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Discussions > Espresso > Espresso Mods > No Steam From...  
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Kex
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Apr 2009
Posts: 41
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia: Coffee & Baby Twin
Grinder: KitchenAid Pro Line
Vac Pot: None
Drip: None
Roaster: None
Posted Tue Mar 20, 2012, 3:14pm
Subject: Re: No Steam From Gaggia Baby Twin Steam Wand
 

I tried to zoom this image as much as I could, so it's a bit blurry, but if you can determine where the blue wire meets the heating element connector, right below that plastic tie, and look carefully, you'll see the brown rust. There is actually a complete break in the connection, and the wire can move freely.

Kex: thrmo-wire.JPG
(Click for larger image)
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Senior Member
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Joined: 13 Feb 2012
Posts: 168
Location: Saint Paul
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Mar 21, 2012, 5:36am
Subject: Re: No Steam From Gaggia Baby Twin Steam Wand
 

Wow, yep it's jam-packed. I can see any mods being added (PID, gauging) all having to be stuck on the outside!

I've had good luck with the "parts guru" site, they don't have everything but have a lot and have shipped quickly / gotten the orders right and such. And have a full array of parts diagrams to help find what you need too. A decent option if you have to purchase some things new.

Looks like you have a small project. It shouldn't be too difficult, but of course it would be nicer not to have it at all!
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Kex
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Apr 2009
Posts: 41
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia: Coffee & Baby Twin
Grinder: KitchenAid Pro Line
Vac Pot: None
Drip: None
Roaster: None
Posted Thu Mar 22, 2012, 9:03am
Subject: Re: No Steam From Gaggia Baby Twin Steam Wand
 

Well, since the thermoblock boiler alone costs $85, and I don't see how I can avoid replacing it with those corroded ends on the heating elements:

DOES ANYONE KNOW OF A REPAIR SHOP IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY OR NEARBY?

I'm going to need an official estimate for a credit card warranty claim. Of course, they can carry out the work once the claim is accepted. My guess is that:

*The boiler will be replaced entirely.
*The boiler support will be replaced.
*The boiler insulation will be replaced (too much water inside).
*Some wiring with corroded ends may need replaced.
*The corroded foot, under the pedestal will be replaced entirely.
*The pedestal body may need to be replaced because of discoloring from the humidity.
*Any tubing that may have caused the leak initially will be replaced.

The link below shows the boiler itself, basically a heating element with a water pipe around it. I don't think the heating element, with the corroded terminal, can be replaced separately:

Click Here (www.shop.partsguru.com)
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Kex
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Apr 2009
Posts: 41
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia: Coffee & Baby Twin
Grinder: KitchenAid Pro Line
Vac Pot: None
Drip: None
Roaster: None
Posted Sat Mar 24, 2012, 3:49pm
Subject: Re: No Steam From Gaggia Baby Twin Steam Wand
 

Well, this is slightly strange:

I'm in contact with Importika. The phone number on the base of the machine is their phone number, and they state that they are the ONLY authorized repair center for Gaggia in the U.S.A. I talked to technical support and I think they are willing to provide me with an estimate for the repair based on an e-mailed description, including photos. So, I proceeded to take everything apart again to document the damage. So far so good.

Now here's the odd part: with the whole machine opened up, I could not identify the origin of the leak clearly. So, I made all the connections needed without assembling the machine. I then propped it up so that I could add the water tank, use the control panel, and observe the steam boiler during use. Would you believe it, but everything works, including the steam boiler? I can't get it to leak again. So where the heck was the leak from, and why is it not leaking now?!

I'm wondering if there are occasional surges in pressure. Maybe the thermostat is on the blink and sometimes allows too high a temperature creating such surges?

I also notice that I can move the clips on the hot water hoses that bring hot water from the main boiler down to  the steam boiler, and then return steam up into the main compartment when it is directed to the steam wand. What I mean is that they can be turned (with some effort) around the hose connection onto the steam boiler. I think these are called "Oetiker clamps", but should I be able to move them around, or are they too loose to provide a completely watertight connection in all circumstances?
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Senior Member
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Joined: 13 Feb 2012
Posts: 168
Location: Saint Paul
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Mar 25, 2012, 7:33pm
Subject: Re: No Steam From Gaggia Baby Twin Steam Wand
 

In my experience the clamps are always pretty tight, but given enough force you can still make them turn. They are just to keep the tube from popping off the barbed fitting. You can't go *too* tight or they'll cut into the rubber, even through anything wrapped around them.

Also in my experience (notice my choice of wording), tubes either pop off or work correctly, they don't tend to leak. And they tend to pop off when something changes - surge in pressure,  high temperature (your test may turn out differently if you leave all heating turned on for say a solid half hour or more). But if they are on, they probably aren't leaking.

So... by my description you can't have an issue and obviously you do. Strange one...

Any chance that water is leaking in from elsewhere? That it's not coming from that area, but perhaps coming from above and just eventually making it's way down to that area? A leak around the tank seal perhaps, or something like that?

