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Date: 14 Nov 2006 00:31:04
From: domino
Subject: Gaggia Coffee has run out of steam..
Hi guys, hope you can offer me some advice!

I have an 18 month old Gaggia Coffee, which I use daily. I use
filtered water (and recently got an ion exchange filter) and I clean
and descale regularly. I always thoroughly clean the steam wand,
because I use that regularly too.

Over the last few days, my steam pressure has been none existant -
although I can pull shots without any problems. I flushed through the
steam wand with water, and there were lots of black bits in the cup -
which unless I'm mistaken is old scale that's been blackened by the
heat of the steam. I've run through a sachet of descaler, and I must
have flushed through about 20 litres of clean water and I'm *still*
getting these black bits coming out, and no steam pressure.

My instinct is to follow some instructions I found on coffeegeek and
pull it all apart and descale manually, but to be honest, it seems
excessive (and a little scary!) I don't want to send it to Gaggia if I
can help it, this is a replacement machine they sent me after I had
problems with my old one - and I doubt there's any kind of warranty
with this one. Plus, if it is scale, it wouldn't be covered by the
warranty anyway.

Any advice you can offer would be much appreciated. I'd rather try
other things before resorting to allan keys and spanners...

Dom





 
Date: 18 Nov 2006 02:24:54
From: domino
Subject: Re: out of steam..
Okay, scrap that. We have a case of Occam's Razor, here...

I still use the panorello steam thing, and there's a centre bit in the
sleeve that had come loose. Who would have thought a couple of mm push
would make that much difference?

Thank you anyway for all your help, it's much appreciated :)

(ps - anyone want a spare steam thermostat? ;) )



 
Date: 18 Nov 2006 01:55:03
From: domino
Subject: Re: out of steam..
UPDATE

Firstly, kudos to Gaggia UK for getting my thermostat to me in only a
couple of days. Unfortunately, it hasn't made any difference to my
steam :(

I tried again this morning, it seems to take ages to get up to the
right temperature, and I get a lot more steam than normal from the
group head. When steaming a test pot of milk, it does this 'put put'
thing, like the steam is only coming out intermittantly. It managed to
heat up about 20ml of milk from cold, but there was very little foam.

Any more ideas? I'm really missing my morning latte!

Dom



 
Date: 17 Nov 2006 05:30:37
From:
Subject: Re: out of steam..
Thanks for the tips and the pointer to the coffeegeek thread,
I hadn't seen that. Glad to hear that the job is not too hard.
I will make sure to order an o-ring before I get started.

John

domino wrote:
> Hi John,
>
> To be honest, it wasn't that hard - just a case of remembering which
> wires go where!
>
> I found instructions on coffeegeek:
> http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/21622 which were
> very helpful. I think I was lucky that my machine isn't that old, so
> the seals were still pretty okay, but it's worth considering replacing
> them if yours is older.
>
> One thing I found really handy was an extender for the 4mm allen key -
> when you take the boiler off the group the hex screws are a little
> awkward to get at. I hand-tightened them after cleaning and didn't
> have any leaks or anything, and I'm female (although it's sexist, guys
> do have a stronger grip for things like this!)
>
> Hope this helps :)



 
Date: 17 Nov 2006 00:13:47
From: domino
Subject: Re: out of steam..
Update! Gaggia are sending me a steam thermostat, cost =A311.99
including postage, so that's a lot better than I thought!

I'll let you know if it works...



 
Date: 16 Nov 2006 08:32:45
From: domino
Subject: Re: out of steam..
Hi John,

To be honest, it wasn't that hard - just a case of remembering which
wires go where!

I found instructions on coffeegeek:
http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/21622 which were
very helpful. I think I was lucky that my machine isn't that old, so
the seals were still pretty okay, but it's worth considering replacing
them if yours is older.

One thing I found really handy was an extender for the 4mm allen key -
when you take the boiler off the group the hex screws are a little
awkward to get at. I hand-tightened them after cleaning and didn't
have any leaks or anything, and I'm female (although it's sexist, guys
do have a stronger grip for things like this!)

Hope this helps :)



 
Date: 15 Nov 2006 14:12:59
From:
Subject: Re: out of steam..
Interesting, my Gaggia Baby is having similar problems.
After descaling and flushing I still see tiny specks of black
in the water. Maybe it's time to bite the bullet and
open up the boiler and clean it out manually...

Can you share your experience: How hard was it to
open up the boiler? Maybe more importantly, how hard
was it to close it back up and get a tight seal?

John

domino wrote:
> Natalie - I'm certain it's the water. (hence getting the ion exchange
> filter) I've always been careful with descaling and cleaning, because
> of the aluminium boiler. When my old one broke down, they had to
> completely replace the boiler because it was rotting.
>
> When I cleaned it out yesterday, the pipes seemed fine, although there
> was a lot of crud on the group. I wanted to get some of those test
> strips, but I can't seem to find them in the UK. however, I do have a
> water testing kit for my fish tank - I'm going to see what's in there!
>
> Dave - I've tested the connection on the thermostat with a multimeter,
> and it looks fine - not being *that* electronically minded, would it
> still be a problem even if there was a connection?
>
> I've emailed gaggia and asked them to cost a thermostat for me.



