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Espresso: Espresso Mods and Restorations
Restoring/Modding Discontinued Brasilia Cappuccino Del
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mr_starfire
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Feb 2006
Posts: 196
Location: Escondido
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Brasilia Cappuccino Del 1
Grinder: Astoria/Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: French Press, Pour Over
Roaster: Poppery 1, HG/BM
Posted Tue Dec 17, 2013, 7:25pm
Subject: Restoring/Modding Discontinued Brasilia Cappuccino Del
 

I picked up a used Brasilia over Thanksgiving that had a known leak. Only after pulling the trigger did I find out the company went bankrupt.  Doh! But I still feel like it's worth fixing up.  I mean what is an espresso machine besides a boiler, group, and frame right?

It's all disassembled now, and my machine uses an old style flow meter whose parts are no longer available (bummer!). The thing had a badly worn gasket which was causing the leak, rusting out the frame around it, and completely frying the optical sensor.   Can I just replace the obsolete flow meter with a commonly available Gicar or will it not be compatible with my control box, which I think is the touchpad?

I've been toying with the idea of removing the touchpad and flow meter completely and rewiring the machine to use a rocker switch as a semi-auto instead.  The only component I don't want to be without is the boilers autofill function.

It seems like fully-auto to semi-auto rewiring should be possible from my limited knowledge of circuitry, but I am having a terrible time finding threads on the process.  Hints here and there, but mostly in regards to lever machines.  Is it better to preserve the original function?  Can I replace the controls with more available brands? Touchpads are not cheap but this one was replaced two years ago so I think it's probably ok though I could not test it.  Having never had the automatic controls before I'm not sure if i would ever miss them...

Ideas?

Here is a picture of the offending flow meter.

mr_starfire: IMG_0911.JPG
(Click for larger image)

 
Mark
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mr_starfire
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Feb 2006
Posts: 196
Location: Escondido
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Brasilia Cappuccino Del 1
Grinder: Astoria/Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: French Press, Pour Over
Roaster: Poppery 1, HG/BM
Posted Wed Dec 18, 2013, 1:26pm
Subject: Re: Restoring/Modding Discontinued Brasilia Cappuccino Del
 

The previous owner (original apparently) said it was completely refurbished two years ago.  Which means he did a lot of damage in that time!  Yuck!  It truly amazes me how some people treat their stuff...

mr_starfire: IMG_0962.JPG
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Mark
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mr_starfire
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Feb 2006
Posts: 196
Location: Escondido
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Brasilia Cappuccino Del 1
Grinder: Astoria/Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: French Press, Pour Over
Roaster: Poppery 1, HG/BM
Posted Wed Dec 18, 2013, 1:28pm
Subject: Re: Restoring/Modding Discontinued Brasilia Cappuccino Del
 

I saw evidence of heavy scale when I purchased it, but decided to try turning it on anyway.  Pump worked but then water started shooting out of the vac breaker (auto fill sensor completely caked with scale).  I had some very nasty surprises for me when I pulled the boiler apart...

mr_starfire: IMG_0862.JPG
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Mark
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mr_starfire
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Feb 2006
Posts: 196
Location: Escondido
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Brasilia Cappuccino Del 1
Grinder: Astoria/Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: French Press, Pour Over
Roaster: Poppery 1, HG/BM
Posted Wed Dec 18, 2013, 1:32pm
Subject: Re: Restoring/Modding Discontinued Brasilia Cappuccino Del
 

Vac breaker and boiler end cap.

mr_starfire: IMG_0864.JPG
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Mark
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mr_starfire
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Feb 2006
Posts: 196
Location: Escondido
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Brasilia Cappuccino Del 1
Grinder: Astoria/Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: French Press, Pour Over
Roaster: Poppery 1, HG/BM
Posted Wed Dec 18, 2013, 1:32pm
Subject: Re: Restoring/Modding Discontinued Brasilia Cappuccino Del
 

I'm pretty sure the owner never cleaned his portafilters.  Caked with nasty and were a bear to disassemble.  Is this normal for some people?  How could you not taste that?

mr_starfire: IMG_0739.JPG
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Mark
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mr_starfire
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Feb 2006
Posts: 196
Location: Escondido
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Brasilia Cappuccino Del 1
Grinder: Astoria/Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: French Press, Pour Over
Roaster: Poppery 1, HG/BM
Posted Wed Dec 18, 2013, 1:35pm
Subject: Re: Restoring/Modding Discontinued Brasilia Cappuccino Del
 

Last one for awhile.  

Inside the boiler.  The scale buildup looks like stalactites!  Also noticed that the safety valve outlet hole was completely blocked.  Thankful I never got around to turning the element on.  Boiler components are looking much better now, but I'm still soaking the heavy stuff off.

mr_starfire: IMG_0940.JPG
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Mark
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rsinger
Senior Member
rsinger
Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 187
Location: Boca Raton, Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: OE Pharos - #136!!  ;)
Posted Sat Dec 21, 2013, 5:40pm
Subject: Re: Restoring/Modding Discontinued Brasilia Cappuccino Del
 

Hey Mark:

Just to let you know...  there is hope!  The attached photo shows what you boiler can look like with a little patience and work!

