Howdy guys, been lurking for a while and have learned a LOT. Especially from NetPhilosopher! Thanks for the Hario tips! Anyway, in spite of the great Hario mill help here, I'm ready to get a Baratza grinder. I know a lady wanting to sell me her broken Baratza Virtuoso. If it is practical and cost-effective, I hope to buy it and replacement parts from Baratza to fix it. What a steal if I can pull it off! SO,s he doesn't know what is wrong with it, which makes me a bit nervous. She just says it makes a whirring sound and won't grind. Baratza owners, do you have any clue what might cause a whirring sound? Should I buy it, is there a good chance I can figure out what is wrong and fix it? The whirring sound without grinding makes me think it is either the burrs or the motor...
I would not suggest buying it. There are Baratza refurbished grinders with full warranttee. At the very least, you should check with Baratza about, what, if any assistance they will provide.
My Baratza vario-W behaved similarly. It could be a variety of things including locked burrs, stripped gears, gear belt etc. I cannot say enough great things about Baratza support. They deserve our business. I would also edit the title of your post, as it implies your Baratza grinder broke, which is not the case.
If it is practical and cost-effective, I hope to buy it and replacement parts from Baratza to fix it. What a steal if I can pull it off! SO,s he doesn't know what is wrong with it, which makes me a bit nervous.
It seems like you're comfortable with a little risk / reward, and if the burrs are spinning, I think it's worth a risk. Maybe it's clogged or needs new burrs. If the burrs aren't spinning it could be the gear is broken. Even that can be repaired, it just takes more of your time and the cost of parts. Those parts can add up.
Baratza has a troubleshooting part of their site which may give you some ideas for what you may be in for as far as repairs.
I haven't been able to talk to her again yet. Here is a quote from Baratza troubleshooting:
The grinder will not grind beans and makes a funny/abnormal sound.
If the center burr is stopping its rotation when it hits coffee beans, then your main drive gear is probably stripped. If the center burr does not quit rotating, you need to unclog your grinder (see above). Take a look at the pdf file below which covers replacing the main drive gear as well as changing the center burr.
So it sounds like the problem is either clogging (I'm sure she would have tried to clear a clog) or the gear being stripped. the Gear Box 2.0 Upgrade kit is $15, so I imagine I should be able to fix this for $15. Is this a reasonable assumption?
The nice thing about Baratza grinders is that they're 'fixable' at home. You need to be comfortable with small tools. Baratza's parts are low in cost.
My experiences have been with pebbles in the beans. There is a gear on the end of the motor which engages a much larger gear on a counter-shaft and that shaft drives the inner burr. I needed a new large gear and a new counter-shaft and a few washers. That repair went well and the grinder is still running well. I tried a similar repair for my son but a plastic support bracket snapped off (my fault). I should have been more careful.
The hardest part of the repair was getting the case apart ...!!
The symptom of a stripped large gear is a whirring sound and the inner burr will sometimes rotate with no beans but when you put beans in it won't turn.
One warning - a stripped gear can drop metal debris into the motor, which may then also need replacing, for $40 plus some shipping. This happened on my Preciso, although Kyle at Baratza was good enough to send me a free motor. The motor still spun unloaded, but stalled on espresso grind settings.
Oh man. I'll keep that in mind. I'm going to buy it I think. I don't do espresso (yet... too expensive a habit atm) so hopefully I can dodge that bullet. I figure I lose my gamble if the motor is shot, but it still seems like a great risk/reward. Baratza support confirmed that I was describing symptoms consistent with a stripped gear, and the the GB2.0 kit for $15 would repair that. Thanks for the help guys, I'll let y'all know how it goes.
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