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Silvia's Tired.
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Discussions > Espresso > Espresso Mods > Silvia's Tired.  
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uurf
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Jan 2013
Posts: 16
Location: Pittsburgh
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia v1
Posted Sun Jan 6, 2013, 12:48am
Subject: Silvia's Tired.
 

…and for the most part, it's my fault. I've owned this machine for… 10 years? has it been that long? And every single day, pulling at least 4 shots. Every. Day.

And have I been descaling and backflushing? Well, some backflushing, but probably not as often as I should. And not nearly enough descaling especially given our hard water in San Jose.

Which brings us to… today. My poor, ever trustworthy Silvia, not pulling the same reliable shots, or really anything even close. The brew output is way off, and forget about crema. If there's coffee grounds in the brewhead, even lightly tamped, the coffee only flows for about 15 seconds before slowing to a drip.

My immediate assumption was that the pump has seen better days, probably as a result of scale buildup. But of course, it's not that easy to assess.

Did the scale constrict water flow to the pump, causing its demise?

Is the solenoid all crusty limiting flow?

Has the scale affected the pressure valve, only allowing a couple bar of pressure to develop in the brew head before kicking the backflow back to the tank?

After two tanks of descaling, (1 tank of the Urnex Citric Acid product, 1 tank of a 1:3 CLR:Water solution), things haven't improved. It was thought that the more serious descaling (at the suggestion of a local coffee tech) could free up the pressure valve to function normally again but it didn't.

I gathered some data:

The Silvia brew output temp is around 175° F.

Measuring the backflow return amounts at 30 seconds run time:

No porta filter in place: 100 ml is returned
Porta filter in place:  150 ml is returned
Coffee in the portafilter, lightly tamped:  400 ml is returned. No coffee after 15 seconds.

So at this point I'd be interested in opinions, suggestions, etc. Part of me says to just order a new pump, remove and thoroughly descale the solenoid and backflow valves, and disassemble and  descale the boiler, replacing the boiler gasket. Does that sound about right? Anything else that might need service while I've got it apart?
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,492
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 Sun Jan 6, 2013, 3:02am
Subject: Re: Silvia's Tired.
 

"full Silvia rebuild and minor mod with pics."
I recently rebuilt a v2 Sylvia with lots of pics.
It isn't a hard job if you are handy and after all these years, it deserves a through referbishment.
Then again, this would be a great time to step up your game, clearly you enjoy espresso.

 
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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JGG
Senior Member
JGG
Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 1,358
Location: Kentucky, US
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: PID Silvia; PID Alexia
Grinder: Mazzer SJ
Roaster: Hottop D w/HTC+TC4C
Posted Sun Jan 6, 2013, 5:26am
Subject: Re: Silvia's Tired.
 

Hi, uurf -

Everything you described is consistent with your coffee being ground too fine. Before doing anything el$e, I would try a coarser setting on the grinder.

My next step would be to remove and examine the OPV. You are getting an awful lot of flow diverted without any coffee present.

Jim
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uurf
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Jan 2013
Posts: 16
Location: Pittsburgh
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia v1
Posted Sun Jan 6, 2013, 7:45am
Subject: Re: Silvia's Tired.
 

/sheepishly

I have to admit that I've used Illy preground (Green or black label) in the machine for nearly it's entire life. I like illy, and I figure I will never have a grinder as good as theirs. I go through it fast enough so that It doesn't get dried out. So I don't think the grind has gotten any finer or otherwise different suddenly.

I also could never justify the cost of a Rocky.

This morning I was running additional water through (I can't recommend CLR as a descaler - I've run three or four tanks through both the portafilter and the steam want and I still can smell it, although, there was also still visible, obvious scale still coming out from both sides after stewing in it all night) and I measured the outflow when running through the steam want, tip in place. Even then it outflowed 150ml, which seems like a lot.

If it's the OPV, is that separate from the pump? Is it possible the pump is still ok? Given that the pump is $45, I might take the opportunity to replace it now at any rate.

Back to flushing!
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uurf
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Jan 2013
Posts: 16
Location: Pittsburgh
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia v1
Posted Sun Jan 6, 2013, 9:48am
Subject: Re: Silvia's Tired.
 

Some additional data:

I cannot seem to get the CLRish smell out of this machine, even after running 6 tanks of filtered water out of the wand and brew group. And, scale continues to be produced. I even ran a tank with a quarter cup of white vinegar through, and then another 3-4 tanks. Any suggestions?

Signs are really pointing to the OPV valve though. after all these tanks, I ran the backflow return line measurements and found that without coffee the backflow was down to 100ml with the portafilter and basket in place. And with coffee in the basket it was down to 300 ml. But when brewing coffee flow was still stopping after 18 seconds, and no crema.

Then I pulled a shot and pinched the outflow tube with my fingers and bingo - coffee flow, crema.

So now the OPV has moved from person of interest to suspect number 1.

Can they be removed, cleaned, and returned to their original performance? If you remove them are there consumable items that need to be replaced (crush washers etc.)? How would one clean the valve?

Or is it simply necessary* to replace it? If you replace it are there consumable items that need to be replaced (crush washers etc.)?

And again, any thoughts on how to get the descaler smell/taste out would really be appreciated.

*or not worth the trouble to clean
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crazy4espresso
Senior Member
crazy4espresso
Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 144
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia, La Pavoni...
Grinder: Pharos
Posted Sun Jan 6, 2013, 10:27am
Subject: Re: Silvia's Tired.
 

uurf Said:

/sheepishly

I have to admit that I've used Illy preground (Green or black label) in the machine for nearly it's entire life. I like illy, and I figure I will never have a grinder as good as theirs. I go through it fast enough so that It doesn't get dried out. So I don't think the grind has gotten any finer or otherwise different suddenly.

I also could never justify the cost of a Rocky.

Posted January 6, 2013 link


Using pre-ground coffee is akin to blasphemy on this site, lol.  My friend, you need to introduce yourself to the world of fresh roasted coffee, and forget someone's uber expensive grinder back in Italy.  That coffee is months old before it gets to you.
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uurf
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Jan 2013
Posts: 16
Location: Pittsburgh
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia v1
Posted Sun Jan 6, 2013, 10:35am
Subject: Re: Silvia's Tired.
 

fair enough. Can we table the admonishments until I have a working machine? :)
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,881
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Sun Jan 6, 2013, 2:23pm
Subject: Re: Silvia's Tired.
 

You can see if this helps.  Perhaps additive to Wayne/Calblacksmith's thread.

http://milksnot.com/content/silvia-pressure-mod

You may need to take the machine apart to clean out all of the CLR and scale.  The shot of the group with the all of the sediment in the bottom...

http://www.coffeeco.com.au/articles/repair.html

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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uurf
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Jan 2013
Posts: 16
Location: Pittsburgh
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia v1
Posted Sun Jan 6, 2013, 2:33pm
Subject: Re: Silvia's Tired.
 

I found this regarding cleaning out CLR:

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/214822

It's a start at least.
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,881
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Sun Jan 6, 2013, 3:15pm
Subject: Re: Silvia's Tired.
 

From the thread that you reference and the sediment that sits in the group in the pictures, I would take the machine apart.  With open cleaning and flushing, you may be able to clean it out.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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