Take a look at my rebuild thread, although it's been a while since I did this project, if I can help at all... shoot me an email.

Best,

Rick

rsinger: Boiler Componente - clean.jpg

 
New Bezzera Strega
OE Pharos: #136!!
Silvia's a virgin.....  again! (and sold)
Brasilia Cappuccino Del-1 Hx (sold too)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/66189160@N04/sets/72157628015297112/show/
http://espressoproject.blogspot.com/2008_10_01_archive.html
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mr_starfire
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Feb 2006
Posts: 196
Location: Escondido
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Brasilia Cappuccino Del 1
Grinder: Astoria/Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: French Press, Pour Over
Roaster: Poppery 1, HG/BM
Posted Sun Dec 22, 2013, 2:12pm
Subject: Re: Restoring/Modding Discontinued Brasilia Cappuccino Del
 

Thanks Rick!  Your thread was one of the ones that inspired me to go ahead and buy this machine.  I really like how well it cleans up.  But I can't figure out how you got it so clean with just citric acid.  Mine looks pretty good now, but it still needs some scrubbing.  Do I use steel wool, green pads, and or a brass brush?  I don't want to hurt anything.

Did you completely submerse the heating element?  I thought it was a bad idea to get the contacts wet (rust and shorting).

I've decided not to replace the flow meter.  And this is where it gets tricky.  I can either take the copper pipe that went from the meter to the hx and rebend it, or maybe buy a flexible ss pipe instead?

When I originally turned my machine on to see what would happen, it sung so loud my house was shaking!  Ok, thats an exaggeration but it was bad.  I never remembered my Andreja Premium doing that.  So when I disassembled it I noticed there was a very small diameter copper pipe from the pump to the expansion valve assembly?  I plan to replace this pipe with a flexible ss one to help isolate the pump like I have seen on other machines.

While poking around, I discovered what is pictured below.  Based on the picture, I believe this to be either a low water warning circuit for the reservoir or the autofill circuit.  If its the first I was wondering if I could repurpose it for the autofill?  Anyone have any experience with these things?  Couldn't seem to find anything on google about it from the information on the sticker.  But I'm pretty excited now and plan to go ahead and eventually remove the touchpad as well, eliminating another hard to find/expensive to replace component that I won't really need.  Might just take awhile to figure out how to control all of the solenoids and pump without it.. I love tinkering!

mr_starfire: IMG_1462.JPG
(Click for larger image)

 
Mark
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mr_starfire
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Feb 2006
Posts: 196
Location: Escondido
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Brasilia Cappuccino Del 1
Grinder: Astoria/Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: French Press, Pour Over
Roaster: Poppery 1, HG/BM
Posted Sun Dec 22, 2013, 2:40pm
Subject: Re: Restoring/Modding Discontinued Brasilia Cappuccino Del
 

Funny how sometimes you write something and then think about it more...

I decided to look closer at the fried component.  And yay!  It has a part number tIL81!  Texas Instruments photo Transistor.  Cool.  Now if I could just find a replacement disk, which looks like it just holds the photosensor in place, and a soldering iron, I could restore this machine to stock configuration!  With a lot less hassle.  My guess is gaskets are gaskets and I will just have to find the right size, so I'm not worried about getting it to seal.

 
Mark
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rsinger
Senior Member
rsinger
Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 187
Location: Boca Raton, Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: OE Pharos - #136!!  ;)
Posted Wed Dec 25, 2013, 1:29pm
Subject: Re: Restoring/Modding Discontinued Brasilia Cappuccino Del
 

Hi Mark:

Believe it or not mine got that clean just using citric acid (every thing soaked in hot water with c.a. for a couple of days) and on a few stubborn spots I used a brass wire brush.

The electronic controller you included as a pic is the boiler auto-refill water level control  (it connects to the probe on the top of the boiler).  Btw, do you have any parts diagrams or schematics for the machine?  If not, feel free to shoot me an email (see my profile here) and I can send you a pdf.

Lastly, most of the parts I needed came from:
        Rosito Bisani
Street: 940 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, Ca 90036-4808
Phone: (323) 937-1888
(800) 848-4444
 
Leo is the senior technician there, and he was extremely knowledgeable and helpful (they may still have inventory, and it's worth a try contacting them if you need something)

Good luck, let me know if you have other questions!

Best,

Rick

rsinger: Partial-3.gif
(Click for larger image)

 
New Bezzera Strega
OE Pharos: #136!!
Silvia's a virgin.....  again! (and sold)
Brasilia Cappuccino Del-1 Hx (sold too)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/66189160@N04/sets/72157628015297112/show/
http://espressoproject.blogspot.com/2008_10_01_archive.html
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