Steam Pressure on ECM Synchronika

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.
texascoffee22

#1: Post by texascoffee22 »

Hi all,
I've had my machine for about 5 months now and in the past month I've been seeing the pressure drop on my steam wand. It starts out at 1.6 and then it will all of a sudden drop after about half way through steaming. I believe the light goes out as well, and then it builds back up pressure.

The main issues is that it doesn't happen every time, (maybe 1 out of 3), so I can't really trace it to anything with my limited knowledge, and my email from WLL wasn't really helpful. I only used bottled water, but have considered some type of buildup, but don't know. We make 4-5 espresso's per day, and I clean the machine once it hits the shot counter. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

-James
ECM Synchronika w/ Flow Ctrl
Ceado E37S
Bravo Distr/Tamper
Ceado E6P (Decaf)

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slipchuck

#2: Post by slipchuck »

Try to video it



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JRising

#3: Post by JRising »

Whether or not water has been in a bottle doesn't have much effect on the machine. It's the dissolved minerals in the water that can be a problem.
For a quick and easy look at what the inside of the boiler is dealing with, disconnect your boiler fill probe, remove it from the boiler(By the large fitting, don't drag it and all those minerals up through the insulating sleeve) and inspect it.
An overfilled boiler has a much smaller "steam pocket", less volume of steam means steam runs out sooner. More volume of liquid to heat means machine is replacing that steam more slowly.
If it's growing a mineral layer, clean it, consider descaling at least that circuit of the machine and consider using better water.

If it isn't an overfilled boiler issue, tell us more. You say "half-way through steaming", is that 3 seconds of steaming or 3 minutes?

Auctor
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#4: Post by Auctor »

(These comments will sound super obvious - I'm just trying to clarify the situation and understand what you see. I also have a Sync, and when I first purchased the machine, I experienced some similar, but not same, issues due to my water content.)

Usually when I see a sudden drop in pressure, it's because the steam boiler is refilling. Do you hear the pump running around the same time?

The light going off usually occurs when the tank runs out of water. Are you plumbed in, or running the tank? If tank, Is the tank full (or close to full)?

I've had some issues in the past due to my water. This could be a couple of things: 1) The water itself is high in minerals, OR 2) You've never flushed out your steam boiler, so it's accumulating minerals. Have you ever checked the TDS of the water in your steam boiler to see if it's running high? Have you checked the mineral content of your water to see if it's high in Calcium?

On preview - and what JRising said.

Nunas
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#5: Post by Nunas »

Yes, video, please. As for scale, your machine is only 5-months old. I'd like to know what water you feed it, as unless your water is unusually hard, a big build-up of scale does not seem the likely cause to me. A few more data points are needed before I'd even hazard a guess. What is your fully-warmed-up service boiler pressure? How much milk do you steam and how long does it take. Are you using the stock 2-hole tip or another? If your water is hard, have you descaled?

texascoffee22 (original poster)

#6: Post by texascoffee22 (original poster) »

Yes, the pump comes on right after the pressure drops. It's not plumbed in and there is plenty of water in the reservoir. I am steaming about 6 oz of milk and it tends to happen either not at all or about 12 seconds on what is normally takes about a 24 seconds give or take. Stock steam tip. Haven't tested the bottled water, but might check that if someone can recommend a reasonable little kit to do so. 264 is the temp before it drops to about 250 when the red light turns off during steaming.

I'm not sure how to flush the steam boiler. I definitely think my issue is somewhere in that component. I tend to keep my machine on for hours at a time, but I haven't traced the occasional times it does work fine to whether that's after 1 hour in or 3 being on.
ECM Synchronika w/ Flow Ctrl
Ceado E37S
Bravo Distr/Tamper
Ceado E6P (Decaf)

threesips
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#7: Post by threesips »

You said you leave your machine on for hours. Once it's all warmed up, does it spit out a little bit of water every now and then from the small round exhaust vent right above the drip tray? It would sound like a popping/hissing sound.

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slybarman

#8: Post by slybarman »

Out of curiosity, do you use water from the hot water wand to warm your cup before pulling a shot?

texascoffee22 (original poster)

#9: Post by texascoffee22 (original poster) »

I do sometimes, and thought that might be related. But I've seen it do it when I haven't used any hot water as well right before steaming. I don't know if I've noticed any hissing after it's been on for a while since it's in the kitchen. Just the initial hissing after about 10 minutes initially as the group heats up.
ECM Synchronika w/ Flow Ctrl
Ceado E37S
Bravo Distr/Tamper
Ceado E6P (Decaf)

Nunas
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#10: Post by Nunas »

I suggest turning the steam up on your PID. There's no limitation up to ~2-bar, and you'll get better steam. I run mine maxed out.