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Best Way to Descale Nuova Oscar?
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hotwasabipeas
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hotwasabipeas
Joined: 19 Aug 2011
Posts: 183
Location: New Albany, Ohio
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1, NS Oscar,...
Grinder: Baratza Vario 886
Drip: Flavia SB100 (makes a hot...
Posted Mon Jul 9, 2012, 10:07am
Subject: Best Way to Descale Nuova Oscar?
 

I finally got one of my dream machines this past weekend.  A silver Nuova Oscar for only $180 from Craigslist in Columbus!  I couldn't believe my luck, especially the cheap asking price (they were originally asking $200).  The seller said that the espresso was never hot enough and I thought that it might have some severe problem such as a broken heating element, pressurestat, etc. but it works just fine.  I am thinking they just really didn't know much about how to use the Oscar, especially with the start-up procedure where you need to open the steam wand until steam starts coming out in order for the boiler to fully get up to brew temp.  The machine was listed as being only 4 years old and gently-used and it looks nice and clean inside with just some small scuff marks on the exterior.  It doesn't have a Sirai but rather a Parker pressurestat (it looks very similar to a Sirai) and there's no build date on the manufacturing tag but there is a serial number starting with 186.  I just sent NS an email inquiring as to what the build date is for the machine..hopefully they will have the info I am looking for.  

It's one amazing machine but you guys already know how good an Oscar is.

My question is how do I descale the Oscar?  There's a video on YouTube showing how to drain the boiler through the steam wand and I would try that but I cannot get the steam tip off and I am afraid if I take a wrench I may ruin the chrome finish.  The other way is by using the drain plug on the bottom of the boiler.  I took a pic of what I think may be the drain plug (circled with arrow) but can someone verify that for me please?  

http://img441.imageshack.us/img441/927/003nha.jpg

Do I take that nut off completely?
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,947
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Jul 10, 2012, 5:40pm
Subject: Re: Best Way to Descale Nuova Oscar?
 

HI.
It has been several years since I had my Oscar but the drain for the boiler is (facing the machine like you are going to make espresso) in the back left corner of the machine, over an open area of the case/frame which can be angled over a sink etc to drain the boiler.

It is a little hard to tell what your pic is pointing at but I seem to remember that the drain looks like a plug screwed into the boiler and you need a wrench to take it out. When I had my Oscar, I had toyed with the idea of replacing the plug with a draincock make the process easier but I sold the machine before I did the mod.

It took a little looking at your pic but I think it is from the back of the machine which makes the item you are pointing to in the left back of the machine, which would make the item in question most likely the drain plug. The vertical line up out the top of the picture is the line to the brew head and it is this line that you tap into with the vacuum breaker.

One mod I did do though is to add a vacuum breaker inline from the boiler to the brew head to eliminate the false pressure at start up and the bleed of pressure it requires. It is an easy mod to do and it allows you to run the machine on a timer without the bother of bleeding the false pressure from the machine at warm up, which, like you pointed out, will cause the machine to not get hot enough to brew.  

Great price on an Oscar btw!!!!

calblacksmith: oscar drain connection.jpg
(Click for larger image)

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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hotwasabipeas
Senior Member
hotwasabipeas
Joined: 19 Aug 2011
Posts: 183
Location: New Albany, Ohio
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1, NS Oscar,...
Grinder: Baratza Vario 886
Drip: Flavia SB100 (makes a hot...
Posted Wed Jul 11, 2012, 10:38am
Subject: Re: Best Way to Descale Nuova Oscar?
 

Thanks for the info Mr. Smith!  I will attempt a descale this weekend after I get my new gasket, rubber backflushing disk and reduced-power NS steam tip from Chris Coffee.  I am really enjoying the Oscar and here's a quick video of me making a latte (man this thing steams SO FAST!): Click Here (www.youtube.com)

A few things I have noticed so far:

  1.  My portafilter locks in very early...basically it won't go past the 7 O'Clock position.  I don't know if the gasket is new or old or what but the portafilter doesn't leak so it's not a problem.  Should I give it a couple of weeks to see if it gets easier to insert the portafilter?

  2.  There's a very audible (and somewhat loud) clicking noise whenever the heating element turns on.  Is that normal and coming from the Parker pressurestat?
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sweaner
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sweaner
Joined: 16 Nov 2007
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Espresso: Vetrano, Arrarex Caravel, La...
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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2012, 1:56pm
Subject: Re: Best Way to Descale Nuova Oscar?
 

The noise when the heater comes on is likely the normal sound of the pressurestat. I don't think I would be concerned about the portafilter.

Oh, BTW, nice score!

 
-Scott
“Coffee - the favorite drink of the civilized world.”
Thomas Jefferson
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,947
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Thu Jul 12, 2012, 8:07am
Subject: Re: Best Way to Descale Nuova Oscar?
 

hotwasabipeas Said:

Thanks for the info Mr. Smith!  I will attempt a descale this weekend after I get my new gasket, rubber backflushing disk and reduced-power NS steam tip from Chris Coffee.  I am really enjoying the Oscar and here's a quick video of me making a latte (man this thing steams SO FAST!): Click Here (www.youtube.com)

A few things I have noticed so far:

My portafilter locks in very early...basically it won't go past the 7 O'Clock position.  I don't know if the gasket is new or old or what but the portafilter doesn't leak so it's not a problem.  Should I give it a couple of weeks to see if it gets easier to insert the portafilter?

There's a very audible (and somewhat loud) clicking noise whenever the heating element turns on.  Is that normal and coming from the Parker pressurestat?