Either way it seems it self destructed, and would be a warranty if it's within the time period. Would still be interesting to know what happened, though.
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Kex
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Apr 2009
Posts: 41
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia: Coffee & Baby Twin
Grinder: KitchenAid Pro Line
Vac Pot: None
Drip: None
Roaster: None
Posted Sun Mar 25, 2012, 8:18pm
Subject: Re: No Steam From Gaggia Baby Twin Steam Wand
 

Well, I did think of a leak coming from elsewhere, but I'm not convinced about it.

First of all, the main boiler compartment, as you know, is slightly offset to the front of the machine, so it's not really directly over the secondary boiler area in the pedestal. In any case, it's simply pristine: there are just no signs of the slightest leak in the main boiler compartment of the machine.

I did think that the connection on the black flexible tubing (coming from the solenoid valve) to that rigid tube that directs water after brewing down to the drip tray was loose. It has two sealing rings that you can feel popping into place when you put everything back together, but when I was taking things off for the first time, only the first ring seemed to be on properly, not the second. It's just possible that water leaking from that, which ends in a sort of tee (presumably to stop water from gushing down in a rapid spurt to the bottom of the tube, and causing splashing there as a consequence), could have splashed under pressure against the sides of the rigid tube. Then it might have found it's way out the top of the rigid tube, to some extent, because of the incomplete fitting, and then trickled down the exterior of the red clad hot water tubes in the images posted earlier: either the one coming from the main boiler to feed the steam boiler, or the return tubing that feeds the steam wand. That's a possibility.

Another possibility would be if the steam boiler were, at some time, partially blocked with scale. Could the intermittent pump action, which is normal during steam operation, have forced water out from somewhere under pressure? That wouldn't be happening now since I've descaled everything thoroughly with citric acid solution. I'm doubtful about this too, since I hadn't noticed a significant reduction in steam output at any time, until it completely failed because of the broken connection.

I'm baffled. I don't mind ordering new parts, either under warranty or not, but I'm concerned that it'll happen all over again if I don't identify the source of the issue. I think I'm just going to have to proceed now. I don't see how I can try to diagnose anything further at this point.
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Joined: 13 Feb 2012
Posts: 168
Location: Saint Paul
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Mar 26, 2012, 7:39am
Subject: Re: No Steam From Gaggia Baby Twin Steam Wand
 

Sure, that black tube from the 3-way could be a culprit. Because it's from the 3-way, when it does get used it tends to get a fast shot of hot water into it. It's clamped at the 3-way itself but relies on friction elsewhere. I too think that T keeps the water from blasting to quickly at the drip tray, and that action could have caused some to go up into the boiler area. It does make some sense depending on how loose it is / was.

I think you're right, if you can't find any tell-tale signs (i.e. hard water deposits in a trail from a leak source) you just have to make it work and hope for the best. I'm sure the right person can diagnose it but at some point you have to stop putting time into it. Haha easier said than done for curious minded people.
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TexSanity
Senior Member
TexSanity
Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 4
Location: Austin, TX
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Francis!Francis! X3
Grinder: LUX
Vac Pot: some day
Posted Sat Jan 26, 2013, 12:53pm
Subject: Re: No Steam From Gaggia Baby Twin Steam Wand
 

On my dining room table is a Gaggia Baby twin, dismantled.
  1. The automatic functions stopped functioning about 8 months ago. Manual control still worked so I let it be.
  2. A leak started appearing from under the machine. Well After our two daily espressos were pulled and the machine was powered down.
  3. The machine was DOA from whole latte love but the immediately replaced it. They are good people.

I first looked at the solenoid but found no leaks in the top boiler section. So I did some more dismantling and found moisture a-plenty in the thermoblock section. The insulator around the thermoblock was like a wet sponge.

I will save this gaggia for parts. Or to Frankenstein a machine some day.

I'll post autopsy photos later tonight.
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,038
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Sat Jan 26, 2013, 1:04pm
Subject: Re: No Steam From Gaggia Baby Twin Steam Wand
 

Another similar "Twin" thread with steam problems.  This will keep them linked, and more info about similar there.

Click Here (coffeegeek.com)

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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tracerbullet
Senior Member
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Joined: 13 Feb 2012
Posts: 168
Location: Saint Paul
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jan 30, 2013, 3:05pm
Subject: Re: No Steam From Gaggia Baby Twin Steam Wand
 

There was a similar issue ~ 6 months ago perhaps as well. Not the machine in this thread but another, where the entire lower unit had condensation and the wires to the 2nd heater were rusted through. I hate to label it with a word like "common" but this problem does seem to come up a lot...

Any of it should be fixable, even if it's not very pretty in the end. Wires can be replaced, leaks can be solved, and other reasons for condensation might be combatted simply by putting a bunch of vent holes in the back of the machine. I guess I'm saying don't totally give up on it yet, it's worth a shot at fixing it. Worst case it's still busted, best case it works, and either way you learn something.
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