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Is my Sylvia pump shot?
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Discussions > Espresso > Espresso Mods > Is my Sylvia...  
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PapaWhisky
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Apr 2008
Posts: 4
Location: Luanda, ANGOLA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Rocky
Posted Sun Oct 28, 2012, 7:01am
Subject: Is my Sylvia pump shot?
 

All,

Sylvia has served me well now for for almost four years across three continents. I would guess that my four-year average is about one shot per day.

But now I wonder if perhaps I should rip her heart out ...

If I run the pump with no portafilter attached it takes 8-10 seconds before I see any water.  Also, when she's working on an espresso she makes quite unseemly noises.

Are these indications that she needs a new pump ... ?

Papa
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GVDub
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Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 862
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Sun Oct 28, 2012, 7:48am
Subject: Re: Is my Sylvia pump shot?
 

What has your maintenance schedule been for descaling, etc...?
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PapaWhisky
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Apr 2008
Posts: 4
Location: Luanda, ANGOLA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Rocky
Posted Sun Oct 28, 2012, 7:52am
Subject: Re: Is my Sylvia pump shot?
 

de-who?
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GVDub
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Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 862
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Sun Oct 28, 2012, 8:34am
Subject: Re: Is my Sylvia pump shot?
 

I think we may have found the problem here.

Water with high mineral content leaves deposits (mineral scale) that clog things up. The normal process is to do occasional prophylactic descaling (treating with a mild acid (usually citric acid) solution to dissolve and remove the scale buildup).

This video gives an overview.

If the problem is allowed to advance too far, a simple descaling may not do the job, as the particles of scale can be large enough to not simply dissolve, but break free and move through the system clogging other things. In this case, you need to disassemble the machine and soak the boiler halves and pipes in a tub of descaling solution.
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PapaWhisky
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Apr 2008
Posts: 4
Location: Luanda, ANGOLA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Rocky
Posted Sun Oct 28, 2012, 10:22am
Subject: Re: Is my Sylvia pump shot?
 

So what I have done regularly (although not recently) is to treat with citric crystals in a blind filter insert and cycle the pump off and on.

Perhaps I need to resume my regimen.
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 862
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Sun Oct 28, 2012, 10:28am
Subject: Re: Is my Sylvia pump shot?
 

Have never worked with a Silvia, but that sounds like a simple backflush, which would do nothing to descale the boiler, steam system, or any other part of the hydraulics other than the group head and 3-way valve.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,781
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
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Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon Oct 29, 2012, 6:53am
Subject: Re: Is my Sylvia pump shot?
 

The citric acid needs to go into the boiler, doing a back flush (in the blank disc) does not really do anything. A good soap should be used for the back flush and the citric, like I said, goes into the boiler.

At this point, it is hard to say what the issue is. It could be the pump or a valve in the pump. Regardless, I would bet that the inside of the boiler is pretty nasty.

To see what the inside looks like, check out the thread I did when rebuilding a Sylvia, that machine had the same lack of regular descaling as yours and you might have the same thing inside the boiler which is best solved by tearing the machine apart for maintaince.

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/547829
Note, the thread is many pages long from 3 to possibly over 10 depending on your default forum settings.

 
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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PapaWhisky
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Apr 2008
Posts: 4
Location: Luanda, ANGOLA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Rocky
Posted Fri Nov 2, 2012, 6:29am
Subject: Re: Is my Sylvia pump shot?
 

So I did the de-scaling as recommended. A couple of litres of solution and I let it sit overnight. I did not get the litres and litres of cloudy output that some other experiences suggested, but it seems to have done the trick ... or at least a trick.

Now when I start the pump I see water almost immediately. And the noise level during a shot seems much more normal.

I guess this means I should de-scale every three years and not push it out to four ...

Papa
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,046
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Fri Nov 2, 2012, 6:34am
Subject: Re: Is my Sylvia pump shot?
 

PapaWhisky Said:

... I guess this means I should de-scale every three years and not push it out to four ...

Posted November 2, 2012 link

Depending on the hardness of the water and the use of the machine you should descale much more often, at least every three months is recommended. Only with soft water and rare usage it's advisable to stretch that interval.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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