How impotant is the volume flow for my machine's procon pump

chooton

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Sebewaing, MI
I have been trying to resolve a low group head pressure issue since I got my used machine. I have attempted to adjust the pump pressure and have replaced the group gasket. I think my process of elimination leads me to the pump itself. Its putting out only about 40psi. I am looking for a replacement. The pump that is in there is rated for 35gph flow and preset to 125psi. How important is it that I maintain 35gph? I see more pumps rated at 100 (I have yet to find a 35 available for direct purchase online). Most also seem to be preset to 130psi. Where can I fudge in making a selection so that I still get a pump that will function?
 

Davec

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Oct 18, 2006
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It's preferable that you get a pump with a balanced bypass, also remember too high a flow rate will simply push loads of return water back to the tank from the pumps bypass. Probably best to get a pump with a similar rating. Fluid-O-Tech make the rotoflow range of pumps which I would have though would be suitable for your machine (and possibly slightly cheaper).

Before changing the pump though a few checks.

  • Does the pump squeal
    Does the pressure needle flick up and down when running against a blank disk or pressure measuring portafilter
    Have you checked the machine with a pressure measuring portafilter (in case the machines gauage, if you have one, is faulty)
    Have you descaled the brew pathway (inc pump)
    Many machines also have an OPV as found on a Vibe pump....if so, is this faulty
    If it's mains fed, do you have sufficient water pressure
    If it's tanked is there some restriction in the inlet pipe (or a in line water filter pushed onto the pipe and sitting clogged in the tanke).

Good luck

Dave
 
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chooton

chooton

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Davec said:
  • Does the pump squeal - no
    Does the pressure needle flick up and down when running against a blank disk or pressure measuring portafilter - no
    Have you checked the machine with a pressure measuring portafilter (in case the machines gauage, if you have one, is faulty) - yes, it registers at only 40 psi.
    Have you descaled the brew pathway (inc pump) - no, how should I attempt this?
    Many machines also have an OPV as found on a Vibe pump....if so, is this faulty - not sure, adjustments made no difference
    If it's mains fed, do you have sufficient water pressure - line pressure is regulated by a small accumulator tank it registers about 25-30 psi.


  • The main symptoms are that the machine shakes some and my crema is weak. I have replaced the gasket and attempted to adjust the pump pressure settings, these adjustments made no difference. [/i]
 

Davec

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If your lucky, descaling the brew pathway should be possibly by dipping the end of the water hose in a bucket of descaler, usually the proconsused are capable of a 6ft draw. If I were you, I would try to keep the bucket higher than the machine though. Descaling wouyld have been one of the first things I would have tried especially if the flow rate is low.

Check for any additional pressure relief valves in the systems pump line and whether they are venting somewhere.
It'sd always difficult with these things, luckily pumps are very cheap, so even if you did replace it and the problem persisted, then you have a spare for when it does go.

Descaling before this is well advised and could solve your problem completely.
 

CCafe

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Well I won't give you any grief for owning a Espressimo. If you don't have the manual to this guy or haven't found one yet, it is located here http://www.grindmaster.com/literature/o ... Manual.pdf

On page 23 number 29 looks to be a rotary pump. As Davec said a balanced bypass is preferred but not required, if you know that your incoming water pressure will never fluctuate. The average cities water supply pressure will fluctuate through out the day.

You can descale the pump while it's still in the machine, but you will need to have a delivery system to introduce the acid via the water line. I wouldn't suggest it though, the pump is not made to run caustic materials such as acid. Even though it will most likely run for a few months down the road it will eventually fail. Or that has been my experience at least.

As for the machine shaking it could be a loose motor mount or a hard turning motor ie. bad pump. I would suggest you take the pump off and see how well the motor turns with out the pump attached. It should run smooth with little or no vibration. It could be a bad motor but I doubt it.
 
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chooton

chooton

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Thanks so much for your input. I was thinking about the descaling recommendation as I watched the machine today. I noted how very slowly my americano spout runs. Much less than the flow the water filter we use should produce. It's making good sense to me. I have ordered the replacement pump, but as you say a back up is a good idea anyway. Especially if descaling should cause the pump to fail prematurely anyway. Any recommendations as to a descaling solution?
 

Davec

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CCafe said:
You can descale the pump while it's still in the machine, but you will need to have a delivery system to introduce the acid via the water line. I wouldn't suggest it though, the pump is not made to run caustic materials such as acid. Even though it will most likely run for a few months down the road it will eventually fail. Or that has been my experience at least.

