Rocket Appartamento: Limit Switch Tripping Every Few Days

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

#1: Post by mliberty »

Hi Everyone - I have an Appartamento that's about 6-7 years old and it's starting to mildly act up. Starting about a month ago, about once a week, I'd find the machine completely cold and without any pressure. Sure enough, one of the limit switches tripped, so I'd reset it and everything works just fine. I've had this happen once before about a year ago, but after a reset it hadn't happened again so I chalked it up to an one-off thing. Now that it's happening every few days or so, I think it's time to address it.

I reached out to Rocket and they suggested I'd need a new pressure switch and control board at the same time. I am incredibly hesitant to ship it across the country to Seattle where the central repair location is, and unfortunately my local repair shops have either closed or are just focusing on cafe clients. I'm relatively handy so I think I could probably do this myself, but I'm struggling to find detailed information on how to actually do the component replacements.

So two questions 1) Do you think I need to replace the switch AND the control board or maybe just the switch? 2) Does anyone have any links to guides on how to do these component replacements?

Unfortunately I haven't been around when the limit switches went off, so I don't have any details as to what happened at the time. I've never heard any loud hissing, so I don't think it's overpressure, but I can't say for sure.

Any help is appreciated, thanks!

Flair Espresso: handcrafted espresso. cafe-quality shots, anytime, anywhere
Sponsored by Flair Espresso
DaveC

#2: Post by DaveC »

I think you only have to replace a pressurestat, how on earth Rocket can suggest you replace the pressurestat AND control board is beyond me. That would just be wasting money. It's almost certainly the $20 pressurestat.

Replacing the pressurestat is easy, unscrew it, make sure threads are clean, PTFE the thread, screw it in, don't tighten all the way, the PTFE will seal it...10 minute job.

mliberty (original poster)

#3: Post by mliberty (original poster) »

That was my initial reaction too. I'd be shocked if there's something wrong with the control box at this point...

Thanks for the feedback! That for sure sounds like a project I can tackle.

JRising

#4: Post by JRising »

I strongly suggest replacing just the pressostat, first... Much cheaper than than the control board.

Replacing the pressostat is simple, BUT... You want to know how the machine is wired, there's 2 possible ways, and if yours is wired the original way, you'll probably want to convert it to the new way (To protect the expensive powerboard) or upgrade it even further than the new way by adding a relay (to protect the pressostat and the powerboard).

Starting here: Rocket Appartamento not maintaining steam pressure
there are three pages or so where we've gone through this.

There are plenty of other bits written about it, to be found in Google searches about the Appartamento

User avatar
homeburrero
Team HB

#5: Post by homeburrero »

DaveC wrote:how on earth Rocket can suggest you replace the pressurestat AND control board is beyond me.
They suggest that because they know that the Appartamento is typically wired in a way that puts the heavy switching load on a relay in the controller rather than the pressurestat. So if either the pStat or the relay inside the controller fails closed, the machine will overheat, and they have experience with either one being the cause.

The controller is very expensive, so if you don't know which is causing the problem you can replace the pressurestat, and if that doesn't fix it then replace the controller (Or repair the controller by replacing the relay inside.) See [Rocket Appartamento] Pressure/heating problem )
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

DaveC

#6: Post by DaveC » replying to homeburrero »

You're right about the sequence of repairs...

However one logic point, the OP said his limit stat was tripping every few days. Triacs/SSRs whatever, fail either open or closed, jury is out over which is more common for me, but it doesn't matter...they either fail (open/closed), or they work. There is no in-between. Based purely on the OP comments, the pressurestat should be the fault component and replaced before anything else. Hence my surprise about the retailer suggesting both, assuming they were given the same information as us.

JRising

#7: Post by JRising »

DaveC wrote: Triacs/SSRs whatever, fail either open or closed, jury is out over which is more common for me, but it doesn't matter...they either fail (open/closed), or they work.
It's neither a Triac nor an SSR. It's very often the Omron G2RL mechanical relay on the powerboard, Rated at 100k cycles, cycling twice/minute 6 hours a day, 30 days a month brings its little burnt contacts to their expected life span in about 5 months. When they're nice and cool, they might work a bit, but they're so carbon coated that they don't make good contact and they heat up like filiment, sometimes welding closed, which is when you get the boiler over-heat that trips the safety thermostat.

Decent Espresso: espresso equipment for serious baristas
Sponsored by Decent Espresso
User avatar
homeburrero
Team HB

#8: Post by homeburrero »

JRising wrote:It's neither a Triac nor an SSR. It's very often the Omron G2RL mechanical relay on the powerboard, Rated at 100k cycles, cycling twice/minute 6 hours a day, 30 days a month brings its little burnt contacts to their expected life span in about 5 months.
+1

My experience with this wiring scheme on a Gicar has been better than that, but still not good, resulting in my kludging in a separate mechanical relay to handle switching the element current. That solution was first recommended to me by Pat Boyt (HB member jpboyt, of Boyt Enterprises, who repaired my controller.) In my case it was always an intermittent failure to close, which makes sense. But we have seen Appartamento owners who reported intermittent overheating issues that were not fixed with a pStat replacement and needed a new controller.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

DaveC

#9: Post by DaveC »

I stand corrected....that's a bit shocking considering the power handling of a MATER- XP110 pressurestat is probably much higher than any small mechanical relay in the limited space of an autofill box. I've seen some boxes with relays on them, and they are small. The early Izzos, Isomacs and many other machines used to switch directly of the MA-ER pressurestat relays, eventually they would become unreliable, but it usually took many years and mostly the pressurestat went bad first. I would have thought the Apparmento would have deserved the love of a decent relay or SSR. I had good reasons for refusing to review Rocket machines and it seems for more reasons than I realised. The one and only Rocket I reviewed was the R58 back in the day...wouldn't do any more after that.

Obviously in the US the strain on the relay would be higher, the MA-TER were rated to 16 amps and there were even 21 amp versions. Looks like rocket "spoiled the ship for a hapeth o tar". An autofill box, presumably pro-elind is a lot more expensive than a pressure stat connected to a good relay/ssr for power handling, a small extra cost at manufacture.

JRising

#10: Post by JRising »

DaveC wrote:I stand corrected....that's a bit shocking considering the power handling of a MATER- XP110 pressurestat is probably much higher than any small mechanical relay in the limited space of an autofill box.
Yep. It was only the first few generations of the Appartamento. I would assume they went to old Giotto Drawings from some time around 2006 and 2007 when ECM changing up the wiring of the Giotto to try to get more life out of the pressostats. They had some fun results, but eliminated that wiring type in time. When Rocket began building the Appartamento, I don't know why they would have gone to that wiring plan, but they did.
I emailed Rocket back then, probably around 2009 and asked if it was okay to rewire them so as to avoid burning out powerboards and they said it was a good idea. They switched away from that wiring plan and began wiring the load through the P-Stat fairly quickly (Probably before I had, though I hadn't seen them yet) and changed to that white ceramic P-Stat at about the same time.

The electrical component problems we see in North America, running these things at 14 amps as common issues that make the powerboards fail before a warranty is over aren't so obvious to Europeans who watch them do just fine at 7 amps.
★ Helpful