Posted Mon Apr 30, 2012, 11:23am Subject: Wega Lyra / MiniNova - How to drain boiler ?
Newbie member - have just purchased a lightly used 5 year old Wega Mininova Semi-Auto Vibratory and in the process of cleaning it up. The machine had apparently only been used a handful of times during the 5 years - condition cosmetically is excellent.
Have taken the lid off and had a look inside - other than some dust which has settled (wiped what I could reach without dismantling too much), its fairly clean inside with no corrosion or leak issues visible. The grouphead and surrounds needed a thorough scrubbing, from what little coffee was made with it - it seems this has been caked on for years! All scrubbed down and cleaned, showerscreen soaked in Cafiza and all looking much better now.
Before starting to use it, I'd like to do a basic descale as well as flush the boiler as any water within the boiler is very-very-stale. I'm not too stressed about scale as I live in a very soft water area (hopefully right to not be stressing on this).
Two questions for now:
Any advice on maintenance/what I should do before using it given its been idle for years?
I really do want to drain the boiler. I've searched on the forum and read a few of JonR10/strugs/espressoDOM but still cannot understand how to go about it? I understand its an easy enough process on the Wega - does that mean the top cover of the machine can stay attached and the draining can be done completely from below?
I've attached an image taken from beneath the Wega, and labelled the different pipe connections with letters to make any explanations easier. A to E are pipe connections with the metal hose clips. To the right of F in the background is a stopcork on an extension piped into the boiler (not sure if this is useful in this discussion but labelled in case).
If any fellow Wega owners are able to assist with the boiler draining procedure (easiest option please:)) do reply and guide me on this. Newbie when it comes to this, but happy to tinker and find my way around. Any other advice welcome!
Posted Wed May 2, 2012, 6:52am Subject: Re: Wega Lyra / MiniNova - How to drain boiler ?
First off congrats on the great machine!
And you should probably be aware that Minninova was discontinued something like 10 years ago, so the machine is probably older than that. Also, if you know the seller quite well personally then MAYBE you can believe the usage history....but in general you can mostly assume that people misrepresent the usage history of machines. Just sayin, it's something to always consider.
The Wega Lyra is the newer version of that same machine, and it's very similar but a few features did change. On Lyra models they plumbed in a valve to help with boiler draining, but that really didn't work well because it was plumbed into the side of the boiler about 2 inches up from the bottom and it was off a 1/8" tee fitting.
The big fittings you're looking at on the bottom of the boiler are for the heat exchanger tubes (Wega has 2 separate HX circuits, one for brewing and the other for the hot water tap). These do not provide access to the boiler water. It's nice to have an HX hot water tap, but this also means that you don't have direct access to the boiler itself.
To drain the boiler, you may need to take loose the boiler fill fitting (or other low-mounted fitting, like the pressure guage port) and then also remove another fitting (like maybe the vacuum breaker) from the top for air inlet, and then tilt the machine to get the boiler to empty completely. If you don't mind turning the machine upside down to empty it then you could just pull off the vacuum breaker (very easy to access, but on top of the boiler).
When I drainied mine for cleaning, I did it outside on a wooden bench so it was OK to drop water all over. I also removed the heating element because that is a large hole in the side of the boiler and allowed me more access to clean and brush inside.
If the boiler is fairly pristine inside then maybe it doesn't need a full flushing. The only "normal" access to boiler water is the steam wand because that's the only use it has other than heating the HX. If the steam smells clean and the milk tastes OK after steaming then it's probably OK inside the boiler.
Posted Thu May 10, 2012, 3:13am Subject: Re: Wega Lyra / MiniNova - How to drain boiler ?
Thanks for the detailed response Jon. Much appreciated.
The machine still sells as the MiniNova in South Africa, but I believe it is sold as the Lyra in North America. It is the newer version MiniNova without the black plastic top :) (Pic attached). Am wary too of how genuine the usage history is, but after descaling and digging about inside a bit - I'm happy enough that it doesn't seem abused? Either ways, good strong machines - hopefully it delivers (or I can deliver using it:p).
Posted Thu May 10, 2012, 3:28am Subject: Re: Wega Lyra / MiniNova - How to drain boiler ?
Jon has already detailed the procedure for draining the boiler quite thoroughly.
I thought to add a photo to assist. A - is the 1/8" tee fitting Jon referred to. Unscrew the cap at the bottom and it will drain slowly (connected loosely another pipe to this so and passed it through the hole in the base of the frame so the water would drain out and away) B - Vacuum breaker (i think:)) - opened this up initially and let it drain out the side tee fitting - which was quite slow. Eventually took Jon's advice and turned the machine upside down which was much quicker. Done in a large stand-up shower as I'm an apartment dweller. Again, used an old pipe which i placed loosely around the fitting when tilted over to direct the water away from the machine C - Safety valve, i think? D - Autofill connection E - Grounding point
I filled the reservoir with a citric acid water mix, opened the steam valve (vacuum breaker and tee joint were still closed) and disconnected the autofill sensor. Switched the machine on and let it force-fill the boiler till the top. Eventually water came through the steam wand so I knew it was filled to the top. Switched off and let the solution sit in the boiler. Thereafter, unscrewed above tee fitting draining some water out through there, till switching to the vacuum breaker for emptying the boiler. Closed up, refilled with fresh water, emptied, and repeated once more. (Did the heat exchanger/hot water outlet and grouphead/ too but followed directions on this site and hb).
Closed it all up again and think I'm good to go:)
My only queries/mess-ups which I now need help with:
The Autofill rod (D in the pic) seems to slide up and down as I plug the connector to it - what is the correct depth/height setting for this and how best to set if correctly again? I could fill the boiler and monitor how many litres of water enters if anyone can tell me how much water should be in the boiler normally? Alternatively, does anyone have any specification for the height/depth at which it should sit?
When I re-fitted the Vacuum Breaker (B) on the machine, I tightened it fully - is that correct? The little rod inside has pushed through the hole on the top of it but it is fully tightened. Not sure if this is correct?
The safety valve (C) - when filling the boiler to the top, I noticed some steam and (very little) water escaping from here - I assume this is normal yes?
Off-topic to the boiler, my machine has an "Orman" pressurestat - is this okay/good/bad and should I look to replace with a Sirai or are these any better than the Ma-Ter etc?
chrisbruin Senior Member Joined: 27 Jul 2010 Posts: 62 Location: Los Angeles Expertise: I love coffee
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Posted Wed Jun 27, 2012, 4:35pm Subject: Re: Wega Lyra / MiniNova - How to drain boiler ?
I have an Astoria Compact CKXE. It has the same internals. I will try to answer some of the questions you asked.
1) I did not notice if mine slipped when I took the machine apart. When I put it back i had no problems and still have no issues. Since the boiler on this machine is used for two things (Steam and heat the HX tubes) then I would think that a lower position would have more steam. So I would think it might cause some minor variation in temp and steam power.
2) I think it is correct to tighten it fully.
3) I took the boiler out and descaled it and all the parts when I bought it. I don't think that its a big deal since its only when you are descaling.
4) From everything i read the Sirai pressurestat is better and I thought about replacing mine too but its pretty big and there was not a lot of clearance. I am pretty sure JonR10 put a Sirai in his Wega though.
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