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What if it's not the pump?
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Discussions > Espresso > Espresso Mods > What if it's not...  
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Guigui
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Guigui
Joined: 14 Aug 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Quebec City
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 12:05pm
Subject: What if it's not the pump?
 

Hi there, first post here.

I bought a used Isomac (then named Italsomac) Splendida at the flea market a year ago. Turned out it doesn't work. I disassembled the pump (Ulka NH5) and cleaned all the parts but no cigar. The pump vibrates but the water does not flow through. Now before I order a brand new pump, I thought I'd ask here if the problem could not be elsewhere.

I suspect the machine has not been used for a couple of years and I doubt that it has been drained before storing. I myself just recently learned that the boiler had to be drained and did not do so before testing the pump. There is no water coming out of the steam nozzle but I can tell there is some water leaking back in the tube that goes from the pump to the boiler. I also measured about 60 VAC on startup across the the leads that goes to the pump. Don't know if that means anything.

Can the boiler be defective?

I'm a newbie but I'm eager to learn.

Thanks for your help!
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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
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Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 1:00pm
Subject: Re: What if it's not the pump?
 

Check this:
http://www.sreweb.com/diagrams/italsomac.htm

It is a single boiler machine. One of those diagrams might be similar.  measuring across the terminals of the pump is not very valuable. Disconnect the machine from the wall, and disconnect the wires from the two pump leads (but not the ground if it has three wires) . Use the ohm setting on the meter and measure across the two terminals, then reverse the test leads a the pump and measure again. One direction should show nearly 0 ohms and the other nearly infinite resistance. If not, the diode is bad or shorted. Also, check the ID plate on the machine to be sure it is the correct voltage for you. if the pump reads OK, you could disconnect the far end of the output line and attach a longer hose and check to see if the pump is actually moving water. If not, then the pump may need disassembly and cleaning, or maybe replacement. If you do a search on this site you will find some threads on pump disassembly. Once that is established we can move on.

 
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Guigui
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Guigui
Joined: 14 Aug 2012
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Location: Quebec City
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Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 1:32pm
Subject: Re: What if it's not the pump?
 

Ok, I measured 16 ohms on both directions, so I guess it means the diode is bad? How come it vibrates then? Also I didn't mention it but last time I tested the pump, the water went halfway through the input hose but then stalled. It took about 1 minute for the water to go there.

I already disassembled the pump (twice) and cleaned the parts.

Thanks for your help, truly appreciated.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
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Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
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Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
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Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 1:56pm
Subject: Re: What if it's not the pump?
 

Kudos on taking the pump apart and back together again. I consider vibe pumps to be disposable but clearly they are not.

Have you tried the pump without it being connected into the machine? By running the pump on it's own, you divide the problem between the pump and something in the machine.

A vibe pump uses check valves for the pumping function and they tend to be easily damaged. Are you getting water from anyplace on the machine or are you just trying the steam/water wand? It is possible the wand is clogged, in fact that is fairly common when people do not take great care of the machine. If you get water from the brew head but not the wand, look for dried up crusty milk in the wand.

Not draining the machine, living where you do, is asking for freezing problems in the boiler if it is stored over winter in an unheated space.

Sometimes a vibe pump needs to be primed, if the check valves are dry, they may not seal against air well enough to suck the water from the tank, often we advise using something like a turkey baster to push water through the water suction line while turning on the pump to force water in.

Hang in there, we will get you through this!

 
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Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
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Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 3:39pm
Subject: Re: What if it's not the pump?
 

The same resistance in both directions would indicate that the diode has failed. If you have some spare diodes around, throw on on one side of the pump and see what happens. Worst case, you will have two bad diodes..  ;-)    But it does sound like it is time for a new pump.

The vibration is from the AC trying to power the coil in both directions. One half the wave pulling and one half the wave pushing. as it were. The diode only lefts half the wave power the magnet, so what happens is that the piston is shoved one way, then the electricity stops and the spring returns the piston, then that is repeated... over and over.
With the diode =  pump
Without the diode = personal pleasure device

 
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randytsuch
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Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 3:51pm
Subject: Re: What if it's not the pump?
 

It sounds like it is moving water, so I wonder about the diode?

On my gaggia, I needed to prime it when it was dry.  This is simple, just oven the steam valve until water comes out of the steam arm, then close the steam valve, and water should start coming out of the group head.  If this doesn't work, you could also try the turkey baster trick that was suggested.

You might try that before replacing anything.

Randy
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CraigA
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Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 3:57pm
Subject: Re: What if it's not the pump?
 

frcn Said:

Without the diode = personal pleasure device

Posted August 14, 2012 link

ROTFLMAO! {;-)

 
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Guigui
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Guigui
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Location: Quebec City
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Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 9:17pm
Subject: Re: What if it's not the pump?
 

Thanks everyone,

I will try to answer all your suggestions and list all the tests I ran. First, let me say I ran all those tests after the pump reassembly.

- The first time I put back the pump in the machine, I opened the steam valve and steam/water did come out of the nozzle and the brewing group. Probably some water that was left in the boiler.
- I did try the pump alone, plugged on 120VAC (wall), without success.
- I also tryed the pump alone, but powered by the boiler as it should be, still without success.

What are the chances the boiler is damaged? I have kept the machine inside the house since I bought it, but I don't know about the previous owner, but who stores an espresso machine in the shed? I just don't want to buy a new pump to realise that the rest of the machine is dead. From what I've read, the Italsomac Splendida is not really worth much trouble.

I'll try to prime the pump tomorrow to see what happens. I will also try with a diode, I guess the old 1N4007 will do. If it doesn't work, I'll give the pump to my girlfriend on frcn's suggestion.

Gui
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,775
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 Wed Aug 15, 2012, 5:42am
Subject: Re: What if it's not the pump?
 

Randy,,,, GREAT mental picture !!! LOL!

 
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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Guigui
Senior Member
Guigui
Joined: 14 Aug 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Quebec City
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Aug 15, 2012, 1:50pm
Subject: Re: What if it's not the pump?
 

I think the Espresso Fairy visited me during the night.

My machine works (sort of)! I tested with a diode and the machine worked right away, I didn't have the time to see the water flow through the tubes and the pump. I then tried without the diode and it worked again. My theory is that after my last try yesterday, the change of pression or temperature in the boiler after power off caused the water to make its way up to the pump, so yeah, it needed to be primed. Does that make sense?

I tried to make a coffee and it worked but I don't get a good brew. This could be caused by the grind of the coffee not being adequate (it's grinded for a Breville Cafe Roma, so a bit coarse). I couldn't taste the coffee because the machine needs a good cleaning, but it did seem light to me.

What's weird is I can't fill the portafiller a lot because the coffee touches the part inside the brewing group (shown in the picture). I can't fill the portafiller past halfway. Is this normal?

Guigui: photo2.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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