Technical help please all you coffee gurus!

Daemon

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Apr 22, 2006
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I have a twin boiler machine that does not steam.

It has a selector by the steam wand for steam or hot water.

I have 3 questions regarding how I can troubleshoot it.

1. Is the hot water and steam generated in the same boiler? In other words if one works but not the other can I assume the heating element is fine?

2. I have cleaned the steam wand and checked the valve, are there any other easy checks I can make?

3. Are there any other reasons why my steam has gone missing.

Thankyou, knowledgable coffee people.


Daemon
 

mrgnomer

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Jan 22, 2006
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Canada
Daemon said:
I have a twin boiler machine that does not steam.

It has a selector by the steam wand for steam or hot water.

Is the hot water and steam generated in the same boiler? In other words if one works but not the other can I assume the heating element is fine?

If your machine is a double boiler machine one boiler will be dedicated for espresso and one for steam. The espresso boiler will be at espresso temp and the steam boiler will be at steam temp/pressure.

Could be the heating element on the steam boiler needs replacing. You could pull the top off the machine and look at the top of the boiler. The thermostat sticking out the top with wires connected to it might have a breaker that tripped. If it does, reset it and maybe that might do the trick. That's about as much as I know.
 
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Daemon

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Apr 22, 2006
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Hi

Thanks for that.
So are you saying that the hot water generated and poured through the steam wand has come fom the espresso boiler? and the other boiler is solely for steam?

I will check today for a circuit breaker.
Thanks very much for the advice.
 

mrgnomer

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That's probably the case with a double boiler. I don't know for sure but it would make sense. The espresso boiler probably holds the water at 190F-230F depending on how the thermostat cycles so the hot water draw would be drawn from that boiler. The steam boiler would be held at a higher temp, probably around 260F; too hot for tea or coffee.

However, you say there is only one wand and that's kind of odd considering two lines would have to come together then; one from each boiler. It's more common for a single boiler, non HX machine to have one wand for both steam and water. I've got a Rancilio Silvia and that's how she's set up. Do you know the name and manufacturer of your machine?

Do you have a switch in a addition to a wand knob on your machine that needs to be turned on for steam? If so, you might actually have a single boiler machine. If that's the case, after flipping on the steam switch the machine will need some time for the steam thermostat/heating element to build up temp and pressure for steaming. There should be a light that indicates element on and the best temp and pressure for steaming will be just before that light goes out.
 
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Daemon

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Apr 22, 2006
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Hi. I may not have been clear enough in my original post. I stated it was a twin boiler and yes that means it is a double boiler.

Both lines do come together prior to entering the steam wand.

Alright then, I am having an electrician friend check the resistance readings etc and all the other electrical bits electricians do in the next few days so I will see if he can test the boiler.

Thanks again
 
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Daemon

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Sorry. I forgot to mention there is no switch. Just the wand with a 2 way dial for water and steam
 

mrgnomer

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Good luck with the diagnosis. Check for the thermostat breaker if there is one. If the boiler went dry at anyone time it could have damaged the heating element. I'm not sure but the high temp in the steam boiler happens because pressure increases the water's boiling point. If the element is o.k. it might be a pressure problem. Maybe someone with more knowledge could help.
 
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Daemon

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Thats good to know.

You have provided plenty of helpful information to get me started though, so thankyou and I will let you know how I go once I have completed all of those steps.
 
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