Thrifted Francis Francis X1 Pops GFI, Dried Leak Around Pump

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

Postby bobpony » Apr 12, 2019, 7:02 pm

Hi all, brand new here. I just picked up a used Francis Francis X1 in a thrift store for twenty bucks. It's in beautiful condition, but it pops GFI as soon as it's plugged in (regardless of on/off switch position).

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I opened it up and found a dried up leak around the pump and one corner of the boiler housing. It looks like the connection coming out of the pump is the source of the leak, there's dried calcium around the join of those plastic tubes.

I thought the problem would be the heating element, everything I've read says that's the likely cause of blown GFI. But measuring resistance across the two heating connectors I get 13 ohms, and everything I've found says ~15 is normal. So that actually seemed ok. But if I leave the boiler disconnected I can plug the machine in and the GFI doesn't blow. Reconnect the wires to the boiler and the GFI pops. Here are some photos:

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I also noticed a little bit of corrosion around that brass nut in the center of the boiler housing:

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Any idea on next steps? Or tricks on cleaning up that corroded, dried up leaky area? I opened this up before ordering a new heating element because I expected to see zero ohms across those boiler lugs, but now I'm questioning whether that's the problem. But the system only pops GFI with the boiler connected. I also checked from each heater lug to ground, and get ~1.5M for each.

Oh, and if there's a good place to order replacement heating elements for these things, do let me know. Thank you guys!

Bob

ira

Postby ira » Apr 12, 2019, 8:45 pm

You can try this: Fill the boiler and set the machine is a corner for a few hours plugged into a non GFI outlet. Sometimes that will bake the moisture out of the element and solve the problem. Also, clean the heater insulators as well as you can first. And lastly, fix the leaks, there are at least two I can see.

Ira

brianinoc

Postby brianinoc » Apr 12, 2019, 8:48 pm

Disconnect the boiler element on both sides. If it doesn't pop the GFI, you need a new one. Measuring from one terminal to the other of the boiler element doesn't tell you anything about whether the element is good. You should measure from a terminal to the boiler case and should see something pretty close to infinity ohms.

Brian

bobpony

Postby bobpony » replying to brianinoc » Apr 12, 2019, 9:20 pm

Very useful, thx. I had done exactly that (disconnecting the boiler on both sides) and the GFI didn't pop. Measuring from one side of the boiler to the case (or the boiler case) gives ~1.6 meg. Since that's not near infinity I guess it's bad! Oh well.

Any sources for replacement heater coils that you guys recommend? And I see there's a gasket between the two halves of the boiler, would I likely need to replace that too? The small seals at the ends of the heating element look good, not sure if I'll need to replace those either. Appreciate the help.

bobpony

Postby bobpony » Apr 12, 2019, 9:23 pm

ira wrote:You can try this: Fill the boiler and set the machine is a corner for a few hours plugged into a non GFI outlet. Sometimes that will bake the moisture out of the element and solve the problem. Also, clean the heater insulators as well as you can first. And lastly, fix the leaks, there are at least two I can see.

Ira


Thanks Ira. I'd tried the machine on a different circuit (non gfi), and it popped the breaker. I don't think I can run it at all with the boiler wired up.

Which two leaks do you see? I know of the one downstream of the pump. Any tips on stopping that leak? Is it as simple as pulling the tubing apart, cleaning it, and pushing it back together? Is there any sealant for this sort of a fix?

Is that bit of corrosion at the top nut of the boiler cover a second leak? Or did you see something else?

ira

Postby ira » Apr 12, 2019, 9:40 pm

bobpony wrote:Is that bit of corrosion at the top nut of the boiler cover a second leak?

That's the one I saw.

Ira

ira

Postby ira » Apr 12, 2019, 9:45 pm

Also, on the control board, check the big transistor's thermal connection to it's heatsink. On the one I fixed, the thermal connection was bad and it overheated. The way the heatsink was bent it was impossible for the transistor to make proper contact. Should last forever if you make sure it sits flat with some thermal compound to help the connection.

Ira

brianinoc

Postby brianinoc » Apr 12, 2019, 10:13 pm

I think I bought a gasket and heating element for a X1 at Cerini Coffee.

It is weird that it flips a non-GFCI circuit. I would not have expected that. Are you certain the breaker itself isn't GFCI?

Brian

bobpony

Postby bobpony » Apr 12, 2019, 10:53 pm

Brian, you're a smart man. I just checked, the circuit breaker that popped is indeed also GFCI.

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AssafL

Postby AssafL » Apr 13, 2019, 1:46 am

You can try disconnecting the protective earthing (don't touch the machine - keep it out of peoples way) to try to drive moisture out of the insulation.

It is dangerous to do so because anyone touching the machine may get zapped. .

If it is just humidity wicked up the element it should work. If it is a hole in the element it won't.

BTW - measuring heater to earth really needs an insulation meter. Typically set to 250 or 500v. A regular ohmmeter has a low voltage that doesn't always register water.
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