Thrifted Francis Francis X1 Pops GFI, Dried Leak Around Pump - Page 3

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.
bobpony (original poster)

#21: Post by bobpony (original poster) »

homeburrero wrote:Looks like it's leaking where the plastic de-aeration valve (aka priming valve*) is threaded onto the plastic EP5 pump end. It may need tightening, or it may have been over tightened, damaging it, or may have a bad o-ring. Yours is a nylon threaded valve on a nylon threaded pump-end with a little #010 o-ring seal. A new o-ring or perhaps some teflon tape might fix it. Worst case would be a new pump and valve.

See the description of that valve here:
Pump? OPV? Check Valves? Wit's end!
and also
Small leak from output end of Ulka pump

Edit addition: AKA air bleeder valve: ... ve-plastic
Thanks! Very helpful, appreciate the links. I've been drinking from a firehose learning about this machine the past 48 hours, so the assist on where to look is wonderful. :)

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bobpony (original poster)

#22: Post by bobpony (original poster) »

Ok, got into the boiler.

It's not as bad inside as I expected it to be. Some scale, but not the huge amounts dramatically shown in some of the Youtube videos I've seen:

But there is one very suspicious spot, where the coils appeared to be very close to or maybe even touching the brass housing. You'll see the scale deposit point on both in this shot:

So, I'm off to investigate the best ways to clean this scaling up. I think I've read CLR will do the trick. But we also have descaling tabs from our Jura machine, maybe those would work fine. More websites, thread, and videos to peruse. Lol. :)


#23: Post by brianinoc »

Citrus acid is recommended. The Walmart around me sometimes carries it in their canning supplies section. Otherwise, you can buy from amazon.

bobpony (original poster)

#24: Post by bobpony (original poster) »

Here's what that spot looks like after some vinegar:

bobpony (original poster)

#25: Post by bobpony (original poster) »

Well, looks like the heating coil is bad.

I baked it in the oven overnight at 400 F, let it cool down, and reassembled the machine. Checked the resistance between each lug of the coil and ground and got infinity, looking good.

Plugged the machine in, no GFI pop. Excellent.

Ran the machine for a bit and let the pump prime the boiler. That took maybe ten or twenty seconds, just a little while. Then water started coming out of the group head! Fantastic!

Five seconds later the GFI popped. So there must be a tiny hole somewhere in that coil, eh?

On the bright side I fixed the leak at the back of the pump (it took quite a bit of plumber's tape). And I know that the circuit to heat the boiler works (that brass boiler casing got hot). And the thermometer on the front of the machine works. And the pump circuit works fine. So a lot of good came out of this morning's work.

The replacement heating element arrives Thursday. Can't wait. Now that I know I can tear this thing down and rebuild it without destroying it I'm really looking forward to getting it up and running. :)

bobpony (original poster)

#26: Post by bobpony (original poster) »

Oh yeah, I pulled the steam wand out and soaked that overnight in some of the milk protein removing stuff we have for our Jura. It worked perfectly, the steam wand looks brand new. It was covered with brown gunk before (inside and out).

bobpony (original poster)

#27: Post by bobpony (original poster) »

Just added an insulated handle to the steam wand. We had a mini spatula in one of the kitchen drawers, we never use mini spatulas. So I cut it in half and the hole where the wooden handle went in was the perfect size for the steam wand. And it was red too. :)

I'd also considered using that rubber molding putty called Sugru. It comes in red. But the spatula was faster and can be removed easily.

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bobpony (original poster)

#28: Post by bobpony (original poster) »

Parts from Cerini arrived today. I got the new element installed and replaced all of the gaskets.

Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL battle station! :)

It's working great!

The replacement coil from Cerini was definitely different than the original - the coil is taller and not as wide:

(new coil on the bottom & right)

So it's different, but it did fit and seems to work just fine.

I did order some thermal paste from Amazon and used that to refill the hole for the temp sensor, a lot of the original paste was lost during the various tear downs I'd done on the machine.

So this espresso machine has a second life! It's going to live with our daughter, she's been wanting a machine for her place. This one doesn't take up much space and should work out well for her. And it looks really really cool.

Thanks again for all of the suggestions and support guys! It helped a great deal, much appreciated! And now I know *much* more about how these machines work than I ever thought I would, so that's a bonus too. :D


#29: Post by Espresso_Junky »

The FF line of machines are often viewed as a form over function type of thing. Seems the very first run was a bit on the pathetic side with an aluminum boiler/underpowered element. I've owned the X5 and still have the X1 3rd Gen as a backup for my Silvia. Actually scored the X1 3rd Gen for $40 as the lame pod portafilter was trashed. Since my X5 started leaking around the element electrodes I used the bottom boiler half/portafilter/basket which is setup for ground coffee and swapped it with the 3rd Gen lower boiler half, which was pod only. Worked out nicely and for just $40 is a nice backup option. I think the build quality of the machines is quite good. Thick boilers, solid plumbing/wiring, etc. The only thing I don't like about them is the tiny shower screen/dispersion area as many of the machines are setup for ground and/or pod use. I still got both machines dialed in quite nicely over time. Didn't steam often, but the steam is quite anemic for sure.

The X1 3rd Gen sorta stands out as it has a few nice options like auto boiler refill and a factory preset PID type design. I think it can be adjusted via a potentiometer on the circuit board, but I never bothered with it as it was always pretty consistent/good temperature.

bobpony (original poster)

#30: Post by bobpony (original poster) »

All good info, thanks!

Yep, I know this isn't the best machine out there. I'm just finding a bit of delight in resuscitating it and giving it a new life, it was a nice little project. It feels good to fix something that somebody else tossed away and then put it back into regular use. :)