 
Date: 15 Nov 2006 00:34:19
From: domino
Subject: Re: out of steam..

Natalie - I'm certain it's the water. (hence getting the ion exchange
filter) I've always been careful with descaling and cleaning, because
of the aluminium boiler. When my old one broke down, they had to
completely replace the boiler because it was rotting.

When I cleaned it out yesterday, the pipes seemed fine, although there
was a lot of crud on the group. I wanted to get some of those test
strips, but I can't seem to find them in the UK. however, I do have a
water testing kit for my fish tank - I'm going to see what's in there!

Dave - I've tested the connection on the thermostat with a multimeter,
and it looks fine - not being *that* electronically minded, would it
still be a problem even if there was a connection?

I've emailed gaggia and asked them to cost a thermostat for me.



 
Date: 14 Nov 2006 14:20:16
From: daveb
Subject: Re: out of steam..
if blocked -- it would not dribble water.

d



 
Date: 14 Nov 2006 07:26:48
From: daveb
Subject: Re: out of steam..
Thanks for the fine photos. the inside of the boiler looks failry
normal. The grou8p head does NOT however.

Judging by the pitting and the damage to the plating on the brewhead,
you have a water problem or an overly aggressive descale routine!

Dave


domino wrote:
> Cheers, Dave.
>
> I have dismantled it for a good clean, there's a lot of corrosion on
> the underside of the group where the chrome has come away, which may
> explain the black bits somewhat:
>
> http://static.flickr.com/110/297279933_5d8e22a58b.jpg
>
> and the boiler itself has limescale in:
> http://static.flickr.com/107/297279853_100469380f.jpg
>
> I've given them a good clean with the instructions I found on
> coffeegeek, and I'll give Gaggia a ring in a bit and see about getting
> a steam thermostat.
>
> In the meantime, it's back to the good old french press for me!
>
>
> On Nov 14, 11:46 am, "daveb" <davebobbl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > 'stat is bad.
> >
> > cutting off too soon!
> >
> > replace.
> >
> > dave



  
Date: 15 Nov 2006 09:01:58
From: Natalie Drest
Subject: Re: out of steam..

"daveb" <davebobblane@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1163518008.696867.105610@m73g2000cwd.googlegroups.com...
> Thanks for the fine photos. the inside of the boiler looks failry
> normal. The grou8p head does NOT however.
>
> Judging by the pitting and the damage to the plating on the brewhead,
> you have a water problem or an overly aggressive descale routine!
>

Which suggests a blockage, not a bad 'stat?




 
Date: 14 Nov 2006 06:57:49
From: domino
Subject: Re: out of steam..
Cheers, Dave.

I have dismantled it for a good clean, there's a lot of corrosion on
the underside of the group where the chrome has come away, which may
explain the black bits somewhat:

http://static.flickr.com/110/297279933_5d8e22a58b.jpg

and the boiler itself has limescale in:
http://static.flickr.com/107/297279853_100469380f.jpg

I've given them a good clean with the instructions I found on
coffeegeek, and I'll give Gaggia a ring in a bit and see about getting
a steam thermostat.

In the meantime, it's back to the good old french press for me!


On Nov 14, 11:46 am, "daveb" <davebobbl...@gmail.com > wrote:
> 'stat is bad.
>
> cutting off too soon!
>
> replace.
>
> dave



 
Date: 14 Nov 2006 03:46:00
From: daveb
Subject: out of steam..
'stat is bad.

cutting off too soon!

replace.

dave



 
Date: 14 Nov 2006 03:42:42
From: domino
Subject: Re: Gaggia Coffee has run out of steam..
Thanks for the reply, Dave. I honestly don't know if it's heating up
enough - the green light comes on to say it's reached steam pressure,
but when I try to froth milk it mostly gurgles, gives off a bit of
steam, then gives up within a few seconds. Is there any way I can
check myself that the thermostat is working correctly?

I am leaning more towards opening it up for a manual clean, now!

Dom

daveb wrote:

> Are you getting enough HEAT to make steam?
> is the steam thermostat correct and operational? there should be quite
> a bit of pressure! and NOT just water.
>
> If there is, I'd open it and clean it out. the boiler may be flaking
> aluminum
>
> Dave
> Saeco / Gaggia service SE
> 159.5



 
Date: 14 Nov 2006 01:58:00
From: daveb
Subject: Re: Gaggia Coffee has run out of steam..
Are you getting enough HEAT to make steam?
is the steam thermostat correct and operational? there should be quite
a bit of pressure! and NOT just water.

If there is, I'd open it and clean it out. the boiler may be flaking
aluminum

Dave
Saeco / Gaggia service SE
159.5