Rocket Classic won't heat after descaling!!

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.
chrissie33

Postby chrissie33 » Jan 09, 2018, 4:15 pm

The machine suddenly does not heat up at all anymore after descaling today. Just the green light is blinking (with a clicking sound) after I switch it on. There is plenty (conductive) water in the reservoir. If I unplug the water sensor, then I just have a blinking green light (with no clicking sound).

The machine is 3 years old, I descaled every 6 months. I am only using very soft water. It was pretty well working until yesterday, but I made 2 observations: after the last descaling the machine wouldn't start nicely anymore - lots of green light blinking and pump and heater switching on and off, until it was finally heating up properly after half an hour. So I removed my timer, and kept it on permanently, and it worked nicely.
The last couple of days the machine suddenly started to sometimes cut off the pump after a couple of seconds. First I thought this was a pressure problem, but it would even do it with no portafilter in the grouphead.

While searching for the error today, I once removed the sensor from the boiler. Since about then the machine doesn't start the pump or heating any more. But when switched on, and I pull the lever, then in 2 (extremely narrow) lever positions, the pump is activated and it is drawing water out f the machine (so the pump is basically working).

Now the machine has been cold for a couple of hours and I just tried again and it does even less now: I just get the green light flashing (no clicking sound anymore), and I am not able to draw any water anymore with the lever.

THANKS FOR ANY HELP!!!

chrissie33

Postby chrissie33 » Jan 10, 2018, 2:02 pm

After much reading on the forums, I tried the 1st thing today: I connected the waterlevelsensor directly to the grounding (on the other side of the waterreservoir), and the machine is still just blinking, and not doing anything else (just sometimes a little clicking sound). This means, even if it definitely gets a signal "the water reservoir is full", it still does not start pump or heater. What could be the reason?

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homeburrero
Team HB

Postby homeburrero » Jan 11, 2018, 1:14 am

One possible reason would be a faulty controller. For example, consider the Giemme controller pictured below:

Image
< Pic above courtesy of farmroast, posted in Giotto Problem >

Note in the circuit diagram that if the controller fails to switch the K1 relay, it will neither pump nor heat, and you get that flashing light.

This pictured controller is just one of many that might be found in a Rocket Giotto Classic, but I believe the other ones that support the flashing low reservoir light would work similarly.

When the reservoir is low, the controller is designed to not switch that relay, so the first thing to try would be grounding the reservoir sensor wire to the controller's reference ground wire, which I think you have already tried. A defective transformer, relay, or capacitive sense circuit inside the controller might cause the failure you're seeing. Unfortunately, controllers are expensive and you don't generally want to replace them until you know they are the culprit. For folks in the US I often suggest sending them to jpboyt (Boyt Enterprises) for diagnosis and repair. You may find someone closer to home that can do that.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

chrissie33

Postby chrissie33 » Jan 11, 2018, 7:27 am

homeburrero, thank you so much for your help!

Could it alternatively be some debris blocking waterflow (resulting from descaling?). I am just worried I destroyed anything through descaling. But the problem (sometimes switching off the pump and blinking green light suddenly occurring while lever engaged, while pulling a shot) occurred pre-descaling too.

At first I had thought I had solved the problem (for 1 day) by adding a bit salt to the water. But then it occurred again and I decided to descale (although we are only using very soft bottled water).

The first 1.5 years we had operated the machine with harder (more calcium) bottled water, and the 1st descaling took place a bit late (after ca. 12 months): suddenly the pressure valve had blocked because of scale, built up a lot of pressure, then popped out with a big bang, shooting out much water and destroying its seal. After I replaced the valve and seal and after descaling, everything worked nicely again. Could that have damaged something else?

An additional observation: the espressi seemed suddenly to be hotter than normal, 2 days before it stopped working at all.
Also, a day prior, I adjusted the pressostat to always be in the green range (before - factory setting - it had always been below).

Many Regards,
Chris

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hankbates

Postby hankbates » Jan 12, 2018, 1:51 pm

chrissie33 wrote:
At first I had thought I had solved the problem (for 1 day) by adding a bit salt to the water. But then it occurred again and I decided to descale (although we are only using very soft bottled water).



Adding table salt (NaCl) is almost always a bad idea, as the materials (copper, stainless, etc.) normally used in our machines can be severely corroded by the presence of chloride ions. Also, if a boiler is only used to provide steam and no water is removed, dissolved salts will gradually concentrate, well beyond safe limits.
If you need to add something to your water for conductivity, potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3) is a much better solution.

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homeburrero
Team HB

Postby homeburrero » Jan 12, 2018, 2:43 pm

chrissie33 wrote:Could it alternatively be some debris blocking waterflow (resulting from descaling?). I am just worried I destroyed anything through descaling. But the problem (sometimes switching off the pump and blinking green light suddenly occurring while lever engaged, while pulling a shot) occurred pre-descaling too

I can't see how scale debris might cause your symptom. Descaling operations might affect a controller if you have spilling or venting of water, especially descale water, getting into the controller. Since yours seemed to be starting to act up before descaling I don't think the two are related.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

chrissie33

Postby chrissie33 » Jan 13, 2018, 6:28 am

hankbates wrote:Adding table salt (NaCl) is almost always a bad idea, as the materials (copper, stainless, etc.) normally used in our machines can be severely corroded by the presence of chloride ions. Also, if a boiler is only used to provide steam and no water is removed, dissolved salts will gradually concentrate, well beyond safe limits.
If you need to add something to your water for conductivity, potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3) is a much better solution.


Thank you. They mention the salt "trick" in some places in the web. Now I have seen the perfect solution is the small filter bag you can throw into your tank and it lasts for a year. Filters the water, adds minerals for waterlevelsensing, and no descaling needed anymore ever.

chrissie33

Postby chrissie33 » Jan 13, 2018, 6:31 am

homeburrero wrote:I can't see how scale debris might cause your symptom. Descaling operations might affect a controller if you have spilling or venting of water, especially descale water, getting into the controller. Since yours seemed to be starting to act up before descaling I don't think the two are related.


I thought that maybe water is blocked somewhere through scale debris, the controller senses this somewhere, and then flashes the green light.
Or scale debris blocks a sensor, then causes the controller to activate the green light blinking.

chrissie33

Postby chrissie33 » Feb 27, 2018, 5:05 pm

Thank you all again - it was indeed the controller!

Changed the box, switched on the machine and it heats up like it should again. And it does it much more silent than before now.

How on earth can a controller break?? (in a 3 year old machine).

chrissie33

Postby chrissie33 » Feb 27, 2018, 5:31 pm

I always had my machine on a timer, switching it off during the night - is this something that could have caused it?