the Quickmill espresso machines:


Diagram courtesy of erics from Can anyone explain preinfusion on the E61?

As you can see in Eric's diagram, the over-pressure valve is mounted on the hot side of the heat exchanger. I'm not aware of another prosumer HX espresso machine with similarly located OPV, but there you go.
Dan Kehn

quar

#20: Post by quar »

Speaking from personal experience with hard water, I think that you have a scale problem.

I see that you've descaled with Cleancaf. I don't think that Cleancaf is going to cut it, based on the amount of scale visible on top of your boiler. You need to look into getting some citric acid powder and descale with that. The water level baffles me...I have a crazy idea that you have so much scale built up that it's effectively raised your water level, but that would be a heck of a lot of scale.

How often do you descale and what procedure do you follow?