It should be perfectly OK to run descaler through the pump. I agree that it specifically states NOT to run caustic materials through the pumps when you read the manufacturers specifications for procon or fluid-o-tech pumps (but acids are not caustic). If you have had pumps fail a few months after descaling it's possibly coincidence or the pump had a fault. There is nothing within the pumping chamber that should be affected by descaler and many many people I know will run the descaler through from a bucket (besides if you don't it's practically impossible to descale your brew pathway).

it's best to avoid very strong commercial descalers (based around fumaric, sulphamic acid etc.) and try for a strong solution of Citric Acid. 50g to 1 litre should be strong enough. Oviously you don't want it in your boiler unless you want to descale that as well, so try and ensure the boiler autofill will not operate.

If you can't get hold of citric acid, try and use a commercial descaler that states it's made of tri-carboxylic acid or di-carboxcylic acid.


P.S. Backflush the group afterwards if yours is an e61 type machine

http://coffeetime.wikidot.com/metal-fla ... -descaling
 
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chooton

chooton

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great. I was hoping citric acid would do it. So I'm figuring on disconnecting the float temporarily in order to assure the auto fill doesn't engage. Then I'll put the water line in a bucket of solution and run the pump. Should I also pump solution through the americano spout with an external pump? I think I have a submersible fountain pump that might do the trick. I'm guessing I'll keep the solution running until it runs correctly or I've gone through several gallons of the stuff.

Any idea how much it should take?
 

Davec

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Well once the brew path and any other areas you want to descale have descaler in em...and you should be able to smell/taste it in the water coming out. Thats it, stop the pump, switch off and wait for about 30 mins.

By the americano nozzle do you mean the hot water nozzle, if you do....then unless it's warmed via a heat exchanger, to descale it you need to descale the boiler!

If it's badly descaled, which from your questions, I suspect it might be (presumably you havn't ever descaled), then switch back on, let it warm up for 20 mins, then run fresh descaler through (cos the other stuff will have been used up a bit), then descale once more...for that extra clean finish 8) .

Don't worry if the water comes out blue, thats just a bit of dissolved copper. To get the descaler out, just stick hose in bucket of fresh water. If your not doing the boiler, you really won't need much descaler, 2 litres tops I would think.

Oh I am assuming the water in your area is hard :lol:

P.S. Consider one day treating the boiler to a bit of a descale, if you don't have to do it this time.

Dave
 
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chooton

chooton

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Yeah, the hot water spout does run through a heat exchanger, same as the brew system, though it does so with out the pump running. The only thing that intimidates me about descaling the boiler is getting the stuff out. I imagine I would need to disassemble the sucker to do it right. Otherwise how would I keep the steam wand from delivering citrus acid for a long time to come?
 

CCafe

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Davec said:
It should be perfectly OK to run descaler through the pump. I agree that it specifically states NOT to run caustic materials through the pumps when you read the manufacturers specifications for procon or fluid-o-tech pumps (but acids are not caustic). If you have had pumps fail a few months after descaling it's possibly coincidence or the pump had a fault. There is nothing within the pumping chamber that should be affected by descaler and many many people I know will run the descaler through from a bucket (besides if you don't it's practically impossible to descale your brew pathway).

I don't know what you think the meaning of caustic is, but Merriam-Webster defines Caustic as:

1 : capable of destroying or eating away by chemical action : CORROSIVE
2 : marked by incisive sarcasm
3 : relating to or being the surface or curve of a caustic [/b]

As for the damage to the pump what it can do is cause uneven wear on the surface of the veins or pitting. The Procon rep also stated that that type of wear can cause stress cracks. Either way it can throw the pump out of balance and cause seal failure, can freeze the pump, reduced pressure, or just plain quit working.

For the most part I live in a high scale environment and those pumps don't have a long life expectancy anyway. I replace around 20 pumps a year due to scale. For the most part I will descale the machine with the pump still installed. If it fails I will replace it.

For descaling I like to use Everpures JT cartridge EV9608-10 slap in a single head and connect it inline. Just add acid and go!
 

Davec

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Ccafe, not trying to get into an argument with you, but the manufacturers are talking about highly alkaline solutions when they talk about caustic solutions e.g. caustic soda or as you guys call it "lye"

Anyway, in trying to help the other chap, as you have said, it's standard practice to run descaler through the pumps and unless the pumps are knackered anyway it's not going to harm them. If they are knackered , it will probably hasten their demise. Considering this is a pump costing around $79 retail and far less trade, then it's not really a problem. The things are so cheap "trade" that I have a spare one in case mine ever goes...which in a domestic environment is unlikely.

However, "peace" and lets help this other chap. 8)
 
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chooton

chooton

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CCafe said:
For the most part I live in a high scale environment and those pumps don't have a long life expectancy anyway. I replace around 20 pumps a year due to scale.

I hope you mean in different machines! :-D
 

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