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Europiccola Switch problem
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Discussions > Espresso > Lever Espresso > Europiccola...  
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picolla79
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Mar 2013
Posts: 3
Location: New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: R. Rocky
Posted Mon Mar 25, 2013, 11:08am
Subject: Europiccola Switch problem
 

I wanted to ask for any advice for a 1979 Europiccola that has burnt out two switches in just over a year.

A year ago,I had to replace the E-85P, double rocker switch.  The upper, power switch works.  It is the lower, "I-II", power selector switch that burns out.  The second new switch only lasted two months with light, regular use.

I used a multimeter to look for a short.  There was continuity & zero resistance between the copper element inside the boiler and the boiler's base underneath.  There was no continuity between the element and the four connection posts at the base of the boiler, or any other part of wiring/body/plug.

Can anyone in this forum, please , answer my questions:
  1. Does continuity as described above confirm a short?  Or is that finding within
    normal limits?

I would be grateful for any insights you can offer.
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SStones
Senior Member
SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 477
Location: Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Giga 5, ECM Giotto, Rocket...
Grinder: Anfim Milano-Best
Vac Pot: No  :(
Drip: Some $30 thing from Walmart
Roaster: I buy pre-roasted.
Posted Mon Mar 25, 2013, 6:29pm
Subject: Re: Europiccola Switch problem
 

That means your don't have a short.  The outer copper of the element is just a pipe to keep the water away from the actual heating element, a thin wire in insulation inside that pipe.

I expect that your 2 month old switch could have been dusty inside, perhaps quite old despite not being "Used", and in operation it has built up a lot of carbon and burnt its electrical contacts inside.  Did the seller give any sort of warranty? Let me guess, 30 days.
What is the resistance across your elements?  Ie. put one lead of your ohmeter on either of the two connectors that are jumpered together, the other lead on a third?  Then still on the jumpered and to the fourth?  Should be no less than 11 Ohms on one and maybe around 16 on the other?
Set your ohmeter to the highest resistance range setting, 20K Ohms or whatever yours has.  Now try again the 4 connectors to brass base.  Still no continuity, even at maximum range?  If no continuity, then there is no short.
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picolla79
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Mar 2013
Posts: 3
Location: New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: R. Rocky
Posted Wed Mar 27, 2013, 7:36am
Subject: Re: Europiccola Switch problem
 

Thanks SStones.

With your advice, I went back an tested the four contacts at the boiler's base.
Before when I tested the contacts I got inconsistent readings for resistance, and no continuity.

This time on the 200 ohm setting, the resistance was mostly 13.3 ohms, testing both lead 3 & 4 against the jumpered leads 1&2.  That seems to agree that there is no short.

On the 2000K (2M) setting, the meter read 0.0.  I thought 0 resistance indicated that there is a short.

Someone has told me that testing the machine cold on the counter will not give reliable results.

Could you please, help me interpret these findings?

I am thinking it is worth it to go for another switch.  If it blows quickly then that is not the problem.

Can you offer any advice on retrofitting this screw on boiler element for a pre-Millennium three bolt type.  I have heard that this is hard to do successfully.

Thanks for the help,
EP79
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SStones
Senior Member
SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 477
Location: Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Giga 5, ECM Giotto, Rocket...
Grinder: Anfim Milano-Best
Vac Pot: No  :(
Drip: Some $30 thing from Walmart
Roaster: I buy pre-roasted.
Posted Thu Mar 28, 2013, 4:20am
Subject: Re: Europiccola Switch problem
 

On the 2000K (2M) setting, the meter read 0.0.  I thought 0 resistance indicated that there is a short.

Oh, sorry to hear that.  If you're getting anything other infinity testing between the connection and ground, then one of the elements is cracked, wet inside and shorting out.
You will need to replace the element.

You were getting "Open circuit" when testing at a lower maximum because the resistance was higher than that setting, but it is still a short.  Your friend is right, too.  Sometimes when it's dry, you don't even see the short at 2000k, you have to test it after the boiler has been filled and heated for a while so that the insulation inside the element has had time to get soaked at the crack.
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picolla79
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Mar 2013
Posts: 3
Location: New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: R. Rocky
Posted Thu May 23, 2013, 7:53am
Subject: Re: Europiccola Switch problem
 

Hey SStones,
I was distracted from dealing with my europiccola ' 79 switch problem.  I wanted to ask your advice.
Since my last post, I saw a U-tube piece by Orhpanespresso that spells out checking an element with a multimeter.  In my original attempt I made a wrong assumption that 0 resistance indicated a short.  It is just the opposite.  The video spells out which pegs go to which element.
On the low element I get 13.4 ohms and on the high element it reads 14 ohms.  The 0 ohms reading I was getting at the 2M setting was because that increased setting pushed 14 off the scale.

I don't want to go to the trouble and expense of an element replacement when I'm not sure there is a short.

Is it pointless to throw on a new switch just to see how it turns out?

Do you know anyone that has converted an older, screw on element to the three bolt type?

I am grateful for any advice you can offer, picolla79
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SStones
Senior Member
SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 477
Location: Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Giga 5, ECM Giotto, Rocket...
Grinder: Anfim Milano-Best
Vac Pot: No  :(
Drip: Some $30 thing from Walmart
Roaster: I buy pre-roasted.
Posted Sun May 26, 2013, 1:47pm
Subject: Re: Europiccola Switch problem
 

I think i mis-read your previous post, and you're getting the wrong idea from my poor wording...  Anything other than infinity (One on the far left of a digital multimeter) indicates that there is some conductivity. "Some conductivity" is fine between the connecting posts of an element. There needs to be conductivity through the element, it's just that the 13 ohms is such a small resistance that it reads as "Zero" when measuring for high-resistances...  Like using a police radar-gun to measure how fast a snail is moving.  It may be moving but it registers as "zero" when measuring in the range for catching speeders.  Hence setting it to 20 ohms to get an accurate reading of the element's actual resistance.  If a radar-gun could measure in 0-20 millimeters per hour, it could accurately clock a snail.
It is only if there is a short to ground that there's a problem. That's all you have to measure with your meter set to the upper limit.  Your elements sound like they're fine, from your descriptions. Don't worry about them. If they're not shorted to ground, they're not able to damage the switch.

I hope your new switch solves the problem and lasts a good deal longer.
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