Posted July 11, 2012 link

No need to call me Mr! Cal is good enough :D
It is possible that your GH gasket is a little too thick and is preventing the rotation of the PF. You can sort of compress it a little by tightening it hard and eventually it will compress a grove into the seal. If you are making a good seal though, there is nothing to really worry about with regards to where the PF stops turning. On my Oscar, I did have the PF back out a few times when it was close to that position. Other than wasting 18g of coffee and making quite a mess, there is no real harm when that happens.

As Scott said above, the clicking is very likely the Pstat and is nothing to be concerned with as it is normal. Loud is subject to who is listening to it and the conditions you are listening in. My current machine can be heard across the room but it is a soft click and most times I do not take note of it at all.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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JtothaR
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JtothaR
Joined: 20 Dec 2010
Posts: 753
Location: Las Cruces, NM
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: NS Appia, Oscar
Grinder: K10, Lusso, GM 875
Drip: Pour-Over, FP, Toddy
Roaster: Agapao, Metropolis, CC
Posted Thu Jul 12, 2012, 11:08am
Subject: Re: Best Way to Descale Nuova Oscar?
 

The easiest way to descale Oscar is by overfilling the boiler. If you disconnect the heating element and the fill sensor you can turn it on and just run water through the boiler and out of the steam wand. Fill it with descale solution turn it off and let it sit for a bit, then turn it back on with fresh water in the tank and flush it out through the wand until its clean.

Then you can turn it on its side and loosen the drain fitting to drain off the excess. Reconnect the heater and fill leads and you are good to go.

-James

 
Load and Lock.
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hotwasabipeas
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hotwasabipeas
Joined: 19 Aug 2011
Posts: 183
Location: New Albany, Ohio
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1, NS Oscar,...
Grinder: Baratza Vario 886
Drip: Flavia SB100 (makes a hot...
Posted Fri Jul 13, 2012, 11:49am
Subject: Re: Best Way to Descale Nuova Oscar?
 

I am doing my descale now and I did it by first draining the boiler by letting the machine fully heat up, turn it off, lay it on it's side and open the steam wand to drain the boiler.  I was going to try and use the drain plug but I was afraid I would get water all over the inside and get some vital wire wet so I opted for draining via the wand.  

I then disconnected the boiler refill probe wire and dissolved 2 packets of Dezcal in 8 cups of water and filled the water tank with it.  Turned the machine back on and ran the whole tank through until the solution was coming out of both the steam wand and grouphead.  I took care to only let the pump run for about 50 seconds each time and let it rest for 60 seconds.  

I turned off the Oscar and I am letting the Dezcal soak for about 30 minutes then I will proceed with running multiple tanks of fresh water through the wand and grouphead until there is no more citric taste.  


How often should the pressurestat be cycling when the machine is left on for a few hours?  Last night, after the machine was on for about 2 to 3 hours, the pressurestat would cycle on and off at least 5 or 6 times in a 30 minute period.  I was watching TV and could hear it clicking on from the next room.  I don't know if this is normal as this is my first proper espresso machine.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,947
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Fri Jul 13, 2012, 12:54pm
Subject: Re: Best Way to Descale Nuova Oscar?
 

I think it cycled much more than you think it did. Depending on the sensitivity of the Pstat you can give or take a little but my Pstat cycles the heater on for about 15 seconds then is off for about 50 seconds or about a 65 to 70 second on/off cycle. The Oscar is no different and should be somewhere in the same ball park give or take a little. Your boiler is a little smaller than mine but my heater is a little bigger than yours so it is not apples to apples but it is close.

It sounds like you got through the descale OK, not really hard but it can be a pain in the back side, it sounds like yours went smooth. You might want to think about replacing the plug with a valve and route a drain hose from the valve to outside the case or at least almost out the case but where it will do the job. Just saying.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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hotwasabipeas
Senior Member
hotwasabipeas
Joined: 19 Aug 2011
Posts: 183
Location: New Albany, Ohio
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1, NS Oscar,...
Grinder: Baratza Vario 886
Drip: Flavia SB100 (makes a hot...
Posted Fri Jul 13, 2012, 2:05pm
Subject: Re: Best Way to Descale Nuova Oscar?
 

Hey Cal - Well I think I messed up something.  After the descale process (and running through at least 7 tanks of water) I let the Oscar fully heat up and I then turned on the steam wand and the initial bit of water coming out was brown.  The water through the group was fine although sometimes I would get a lot of steam, say 3 or 4 seconds before the water would flow through.  When I went to try and use the steam again there was still some small amount of brown water coming through.  I then decided to flush the boiler again thinking that doing so would get rid of whatever was causing the brown water.  Since the Oscar was already heated up I turned it off, unplugged it and waited a few minutes before turning it on it's side and opening the steam arm to flush the boiler (this is the same procedure I did earlier today before descaling).  The water was coming out brown and eventually the flow stopped and I then put the Oscar upright...waited a few more minutes and then put the water tank back in.  It was 3/4 full of water and when I when I turned on the Oscar it first had the Low Water light illuminated.  I took out the tank and reseated it and this time the heater light came on but the autofill didn't kick in and the pump wasn't taking water out of the tank into the boiler.  I turned the machine off and now I don't know what to do.
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hotwasabipeas
Senior Member
hotwasabipeas
Joined: 19 Aug 2011
Posts: 183
Location: New Albany, Ohio
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1, NS Oscar,...
Grinder: Baratza Vario 886
Drip: Flavia SB100 (makes a hot...
Posted Fri Jul 13, 2012, 2:09pm
Subject: Re: Best Way to Descale Nuova Oscar?
 

I just tried it again and it now is pulling water into the boiler...weird.  Anyway I hope the brown water is gone for good, if not I guess I will have to try and use the drain plug.
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